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January confessions

In a recent conversation with my Mom, I compared someone I know to a towel, whilst I am a chandelier.

Tonight I decided to make my parents a dinner reminiscent of our trip to Italy this past fall, and I bought about $14.00 worth of cheese for the gnocchi.  It ended up tasting like nothing, but I ate a lot of it.

I bought a TWU school sweatshirt and t-shirt, though I’ll wear neither in public.  I was pretty embarassed buying them too, but I HAD to.

I feel like a really bad person swearing in my car at slow drivers in the Trinity Western parking lot, but I do it anyway.  Every day.

I enjoy watching Whitney.  It’s sick.

The fitted sheet on my bed is ripped in one corner and the tear is spreading, but I just keep sleeping on it.

If someone in my class has a laptop and opens up their facebook during a lecture, I feel no shame in reading whatever I see over their shoulder.  Fair enough, right?

There are a couple of people I’ve met this month that I secretly hope I become best friends with.

I’ve got roughly 4 weight loss plans on the shelf, and though I very much need to drop some weight…I remain reticent.

If I feel sad, I check my blog stats.

🙂

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Apple for the teacher

Yesterday was my first day at Trinity Western University.  WHEW!  I have reurned to school at 31, and while I was somewhat terrified when I woke up an hour before my alarm (5:30 am, yikes!), after I got there it was pretty great.  The sun was out, I was on time, no one screamed “How OLD are you?  You shouldn’t BE here!!!” like in my back to school nightmares, and so far my classes are pretty interesting.  It was a long day and I have a ton of reading to do, so I’m gonna switch to pictures of me and the campus now:

Yes, my Mom took this.

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Oh, to be a soap star!

So much of my time awake is used to go to work, run errands, drive around and do chores.  These things are not glamorous.  And maybe you’re someone who doesn’t care how much glamour is in your life, but I definitely do.  I don’t want to start entering beauty pageants or anything (and not just because they wouldn’t let me in), but I think I might like it better if I were a soap star.  Not a real soap star mind you, but a soap star in a soap opera.  If I had to choose which one, I would pick General Hospital, because it’s less crazy than others I’ve seen, there are gangsters, and lots of the stars have actual jobs in the hospital, which seems very productive.  Also it’s the only show I’ve ever followed.

If I were a soap star, most of my day would be spent chasing a man who wouldn’t/couldn’t have me, or being chased by him.  We would end up stuck in elevators, involved in shoot-outs, and stranded in the woods together enough times that we would have no choice but to be together eventually (eventually in soap land is maybe 3 weeks), and we would come to this conclusion after we kissed in the elevator/behind the shoot-up dumpster/in the woods.  We would battle to be together after that, fighting the opinions of our friends, family and ex-lovers, who we’d run into frequently on docks late at night and of course, in the hospital.  Eventually we would get married or at least live together, until other sexy people came on the scene and tried to win each of us over, and we realize we want to split up to have a torrid romance with a new person in town or someone we’ve been friends with all our lives.  Either that, or we find out we’re related and what we’re doing will produce deffective children.  Or of course, one of us dies.  That can only happen if we are soulmates, though, and even then the death probably won’t stick. 

Speaking of death, one of the coolest parts about being a soap star is that you can’t die.   You can die as a soap actor in a supporting role, but not as a soap star.  If I die, I probably have just been kidnapped and hidden on a secret island or bomb shelter, or have hit my head, gotten the kind of amnesia that isn’t annoying and doesn’t exist, and started a new life somewhere where I begin the above wooing dance with a handsome stranger.  The danger/eroticism will continue until someone inadvertantly spots and recognizes me, thereby threatening the love life of the man who currently has me.  There will probably be a fight between the man who got me and the man who had me, and it really doesn’t matter who wins because they’re both handsome with washboard abs.  And rich.

In soap land, pretty much everyone is rich through no work of their own.  It’s all old money, enjoyed through marriage alliances, being born into it, or sometimes meeting a rich old person during a hostage situation and them subsequently naming you as their sole benneficiary, and then promptly dying.  Old people dying on soaps is for keeps, because they’re never the stars.

It would be really nice to be thin and never exercise, wear heels all day and never get sore feet, and have perfect hair and make-up without ever having to shop for beauty supplies or apply them.  The only thing I would have to do as a soap star is get caught up in pseudo dangerous incredibly sexy scenarios, plot to win a man or ruin a rival’s life, and be seen at glamorous parties, restaurants, and speed boat rides set to out of date music.  I could have kids, lose the baby weight instantly, and then never really have to take care of them.  The children would be perfect, play on their own in seperate rooms, and only speak when they have something very dramatic to say about their father who disapeared, or how my spiraling painkiller addiction is making them sad.  Yes, I could have an addiction to painkillers, but I would still be beautiful.

With all the unglamorous activities magically removed from my life, I would have so much more time to sit luxuriously by the pool with a martini, attend charity galas, and have a shocked look on my face for an unnatural amount of time while wearing a beautiful outfit you’ll never see again.  My feet would make perfect clicking sounds wherever I go, and I would get to toss my professionally blown-out hair to lure many men to my silk sheets.

Yeah…

I’m definitely going to think about how I can do this for real.  Right now though, I gotta go pick up my drycleaning.

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Confused rant: what now?

I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I’ve been consumed with thoughts of my dear dead brother for the past couple of weeks.  I miss him, yes, but that’s not new.  I think it’s because I’ve been thinking about the rules lately.  The rules of life.

You grow up, you go to school, you get a job, you become a consumer, you start a family, you pay your bills, you raise your family, you keep consuming, your kids leave home, you retire, you die.  Throw in a few vacations, taxes, and birthday parties and there you have most people’s lives.  The rules are that you do these things properly: get the right house, the right job, marry the right person, say the right things at parties and at work…and you can choose small things to distinguish yourself like sports team loyalties and haircuts, but you cannot make up your own rules.  Unless you want to have no peers, that is.  I guess I grew up believing that I was somehow different, important, and am finding out that I’m just ordinary.  I didn’t travel the world after high school or start a commune in the west indies.  I wasn’t even involved in a dangerous but sexy real life murder mystery.   I used to want people to know my name after I die.  Now I know that for that to happen, I have to sacrifice the comfort I have become accustomed to, because no one remembers your name when you lead the life I described above.  We remember martyrs, we remember people who had ideas that were hated before they were embraced.  That makes for a tough life.  Everything has a price, especially fame.  Is it a price I’m willing to pay?  I’m begining to think that it isn’t, and that brings on this sort of identity crisis for me.  There’s a Bon Iver song I keep listening to, and my favourite line is “And at once I knew I was not magnificent”.  These thoughts make me think of Tyler, who died suddenly at the age of 22.  He told my Mom he’d be home for dinner, but he never came back.  He was living: paying bills, consuming, working, socializing…and then he wasn’t.  And the thing that gets me, is no one had any inkling that was going to happen.  I might agonize over the renovations we’re doing right now, or my stupid job, or getting pregnant, and then get in a car accident on the way to work and it’s just…over.

I’m not a hedonist, nor am I a Puritan.  I’d like to think I’m somewhere in the middle, though if I’m honest I do favour the hedonist mantra of live for today.  (I’m not a big saver, and tend to shun owning things that would necesitate upkeep and extra work.)  My problem here is one that I’m sure many before me have experienced, and many after me will experience.  How do I make my life count?  I’m going on 32, so even if I live a long life, I’m almost in the middle of it.  Or I could die tomorrow.  Either way, this is not a dress rehearsal, is it?  Tyler’s death taught me that.  Loving someone and needing them and being used to them existing does not mean that they can’t die, so it counts for me too. 

So here’s my question to myself: Am I following the rules of life as set up by the status quo?  Have I elevated the not so important to the very important?  Am I sweating the small stuff?  What I wouldn’t give for a tragedy right now to set my mind straight.  I don’t want anyone to die, but I do remember how clear I was about what was important when someone did.  I loathe my human weakness that makes me forget the important things almost every day.  I loathe the status quo.  And yet, somehow, that’s eactly what I’m living for.

Now what?

I know I don’t want to devote my life to making rich companies richer.  I know I don’t want to say one thing and do another.  And I know that if I can inspire people to see what’s important and make changes accordingly in their own lives, then I will be satisfied with mine.  What does this all add up to?  I have no idea.  But I guess acknowledging and expressing it are the first steps to finding out.  I get frustrated that my life seems to be full of new begingings, but it occurs to me from time to time that’s it’s what I was meant for.  That at least satisfies me.

I wonder what my brother would tell me to do.  I wonder what he’d be doing now.  I wonder how different my life would be if he’d stayed home from work that day.  And most of all, I wonder what all this wondering is going to produce.

Time will tell.

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Scent of a…Me.

 

Coco Channel once said “A woman wearing the wrong scent has no future.”  Well!  I have been searching for my signature scent for most of my life to no avail.  Yes, I wear perfume.  But I often wonder if it’s the right perfume.  I want my husband to be driven wild with desire by just smelling it.  I want it to waft by in the street and for people to say to each other “Who IS that woman???  She smells divine!”  I want it to be exclusive, mildly expensive, and chic.  A long, long time ago, when I worked in a Muffin Break that is now something else, I used to serve a man every morning who smelled so good it left me reeling.  He worked at the investment firm next door, he wore an overcoat, and I would have done pretty much anything for him had he asked me.  He smelled exactly the way a man should.  He never asked me for anything but coffee incidentally…I think I still had braces on my teeth.

Back to the search for a scent.  A few months ago I found a bottle of Britney Spears Curious in Winners.  My sister used to have it and I’d try it on every once in a while when we lived together.  I liked it.  So I bought it, wore it…and something curious DID happen.  People started to ask me what I was wearing.  They were smelling me…and liking it.  I was browsing in an antique mall when a woman walked into the booth I was in, paused for a moment and then asked  what scent I was wearing.  She said she was very picky, but that I smelled just the way she wanted to smell.  I was immediately embarassed.  “Uhhh…it’s Britney Spears”.  We looked at each other, laughed.  “Well, you could pour it into an antique perfume bottle!”  She said.  It was a good idea, I thought.  I wondered though, what’s the deal?  Did I find my signature scent?  Was it really Britney Spears?!?  I did not foresee this happening!  I don’t walk into gas station bathrooms in bare feet!  I don’t drive my kids around with no carseats.  I do not embody pop princess qualities.  Why does the scent that works on me have to be hers???

I thought about it awhile, and maybe it doesn’t matter.  I tend to build up ideas of how things will be, and make it impossible for them to turn out the way I want them to.  The goal was to find the scent that makes me memorable, and I suppose I have.  For now.  Maybe I have to learn to be happy for good results, not insist on perfect journeys.  When does life ever look exactly the way we’d imagined it?

I actually came across Britney’s newer scent, Midnight Fantasy in Winners just a week ago, and bought it.  People seem to like that one too.  At least it has a nicer bottle…

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douche maneuvre turned lightbulb moment

Friday was a pretty  good day.  I went in to the office and got some stuff together for my business trip this week, I made some calls, I printed some service agreements to get signed off by customers.  There were donuts in the conference room, and all the ladies who are usually on diets had one and told me I should have one, so I did!  It was crazy.  Then I popped over to West Edmonton Mall and got an amazing portrait collared sweatshirt at Lululemon.  Then I went to Sherwood Park and met my husband for lunch.  The sun was shining, I was driving around blasting Florence and the Machine and Jay-Z, it was a happy time.  I had a meeting at 2pm with a lady in charge of shipping at a furniture store, and I was there a bit early for that.  There was a Tim Horton’s on the corner, so I decided I’d have an iced coffee.  How lovely!  As I went in, there was a young guy talking to a woman in a parked car about why he couldn’t keep a job.  Drugs.  I was in that part of town, so I steeled myself to ignore whatever happened.  There were only 2 people ahead of me in line; I knew I wouldn’t be late for my meeting.  I got my iced coffee and walked to my car, and just as I left Tim Hortons there was a homeless man leaning against the building who wasn’t there when I went in.  I glanced at him.  “Could you spare a coffee?”  he asked me.  I automatically looked down, shook my head and said “no, sorry”.  Spare a coffee?

I thought about what he’d asked me the rest of that whole day. I had lied, of course I could spare a coffee.  I even had some extra time.  There was no reason at all why I couldn’t buy this man a $2.00 coffee; I’d just spent $120 on a sweatshirt I didn’t really need, but wanted.  Why had I said that?  I thought about the times I had bought coffee, muffins, and lunches for homeless people.  People hanging out by the Starbucks down the street from my old hairdresser or camped out in the McDonalds parking lot.  They were right in front of me, so on occasion I chose not to ignore them.  I felt pretty good about myself when I’d give them food.  That “I’m a good person” high could last for months.  Hooray for me, right?

Uh, no.  If I’m being honest the way I have to be when I write about it, there is no hooray for me.  There is however, disgust and disapointment.  The reason is that I know better.  Whatever you believe about the homeless and disadvantaged, and how they got that way and what they should do to better themselves,  they are still people.  I worked for World Vision last Christmas in the mall selling sponsorships of poor kids in foreign countries.  8 hours a day on your feet asking people who don’t care if they want to help.  That was THE hardest job I’ve ever had to do, no question.  And some people do that every day, but in a more personal way: do you want to help ME?  And most of the time I say no.  No, I don’t want to get you coffee.  I have everything I need and more, and you don’t, and I don’t care.  People say to me all the time “Brianna, you can’t save the world” like I should stop caring about it.  And I know, I can’t save the world.  But I could buy someone coffee.  And so could you.

SO.  What’s my point?  I’m selling consignment clothes, and there are stores and stores full of clothes.  Second hand stores are packed to the brim of things we don’t want anymore.  We buy and buy and buy new stuff to make us feel better, prettier, more youthful.  Is it working?  What if we could buy something that we knew would help someone?  Just turn your consumer power to something that’s doing the good beyond your reach.  What if you could start helping more by not really changing anything about what you buy, but re-directing where you buy it?  I’m going to give half of the proceeds to local charities of anything I sell on facebook from now on.  Starting August 20, I will be having a Fall Sale, and when you buy any of those items, half the price will go directly to a charity here in Edmonton.  Which one, I don’t know yet, and you could weigh in on that.  We’re all not going to feel like we’re saving the world by doing that either, we’re just going to do what we can.  What would the world look like if we all made a choice to buy stuff we need that does some good?  What kind of changes would that make in us?  I want to to find out, and I hope you’re curious too.  First thing’s first, I’m going back to that Tim Hortons and see if I can’t buy a man a coffee.

 

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Don’t ask the Wizard

I like my part-time retail job for 2 reasons: the first is that it gives me a much needed social shot in the arm a few times a week, and the second is that it gives me great insights into the shopping habits and motivations of women.  I was working yesterday during a 40% off sale and the place was packed.  I saw a woman heavy laden with tops, dresses and pants, and went over to ask if she wanted me to start a fitting room for her.  She gave me a grateful look and said yes, then explained to me that she was shopping for the first time in a year and a half since she’d had her baby, and was pretty overwhelmed by the task of outfitting herself to go back to work.  I love challenges such as these, so I quickly started her a fitting room and came back to help her pick out potential work pieces.  She was very pretty and had a nice figure.  She probably didn’t think so as most women carrying a little extra weight disparage themselves to no end.  She had a nice full bottom and hips with a comparatively slender waist.  The first thing you noticed about her though was her dark hair, great skin and incredibly friendly and open demeanor.  I liked her.  She told me that her husband was always begging her to wear more colour, and she wanted to, but when it came time to dress she’d cling to neutrals like a drowning victim to a life vest.  She said she already owned tons of black pants and t-shirts.  I picked out some great tops with fitted waists, flared hips and gathered bosoms that are great under jackets for work, and she said she’d give them a try.  I knew it before it happened, but I hoped against hope she’d surprise me; after half an hour in the fitting room, she walked out with a fallen look on her face and a few neutral coloured t-shirts in her arms.  What happened???  I talk to women all the time with the same problem, and the problem is you.  It used to be me, too.

I used to see pictures of clothes I loved, clothes that looked so good on the hanger, clothes I even bought on occasion, brought home and on the hanger they stayed.  I used to have a husband who’d beg me to wear colour.  I used to look at other women and wish I had the guts to pull off what they were wearing.  I didn’t aspire to be Lady Gaga or anything, I just wanted to dress like a grown-up.  The problem was, I didn’t feel like a grown-up.  You could have shown me a woman who looked exactly the same as me wearing an impeccable suit, a deliciously flirty dress or even a fierce pair of jeans with killer heels, and I would have sworn up and down that while she was clearly pulling it off well, I could not.  I had no confidence, and I let the weak part of me dictate what I could and could not do.  I regret spending so many years being scared, and when I meet women now who won’t take the leap I know they’re capable of taking, it makes me very sad.  It’s not about clothes, it’s about who you are.  And when you become a Mom, you have to consider what you’re modeling for your children.  Cognitively you know that you have a responsibility to show them that they have unlimited potential locked inside of them…but what are you actually showing them?

I just watched the Wizard of Oz, and was struck as I always am by the lesson of the four of them asking the Wizard for things they’ve had all along.  What are you asking for that you already have?  The courage to wear a dress that isn’t black does not belong to the perfect, it belongs to all of us.  Let’s all stop telling ourselves what we can’t wear, can’t say or can’t do, and go out and show the world and our kids what we as women CAN do.  Preferably in heels 😉

 

*Practical Tip: You are what you think about.  So if there’s something you’d like to wear, pick a day to wear it.  Get up that morning, shower and do your hair.  Put on the outfit, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself “I look great!  I’m going to have an amazing day.”  Then walk out the door, and any time you feel that twinge of embarrassment at not wearing your usual uniform (that’s all it is, discomfort from doing something new), repeat your “I look great” mantra.  Smile.  Guaranteed by the end of the day, someone will tell you what you’ve been telling yourself all day.  When they do, smile and say thank you, and nothing else.  This is all I did to change from the jeans and flats girl into the dresses and heels girl I wanted to be.  I promise you, you can do this anytime you want and it will work, and eventually the confidence you’ve been faking will magically turn into something you truly feel.  And then, you’ll be looking for your next challenge!  Good luck  🙂