Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spicing Up My Life

During the last little while, it has become a theory of mine that almost everyone has a deep down secret love of the Spice Girls. Regardless of whether or not she cares to admit it, every girl between the ages of 12-30 has pondered which Spice they would be if they were in the group.
The Spice Girls back together? I was suspicious from the beginning. At the wise old age of 24, I could now see that the whole group just screamed of merchandising. I called bull on the whole Spice Girls machine. I saw through this scam, and was slightly offended by it. They had their run, and it was all well and good back when I was 14, but now, it just seemed a little old. A little desperate almost.

“You’re going to see the Spice Girls….are you joking?”

Okay, so five months later, there I was buying tickets to the whole charade. I was still skeptical and slightly cynical about the whole thing, but the 14 year old in me practically begged and bullied me into buying tickets, so I did. As the concert crept closer, I will admit, I started to get a little excited. It was a long time coming though. 10 years later, and I finally was going to see the Spice Girls live. They hadn’t seemed to change much. Or perhaps they had changed, but for the purposes of making some money, they pretended they hadn’t. Whatever the case, it worked.
Whenever I told people of my big adventure to come, I could detect a sense of mocking in their responses. “Yes, I am going to see them, and it is going to be their last show ever. It’s going to be great!!” I would say, secretly thinking, oh lord, the 90 dollars I spent on that ticket could be put too much better use. Food perhaps. Bills. Boring adult things.

“Okay...right. Have fun then!” Same response every time.

Underneath everyone’s I’m too cool for that exterior, I suspected they were all secretly jealous. They just couldn’t get past the, been there, done that line of thinking.

Back during the true reign of the Spice Girls, it didn’t take long for Spice Fever to hit me and my friends. So what, we thought, if their lyrics were simple, their clothes skanky, and their declarations of “Girl Power!” trite. We were 14 and we ate it up. They didn’t need to be great singers; which they by no means were (or are); they were relatable…and fun. We soon developed a weekly routine of watching Spice World, and we began to refer to each other as our assigned Spices. I was Sporty; less because I had any athletic ability, and more because I had long brown hair, and owned ADIDAS tearaways. I, and my counterparts, Ginger, Posh, Baby and Scary, otherwise known as Lauren, Tiffany, Leah and Sara, knew all the words to every Spice Girls song, as well as the accompanying dance. We even entered a Spice Girls look-alike contest at the mall. We didn’t win. The summer of Spice was one of my best ones yet, and looking back on it, I think it would be pretty hard to top. So there I was, 10 years later, going to what may be the last Spice Girls concert ever.

I suppose one could understand why I felt slightly nostalgic, yet conflicted about the whole thing. A little bit like I was compelled to let the 14 year old me go to this concert.
And besides, maybe “Girl Power” is not so trite. In the Spicy sense of the word, I got to thinking what it might actually mean. It is about friendship, it’s about love, about support and mostly it is just about having fun. It doesn’t need to go any deeper than that. Perhaps the Spice Girls were never meant to be a feminist movement. It was more of a get up, dance and be with your friend’s movement. A celebrate life movement. And that summer when we were 14, we embodied that.

So there I was at the concert with one of my best friends (who oddly enough was not one of my aforementioned dance partners of yesteryear). The cynical 24 year old part of me was still there when we got to the concert. She was there all the way through the snowstorm we drove through to see the concert, and she was there when the hour spent preceding the Spice Girls entrance was spent being inundated with messages to check out our merchandise stand! Buy a t-shirt…they are only 50 bucks. Buy a book, buy a button, buy a headband, and so on and so forth. I stood there thinking, aha! I knew it…they had this whole reunion thing planned from the get go! The t-shirts were probably made back in 1998. They would let themselves fade into obscurity, only to one day come rushing back with their cries of “girl power!”, and rake in millions. They would charge exorbitant prices for their merchandise, and pimp out their solo careers. Mmmmhmm, I thought, sucked in again.

But then they rose from the stage, starting to sing “Spice Up Your Life”. The excitement bubbled up in me. The 14 year old in me told the 24 year old in me to shut the hell up, remember what Girl Power means, dance, sing, and let her enjoy this. So I did.

The Spices put on an excellent last show, full of energy, colour, and nostalgia. They acquired a whole new generation of fans, and they assured their old ones that girl power will live on long after the last chords of “Spice Up Your Life” have ended.

Let’s face it: I’m not going to lie. If in another 10 years they decide to tour again, I’m totally there. If there is one thing I’ve learned through my journey with the Spice Girls, it’s to stop thinking so much, and just have fun. And that’s my 24 year old self saying that.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The big 2-5

So, tomorrow is the day I will officially become old. I thought this last year, and the year before, and the year before that, but I think that this time, the anxiety is a little less in jest, and a little bit more real. Real as in...if I think about it too much I want to have some sort of breakdown. The basis of which would completely be my own doing.

The rational me says, 25 isn't that old, you still have your whole life ahead of you! But another part of me, likes to torment, saying "look at all the stuff you haven't done, the places you haven't seen, the people you haven't met!!". And that little voice is making me want to hide somewhere.

I suppose it's just a number. And I keep telling myself that. But there seems to be a whole lot of baggage that goes along with "being 25" that I don't want to carry.

Today, my boss was like, "how old are you turning? 26?". I almost had a coronary. I got all flushed, and spoke, rushing my words, "no, no 25!! Just 25!" Like that year really matters. Like anybody can tell the difference between a 25-26-27-28-29 year old just by looking at them.

Next year when I turn 26, will I still be this stressed out? Or does it get easier from here on out....once I graduate out of that youth stage, does it become just a number? Will I stop trying to measure my accomplishments by how old I am? Like I'm trying to check things off a predetermined checklist that somebody wrote back in who knows when?

When you are 25 you must:
-have a car
-have a house
-have a good, well paying job
-be getting married soon
-start thinking of names for your children

And etc and so forth with each passing year?

I would like to say "screw you!!" to whoever made that list. Those things are hard enough to accomplish without worrying that I'm in some mad race against time.

I'm trying to chill out about the whole thing. What the hell can I do anyway? It's going to happen no matter if I'm freaking out about it, or just completely chill about the whole thing, so why the worry? That's a good question. But knowing your thoughts are dumb and irrational doesn't necessarily stop the thoughts from happening.

Really, I think I just need to continue taking the baby steps that I have been trying to take, and eventually one day I'll reach all the goals that I've set for myself. Not the predetermined goals society has set, but my own goals, in my own mind, which I will reach in my own time.

Being 25 won't change anything. I"ll still be working towards the same things, I'll just have spent a little bit longer on this earth. Maybe if I'm lucky, I can babystep my way through another 50 or 60 years.

I shouldn't really spend my time dwelling on age, worry about where I should be, yada yada, blah blah blah. As a very wise woman once said, "when your number's up, your number's up". Ain't that the truth. The universe doesn't give a damn how old you are, life just happens. Day after day it goes by, until one day, it doesn't.

I'm going to try to spent my time looking ahead, instead of wasting my time looking behind. I just have to do what I can do while I am here. When it's all said and done, whether I am 27, 56, or 89, I just want to be glad I had a chance to even grab a number in the first place, not worry about the things I didn't get to check off "the list".

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I'm Weird

11-the number of times I have thought this oddly shapped bush across the street was a creepo poodle type dog staring through my window at me.

0-the number of times it actually has been a creepo poodle type dog.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ahhh the weekend.

Sometimes, it worries me how easily distractable I am. I can get distracted, and then have random thoughts that go on for a long long time. Today, I was at work, there was a cup of tea sitting on the desk that I had in the morning when I got there. But by this time (twas mid afternoon), the cup of tea was cold. And that got me to thinking, isn't it weird, how cold things become warm, and then warm things become cold? I concluded that eventually...everything just becomes room temperature...but really? That train of thought took up a little too much of my time.

What can I say though? I'm a daydreamer, I've been that way all my life. I don't know if it comes from being an only child or what, but I can live in my thoughts for scary amounts of time. I used to get in trouble in school for staring out the window. "Pay attention!" teachers would scold. I wanted to be like, "umm I am paying attention....just not to you." Windows are just asking to be stared out of. Seriously, if I have to chose between listening to a teacher prattle on about something I could care less about, or watching life happen outside the window and getting completely lost in my thoughts, the choice is quite clearly going to be the latter.

A Little Blurb About Church

My ability to imagine has gotten me through a whole lot of boring moments in life. Like church. My parents used to drag me to mass every Sunday. And boring. Even now, it bores me. Sometimes I will think to myself, "I should really go to church", but then a very little voice in the back of my mind always say, "umm dude, do you REMEMBER church?"

When I was little, an active imagination helped that hour long mass pass go a leeeetle bit quicker. I would make up elaborate life stories of all the people surrounding me, think of what they had for breakfast, what their names might be, what their job was. While people chanted and sung all around me, I was miles away. Every so often the choir and the other random people who actually sang in church would sing a "lively" church song, and that would snap me out of it, but lively rarely happened in my church, so I was pretty free to daydream away. "Lively" Catholic Church songs included: Be Not Afraid, a song about Mountains, and Joy to the World at Christmastime. (Sidenote: I just spent entirely too long googling Catholic hymns...entirely too long...see how easily the distraction happens?) All I remember is, as soon as we got to Church, I would grab that Catholic Book of Worship, and look up at the numbers on the wall to see what songs we would be singing. If I didn't recognize any, that was it for me for the rest of the mass.

I also snapped back to life for that whole hand shaking, "peace be with you" part of mass, because that was awesome. I think most people can agree on that one. It was especially great when people would just wave from down the aisle and be like "peace!". Shortforming the peace be with you. That was always a funny part of mass, because it was like EVERYBODY was suddenly awake, and getting all exited, "oh, oh, it's time to shake hands. John, wake up, it's time to shake hands!!!". As then as soon as it was over, there was an almost audible sigh, and then everyone would zone out again.

It's time for the APOSTLES CREED! oh man. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the creator of Heaven and Earth. How is it that these things are still stuck in my head when I haven't been to Church in years??

They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they'll know we are Christians by our love. Who is they exactly?The gatekeepers of heaven? Non Christians? Who?

I also liked at the end of mass when everybody got up to leave. All of a sudden the music would get all up and lively, and people would practically skip out of there. Why did everyone skip? Was it because they felt so holy and renewed, or were they just glad that mass was over? I can't speak for everyone, but I was skipping towards the fresh air and the rest of my Sunday! It was honestly like being released. I felt a whole lot more holy and renewed once I breathed in the fresh air, saw the trees, heard the birds , and went to let my dog out at home. That was a more tangible piece of God then any kind of bread, wine or chant.

I don't doubt that some people love Church, and find great comfort in it. Ain't nothing wrong with that. Church and me though...we just never clicked.

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's Only A Slight Obsession

I can see myself in the very near future getting a dog. I'm thinking October, I'm thinking November. All I know is, I'm going to have one, and it's going to be one I fall for at the humane society.

This is my newest love:

I think this dog is absolutely beautiful. And he is very easy going. And he's fluffy and calm as can be. It's hard to be calm when you are kept in a room when 25 other barking dogs, but he's pretty cool about the whole thing.
I don't know what I'm trying to accomplish with the whole posting of the dog picture. I mean...nobody really reads this! I guess I"m working under the, you just never know principle.

I would in a minute, take this dog, but the timing isn't right, therefore the dog isn't right. But I have complete faith that he'll be adopted soon, because he is so gorgeous. He is some kind of shepard cross, and I don't know if I have ever petted a fluffier dog. He almost reminds me of a golden retriever, but only in some pictures.

While I'm freaking at this. This is Max:

Max is sweetheart. Max is my buddy. Max is seven, and he would like a house. He has been with us for a while now. I will admit he is quite large, but he's a goof. And I love him. And he will love you.

I was also going to post about an email I got today about a daffodi garden, but I'll save that for another day. I've been informed that one of the only tv programs I enjoy watching is starting soon, so instead, a random cute picture of what I think is a monkey:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Things You Think of While You're Walking

I always think of brilliant things to write on here, but it usually happens when I am either at work, or walking to work. Then by the time I get back here hours later, I've forgotten. The day has happened, and other things have pushed their way into my mind, and writing about killer squirrels, or whatever the hell I was thinking is just not going to happen.

This post is all about segueways, whatever comes to mind, comes to mind, flows through the fingers. And at this time of night, that is about as good as it's going to get.

I got a visit from an old colleague today....and although I thought this decision making was over and done with (and it really is, I already said no to the job), after she left, I felt positively homesick for my old job. Home...jobsick for the people I used to work with, my old desk, my old office mate, my old lunch buddy, my coloured paperclips...she left, and I felt like I was going to burst out crying. Gah, so silly really. But it kind of made me second guess my decision. Maybe I made the wrong choice, I thought. And then I stabbed myself in the eye with a pen, because OH MY GOD, get over it already.

I have only ever felt extreme homesickness two times in my life. The first time was when I first went away to university, and my parents dropped me off at the hellish residence that was to become my home. I had never lived away from home before, and the residence was soooo not my style, and I was petrified. I had to restrain myself from running after their car while they were driving away, "dear god, take me back with you....I can't stay here!!!". And hell yes I cried. It did eventually get better, but I think it took a couple of weeks. However, I will say this: that residence was a hell hole, and one of the best days of my freaking life was moving out of that place.

The second time I felt extreme homesickness was when I went to Europe a couple of years ago. My parents drove me to the airport, where I got on the plane to London. It was a weird mixture of feelings. Part of me was so proud of myself for going on this grand adventure all by my lonesome, but another part of me was just..terrified. Terrified in a "what the hell was I thinking, I"m a idiot" kind of way. But that passed after a couple of days. And the good part of it was I was too busy running around Europe to wallow in homesickness for too long. And looking back on it now, there is nothing in my life I am more proud of myself for doing. I'm so glad I sat on the plane with that crazy man who got in a fight with the woman in the seat in front of him, I am so happy that I met the people I did...yada yada and so forth. I whip out that memory every so often when I need to remind myself that I am strong, and that I can get through a lot. And although taking a trip to Europe by myself may not seem like it requires that much strength of character and bravery, for me and the person I was, it totally did. I learned a whole lot more about myself during that month I was gone, then I did during my entire three years at university.

Europe! It's odd. There are very few moments in my life where I remember feeling complete peace with the place I was in, and the person I was. One of those moments happened in Italy. This is a moment in my life I recall again and again; sometimes I think of it consciously, sometimes the memory is just jigged by a song, a picture or an object. Nothing extraordinary happened that day, it just turned into what was...a perfect moment. We were staying in a hotel just outside of Venice. Everyone decided to go to this dance club, but I, being nerdy and a little bit tired of my companions, decided to stay at the hotel, and explore the territory a little bit. I went to the local supermarket, and got some food. The supermarket clerk was talking away in Italian, and I just nodded and said the one Italian word I knew, and was on my way. It made me happy that she even thought I knew Italian. I brought my purchases back up to my second floor hotel room, and spread it out on the bed. I bought cheese, crackers, and orange Fanta. I opened the window wide, and pulled back the curtains. I brought my food over to the window and hopped on up. It wasn't a window seat, but it was wide enough for me to sit. One leg hanging out the window, the other leg hanging in the hotel room. The view was the kind of view I always pictured when I thought of Italy....stone, slightly crumbly buildings, clothes lines looping window to window, shirts and pants hanging and blowing in the breeze. Little old ladies were down on the street, talking to one another from their doorways. People walked up and down the road, right below where I was sitting. Nobody saw me. It was one of the most perfect moments of my life. I can't explain why, but it just was. If I ever need to recall a feeling of complete inner peace, I simply put myself back on that windowsill, and I can feel my stress levels decreasing.

Taking my trip to Europe was the time during my life when I absolutely decided that I wanted to be a writer. Sure, I had thoughts since I was about 8, but it wasn't until that trip, riding around in a bus full of strangers, that I knew that writing was what I wanted to do. Something about being completely removed from your regular life situation makes you think differently about things, and on that trip, the conclusion that I wanted to be a writer seemed so obvious. Ever since then, the thought has been brewing in the back of my mind. You have to do this, you have to do this, you have to do this. I was able to push it aside, keep saying, later, yeah, I'll do it soon, until now. I've come to a point where I realize that honestly, it's now or never baby. And if I ever doubt that choice, doubt that I can even do it in the first place, I just have to remember riding on the bus with all those crazy people, and it all becomes glaringly obvious again.

Segueing done.
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