The fresh smell of rain wafted in this morning as I sat down to write. I was turning lights on at 9am, like I’d never gone to bed at all, hadn’t left the computer. Writing again. It’s coming in fits and starts – some sentences trail off while some spring out fully formed. The gears are sliding into place, I can feel it. Or at least I think that’s what I feel; maybe it’s the new coffee.

UPDATE: Most likely not the new coffee (though I’m sure it helped) – I have just had an excellent and exciting epiphany. I can see both where this chapter’s going and, now, a really good way to get it there. Huzzah!


The term of the ends.

May 24, 2007

Things keep ending. Or, rather, I keep ending things (to make it clear that I’m for once not talking about Veronica Mars). “Good reasons” rings hollow to me right now. Determining the difference between loss and turning points is a matter of time and perspective, but in both of the situations to which I’m alluding it feels like loss. I’d began an earlier version of this post with some ballyhoo about feminism, being a feminist, needing a “Living Feminism for Dummies” handbook, etcetera, by couching things in such terms I was distancing and hiding myself behind theory – pretending these to be merely theoretical conundrums rather than felt (and felt keenly, painfully, confusingly) experiences. If it’s theory, then there are rules and logic and principles, leading to inevitable and inarguably right answers. But when it’s felt, it’s not that simple – it’s a confluence of emotions that tug at me in different, equally powerful ways. What I want versus what I want; what I need versus what I need. No inevitable and inarguably right answers exist here, just a scale that’s constantly shifting. I am at the same time both convinced and profoundly unsure of these endings. And it hurts.

The body

May 22, 2007

I’ve lost a lot of weight in the past few years. I’ve done it the right way – I’ve modified my eating habits and I’ve set and am sticking to a viable exercise routine (funny how it no longer feels like a routine but a lifestyle; lacing up runners now signals ‘morning’ to me). I’m pleased and proud, not of my appearance per se, but of how my body feels – strong and fit and capable. The extent of this change has never been that apparent to me, yet I know it must be visible when I run into people I haven’t seen in awhile and they comment on how I look. I know it must be real when I grab an old favourite out of the closet only to have it slide off as it tries to rest on hips that aren’t there anymore.
But the inner changes are taking more time. In my mind’s eye I’m still the fat chick that reassured herself about her personality. There are times when I don’t recognize what I see in the mirror. Shopping the other day, I realized my brain hasn’t caught up with my body – I reached for my usual size of pants, then optimistically grabbed for the next size down. I walked to the changeroom, preparing myself for the inevitable suck-in-the-gut and resolve-to-lay-off-the-chocolate moment of struggling with the top button. And pair after pair of pants balanced precariously at the bottom of my hips, inches of material pooled unflatteringly around my bum. Back at the racks, I stared at the pants in a size I haven’t worn since highschool and started to shake. I realized I don’t know my body anymore – this body that wears single-digit pants, smaller cup sizes, mediums instead of larges. It was unnerving.
So I went and bought a pair of shoes instead. That size hasn’t changed.

Quote of the day

May 22, 2007

My life seemed to be one of understandings based on sex and misunderstandings based on love.

-Alan Hollinghurst, The Folding Star

It’s crime time

May 15, 2007

Do you like obscenity? Serial killers? Surveillance? Check out the schedule for the nearly-upon-me Crime, Media and Culture symposium taking place at McGill this Friday and Saturday. Crime-tastic!

The breaking point

May 9, 2007

So it seems that after a year of biting off more than I could chew but chewing nonetheless, my inner ballast has finally decided to speak up and make it perfectly clear that I’m not ready for a dog just yet. Between the mild panic attacks (ever had one? Think the trash compactor scene in Star Wars, but without the Wookie), an unscheduled visit from my period, and constant anxious fidgeting, my body was hollering that this was too much too soon. Colour me surprised. I really believed I was ready for another dog. What happened?
I’ve spent the past year trying to be the dedicated and attentive teacher, the compassionate and attentive friend, the desirable and attentive girlfriend, the considerate and attentive roommate. Through all of this, a friend wisely pointed out (and my mother, but when do I ever listen to her?), I’d stopped attending to me. Taking on the role of loving and attentive dog owner without an intermission wasn’t going to work – I wouldn’t be able to give her what she needs without hesitation. I had to learn this the hard way, and I had to look into her big brown uncomprehending eyes to apologize and say goodbye.
I feel awful. Shaky. Near tears, again.
I force myself to take comfort in knowing that she’s returning to people who are determined to find her a good home, and I wonder what my home is going to be like. For ten years there’s always been another heartbeat – a roommate, a dog, a boyfriend, a cat – and now there’s only one. I look around my apartment and think it’s just me for the next little while, and am bravely uncertain.

I am inordinately pleased to not be the only one that experiences this particular form (and level) of library frustration.

Dog, meet world.

May 6, 2007

I’m road-testing a dog (we have a two-week trial period before the animal rescue organization checks back in to see how we’re doing). Her name is Ladybug, but I’m considering calling her Lucy. Think of the possibilities: the dog will have ‘splainin to do, I’ll be able to holler “Lucy, I’m home,” and if I’m lucky one day she’ll look up at me with her big brown eyes and howl “Waaaaah.” My first choice was Gracie, but I was so eager to use the name that my iBook is Gracie, and you just can’t have a dog and a laptop with the same name. It’s just not done. Lucy’s part Lab, part Pointer, and has issues. In a nutshell, she’s overprotective. It’s clearly not in her nature, because she’s also a giant suck and more than happy to sidle up to you once she’s been assured you’re harmless. So we’re working on that assurance process by establishing me as the alpha dog (numerous people have pointed out the parallels between dog-shopping/training and dating, and I’m sure a few of my previous boyfriends would vouch for my propensity to jockey for that position). She’s remarkably smart – figured out after just one awkward clotheslining how to navigate oddly placed trees and lampposts – and she listens to me without question, so I think it’s doable. As Dave Gahan so wisely said, it’s a question of time. And of trust. Luckily I have a well-honed teacher voice.
What I’ve learned about Lucy so far: she eats used Kleenexes. She really really wants to get up on the bed, but politely refrains from doing so until I’ve left the house. She’s got it in for the horseball. Her bum can wiggle at a remarkable rate. She understands the concept of sleeping in. She likes coffee (I’ve never seen a dog get so excited at the sound of a coffee grinder, or voraciously lick the remnants from the bottom of a mug).
Tomorrow is another day of socializing. She met, frightened, and then threw herself at the feet of two friends this afternoon, and tomorrow she can repeat the pattern, hopefully with a little less emphasis on the frightening (she’s got an impressive build and one helluva growl, which might prove useful given my penchant for long walks late at night). Lucy just got bumped to the top of my summer project list.


May 1, 2007

I have it now. No lectures to prep, no essays to grade, no student emails to return. Unstructured time! The novelty will wear off shortly but for now I’m enjoying the aimlessness. I haven’t switched gears into dissertation mode yet, so for inspiration I’ve come up with my summer resolutions:
1. Write. And write. And write some more – drafts of two chapters by the end of August, and a journal article to shop around for publication.
2. Migrate the blog, and then update it more regularly.
3. Drop another pant size. I’ve shed four since August, and while I’m coming to terms with the hereditary belly I’m not convinced it’s a lost cause.
4. Read at least one book a week (fiction).
5. Take a tiny trip. Quebec City for a weekend, perhaps. Something that fits my financial straits but also gets me off the island.
Crap. That’s a lot to do. I’ll start tomorrow.