One Step Forward

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87ef4bb5285651aac583cf360568816fThe other day I was feeling intense panic. Panic, anxiousness, nervousness, stress…whatever word you want to put to it, but the reality is that I was prepping for a big weekend of hosting and starting to run out of hours in the day. The need to go to the pet store, liquor store, grocery store and Asian veggie vendor was suddenly intensely, ridiculously, unnecessarily necessary and the seconds were ticking down on that old mental clock of mine.

The thing is, I realized that a lot of this was pressure I put on myself. When family visits does your place need to be perfect? And by whose standards is perfect measured?

This little scaredy-cat approach was handed to me by my social anxiety momma. Her heart is in the right place, but maybe not always her head. The need to do every little last thing humanly possible before guests arrive seems to be one that I was inherently taught and inherently think is a real thing.  Truly, they are there for you, not your food, not your clean sheets, not your vacuumed rug or newly trimmed cat. It’s nice to be cleanly, but it’s cleaner to be nice…at least for your brain. (Sure, let’s pretend that one was witty).

I decided in that moment, the intensely asthmatic moment… as I was getting into my car after my final errand, knowing that I may leave myself short on time and scrambling amuck… that I was going to take a step back, lock the car, cross the street and go to a yard sale. A plain, simple, off-the-beaten-path yard sale was enough to bring me back to my youth, to a simpler time, a time where I bought things used, bought them cheap, relished in haggling off 50 cents and simply enjoyed the moment, the weather and the promise of the future. While there, I met a la75489809dy who realized I was having an off day and what she said to me was “one step forward” little girl. There are no steps back.

That’s an interesting take on things. Maybe it isn’t two steps forward and one back, just smaller steps forward. What if there were no such thing as steps back? Would it change your outlook on the world? Either way, it sent me away with a sweet little message, a reassurance that nobody is alone, that we keep trying and no matter what, you need to keep walking ahead…no matter how detoured, shaky or limping that walk may be….

The Ginga Ninja

Head vs Heart

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I was told to brain dump.

4play-Heart-vs-Mind2What is a brain dump you ask? Well, I guess it’s like the other kind of dump…but getting stuff out of your mind instead of your bowels. I’ve always wondered how important words are. Sometimes I find that they are incredibly powerful, other times I feel like they are so meaningless. I think the reason why so many love songs exist is because somebody out there really needed to brain dump. We want to say a million and one things to a particular someone, but pride, fear, days gone by, uncertainty and a million other somethings prevent us from doing so.

Sometimes we do tell them everything we are thinking and get painted as crazy or dramatic. Sometimes we spill our guts and come away with an outcome that is worse than the original scenario. Over the years, talking hasn’t been my problem until it comes to feelings. For some reason, I’m afraid to lose face and I’m afraid to admit feelings so I put up my walls, make my definitive statements and always decide that fate, time or common sense will prevail. Why am I so afraid to discuss what I do or don’t want with somebody?  What’s the worst that happens…you lose them? If you can lose them that easily, well you never really had them. I seem constantly afraid to lose something I didn’t have to begin with.

The mind is a funny thing and we often refer to our heart as full, fragile, broken, bruised… but the head and the heart are the same thing really. It’s all in the mind. It’s chemicals, racing blood streams, pounding veins and fight or flight responses that create a feeling of wanting, longing, yearning and the unknown. More so, well, add to that the memory bank that the mind stores… and we are all fucked.

I think the reason why we have broken hearts and heartache is that the physical repercussions of pain and fear is similar to that of the fight or flight response. Increased heart rate, fixated thoughts, jitters, shakes, anxiousness and an overwhelming surge of adrenaline…and often with this can come shortness of breath, heart palpitations, sore lungs and even asthma attacks. So, it’s not really the heart breaking, but it sure can feel like it.

Either way, head or heart, crazy or sane…it’s probably always best to say what you mean and mean what you say, otherwise you wind up the author of a blog. Kidding. You wind up the author of an awesome blog.

So, my friend. If you have a problem, whatever that problem may be, dump away. There is nothing more therapeutic than just writing down what you are feeling no matter how crazy or irrational it may be. Well, maybe putting it into lyrics or singing away at the top of your lungs, but that bottle of gin, shotgun or bridge may not look as bright and shiny in the morning.

Don’t follow your head, for it has no heart; don’t follow your, heart for it has no logic; follow your soul, for it has both. – Nishan Panwar

The Ginga Ninja

Needy or Not, it’s what you Need

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What is needy?

There are people out there who are introverts. Straight up, simple and true, introverts. They don’t need others, they don’t need validation, they don’t need understanding, they don’t need connection. Hate to admit it, I ain’t one of em. I need people every now and again and I need validation more than I would like.

As I say this, there were always loners, hermits, the town loon (whatever term floats your boat), however they were often left to be on the far side of the ravine to chop their wood, smoke their pipes and read their books in peace. Sure, maybe a whisper, a point or two and a bag of flaming dog crap landed on their door, but the comparisons, competitions, challenges and frankly resources weren’t there. Nowadays, our introverts get labeled another way. We have bigger towns, more insight, virtual lives, Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Netflix, Shomi and PVR coming out the ass. Alone we are never really alone, are we?

I have discovered I’m a happy little medium of introvert and extrovert, landed somewhere between needing nights in to watch silly movies, take baths and listen to music…as much as wanting to go out and drink, gab, gossip and gape. There has to be a middle ground in there somewhere. Moderate is my middle name.

The thing is, when I’m alone, I’m almost never really alone. I have my computer, my newstream, my newfound instragram followers and most importantly my phone nearby. The nights I have no contact it feels like an eternity and the nights that I don’t feel love, a lifetime.

It’s funny, if a lonely girl wants to hear from you, it’s needy, but if a boy expresses jealousy, inquiry, insecurity or neediness…it’s oddly endearing. Deep down isn’t that what every girl wants? I have had drunk texts, dick pics, people who wouldn’t stop messaging to take a nap and somebody who once an hour needed confirmation that I indeed loved him and he was what I wanted, he was my future. You know what, all of these people, these people who incessantly texted, brought up the future too early, brought up sex too often, all these people who could overwhelm or even jeezes, scare me…filed me at one point or another in the insecure girl category because I asked for an explanation.

An apology, a conversation, a confirmation, an acknowledgement, the desire to say goodnight, an attempt to wake them…these things eventually put girls into the needy, crazy, clingy or desperate category. The unfair part is most girls I know have done nothing anywhere near as out there as guys I know – no hail mary angry emails, no justified need to know what really happened phone calls, no fists through walls, no storming in jealous after the cable guy stayed a little too long rants…but yet, every misstep, every unanswered text, every rejected advance, every notch in their belt seems like one more little strike against their unmarred character and judgement. If a girl shows emotion, better get the valium. A guy, better mark the history books.

The thing is, everybody can be needy and everybody can be insecure, it’s just a matter of understanding that deep down, waayyy deep down…you can do anything you want to because frankly, needy or not, it’s what you need.

The Ginga Ninja

Lucille Ballsy

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Lucille-Ball-i-love-lucyIt’s long folks, but it’s probably worth the read if you need to feel like a winner today.

I’m clumsy, and ridiculous, and things just happen to me. No, seriously…picture a movie scenario and I bet ya that has happened in my real life. I constantly get told my world is like a sitcom and I’m that bumbling comedic actress with poor spatial awareness and my foot in my mouth. And a beloved ginger to boot!

Picture a scenario where you have a fling with your ex’s best friend…and he tells him at the bar…with you there. You are literally standing in a line as this real-life horror movie telephone plays out…and then he puts his arms around you both and says, “Ya, that really just happened”. Imagine that in all the bars in a city of over 5 million people your common-law ex walks into your very bar with his birthday party, only weeks after breaking up, annnd he doesn’t even live in that  town. Break up on New Year’s Day only to have your car die on the way home in a snowstorm and because of that hallowed day there’s not a gas station open for miles, so your tow truck driver and his son dry your salty tears and obviously, offer you homemade chicken nuggets and fries too.

Stories like this just seem to go on and on. Ridiculous stories. Funny stories. Awful stories as long as they don’t happen to you. You eat Chinese food and you faint at the foot of your Asian co-worker, you get a flu shot and almost land in hospital (oh the irony). You tell your boss that he looks too young to have a 14 year old daughter and he answers “I am, and she’s 17…and I was 17 when I had her. She was an accident, but thank you.” You leave your purse on a subway and end up in a month-long battle with a hooker for its return. You order a cab and walk away with a proposal. Even more insulting? A friend of mine was offered two camels for her pretty little hand…and my cabbie didn’t offer me anything but arranged wedded bliss.  Aw shucks.

Not long ago, the funniest of all comedic moments happened to me. Warning, this may not work in writing the way it would on TV, but do your best to make a mental picture as we go. Trust me, like Nike says, just DO it.

I was trying to throw a load of laundry in at a friend’s place while she was at work, but we had partied like it was 1999 just the night before. She seemed cool with this arrangement, so long as nobody was there when she returned, she was tired, she was cranky, she was hungover. So, I threw in the load and headed triumphantly out the door to tackle some errands. Well, one thing led to another and like is life, everything took longer than expected. By the time I got back to her house I figured I had enough time to toss the load in the dryer and then mysteriously sneak out like I was never there. Like a ninja. Except…..it had stopped. The goddamn washer had stopped.

So, like a pregnant teenager, I furtively tried to convince myself it had finished the cycle, but as I continued to pull sopping, dirty, clothes out of the washer…I realized in horror, it had stopped about a minute after I left.

I just wasn’t in the mood to explain it wasn’t working or see her disappointed face when she got home, stupid people pleaser that I am. So, I did what any logical person would do, I continued to load the clothes into the dryer, literally dripping wet. As more and more water sloshed onto the floor, I naively convinced myself I could get them dry enough to still sneak out in time. It was going to work, it had to work.

But, the closer I got to the bottom of that basin, the more pooling water there was.  Pooling, brown, dirty water. I started frantically searching my mind trying to figure out how to get out of this mess. Soooo, I started scooping out the water with a cup, but, Martha Stewart washes her freaking dishes by hand (even with a dishwasher), so I needed to wash the damn cup to hide the evidence. But, there was not a dry dishcloth in sight, so I had to use a clean one and then refold it in the drawer as though it was never used…sneaky, sneaky. To get rid of the last little bit of water in the bottom of the basin, I was going to use paper towels, but she was out, so Plan B, toilet paper, but that was down to one roll too! Plan C – I used her hand towels. These became drippy, dirty little messes and no matter how much I tried to ring them out…they just didn’t appear dry. So, I threw em in the dryer…with the very, very, very wet, still-dirty clothes.

In the meantime, the inside of the washer was hairy and gross, so I ended up using a bit of the toilet paper to clear this new problem up. And yes, once again, I did what any rational person would do. I tried to flush the wad of dirty toilet paper down the actual toilet (can’t leave the evidence in the garbage can of course). However, as is my fate, the toilet overflowed…annnndddd she doesn’t own a plunger.

So, what now you ask? Well, I ended up having to fish it all out by hand and resort to Plan D, just toss it all in my bag to bring home. Still, there was now water at the top of the toilet bowl rim, so back to Plan A, out comes the now clean cup again to be rewashed. Saga over you think? Now I’ve poured toilet and dirty basin water into her sink…so mother fucker, the sink too you ask?  Oh yes, the sink too.

After all this is said and done, it gets even better…she texts me that she’s on her way back, EARLY.

So I go to grab my now not-even-remotely-dry clothes and all I’ve managed to do is cover the inside of her dryer with hair and animal dander. Ugh, so NOW, I’m shoving wet clothes into my bags, using more toilet paper to wipe out the inside of her dryer and trying to use her shower towel to get the water off the floor. Big sigh and heavy-hearted I hung all her wet dirty towels back in the guest bathroom and hoped by the time she went in there they would be miraculously dry.

Well, turns out they were. And a bit discoloured. And a bit oddly wrinkled. I guess she noticed a couple of weeks later. Also, those errands I went to do? Well, those errands were driving a third friend to a neighbouring town. So, as it turns out…weeks later she did go to use that bathroom…and discovered the toilet was indeed plugged. She blamed it on our friend (I knew she would) and oddly enough, she also wondered where her toilet paper went. So, when annoyed she told me that our friend had plugged her toilet and used all the paper, I burst into laughter. Damn, and I was so in the clear….ish.

Either way, as I sit here writing this, tears are streaming down my face. As they have been for the last hour or so….from laughter. The whole reason I started writing this entry in the first place was because tonight I was painting. Painting something for this very friend. And I used oil paint, which I never use. Bright, neon orange, oil paint. The more I tried to wash this off the brush, my hand and out of the sink, the thicker and more stuck it became. It just kept spreading and was becoming a gelatinous mess and in the meantime, a scab on my hand had peeled off…and I was bleeding…and eventually I didn’t know what was blood and what was paint. Soon it just looked like a murder scene…but, as I stared at my bright orange, gooey, blood-stained hand I laughed and thought…yes, a clown’s murder scene.

So, I hung my shoulders, shook my head, giggled and thought….sigh…this could only happen to ME…or….Lucille Ball.

Ricky, get dinner ready, because I’m coming home.

The Ginga Ninja

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He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…(well maybe during sex)

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he-loves-me-notI cannot wait until the day that I tell you, “I understand dating, I understand love”. Because, to be brutally honest, I don’t! I am terrible at casual dating. Correction, I am terrible at casual sex.

Casual dating…you know, a date or three with a guy I’m feeling out, well I’m actually not too bad at. I’ve had many a friend point out how I have the ability to try once or twice with a Mr. Unsure and end it once I am Ms. Sure. You see, many never take that first step at all or continue seeing people who just aren’t…quite…there. But, when it comes to casual sex, I know I am in the minority who doesn’t seem to properly understand the concept.

Anytime that no strings attached is on the table, I’m not overly forward and I seem to have some sort of need to still be special, you know, to still matter. I want them to know my name, my face, my story and realize that in no way am I being charmed into anything I don’t want to do. The thing with that is, by the time I have primed somebody to be a friend with benefit, they truly see me as a friend and no longer want to benefit. What fun is getting tipsy and taking advantage of somebody once you start to actually respect them? Phhffftt.

There seems to be a limbo to dating categories as well. Sure, we all know what falling feels like, we all know what detached feels like, we know what dates versus hook-ups feels like…but what happens when you land yourself in the inevitable void? More than casual, less than together, more than friends, less than feelings. What happens when you like somebody’s company, time, affection and you are attracted to them, but there is no clear goal in sight? That time it takes to figure out whether you are in fact serious, or side-fodder is a mighty confusing one and to be honest, as we get older, time we do not have to spare.

When I was young, I found myself in a lot of situations where I knew the outcome may not be good, the guy may not be trusted and the meaning behind things was either incredibly complex or ridiculously simple, but I could not wrap my head around it because sometimes my feelings outweighed my facts. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better at identifying these situations. I know how I deserve to be treated and I know what I want in different phases of my own life. The problem with that is over the years there have been the ones where you just know it’s happening, the ones who won’t commit, the ones who you would never want to commit and the ones who come at you like a freight train only to slam on the brakes the moment you board. For some reason in my teen years I lived in the word of won’t committers. They didn’t want to let me go, but they didn’t want to let their independence go either. In my 20’s I seemed to be on board some slow-moving, somewhat reliable modes of transport and in my 30’s I seem to keep meeting the inevitable detached box car. They think they are running out of track and race after you like there is no tomorrow only to realize there was a reason that they went solo afterall.

But, that limbo world, that not knowing what is going to happen or what I want out of it world? That is one that I rarely choose to visit anymore because frankly I don’t have the energy or the time. Trying to decipher what something means or somebody feels is incredibly hard and if you feel you aren’t getting the appreciation you deserve, is it reality, perception, overly high standards or honestly maybe you aren’t getting what you actually deserve. In a world so filled with unknowns, wouldn’t it be nice to have your worth known?

The Ginga Ninja

How many is too many?

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Bn1JDETIIAE38X1I’m no player, but not too long ago I was talking to three different guys at the same time. Having been a boyfriend kind of girl, this pseudo Sex and the City world is a bit foreign to me. Normally, it is only when I’m a little bit off and am “getting back out there”, or when I’m completely confident and don’t give a shit that things like this tend to happen. When you don’t know what you want, you go on dates just to push your boundaries, when you totally know what you want, well, you go on dates because you have nothing to lose. The worst part is, sometimes I could leave it as easily as I could take it.

When I’m content in my own skin, in my own place, with my own hobbies, and my own friends…I am not worried about meeting anyone. That’s actually when I seem to attract. However, the funniest part is that right when you feel you are at the top of your game and you are fine with or without another, that’s when people come along to jack your style. You don’t have time for nobodies, time-wasters, and bloody poor kissers. You barely have time for you.

All that being said, you still glance down at that biological clock and think, but if not now, when. Like Rachel lamented in Friends (when she was 30 dating a 25 year old)…well, I want a kid by 35, which means probably getting pregnant at 34. I’d like to be married for about a year first, which means 33, and I want a 1 year engagement, which is 32 and I’d like to know the guy a couple of years first…which makes me 30. Suddenly, in that moment, she decides that she needs to dump her dead-end boy toy because to have the life she wants, she can’t keep living the life she likes.

But, what if you want to be in that “date for the heck of it”, or “don’t date at all” phase? Do you need to look at the clock? Do you need to do Benjamin Button backward math and do you need to worry?

All I know is when I lamented to a co-worker that I can’t possibly talk to 3 people at once, I am not cool enough, am not saucy enough and cannot find the time….she asked to see their pictures. Pretty much I received a slap upside the head.

She insisted they were all cute, fit…and she had been with her husband for about 20 years now. My young, early 30’s #firstworldproblems were in fact not problems. She begged me to go on all the dates, tell her all the stories and let her live vicariously through me. No matter how old (or young) you are…the trials of dating are trials for life…and the trials of dating while you don’t give a shit are in fact not trials…not too short, too tall, too hyper, too game show host, too cheap, too ethnic…but, shirtless, employed, date-paying opportunities that really you need to embrace and learn from.

Don’t look at every situation as life and death or every date as forever…but relish in the opportunities you will have. And if you have 1, 2, 9 at once…figure you will know the right one when you know the right one…or if you don’t, then maybe you don’t need a right one at all. Maybe, just maybe you are  looking at the right one every day in the mirror. Anything above that is just a perk in this thing we call life.

The Ginga Ninja

The Unfillable Void

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Void stampI’ve written posts here and there pointing out the occasional desire or maybe more appropriately put…emptiness we have filled with goals, aspirations, big dreams and pointless tasks. Somewhere along the way we are all taught there are certain benchmarks to hit in order to lead a “successful and fulfilling” life. Each and everytime we feel an uneasiness creeping up we try to tick off the next box on that list of fulfilling life moments and achievements, yet for some reason we are still left wanting.

I never understood this void. And better yet, I thought it was just me.

In our own little myopic worlds, we don’t seem to understand that everyone, and I mean everyone, suffers. But, to what extent and what emphasis is put on which wrong syllable is often measured by wealth, education and the basic hierarchy of needs. The saddest part of this is that no matter how much you achieve, how many things you attain and how much money you make…you may still have a little emptiness sitting in your stomach that you just can’t explain.

And this, my friends, is called the human condition.

For some reason our brains are hardwired to want to reach some sort of next step, next need, next want. If we don’t know what that is, sometimes we try to shake things up with a new degree, new career, new spouse, new car or even a new country. But, the bottom line is that no matter how many times we change it up, we can’t outrun it. The best version of ourselves is always just out of reach.

There are too many articles out there about happiness, anxiety, the meaning of life, self-help and self-worth for this epiphany to come to me and me alone. When are people happy?  Well, if we look at the study of psychology, this is all people have been talking about for centuries. The world’s greatest minds have been trying to decipher the meaning of life since the beginning of time, so what made any one of us think we were so special?

I finally understand, I’m not.Red_Void_by_Gaurdian

But, I also understand that this feeling most likely isn’t going away. When it creeps up after a big night of drinking, a breakup, looking at bank statements or being bored at your job…you need to accept it’s part of you, it’s part of life and there will always be more to have, to be, to want. All you can do is try your best to dull the ache, soften the voice, follow your dreams and realize that you are exactly the same as everyone else. The human condition is a condition indeed.

Mark Manson, a favourite of mine, explains it and explains it well. Stop trying to attain happiness and just try to learn acceptance. Pleasure is mistaken for happiness, and achievements mistaken for worth. Trust me when I say, it’s not always worth it. http://markmanson.net/stop-trying-to-be-happy#sxjbVV:6Q9y

The Ginga Ninja