In honour of Suicide Prevention Day, I’m making an admission. I’m maybe not a person that you’d think would have had any issues: I was in the top of my high school classes, fairly outgoing, and maybe even a tad adventurous. I can come across as out-going, engaged, even gregarious.
However, after I graduated from high school, and left home, a big shift happened for me and not in a good way. I went a bit haywire with booze and drugs, experimenting within a context of ‘partying’. I’m pretty sure at the time, and well into my 20’s, this was self-medication, allowing me to feel some sort of relief from depression and anxiety that I’d carried around for most of the time I was at university.
I’ve gone through peaks and valleys with my mental health, that is for sure. But sadly, even at times when I really should have been the happiest, with the most gratitude, I was often sullen and distanced. I was terminally depressed, even facing the most beautiful vistas and the most amazing travels. At times I was also – GASP – suicidal.
I realized- embarrassingly- that last month it has been 10 years that I’ve been single.
Not without some encounters (good/ bad/ indifferent) along the way, but without someone that I would call “long-term boyfriend”… It hasn’t been a decade without other accomplishments though- I decided to quit a job to return full-time to school, travelled overseas (NZ, Fiji, Australia, Germany, London, and a couple trips to New York + others), I’ve gotten my degree, I’ve moved to a new town and found a job and kept that job for five years, while being promoted along the way, I’ve learned a few other things (partial German, how to crochet), written/ directed a short film, helped on others. I’ve taken my Reiki levels, reflexology, and am now unemployed (by choice) with looking at a WTF and HTF am I going to define myself in the next 10 years (G-d willing of course).
So I thought about this whole being single thing – what it means ‘socially’ and what it means for me. I had a bit of a thought wave – what if I was one of those people who would never marry – a spinster/ a bachelorette – and that is just what is determined? Apart from the feeling sorry for myself (as that would happen) what else is there to being single? Would my life’s course, or what I want to do with my life, change in anyway?
This weekend I spent two days sitting at a local market selling off some of my vinyl records. I’ve been collecting records for about 15 years, and it has gotten to a point with my own ‘collection’ that I have way way too many. Of course, there is the honest response as well that almost all of the music that I listen to now is in an electronic format, so I wonder the value of keeping the records around.
I found the experience in selling the records quite cathartic, where it somehow made me feel a bit better knowing that my records were going home with people who would cherish them a bit more than I had cherished them. But the really amazing part for me were the people that would just flip through the records because they were there – and the age ranges – anywhere from kids around 11 years old, to probably one of the older customers who would have had to have been in his mid-seventies at least. All of them had the stories that went along with each record – from those that had some of the records as kids, to others who remember seeing one of the bands in concert, to the one person that was looking solely for album covers by this one graphic designer from the 50’s. I knew that my record collection was diverse, but I really didn’t think it would reel in such an eclectic crowd.
It was a great experience – I didn’t know how I would be accepted as the market was mostly for hand-crafted materials. But it seemed like the boyfriends/ husbands of some of those that were there for the more hand-crafted items would drift over and have a look at records when they had a moment. But the buying was not at all just from men – I’d say it was about 50/50 split. It seemed that a good portion of those that bought records from me didn’t even have a record player at home – they just either loved the artwork, or they loved the kitschy attraction of vinyl, or they thought they would hold on to the vinyl longer than other musical formats. One younger lady had almost literally flipped when she saw I had Prince’s Purple Rain (in fairly pristine condition); she didn’t have a record player, and most certainly had the MP3 versions of some of his songs, but it didn’t stop her from buying the record.
When I got home after the fairly successful market, I decided to watch a documentary that had been made a couple of years ago called “I Need that Record” which attempted to document the rationale behind the decline of the ‘record store’ as a place of musical community.
The documentary wasn’t that well constructed, and seemed to pit the local record store against the big bad record industry- I imagine a somewhat tenuous relationship at best. There were interviews with bigger names from music who have ventured into side-businesses, or who were now self-releasing music, and who had said eff you to the traditional business models and were trying to embrace a new way of connecting with their audiences. One record store who had apparently been pushed out of business by a neighbouring print store was profiled as well, but the idea of why the business hadn’t attempted to set-up in another location was never investigated in the film.
I decided today I’d take a small drive to Canmore for something to do – and to somewhat appreciate the unfall-like weather we’ve been having. It was almost warm enough that I could crack out my summer dresses that I got for – what – summer? But not quite. I still dressed up tho – tights/ heels/ skirt. It’s a new side of me – this whole dressing up/ wearing decent clothes, etc.
So the last couple of days, my car has had a funk to it. Not a cool, “Parliament” type funk, but a smell. Kind of like old rabbit.
So last night I cleaned it out – and this morning – still stinky. I couldn’t figure it out. So I just ignored it.
I drove up to Canmore- lovely drive, not too much traffic, and I found myself on the main drag in a rocks and crystals store. Actually – you may not know that I took a level 1 Reiki class last weekend, and it was amazing. The leader of the course was brilliant and had a sense of humour, which I adore. I’d like to do more with that part of my life – but I’m not putting too much pressure on it right now. So, this rock and crystal shop was great – I found a few things I was looking for (and a few I wasn’t!), went and bought a green tea latte, and then drove home to Calgary. I decided I needed some food from Amaranth (local ‘health food’ store, sells lots of gluten-free stuff).
So, it was getting a bit cold, so I tried to turn on the heat.
My car pulled a Linda Blair. It started spewing green liquid from the heater.
My boss recently gave us at work a copy of the book, “The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement” by Twenge, the same bright bulb that authored “Generation Me”. The vernacular popularized by this psychologist has now been utilized to inform working/ evaluation practices in dealing with adults around my age group, as well as now informing pedagogical responses to curricula.
My first response, without delving too deeply into this book, was bullshit. First off, any book that jumps to the conclusion of calling something that is ultimately as unprovable as an “epidemic” has flawed methodology. More than an interpretation of one generation’s responses to social, economic or cultural stimuli, the book merely sets out the writers’ bias and lack of rigorous methodology within their own studies. Continue reading
This is a new feature – people I like. I like a lot of people, but for this installment, I will focus on a very very crazy person that lives in Washington State and goes by many names. Some call her Bubba. Some call her mmmmmmmmmmonkeyspud. Others call her “Ugly Baby”, or perhaps, “Barter Sauce” or some, more boring people, call her Rosalie.
Dear Rosalie is a crafter and a conservator of the strange. She likes to put things in plastic that really shouldn’t be captured together. Her Shower Art pieces remind me of what happens to poor insects in sap over thousands of years – her pieces are like the Amber of art for the shower world. I’ve exposed many of my friends/ enemies/ others to her work, and usually it illicits a fairly positive response. Nothing like being told to “buy milk whore” by a small piece of art on your mirror, or “Pick up the towel or I’ll bite your face off” by a cut-out leopard stuck to your shower door.
How Can you argue with Jerk It? Really? How Can you? Try.
Rosalie also runs an art ‘system’ of recycling the strangest pieces of art that can be found – the deal is that you send a piece in, you get one traded back. I guess if you wanted to, you could send that back when you were bored, and then perhaps get something else. Honestly, it confuses me a bit, but not in a bad way. The whole grouping of the weirdest pieces are off to Sacramento for an installation, where Rosalie is also hoping for a bit of help $$ wise through Kickstarter: http://bit.ly/cAi2g2.
When I didn’t interview Rosalie, I asked her how she started. She didn’t answer. Instead I was pointed towards her blog, and I was able to answer some of my own questions. Her blog is here, and you can find links to her etsy site, and a few other sites as well —> http://ilikepretty.blogspot.com/
So Rosalie. Someone I like. She’s very strange, and, somewhat like Lady Tar Tar in a meat dress, she stands out. In a good way? I guess that remains to be seen?