Wednesday, November 17
Wednesday, November 10
I CHALLENGE you —Today CALL someone you really like!!!
“ No, you hang up.”
“No. You hang up first.”
“No you hang up.”
Wow! I miss those days of a good old fashion phone call, snuggling under the blankets, talking for hours to my latest crush. Remember those days when you liked someone and they actually asked you for your phone number, and you wrote it down on a piece of paper or even more romantic they would write their number on the palm of your hand and you wouldn’t wash your hands for days because every time you looked down at that number you would smile. Remember?
Remember those days when your phone would ring and you would jump over furniture to answer it nearly breaking your neck in the process?
How the sound of their voice on the other end would make you think indecent thoughts. And you would hold your pee for hours because you didn’t want to get off the phone and it would be too embarrassing for them to hear you flush!
Oh, those were the good old days when you actually picked up the phone and called somebody or even better yet they took the time out to call you! What happened to good old fashion phone conversation? Now I’m asked for my BBM number, Facebook and e-mail addresses. I’ve had my share of far too many email romances that lead absolutely nowhere! And even if they ask for my number they never use it, baby, it’s texting all the way!
And I know I’m not alone in wishing for some phone etiquette and the return of some good old fashion phone courting. I’ve spent many hours with my single friends dissecting people’s lack of phone manner. Our conversations usually sound like this.
“Well he hasn’t called even though I gave him my number two months ago, but he does text me every day to say have a great day! And he did send me a Facebook message yesterday! trey, do you think he’s interested?”
I’m at a lost for words! I just can’t get into this new behaviour. I think it’s impersonal. Honestly- quite rude! And I know that we all lead busy lives but I believe if someone is TRULY interested in you and wanting to really get to know you, they will take some time out of their busy day too just say “hi.” And maybe my standards are too high but I’m sorry, a quick note on Facebook to arrange our first date is not sufficient!
Yet, I’m a hypocrite. Most of my friends and anyone who even wishes to remotely communicate with me, knows the best way to reach me is to either text or e-mail me. I’m notorious for not returning calls. Five years ago, after reading that most successful people never answer their phone during the day because it lessens their productivity. I immediately stopped answering my phone. I listen to my voice mail about every other day.
Yet, when I’m REALLY interested in someone. I take time out of my day to spontaneously call to just say “hi”-- I want to take that time. I need to talk to you.
And my assistant will know that she can interrupt whatever I’m doing so I can take your call.
And I know you’re “The ONE” because I’m always dying to hear your voice so I will find the precious time at the end of my busy day to dial your number to just tell you goodnight. And my heart beats faster when I see your name on my call display and I will high jump over furniture just to answer your call.
And I will hold my pee and we will talk for hours and hours until someone eventually fall asleep on the phone…
Saturday, October 16
Special to the Star
He moved in. A small cardboard box, neatly fit under his arm. Two sticks of celery, a loaf of brown bread and a jar of almond butter. I asked him what time his moving truck was coming. He calmly expressed that this was all he had. All that he wanted.
This was my new tenant/roommate, David. He explained to me that he was a minimalist. He believed he didn’t need to have tons of worldly possessions to make him happy. And happy he was.
With great curiosity I watched him as he meditated in the morning and evenings. He read many books. Burned incense. He had deep and insightful conversations with friends who showed up in long, flowered skirts and Birkenstock sandals with wild flowers or jars of home made jam. I thought they were weird, silly hippies. They tried to engage me as they questioned the true meaning of happiness. I would have none of it: I was on a quest to conquer the world! Be a millionaire! Climb the ladder of success!
They could not possibly be a part of my world, where all my friends were striving to buy a bigger house, more brand-name clothing, a Mercedes, another computer. . . We were never satisfied. Never full.
With envy I watched David prepare simple yet delicious raw food meals. He chuckled as I reacted in horror at reading my credit card statement, realizing I spent nearly $185 on a meal at some fancy restaurant of which I couldn’t recall the name.
And as I stared in frustration at my over-stuffed closet and complained that I had absolutely nothing to wear. David would breeze by me in his simple white T-shirt and brown cords. An outfit I had seen on him many times, yet each time he retrieved the outfit from the dryer he would smile and pull the T-shirt over his head, eager to start a new day.
I would come home to find him humming softly to himself as he chewed on a piece of celery while reading a book. Me, stressed and tired from another day of long meetings, talking to people whom I really didn’t care about, battling rush-hour traffic.
But I wanted to buy more things, have more zeros in my bank account, so I took on a night job that I told myself I needed to make ends meet. I felt proud that I had bought my first home and I was only in my mid-’20s. However, I realized that I spent more hours in my car than I actually did living in my brand new fancy suburbia home. I expressed this to David and he stated quietly, “Trey, we all make choices.”
I stomped up the stairs thinking to myself, it must be nice to do nothing all day!
Why would he want to live like that? Doesn’t he want anything out of life?
One day he packed up his little cardboard box and said he felt a desire to leave. Maybe travel a bit. Hitchhike across Canada. Maybe see the world? Maybe work on a farm. He and a few friends were thinking about perhaps getting a place somewhere.
Where? He wasn’t sure where he would end up, but he knew it was time to move on. And then he was gone.
Ten years later I still think of David. Now as I fight the desperate need to try to slow down my life, simplify it, I think about him as I try to respond to my growing desire to move on, go somewhere. Where? I don’t know.
I think of him as my friends and family shake their head in disbelief and talk quietly among themselves that I must be crazy to want to give it all up to just move somewhere quiet, buy a small little house, get out of the rat race.
I think about him as I realize that I now have all of this stuff. Things that I thought would make me happy.
I think about him as I examine my simple desire to have a small room by a lake with a window, and more time to write. I think of him when I admit to myself that all I really want is more time to see my friends. More time to laugh with my brother. Maybe go visit my sister? See my cousin’s new babies? More time to read. More time to write. More time to prepare home-cooked meals. More time to burn candles, light incense. More time to question the true meaning of happiness.
Wednesday, August 25
Published On Wenesday August, 04 2010
Special to the Star
If I thought there was a chance that my dog might read this, I would never ever write this.
I've never been a dog person. I'm even surprised that I have a dog! Yet, in one of those stupid lovey dovey moments with my partner, I decided to accept a cream colour bundle of fluff that we affectionately called Samara. We promised that the dog would bind us to each other for eternal life and we would never ever break up!
Six months later I was partnerless and two chocolate brown eyes stared up at me, questioning if I had a clue what I had just signed up for. And that's how dog life started with Samara and me.
I worry about Samara and all of my inner conflicts play out with her and are magnified. I worry that she might get fat, and what her fatness would say about me as an owner. When the other dogs don't play with her in the dog park, I think she may lack social skills or maybe she has really bad doggy breath.
I constantly compare myself to other doggie mommies. One encounter with a friend who's one of those “crazy dog people” left me feeling that sooner or later someone was going to turn me in for being a lousy dog mom. My friend who has two dogs revealed to me that she cooked all of her dog's meals, organic meats and brown rice. Lovely. She also baked them their own treats!
I was grateful that Samara would never know anything about the dog life she really should be leading.
Had I let Samara down by giving her plain old chicken-and-rice dry food?
And treats? When I remembered to buy them, they were usually on sale or if she was lucky enough, a piece of my peanut butter sandwich. Who has time to bake treats? Some people really don't have a life. I tried to conceal my bitterness at my friend's obvious doggy hierarchy and smiled weakly.
However, she decided to kick me while I was down, revealing that she took her dogs out for 45 minutes three times a day. Separately, so they could have one on one time with her. My guilt played out as I recalled Samara's hurried walks packed between my need to write, attend meetings, go out to theatre, check Facebook, pick up groceries or watch Oprah.
I wanted Samara to be able to brag about me some day to her friends in the doggy park. A change was on the horizon.
My mission was to be a better dog mommy, a decision that changed Samara's life and my own. First, better dog food. As I became more conscious of the food that I was giving Samara I also became more aware of the junk that I was putting into my own body. I started reading labels more. I bought more fruits and vegetables, and started eating more salads
I scheduled a veterinary appointment for Samara. I then promptly booked a physical for myself. I figured I didn't want to kick the bucket before Samara.
I scheduled longer walks and cut out Oprah. These walks gave me time to think and be in the moment. I started to appreciate the morning air, birds flying, butterflies singing... you get my point.
On one of our walks I discovered a small deserted park with a set of swings. I haven't been on a swing in about 25 years so I jumped on. It was so liberating. Samara looked at me like I had just lost my mind and started barking and nipping my ankles.
I also threw in some patience. I vowed I would give Samara the time to stop and sniff nearly every blade of grass that she came across. I would not pull on her leash or tap my foot impatiently. I then applied the act of patience in my own life as I tried to be more patient with others and myself.
I also decided to love her more, really love her, like I wanted to be loved. With patience, kindness and appreciation. No more “Miss Critical.” This big love spilled over to myself. As I spoke lovingly to Samara and appreciated her efforts to be a good dog, I used that same voice to validate my attempts to being a good human.
I also learned to cuddle with her. I learned that I liked having her close by, I liked having her count on me, and I learned that I loved having her around because she is always happy to see me.
Most of all I love having someone who thinks I'm the best even if I still give them discounted treats.
Tuesday, July 6
Now fast forward a few years — okay, fast forward quite a bit — and life looks a lot different. I have the property, not in the suburbs, but a cool, chic downtown condo. No husband — by choice . . . and no kids.
And when you hit your mid-30s you are bombarded with the question. I know many of my straight friends in their 30s are in a panic about not being able to pop one out or even being able to find a man to just do the damn deed with!
For years, being queer has allowed me to bypass the annoying baby bullet question. Because when I announced I was queer, that announcement pretty much confirmed to my family that this womb was now out of service. But a few baby-happy lesbians messed that up for me, and I am now surrounded by endless gay friends popping out babies by the dozen or taking a trip to the local Children’s Aid Society to adopt. The single, queer, independent, happy, funky, cool, artist (i.e., me) is now a dying breed.
Of course, this baby-booming epidemic in the queer community has not escaped my grandmother or my mother. They now have a renewed sense of hope that my queer womb can be saved and restarted. My grandmother has taken out the baby starter cables and happily chases me around the house. Upon seeing the new bundle of joy of my two favourite lezzy friends, my grandmother declared, “Trey why don’t you just go tomorrow to where they went and go and get a baby!”
So last month I found myself in a wonderful two-day intensive course called Dykes Planning Tykes — a workshop for queer womyn planning on having children. I must admit I felt a little out of place, being that I was the only single womyn there and everyone else was partnered up in lesbian couple bliss. However, the course did not disappoint. Every mystery on how to have a child without having the convenience of a hot-blooded male partner beside you was discussed.
I learned more about ovulation and what goes on down there than I cared to know. I learned about good sperm, bad sperm, swimmers, known donor and unknown. I was thinking I could actually do this until the last day, when they brought in gay couples, singles . . . and their children.
My academic baby bliss was abruptly destroyed by the reality; the noise, the chaos, the baby poop, the frayed expressions on the mothers’ faces, the children running around the room screaming at the top of their lungs — that was just a bit too much for me. I had to take a deep breath and wonder whether I was really ready for this and was this something that I wanted to do alone.
As much as I present as a strong, capable, independent womyn, I’m scared to have a child on my own. I want to have a partner to share the responsibility with. I want us to read bedtime stories together, attend school recitals together, and take turns staying up when little Johnny has the flu.
I want partnership.
And yes, in so many ways I have thumbed my nose at tradition, but deep down there is something in me that wants that, wants it more than I know. And maybe it’s because I’m the product of a single parent household and have romanticized what a “family” is, but I know for me that’s what I want.
So for now I will just revel in the role of being cool Auntie Trey, who lives downtown, rides a scooter . . . and doesn’t push a stroller.
(Published in the Toronto Star on July 3, 2010)
Monday, April 19
Grade six. A group of James Town girls ganged up on me and told me that I thought I was better than them and that I was a stuck up snob because I actually did my homework and because I spoke with an English accent. I was never invited to sit with them at lunch, got teased in the cafeteria and resorted to going to my only friend’s house for lunch. At her place we watched Young and the Restless, ate our lunch in silence and tried to not fantasize too much about what it would be like to actually be one of the pretty popular girls allowed to eat lunch in the school cafeteria.
Grade seven. My growing enormous breasts became the running joke for all the young boys. Boys would grope me without my consent, pull my bra strap and ask me if I got a black eye when I ran. I prayed daily for my breasts to just disappear.
Grade eight. I got nicknamed taco bell because I had a “big” ass and every time I walked by the boys would make the sound of a bell, and everyone would laugh. Ironically, I now do 100 squats per day trying to get this so called “big” ass back!
Grade nine. Five girls came to my school to kick my ass for dating the most popular girl’s “boyfriend”, a guy who never called me back and took me out on a “date” which I ended up paying for.
Grade ten. A popular boy stated to anyone that would listen that I would be pretty if my nose wasn’t so big! It didn’t help that every time I got a new zit it would appear at the end of my “big” nose. I promised myself I would get a nose job as soon as I turned eighteen. My Grandmother agreed. I still secretly worry about my “big” nose.
All of these things happened to me in school and I remained silent. I never told. Suffered in silence. Never once did I come home and share with my family what was going on. I never complained to any teachers. I had little faith that the adults around me would view me as worthy to protect. School for many years was not a safe place for me. And I’m sure many of you can relate to my stories and have even worst stories to tell. And now I’m in my thirties and can laugh at how ridiculous it all was, but back then there were moments that I felt my world was coming to an end. When you’re a teenager you can feel so alone, things can just seem so life shattering, just so hopeless. In high school, tired of the alienation, tired of not “fitting in”, and throw in some good family drama, I had had enough…suicide became a viable option.
She came home and hung herself.
I am in disbelief. Saddened as I read about the death of fifteen year old Phoebe Prince who hung herself because she was taunted daily. The headlines read she was bullied to death! What does her death mean? And why does it mean so much to me?
I think I relate to Phoebe even more because she was from Ireland and had recently moved to the U.S. She spoke in an Irish accent and I remember how embarrassed I was about my accent, how kids made fun of me. How I hated to sound “white.” And moving from England and coming to Rexdale was a culture shock that I was not prepared for.
I think about Phoebe, her face haunts me. I think about what she could have become. Maybe she would have found the cure for cancer, I think maybe she would have done something really great…maybe she would have had her own TV show.
I read every news item about her, research her on the internet. Feel a sad kinship with a girl I don’t even know. A girl I will never meet…
My sadness multiplies when I read about the death of Carl Walker Hoover, eleven years old who hung himself after daily taunts of being called a faggot, and a homosexual. And the facts are the facts. Gay teenagers are four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterpart. I wonder about my own gayness…queerness. If I had “known” or even attempted to come out in high school I wonder what that experience would have looked like for me? And I shamefully think about my own silence when the obviously effeminate gay boy was teased in my high school.
So now in my role as the “confident” mature adult, I feel compelled to not be silent. I feel an urgency to really talk for those who are so often silenced. I go into schools to teach a lesson of compassion, respect. Letting the misfits, the nerds, the queers, the uncool and the unloved know that I was one of them. And now I’m here. This too shall pass? It passes, but you never really forget…
We need to be more vigilant about our children. Make schools safer. Parents, teachers, adults need to be more aware of what is going on in our schools. And yes I know it is easy for us to be dismissive and say kids will be kids. NO! School should not be a war zone for some and a safe haven for others.
So within the safety of my adulthood I think about Phoebe. Daily. She haunts me. I feel my anger rise as I think about little Carl. I feel helpless and it reminds me of how I often felt in school.
Sunday, April 11
Wednesday, February 3
Monday, January 11
Saturday, January 2
- "This too shall pass......" Time does heal all wounds and sometimes you have to sit with pain, disappointment and hurt so you will know what true joy feels like when it comes through your door!
- Sometimes you may hurt others but the worst thing that you can do is hurt yourself by staying in a situation that does not serve your highest good.
- People will get extremely angry when you mess up the order that they have planned for your life because when you truly start living your life it forces others to really take a look at their own lives and start living it accordingly.
- When you hit rock bottom the only place you can go is straight to the top. But be willing to take your time to climb slowly to the top and the views up there are amazing!