L Is For The Way You..

After nearly 23 years on this Earth, I’ve discovered that I have a lot to say.

I love words. I love the way that words sound differently rolling off of people’s tongues, the way they give colour to an otherwise ordinary story. I once dreamed about a woman and I’ve never forgotten her, because the way she said “square” took my breath away. I’ve tripped through pages of books and fallen in love with the characters. I’ve sobbed at 3 AM when love was lost. I used to imagine that I could cover my body with stories I’d treasured so that I could read them when being in my own skin felt excruciating.

The problem isn’t finding the words. The problem is having so many thoughts and words to sort through that I just can’t bear to turn those gears. The words burn holes in my brain while they are being held captive. When they are set free they seem to catch fire and flicker out of control, beyond my reach and become a mighty inferno that I can’t quite remember creating. Words echo, you know. Even when you’re not in an empty space. Words bounce off of the walls of brains, and some never recover.

If words take space inside of brains, If what I say should echo through the tunnels of the mind, they should mean something. And so it is that I torture myself daily. What, more that anything else, do I want to say? If there was one thing that could be heard and recognized forever, which words should fall from my lips? I want to tell you, and everyone to do what you love. But it could never be just that coming from me, could it? No, I have so many more words, so much more on top of it. I know somehow that this is the only way I’ll ever be able to say it and really be heard. This is my goddamn blog and I’m going to elaborate.

To do what you love, you have to pursue it relentlessly, hopelessly. If you’re not willing to die to let it flourish, I’m not sure it’s what you love. Nobody ever wants to read the story about that guy who kinda liked lacrosse and played it a lot but not on shark week or during lent. People want to hear stories about men and women who gave everything they had to their passion and abandoned the fear of risk. People want to hear stories that are built from the ground up, with twisted plots and a naked honesty. They want to hear about the failures that led to the inevitable successes.

To do what you love, you have to be willing to make the climb. Imagine the road that separates you from that which you desire. It’s steep and slick and the weather is never in your favour. You roll your ankles in the deep ruts, you slip through the mud and bruise an elbow. Nobody on the sidelines tosses you an Advil, cleans your wounds, no, no. If there is anybody there at all, they will be telling you to turn back; out of love, fear, disbelief, spite. You have to be willing to look through the fog and see the beam of what you love in the distance, you have to be willing to use your mind, your free will and your perfectly capable, beating heart to say “I have to finish this.”

Don’t be a fuck about it, though, okay? If you want people to root for you, offer them the same encouragement, too. Don’t step on anybody, and don’t mow anybody over in the hopes of traveling this road in a more timely fashion. I won’t tell you that karma will get you, because I’m not sure of that. What I am certain of is that what you love will be forever tainted with memories of those you caused pain to on your journey; not so sweet. If what you love causes you to harm others, it is not what you love. It is an unhealthy obsession that you have taken on and need to confront. Love should call us to do many things, but never to cause violence or harbour hate. Love doesn’t share, and it will not coexist with hatred.

To do what you love sometimes means saying goodbye. To habits that you loathe, to friends that bitter your warm and open energy, to crutches that you have found necessary to lean on in the past. It forces you to abandon your demons, your need for validation and uncertainty. What you love you should be sure of. What you love is sure of you.

If you don’t know what it is that you love, don’t worry. To love you must live, and if you do it openly, freely, it can only guide you to what you love. Now that you’ve heard my two cents, Go do that!

I Got 99 Problems, But…

Why does it seem like all of us fucking hate each other? Girls, I mean.

Maybe it’s because we do, and that’s something that makes me gloomy. Yesterday while paying for gas, I awkwardly pulled up my jeans, joking that they kept falling down and that it was a problem. The young woman behind the till snorted and said “Pretty girls and their problems,” as she rolled her eyes. I looked down, stunned and embarrassed and said nothing, unwilling to entertain an argument that neither of us could win gracefully. However, I do have something to say to her, and even if she never stumbles across this post, I’ll be glad to have the weight of it off of my chest and out of my gut.

Dear Customer Service Representative,

I’ve thought a lot about what you said yesterday, and I want to tell you why it was unfair and unkind. I meant no harm by my comment, but it seemed to agitate you. Though I do not understand, I feel badly that you felt the need to backhand me with your response. There are a few things I want to clear up.

1. If a woman is “pretty,” it does not mean that her tribulations are any less painful than a woman you might not find as attractive. I’m not saying that my day is bleak and awful because my pants don’t fit, but you must understand that being pretty does not make one exempt from life’s struggles. Beautiful women still suffer broken homes, abusive relationships, poverty, addiction and every other rut one might find themselves stuck in.

2. Pretty is relative. I’ve been attracted to women big and small, short and tall, fair and dark. People often scoff at my list of celebrity crushes and say “Why her?” and it’s absolutely crazy to me that they could find her to be anything less than utterly iridescent. For myself, I’ve been called ugly too many times to keep track of. There has been more than a few times that I wasn’t “his type.” If I had let those people convince me that this was true, I would assume that I WAS hideous, and that would be strange since you just disputed that.

3. We don’t have to be homely as mud fences to be displeased with parts of ourselves that we find less than stellar. I’ll throw one of mine out there: I hate my body hair, because it is inconvenient and has caused many incidents of great embarrassment. I spend a stupid amount waxing it off every month for the simple reason that I’ve been told I look better without it (and I agree, obviously.) Though I wish we wouldn’t have to feel it at all, every one of us has the right to feel vulnerable and insecure; this is human nature.

4. Women have fought for years for equality, for unity and for integrity. We all slip up (especially me,) but if we divide ourselves based upon these external features that we don’t have control of, we are spitting in the faces of those who stepped up and earned these rights. Their sacrifice is one that I am grateful for every day, and I refuse to engage in making any woman feel small or ugly based on my own biased perspective any longer. I know I said above that we all have the right to feel insecure. What we DON’T have the right to do is allow our insecurities to blind us into projecting them onto other people.

We will have our differences, but let them be less about her nose job or her diet and instead about our behaviour and values. Let’s spend less time ridiculing other women and instead spend more time supporting and caring for one another. After all, there’s nobody who understands the major (and minor) struggles of being a woman quite like another woman. We come from different environments but we still fight and bleed for the right to a better tomorrow. We are no better and no worse, we just are.

Karlee

PS. You are stunning, I’m appalled that anybody would have told you differently.

Sweet Little Lies

It’s been a minute.

I apologize for the very small amount (none) of posts for the month of February, but lately I’ve been feeling a bit like an onion. Layers of my being have been torn off, and I have been dealing with the frosty breeze of truth against my new and tender skin. It sounds like a pretty lame excuse, but it took a lot of out of me. I would sit down to write and instead of the words I desperately needed to bleed, all that my imagination could give me were dancing hams.

I’ve talked a ton about self-esteem and the importance of identity, but life has a funny way of making you live up to the words that you say, and that’s what this month has been about. I sat down one day and tried to come up with a list of my attributes, and for reasons I still don’t understand, I couldn’t come up with any. When I finally stirred up one or two I could be sure of, my mind would always stop me before I wrote them in ink. It seemed so permanent, so final as if it were being carved into my skin where I would never be able to cover it. My mind would override my hands with doubt and I would be less convinced that I had any attributes to speak of. That page is still very much blank.

I’ve had the time to mull it over, and I have come to the conclusion that my identity, my core being is not at all what I thought it was. For an extensive period of time now, my soul has been neatly wrapped in a tight and unforgiving plastic. I used to assume that this was the fault of other people, but I can’t go on believing that, because it wouldn’t be the truth, would it? No, this plastic is so tightly wound that it would have taken total cooperation from my soul for it to be possible. This is how I know that the culprit is and has always been me.

When Eleanor Roosevelt said “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent,” she was bang-fucking-on. People will lie to you all day long. They will tell you that you don’t have the guts, the balls or the ovaries to do what it takes. They will tell you that you don’t deserve it, so you shouldn’t want it, shouldn’t chase it. They will tell you that your best will never be enough. Sounds daunting, right? I thought so, too. If I’m truthful, I didn’t ever think I’d get ahead of those people and their chatter, and so I stayed amongst them for fear of the walk of shame, the fear of failure, the fear of coming up empty.

Here’s the catch:

People will lie to you all day long. They’ll tell you that George Michael was in NKOTB. They’ll tell you that you won’t hurt yourself jumping off of a balcony. They’ll tell you that kale chips taste just like the real thing. If you went about your life blindly believing these things, where would you be? Well, you could be in a full body cast, eating a single kale chip before you violently spit it out, watching a television special on WHAM. And you will realize that they were wrong, they were wrong about everything. After that you will be slapped with the harsh reality that trusting this information lies with you and you alone. You realize that it was your mistake, and that’s worse.

The lies start as soon as we are able to communicate, when we absorb the actions, the words, the personalities of other people in order to develop our own. We don’t even see the bars of the prison we’re in until we realize that there is more on the other side, until we understand that success, beauty and skill is all relative. The prison is all of the misguided notions we carry about ourselves, the doubt that crushes our ambition and the mirror that makes us repulsed by our own reflection. The upside is that this prison is unlocked, should we make the choice to walk towards freedom.

I’ve realized that I have been walking around under the weight of lost hope and the barriers that keep me from progress, and it’s not anybody’s fault. The blame is on me for letting the words of other people under my skin instead of the burn of desire and the hunger to grab hold of it. What’s troubling is that I still feel fear for letting the lost hope, the barriers float away like a leaf in the midst of an autumn gust. I feel fear because I have no idea who I am without those familiar footholds to stand in. If I let go of all that is weighing me down, I might be lifted, I might be happy. It’s strange and funny that I fear greatness and success over mediocrity, but I think this is true for most people.

So here I am, peeled down to my core, stripped naked. It feels tragically hopeless and liberating all at once. However, I am thinking of myself like the onion. I am bare, but this is the nourishment that I have to offer. This is the flavour I bring to the lives of other people. This is my shot to contribute something unique to the world. Though there will always be people who wrinkle their nose at me, there are plenty who are willing to spread me around their lives and become entangled in mine.

Bitter and beautiful; that’s how I like it.

PS. I played “Careless Whisper” throughout the entire duration of this post.