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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thinking about the Ocean

Over the summer, I visited my sister in Vancouver (something I do every year, but since she had visited Regina in June it wasn't expected) and branched out a bit my spending four days in Victoria on my own. It was my first time travelling alone (without immediately meeting up with someone I knew at my destination) and my first time staying in a hostel. It was a little scary, a lot exciting, and unbelievably beautiful. I feel a bit silly for my earnestness, but this small trip was significant in a lot of ways, and I couldn't help but have high expectations. A lot of the significance is quite personal, but part worth sharing: living in the prairies can feel incredibly isolating - it's nice to escape and see the ocean, as well as remind myself that non-prairie cities are not sparkly queer meccas. I like to leave the prairies to prove that I am, in fact, able to leave, and that I just don't really want to.

Travelling alone meant I only had to do things I really wanted to I found that very lovely. I spent most of my time wandering, writing, looking at the ocean in awe, taking photos, pressing flowers, collecting shells, drinking fancy coffee & iced teas, and generally enjoying my own company and my surrounding. Other nice things included coffee from a high school acquaintance, visiting the Craigdarroch Castle (super weird but super beautiful and my mom taught at the Victoria Conservatory of Music when it was still housed in the castle so I wanted to see it), and meeting, though briefly, Jessica Luxury of Tangled Up In Lace. I also bumped in to her partner, Fleetwood, the evening prior & felt like an awkward teenager introducing myself with a "I recognize you from the internet" but I probably would've felt more awkward if I failed to say hello. They're such rad people, I hope I have the opportunity to hang out with them more in the future!

I also really loved being able to hang out with my sister, her partner, and their friends in Vancouver. I feel really lucky that my sister and I get along so well - she is definitely one of my favourite people to talk to/spend time with & we hold a lot of similar beliefs. While in Vancouver, along with a lot of walking, good food, and even better conversation, I also competed at the Vancouver Poetry Slam (I'll share a video soon!) and went to my first ever Dyke March. None of these things were without problem, but they were ultimately enjoyable and I was glad to experience them without panic.

Something about sharing photos from months ago online seems almost redundant (I'm so used to sharing things as they happen via instagram and twitter & I think most of us are used to receiving information that way too) but I wasn't able to totally reflect on that trip until now. Victoria was the climactic point of a rather tumultuous relationship, and thinking too hard about the ocean air left my chest tight & heart broken, but after the usual end-of-relationship processing I'm grateful to have had closure and be free of an emotionally unhealthy relationship. And, as the weather starts to cool and I prepare for another winter in the prairies, I've enjoyed looking through these photos again.

So. Beautiful.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

(belated) birthday girl: a year in review & 21 before 22

A few weeks ago I celebrated my twenty first birthday in a lovely low key way. Having just gotten settled in Edmonton and having a lower tolerance for crowds (even when it's a crowd of people I like), I did nothing of particular extravagance, but I was grateful to be able to spend time with my sister, parents, and close friends. I was able to spread the celebration over a week and, I promise you, a birthday week is so much nicer. Not only do you get even more festivities, it also takes some pressure off the day of so you can quit worrying if all you want to do is drink coffee, go for a walk, play Scrabble, eat cheap appetizers, or any other simple thing that bring you joy.

I have been in a very retrospective mood over the last month or so, and of course an annual marker such as a birthday provides a bit of guidance for navigating those thoughts. Twenty was difficult, weird, and totally amazing. It was, without a doubt, one of the most challenging and most rewarding years I've had so far. And while the positive and negative aspects are equally as important and valid, in reflecting on the past year I actively tried to make note of the good things (as it can be so much easier to remember the bad). And there were a lot of wonderful moments and experiences! I thought of writing a list of the top ten (or twenty or thirty) things that have happened, and while I certainly could, I realized that any such list would quickly become repetitive. I realized that most of the enjoyable parts of the past year fall under three general points: 1) creating art, finding myself as a ceramic artist and poet, and sharing that art with others, 2) enjoying, appreciating, and experiencing the art of others (specifically that of my friends, who are incredibly talented artists, but I've had the privilege of seeing & hearing a lot of fantastic art), and 3) spending time with people I love most, creating and fostering friendships, and time and time again being astonished by just how amazing positive relationships can be. There were a lot of other things in between there (like traveling on my own for the first time!) but those three points really sum up what I am grateful for most.

I feel like I'm in a bit of a transitionary period, and as such I really want to think critically about what I want/need, try new things, and push myself to take on tasks that seem challenging or scary. As my birthday approached I knew I wanted to jump on the "2X before 2X+1" blogger bandwagon (I cannot remember/find who first came up with this but let me know if you do. Credit where credit is due!). I have a lot of mixed feelings about "goals," and recognize their positive and negative aspects. Goals can provide direction and hope, but sometimes they're just looming pictures of things we'll never do or people we'll never become. As someone who is crazy and constantly broke, I'm even more hesitant to make lists like these. I mean, when I have to decide between a bus pass and groceries, when am I ever going to be able to afford a tattoo? Does it matter if I take a passenger train when getting out of bed and leaving the apartment is a noble accomplishment on its own? I understand that anything beyond basic survival is a huge privilege, but I still think making goals is worthwhile, and I want the guidance of knowing what I want and the joy of accomplishing those things. With all that being said, I present my 21 before 22 list.

I'm confident I'll be able to accomplish these goals, and that twenty one will be just as wonderfully weird as twenty.

(I can't believe I started this blog when I was 17, thanks for sticking around so long!)

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Sometime over the summer I realized the day I was looking forward to the most was the day it would finally be cool enough to wear my favourite giraffe sweatshirt. It's still the first week of September, but today was that beautiful grey autumn day I'd been dreaming of.. (okay, the trees are still green, but I got to wear this top and everyone online is posting about pumpkin spice lattes so you know it's already autumn in our young, tender, internet-obsessed hearts).

I haven't been the best with seeing people since moving back to Edmonton, but I really want to make new friends and spend more time with folks I haven't seen in a while. Last night, I had coffee with some other queer women in an informal-but-planned-group-outing and it was really nice. I loved the opportunity to meet new folks and I really appreciate people trying to fill some of the empty spaces in our community (like, where do you meet other queer people when you don't want to go the bar or volunteer in an activist/non-profit setting?). Also, hanging out with other women and other femmes is just so wonderful. Speaking of femmes (!!!) this morning I had a delicious vegetarian breakfast and excellent conversation with a woman who I met when I was a youth and I haven't seen in years. Today has been lovely so far, and I imagine it will continue to be - I'm cycling through the David's Tea fall collection and will be seeing more people this afternoon and evening. Leaving the apartment is worthwhile afterall!

This is probably the comfiest outfit ever, and that it my biggest priority. As you might have gathered from above, I'm pretty in love with this sweatshirt. And this skirt. I wear it at least once or twice a week, it's just so fun! Also, how's everyone feeling about bras these days? I'm not a fan of my chest either way*, and I find that wearing a bra or going bra-less can both be pretty uncomfortable, but you best believe today is a bra-free day**. I really loved what Ragini said about bras in one of her recent blog posts (I'm a big fan of her outfits and writing!), it's hard not to feel like we are collectively lying about what breasts really look like sometimes. 

I hope you're all enjoying the first week of September! This is the first time I haven't been in school during the fall, but I live quite close to the university and am on the walking route between the bars and frat houses (and residences), so I have in a way been...not enjoying, but am greatly aware of, the start of the semester. 

*I am of the opinion that individuals aren't required to "love themselves love their bodies~" and I think you can accept your body without those feelings. I am not filled with self-loathing and I respect my body because it is mine, it is the only one I get, and it is the vessel through which I navigate the world, but that doesn't mean I don't have a very complicated relationship with it.

**The other day I legitimately got heat rash on my right boob from spending twenty minutes on my balcony in a dark t-shirt without a bra. It's funny, but it really hurt and took a few days to fully heal!

Monday, August 26, 2013

summertime broke femme

I've been really wanting to blog lately but I just don't know where to start, but, I guess I'm starting here. (Will I ever be able to start a post that doesn't make it sound like I'm awkwardly introducing myself to strangers at a party?)

The last six weeks or so have been really neat! I moved from Regina to Edmonton, visited Vancouver and Victoria, was back in Edmonton for a day, and then went to visit a friend in Camrose for a week. I'd also been taking an online class (Stats 100 - my first online University course) and wrote my final exam a few days after leaving Camrose. I know it's just a 100 level course, but doing math again was really awesome. And now I am back in Edmonton, trying to feel settled, and looking for a job. My sister is visiting this week and we've seen each four times in four months now (we normally only see each other three times a year). And my birthday is Saturday!

Lotsa' neat things are going on, but my days are still really slow, full of sleep; a lot of reading, walking, time spent at the library; writing in coffee shops and sorting things in the evening. Due to some family-emergency stuff I haven't really been working since the end of April, so I'm trying to appreciate all of the time I get to myself, but still structure my time and make the most of my days. It's not something I'm particularly good at, and I'm hoping a job will make me have a bit more structure.

I spent a lot of yesterday outside, and it was the perfect warm and sunny but not too hot weather. Hot enough for one of my few tank top days of the season. A lot of the discomfort I have around exposing flesh is highly related to illness, so I can't totally relate to the "fatties baring arms!" thing. I certainly don't mean to devalue that, I think it is important and valid, but not all experiences are the same. My skin invites disgust, looks of horrified curiosity, intrusive questions AND I'm fat (and I have a myriad of privileges, still, that allow me to feel safe and empowered in my body in public arenas). It's complicated, y'all. But I'm super in love with this top, and super into broke messy femme clashing fashions (because I have to be, also see: "I don't wear anything I can't wipe my hands on"). This shirt is from the 1996 North Country Fair, a folk festival in Northern Alberta, and the first year my family and I went - I was four! I found it at Value Village five or so years ago, cut out the back (it was a security t-shirt) but it fit in such an odd way. Feeling brave during Pride week after finally going for short hair, I ripped the sleeves off and am pretty excited about wearing it now. This skirt is super fun and I always get a lot of compliments on it, another thrifted skirt I wasn't that into and now can't get enough of.

Also, I am in LOVE with these sandals. I have such a hard time finding sandals because my feet are large and wide and thick (is there a term for that?). I'd been eyeing them on Naturalizer website, but was super hesitant because they only came in regular width, but the fit just works with my foot. I got them for $30, have been wearing them non-stop, including a lot of walking, and they're super comfortable. Solid purchase!

How have you folks been? I hope you're all enjoying the end of summer! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Home Sweet Home

I'm taking a semester off of school, and am back in Edmonton for a few months. It's not really a move, more of an extended holiday, an opportunity to be wayward, but when everything you own has either been given away or is in boxes things start feeling absolutist. I just need a break.

I miss Regina. Edmonton is okay. (My feelings are not this straightforward, I have a lot of complex feelings about "home," but they can't quite be articulated yet).

Here are some instagram photos of my last few days in Regina, and the two-day drive back to Edmonton. I'm @hyperfemme on instagram, if anyone's interested in following me there!

I'm heading to Vancouver tomorrow, and then Victoria a few days after, and I'm really excited. I am looking forward to ocean air, swimming, ferry rides, poetry slams, excellent public transit, beautiful people, dyke march (my first!), reading zines, reading poems, writing in my journal, new coffee shops and old used book stores, and more. I'm expecting a lot from a week-long trip, but I hope it will be what I need.