War Paint

I have been slathering makeup on my face for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I’d watch my mother carefully apply her mascara, and I was so excited to know a time would come when I would be standing in front of a mirror, plastering all sorts of colour on my face to make myself pretty.

If I could go back in time and tell miniature Diane to calm the %$*& down and delight in the days when a shower and a toothbrush were all I needed, I’d hop in a time machine right now.

I noticed something while I was packing for my vacation this week: half my carryon was filled with items I used on a daily basis just to deem myself acceptable to leave the house. Foundation, mascara, blush, eyebrow powder, primer, hairdryer, eyeshadow, lipstick, eyelash curler (yes, this is important), and enough face wash and moisturizer to use on a small country, left little room for the clothes I needed.

I started to wonder not only how much money I spent trying to look human, but also how much time I wasted everyday. If I spend 45 minutes getting ready everyday, that’s 5.25 hours a week….multiply by 52 weeks in a year and you get….273 hours. If I take after family members and live anywhere as long as them, I’ll have spent over 2 years of my life applying makeup and doing my hair.

Oh my god.

2 years! Imagine the things you could accomplish in 2 years. You could get a diploma. Or travel the world. Learn a new language. Make a human being. Making another human being. Learn to play an instrument. Take up cooking and get good enough at it that your guests don’t look for the nearest plant to toss their burnt chicken into.

I don’t know if I’ll ever reach a point where I’ll leave the house on a regular basis without makeup, but after seeing those numbers, it might be time to reevaluate exactly why I spend so much time putting it on in the first place.

Happy Family Day,

Diane

 

Calling Home

I made eye contact with the man in the aisle seat, as he nodded and stood up so I could squeeze past him on the packed plane.

I was elated to escape Manitoba for reading week. Not that I don’t love the prairies, but a change of scenery is always welcomed, especially with how cold winter had been.

I was making a mental note of all the places I wanted to visit while out west, when the same aisle man asked me a question. “Are you going home? ”

I smiled, then paused for a moment. I honestly didn’t know how to answer. I was born and raised in Manitoba, my family is all still there, and I’ve always thought of it as my home base. But after spending so many years in Alberta, something strange had been happening after leaving the mountains last summer: I had started to feel homesick for a place I never thought I’d think of as home.

For so many years my life was in Alberta. I had made friends, gone to school there, worked there, and pictured raising a family there. Manitoba always gave me that warm, familiar feeling when I came home for visits, one that normally lasted as I visited with friends and family I hadn’t seen in months.

Manitoba had family and history, while Alberta had friends and a life I had built up over the years.

After running all this through my head, I looked at the kind man seated on the plane beside me, and said “I’m not really sure.”

How do you know where to call home, if you don’t know where your heart is?

 

 

Sick Bay

My eyes popped open to the chirping of my alarm at 6:10 this morning. I had slept all night, but my head felt like I had gone to a concert and made a slew of poor decisions afterwards.

I groggily threw my feet over the side of my bed, and tried to assess my current situation. Flu? Cold? Unforgiving combination of the two? No! I had read all the assignments that were to be discussed in my classes today, and I was determined not to miss them.

I reached in my backpack and found a bottle of Tylenol, convinced that if I could get the headache under control, I could muster the energy to sit through my classes and drive myself back home this afternoon. I slugged the pill back with a glass of water, and made my way to the shower.

Showers always seem to be the breaking point when I’m sick. It’s normally here that I realize I can barely standup straight, and I finally accept my defeat and climb back into bed. “Not today!”, I said out loud, as if hearing the words would convince myself I was feeling well enough to get out of the house. I managed to wrap a towel around my head, and made my way over to the mirror with my makeup sitting under it.

Dear God. I looked like something that had crawled into the sewer to die, only to decide to crawl back out again to get one last look at the world. My skin was so white it was almost translucent, and the bags under my eyes looked like cushions that could seat a family of eight. I let out a tiny, depressing moan, and reached for my foundation. Slowly, I painted on a normal skin colour over my face, and felt slightly better at the prospect that everyone else at school wouldn’t think I was death, coming to take them to the underworld.

I decided that if I was going to look like a normal human being, the more makeup to cover up whatever illness had decided to enter my body, the better. I got to work, taking short sit down breaks when I felt nauseous. After about 20 minutes, I looked in the mirror. It was at this point I realized I may have made an error in my judgement call about whether I was well enough to take on this day.

I looked like Boy George and Dame Edna had a lovechild. My eyebrows alone could have been framed as a work of art in an abstract museum. They didn’t so much look like eyebrows, as 2 caterpillars preforming an odd mating dance. The blush I had plastered on to give me some colour looked more like 2 bright stop signs, which was fitting, given that whomever saw me like this, would surely stop in their tracks and walk the other way.

I sighed. And then I accepted my defeat. With slightly less vigour than I used to apply my makeup, I washed my face. Then I threw on some comfy clothes, grabbed my laptop, and hopped back into bed.

So here I sit, surrounded by my school books, Netflix, and the knowledge that if I ever want to enter the clown business, I’m just a sick day away.

Hope you’re feeling better than I am,

Diane

 

So close…..yet so, so far

I noticed the sign as soon as I walked into the university today.

“Give blood, 9am-2pm, Canadian Blood Services”

I paused for a moment. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a medical phobia. Not only pertaining to needles, this particular phobia covered everything from hospital shows on T.V., to even thinking about getting blood work done. It was because of this, that 5 years ago I set out on a quest, determined to rid myself of the fainting spells that had taken over every time I tried to watch Grey’s Anatomy.

After working with an amazing therapist, I went from not being able to even enter a hospital, to getting blood work done with ease. It was because of this progress that I decided it was time to tackle the ultimate challenge: 15 minutes with a needle in my arm, donating blood.

I had been wanting to donate for as long as I can remember, and with this opportunity so easily as my fingertips, I decided today was the day I should go through with it.

Nervously, but pumped full of adrenaline at this point, I approached the registration table. A very kind lady grabbed some information from me, and told me to take a seat until I was called to station 1. I glanced around the room, there were 3 stations you had to get through until the actual blood drawing process, and I wondered if that extra wait was going to make me lose my nerves.

I went quickly through station 1 and 2, which brought me to the screening booth. After a finger prick and a couple of other tests, I was sent to wait to get into a chair. Alright. This was it. No going back now, they had my name and number.

“Number 33!” Here we go. I got up and happily walked over to the chair. The woman (friendly again) explained the process and I nodded in succession, hoping that the talking part would soon be over and we could get it done and over with. In no time, the needle was in my arm. I felt completely ok, and a sense of relief washed over me. After the blood started flowing, I whipped out my phone and went straight to Netflix, fairly certain that the distraction would help any part of my mind that wasn’t agreeing with this process. About 5 minutes had gone by, and I was feeling pretty good.

And then it happened. Everything started to get loud, my body started to sweat, and I could feel the lightheadedness washing over me. I tried to fight it so hard, but when it happens, it’s quick. I called the nurse over, and she quickly removed the needle, laid me flat, and threw a damp cloth on my head. I didn’t actually faint, but they need to stop the process as soon as you start to feel unwell.

I was so disappointed! I found out there was just under the required amount needed to use for donation, but that it could be used for other testing purposes instead. I was feeling frustrated with myself, but as the nurse explained this can happen quite often with first time donors due to the drop in blood pressure, I felt slightly better. She told me to start drinking lots of juice a couple of days before I donate again, and to make sure you’ve had a good meal. “No problem there”, I thought.

As I walked out, I was handed a “I donated” pin. I wondered if there was a “I came pretty close to filling up the whole bag” pin I could have instead.

So, in 84 days, I’ll try again. This time perhaps a little more hydrated.

 

Good Human Beings

Every now and then, I cross paths with someone who I mentally bestow my highest compliment upon: a good human being.

You know who I’m talking about. They are the people that light up a room. The ones who are slow to anger and quick to laugh. Their energy is magnetic, even when they’re not saying much.

They are always kind. When faced with a difficult situation, they weigh not only how it’ll affect them, but also everyone else involved. They are considerate, and they always know not to take things too personally. There is an innate goodness to them that they couldn’t shake if they wanted to.

You want to be around them, because when they’re there, the world’s a better place.

I have been privileged to come across a few of these creatures during my life, and I am always so grateful to be in their presence. It is through interacting with them that I’ve learned when to let go, and when to laugh at myself.

So thank you, good human beings, for reminding the rest of us to always look on the bright side. I aspire to see the world as you do.

Can you hear me now?

I still remember the moment I was gifted my very first cellphone. Way back in 2001, when I was 14 (omg) I heard a faint ringing from under the couch on Christmas morning. I glanced over at my mom, who had that look on her face that every parent has when they get their kid the exact present they wanted. As I held the Nokia in my hand, which I would later discover had the durability to probably survive an atom bomb, I saw a whole new world unfold before me.

Suddenly, and without warning, I could talk to my friends wherever I was, whenever I wanted. There would be no more waiting to use the land line until it was free, no more being interrupted when you were in the middle of a thrilling conversation about what went on at junior high that day, and no more time limits about how long you could be on the phone for. I rejoiced, and it took me about 5 seconds to alert any friend who had a cellphone within a 10 kilometre radius that we were now adults.

Fast forward a *few* years, and nothing has changed about how much I use my cellphone, but my attitude towards it has done a complete 180. I wish I could have someone follow me around for a while and take note of how many times per day my face is an inch away from the glaringly bright screen, often for no particular reason at all.

I am a slave to this phone. And even though I fully realize it, I can’t seem to put the stupid thing down. A while ago I tried a “no screen day” once a week. Guess how that worked out? Within 20 minutes I’d be wondering if someone called/text/sent a carrier pigeon to relay a message to me, and I’d nonchalantly breeze by my phone, “accidentally” bumping it so that the screen would light up and I could see the only new notification I had was that Pizza Hut was concerned they hadn’t heard from me in 24 hours.

And so I sit here, longing for a time before everyone I know could get ahold of me 24/7, or at least the necessary self-control to turn my phone off for a couple of hours. The probability of both those situations happening is quite low, considering in the 5 minutes it took me write this, I checked my phone approximately 2,500 times.

No one text.

But I did get a Pizza Hut coupon.

Have a lovely weekend,

Diane

 

Foot? Meet Mouth

“You’ll both have SO much to talk about.”

Remember back when I said social media was slowing distancing us from one another and turning us into emotionless robots?

Ya, about that. 

I love writing. I love when I can articulate how I feel, and when someone understands and connects with me through this blog. I love hearing how other people feel about the topics I bring up, and when they tell me they can relate to what I’m saying. I even like when I get messages letting me know they disagree with some of the stuff, because it reminds me that diversity makes us stronger as a whole.

What I didn’t take into consideration when I started writing this blog, was that I *might* need social media to tell people about this tiny part of the internet where I come to unload my every thought. Of course, I had several friends gently point it out, but naturally, I argued. “No!”, I cried out. “The universe will just somehow come together and people will hear about it!” As if the birds would spontaneously start chirping “onmybrightside”, and maybe you’d find it written in the sand as you walked down the beach.

Alas, apparently the world doesn’t quite work like that, which is why you’ll find a couple of “share” buttons on the bottom of this article. Nothing big, nothing fancy. And no, I haven’t jumped back on Instagram or Facebook, but consider these social media sharing buttons the equivalent of me admitting I might just not be right about everything.

I’m still learning.

Peace,

D

 

 

Oh! An Arts Degree! What do you suppose you’ll do with that?

Ah, the question I’ve heard a thousand times over. It’s usually accompanied by a smug smirk and a look in their eyes that’s somewhere between confusion and pity.

I like to rotate my answers to this. Sometimes I’ll go the serious route, and explain that most of the career paths I aspire to follow require at least a university degree, or sometimes I’ll humour them and tell them if I work hard enough, I just might get that barista position I’ve been hoping for. (This is said with no offence to the baristas out there, but if I hear one more person tell me all their friends who have arts degrees work at Starbucks, I’ll cry).

I’ll admit, I had the same feelings before I began my post-secondary journey. Right out of high school, the last thing I wanted to do was get back in the classroom. So I got down to business and found administrative jobs I enjoyed, and told myself I was set. However, a tiny problem arose when at 22, I felt like my 9-5 job was sucking the soul out of me.

I know, I know. Stop being so dramatic! Working’s part of life, and hardly anyone enjoys their job. Just sit down and suck it up.

I tried that for a while. I tried to fill my life with excitement when I wasn’t at work. I tried telling myself that the money wasn’t bad, and that it was a fair exchange for being able to enjoy myself when I wasn’t working. I tried telling myself that even though I was miserable for 40 hours a week, that still left me with some hours in the day not to be miserable, even though I was unconscious for a majority of them. I tried telling myself I could tough it out for the next, oh, forty years or so.

And then, one day, I stopped believing all of it.

So, with cautious uncertainty, I applied at the local college for a 2 year psychology diploma, with plans to transfer to the local university afterwards. Some people wouldn’t think this was a big life change, but for me, it was a huge. I had gone from hating the classroom, and the idea of ever going back to school, to waking up before the alarm went off every morning because I was so excited to start my day.

I ended up taking a break after graduation to work for a couple of years, but as I find myself back in the classroom again, I’m just as elated as I was when I first decided to go back. And yes, my social science major may lead to some serious side-eye when people ask what I’m going to school for, but I assure you my liberal arts education isn’t a throwaway. The way I think about things, including current events around the world, is completely different from how I constructed my thoughts before I decided to attend college. The elective courses I have taken, like political science, environmental science, and ethics, have shaped the way in which I view the world, and my arguments are now backed with facts, instead of whatever I read on the internet. I now know to look at situations objectively, and that the world isn’t always black and white, but rather a muddled grey that you have to carefully wade through.

So, to answer your question, my arts degree will let me live the life I imagined while I was daydreaming at my cubicle all those years ago. It will go with me as I choose my post-university path, and, hopefully, it will help me make the world a better place.

Peace,

D

P.S. I know you still have that smug look on your face, and that’s ok.