Thursday, 5 November 2015

Death, you suck but...

"Death you suck! You take all the nice people."

I originally posted this as a status update on Facebook and then took it down. Not because I don't really feel that way, but yes because I don't really feel that way. Yes, death sucks. Yes, it does take all the nice people. But...

So first, allow me to give you some context to this post. I'm sitting here at a pub in my black dress on the way home from a funeral, having just missed my train, drinking a glass of red wine while wiping tears from my eyes as I wait for the next one.

The funeral I'm returning from was for my colleague, Judy. We taught together in the same year level for four years. Judy was one of the kindest and most lovely people I have ever had the pleasure to know. During the time we worked together, I held my first "teacher leader" position as the head of year. Judy was always there to reassure me during my first year in that position that yes, I had made the right decision, and yes, what I said at that meeting needed to be heard and wasn't stupid. In addition, she listened when I had to rant about my personal life, and she always had a gentle, wise perspective that left me feeling both better and empowered.

Then, I moved to another year level and saw Judy less. For the next five years when I'd pass her in the corridor or see her at a faculty meeting, she would always touch me on the arm and say, "Heather, I never see you anymore." I'd acknowledge that with some lame excuse about work or different schedules and say I'd pop by to say hello more often. Sadly, that rarely happened.

Tonight, I did have a chance to see and catch up with many wonderful people I work with whom I rarely get to see. There was, of course, one glaring exception to that. But, pictures and memories of her lined the walls of the room. 

I stared at one of the pictures on that wall longer than the others. It was a picture from our first year of working together. We were on a field trip to the British School of Ballooning, and Judy, me, and two other teachers were all in a basket of a hot air balloon about to be lifted into the air. As I looked at that picture, I heard a colleague behind me say, "It really puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?"

It does. 

All that other crap consuming your life doesn't really matter so much. Your job, a hurtful thing someone you barely know said, that rude person on the train, that stuff doesn't matter. What matters is the people you love and who love you. What matters is that you appreciate their existence on a daily basis. What matters is the little miracles that happen naturally right under your nose. What matters is the beauty that surrounds us and is also in us. What matters is that you embrace and live the life you have right now and in this moment. What matters is the way you treat others.

This isn't the first time I've had death give me this reminder. In fact, earlier this year my friend, Tom, another beautiful soul, was cruelly taken from this earth far too soon. And death's lesson of life appreciation rang in my ears then, as it has each time someone I love has been ripped from this earth.

But, after a while that beautiful yet painful raw emotion of unlimited appreciation and love fades as we all get sucked in to the drudgery of our lives and begin once again to sweat the small stuff. However, thanks to the loss of someone we love perhaps we'll come up for air to love and appreciate what we have a bit more often.

So yes death, you suck. You do take all the nice people, but thanks for the reminder.

However, I still think you're an asshole.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My Top 9 Most Romantic Songs of All Time

WARNING: This post is steeped with cheese.

I shared a song on Facebook a few weeks ago declaring it was the song I considered to be the most romantic of all time. That lead to a conversation, which lead to my inspiration to write this. Not that I have any time to actually sit and think of my top most romantic songs, look them up on YouTube, and write a little description about each one. Yet somehow that's when inspiration strikes, when you have a million other things you are really meant to be doing. And, so putting all that to the side I give you my top 9 most romantic songs of all time, because I just don't have 10.  In High Fidelity fashion (yes, I've done this before) I begin with number 9.

For me being in love brings a sense of elation where you just wish you could freeze time and stay right there forever...never coming down from the cloud where you happily sit gazing at the beauty of the world with your lover. You don't want to do anything else or be anywhere else than right there at that moment. That's what this song is to me. It's literally about wasting time with someone you love, so here it is.


When I was much much younger, I fell in love with this next song and had a little fantasy that  I would one day receive a card or something of the sort with the lyrics of the first stanza of this song from the man I was destined to marry. I'm over that now, but any time I listen to this song I envision a lovely autumn night with leaves swirling around two lovers as they playfully dance beneath a harvest moon. It's just so beautiful.


Not all romance has happy endings or is filled with hearts and flowers. In fact not all romance even comes to fruition. Sometimes love is unrequited and excruciating, biting chunks out of your heart and spitting them on to the pavement. I chose this song as the lyrics and music combine perfectly to emulate that feeling of two people who want so badly to be together but just can't, a situation I have found myself in on more than one occasion. Plus, it has my favourite line of all time, "words are vitamins and life is short." And, how often does Ani Difranco have Prince as a backup singer? Just this once.


Life would be some much easier and a hell of a lot less painful if we could just switch our hearts on and off like a light, but that's not how love works. It comes along at the most inappropriate times and often not when you're ready for it. It also may throw your heart in the path of the wrong person (as mentioned previously). When it comes to love there is absolutely nothing you can do, and that's why this song made it here.


While I love this this next song and think that both the lyrics and music are gorgeous, I must admit that it was chosen for someone I truly loved a lifetime ago. Unfortunately, we all lost him. Some people who knew us back then might suspect that I would have chosen a Grateful Dead song in his memory, but no. We went to see this artist in Ann Arbor with some friends, who were trying to record the gig. However, the tape ended up being mainly a recording of our mushy lovey dovey conversation with Robyn Hitchcok playing somewhere in the background. I sometimes get lost in that memory, but I'll save my illusions for myself.


I chose this next song for two reasons: 1) It's sexy, really sexy. It's I-want-to-take-you-home-right-now-and-start-taking-off-your-clothes-before-we-get-through-the-door sexy. 2) I really like being single, but I even have moments when I want to stop playing with my bow and arrow. I just need the right man to give me a reason.


I love this next song. This song gets me going and has me bouncing around the room, and I may very well be guilty of overplaying it. Lord knows I've shared it on social media more than once. To me it is the essence of what's like to be in those first few weeks of a new relationship, that cloud nine feeling I mentioned earlier, the honeymoon stage. Love love love...


"Wasn't it 9:10 just fifteen minutes ago?"
"Then why is it 11:20 now?"
Time is relative and it certainly zooms past when you're falling in love. Those first few conversations that last well into the morning before you even realise it and have you walking around the next day in a sleepless haze with a dopey smile on your face. Your head spins and you don't even notice the resulting clumsiness from sleep deprivation. After all " can't fight gravity on a planet that insists that love is like falling and..."


And finally, my all time most romantic song. I don't think I need to explain this. Just listen to it.


Of course there are other beautiful songs out there, but these move me every time they're played. And, now I'm off to bed.

As you were.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Giving up hope...

Yet again, another cryptic post. Perhaps that's my true superpower, and my superhero name should be Cryptonia. But, doesn't that make my secret weapon Cryptonite (Kryptonite)? If so, wouldn't that make me a super villain? Sorry. Digressing...

The title of this post makes it sound like I'm going to off myself, doesn't it? Don't worry. The complete opposite is true. I've not given up hope in despair...well...okay I kinda did, but I'm not in despair. There's a sense of freedom and joy that has come from finally and at last just giving up and accepting that I have absolutely no control over said situation. There's nothing I can do that will lead to the outcome I desire. Phew.

Giving up hope doesn't make you feel hopeless. It makes you feel hopeful.

Of course if you're a buddhist, you already know that. Hope can be detrimental because it focuses you on an outcome and brings you out of the present. It also breeds desire, and while desire fulfilled brings happiness, that happiness won't always last forever. Nothing lasts forever. Plus, unfulfilled desire leads to unhappiness, but fortunately that also won't last forever.

So, when you have a desire (like I did) and you hope and hope for that desire (like I did), only to be disappointed and maybe even a little heartbroken (like I was), and finally just say, "Fuck it," and let it go, it's a bit disappointing at first, but then it's liberating. Not the type of liberation of a prisoner coming out of a dark cell after many years. More the feeling you get when you have way too much on your plate and someone offers to do one of your most menial, time consuming tasks. It's as if you've been released from a tedious burden.

I don't think giving up all hope is a good thing, however. I am still hoping to increase my cycle speed, and that leads me to choose healthier diet and behaviour. If I gave up hope on that, I'd probably start to drink and eat more and become lethargic. At the same time increasing my cycle speed is an ongoing hope that never ends and a bit different from a final goal or end desire. Increasing my speed is not an object or person. I'll admit it's a bit disappointing when I get stuck in a rut and don't improve, but it also keeps me going. I do it more for the joy of the activity. After all, a hiker doesn't hike up a mountain purely for the view at the top. It's the journey not the destination that keeps the hiker going. For me the reward of pizza at the bottom also helps. I've digressed again, haven't I?

So, this is starting to be my year of wisdom. Two days in and two wise adages.

First, if it's meant to be, there's nothing you can do to fuck it up. You just need to accept the fact that it may not be meant to be.

And now, giving up hope doesn't make you feel hopeless. It makes you feel hopeful.

I also seem to be saying fuck a lot.

As you were.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

A Birthday Epiphany (or something like that)

This post will seem a bit cryptic to most of you, and I apologise for that now. However, I'm no longer in the business of airing my dirty laundry here...or any laundry for that matter. Seriously, do you want to see my underwear? But, I digress.

Oh, I'm also going to use the word 'fuck' a lot. Consider yourself warned.

I'm another year older today, and thus far I'm having a spectacular birthday weekend. There is, however, a slight dark cloud hovering above my elation that's now gotten to the point where I don't think I can emotionally handle the status quo, and I need to take action to get out from under said cloud and continue happily on my way.

This action is a very subtle one and probably won't even be noticed (I hope), but there is a possible awkwardness that may result from it if it is. So, maybe I should explain myself before taking this action to ease the possible discomfort. But, it is just a possibility of awkwardness, not definite. By explaining myself I could make things ultimately better in the end, or I could forever destroy a beautiful dynamic that I've grown to love and cherish. I am only doing what I have to do so I can be happy with things as they are and preserve and continue with that cherished dynamic in the future. In other words so that I can happily and comfortably return to the status quo.

Am I making myself cryptically clear? Good. Now, here's the wisdom.

If it's meant to be, there's nothing you can do to fuck it up. You just need to accept the fact that it may not be meant to be.

So, my action will not fuck up anything that's meant to be.  If I explain what I'm doing that will not fuck things up either, if they're meant to be. Publishing this post also won't fuck things up. It's a win-win situation really. If it's really not meant to be, if this dynamic is only a bit of temporary joy, I shall relish it now, kiss it goodbye, and keep the memory of it close to my heart. My happiness is paramount. At the end of the day, I'm the person who will be with me for the rest of my life, so I need to take care of my heart. Whether I choose to wear it on my sleeve before I tuck it safely in a box to possibly give away at a later date won't matter, because if it's meant to be there's nothing I can do to fuck this up.

As you were.