I remember exactly when I first heard about the TV show Dawson’s Creek, I was at a sleepover at Laura Van Der [something]’s house. A few ten or eleven-year-old girls huddled in the basement gabbing about their favourite TV shows. Laura expressed her love for the teen drama but despite her enthusiasm, I didn’t watch the show. That was likely a mixture of one, Laura not being cool enough for me to think her opinion was credible, and two, it not being what my parents or brothers decided we were watching, the likes of which included Sailor Moon, Star Trek TNG, Jeopardy, Xena, Hercules, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers. Little did I know, not watching the show when it first aired would have pretty drastic effects on my High School career.

By 2002, the show had been syndicated and appeared on TBS channel 47 in Ottawa. From 10am-noon every weekday, TBS would air two back-to-back episodes of the show. Initially I stumbled upon it on the Friday of a long weekend, and because daytime programming didn’t have much to offer at the time other than talk shows, I decided to finally check out Laura’s recommendation. I quickly got sucked in. As I am still want to do, I immediately subscribed two people in my life as the Pacey and Dawson to my Josephine Potter. Each episode I’d get to live within the characters experience, which often mirrored the tangled relationships I was living. The only real difference was that none of us spoke in the verbose, thesaurus-mandatory way that the show employed. Also that I never dated my Pacey or Dawson – in the show of my life it was a will-they-won’t-they saga spanning a decade without any kind of satisfying ending. Perhaps then, less similar than my imagination allowed me to believe.

This difference was the reason I needed to continue watching the show. To have the satisfying ending that my love triangle was lacking. It was the reason that when TBS got to the end of the series and then started back at the beginning, I rewatched it, almost religiously. And because I wanted to live in Joey’s reality so much more than my own, I used every excuse I could on my parents to skip school. They rarely took the bait. And so I kept up with my studies, excelling in school, but always looking forward to the times when I would get sick so I could see if this time, Dawson smartened up and broke up with his girlfriend before sleeping with Joey on her birthday giving their future together a fighting chance. Spoiler: he didn’t.

joey_dawson_sex_1

In my last semester of High School, I strategically chose to have a spare first period so I was always able to take my time in the morning (read: watch TV), but sadly I’d have to leave before Dawson, Joey, and Pacey could pedantically torment themselves and each other for two hours. Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for my grades, I am a January baby. I am always hitting milestones before my friends. I got my driver’s license first, I was legally allowed to drink first, and I was able to sign myself out of class High School first. So, instead of thinking about my ability to secure a future education, I thought about my love for these characters and would ditch second period regularly. It got so bad, that I went from being an honours student to going into my final Chemistry exam with a failing grade, a class I needed to pass to graduate because I had given myself so many spares over the years, that I had no supplementary credits.

With intervention from a guidance counsellor and the head of the science department, coupled with an intense two weeks of learning a semester’s worth of Chemistry, I passed the exam. I lost my status as an honours which also meant I lost the favour of my mother, but that’s a whole story for another day. Despite what I lost, I gained much more. One, an encyclopedic knowledge of Dawson’s Creek, which I still reference today. Two, a masterclass in writing characters who are all intellectually smart (however emotionally stunted), a device that Aaron Sorkin also uses in his writing. And three, a first glimpse into how deep my fascination with television truly goes.

The world may credit Dawson’s Creek for providing us with one of the best memes to date:

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I credit it as being one of the first clear signs that being a TV writer has always been my dream.

 

“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

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 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.

If you were a song, you’d be Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer.

Just like how the “1… 2… 1-2-3-4” at the beginning of the song gives the false illusion that the track was a live band recording, you gave the false illusion that you cared. Cared about me, cared about you, cared about us. Your dreams of being something greater were just that, dreams. Ideas, visions, and fantasies that never left your sleeping subconscious but instead left you feeling without. And so you waited. And you’re still waiting. Not just waiting on the world to change, but waiting for that someone who will inspire you to change. That someone wasn’t me. You’re a catchy pop hit that I can listen to on a long drive with the windows down, but that I never want to be face to face with again.

If you were a song, you’d be That Song by Big Wreck.

You’re a song about a song. You had all these ideas about what the perfect couple looked like. You spent countless hours focused on your social media presence but never enough focused on you. You posted photos of others and claimed they were you. You couldn’t be the best so you wrote a song about the best. That song. I loved that song. That is until I heard the original and realized that everything you had written was plagiarized. In the famous words of Tyler Durden, “a copy of a copy of a copy.” Which would be completely fine if you ever gave credit to those who came before you. But your ego wouldn’t allow it. You’re a rock anthem that I can listen to on repeat because it reminds me of a time when my life was a fucked up rollercoaster.

If you were a song, you’d be Uninvited by Alanis Morissette.

The opening piano sends shivers down my spine just like the first time our eyes met. It’s eerie and confusing and gives me a moment of pause. If it was at any earlier time in my life, I would have run away screaming but you were different. You made the idea okay. Is it exciting to watch the stoic squirm? Because you had me questioning aspects of myself that I thought I had all the answers to. The only unfortunate slight is that you had a girlfriend. You’re a strings heavy ballad that I’m excited to hear when it pops up on shuffle.

Whitney Cummings has revolutionized the way I pee. In her new book I’m Fine… and Other Lies she explains why women take frequent trips to the bathroom: they never fully empty their bladder. Everyone is familiar with the Squatty Potty and the adorable Unicorn that made rainbow shits look appetizing. What this fun commercial didn’t explain was the squatting position that the apparatus placed you in was also beneficial for female bladder evacuation.

Cut to me in a public bathroom stall pressing my hands against the stall walls to anchor myself as I lean back and lift my feet off the ground. It’s good for the core. What it’s not so good for is making sure pee stays in the pee receptacle. But alas, as someone who has been known to hover to avoid butt to seat contact, I am no stranger to pee on the toilet seat. The small mess is a welcome possibility if it means fewer trips to the water closet.

The part that I do have qualms with is why, OH WHY is a bathroom revolution not in full swing? Gluten becomes an issue and suddenly every restaurant jumps at the opportunity to add gluten-free options to the menu. People express a frustration that their phone battery dies too quick and suddenly free charging stations pop up in malls and bars. Not to mention a simple walk to the bank became so inconvenient, that banks were forced to introduce cheque deposits by way of photographs.

While celiac disease is a real thing and affects many, the gluten-free lifestyle has become a bit of a fad. As for the other two examples, it’s a sign of the times that people have become both obsessed with technology and just plain lazy. If the world can come together and make adjustments for things that can really be boiled down to an inconvenience, why can’t we come together and make changes that would drastically improve the standard of living and thus health? I’m not asking to cure world hunger, though if that is what you’re offering then I gladly accept. What I am asking for is a small step, metaphorically and literally. Can we please make footstools in bathrooms readily available? Colons will be happy and bladders will be weightless.

And this way, when your girl makes one too many trips to the bathroom during dinner, you’ll know for sure that she doesn’t have a weak bladder but that she’s calling her friends for advice on how to leave this crappy date.

I’ve been to panels and networking events recently that have all reiterated the importance of making yourself indispensable.  When you’re first starting out as a Writer, if you’re me, or an Actor, if you’re someone else, it is hard to get anyone to pay you.  So, the advice states, work for free and never say “that’s not my job.”

When I think back to the times in my life where I have told someone “that’s not my job” I don’t have to dig very far.  But that can be attributed to the fact that thus far I have been a career Server.  I have been told to scrub frozen grease off a gate in minus 10 degree weather, to continue serving customers who are stranded under a lone umbrella in a torrential downpour, and to defrost the ice that accumulates on sub-zero taps (that last one turned out to be an oh-so-clever rouse to get me to jerk off the tap – oh what fun boys are).  That’s not my job.

What is my job?  It’s to be a storyteller.  To show up everyday and commit to putting fingers to keyboard.  It is to defend a character, share an insight, make a reader laugh.  It is also to stand up for what’s right, be a champion for equality, and to give a microphone to those whose voices aren’t being heard.  Devotion, integrity, perseverance, and passion.  That is my job. And that’s what makes me indispensable.  Well, that, AND I’m insanely talented.  And we can’t forget humble.