Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Let's Get Burnt

Hello, you beautiful people, you.  Here's what I have to say about this:

You want new beats?
You want fresh rhymes?
You want costume changes?
You want a white girl rapping about something completely silly and inconsequential?

You got it.


(PS I love you and how much you all put up with)

Friday, November 21, 2014

I Am The Dragon

There's a picture I haven't been able to get out of my head.

That's a symptom of OCD, by the way, obsessive thoughts.  From the time I was tiny I remember getting an idea in my head - usually a picture or feeling, real or imagined - that would plague me day and night.  Doctors call these 'intrusive thoughts'.  Mine are often upsetting or disturbing.

The current 'intrusive thought' vision is from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, from The Chronicles of Narnia, which I've read somewhere in the neighbourhood of 15-20 times, and yes, that is another symptom of OCD.  In it Eustace, the sort of shitty cousin of the Pevensie children, transforms into a dragon for being especially shitty, and while he's a dragon he becomes less shitty but they can't figure out how to transform him back.  Then Aslan (Lion-Jesus) shows up.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

On Not Pregnant

I am not pregnant.  Lest you think that this is some cutesy, backwards-day post of me announcing that I am, in fact, pregnant, I'll lay my cards out on the table right now.  Not. Pregnant.

But for a week, seven long days, I thought maybe I was.

Steven and I are of the nauseating sort that share the minutia of our days and thoughts with each other, so it was strange that I did not tell him.  But I'm good at processing my thoughts, and not so good at figuring out how I feel about my body.  Obviously.  So I quietly waited and calmly googled caffeine intake during pregnancy to find out if I could drink my morning coffee because dammit I wanted it.

I see the way that women tell their partners that they are pregnant.  With secret, serene smiles.  With meals full of baby carrots and baby potatoes and leg of lamb (which is weird - let's eat things that are like babies?), with tiny hockey jerseys, and I wondered, should I try something adorable and memorable?  When people ask, should I put on a big smile and say it was planned, or it's a surprise but we are so happy and excited?

       ...I would be pregnant along with people I love, I thought.  That would be nice.
       ...We could tell Steven's parents at Christmas time.  They would be so happy.
       ...I am married to the man I love, we like kids, we could make it work financially.
       ...This is God telling us that this is His timing, taking the decision out of our hands.

But there was no excitement in me.  Just dull dread and fear and confusion, wondering why I didn't want this and what was wrong with me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Moment Before



We were swapping war stories.

A room full of people who had a parent die early, or become really sick.  We talked about the moment.


"I was in college", he said.  "I was working in a warehouse.  I got the phone call that my dad had died, and then I had a shift, and I thought, 'I better go to work'.  So I went to work.  Then I told the guys and they said, 'Go home, man'.  So I did."

She had made a comment trivializing the very disease he had been diagnosed with at the dinner table.  He came to her room after the meal to break the news.  "I felt like the world's biggest jerk", she said.  

"It's weird now, I always feel sad.  It used to be that my default was happy.  But now, when I'm not thinking about anything, it's just sad", he said.
"Yup, that's pretty much how it goes", I said.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The New Place Has Mirrors

We moved.  Or, more specifically, we bought a home.  Which, as I did not know before, is a full-time job, in addition to our actual full-time jobs.  So there's been a bit of radio silence around here.

Our new place has many things our old place didn't have - bathtubs (two of them!), cupboards, a linen closet, windows, stairs.

Our new place also has mirrors.  So.  Many.  Mirrors.  There are eight full-length mirrors in the bedroom, one for each closet door panel.  Eight more by the front door on the coat closet.  Aaaand another four in the upstairs bathroom in addition to the large counter mirror, which means you can watch yourself pee from every angle.  Plus your classic bathroom cupboard mirrors (we have bathroom cupboards!)

So these days, I see myself a lot.  If Steven leaves his closet door open, which he does, every morning, I see a full-length, naked, me step out of the shower bright and early. This is new.

The offending mirror (and open closet door)

Monday, June 2, 2014

#YesAllWomen

#YesAllWomen Because I look at old pictures of my anorexic self and I am jealous of her body
#YesAllWomen Because when I was the only woman on a management team, they had a male-only retreat
#YesAllWomen Because when I had my ass grabbed at a club in Disney World, I was flattered before I was disgusted
#YesAllWomen Because I never feel like a real woman unless I am thin
#YesAllWomen Because when I was 10 I dressed like a boy because I thought boys were better than girls
#YesAllWomen Because as a 14-year-old cashier, a man told me what he'd like to to do me when I got off work
#YesAllWomen Because my silly feminist youtube video garnered comments that women are contradictory, hypocritical and self-absorbed
#YesAllWomen Because as a 19-year-old lifeguard, a man came up behind me and massaged my shoulders because he said I looked 'tense'
#YesAllWomen Because the facilities manager calls my male boss to confirm every time I give him instructions
#YesAllWomen Because at a high school dance, a boy held me tightly while slow-dancing through a song while he begged me to date him and I repeatedly said no
#YesAllWomen Because I'm blond and I'm tired of the jokes
#YesAllWomen Because when I walked to work in LA, I was propositioned and catcalled because the only women who walked down the street alone were prostitutes
#YesAllWomen Because I walk to my car with my longest key clutched between my fingers
#YesAllWomen Because when I was in college and my mother found out I went to parties, she cried because she thought I'd be date raped
#YesAllWomen Because I have to measure my maternal instincts against my professional ambitions
#YesAllWomen Because people say, "Poor Man" to my father when they find out he has five daughters



Monday, May 19, 2014

Anorexia Unwrapped: II

Click here for Part 1!

Anorexia is hard to talk about, and it sounds so serious and weird.  It doesn't wrap up nicely in one blog post.  It doesn't have a beginning, a middle and an end.  And it CERTAINLY doesn't have a denouement.

In light of the discovery of thisishardtowriteabout-itis, I've started with a collection of stuff here.  I'm sorry it's not neat and clean and organized, but as it turns out, my life isn't always neat and clean and organized.  Unless my mother-in-law is coming over.  Then I have that shit under control.


So, for your reading pleasure; my heavily-giffed anorexia anecdotes:

  • For years (maybe ten years?  I'm not sure) I didn't eat bananas or peas.  I didn't eat bananas or peas because I thought they had too many calories for a 'healthy' food, and I instinctively avoided them until I met with a nutritionist and learned - get this - bananas and peas are good for you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The First

My earliest memory takes place in Disneyland.  I was three.  There are fuzzy recollections of It's a Small World After All (the attraction I insisted on riding over and over and over...) and the park with games (we were in LA for some sort of missions work with my parents).  But the clear memory I have is being carried.

I had been promised a souvenir.  This souvenir, specifically:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Grown-Up Confessions

  • We did the Sun Run again on the weekend.  I'm not going to lie...Year 5 was the year it lost its magic for me, and instead of feeling camaraderie, everyone was just in my way.  I still love the Sun Run - it broke me into a whoooole new world.  But next year I know that it's either the triathlon or the 10k.  They're too close together to get motivated for both.  Here is a much nicer post about running.

  • On Monday, one of my nearest and dearest had a perfect baby boy and I rushed out of town to meet him.  I had the opportunity to watch my childhood (and high school and adult) friend transform into a mother before my eyes and it was an incredible privilege.


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Monday, April 14, 2014

There's No Crying in Baseball

Lest you are worried that this has become Shantini's Sports Blog of Sports-ing, let me reassure you: I'm as surprised as you are.  About the sports.  And I will make an effort to keep the sports-talk to a minimum.

When people that have known me more than 5 minutes hear me talking about 'triathlons' and 'baseball games' and 'running', they are, rightfully, confused.  I am the first to admit that my life has taken a strange turn.  I have never been described as athletic by anyone, ever.

The thing is, I've spent most of my life only trying things I was good at.  Things at which I was almost certain to succeed.  Music, theatre, art, writing, public speaking - that stuff is in the bag.  But athletics fill me with fear.  I've written about it before here.  I remember counting down the years and days until PE wasn't required, avoiding frisbee with college friends and laughing in the face of anyone who suggested a weekend hike.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Cold Heart: My Messy Beautiful



I'm not sure how old I was when my father said the most hurtful words that have ever been spoken to me.  19 or 20 maybe?

"How did you become so hard-hearted?" he asked.  He was confused and disappointed.  It took me a while to figure it out, but now I know.

We'll call her Kendra.  Kendra came to our home as a foster child when I was 10, and she was 11 going on 30.  She was world-wise and I was wide-eyed, and I was instantly mesmerized by her.  We became best friends.  She was my sister.

She was also a pathological liar suffering from abandonment issues, trauma, and probably a myriad of mental illnesses.

She lived with us for two years before a circumstance changed in her family, and she left. My best friend left.  I begged and pleaded and cried for her to stay.  I remember writing a letter to the social worker to try and get her to change her mind, but of course, it did nothing.  Kendra was resigned to the move.  When she left, we each picked something of the other's that we had always admired, for keeps. After that, I knew that I would never find another sister.

Kendra returned after about 18 months.  It hadn't worked out.  She was harder, angrier. Things disintegrated quickly.  She was doing drugs, skipping school and generally falling apart.  Shortly after turning 15, she disappeared for a week and we discovered she had hitchhiked to Quebec.  I was so angry with her, but she brought me back an amber necklace.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Privilege, Disney and the YouTube

So.  I made a youtube video.


It's a funny video, I think.  It got about two thousand views, which is a minuscule drop in the bucket in youtube land, but it was enough to garner mostly positive - and more importantly, some negative - feedback from people I don't know.

I was lucky enough that the comments weren't abusive, but I have to admit, it was really jarring.  It's a strange feeling to work on something and give it to the world and have someone sitting on their couch give it a thumbs down.  It's okay, and I got over it, but it was a serious reminder to be kind on the internet.  Anyway, here is one of the gentler comments, which really encompasses why I made the video:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Loser

www.sharaleeprangphotography.com

Guys.  Want to hear something embarrassing?

I came in last place.  That triathlon I did on Sunday?  I literally came in last place.

There are reasons, which I'll cover, but take a minute to let that settle in.  My time wasn't originally on the website because there was a mix-up with my number, so I e-mailed the company, and they responded to tell me they figured it out.  Good news!  Your time is on the website now!  IN LAST.

At first I felt really embarrassed and foolish, and then I got over it.

I CAME IN LAST PLACE.

Now that that's done with...

  • That was hard.  Like, really hard.  In order to psych myself up, I had convinced myself that it wouldn't be that hard.  It. was. hard.
  • I had an ear infection and I was recovering from a nasty flu.  The interesting combo of sickness, events and weather led to a phenomenon that I'm going to call 'snot foam'.  I'll let you use your imagination to flesh that out.
  • My friend Katie surprised me and came with her son.  Oh, and this sign:

Monday, February 24, 2014

We Need to Talk

I have a lot of things to say about eating disorders.  I have them!  Had them?  I am recovering.

Here is my first post about anorexia: Anorexia Unwrapped

Here's a post about how our destructive behaviours feed unhealthy habits: I Don't Have the Willpower

And here is my advice if you think you might know someone with an eating disorder:

  • It may not be the people you expect. I was a really confident, outgoing young woman with lots of friends and success in school.  No one noticed. Many other people that I know who have struggled with these issues also appeared to have everything together.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Worst Club Ever: Grief, and What Not to Say

I will always remember the spring of 2011 as the time when I began to grieve my mother's death.

Roller coaster doesn't even begin to describe the bizarre twists and turns of devastation and hope.  The story, as it is now, is happy.  She is alive and healthy-ish and I am astoundingly grateful.  But it involuntarily dropped me into this strange group that we like to call, The Worst Club Ever.

'We' is myself and my dear friend, Katia.  We met working together two and a half years ago, and discovered that we were both in the club of People Whose Parents Have Cancer. Katia is smart, passionate, honest, funny and kind.  I feel the better for having her as a friend.  And Katia's dear Dad died in November after a hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer.

She's treading into new territory now that I can't understand.  But we bonded over grief and sarcasm, so I think our friendship will survive.  I originally asked her to sit down with me to come up with a 'What Not to Say" list to people who are grieving.  But she has so many important things to say that I wanted to share more with you.  If you want to skim, I've bolded the "What NOT to Say" and the green text is "What TO Say".  But if you have a few minutes, please take the time to read it in full.  I feel so privileged that she shared her heart with me.

I should add that Katia does NOT have a side ponytail.  It's a regular ponytail.  I just can't draw it.