Adventures of Fall and its Time of Changing

While thinking about all of the changes in my life this fall and every fall before it, I wondered if there have been any scientific studies on this seeming phenomenon.* It makes sense to me that as our environment makes a drastic change from lush green to shades of yellow and brown that people would change as well. The birds take off for the south, insects start to disappear into the crooks and crannies of our houses, the sun doesn’t fly so high in the sky, and the days begin to get shorter. It is also, a time of harvesting the fruits of the growing season and mentally preparing for, or avoiding thinking about, winter. In addition to this, for many years of our lives we spend this time of year starting a new school year. Whether it be nature, nurture, or a bit of both, fall is a time of change.

While going through my personal break-up, it seems that loneliness likes company and whether it be subconsciously on purpose or by accident, it seems that there are many people in my life faced with this heart-wrenching life change. I like to take note of things like themes in life. This fall seems to have two themes for me in terms of changes: one being said break-ups, the other being babies.

Break-ups are a very difficult life change, as I am so incredibly aware of right now, and one often goes through the commonly believed five stages of grief, as if someone had died: disbelief, yearning/bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance. These don’t necessarily occur in a linear or even logical order. I almost consider myself an “expert” on breaking up, but I know one thing for sure: I will get over it and so will all of the people I know going through this particular life change. Rencently, a friend of mine brought my attention to a word/movement/book/website called Quirkyalone:

Quirkyalone noun/adj. A person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than dating for the sake of being in a couple.

A Digression:
I thought this was a fitting concept and I even took the quiz, which I scored very high on. This brings up an interesting dichotomy, though, about people being Quirkyalone or not Quirkyalone. Of course, Quirkyalone people can turn into “Quirkytogether” people, who are in a relationship. For the past few days, I have been mentally thinking about where people that I know fit and what makes someone not be Quirkyalone. Personally, I somewhat dislike and question dichotomies, even though it can make life seem so much easier and boring if things were just black and white, due to one particular Women and Gender Studies class I took in university. That being said, there must be some people in the middle that waiver between Quirkyalone and not Quirkyalone (can you tell that I just watched the Sex and the City about freaks where Carrie goes on a non-date?). Honestly, to put someone into a category of Quirkyalone or not Quirkyalone would be very judgmental of me and I am practicing the art of not judging others by what I see or know as a truth. In that case, Quirkyalone is a concept to make one feel better who is alone and perhaps feeling a bit “older” in order to justify his/her relationship status.

Back on Track:
What does this have to do with people surrounding my life having babies? Well, nothing I suppose other than the fact that it seems to be coming up a lot. I know several people who have recently given birth to precious beings and have discovered the pregnancy of just as many. I do realize that I am at an age where more and more people are having babies. So maybe that is the base of it, but I do wonder if there isn’t some sort of seasonal change impact on people starting to cuddle up on a cool, romantic fall evening. The stars seem to shine brighter in the fall than the summer. Perhaps it’s cosmic! Or extraterrestrial!

Maybe all of this is just one big coincidence, but it sure does make me wonder how everyone will settle into these changes and a long winter ahead.

* I could not find any studies on this topic, but will continue to look into it.

My Kitchen is Where the Action Is

Last night I was at a friend’s house and we talked about being new home owners. She totally renovated her entire house before she moved in and I was thoroughly impressed with what she had done – tile flooring in the kitchen, dark hardwood in the other rooms, and other things like that. However, the room that I focus on the most is the kitchen. I like to maximize my space in the kitchen and we talked about how she could get more out of her kitchen. My brain was going at high speed, but she was pretty resolved that it works pretty well. It works for what she needs it to be and I thought that was pretty cool. However, I am constantly problem-solving with how my house and kitchen could maximize its space better.

When I saw Treehugger‘s recent email about having a fridgeless kitchen, I was intrigued. Of course, the Treehugger article was lacking in any real substance, so I had to go to their links. One woman did a whole year of steps to being more environmentally sound, including going fridgeless. I was pretty impressed when I read about it and it would work here for at least 6 months of the year – I’ve even heard of people making ice blocks in the snow and bringing it in to chill the unplugged fridge. However, I think that having a smaller fridge would probably be more realistic and better all around.

According to Treehugger, the “Union of Concerned Scientists’s Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices explains that the refrigerator is the worst energy hog in a home, sucking up 1,383 kilowatt hours per year in a typical household. According to the [US] Department of Energy, refrigerators use 14% of a household’s electricity.” This definitely makes sense to me and makes me want to look into getting a smaller, energy-efficient fridge.

When my new roommate moved in, the idea would be that we each got half the fridge. Since this roommate does not actually eat, sleep, or really live in my house (and only uses it for storage of his stuff in his room), the fridge has remained only half full. I have been very conscious at keeping my leftovers eaten, my vegetables consumed, and my condiments to a minimum. With all of this in mind, there really is no reason to have a bigger fridge.

Of course, with my space-maximizing thoughts always racing in my mind, I have a vision of a small fridge with a freezer on top of a set of shelves that would hold canning and a potato bin at the bottom. Oh yeah, it will be lovely. Time to start looking and saving!

Election Day is Here!

Today is the day – the day of “truth.” I know who I am voting for and I hope that many other people actually get to the polls. When I hear that people don’t want to vote, I am saddened and then angered. People fought long and hard to get us the vote, especially women. While our political system is not perfect and there aren’t a lot of  candidates that represent our personal viewpoints, it is imperative that we get out there and find the one that represents us the best of our options. And maybe one day, we will all have our viewpoints heard!

I have the pleasure of working as an “outside scrutineer” to help count the votes for Nettie Wiebe in the Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar riding.

GO NETTIE GO!!!

I’m sure that there will be more to write later in the day.

SATC: No Reprive for Womyn

For years, I have been a Sex and the City (SATC) fan. YEARS. I have watched the series in its entirety about 10 times. Roommates have been subjected to episode after episode of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte… and an equal amount of discussion about relationships. People are often surprised by this because the show is known for it’s fashion content and element of shallowness. However, to me, it seemed that every relationship situation that every hetero woman (and some lesbian and bisexual women) had ever been in was discussed in SATC. I know that I could relate every time I was going through a tough break-up, an awesome beginning, or questioning how relationships work, and when I was contemplating the differences between men and women. When I heard that they were making a movie, years after the series ended, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait. I even counted down the days on my calendar.

When I saw it, I was numbed at first. Bewildered. Upset. Pissed right off. How could they do this to me, to us? How could they cram all the bullshit that SATC had been resisting down our throats? Some people were upset about how the characters were different and it just wasn’t the same as the tv show. This I don’t understand. I don’t understand why people have high expectations of tv shows-turned-movie. It just doesn’t work like that… it will always be different: they are two different mediums! However, my reasons for being upset at the movie was different. Mine had to do with the content.

SATC, the tv show, was cutting-edge when it came out – it still is! The way they analyzed relationships and talked about how men and women interact is like none other. I am still amazed at how clever the show is and how easily they mixed fabulous style with feminist tendencies to create these four characters that every woman can relate to somehow. However, the movie lost this edge. It was emotionally moving and I cried through almost the whole 90 minutes when I first saw it. Afterward, however, I was right angry. So fucking pissed off. How could they spoon-feed us what we see in every other “chick flick”?

*spoiler alert: do not read this next bit if you have not seen the movie, but want to and want to do that without knowing anything about it*
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Ok, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

What upsets me the most in the movie is the relationship between Carrie and John. We don’t really see much of it, but it seems as though their tumultuous 6-year relationship settled into a nice rhythm that made both of them happy. It was great, but then Big does what Big always does and freaks out. He doesn’t talk to her about it (except for the day before the “Big day”). Apparently, John is just not self-aware enough to actually identify his emotions as they are happening – sound familiar? The movie only shows Carrie’s heartbreak and her miraculous recovery. Just when she has fully recovered he sweeps into her life, has sex with her, and marries her in just the way he wanted to in the first place.

Perhaps this hits a nerve with me because I am upset that men do this seemingly often, saying that they want what the woman wants, deciding that it’s not, and then using it as leverage against the woman to get their way in the end anyway. It’s a power trip. Whatever happened to communication, compromise, respect, and love? These things seem to get lost in our society’s idea of romance, love, and relationships. For these things to occur, self-awareness must be present. Both people must be able to actually identify their feelings (remember the episode where Miranda offers a medal to the guy who “correctly identifies a feeling”?). I believe the general lack of self-awareness of our society impedes our ability to have healthy, loving, respectful relationships. Thus, ensuring that new templates of what a relationship CAN look like are impossible. This, to me, is a problem.

Come on writers, directors, and whoever else made this film, we wanted something better than that. We wanted something new, cutting-edge, and brilliant like we have always wanted. We crave it. We need new templates!

I’m a Womyn and I’m POLITICAL. Deal with it.

I have certain political tendencies. The upcoming elections in both Canada and the USA are a little overwhelming, but it is necessary to be part of the whole thing. So I am going to use this post as a place where I can keep track of the websites and links I keep having set in my lap. I will put a link on the side to this post.

This is an awesome video of American celebrities talking about voting in the American election, but is definitely transferrable to the Canadian election:

The Beyond Factory Farming Coalition asked a bunch of questions to the different parties. The Conservatives have not answered and the Bloc’s answers were translated into English from their French answers. It can be found here.

This is a website about how there are, literally, 100 reasons not to vote for Stephen Haper!

There is a collective of people from across Canada, who do not want Stephen Harper to be the Prime Minister again. They are called Not My Prime Minister.

The environment is a huge concern of mine. I really like this website called Vote for the Environment.

Update: October 29, 2008
With another election down and everything being basically the same, I can’t say I’m surprised, but I am a little disappointed. Here is a good article on the reason for electoral reform. It is very frustrating to rarely vote for a winning candidate (I have only voted once for someone who won). The candidate in my riding lost by a mere 253 votes, but as it is so poignantly clear, there is no conciliation prize for coming in second. There is no difference between second and 7th (there were 7 candidates in my riding). Alas, the show much go one. I will just hope that our next election within two years goes differently than this one. Maybe one day, we will have proportional representation, which this country so desperately needs.

This is a work in progress…

Good or Bad, Relationships are Always an Adventure.

As someone who needs independence and freedom seemingly more than most people, relationships are difficult for me. When a relationship ends for me, I have a sense of freedom that is palpable. I feel like I can breathe again. I have not yet figured out if it is because I just have no found the right relationship for me or if I somehow allow myself and my freedom to be lost in the thick web of emotions in the relationship.

My attention was brought to a local musician named Farideh (said “fair-aday”) from a poster at the community radio station where I am a volunteer DJ. I played a couple of her songs on the air and thought that I’d like to check out the new album before the show this weekend. So I accumulated a slightly illegal version until I can buy it at the concert and have been listening to it non-stop. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but the lyrics are amazing. One song about a relationship being a prison was especially moving for me. I like it so much that I even transcribed it as much as I could understand.

The start of the song really piqued my interest with:
“In the prison of our love
I did my time for you
and I made that block a home…”
My stomach did a flip-flop the first time I heard it. I knew instantly that this song spoke to me. Sometimes I have to acknowledge that sometimes situations arise that seem just too fitting to be a coincidence. Truly, I think that this song was sent to me to help me get through this emotionally difficult time of a break-up.

I feel empowered from hearing the chorus of:
“but I’m not a captive, I’m a guard
and I stand equal to you in this yard
with my fist full of keys
I set myself free from your heart”
The fast-paced acoustic guitar and the Indiana Jones theme song-like guitar picking makes it feel even more powerful.

My most recently ended relationship with someone who I thought I would spend the rest of my life with is revered in one of the last verses that talks about how people saw us. As a political anti-capitalist person and an opponent to our current political state, it resonated even stronger.
“From afar we were a fortress
we looked so worn, so strong, and so safe
we saw* the walls between us
we built an institution of the state
we built an institution of the state”

The last 90 days of our relationship did feel like a prison. It was 90 days too many and while I know that many relationships can work through problems, this one could not be worked through. Farideh’s last verse almost makes me cry as I envision myself walking out of the prison of the relationship to breathe my first breath of freedom in too many days.
In the prison of our love
I did my time for you
now that time is up.
So you can watch me walk through
open the gates, take back my clothes
say goodbye to my cell mate and those
those 90 days in the prison of our love
those 90 days in the prison of our love.

The song can be heard here (Prison of our Love).

In truth, I feel badly about having these thoughts and feelings. However, I would feel even worse if I didn’t acknowledge them. I would like to honour what we had together and do that in my own way, but I can’t do that without being off the prison grounds.