Mere Hours to Twenty-Nine

Hey there,

At midnight it will be February 2nd, 2017.
At midnight, I will officially have traveled around the sun 29 years.
At midnight, a new ring will form in the centre of this tree.
At midnight, I will breathe life from a body with a new age.
At midnight, I will no longer tell the strangers who ask me, “I’m 28.”
At midnight, it will be my birth-day.

There is no doubt that this year has been the hardest I have ever faced.
– I faced my sexual assailant in court and watched him be acquitted, knowing the Canadian Justice System let me down.
– I suffered heavily with depression during the ordeal, and I overcame it.
– I overcame my PTSD through amazing therapy called EMDR.
– I lost the most important person in my life; my grandma passed away on September 21st.
– I ended a four-year relationship with my common-law partner and best friend.

So, there is no doubt that I am ready for this horrible 28th year to end! Bring on the 29th. Let’s see where it takes me. I’m ready to discover myself. I’m ready to form a beautiful, loving relationship with myself. I’m ready to make this year the best one yet. I’m ready to make this movement around the sun extra special. Watch me do it!

In other news, apologies that I haven’t been writing in here very much lately. I didn’t read anything the whole way through in January (I am seriously ashamed…) so I couldn’t even do a wrap-up. I’ve been using my typewriter to write poetry more often, and that’s been where most of my typing has been happening. I’ll share a couple new pieces here before I add them to my Poetry page. I’ve been inspired by Hemingway as of late, but what else is new? Let me know what you think! I’m writing it as it’s typed; I don’t use the shift key.


i name my typewriter after you
to evoke your spirit in my own fingertips
to touch you in a way that would speak to you
to love you in the only way i know how
Hemingway.

and it is with each touch that you
will truly come to know
my very soul
my imprint upon you
will leave you lost
and leave you longing
for another taste of this spirit

i will press upon each of your pleasure points
and i will have you shouting
that you don’t want me to give it up
and i will not stop
and you will be begging
and i’ll press on
harder and harder
and harder and harder
till you tremble
and cry out my name
into the dark of the night

let my skin, damp with pleasure
blur every letter stamped onto this page
i want to forget
i want to forget
i want to forget –
help me forget

mark my words:
i will devour you
like a lioness does her prey
and you will both
cry for me
and regret the day
you let me touch you

be prepared to lose yourself entirely
when i have you
and all experiences prior
will seem small and insignificant in
comparison

let these thoughts of me
drip out of each of your pores
drowning the masses
because there is no one else
they do not matter to me
let them all drown

there is a deep intimacy between us
and we have not touched
so imagine the explosiveness
when bones touch bones
when skin meets skin
when we fall deep into
a tangle of arms and legs
what then?

i am a fire,
chaos and creation
passion personified
bravery and courage
loveliness and a mess
all that you feared
and everything you worship


xo
C

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How Are We Defined?

Hey there,

I read a really interesting article yesterday that talked about the character Ryan Gosling played in La La Land. I didn’t disagree with it’s point of view – in fact, I said leaving the theatre that “Sebastian” was actually a loser who didn’t deserve a date in the first place – but it was one part of the article that really stood out to me:

“I use the male gender advisedly, because I have yet to meet a woman who insists on imposing her taste on everyone around her. Meanwhile, I have largely dated men like that, who think the world needs to shape itself around them, and who confuse their interests with their sense of self, who are incapable of accepting that different people have different tastes. This is what happens when male entitlement meets boyish insecurity, otherwise known as A Really Bad Date.”

So this got me thinking: how do we define ourselves? What makes us who we are? I am not one of those individuals who would ever try and impose my interests on another person, despite how passionate I may be about them. But it also got me thinking: who am I, separate from these interests? Who am I, truly?

Far too often, when you ask a person about themselves they will tell you what they are interested in. But this article raises a very good point: why are we so lacking in our individual existence that we feel our interests define us? I started to think about what I tell people:

I’m a teacher. (This is my career, but is it truly me? Though it has implications that I am a nurturer, an avid learner,  and someone who enjoys roles of leadership in my career.)

I am a bibliophile. (I love books, I love to read books, I love to write, I love the world of word. Does this define me? No. But it does imply ongoing desire to grow and learn, a constant need to be intellectually stimulated, and that I’m someone who enjoys moments of stillness!)

I am a very big nerd who is passionate about many fandoms. (I know so many “nerds” who say they could never be with someone who wasn’t nerdy, but my question to that is “Why?” I am not defined by my love of all things nerd. They are merely interests and pass-times.  Sure, I am ‘Darth Claudia’, but there are no factors within this passion that truly define my existence as a human being. As such, it does not hold much value to me in regards to making sure that those I interact with are also nerds – friends or otherwise.) 

I am a feminist. (This factor holds true to who I am as a person – passionately fighting for equality in any way I can. If you are not a feminist, we are not on the same page on social justice and change that needs to happen in the world. Move along.)

And the other words I would choose to describe myself finally fall into qualities and characteristics and not just interests or careers: passionate, strong-willed(/hard-headed), independent, intelligent, wise, spiritual, intuitive, empathetic.

And yet, just as the article stated, I know so many people who “confused their interests for their sense of self”. How quick are we to believe we won’t get along or “jive” with someone because we have different interests? My previous partner, Mr. J, had everything in common with me. And I mean, everything. Our interests lined up perfectly. How quick were we to define ourselves by those interests and believe our relationship would succeed?

Are you stuck in the rut of defining yourself by what you like, as well? Let me know in the comments below.

xo
C

Changes, And Changing is Never so Simple

Hey there,

Apologies for the silence on here. Getting back into the groove of things at work kept me busy, and then reading kept me busy, and then writing poetry kept me busy. Blogging took a back seat.

A lot has happened since I last wrote in this blog. I think, looking back on my second last post, it was filled with a lot of longing and a lot of unhappiness with my own life. It was a clear reflection as to the changes that were on the way.

The biggest change that has happened in my life: I ended my relationship with my partner of four years. I won’t go into details out of respect for him and because the road to this decision was a long and winding one, and I don’t have the time or energy or desire to divulge it all here. Despite this, know that it wasn’t an easy decision. He was, truly, my best friend. We had everything in common with one another. We spent most of our youth saying we were male and female versions of one another. But alas, that isn’t enough to build a life upon. Not when there is are so many other cracks that need to be filled and aren’t.  So I had to say goodbye. I had to say goodbye for both me and for him.

And with that big change comes a lot of internal changes. He told me in a letter that I was an electric powerhouse when he met me, and I’m becoming that firey, spunky, and lively woman again. I’m learning to truly love myself again. I never gave myself enough time to be alone before jumping into another relationship to soothe the pain from those prior, and I promised myself a year this time to really get to know and love myself. I’m already treating myself to everything I need to be happy again. I wasn’t happy as a piece of a pair, I lost myself, and finding myself again has been such a joy.

Has it been weird? Yes. Has it been difficult? Absolutely. But no change is ever simple. No great change for the better ever had a smooth path. Change takes work. Change takes heartbreak. Change hurts. Change takes disappointing everyone else and putting you first. But change is important, because your personal happiness is the most important thing in the world. Don’t. Ever. Settle.

In other news, I’ve also been selected to be a rep for Frostbeard candles. They’re a bookish candle company who has scents related to books or book shops or libraries, etc. I’ll be receiving three candles every month for four months (including a monthly exclusive which I will only be able to post after Frostbeard has shared the release!). I’ll also be getting a special rep code that will get you a percentage off your own purchase. As soon as I get that, I’ll share that here. I’m so thrilled, so excited, and I feel so lucky!

Unrelated to emotion:
I have cut coffee out of my routine. If you know me at all, you know how hard this is because I LOVE coffee. I love the taste, I love the smell, I love the feel of it. I absolutely adore coffee. But I’ve switched to herbal teas: some with ginseng, some with “calming effects”, some with “invigorating effects”. I find I don’t have an afternoon crash anymore. I also have far more energy in the morning, I am going to bed later (and not tired…) and despite getting less hours of sleep, I feel more rested. It doesn’t make much sense, but it feels great. Also, coffee tends to have a horrid effect of making my heart race and not giving me energy; there is nothing pleasant about that.

OH! I got a typewriter (as you can see in the featured image). It’s so beautiful. I named it Hemingway (of course). It was my mother’s and I found it in my parents’ basement on the weekend. I just ordered new ink so I’m excited to truly bring it to life.

Well, that’s the gist of what’s new. And I really think it’s nothing but great things from here on — because I won’t settle for anything less than spectacular anymore. Me first. Me always. It’s time to be selfish.

xo
C

Oh, How This Heart Leaps for Hemingway

Hey there,

Depending on how well you know me, you may have a general idea about my love and obsession for Ernest Hemingway. Here’s the strange thing, though; it extends beyond an appreciation for his texts. It gets into literary husband territory.

What’s literary husband you ask? It’s like when someone “fangirls” about a celebrity crush, but is obviously someone who is an author (and a real person – not like a “fiction boyfriend” which is a whole other category of fangirling, in and of itself). Hemingway is my literary husband. Get ready for a ridiculous blog post, ahead!

Now wait, I know what you’re thinking: he was so bad to women and you’re a feminist, what’s going on here!? I can’t deny that he was, without question, a poor husband and a womanizer. But in my fictional world in which 1920s Claudia is being courted by 1920s Ernest in a Paris cafe, Claudia reigns queen. Womanizer no more! Hemingway has been captured, weak in the knees by the grace of 1920s Claudia! (Hahaha… a girl can dream…)

Even though he was said to be the kind of man that I don’t fancy in the least – over-compensating masculinity, womanizer, loved to watch bull fights (gross), and loved to hunt (double gross) – there was just something about that man and the way he wrote that gets me fanning myself in admiration.

His writing is so raw, is so honest. It’s wholly and truly him. It’s like he pours his soul onto paper, and how could I not fall in love with a man who is able to do that?! His sentences are clean, they’re pure. I read Hemingway as though I’m talking to Hemingway, and that’s just a vulnerable way of writing. I like to believe he was far more vulnerable than he made himself out to be (read: A Moveable Feast, as it confirms this theory).

He writes about love in a way that is so dirty, and I don’t mean that in the sexual sense. Love and passion is not clean-cut and perfection; it’s messy and it’s exploding with undertones of lust and it’s exposed, and ughhh… it’s perfect. It’s really perfect without touching on perfection in the least. It makes a girl swoon. Here’s a small example:

“You’re beautiful. You walk wonderfully and if I were here and saw you now for the first time I’d be in love with you. If I saw you for the first time everything would turn over inside of me and I’d ache right through my chest.” 

Whatttt!? Hemingway, I love you.

Also, it cannot be denied that Hemingway was an immensely handsome man. Even as an old man, with that thick and glorious beard upon his lovely face, he was beyond handsome. A man who writes like he does + that handsome face + a glorious beard and/or mustache = swoonfest.

As I sit here and write this, my Great Gatsby mug beside me reads: “The tale of a man who built himself an illusion to live by,” and I can’t help but believe I have this illusion of Hemingway and his existence and that my fantasies about him as a man are probably way off. But I don’t think that the way Midnight in Paris captured Hemingway was far off. I  think he was dark, brooding, stubborn, charming, direct, and secretly very sensitive. And I cannot help but discover him in his writing and love the man behind the words so passionately.

Calm down – it’s not love – let’s be serious.  People love authors. People love the writing of authors. I’m not that crazy. But maybe, if past lives are real, 1920s Claudia in Paris (which, let’s face it, must truly be a thing for it to be imprinted so heavily on my soul) had a brief and fleeting passionate moment with Mr. Hemingway, and the memories of such an encounter linger on today. Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and wish that into reality… yep… mmhmm… alright… excuse me for a moment… sigh…

Ernest Hemingway was a sad man with a lot of struggle going on in his soul, and the way his life ended is heartbreaking. But he gave this world authentic writing that was unpolished and I’m so grateful for that. I wish I could have known him, but truly, I feel as though I do and that’s an example of his skill as a writer. The world was lucky to have him in it, as short as it may have been cut by his own hand.

I will continue to swoon over this literary husband. I cannot be stopped.

xo
C

A Commentary on La La Land and Dreamers

Hey there,

I saw La La Land for the second time last night because, yes, it was that good. It was right up my alley; a movie about following dreams, romanticizing life, and it was tied all together with a nostalgic, vintage feel of an old-school Gene Kelly movie. And there were a lot of hints and talks of Paris, so you know those were bonus points for this Parisian-at-heart.

There are a few themes in the film that I want to talk about, but I’ll do so in a spoiler-free manner because the content focus here is a commentary on dreamers and dreaming and not on the film. This won’t be a review, I’ll just tell you to please go see it. Even if you don’t like musicals, go give it a shot. It doesn’t have the same overarching feel of a musical because the music is really just a feature to tie the story and messages together. It’s used as a tool of storytelling in the film, but not in the same manner of modern musicals (it’s not like High School Musical or Grease).

I cried when I watched this movie. I cried both times in silent little whimpers, and I would have cried more but I’m one of those people who try and hold that lump in her throat when she’s out in public so she doesn’t become a blubbering disaster. The movie warmed my heart and made my heart break, all because of the self-reflection it created as the story progressed.

Alright, here begins a stream of consciousness response to La La Land themes…

Firstly: I cannot imagine what actors who move to LA must go through trying to follow their dreams. I cannot imagine how soul-crushing it must be. You really feel the hopelessness in this movie. I once felt the pull to “that life” as a youth (but it was crushed in high school by students running the school play). I wanted to move to New York and perform on Broadway. I remember the secretary in my elementary school (Mrs. Clarke) had me sign a piece of paper because she said I would be famous one day. I had two dream roles: Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Ariel in The Little Mermaid on Broadway – hence why I dyed my hair bright red come high school.

I didn’t follow that dream because I knew I couldn’t be faced with the disappointment it brought. I knew I couldn’t watch myself fail a hundred times over and still be motivated and driven to follow through. It was at that point that I realized maybe those weren’t my defining dreams; it wasn’t what I really wanted in my heart of hearts. Perhaps they were dreams set up for me because I was told how good I was at it. Were they ever my dreams at all?

Maybe that’s what pushes dreams into the “goals” category: the desire to pursue them despite the possibility of constant failure. It’s the underlying feeling I have with regards to moving to Paris, France. I know I won’t be able to afford to buy a house, city-centre, but I’m fine with renting. I know I’ll have to let go of a lot back home, but I’m fine with that too. I know I might have to settle for a mediocre job at first, and that’s okay. I know it may not be everything I envisioned from the comfort of my home and based off of my trips there, but it’s worth the risk to me. It’s worth losing a lot just to find out. I’m willing to deal with being disappointed. I wasn’t ready to do that with my Broadway dreams, so does that make my Paris dreams more realistic?

Second, I want to make a comment about love: there is foreshadowing at the opening sequence of the film about the importance of fleeting glances at passionate love. Especially when you’re young, you become dreamers with one another, you push one another, you fill the drive to dream with excitement, with support, etc. But it’s when those relationships no longer fuel your dreams that you need to begin to let go of them. The same could be said about adult relationships. If they’re no longer passionate, if you don’t bring about ambition in one another, a push to be successful, the motivation to be better versions of yourself (whatever that may be for each person), is there a point to the relationship? There was a quote I read once; something along the lines of, “There are too many mediocre things in life, love should not be one of them.” I’m not saying that the “honeymoon stage” be a constant stage you remain in, in your relationship. There is no logic or reality to that. But there should always be that push to grow, there should always be that support that drives you to greater things, to being a better person, to following dreams. If you aren’t dreaming together, are you truly living together?

There is a purpose to all relationships in our lives. Even my worst relationships have helped me grow and recognize what I want in life, what I need in a partner, where I need to take myself to become happier. It’s okay to dream about “what could have been” if things had been different, but it’s important not to live in those fantasies. Don’t stop that constant pathway of growth with “if only”s. We cannot change the path we already traveled down but we do have constant control over how we shape and create our future.  Get up off that ground; the morning rolls around and it’s another day of sun! 

The constant theme of growth and change throughout the film, shown in many different lights and ways, really resonates with me.

Third, I want to comment on the subtle hints at dreams being traced back to Paris in this film. You know that hit a deep chord within me. Do all my dreams exist separate from Parisian dreams or do they exist because of my love and passion for Paris? Does Paris help shape this romanticized image of how I want to live my life because Paris is this beautiful, romanticized place, in and of itself? Am I living for Paris or am I living for me? Are they one and the same? These are all questions I have been reflecting upon. I don’t have answers for them, yet.

Alright, I’m done for the morning. I might come back to all of this again.
Please go watch La La Land. It’s so captivating, just as dreams are captivating.

xo
C

Post Scriptum: my poetry page has been updated, today.