Meet the New Designer on the Block!

One of the worst things about Canadian Winters is that right about now, when everything is frozen and you’re starting to wonder “When will it end?!!!” designers start to taunt us with their Spring & Resort lines. You’ll be walking down Bloor Street, bundled up in a parka, scarf, hat gloves, snow blowing in your face and look into one of the windows and see….shorts. Its never made much sense to me.
Maybe its meant as a hopeful message to us, “The future is warmer”

The look on the left is by designer Megan Nielsen who officially launched her line this week. Nielsen is originally from Perth Australia and now lives & works in the mid-west USA. Her collection for spring consists of airy, vintage inspired basics at a very affordable price point. You should check out her site, its cute.

If you recognize the model, it’s because it’s Jessica from one of my favorite fashion blogs What I Wore. She styled, modeled and photographed Megan’s look book. Talk about multi-talented!

I’d really like to add the Bethany skirt to my wardrobe for spring. My friend Ukulele Misfit has a similar skirt and I have always loved it on her. I’d totally wear this look in the spring/summer MINUS the knee socks. Although Jessica rocks the socks like a pro, I think on me they’d make me look twelve. And considering my knack for being approached by weirdos & the fact that I already get sexually harassed in this neighborhood while wearing a PARKA, I don’t think the socks would help my situation.

Anyways, that’s my little “Spring Break” for the day. Time to go back to Work and Winter.

What are you thinking of adding to your wardrobe for spring?

Who were you in High School?

Its been over 10 years since I graduated High School. Since then, I haven’t spent much time thinking about that era of my life. However, over the holidays a few things happened that made me reflect (for the first time in years) on the experiences I had in my early teens. First of all, my sister downloaded the complete series of My So Called life, which we watched together in big greedy helpings. Oh, how I love that show. Watching it as a 29 year old was just as (if not more) enjoyable as watching it the first time around. I feel like the show really captured the awkwardness of being a teenager, or at least how I felt as a teenager. Side note: 15 years later, I still wish Ricki was my Gay BFF in real life.

The second thing that happened was that I read Emily White’s book “Fast Girls: Teenage Tribes and the Myth of the Slut”. This sent me on another trip down High School Memory lane, albeit a slightly darker one. In her book, White argues that the myth “School Slut” is something that exists almost universally in North American high schools. I’m sure you remember the “slut rumors” from your own high school. They usually sounded like this: “I heard she did the whole football team” or “Someone told me she 69’ed five different guys at one party”. No one ever questioned whether the rumors were true. She’d been labeled a “Total Slut” so the rumors “HAD be true”. Sound familiar?

White argues that the archetype of the slut is merely a symptom of our society’s complicated and often twisted views of female sexuality. For teenagers, talking about “sluts” is a way of dealing with all the confusion, fear and curiosity that surrounds sex. The stories about “the slut” are told and re-told to the point that it no longer matters if they are true or not. The “slut” becomes an archetype. This is true for other labels dolled out in high school: FAG, LESBO, FREAK, NERD. These are all identities that are reproduced through gossip, rumors and bullying. By ostracizing a common designated “outsider”, teens are able to form a shaky sense of belonging. High School is a mean place.

Did this happen at my school? Although my high school didn’t have one particular girl who was “the school slut”, there were several people who were “notorious” and “talked about”. There was one girl who apparently “drank a whole bottle of tequila then threw up all over the computer lab”. She was immediately labeled “A Total Alky”. I wish this wasn’t how I remembered her.

Here are a few things that I learned from my high school experience:

1. High School is full of “definining moments” or I should say, social land mines. Do anything remotely interesting and it has the potential to shape your entire social identity. Unless you are the school Quarter Back or Prom Queen material, usually these defining moments are somewhat tragic and embarrassing.

2. It doesn’t even matter if you did this “thing” or not. What matters is how people talk about what you “did” (or didn’t do).

3. You can become a Slut, Bitch or Freak with no explanation, for literally doing absolutely nothing.

So who was I in High School? I wasn’t the School Slut or the School Drunk (in case you were wondering). However, I will tell you the story of my High School “land mine” moment:

It was the beginning of grade 9. Things were looking up for me. I no longer had braces, I’d traded my glasses for contacts, I was dressing better, I had boobs…I was starting to feel ..well, cute. I had a small group of girlfriends that I liked. I figured this was going to be MY YEAR. I was going to be popular, get a boyfriend and hopefully kiss Soccer Boy (my crush at the time who had an affinity for Adidas nylon jackets and shorts. Don’t ask. The 90’s were not pretty). The night of the first dance of the year I spent an extra long getting ready. I thought I looked pretty good. I knew that SOMETHING BIG was going to happen that night. Maybe Soccer Boy would finally notice I was alive??

At the dance I saw RR, a boy who was a grade ahead of me. RR was a boy who hadn’t really grown into his looks yet. He was short, pudgy, with pug like features and unsightly peach fuzz. My friends and I thought he was funny looking. He was the kind of guy NO girl in her right mind would consider “boyfriend material”. We’d make fun of him behind his back and call him “Mr Personality” (after the Gillette song of the same name “they call you Mr Personality, because you’re so UGLY!”). We were horrible. I always felt bad about this because if you talked to him, he seemed like a pretty cool guy. When he asked me to dance I said yes.

We were dancing to “Stairway to Heaven” when I felt what I thought was his wallet pressing into my leg. When it came to boys I was inexperienced (bordering on oblivious). Then, I felt something hot and wet crawling up my neck. What was going on?! That’s when I finally clued in that the “wallet” wasn’t a wallet and the thing on my neck was his LIPS. I pulled away. Before I could really register what was happening I saw a giant set lips and 26 shining white teeth coming towards my mouth. What happened next can only be described as him sticking his tongue down my throat while he simultaneously tried to eat my face.

That my friends, was my first kiss.

It was confusing and strange and exciting and horrible and disgusting all at the same time. And everyone I knew was there to witness it.

I pulled away and ran out of the gym.

I felt humiliated. I KNEW I had just committed social suicide. My high school fate was sealed in the worst way possible.

The next day at school I just wanted to forget what had happened. But, the universe had other plans. Friends and people I barely knew came up to me and asked me “Why would you DO that?! That’s so DISGUSTING”. Other people just looked at me really strange. I’d overhear girls whispering calling me a “Freak”. I had a few friends who defended me, however it didn’t matter, I felt like a Freak.

I found through my friend, that prior to the dance, she’d overheard RR talking to his friends about me. She said that he’d told them that he thought I “looked easy” and like “a good one to rape”. So, RR was in fact a total creep. Not that I blame my friend at all ( I am actually THANKFUL for her –she was one of the only people who stuck up for me) but that’s INFORMATION THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN USEFUL AHEAD OF TIME, you know before I filled up my dance card. While he was getting high fives from his buddies for hooking up with “the girl who looked easy”, I understood for the first time what it felt like to be objectified. I confronted him, told him (in true High School drama style) that he’d “ruined my life” and to stay the hell away from me.

Around the same time, another “friend” of mine started calling me a “bitch” and a “slut” whenever she’d see me in the hallway. Once she slammed me against my locker. I didn’t even understand why she was doing these things (I mean if you’re going to insult me come up with something that actually makes sense. “Freak” made sense, “Slut” didn’t). School became a really unpleasant place.

White argues in her book that teenage girls are sold this fantasy of prom dresses, teen romance & perfect BFF’s. When reality fails to deliver this idealized experience, girls often feel like they have been cheated. This was exactly how I felt. I felt like I had been denied what I thought was the “normal” high school experience. It wasn’t until later on that I realized that my feelings of unacceptance, isolation and malaise WERE the normal high school experience.

I got angry, I started listening to bands like Hole and Bikini Kill because I could finally relate to their lyrics (“Was she asking for it? Did she ask you nice?”). The “Live Through This” album was my bible that year. On the outside I tried to be as normal as possible, to smile and put on a good face. But, part of me still felt humiliated and ashamed about what had happened.

During this time, a friend of mine died. I was devastated, crushed, grief stricken. After this happened I slowly stopped trying to make things right at school. I slipped deeper and deeper into myself. I went to school as little as possible and spoke only when neccessary. I’d come home and cry every day after school. This is by far the lowest I have ever felt.

After 10th grade I decided that the best thing to do was to move schools. I moved from my mostly white suburban school to the more socially diverse school located in the inner city. I met a bunch of new people that I really liked,

many of whom were also there to make a fresh start. I started getting involved in drama, and acting in school plays. Finally people knew who I was, but in a good way. After everything, I finished High School on a positive note.

Lately I’ve been wondering, has this experience impacted how I am as an adult? Sometimes I still find myself overly concerned about what people think of me and what image I project to others. I’ve learned the best way to overcome this is to take ownership of your life and be yourself. I will TELL YOU upfront that I’m a total nerd. I will blog about my sex life. By putting it all out on the table there isn’t as much room for speculation. If you still want to form a bad opinion of me, or cut me down–that’s on you. My life and experiences are my own. I’m not going to waste time letting someone else make me feel ashamed. The big thing I have learned is this: having a rough time in high school has made me appreciate everything that came afterwards. Even though there have been ups and downs, I’ve really enjoyed the past ten years. I’ve made lots of great friends and have enjoyed the freedom of being able to shape my own identity. For those of you who are still in high school, words of advice: the people who tell you “these are the best years of your life”– they’re lying.

How do you feel about your High School experiences? How have they shaped who you are today?

What’s Inside your Bag?

I’ve seen these kinds of posts on a million different blogs so I decided to finally do one of my own!

(Because maybe, like me, you get a secret thrill at seeing what’s inside other people’s bags, apartments and closets…)

Lets take a look at what’s inside my bag….

(Clockwise from the top)

1. My new Bag Baby ( a lovely gift from BF!! Once again putting Free Movie Pass Guy to shame. I think BF has really good taste!)

2. Reading material. Because you never know if you are going to be stuck on a train or in an annoying lineup and need something to read. Right now I’m reading “White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga. I recommend it.

3. Black Leather gloves. A Christmas gift from my Sister and Mom. (Thanks!!) I love them. They’re classic, simple and warm.

4. My Keys!

5. Herbacin Kamille hand cream. I always get really dry hands in the Fall & Winter so hand cream is a must. This German import is inexpensive and works well.

6. Purell. Toronto is a dirty place. I don’t mess around!

7. An array of lip balm and lip gloss. (Burt’s Bees lip balm, Sephora lip gloss, Kiehls Lip Balm #1, L’Oreal Infallible Gloss & Mac Lip Glass).

8. Samsung flip phone aka The World’s Least Interesting Phone Ever. No smart phone for me yet. I’ve had this phone for almost 4 years and it just won’t die. Yes, text messaging is a bit tedious and it has absolutely no cool features but I can’t justify throwing it out till it kicks the bucket. However, I may be waiting around for awhile because apparently its industructble.

9. Sony Cyber Shot digi-cam. This isn’t the best camera out there but its very light weight and takes decent snap shots.

10. 30 gig classic Ipod. I can’t live without my Ipod. Its as simple as that.

11. Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses. Because even in winter its nice to wear big shades.

12. Coach change purse. This is my old makeshift business card holder. Now I use it for my subway tokens.

13. Gold Nordstrom Wallet. Purchased in Seattle a few summers ago!

14. Tiffany and Co sterling silver business card holder. Because you never know who you’ll meet…

15. My pink enviro bag. This bag is great because it folds up into a little pouch. It kind of reminds me of those windbreakers from the 80’s that folded up into a fanny pack. Did anyone else ever have one of those? My Mom bought this for me for $3 at Thifty Foods in Victoria. Thanks Mom!

What’s inside your bag?!

I don’t want things to be like this anymore

OK, so here is what I have wanted to write about for a few days but haven’t been able to get out. Call it writers block or fear of “outing myself” (although you’d think I would have gotten over that by now). Here it goes:

Bedtimes have never been easy for me. My Mom always says that since childhood I have “always had a hard time letting the day go”. I was a really creative, energetic kid. I loved making art projects, building things, reading books and playing imaginary games. There was always so much stuff I wanted to do. I never wanted to go to bed. If there was more of the day left I wanted to keep experiencing it. Also, I was a bit afraid of sleep. What scared me most was the idea that I was losing control of my body, that it was slipping into the unknown, an unconscious state. I blame part of this fear on Catholicism. “If I should die before I wake”–although my family wasn’t really religious, that prayer always scared the crap out of me. A lot of nights I would lie awake in bed fearing that moment of letting go. I’d figure out a million reasons to get up out of bed: another glass of water, another 5 trips to the bathroom, did I remember to brush my teeth? These behaviors just increased my anxiety. I’d start to worry that I hadn’t fallen asleep yet and that I’d be tired for school in the morning. Because of my nocturnal activities I’d often wake up with puffiness and little dark circles under my eyes. I was deeply ashamed of my puffy eyes (which seemed way worse to me as a 7 or 8 year old than they probably ever were) because I felt like all the other kids could read on my face that there was something wrong with me, that I wasn’t normal, that I didn’t get as much sleep as a kid my age should. Worst of all I felt like my behavior was out of my control.

As an adult I still sometimes have problems setting down at night or as my Mom says “letting the day go”. It doesn’t help that I actually really enjoy night time–especially living in a big city, things are quiet and peaceful at night. This is the time of the day I love to read and write in my journal. I have learned to control my behavior to a certain extent so that I can sleep better. I usually read before bed until my eyes are starting to close. Unless I’m extremely stressed about something or have had an excessive amount of caffeine that day, once I’m in bed I tend to stay in bed.

With that said, something changed about 2 years ago. My bedtime anxiety seems to be much less frequent but, when I do have anxiety it is MUCH MUCH WORSE. Instead of just getting up a few times before settling down to sleep, I’ll lie there wide awake, unable to sleep at all. My heart will start beating loudly and quickly. And if things get really bad, my whole body will get this horrible shaky feeling, like my nervous system has gone into overdrive and every nerve is firing at the same time. If I actually manage to get any sleep, I wake up feeling pretty horrible. But, still I’ll force myself to get up and do whatever I need to do, large espresso beverage in hand.

The worst part: this ONLY happens when I have something important to do the next day (an interview, an early flight for a business trip, starting a new job). My anxiety only happens on these specific occasions and only before bedtime.

During the day time I never get anxiety attacks. I pretty much take things as they come and go about my day. I don’t get nervous about going to social events, meeting new people or public speaking. People often tell me that I’m “laid back” (I guess I’m a better actress than I thought). I don’t want people to think there is something wrong with me so I keep my experiences with anxiety to myself.

I wish I could be one of those people who just rolled over, turned off the light and went to sleep. I always thought that that type of person would be the best kind of person to be. It has rarely been this simple for me. When I hear stories of people like Michael, taking extreme measures to fall asleep (ie having a doctor inject you with an anesthetic), I GET THAT. I’ve been there. Sometimes I just want someone to KNOCK ME OUT.

I’ve tried to pinpoint WHY things changed 2 years ago. Around this time I started working in my last position that I had with my former company. It was very stressful and it made me very unhappy. I know that work definitely contributed to my anxiety levels but, I can’t say it CAUSED it. The only other thing I can think of is that back in 2007 I started taking hydromorphone (after a dental surgery that resulted in bad complications). I took it again following a serious back injury in 2008. I’ve read that because Opiates give you an intense release of endorphins, when you stop taking them one of the side effects is increased anxiety. However, I never abused the drug and was only on it for about 1-2 months in both cases (and haven’t taken it since). Therefore, I think its unlikely that I’m still having side effects.

Its only recently that I have started telling a few people about my issues with anxiety. And, its only recently that I’ve admitted to myself that this is a real problem. At first I tried to ignore it, but now its obvious that its effecting my life in a negative way. On Monday morning I woke up for my important job interview (for a job I really, really want) after a restless night of feeling like a Monster Truck was driving through my nervous system. I had to face reality: THIS ISN’T WORKING AND I DON’T WANT THIS ANYMORE.

I WANT THIS TO CHANGE. This has to change.

This is my latest edition, (a very important one) to my “Before 30 List”: Find out why I am anxious and find a way to deal with it. Because I don’t want to live the rest of my life feeling like this. Its holding me back.

I haven’t figured out how I am going to approach this. Counselling? Self Help? Medication? Yoga? A combination of all of the above? I’m hesitant to go the medication route because I no longer like the idea of putting extra stuff in my body. However, I am open minded. Point blank, I just want to overcome this. I’m tired.

I also want to stop feeling like I am the only person in the world who feels like this. That’s why I’m admitting this to you guys today. The girl with the dark circles under her eyes needs to come out of hiding.

Last confession of the day: I feel way more NAKED after writing THIS entry than after revealing all kinds of details about my sex life on here. Funny isn’t it?

So, in my question today is: Is there anyone else out there? Have you experienced the same thing? Does anyone have any advice on how to approach dealing with this?

January in Motion

Ever since I wrote that letter to myself (about a week and a half ago) I feel like I’ve been running on manic speed. There is so much I want to do over the next year. The past two weeks I’ve been feeling really inspired and full of ideas and just GO GO GO. I thought this week would be relatively relaxed but, instead it flew by in a blur of running around, working on projects, brainstorming, catching up on errands and working on some upgrades for this site. Today I woke up feeling totally exhausted. Not exactly how you want to be feeling on a Sunday Morning. I got a lot of stuff done this week but I think I need to slow down a little bit so that I don’t get burnt out.

Last night I went to a friend’s party. It was really cool seeing my friend and a few other people that I hadn’t seen since before the holidays. I made a few really great contacts. I don’t want to jinx things but, I have the feeling that a lot of the seeds I planted in the second of half of 2009 are starting to come to fruition. I think 2010 is going to be a very busy year without a lot of time for stuff like TV (however I did manage to squeeze in some Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty this morning. I watched both in bed. It was heavenly). But, this is what I wanted: to be busy and challenged so, its all good.

This weekend I found out my local Salvation Army is taking donations for Haiti in the form of clothing & household items. I went into my closet, pulled out my summer wardrobe and found a bunch of things that I no longer need (or just don’t use enough) to donate. I walked some of it over to the donation center yesterday and will be dropping off the rest throughout the week. I don’t have a lot of disposable income to donate at the moment so I’m hoping that these kinds of donations will still help people in need. Donating was definitely a good way to finish off the week. If you’re thinking of doing the same thing you can click here to get in touch with your local Salvation Army branch.

How was everyone’s week? Is anyone else feeling this same sense of urgency this month?

Latest pins

Pinterest widget in section "Footer Full Width": Setup not complete. Please check the widget options.