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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!