You know what takes me right out of a movie or TV show or even a commercial? When someone tries to sell me something. I know the whole point of a commercial IS to sell me something. BUT you can’t argue that the best ones are the ones in which you were so moved that you forgot you were watching a commercial.

In contrast, most movies and TV shows aren’t trying to sell you on something except the movie or show itself. But to have gotten to the point of either playing at a theatre or airing on your television (laptop, smart phone, holographic projective implant), they’ve had to sell themselves to financiers. And those financiers make requests for their product to be featured on screen. This isn’t news. It’s product placement. We’ve all heard of it. We know it exists. We recognize when we see it. The point is: audiences aren’t stupid. So it’d be wonderful is we weren’t treated like we were.

Financiers, please STOP making actors hold your product in ways so that the audience can clearly read the name of your product. The reality? We’re not looking at your product. We’re looking at the weird disjointed alien claw that holds your product while we think, “no one would ever hold a burger (pack of gum, coffee cup, phone) like that!”

Are you afraid we won’t recognize the iconic red can with the cursive white writing unless we actually see the whole name? Or does being on two corners of every intersection make the store with the green and white mermaid logo not ubiquitous enough? So you make Sandra Bullock awkwardly turn your logo to camera. And now the actor is trying to rationalize why her character would love tall nonfat white mochas (270 cals) and yet still meet Hollywood’s standard body size. She’s not in the moment. I’m not in the moment. And I’m definitely not all of a sudden hankering for $5 coffee. The fact that I am about to order something from said establishment has everything to do with the fact that I am cliché incarnate and I write in one.  Nothing, I repeat nothing at all, to do with the fact that Sandra makes them look oh so fuckin’ good. But seriously, I love her and I’d buy whatever she’s selling, weird disjointed alien claw or no.

 

 

A coworker asked me the other day if I ever just talk to myself out loud. I was flabbergasted. The answer to her question is hell yes. All. The. Fuckin’. Time. What shocked me is that somehow, somehow she had yet to be catch me doing it?!

I guess I’m better at knowing when to let my words run free and when not to. If I’m at home alone, it’s open season. All waking hours. Usually start my day off with something like “Charlie, you don’t get fed for another two hours, “ “I don’t want to workout today,” or “that’s enough Instagram before nine a.m.” And then there are the times when I’m walking in public with headphones in but no music on. I’ll be talking to myself and the second I suspect I’ve been caught, I break into song.

One day I thought I was home alone and so was yammering on like I always do and then my roommate emerged from her room. Surprise! I was instantly coated in head to toe shame. But why? Everyone does it. And I think it’s healthy. I mean, when I’m alone, I’m able to get out all the garbage. I congratulate myself for pooping by saying, “I pooped” multiple times to myself for about an hour after this achievement. It’s out of my system. Figuratively and literally. And that way when I go out in public, there is no longer a desire to share said information. Or rather I’m able to bury the desire to share it (If it was up to me, I’d throw a parade every time).

My dad was an out-louder. It drove me nuts as a kid, but now as an adult I completely understand. So many thoughts are running through your mind at any given moment that it can be grounding to get out the fluff. The “no, I don’t want to eat that” an answer to a question that was never asked but prompted by seeing the can of olives you bought in an attempt to snack on “healthy fats” instead of all the popcorn and m&ms the world has to offer. Or the “I gotta wash a load of underwear. Meh. Later.” Or worse, the “fuck, I knew I’d forget to do that load of underwear?!” Now there’s room for genius to come through. Well. Room for something that isn’t celebrations of poop to come through, genius not guaranteed.

I’m done with being embarrassed for being human. For doing something that everyone does, whether they cop to it or not. I know who I am and I am proud and confident in my skin. And I don’t want to waste anymore time apologizing. So next time I’m walking down the street and someone catches me saying, “did I put deodorant on today?” I’m going to lock eyes and smile and quietly whisper, “in case you were wondering, I pooped earlier.”

“I love your androgynous style.” This is something I have been told on more than one occasion. And I am happy to use hashtags like “genderbender” when posting pics of myself in a suit because I realize suits for women aren’t the quote-unquote norm for a fancy occasion. When people think red carpet women, they immediately picture a dress. I, however, more often than think pant suit. It’s not a comfort thing. I love dresses and have many comfortable ones. It’s not a statement about my sexuality, my gender, or me taking a stand against how women are treated on red carpets. Though they are often treated like a mannequin with no talent beyond wearing a designer dress, but I digress. For me, it’s as simple as this: I feel sexy in a suit. And powerful. And clean. And head-turning. I do it for me, because that day, I want to wear a suit so I’m gonna to wear a fuckin’ suit.

And I know you have the best intentions when you tell me I’m “androgynous.” But effectively what you are doing is robbing me of my femininity. The suit does not do this. You do this. You and your ideas of the suit. Your ideas of fashion. Your ideas of what you feel welcome to comment on. My “genderbender” is mine. And you commenting on it is for one: unsurprising, but more importantly: unwanted.

Confused about where to go in this “new” politically correct world? Let me help. Consider noting the feeling evoked by the look that the person has thrown together. “You look commanding.” “I love your presence in this outfit.” “You look radiant, powerful, unstoppable.” Or perhaps the person looks delicate, full of grace, classical, poised, fierce, inspirational, mysterious, confident. Trust me: if you cut through the outfit itself and opt for what is inside instead, I guarantee that that person will remember that compliment over the thousand other “you look beautifuls.” And they will definitely appreciate it more than “I love your androgynous style.”

A folder on my Thinkpad laptop circa 2011 of tbt photos

A folder on my first iPhone circa 2007 of tbt photos

A folder on my Toshiba laptop circa 2005 of tbt photos

A second edition of framed concert stubs

Learning how to enhance video quality just because

Enhancing an old dance video

Learning that video enhancers can only do so much with a tiny blurry video shot on someone else’s phone

Scanning my DVD collection and taking one movie from each shelf to donate/sell/swap

Vowing to take my donate/sell/swap pile to Sonic Boom/BMV/Value Village soon

Youtubing Graham Norton clips

Youtubing Lipsync battles

Youtubing Veterans being reunited with their family

Youtubing makeup hacks to make it look like you haven’t been crying after all the reunited veteran clips

Following my cat around on all-fours just to see what life might be like from his vantage point

Making a folder of knitting patterns

Sorting through my collection of half-completed knitting projects

Knitting a few rows on the cardigan that WAS a Christmas present for my friend in 2014

Googling how to make homemade Larabars

Venturing to Walmart, Bulk Barn, and Sobeys for ingredients to make homemade Larabars

Placing ingredients on kitchen counter to make homemade Larabars at a later date

Scanning the Recently Added folder on Netflix

Rewatching Buffy for entertainment

Rewatching Buffy as a writing case study

Rewatching Buffy as therapy

Organizing my books according to genres: Read, Not Read, Will Never Read but Won’t Get Rid Of

Brainstorming ways to make my procrastinating from Writing at least benefit my Writing in some way

Write a blog about it

Standard party conversation, or perhaps late night talks under the stars, or stoned moments of clarity: if you could download any skill like they do in the Matrix, what would it be?

Some people need time to think. They either haven’t thought of their answer before or perhaps they’re searching for the answer that will make them seem the most… intellectual? Or the most virtuous? Or just the most. These people eventually come up with answers like “infinite patience” or “the answer to ending world hunger.” Which makes them sound much more like a contestant in a Beauty Pageant than having their desired effect.

Other people have quick answers. And I would be of the that category: Guitar.

“But Rebecca, guitar is something you could pick up and learn at any time.” And to that I would say, you are right. But then I would present to you my 15 year-old acoustic guitar that I have had re-strung 3 times by three different men, all of whom I had a crush on. I would follow it up by saying when I was 16 I took a few lessons, and then again when I was 25. And every year it appears on my list of new years resolutions and vision boards acting as a regular reminder that I have been failing at this goal for fifteen years.

Like I said, you’re right, I could learn guitar. But then I’d have to learn guitar. And I don’t want to learn guitar. I want to be able to play guitar. I want to go over to a girl’s apartment for the first time, see a guitar that happens to belong to her roommate, pick it up and play a few chords. She’d melt. I’d shrug and put the guitar down. Fire would ensue. And I don’t mean to say I’d like to be able to play guitar so I can get some, although yes. What I mean is that I want to be able to play guitar for the social benefits. Music is universal. Tell me you’ve never been envious of the person with the guitar around the campfire? If you haven’t then it’s because you were THAT person. Heeding requests and controlling the vibe of the evening, all eyes on you waiting to fulfill their individual musical desires. I wonder how that feels? Is it a partnership? Are you every bit as focused on the people listening as they are on you?

To the people concerned about what their answer says about their character, I feel you. Not being consumed by what others think of me is a day to day struggle. Let it be known that I don’t judge you. So when you say, “I’d want to download the ability to perform any surgery so that I could heal the world” the most you’ll get from me is a knowing smile.

Then I’d follow that up with, “I’ve been thinking about learning the guitar, any chance you know how to play?”

Ingredients:

1 cup English Breakfast Tea with unlimited hot water top-ups to stay caffeinated
20 oz of Water in enviro-friendly water bottle that sends the message that you are a nerdy, strong feminist – pretentious peacocking
1 Bic Pen
1 Notebook with quote that makes you feel equal parts generic and accountable
1 Coffee Shop that has private restrooms because all that caffeine is going to go RIGHT through you
1 set of Headphones because the coffee shop playlist has too many recognizable songs that distract you from writing

Substitutions:

1. Substitute the Tea for Coffee

2. Substitute the Notebook and Pen for a Laptop (Note: this may result in decreased productivity due to: (1) lack of generic and yet TRULY inspirational quote, and (2) easy access to distractions like social media and online shopping carts. Both can lead to an underbaked script).

3. Substitute the Coffee Shop for Park Bench, Library, Subway, Home Office (Note: Home
office may have increased distractions like cats, laundry, and/or a bookcase that totally needs reorganizing this second because who could get any writing done with the chaos that is THAT shelf?! This may also lead to a Pinterest board full of other beautifully baked scripts and an accompanied self-loathing due to how much of a stupid procrastinating shitty script baker you truly are).

4. Remove Headphones all together. (Note: Be wary of uninvited conversations from other coffee shop (or library or subway) goers that may cause an allergic reaction resulting in red face, rapid heartbeat, twitchy eye, and an urge to shout at a stranger
because SERIOUSLY, don’t they know you’re writing the script that is FINALLY going to let the world see how amazing you are and that you’re the writer Hollywood has been waiting for and this script of yours will probably also cure world hunger and save the planet and that their trivial conversations about how their husband just doesn’t get that women prefer romance over porn IS LITERALLY KILLING THE FUCKIN’ PLANET!?!

Directions:

Mix all ingredients.
Repeat everyday until the script is done. Then re-bake script starting from the very beginning over and OVER until you’re certain it can’t be baked any longer.

Congratulations! You’ve just baked a First Draft.

Bake time: ~3 months to 3+ years… with no assurance it will actually ever taste good.

You’ve been working way too hard lately. Part of that is due to the standards of perfection that are set out for women. Between the job, the gym, the cooking, the chores, the errands, the juicing, the 8 step nighttime face routine – it’s no wonder you’re exhausted. I get it. And the other part of it is the impossible demands you put on yourself. You’re your own worst enemy when it comes to balance. They really either need to make days longer than just 24 hours OR something has got to give.

Tomorrow hardly seems possible. Gym in the morning, an 8 hour work day, pick-up the dry cleaning, cook dinner, meal prep for the rest of the week so you won’t have to cook dinner again, pick-up that prescription, return all e-mails you’ve flagged for later in your inbox. It hurts just thinking about how you’re going to fit everything in while still taking the time to be mindful and gracious throughout the day. No one should have to work as hard as you do. So here is what I propose:

Take a break.

Shocking, I know. But the way you live is superhuman despite not having the perks of mutant abilities like blue scales of blue fur. Why not just skip the gym tomorrow? Take an extra in hour in bed. OR use that time to prep dinner in the morning instead. Read a book! Remember those? This is your time. You have earned it. And you can do whatever you want with it. Oh, the possibilities.



Three Days Later

Yes, girl. I am very proud. You decided to extend your break a couple days. I love it. You’ve truly come to realize what a fierce being you are. One that is deserving of whatever she desires. I must say, the two baths in one day thing was a surprise. Can’t imagine you got very dirty while binge-watching Dexter in your PJs. But then again, baths aren’t really for getting clean anyway. The point is, the world told you no, and you gave it the middle finger. Well done.

Question: did you have to use a bath bomb both times? Because those are like $5-9 each, so that’s a pretty expensive day. No judgment. I’m just thinking since you took the day off yesterday and again today, it’s probably best not to spend too much money since you’re not bringing in exactly zero dollars.



Two Weeks Later

You’ve really taken this whole “independent woman” thing to the next level. It’s inspiring. I remember the days when you wouldn’t go out in public without at least some under-eye concealer and your eyebrows done. But this IDGAF attitude is brilliant. And whoever said you can’t leave your house in head-to-toe sweats hasn’t seen your 12-year-old sweatpants with your high school’s name on the bum. And the paint stains? Forget casual, this is artist chic.

That being said, I do have some thoughts.

Sometimes it can seem like an insurmountable task to get your routine back on track, so I suggest baby steps. Change one thing at a time. You don’t need to floss every tooth and gargle with mouthwash for 30 seconds TOMORROW. How about you just start by using a toothbrush. Remember those?

And about the bed. I am so over the act of sitting down. Call me kooky but I’m definitely on board with the whole standing craze. Humans used to squat to sit and the invention of the chair has done some serious damage to our long-term mobility. Standing desk? Yes. Typing on your laptop while lying down? Totally. So I do love that you’ve found a way to use your sleeping area for any number of things. Like, for instance, using your sheets to collect the crumbs off your plate instead of letting them land on the floor. No need to sweep. Genius! I am wondering though if it might be time to give them a wash, crumbs and all. I mean, beds are usually meant for an average stay of eight hours per day, but recently you’ve been spending most of your time in yours. Couldn’t hurt to give it a bit of a freshening?

What do you say?



One Month Later

I don’t know if I’m helping or hindering anymore. But just know that I’m here. And I’m worried about you.

I’m really, really worried about you.

You drank on the job the other day.

We have nothing in common. I like movies. You’d rather talk at me about sports.

Fall is your least favourite season, which essentially makes you inhuman.

You laughed at me when I said I wanted to go vegan.

You drank on the job some more.

Your iTunes is full of solo artists who use pseudonyms.

When we were talking about laser hair removal you said, “it’s a woman’s duty to have a trimmed bush.”

You laugh at me when I get angry. And not in the cute way.

You were drunk at work.

You said, “yeah, but she’s still hot” thus perpetuating the idea that looks matter most.

You rolled your eyes when I asked someone not to use the word “retard.”

Women have one use to you and you only make use of that use once.

You called in “sick” when you were actually just hungover. I had to stay late.

 

And yet…

despite the misogyny…

despite the arrogance…

despite the complete disregard for others…

… my heart broke when you unfollowed me on instagram.

On my list of attractive traits in a partner, I have always been adamant that humour is the most important. Yes, that’s what everyone says because no one wants to label themselves vain and say looks take priority. But for me, it’s the honest truth. I need to laugh more than I need most things, like sleep, chocolate, heck even sex. In terms of comedy, the bar isn’t that high. Some of the deepest laughs I have ever experienced were over farts. Even now, I find the word fart hard to say without laughing. So finding a person that can make me laugh above everything else should be easy. Here’s the problem: often times it’s hard for me to differentiate between comedic genius and socially awkward.

When I see a guy whose comedic timing is slightly off, or who tells a joke that no one laughs at, or who uses obscure references that I need to Google to understand, I instantly go weak in the knees. “But Becca, in terms of comedy, these are all bad qualities!” I hear you. And objectively, I completely agree. But hear me out. It doesn’t compute in my brain that someone could have made it this far in life with such a terrible sense of humour. Thus I make the only conclusion that seems rational: this extreme awkward comedy MUST be “a bit.”

The person in front of me is now the funniest person I have ever met. I watch as they fail time and time again to make others laugh while I do my best to contain my hyena-like cackles. “They’re doing the I’m-not-funny bit again.” Priceless.

I begin to wonder what living with such a character would be like. The promise of non-stop laughs gives me the courage to ask this individual for their number. This is usually where things take a turn for the worse. What is supposed to be an adorably funny and stimulating back and forth banter is instead more like pulling teeth. I find myself re-reading messages searching for wit. I wonder how someone can be so funny in person and so flat via text. I consult my friends for advice and they tell me the person sounds like the type to live with their parents by choice. Could that be apart of the bit? Maybe they’re method like Sacha Baron Cohen? What if this is all a movie and I’m the leading lady?

I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is I am the leading lady of my life. The bad news? There are no cameras, this isn’t a movie, and more importantly: it isn’t a bit. This person is just awkward. And that’s totally okay. They’re good people. They’re just not what I thought. Not the fantasy my brain allowed me to think they were. Our text message communication ceases.

Later, I’ll run into one of their buddies at my best friend’s party and learn that said individual stopped messaging ME because MY sense of humour didn’t jive with theirs. Pardon me? I’m the one who isn’t funny? OH! It was a never a bit, their comedy was just so advanced that it went over my head! Hearts form in my eyes as I pray for the opportunity to run into them again and rekindle our romance. My best friend slaps me. Right. I was doing it again, wasn’t I? I’ll just be over here, forever searching for my Rowan Atkinson in a world full of Mr. Beans.