I fumbled with my golf bag as I propped it up against my car. It was my first time with my own set of clubs, and I was determined to blend in at the driving range. However I may have given more thought to that prior to leaving my house, as I looked down and realized I was dressed in a tank top and yoga pants with mesh panels. I looked more like I was trying to pick up a date at the gym and less like I was working on getting the ball past the acceptable distance for someone to assume I knew what I was doing.

I eyed the open mats on the range and chose a spot far away from everyone else. I knew myself well enough that after one beer, I typically have less control of the words that come out of my mouth if I miss the ball entirely. This is fine when surrounded by friends, but less okay when you’re getting questionable looks from strangers.

Speaking of beer, I made my way to the club house. If there is one thing I learned early on about this sport, it’s that alcohol goes quite well with it. Why on earth do you think I chose it. As someone who finds mimosas a perfectly acceptable breakfast beverage on a weekday, I am more than pleased to be able to drink a beer while I get some exercise.

I set up my little station, making sure the beer was the most accessible item, and started whacking some balls. It was all going very smoothly, until I felt my back begin to tense up. “Hmmmm”, I pondered to myself, “I must need more booze.”

After Corona number two, my club started to make contact with the ball less and less often. I was starting to get frustrated with myself, as the last time I could remember doing this poorly was the first time I had ever swung a club.

“%#*!  @$(*^ # $*$%^!!!!!! (Honestly I can’t remember exactly what unpleasant words I was muttering, but use your imagination.)

I was just about to give up, when I heard a loud sigh come from behind me.

“Jesus Christ, you’re moving you’re f*%#’in legs! Just F%#*’in stay still and you’ll hit the %*^-damn ball!”

I whipped my head around, and found a short older gentleman staring at me. I nodded, resumed my position, and kept my legs still as I swung the ball. I heard that sweet sound when the club makes contact, and the ball flew in a perfect, long line.

I turned around and smiled at him.

“F#&%’in finally”, he said with a wink, “now do that 1000 more times.”

I’m going to need more beer for that.


Are those permanent?

I still vividly remember the experience of my first tattoo. After carefully choosing a symbol that 17 year old Diane deemed appropriate to place on the oh-so-popular lower back area (we all know what I really wanted to type there, starts with “t”  and ends with “ramp stamp”), I found myself sitting in a chair, waiting to discover exactly how multiple tiny needles felt piercing through my skin.

The pain was surprisingly not bad, but perhaps due to the adrenaline pumping through me, or the fact that back then I still had this little problem, I felt myself getting dizzy. The tattoo artist, who luckily had the patience of a saint, told me to take a moment. As I pulled myself together, I turned to the mirror to have a look.

“Oh, the outline’s done, I like it like that! You know what? I think we should just leave it. Looks perfectly fine to me. Yup, I’m good. Let’s call it a day!”

He chuckled and told me to sit back down. After another half hour or so, I was patched up and on my way, elated that I had successfully gone through with it. On the drive home, a friend asked me how I was feeling. “Pretty good, but…..I want another one.”

Turns out that feeling never goes away, and it was only a few short months later that I strolled into a different tattoo shop to get the second one. Only this time, I hadn’t done my homework, and the tiny piece of art that now graces my left hip usually results in a face-palm whenever it catches my eye. I had decided I wanted tattoo #2 to be as meaningful as a drive-thru wedding, and ended up choosing a moon and 9 stars, with tribute to the meaning of my name, and my June 9th birthday (ok, calm down, I can hear you groaning from here.) Everything was going smoothly, until my friend, whom I had excitedly convinced to come with me, got a funny look on her face. “Diane,” she whispered, “so, um, there’s 10 stars, but, let’s just say one’s for luck.”

Ten years passed until I decided on my next one, and from there my tattoo addiction sped up a little quicker. The reason I had taken such a large break in-between getting any  primarily fell on the disapproving attitudes towards them from family and significant others, but in the last two years of my life, I’ve learned some things.

We are all so impermanent. This life that we have, the one we’re all trying to figure out, is so incredibly short in the grand scheme of things. One day you’re a kid, dreaming of what it’s like to be all grown-up, and the next day you’re wondering how the last ten years could have flown by so quickly. You’re going to change, you’re going to grow, and you’re going to fall down a million times while you do that. But don’t let your biggest mistake be this: don’t let these mistakes be for anyone else but yourself. Figure out what you like. Figure out what you don’t like. Figure out what makes you happy. Figure out what makes you so incredibly excited, what fills you with so much joy, that you cannot help but grin at the mere thought of it. Figure out what you want to spend your time on. Figure out who you want to spend your time with. Figure out what drives you to get out of bed in the morning, and what lulls you to sleep at night.

And at the end of day, if one of those things that makes you happy is putting art on these bodies that we are all lucky enough to live in, then do just that. If it makes you happy to get a tattoo, or pierce your lip, then do it.

But do it for yourself.


Extra cheese, please

As I happily ate my cheeseburger, I made the mistake of glancing down at the wrapper that had been holding it for the approximate thirty seconds between someone slapping it together and me ripping it open like it was an antidote for poison I had just been given.

400 calories? For a tiny cheeseburger? Add my fries and the glass of sugar I had decided to consume with it and I was looking at an entire days worth of calories. “Well,” I said out loud, speaking directly to my food since I was sitting in my car alone, “if I go for a 13 hour walk through the park later, that should totally take care of things.”

It was now a month before my big 3-0, and my goal of dropping 15 pounds was looking…..slimmer and slimmer (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

I quickly began to calculate how much weight I could realistically drop each week to reach my goal. After spending way too much trying to divide 15 by 4 in my head (I’m an arts major, not a mathematician,) I realized I could still fit into the dress I had purposely bought one size too small in, in anticipation that I would somehow find some self-control when it came to frequenting restaurants in this city.

I set a goal for myself and made a mental note to consume more vegetables than the ones I find on my burger. I suppose I’ll also need to start drinking something called “water”, which I recently found out I can drink on its own and is not just an accompaniment for the multiple ceasars I order. I can only imagine the server brings the water in an attempt to offset the bloat from the insane amount of sodium I consume that leaves me looking about 5 months pregnant by the time I leave the restaurant. I know the kind elderly lady was only trying to be friendly, but she looked mighty concerned when the only answer I had to her question of “do you know what you’re having?” was “yes, a good time.”

So, with that, I wrote down a little plan for myself over the next 4 weeks. It also included making the leap from seriously considering exercising to actually putting on workout clothes and following along to whatever overly enthusiastic instructor I could find on YouTube.

I felt good about this plan, as I wandered through downtown Winnipeg on my way to meet a friend for dinner.

“Hi there hun, what can I get you to drink?”

“Strawberry margarita, please.”

I start tomorrow.