There are days where I feel incredibly invisible. Days where I take myself so seriously that I literally have nothing nice to say about myself. And then there are moments that bring me down from that lonely dark cloud and into the real world where funny things can happen. Where life surprises me. Lovely moments that make me feel silly, alive, and insanely visible.
I was at Sherway Gardens last week visiting the new Pusateri’s and walking around with my family when I realized how desperately I had to pee. We went to the food court where I immediately ran to the bathroom. It was one of those one-person bathrooms. I ran in, sat down, and picked up my phone to catch up on Twitter when the door began to slowly swing open.
Standing at the doorway was an old woman with white hair, blue eyes, and a blue jogging suit to match. She had hit the automatic door-opener button. It took both of us a few seconds to realize what was happening. Picture me with my jeans around my ankles, my phone in my hand, and my thigh fat spilling over the side of the toilet staring at her like a deer in headlights.
As the door continued to slow-motion its way open, the lady began to apologize and try to pull the door closed. Unfortunately for me, once that button is pressed the door can’t be pulled shut. She pressed the button again hoping it would close on its own. It most assuredly did not. As people walked by to see what the commotion was I realized that I was going to have to get up and close the door myself. I put my phone down on the floor (ew!), slowly and carefully slipped up my jeans while thanking my lucky stars that I was wore a long and flowy shirt that most likely covered my woman parts, stood up and closed the door. It was only then that I noticed the big red button beside the door with a sign that read PUSH TO LOCK.
She counts on people. Counts the days until Friday; the minutes until five o’clock. She counts on the flowers to grow and the seasons to change. She counts on consistency and perfection. She counts on time to be good to her, to not disappoint. one.two.three.four.
She counts other things too; the swipes of deoterant she applies to her underarms, the number of times she’s pulled to door handle to ensure that it’s locked. The number of beeps her car makes when she presses the lock button – hearing it three times ensures safety and security. Her mind is a kindergarten classroom. Repetition keeps her head straight and focused; on the straight and narrow.
one. two. three. four.
She doesn’t remember when she began to count things or why it soothes a startling itch buried deep inside her. She knows that it gets worse when she’s stressed out, when there is something plaguing her mind and her heart. When she feels out of control.
one. two. three. four.
For a woman obsessed with words; she’s encountered so many numbers.
There are moments when deep in thought or crazy in love that we forget how visible we are. We create a space that is undeniably our own. We don’t think about who can see us nor do we care. We simply love and exist.
On my drive into work the other day, I looked up at my rearview mirror and happened on a moment so private I couldn’t look away. A young couple on their way to school (I assume), were parked behind me at a red light. He was in the driver’s seat, staring at her like she was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. She looked upset, her blonde pigtail beneath a baseball cap swayed as she shook her head.
He smiled at her and reached his hand toward her face. He let it rest there until she lifted her own hand to hold it. A hint of a smile reached her lips as she turned her head and kissed his hand; then leaned over and kissed his cheek, once, twice, a third time for luck.
As I placed my coffee back in its holder I realized that I was still driving. The light blared green and I stepped on the gas in the hope that the young couple wouldn’t start honking me. I looked up every once in a while to see if they were still behind me. For a little while they were, smiling and laughing in their own little bubble. I lost them at some point but couldn’t seem to shake them from my mind.
I focus on the negative things in life. The days and weeks where everything goes wrong and the world appears to be a heaping pile of crap tend to weigh me down. I don’t think often enough about the many beautiful moments filled with love that I’ve witnessed or experienced. I guess sometimes all you need is a glance at your rearview mirror to remind you of how important those moments are.
I love the city. Exclamation Point. The skyscrapers, busy sidewalks, welcoming restaurants, and bright lights fill me with excitement. The city is an smorgasbord of contagious energy brimming with inspiration. I love nothing more than exploring the city and sitting on a warm patio in the summer sunshine, watching an endless parade of people walk by. Each with their own destination in mind. Each with their own story.
I’ve lived in the suburbs my entire life but for some reason, it is the city that feels like home. Toronto has no expectations of you and welcomes you as you are. It doesn’t care if you’ve washed your hair that day or where you work. All it asks is that you embrace it. That you take your ripped jeans and oversized glasses and find someone to enjoy it with. All it asks is that while you learn from its beauty and history you also leave your mark. Create something, write a blog post, make a painting of your favourite landmark, share a moment with a stranger, use it wisely.
Toronto holds no judgement and neither do the residents. Everyone is too preoccupied with enjoying their own life that they don’t bother themselves with passing judgement on anyone who crosses their path. This is what I find most refreshing; small towns are great for gossip and unnecessary comparisons. Toronto has no time for that. It only has time for love.
This of course, is just one view of the six. There are loads of people who haven’t had great experiences in or with Toronto. It’s easy for someone who is only there a few times a month to relish in its magic but I truly think that even if I lived in the city I wouldn’t tire of it, I wouldn’t feel jaded. There are so many inspirational business owners, girl bosses, writers, and bloggers in the city to look up to. There are so many alleyways yet to be discovered and restaurants to be tried that a lifetime in the city wouldn’t be enough.
“I love to walk a city, whether I’ve been there once or a hundred time before. It’s amazing what sort of inspiration you’ll find when you steal a second glance.”
It’s incredible how quickly routine and comfort override the desire to explore, take chances, and have adventures. The fragility of life has shown itself to me many times over the last year, more so than any year before. And while my first instinct when mulling over the details of September through to November 2015, is to run, to make a change, to go out into the world and experience everything that I’ve ever dreamed of, what I really need is a new perspective.
I want to turn my world on its head.
I want to witness all of the old and familiar with a new pair of eyes; actually I’d settle for a different pair of prescription glasses. I’d like to see something different on the drive to work or at least notice something new. I want to reread a novel and have a deeper understanding of it. I need to get outside of my own head and forget about the desire to have, see, and be everything all at once. It’s incredible what you can learn about your world when you take a step back and critique it from a different angle. The word appreciation comes to mind.
With appreciation and contentment comes the emotional balance needed to make the necessary changes, take on new challenges, and be more open to astronomical risks. Doubt need not be involved in curating this new brand of self-awareness.
There are times when I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the woman in front of me. I’m not referring to the faint but still visible wrinkles under my eyes or the newly nourished softness covering my once toned body. I’m talking about the attitude splattered all over my face.
We all go through phases where we’re pissed off at ourselves, at life, at our choices. Phases where we just want to be alone and the thought of being hugged, touched, or spoken to makes us cringe. It’s during times like this when an attitude finds itself planted firmly upon my brow. A LEAVE ME ALONE sign ceremoniously hangs itself around my neck and rests gently on the arms folded across my chest. Text messages find themselves unread, posts go unliked, kisses go unkissed, and I’m left in my own jungle of bitterness.
I write it out, sing it out, exercise it, coitus (sorry mom) it out of my system. Reality rears its beautiful head and surrounds me with all the things I should be thankful for. It reminds me that wishes are meant for children, hard work is the only thing that yields success, and success is really in the eyes of the beholder.
Reality check: giving up is for losers.
Reality check: you’re doing just fine great.
Reality check: you’re the source of your own happiness.