Sunday, March 28, 2010

Movin' on Up!


As promised, yours truly has moved over to a new blog! (I'm a real boy now!)

You can find me at Speak Softly and Carry a Red Pen (someone took strawberryghetto at wordpress! scoundrel!)

This means:

1. If you look up Strawberry Ghetto, all you'll ever end up with is old blog entries. Which is fine if you want to live in the past, but you'll be missing all the action.

2. You should update your bookmarks, stat.

3. I'll be updating things over the next few weeks. It looks a little lame at the moment, but things will change, and become awesome as it were. So just bear with me.

4. I still want you all to visit. And hopefully we'll have more fun!

5. You can give suggestions of things you want to see on the blog, and I'll do my best to Oblige.

I Freakin' Cried During a Disney Movie


Current Mood: Deep fried (It's all I've eaten over the weekend)

Current Song: Don't Let Your Feet Touch Ground by Ash Koley (Stupid Lotto ad)

I'm one tough cookie. I tend to keep it together in almost every situation. I am very good in a crisis (God knows I've had enough of those). I don't flinch at the sight of blood. My mother calls me "the rock" of the family. I come from a long line of stoics. Cicero would have loved me.

But for the second time yesterday, I freakin' cried during a Disney animated movie. The first time I was 12 and Mufasa died. I think I was allowed.

Yesterday we watched the Princess and the Frog (finally). It was so beautifully done. I won't tell you when I cried in case you haven't watched it, but I was a sopping mess. It was brutal. My sister laughed at me. My mother laughed at me. I'm pretty sure the neighbourhood would have laughed at me too.

I'm growing soft in my old age. And for a long time I fought that tooth and nail. But you know what? I'm just going to have to be okay with it. I'm just going to have to be okay with the fact that I'm not entirely made of stone.

I still have no emotional response to puppies and babies, but I'm starting to doubt my ability to keep it together at all times. Who knows. I might start watching chick flicks one day soon (Help me when I do!). And I guess that's what happens when you're not a cyborg.

I'm mellowing out. It was inevitable. Even stone changes over time. I'll just have to be okay with it. There is nothing wrong with it, it's just a different experience. That's all. Right, that's going to have to do as an explanation for now. But I still refuse to turn into one of "those" girls!

What do you think crying denotes? Is it a characteristic of emotional strength? Is it weakness? Is it neither?

PS: This is just to let you know that I'm changing blog platforms over the next few weeks. If you visit this site and see that it's a bit of a tip, then you'll know it's being rejigged. More info about the new site coming up!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Accountability: Own It!


Current Mood: Sometimes Tuesday feels slightly worse than Monday.

Current Song: Spies by Coldplay

So yesterday I had the opportunity (if you can call it that), to watch Kirstie Alley's Big Life, the new reality show about the star in which she goes through her battle with weight while developing her own weight loss program.

While I can appreciate that she is taking action, and God knows I've never been a fan of her, her show got me thinking about the whole issue of accountability and not just when it comes to weight. I know, I promised I wouldn't talk about weight on my blog, but this was a good lead in.

The phrase we often hear out there, whether related to weight or not is, "How did this happen to me?"

Well, it didn't. You weren't sleeping one day and woke up in your current situation. Through circumstance and choice, we get to where we are.

I think in all that we do, it's important to own your actions; to act like you are responsible for your own life. Even the stuff that you're not proud of. We'll often take credit for things we do that work out, but not for the other things that don't. The moment we acknowledge our own reality, we can change it or keep moving forward.

Some people are victims of their circumstances. We can't control everything, but we can control how we react to it. And more importantly, we need to be accountable when we do react. Nobody is a victim of their own lives, and life definitely doesn't happen to us. So rather than send out good vibes into the world and waiting for some kind of universal response, go out and get whatever it is you want. And take responsibility for yourself and how you treat others.

Sorry, that sounded cranky, but we all need a reminder once in a while (including me).

Fellow Blogger, Grace wrote a great post on bearing your own signature. You can read it here!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You'll Be Fine


Current Mood: Recovering. I thought I was going to die last week. I live for another week.

Current Song: The whole soundtrack from Fanaa. Fab movie.

I've been encountering a lot of friends lately who are stressed. I myself included in that encounter. But then I've been worried since 1995, so really this is no surprise. There seems to be a bout of anxiety and stress and worry that seems to be clouding people's otherwise happy (or at least quiet) lives.

I think quite a few years ago, I said that if I was anything else aside from Ismaili, I'd likely be Buddhist. I'm not really a big fan of that whole suffering philosophy. But I rather like the whole concept of transience.

Everything in life shall pass: Good and bad.

It's important to keep perspective as we go through our lives. We often get bogged down by our own expectations. Very much our own doing.

I was watching Frasier yesterday and one of the callers who was on said that she couldn't get over her broken relationship and felt like she was in mourning. Frasier said that she was indeed in mourning, but not really about what was, but what could have been.

I think this also applies to stress. We often get caught up in the tide of anxiety when we start thinking about what could have been or what should be. I'm not saying that all expectations should be done away with, but it's often a wise move to choose which anxieties to engage with, and which not.

The world has operated long before you came into it, and will continue to operate long after you leave it.

We can all make a dent in this world, a difference of some kind, but it might just be a bit harder to do if we can't be present to complete the tasks we're meant to complete. We are all dealt the cards we're dealt. It's up to us how we play the game.

So in all, you'll be fine. Whatever happens, you'll be fine.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Social Media Has Made Me an Extrovert


Current Mood: Sleepy...but jazzed about running

Current Song: Imaginary Friends by Ron Sexsmith

Sorry it's been a few days, everyone. Been a bit busy catching up (or rather keeping up) with life. But it's all good. Just hoping that March ends quickly.

Last week, I had my first IRL (In Real Life) experience of meeting a fellow writer-turned-friend from Montreal. I had never met her before. But we had a lovely cup of coffee and a chat downtown last week. It was great to connect with someone who has similar interests, varying viewpoints, that you can learn from.

As most of you know probably know by now, I'm an introvert of probably the highest degree. Being in crowds for long periods of time makes me a bit edgy and I need lots and lots of time to recouperate after having been out. In general I find networking to be extremely draining and sometimes I just don't have the patience for small talk.

But that has changed to quite a significant degree thanks to social media.

You would think that social media users are probably nerds that are hidden away from the world and do nothing but click away at their keyboards for extended periods of time. This must be some archaic version of a computer nerd, but I find it no longer applies. Many social media users are savvy, networking and outright extraverted folks who like to connect with others on ideas and share their own.

For introverts such as myself, it makes the prospect of meeting someone much less scary because you've already been primed in advance to what that person might be like. And I find twitter users to be more authentic than those on other social media sites. Unless this person is completely lying, introverts have a great opportunity to meet someone in person. It's almost like having a chance to read their resume or google them in advance, but much less creepy.

I was surprised that I took the opportunity for an IRL meeting. A few years ago, this would have been a complete introvert no-no. But as I expand my social circle to include many social media connections (some of whom are quickly becoming good friends and colleagues), I find that networking with folks I haven't connected with before gets easier.

So introverts, take a chance and go for an IRL if you haven't already. Here's what works:

1. Keep it simple: probably a coffee or something inocuous like drinks would be great.

2. If you feel the need to keep it short, do so. You don't have to be there for four hours out of politeness .

3. If you're dead nervous about it, think back to conversations you've already had with this person and prepare ahead of time on what you could ask/talk about. You don't have to bust out a cue card, but when I'm nervous it helps to look through my social rolodex.

4. Have fun. This isn't a job interview (unless it is a job interview). Relax. You already know this person, so no need to get all strung out about it.

I had a great time with my first IRL and I hope to have many more (one coming up this next month!).

Have you had an IRL already? What was it like? What tips can you share?

PS: My friend Emily Jasper has written a great article on her blog about getting to know her social media friends on a level other than business. She shares her experience here

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympics: The Party Wraps Up!


Current Mood: Excited (I got a new planner today! woo!)

Current Song: 2-1 by Imogen Heap.

The party wrapped up last night. That's it everyone. The Olympics have now finished. Everyone is (sadly) going back to reality. No more red-and-white lala land yelling on the main streets and high fiving strangers. It's okay though. It was a hell of a party. Here are some of my favourite and not so favourite moments:

Biggest Surprises
- How amazing our city looked for 17 days! I felt like a tourist in Vancouver, and I've lived here most of my life. It just goes to show you, sometimes you need new eyes to look at something through.

- The out and out patriotism. Canadians are known to advertise these things all over the place. Which is why it was surprising to see how riled up everyone was.

- Curling is exciting! Especially if you throw in Norwegian curling pants!

Most emotional moments
- The unexpected death of the Georgian Luger. Our hearts really did go out to the family, team and country.

- The performance by Joannie Rochette, her mother having passed away just days before the short programme. I think we all wanted to cry with her.

- The silver in Women's curling. We almost had it in the bag, but we had a worthy opponent.

- The interview with Frederic Bilodeau and Alex after the first Gold on home soil. Never been happier!

- The narrow win against our worthy adversaries, the USA in Hockey last night.

- Anything speed-skating related. That sport leaves me with no fingers!

- The stunning Opening Ceremonies, and especially the poem by Shane Kocyzan.

- Beating the record for the most golds ever.

- Winning gold in hockey (both men's and women's). We are really cocky about it being our game. Glad to know we're not full of hot air. But we'll stay humble.

- The random drunk Americans on the skytrain who decided to pole-dance. Made for an entertaining ride home!

- Concerts! so many concerts!

Embarrassing Moments
- The Closing Ceremonies. After pretty much telling the world that we're more than Moose and Mounties, we did exactly that. I know it was in the vein of poking fun at ourselves, but it was a tad over the top. They may as well have showered the audience with maple syrup!

- John Furlong's terrible French! My God, man...if Jacques Rogge is going to laugh at you, that should tell you something!

Things that I'd like to see stick around:
- A festive atmosphere in the city. We're known to be the most laid back in a sense, and I like when the city comes alive.

- We really don't want to give the Street Car back to Belgium. It makes it ever so easy to get to Granville Island. Can we please keep it? please?

What to be most thankful for:
- Volunteers. The smurfs were so helpful in helping everyone get everywhere and putting together these events.

- The opportunity to host the world. See? Canada is much more than moose and mounties (ignore the closing ceremonies).

- Canadian Pride. We have it now!

All in all, very successful, given the few glitches. I'd love to hear what the rest of you thought of these Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Olympicking Part 2: The Concerts!


Current Mood: My god, it's going to be a long day!

Current Song: Harmony by Ryan Scott

The second week of the 2010 Olympics has been rather laid back, as the craziness on the streets starts to fade. It's raining again, as is usual for Vancouver in February. The stunning weather we got last week is very unusual, and really is more of a treat for our visiting parties here.

Last week was a complete overload. I was totally overstimulated from the going out all the time. In any case, we hit some fantastic concerts, and got to cheer on our teams as it were. A few pictures of our concerts are below. It was freezing. We stood for 3 or 4 hours at a time. And I had a massive headache every single time afterwards (Thank you, smokers of all kinds). But I wouldn't trade it.

Livecity Vancouver to watch the Hockey Game. Not really a concert. But this should be a small idea of what the vibe is like in the city. All you have is a sea of red and white (and black puffy vests, which are a staple if you're a Vancouverite)

The Canadian Tenors. They sang Queen's "We Are the Champions" and we all waved our red mittens. Awesome concert!

A group from Eastern Canada called DRUM! It tells the story of the cultures in the East, combining Gospel and Celtic traditions, and then adding our other tiles of the Mosaic, South Asian and Asian cultures (Taiko and Dhol).

Our Lady Peace concert. This is a very blurry Raine Maida, but you get the idea. Really high energy and awesome live concert. They sang old school and new school stuff, which was great!

The Arkells opened for Our Lady Peace. They're a great live band. Great sound and rock out music. I'd highly recommend getting their music.
I missed concerts by Sam Roberts and Wintersleep, which I really wanted to attend, but that's alright. I think I've pretty much surpassed my yearly concert going quota. Some fantastic events going on around town until Saturday night. I'm hoping to make it to one more at least!
This should give you a taste of how things have been around here. I'll do one final post, wrapping up our Olympic good times in Vancouver. Wish you had all been here to experience it!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy 4th Blogiversary and Why I Love Being Canadian


Current Mood: I'm pretty sure I'm going to run myself into the ground.

Current Song: These Kids by Sam Roberts

It's been crazy days these last 4 years as I think back. I almost can't believe that I started blogging back in 2006. I'm even more surprised that I've lasted this long. Who knew that something I was doing just as an outlet because of a horrendously difficult occupation I had would turn into something that I love doing? Life takes us on weird turns. Who knows maybe one day I might actually stop blogging. But I doubt that day is coming soon.

What I love about blogging the most is that I can express myself - fully and unabashadly. For those of you who have had the chance to meet me, you'll know I'm a big fan of candour. If you meet me in public, I talk like this. This is my voice. I don't think, other than singing, I've fully been able to express myself. Running from the contemplative to the crazy, I've been all over the place. And what's more is that people read and I have made some great friends over the years as I've been blogging. So a big thank you to those who drop by this space to see what crazy shenanigans I've been up to :)

I'm looking to take it to the next level now. I'd love suggestions on content you might want to see or things that I should talk about more. Should I start an advice column? Should I have guest-bloggers more often? Should I start a photo feature? Let me know! I love interact with you folks.

And now, I'm going to brag a bit about my country. Thanks for bearing with me.

Since the Vancouver 2010 Olympics started, I haven't spoken much about our national pride. It's probably because we're Canadian and we don't really announce it to the world all the time. The Prime Minister had to beg us before the games actually began. And I think that uncharacteristic burst of patriotism may even have offended countries who weren't used to the nice Canadians trash-talking. But that's another story.

My family came to Canada nearly two decades ago. And up until the year 2000, I never felt at home here. It's a beautiful city, but part of me was always tied to the fact that I had no home city for many years. I chose not to get attached (in case I had to leave again). For those of you who have visited, you can attest to how beautiful it is. I only started to see value in it when I turned 18. Many Canadians will tell you that there is nothing like breathing in the air and thinking "I'm home" as you approach your airport.
Now I know, that if and when I leave (which will hopefully be soon), I'll always come back "home" because my family and friends are here. The streets I've walked a million times are here too. My knowledge base comes from here. My outlook on life is probably about as Canadian as I'm ever going to get.

I love being Canadian because it agrees with my sensibilities. I can be friendly without being weird; I can be interesting because I have a background that fits into a cultural and respected mosaic; I can be proud because we do good things; I can make change and work with many ideas and viewpoints respectfully; And I can show off just a little bit because my country is one of the best to live in (albeit a little bit cold at times).

I love being Canadian. We like our Hockey, we like our coffee (and our beer, but I don't drink) and we love our flag. So if you meet a Canadian, high five them. We're worth getting to know :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympicking Part 1


Current Mood: So Tired!

Current Song: You Know So Well by Sondre Lerche

As promised, here are some shots of our first Olympic weekend. The fam and I took to the streets to take in all the sights. Obviously there are more pictures than just this selection, but here's a good starter.

Lineups are mad, weather is gorgeous. Volunteers are actually saying, "Welcome to the Summer Olympics!" It's fabulous and too much fun.

Concord Pacific Place by Science World (that weird looking dome, which is now converted to Russia House, anticipating the games in Sochi 2014)

The hoards of people taking the skytrain at Granville Skytrain station. So far no major issues, but then again I haven't actually been on it post-event yet.

The giant Canadian flag strapped across a building on Georgia Street. Talk about big Canadian pride.

Ziplining on Robson Square just by the outdoor Ice Rink! For those who aren't deathly afraid of heights (so NOT me), you can give it a shot. Looks like fun. Terrifying fun.

The Olympic Cauldron, currently fenced off, so this is the best I can do at 5'2". Pretty good, I say!
More shots coming up in the next few days as we hit other houses and venues!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Grim Specter of Aging Gracefully


Current Mood: Another monday.....heh.

Current Song: Running by Jully Black

Last week, I was again faced with my own mortality when I found three white hairs growing very close to the front of my face. Three, all in one shot. Well, actually I discovered one, and my sister discovered two others who were nesting nearby the first one.

After hyperventilating at the thought of growing old (Oh My God! I'm going to have to dye my hair for the first time in my life! I'm going to have to get wrinkle cream! Gravity will soon ensure my butt is kissing the ground!), I had to get myself together.

Luckily, as I went over to fellow blogger, Lindsey's blog, and she had a fabulous post on Paris gyms that gave me a bit of perspective on my life.

Terribly enough, we live in a society that is full of images where young means all kinds of good things. And old pretty much is akin to being some kind of discard. The lost and faded beauty of a once seductive woman who has nothing to offer the world but a set of crowsfeet when she smiles.

We don't have nearly as many people such as Helen Mirren, and Meryl Streep floating around in our media. Mind you, there is more of a move towards understanding the aging phenomenon in the media, but not nearly as much awareness as there should be. And there is a circus-y ridiculousness in trying to look young. Trying to look you best for your age is different; trying to look young is just verging on farcical.

Growing older, I realized this is probably the best I feel yet. I've always been too old for my age and never could relate to my peers. For the first time in my life, age brings me confidence and the ability to carry myself with some poise and awareness of myself. This is my plus side of aging.

I think I'm setting up on a new path here. I think getting older is great boon and can work so much in our favour as we gain the experience of the years, and pass it down to the next generation.

I'll probably report back when I get my first laugh lines :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ocam's Razor or Nobody Likes a Drama Queen


Current Mood: Monday-ish. You know what it's like.

Current Song: Set Fire to the Third Bar by Martha Wainwright and Gary Lightbody.

Dear Women:

I've been talking to a lot of you on and off throughout my life and I've noticed a couple of things. Some of you really like drama. You collect drama like I used to collect Pogs back in the day. Molehills very quickly turn into mountains in one fell swoop. And then we analyse.
And analyse and analyse and analyse.

This is not always a good thing. It's really not. Trust me.

All the time you spend analysing the hell out of things (and mostly, I find this revolves around relationships of all kinds), you could be doing something else that's probably a lot more productive.

I know, most of you will say it's in your nature to do so. And that you can't help going through the "What's he thinking? and "What shall I do next?" thought processes, while you eat mountains of ice cream and your girlfriends give you all kinds of endings to scenarios that don't exist in the first place. But let me tell you, most of the time, the agony amounts to nothing.

Let's all remember Ocam's Razor: entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. In other words, entities must not be multiplied beyond their necessity. There's no use making a big deal out of something that isn't. Or, the simplest answer is often the best one.

We're all allowed moments where we feel like the world just caved in on itself. But it's very healthy to maintain a bit of perspective here. Whine and moan for a while, then get over it, and get on with your fabulous life (whatever you do). You are allowed to make a big deal out of something like: your long-lost dog coming home, or inventing a non-caloric but delicious cheesecake, or getting engaged or if your house indeed does cave in.

You are not allowed to make a big deal about the lack of phone calls from the fellow, or your heels getting wet, or how your can't read your boyfriend's mind. Got it?

We're starting off February, and I think it's best we do it on an empowered sort of note. We must promise ourselves not to overreact and to maintain perspective in our lives. The drama is often just not worth it really. It's cause for more anxiety. And worrying gives you wrinkles. You don't want those either.

Boys, this applies to you too (perhaps not the heels getting wet part). So man up, sort yourselves out and get going.

That's it from me today. I hope everyone has an enjoyable February 1st!


Monday, January 25, 2010

The Olympics are Coming: Let's Just Try to Have a Good Time


Current Mood: This exhaustion doesn't seem to be lifting.

Current Song: The Scientist by Coldplay

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably realized that the Olympics are coming to beautiful British Columbia (specifically, Vancouver). I'm excited. Why shouldn't I be?

I know, I know. There is a lot wrong with the Olympics. For one, the major deficit my province is now running due to having to accommodate half the world. Our transit systems will be overloaded (we've spent a ton of money to upgrade everything, including the skytrain). There is that whole issue of poverty, social housing, the mismanagement of funds.

But then, do we know of any large event that didn't have issues? I think not.

It's part and parcel with planning a large event. And there was never a point in history where everyone was happy with everything. It's inherent in human nature to find something to complain about.

I read a really good piece about the Olympics in the Burnaby Now. Basically the writer said, they're coming. Let's just get over ourselves, get excited to cheer on our athletes and have some fun. It's getting down to crunch time (2 weeks?) until opening ceremonies. It doesn't feel very Olympicky at all.

Moreover, I have reason to be excited. My cousin is going to be a torchbearer this time around. I'm excited to put on my red and white and go and cheer him on and take pictures with him and my family. It's a once-in-a-lifetime event for many people who will probably not be able to go to another olympic event.

My sister is volunteering with our community. She'll be right in the hub of downtown pointing confused tourists to the olympic venues.

I want to attend the cultural events, I want to go and watch the Canadian Hockey Team play and cheer with fellow barfly Canadians when they score. I want to be excited. I am excited. I think you should be too.

So, they're coming in 2 weeks. That's all we have. It's time to turn Vancouver into a sea of red, as we welcome our fellow Canadians, and others from around the world and just have a good time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bridge Over River Panic


Current Mood: Trying to figure out how to do 8 hours' worth of work in 4.

Current Song: Bad Body Double by Imogen Heap

If you know me at all, you know I'm a worrier. I worry all the time. Sometimes I downright panic. You won't see it because I put on a great poker face, but I might be freaking out. These days I worry less about big things, and more about small things. In my mind, there are two kinds of worries: immediate worries (like your hair is on fire), and far-off worries (like how in the world you'll ever own real estate in British Columbia in 2018).

I have discovered that spending time worrying about the latter is counterproductive. I minimize this type of worry with one phrase: "I'll cross that bridge when I get to it."

The real estate market is not something I control, or can predict with my level of statistical knowledge. I worry about the things I can control though: Am I saving money for said purchase, and more importantly, have I made strides to put out the fire on my head?

I'm being tongue-in-cheek about this of course. My hair products are non-flammable, and my hair is just fine.

The world is full of worry, but you have to pick which ones are worth thinking about and which ones are not. It can be overwhelming to try and see your entire future in one fell swoop. If you're going to worry, you might as well worry about one thing at a time, starting with what you can take care of immediately.

Charlie Brown said it right when he said, "You know how I dread the whole year? Now I'm only going to dread one day at a time."

I'll probably always worry. I think it's a dominant gene in my family. But my mother's advice rings true with this one too, "Work smarter, not harder." So if I'm going to continue to worry...or for that matter, if you're going to continue to worry, be smart about what you worry about. No need to start putting carts before horses (unless the horse is going in the other direction).

As for the rest? We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What The Simpsons Taught Me About Consistency


Current Mood: A bit tired, but not bad. Stiff neck not helping.

Current Song: 2-1 by Imogen Heap

Most of you who know me, know that I'm a big fan of The Simpsons. You will also know that I quote them on whim, pretty much on a daily basis. If you are equally a big fan, or in the very least live above ground, you will know that last Sunday they celebrated their 20th Anniversary. They now take the cake (or donut) for longest running scripted nighttime series, giving shows like Gunsmoke a run for their money.

I for one, was pretty happy about the fact. I started watching the misshapen characters when I was 10 years old and remember old lines like "Now let's all go out for frosty chocolate milkshakes!"

I'm not going to say that everything that the Simpsons has every produced was gold. That would be silly. There are some serious doozies in there that I don't really think was some of their best work.

What I did learn though, is that The Simpsons is consistent. And current. And smart. I think those factors are probably key to them staying around for so long. The fact that they are there, and loyal to their viewers every week for 20 years has made them a household name and have well become ingrained in current culture. Who doesn't know a "D'oh!" when they hear it?

I watched part of the documentary afterward and one of the people speaking (I forget whom) said that meeting someone who doesn't like the Simpsons is like meeting someone who doesn't like dogs. Who doesn't like dogs?!

The fact that the producers manage to create something new every week (even if stories can be a bit redundant) is something remarkable and goes a long way towards creating and sustaining a brand and remaining memorable.

So, if you want to stay memorable, be consistent, be there for people when they expect you to be, stay on top of your game, and contribute something new to your networks. Regularly.

And now, for those of you who missed it, the intro to the Simpsons 20th anniversary! Huzzah!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Independence and Giving it Up


Current Mood: Contemplative.

Current Song: Talking to the Walls by Finger Eleven

"I can do it myself." It's a phrase that we hear often in my house and that I use often in my relationships. It denotes that I'm perfectly capable of handling things my self. I don't whimper when I'm left alone. I can manage. It's pretty obvious I'm independent. If you know me, and my family, you know this is true for pretty much all of us.

I'm starting to find that in some cases being independent can be a bit detrimental.

In talking to some of my female friends over the last few days, I've noticed that a lot of us treat Independence and emotional unavailability congruently. To prove you're independent you have to shut out anything that might make you remotely vulnerable. This sucks a little when it comes to relationships because we make a huge show of shutting people out.

It's not right really, is it?

I think that there is something to be said about the strength of women who are able to be vulnerable, and to put that sword down for a little while. It lets us live in another moment where we're not always anticipating getting hurt or having to take immediate action all the time. Being strong is really tiring. Trust me. Sometimes you just want to take that armour off and deal with whatever at a later date.

And I think that's just fine.

As 21st Century, Gen Y women, who are always talking about being secure about their identities, we run the other way when we have to let people in. If we're so strong, why don't we trust the fact that we can take on whatever this vulnerability brings to us? Again, like so many things, it's about trusting yourself and your ability to handle uncertainty.

What do you think, boys and girls? Do we make independence synonymous with emotional unavailability? Is making yourself vulnerable necessarily giving up your independence?

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010: A Cup of Kindness Yet


Current Mood: Ready to start again (again).

Current Song: Party in the USA (because it's playing on the radio, so there).

First of all, Happy New Year to everyone! I hope that this year brings lots of joy, success and strength to all of my readers. Here's to a wonderful 2010 that will continue to bring prosperity and happiness to everyone :)

As promised, I'm chronicling our cleansing ceremony. I wasn't sure for a while if I was going to do it, but I decided that it seemed like the right time. No I didn't cry, but it was harder than I actually thought. So here are some pictures of what went down. Don't worry I'll explain.

At about 11:45, we lit a brand new white candle outside in the pouring rain (probably fitting since we're washing away the old. I figured the white candle would a good omen for purity.

Last year, my cousin had given me a 2009 Dalai Lama calender with bits of wisdom on it for the whole year. I carefully collected a few of these over the last month or so. I figured writing on the back of these pieces of paper would probably be a good way to go. Some of them were really sort of fitting for where we want to go.
Zoyah and I both wrote 5 things we wanted to let go of before the new year, and 4 things we wish for the new year. They weren't necessarily resolutions but more ways of being. We wrote these on said pieces of the calendar. This was actually much harder and much more emotional than either one of us thought. Putting things down on paper means that at some point they're true. It's difficult to face it. It's like someone telling you how you are. This took a while.

And so they burned.

And burned

The last one of them burned out just before midnight hit. Perfect timing. No fire hazards. Patio still intact.

Ashes to ashes. Here are the last vestiges of what was left. Cinders. Lucky us. It was all done with and then we went to sleep knowing that we're starting anew.
I might have to do one of these before the next decade is up (ack! I'll be almost 40!). It's actually quite liberating. I'm not one for resolutions and all of that business, but there's nothing like out with the old, in with the new.
That was my year. Now I'm ready for 2010 and am planning to hit the ground running. Well, that's it for me folks. I'll be off now to continue my day. Have a wonderful day everyone!