I was on the phone. It was a winter afternoon, already too dark too early, with wind whistling at the sliding glass doors and the heater refusing to warm the corners of my apartment. I was standing in the kitchen in pyjamas, leaning against the counter as I relayed my latest fuck-ups and annoyances to a friend. Somehow I’d spent the morning reading and dicking around online and drinking coffee in bed, dirty laundry shoved off to the side. The laundry wasn’t just on the bed, either. It had spread like a parasitic growth, creeping across the floor and onto the dining room chair, taking over the bathroom rug. Dishes were stacked up. I needed a shower.
Why do you want to run on your own? Let’s run together.
We first meet in early fall, hands in baggy hoodie pockets, sun glinting off free sunglasses advertising some real estate company. I like your laugh, your kindness humming in the background, your battery bunny energy. Your honesty as we sit at the top of a half-hill, half-mountain. My day has taken a turn, and the sunshine warms my bones.
As a kid, I remember Mum reading us Rumpelstiltskin from a big, beautiful book. The art was amazing, and at the time, the story didn’t seem so bad either. I mean, spinning straw into gold? A little evil gremlin? A crafty queen? What could be better?
To my surprise, though, the story popped into my head the other night during my shower (for the first time in 18 years or so). There was a good reason for this, I swear, and I feel a need to explain since saying “I was thinking about Rumpelstiltskin in the shower,” admittedly sounds a little weird.
When I first considered writing this blog post, I hesitated. The second and third time I considered it, I still hesitated. It’s not a funny post and it doesn’t really give you warm fuzzies. Actually, it’s a topic that tends to piss people off or make them feel like you’re including them in blanket statements. That’s not my intention. I’m talking about what I’ve experienced and what I’ve seen in the world. That’s it.
Here’s the thing: when talking to guys, I’ve realized a lot of them have no idea what it means, in practical terms, to be a girl in a still-somewhat-sexist world in 2015. Since they don’t experience the other end of it, they don’t know how a lot of seemingly harmless actions come across. So I thought I’d share my own experience in a couple of areas.
Put a well-worn record on and throw a handful of worlds in the air. A solar system of softly gleaming marbles, they hang suspended, memories rippling across their surfaces. With each lazy spin, the taste of the past — a strum, an ocean, a tug at the heartstrings, a second — glints like Saturn’s rings.
I gorge on songs. They enter my consciousness accidentally, through a friend’s recommendation or the well-timed switch of a radio in a car, and then I consume them greedily, seeds and skin and all. They stain my fingers, leave stripes of purple and raspberry red on my tongue. I play them on repeat, learn their dips and valleys, hear the clicks and spikes. And then as accidentally as a song spins into my world, it leaves it — shaken off out of annoyance when its first few stanzas start to grate, or discarded when a new chorus catches my attention.
NaNoWriMo is nearly here, which means it’s time to prepare for insanity. For you sane people who enjoy November simply as a month of pumpkin spice lattes and fall leaves on Instagram, I’m talking about National Novel Writing Month — the glorious event in which crazy people around the world attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. It’s madness. It’s awesome.
I was recently remarking to a friend how, despite my increasing years and responsibilities, I have the remarkable capability to remain just as wholeheartedly incompetent at being an adult as I was in my teens. While I may feign adulthood relatively well – I pay my bills, rent a room, have an unstable job, and use words like “brunch” and “expenses” – there are a few things that I have yet to conquer.