Sunday, 22 March 2015

Body Image

I am going to Be Real here. Fair warning.

So as you know, the internet is full of "love your body" stuff. And I want to be on board. I really want to be all "I'm a modern woman and I love my body". But to be honest, I am really disappointed by my body on a daily basis.

This can get stuffed. I loathe and mistrust it on multiple levels.

 For a start, I'm almost always hungry. This, despite a regular eating schedule, with all the fresh produce, home-cooked meals, occasional dining-out, and honestly frequent delicious cakes a yuppy ingrate could wish for. And still, the stomach, it rumbles, and the tongue, it craves.

And then there is the ever-increasing, pathological, fear of being cold. So much so that I don't swim at the beach EVER (even though we live walking distance from it), and I overdress ridiculously (to the point of sweating), and I avoid going out in the winter ...even though Vancouver has the warmest winters in all of Canada.

And I have pervasive adult acne. Enough said.

But also, and more worryingly, I keep injuring my core. In February (part of the reason why I took a break from blogging, because I was feeling so god damn sorry for myself), I injured my Sacro-Iliac Joint (that's my arse, in lay terms). And before that, it was my hip flexor. And before that, it was my left groin. And before that, it was my right groin. AND BEFORE THAT EVEN, I have an old lower back disc injury which I manage with regular "floor work" (f*ing floor work, am I right?) Are you seeing a pattern here? About once every 6 months since 2011, I end up on the couch with a heat pack and an ice pack and a hefty physiotherapy bill.

As you know, I like to do regular moderate exercise. At my local gym, and in my neighbourhood when the weather permits. I track this with the Map My Run website. Because I am not getting any younger and because I sit on my arse for a living. Literally: in front of a computer upwards of 13 hours a day, usually 10 of those hours at the office. I have made a lot of life choices to get to this point. And maybe not all of them were in the best interests of my lower back specifically and my core generally. But whatever, those choices have been made.

I am 95% recovered from my SI joint injury, which was excruciating, embarrassing, funny and temporarily disabling. I actually had to have an "arse massage", to relieve my "arse tension" (Yes. That is a thing. That I really had). I feel so betrayed by my body. I feel (perhaps unreasonably but nevertheless honestly) that my body punishes me for the life choices I have made to be unfit until my late twenties and to work in an office. I know that I should be overwhelmingly grateful that I have a working body with no diseases, a body that has allowed me to always be employed and traveled the world. My body even ran a half marathon last year, and not that slowly, either! But still, I feel like I am negotiating with it always, that it is demanding of me always, and that I am exhausted by my body just as I exhaust it.

My body should be bloody grateful that I feed it fresh fruit and vegetables, that I get regular sleep, and that I have radically reduced my alcohol intake. Instead I am hungry, cold, and a bit achy from all this sitting. So excuse me if I am reluctant to embrace the concept of body love.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Those Who Wait

All things come to those who wait, right? Matthew and I are, as you know, waiting most virtuously for his Canadian Permanent Resident application to be processed. And we are making Plans A, B and C, in readiness to act as soon as that happens. But that's not the kind of waiting I want to discuss in this post.

We were talking this afternoon about the waiting game, which is also the saving game. And how delayed this gratification will be, and what gratification might look like when we are in a position to have it. And how, while we wait and save, we are in no way actually "doing without". We still enjoy a fairly high quality of life.

When we were in Rome, in July 2010, Matthew proposed to me. We had not planned to do any shopping in Rome (since it was luxury enough just to be there) but we left with an engagement ring, which I have worn every day since, and me with a beautiful hand-made in Florence leather bag, which I have worn almost every day since. It is three-tone (better than two-tone!), perfectly supple, and almost as symbolic as my engagement ring of our brief and most romantic time in Rome.

After almost five years, this bag is starting to wear a little, and I have been on the look-out for a replacement since last summer. This bag is so mixed up with my memories of luxury and happiness and foreverness that I will never actually give it up. Plus we're not likely to be back in Rome any time soon. (Maybe our tenth anniversary?) I was just hoping to retire it from everyday wear, maybe save it for special occasions. I know it's not dead yet because impeccable fake-blond pearl-and-diamond-wearing retirees in South Granville still stop me on the street and ask me where I got it.

Exhibit A: my beautiful bag, which I love even more with age

So I have been looking in shop windows and on the internet since last summer, and nothing has jumped out. I have also been looking in op-shops. So many op-shops. So many hours upon hours of combing through dusty leather and vinyl, and sneering at people wearing designer canvas totes (seriously, NEVER BUY A CANVAS TOTE FOR MORE THAN $20 I DON'T CARE IF IT'S LANVIN IT'S A COTTON SACK AND A BLOODY RIP OFF TRUST).

So a couple of Saturdays ago when I was on 41st Ave Kerrisdale with my friend Adriana, we were looking to work off our tea and scones with jam and cream with some vigorous op-shopping, so we hit up the Salvos up the street from the tea room. It was a total goldmine. We were in there for almost three hours I think. Anyway, the shadows were long when we emerged, victorious. Adriana had found the snazziest tweed biker jacket, which looked like it was made for her. And I had FOUND MY NEW BAG. It is black, leather, and the best part... hand-made in Florence. It is everything I have been looking for in a bag, since last summer. Dozens of op-shops and hundreds of hours... and tens of dollars (LOL) later, I finally have a replacement bag. And I didn't even have to go to Italy to get it.

Exhibit B: The new specimen, a great local find.

I feel so smug. Patience is so rewarding.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Working Life

I have fallen out of love with blogging, because all I want to do is whinge about stuff and I don't want to look back on our time in Vancouver and think "wow I was so unhappy then". So let's start today with some gratitude journal-ing. Matthew and I have enjoyed our day today with:

  • A long sleep-in after our beautiful date at a local Italian restaurant last night - this date was a generous birthday gift from my folks to Matthew
  • Home-made breakfast with avocado and scrambled eggs on toast, and strong fragrant Earl Grey tea
  • A long-ish walk in the rain under one umbrella from South Granville to Kerrisdale, where we went mansion spotting. We found some beauties: our favourites were "the magic faraway tree" (woodpanelled) and "brideshead revisted" (abandoned, with a remarkable parkland)
  • Two decadent pastries and two creamy lattes from a cafe on 41st avenue
  • Some table time: I am waiting from my nailpolish to dry and Matthew is using his new (birthday) airbrush on some (birthday) hobbying
 But it is the only day we will have together for the next two weeks. Because of work and life and other things. And it was rainy, and we didn't go on the run we had pinky-promised ourselves that we would do. And the apartment is still dirty because vaccuuming hasn't been a priority lately. We both worked yesterday and we will both work tomorrow. Okay. More gratitude, please.

It is Daylight Saving Time, since last weekend. It has been the ABSOLUTE BEST THING to get out of work and still walk home in the daylight. We celebrated last weekend by going for an evening run (Sunday), and also going to our friend's houseparty over on Fraser Street (Saturday). Also by not wearing socks (both days). The whole weekend was warm and delightful.

I took the picture above with my phone on the walk home from work yesterday afternoon. Magnolias are everywhere in Vancouver this past two weeks. They range in colour from white to a rich magenta. Some of them have been rain-battered this weekend, and the lawns below are all covered in the petals. It's pretty lovely.