I didn’t manage to watch Before Midnight before midnight struck

I was uncommonly relaxed yesterday, so I did what I do every year or so: I watched Before Sunrise.

It’s a beautiful movie. I know I’ve definitely talked about it here before, but every time I watch it, the experience begs talking about. With each passing year I see different aspects of the film, draw new inferences from its dialogue based on renewed life experience. The film ages but its dialogue doesn’t, while I do and my perspective does. With each lap around the sun I’m delving further back into past experiences to relate. I love the film. It makes Vienna look magical, with this timelessness elegance to it. Young Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are gorgeous, and it’s so rewarding looking at how they age with each film in the trilogy. The lines and creases they earn, never dulling. The dialogue has this soft knife’s edge to it, in that they’re both skirting opposite sides of the same ideas but rarely aggressively. Opposing notions have space to breathe and co-exist. It’s a wonderful patter and, even if it seems like Linklater’s voice through two characters at times, it’s been curved enough by his writing partner Kim Krizan to not totally sound like Céline’s a male written female character.

Watching this film makes me doe eyed and wistful. I adore the film so much and with each viewing, lines come back that I’d long lost. I interpret others in all new ways. I ache to see Jesse and Céline come together and feel the tension of their parting in an almost physical manner. The film imbues me with wanderlust, so enamoured with the romantic notion of exploring an unfamiliar place, open to new experiences. It makes me want to vanish from the city and wander, to invite the creativity that rides tandem with the unknown back into my mind. When I travel my brain unhinges. There’s a freedom to a life without habit and it pays dividends. Living to a schedule is very helpful when you need to get things done, but I’m a different person when I travel, as most of us are. I see Jesse and Céline traipse through Vienna and I’m thrown back to my arrival in Canada, not knowing what excitement or life changing direction could be around any corner. Conversations with strangers in parks or trains leading to unforeseen experiences. Giving into the magic of chaos and trusting in fate. Sensible? Of course not. Romantic? Very much so.

I watch Jesse and Céline and see people I love, people I’ve loved. I notice aspects of some of my closest friends, mannerisms. I recall the way an ex laughed or tossed her hair. I think back to spontaneous romance in my past. I recall first dates that were greater than the sum of their parts. Vibrant and unexpected connections. Conversations that never seemed to end. I question what parts of myself live within both characters. I marvel at how Linklater and Krizan were able to craft such relatable characters, both of them. Not caricatures, but breathing evocations who leapt off the page and lived through the screen. I question my actions and wonder what if? Did I ever call it quits too soon? Should I have left earlier? What lives did I miss out on because of who I was at the time, not who I’ve become? Would I have become who I was without things turning out as they did? What culmination of chance had to come together to get me here? Who would I have been had I made one big choice differently?

Of course I watched Before Sunset too.

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Is a root vegetable enthusiast on YouTube called a YouTuber?

Thoughts comin’ atcha like Cleopatra.

This Ruby Rose Batwoman thing is such a worthless clusterfuck. Do we seriously think that anyone who’s calling her out for not being Jewish is harbouring deep seated resentment that Ellen Page played Kitty Pride but wasn’t Jewish? People complaining that she’s not “enough” of a lesbian can go fuck themselves too. Who is anyone to qualify someone else’s engagement with their own sexuality, let alone random Twitter keyboard warriors?

All this white male nerd gatekeeper kvetching is just playing off very real concerns about a lack of diversity in Hollywood to try and get their obnoxious voices heard. The diversity movement formed from a systemic underrepresentation of certain cultures. This Is Not That. Last time I checked, Jewish culture was very well represented in Hollywood and is actually treated/represented pretty favourably in the industry. Not every character needs to be portrayed by someone who 100% fulfils every aspect of that character. The fact that they’re at least trying is worth a whole lot.

Sure, complain about the CW’s overreliance on absurdly attractive stars backed by flimsy formulaic plots, but nothing about this casting deserves even one percent of the umbrage it’s caused.

In other news, this morning I had a problem and yo, I solved it, making me my own personal Vanilla Ice (as an aside, do you think when Vanilla Ice dies are people gonna be like “R.I.P. Van Winkle”?). Firstly, like every other Filthy Casual audiophile, I have a pair of Audio Technica M50x cans. Also I called them “cans”, so you know I’m too legit to quit. I love these headphones. I probably spend more time daily on my headphones than on my cellphone. That’s saying something. I use them en route to work, at work, when I run at lunchtime, when I leave work and when I workout at the gym. They pull me out of the real world and allow me to engage in activities with focus. Or distract me teriffically.

This morning they weren’t sitting right on my head. The left “can” wasn’t holding tight. Instead of sitting flush with the shape of my face, it ballooned out, creating a big gap for sound to leak out. Basically the opposite of what a closed ear headphone should do. I didn’t know what was wrong, so I frantically looked on the internet for a solution. They’re a common headphone, so lots of people had the same issue. After rifling through a bunch of forums/subreddits, I found out what was causing the fault. There was a tiny little plastic piece that usually sat in a groove, preventing the earpieces from overextending. Mine had broken, meaning the earpiece was overextending like Reed Richards in a yoga class.

People had solutions, but they were complicated. Some undid the screws and modded the entire earpiece. Some soddered new parts in or drilled holes. Basically every option was far beyond my capabilities. I looked up the Audio Technica repair centre, but it was in Quebec. I’d need to mail them out and likely pay through the nose. I couldn’t go potentially weeks without my favourite headphones. Like music coming through my broken headphones, it didn’t sound ideal.

I got to work in a grumpy state. Still, I looked up more solutions. Eventually I stumbled onto some European dude who’d crammed a cable tie in there and fastened the joint. It was just crazy enough to work. I went down to engineering and asked around for a cable tie. There were no engineers in, but some software dude foraged around and came up with one. It was tough to weave it through the gap, but once I did I saw immediate results. I looped it in and tied it off. It was secure and solved the issue right away. The mod was negligable, took a mere few minutes and completely saved me time and money. I felt like goddamn Richard Dean Anderson.

If you need me, I’ll be here bathing in my own immense self-satisfaction.

If Trump has his way, the next head of the FBI will just be some dude wearing a Female Body Inspector shirt

I’ve been in a silly mood today, so it’s likely this entry will be punctuated with insipid jokes.

On that note, I was gonna do a rant about Fingerlings, but decided they were small potatoes.

If Gillette ever buys Marvel you can bet your ass there’ll be more Blades.

I bet whenever Lykke Li lies, they’re like “Sounds like a Lykke Li story.”

If you fucked up something about your appearence and someone gave you a compliment on it, would that be a comp-lament?

If you worked as a social influencer in the sheep shearing world would your job be to shear and share a like?

Wheuf, got that out of my system for now. My throat hurts, strangely, so I might have something else in my system. I need soup, STAT. Did you know that “STAT”, as used in hospitals, is short for “statim”? I didn’t, until I just looked it up and thought it’d be curious knowledge to spread. That was it. I looked up nothing else about it. I don’t know what the etymology or anything is. I don’t know how its meaning and usage changed over time. So really, I’ve given you very little to go on and no reason to care.

Thanks me.

I was wondering today, how many FBI: Female Body Inspector shirts Mark Wahlberg has owned in his lifetime. I dunno, he just seems like the kind of garden variety douchebag who’d find that funny. It’s not like I’ve got grounds to stand on either. I used to love douchey slogan shirts. When I was 16 and discovered Hot Topic (they didn’t have it back home, so I only got to go there when I was on holiday in The U.S.A), I immediately snapped up a shirt that said “It’s only funny until someone gets hurt… Then it’s hilarious.” I regret it to this day. What else did I have? Oh, “Death: Our Nation’s No. 1 Killer.” Zing!

I was on track to become one hell of a neckbeard. I don’t know how I avoided buying a ornamental samurai sword, but all the puzzle pieces were there. I somehow failed to put them together. I used to glorify my alcohol consumption like nothing else. I felt disenfranchised by the fact that nobody wanted to sleep with me. If only I knew that nobody wanted to sleep with me because I had literal neckbeard, dumb slogan shirts, and considered it other people’s fault that I was single.

If only I’d known that all it would take to no longer be single was grow the fuck up, own my problems, challenge my entitled outlook and take responsibility for enacting change in my life. Also get better at puns. Still, I wonder what it would’ve been like to enter my twenties with confidence. Would I be more successful in life by now? Would I realise all my dreams? Just how many FBI: Female Body Inspector shirts would I own?

Too many, no matter what that number was.

Hirsute Yourself 14: That which should not beard

I saw my chin today.

It’s been a while. In most cases it’s hidden by a lush copse of extended mutton chops. We were going out to a fancy party last night and I very much intended to trim myself into some semblance of debonair flair. Instead my trimmer decided to run out of juice halfway across my face. I couldn’t well go to a superb shindig with half trimmed chin, could I? No. In case you lack style it grace, the correct answer is no. Consequently it all had to go. My manual razor was well past its prime, so the whole process was painstakingly slow and methodical. A blunt razor could still leave me speckled with cuts and abrasions. I dosed my face in shaving cream, then went strip by strip, cutting and washing. Some real Mr. Miyagi “wax on, wax off” shit. I worked through my entire chin, then went back for more cream. Against the grain, then back again. I was going for baby’s bottom smoothness. If I was cleaning up, I was going all out. Clearing the remaining cream, I looked up and a pubescent boy stared back. Who let an infant into our house? We have sharp things there. Maybe not the razors, but it’s still not a child friendly place.

The party also wasn’t a child friendly place. Adorned with an abundance of taxidermy and animal remnants, it was fancy as fuck. Hell, I didn’t even feel like I belonged there. It was basically an open house for an infamous Toronto artistic fixture. The Darling Mansion. They throw lavish sex parties. Eccentric Air BnB guests stay there. Rappers film videos throughout the space. It felt too rich for my blood. I was constantly afraid I’d put a foot wrong or touch something I shouldn’t. It was also Cool As Shit.

The taxidermy alone was a novel experience. Because I’m a regular Joe, I’ve never had the chance to touch a bear, a peacock or a fox. They were all there. You could feel how soft a peacock was. Truly understand the size of a bear and realise just how badly you’d love to have a pet fox. They had hoop and shibari demonstrations in the lobby (with the most efficient/aggressive rope tying I’ve ever seen). The mansion was four floors of opulence, artistic talent run rampant. Every room was different. There were endless trinkets and baubles that’d be tacky if they weren’t so beautifully curated. Rooms with suspended beds or ceiling mounted mirrors. A bathtub filled with coloured balls, or a shower without curtains.

There was a beautiful courtyard leading to the basement workshop. Umbrellas hung suspended from lines of fairy lights. There were statues, curious lightbulbs and a fountain. The workshop was in full operation. The place, apparently, is like an artist’s coven. You work there, you live there and make the place your own. A fashion designer had all manner of interesting apparel for sale. There were mannequins adorned with works in progress. Another fashion designer in residence moonlit as a tarot reader and artist. She was running PWYC tarot sessions or token portraits. My girlfriend and I signed up and had ourselves painted like some of those French girls, but clothed. It was neat. Her and I chatted as she painted my portrait. She was one of those incurably mercurial souls who travelled and worked according to her whims. As we chatted, despite not holding a pose, her portrait all came together. She captured my essence explicitly. My girlfriend’s portrait was also beautifully her. What a wonderful totem to have from a special night.

Plus, now I can easily remember the time I fucked up and didn’t fully charge my trimmer.

Also maybe put an advisory against breakfast ice cream into the curriculum too. A good way to crash in two hours

In 2015 the Ontario Liberal government did an overhaul of the 1998 sex ed curriculum for children in schools. With the vast technological and societal advancements over the years, it made sense. The new curriculum taught concepts of consent, body positivity and respect for diverse gender/sexual orientations. It was a necessary upgrade. The recently elected Conservative government decided to scrap it because some of their more conservative voter base didn’t like the idea of children calling their own genitals by their real names. I dunno, people are odd. I didn’t agree with this notion, so for the first time in my life I wrote a strongly worded letter to a politician.

Dear Lisa Thompson.

You don’t know me. Well, I hope that’s the case. Not that I don’t want to know you or anything. I’m sure you’re nice. We just don’t have any mutual Facebook friends (I checked), so I’m sending this in the blind hope that you’re a swell person.

As I said, before I started rambling, you don’t know me. It makes sense, I didn’t grow up here. I grew up in the stunning, coastal country of New Zealand. It’s really pretty, you should visit sometime. I’m sure you’d love it. I don’t say this in full confidence of your likes and dislikes, but most people have a terrific time when they visit Aotearoa (that’s its Maori name. I think it sounds lovely). NZ was a really swell place to grow up. There were lots of beaches, our cheese and chocolate were sweet as, and we had summertime Christmas. We also had some choice public schools. As I said, I don’t know you, but from your elected position I’d guess you’d be interested in learning about other education systems. I’ll tell you about some of my experiences, if that’ll help.

When I was seven, I asked my friend if he wanted to hold hands while we walked. “No way” he said “that’s gay”. I’d never heard that word before (“gay”, not “no”. My parents used that one when I asked them for breakfast ice cream), so I asked him what “gay” was. “Gay is bad” he said. I nodded dumbly at his sage wisdom, and absorbed that thought. Easy. Learning is fun, right? I always liked reading as a kid and to this day, words are some of my favourite things. Seven years and I knew what “gay” meant. I was awful proud.

When I was eight, I was quite chubby. One of the few chubby kids in my year. It’s probably why my parents didn’t let me have breakfast ice cream. As an adult I know that my size and shape didn’t make a difference to how cool I was. As a kid, most everyone told me the contrary. Kids are pretty creative and bullies had quite the Rolodex of mean names. I was told by some of the other boys that with my lumpy chest, I’d probably be able to feed babies. I told them that was silly, but without the actual reproductive education, I wasn’t entirely sure myself. To be clear, I have yet to produce milk. A pity. Here in Canada milk comes in bags and after five years of living in Toronto, that still kind of freaks me out. If I made my own, I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

They didn’t just call me names. A bunch of the older boys got physical too. I’d get pushed over or punched because I was different. They’d steal my stuff and throw it around until I cried and they gave it back. I remember one time being late for class because I was trying to run away from these kids who kept tackling me and shoving hay down my pants. I told them to stop, but they were having a good time and my opinion didn’t seem to matter. I guess they were more into Utilitarian than Kantian ethics. The teacher was not impressed that I was late. I didn’t want to tell on the kids by name, ’cause whenever I told the teacher they’d usually get rougher the next time.

When I was eleven, during a sex ed class, the teacher asked if anyone knew what a “wet dream” was. Being the total nerd I was (not sure why I’m talking in past tense there, Lisa), my hand shot up. “Yes Leon?” the teacher asked. I replied. “Is a wet dream where you have a dream that you’ve gone swimming at the beach with friends (a common NZ summer pastime) and you wake up having wet your bed?” The class laughed. This was the wrong answer. I felt pretty embarrassed. We didn’t learn a lot about sex and gender at Intermediate School (ages 11-12 ish). Mostly that we’d smell funky and get hair in weird places over the next few years. We’d get taller too. I couldn’t wait.

In high school, our sex ed got quite a bit better. We learned all about the whole cycle from intercourse to birth. We learned that STDs were now called STIs. We were taught about how contraception could decrease the likelihood of their occurrence. They showed us how to put condoms on fake phallic shaped things. We learned about different relationship styles and gender attraction, that they were all healthy expressions of love.

Now, despite being a pretty smart kid (my dad used to call me a smart arse all the time), I still hadn’t really gotten past what my friend had said when we were seven. “Gay” meant “bad”. We were teenagers in the early 2000s. Boys were still constantly teasing one another for being gay. I don’t think I actually had anything against gay people. My parents had lesbian friends and they were really nice. I babysat their kid once and he was well behaved. Teenage boys in NZ, however, thought being gay was one of the worst things you could be. I remembered what it was like getting bullied as a kid and I didn’t want to get bullied as a teenager. I mostly kept my mouth shut. I got called gay a bunch of times (which I think was the quintessential high school experience in that era), but denied or diverted the conversation. I don’t think I ever was gay as a teenager, primarily because I wasn’t sexually active. I knew I didn’t want to be though. That would be “bad”. Being a teenager was hard enough already.

Once I entered College, I met a girl and had my first kiss, etc. I liked the “etc” a lot too. We didn’t do a lot of it. We were both pretty new to it and didn’t really know how to put words to what we wanted. We mostly didn’t get what we wanted, so eventually we broke up. Don’t worry Lisa, I met other girls and they were all wonderful people. I got better at “etc” and asking for what I wanted. I was in my early twenties and I sure wanted “etc” a lot. I feel like I wanted “etc” more often than my partners did. Sometimes they weren’t in the mood for “etc” when I was and I’d get all mopey. Sometimes I’d moan enough about it that we’d “etc” anyway, even though they weren’t super enthusiastic about it. I didn’t know the concept of “consent” yet, but I did know “no” (remember breakfast ice cream?), so I’d often ask until they said that. I figured that was fair. Clearly, as a twentysomething I still had a lot of growing up to do.

Being a kid these days is quite different from how it was in the 90s. People were still using the term “Information Super Highway” and my parents would get angry that I’d tie up the phone line chatting to friends. Bill Cosby was a venerated family figure. Sexual and gender identities in public for the most part only came in basic flavours. Times have changed a lot. I know one or two high school kids these days who’ve come out to their school friends. Their friends have been really supportive. That sounds a lot better than bullying, right? Many many many of my friends are queer, with a myriad of sexual and gender identities. They’re wonderful people (otherwise I probably wouldn’t call them friends) who bring so much joy to my life. I often feel pretty disgusted at how I shunned alternative sexual identities as a teenager. Imagine, not having these outstanding humans in my life purely because of who they love. Seems like an awful shame.

In the past ten years I’ve learned a lot about consent. I no longer see “etc” as a finite resource. If a partner was not interested in having “etc”, why would I push them into it? There are so many things to do, why try to make them do something they didn’t want? In the age of #metoo, it seems paramount for children to know that it’s not okay to force people into actions that make them uncomfortable. I sure do wish those bullies who shoved hay in my pants knew about consent. I definitely would have told them “no thank you”. Being bullied had severe effects on my emotional well-being that therapy has only really unravelled over the past few years. Imagine the emotional anxiety of not feeling like you have a right to your own bodily autonomy. Kids should know that they’re allowed to speak up when they’re not feeling secure. Other kids should know how to look for ways to support them in these times. The emotional health of children is incredibly important. We can both agree on that, right Lisa?

I don’t have kids, Lisa. But I want them someday. When I have kids, I’d love for them to know that their self-worth is not predicated on how they fit into the expectations of others. That they’re wonderful beings full of potential. For them to learn about their bodies and what makes them tick. I’d hope that they’d treat others with respect and compassion. That other kids would treat them with kindness too. That someday they’d grow up and meet people that’d make their heart sing. That my kids would be caring and considerate. That whoever they loved, they’d be a positive force in their lives. That they’d get to feel the electricity of holding hands for the first time, of kissing and “etc”. That the “etc” would come when they were emotionally ready, nay, excited. Doesn’t that sound wonderful, Lisa?

Imagine if my hypothetical kids and their peers could grow up learning to be nice to everyone, regardless of who they were. Imagine if they understood about how their bodies worked and loved themselves no matter what they looked like. Imagine if they didn’t have to worry about being bullied. I know, kids are cruel and this one seems pretty far-fetched. Still, if we’re imagining here, why not shoot for the moon?

Lisa, I’m gonna try to be the best dad I can be, but I’m only one person. I don’t have the influence to encourage kids across the province to grow into fantastic adults. That’s kind of why I’m writing this letter to you. I know some people aren’t happy with the 2015 revisions to the sex education curriculum, but the curriculum in its current state has the potential to do a lot of good for a lot of kids. You have a chance, in overturning the decision to repeal it, to do a lot of good for a lot of kids. As I said, I don’t know you Lisa. Still, I’m gonna assume you got into politics to help people. Younger Leon sure could’ve used the kind of help you can provide.

Thanks Lisa.

Is it ironic to be so vocal about it?

Let’s talk about new experiences.

A friend of mine posted her report card for swimming lessons. To be clear, I don’t tend to make friends with children. She’s in her twenties and learning to swim for the first time. I saw the picture of her report card and felt, I dunno, proud? Is it possible to say that without being remotely patronising? As adults, it’s very easy to get stuck in our ways. We’ve spent years divining how to navigate the world, forming our views and values. It’s the easiest thing to be complacent and rest on whatever laurels you’ve accumulated. The antithesis of this is to acknowledge that you can be better, more. It takes a shit ton of courage to admit that you’re not a finished, complete human. The trait of admitting what you don’t know is massive. It takes a big person to be that humble. So many times I’ve seen someone paint or something and thought I’m just not that kind of person. The barrier between myself and being that kind of person is trying. I remember when I taught myself super basic picture editing. I was cowed by whatever potential that’d been there untapped. It made me so curious to know what else I could do that I’d always shunned. The too hard basket is too easy to fill.

Swimming? Learning to swim as an adult is incredible. You’re put into a potentially lethal situation and told “hey, learn not to drown”. Not only that, you need to come to terms with unfamiliar body movement. It’s totally unintuitive. Without having stepped into water, how would you really understand the physics of propelling yourself? How to pull your body through the water? The difficulty difference between kicking and arm strokes. Forward strokes, back strokes, butterfly, breath stroked, porpoise. It’s all goddamn alien technique. The timing of breathing is really bloody tricky to figure out. Knowing how to trust your body’s buoyancy must be terrifying if you haven’t had to. Back home, most everyone knew how to swim. New Zealand is such a coastal city. Beaches everywhere. Water safety is paramount. We’re taught to swim in school. We learn about kayaking and piloting Optimists (small dinghys, if that clarifies it for anyone). We learn about tides and winds because the alternative can be death. How else are we supposed to do bombs off the wharf in good conscience?

In short, I think my friend is super fucking cool.

I had a new experience last night. My first ever silent disco.

The concept wasn’t novel to me, but I’d never given it a try. At Post Script, the Toronto Fringe Festival after party, they had stacks and stacks of light up headphones. You’d hand over a piece of ID and they’d give you a pair. No cost. Also, the entire event was free. The headphones had three different channels, which had a corresponding colour. Blue, Red and Green all linked up to three different DJs on stage mixing distinct sets. Without headphones it was a little bizarre. Hordes of dancers doing their thing with only ambient background noise. There was an audio-visual disconnect. It was fascinating to watch the variation in styles of dance, depending on headphone colour. Occasionally an obvious massive song would drop on one channel and say, blue headphoners, would sing along or do a call and response. Popular colours came in waves. You’d look up and 92% of the dance floor would be blue. Then small pockets of green would open up and gradually expand. Maybe people were looking out for attractive folks and following their choices. Who knows? What an unusual phenomena to behold.

Getting my own pair changed the game. I’d be listening to a mix, then see other dancers change colour. I’d try it out and think wait, *this* is what they’re going hog wild over? Sometimes I’d see a dancer doing wicked moves and get the impulse to try out their wavelength. I was mostly doing my own thing, changing channels on personal whims. Looking around, I tended to see the same people matching my choices. Not intentionally, I’m sure, but kinship of tastes was really flowing. It was almost tribal, smiles all around. After having been so strict about post sprain ankle activity, it was incredibly freeing to let loose and shake myself sweaty. Goddamn I missed it. I can’t recommend the silent disco enough. It made the word Experience into a proper noun.

I’m not gonna be able to shut up about it for a while.

In another five years, maybe I’ll have this semicolon thing down pat

Five years ago I followed through on one of the most impactful decisions of my life.

I boarded a plane and flew halfway across the world. I had no friends or job waiting on the other end. I left everything I knew in the hopes that a sea change would inspire personal growth. I felt stagnant, stifled. It felt like the world was changing and my change lay elsewhere within it. I wasn’t unhappy, but on some level I understood my threshold for happiness could be higher. I’d plateaued at 26. I didn’t know who I wanted to be, but I knew I wasn’t him yet. Clothes, my desktop computer, and 10kg of Magic cards were piled into a bag and ventred across seas with me. In search of, well, I had no real idea.

This day is a strange time every year. I reminisce about the people I left behind. I think back to my journey from Vancouver to Toronto. I recall what it felt like establishing a life out of nothing. I picture all the new friends I’ve met across the years. I get Jebediah’s “Leaving Home” stuck in my head for 24 hours straight. Facebook memories pop up with a whistful ode to my childhood pissing tree atop Church Street, Northcote. There’s a lot swirling around in my brain.

I often cast my mind back to who I was before I left. I’ve always been pretty authentically “me”, but that’s shifted over the years. I think that, much as I marched to the beat of my own drum, the pace was dictated by established social circles. My life was flooded with friends I’d accumulated over the years. From kindergarten all the way up to university, I kept good company. This good company stuck around and it shaped who I’d become. They say that we’re all a combination of the five people we spend the most time with. I was the most “me” I could be, given my constant close company. I’d never really given myself time to breathe and understand who I was when I zoomed out. I had views, but without perspective.

For the first time in my life, I stepped onto that plane and found my own cadence. I shaped my life anew, deciding without exterior input as to how I wanted it to look. Everything that happened was something I did. I threw myself at the mercy of my own adaptibility. It was a trial by fire that sculpted who it was I’d become. Rolling with the punches of each new challenge forced me to find my independence. I found what I sought and discarded what I didn’t.

Over those five years I’d come to face my fears. I met my tribe through openness to new experiences. I challenged my own preconceptions of body image and sexuality. I learned important distinctions between “fuck yes” and “no”, following and trusting in my bliss. I allowed myself to make mistakes and be fallible. I discovered my potential in ways I never had. I found heartbreak, love, and learned more about the capacity of friendship. I came to understand how to love myself, and the value of self-compassion.

Over the past five years, I’ve found the blueprints for my place in the world. I’ve crafted the foundations and gathered all the materials I need. I have the werewithal and support, now all I need is time.

Time to make this house a home.