The past few months have been hectic. Things have slowed down a bit, so I guess I'll provide an update.
May: New Apartment
A switch went off in my head, and I decided it was time to get my own place. I found something quickly, which was lucky on account of the fact that this town has a housing crisis.
My apartment consists of the bottom half of a 40-year-old house. I get the backyard, and the upstairs neighbour gets the frontyard. I have a mudroom, which is something I'd wanted but hadn't expected to find. My bedroom has a doorway but no actual door. I suppose I could put one in if I wanted to, but it's just me here, so I plan to hang up curtains and use them as a room divider. The floor is wonky; it dips down at the front door, levels out for a bit, then slopes up in the kitchen. It's the same in the bedroom. Most of my furniture has bits of cardboard or wood shoved underneath to level it out. At some point I'll fix it up with something more aesthetically pleasing.
I'm allowed to paint the walls, which I plan to do in at least one room. I'm also allowed to have a firepit in the backyard, provided that I keep it a safe distance away from the house and the wooden fence. My landlord heavily emphasized the safety aspect, which makes me wonder if he's had some real dumbass tenants in the past. I told him don't worry, I'd rather not burn down the place where I live. So yeah, that's one of the many projects I plan to work on this summer.
The best part of having my own place is having more privacy and living by my own rules again. Here are a few of the things I've done so far that I couldn't do before:
- Popped a frozen pizza in the oven and showered while it cooked, then came out in nothing but a towel to retrieve it.
- Left dirty dishes in the sink for two or three days.
- Walked around naked while doing laundry.
- Played music on the stereo and made dinner well after 10 p.m.
- Got home from a run in the rain and removed my wet clothes at the front door. Left them on the doormat all night.
- Planted a bunch of stuff in the backyard without asking anyone what they think.
Also, my cat gets to hang out with me in the kitchen now. And there's room in the fridge for my food!! My stuff actually stays where I put it, instead of being shoved to the back of the shelf or thrown out. I can prepare meals whenever I want, without anyone jumping up and following me in there and just kind of standing around doing nothing. My mother has a bad habit of doing that, both to myself and to my father. It drove me completely insane. It got to the point where I stopped cooking anything that took more than 10 minutes, which limited me to things like cereal, grilled cheese, or frozen foods. I get that she was probably bored, but fuck, people need space. It's a huge relief to finally have more breathing room.
I can also get another pet now, if I want. I'm holding off on that until I finish settling in.
June: Camping Trip
Packing for the trip was hectic, partly because I decided that I must buy a GoPro. I had trouble finding one in stock in nearby stores. I could have ordered one online, but I was worried it wouldn't arrive on time. So I spent way too much time driving around looking for one, which isn't like me; I rarely become obsessed with buying a particular thing. I think I was driven by the idea that if my ex got to be happy, then I fucking deserved to be happy, too. I got this image in my head that I would go out on all these adventures and bring my GoPro with me, and record it, then post the videos on my new blog. It would be things like scuba diving, surfing, driving a monster truck, shooting a flamethrower, and skydiving. Definitely skydiving, because that is badass as fuck.
So yeah, I spent too much time fixating on the GoPro, which left me with only a day to pack everything. I spent most of that day rearranging the boxes in my apartment that I still hadn't unpacked. Long story short, I wasn't ready to go until three hours after the time I'd planned to leave. Had to stop partway there to buy groceries and ice. Then another stop to get a bag of kindling, an extra tarp, and batteries for the flashlight. By the time I'd registered at the camp office and set up my tent at my campsite, I was too tired to do much and went straight to sleep.
Despite the rushed start, the rest of my trip went fairly well. A few highlights:
- The guy who played the guitar and sang that first night was really good. He banged away at that guitar and sang with a loud, joyful abandon, like he was in the shower with nobody home. A few of the other campers whistled and cheered. He kept going. He knew we could hear him, and that was fine by him. I wish I had that much confidence. I don't know what style of music he was playing, but I liked it. He kind of reminded me of Warren Haynes.
- Did a scuba diving lesson for beginners. It was one of the few activities that completely engaged my mind and helped me forget my personal crap. It was hard to control my movement in the water because of the tank and the weights strapped to my back. The wetsuit also felt restricting. It was a cold-water diving suit, so it was thicker than what you'd wear for diving in tropical areas. It was a fun experience. Don't think I'll do it again — it's a bloody expensive hobby — but I'm glad that I tried it.
- Went back to Indian Head Cove and swam in the freezing-cold Georgian Bay waters. Had my GoPro strapped to my chest and took a video of the shore, which I'll turn into still images later. I can see why swimming there is dangerous; it has a deep, immediate dropoff, the waves are large (for a lake), and it's cold. I'm a strong swimmer, and I only lasted six minutes. Don't think I'll do that again unless I have a wetsuit.
- Took a boat tour to Flowerpot Island, something I'd wanted to do on my last trip but didn't have time for. The island is named for its "flowerpot" karst formations.
- Found some of the plants I'd gone out looking for, including large yellow lady's slipper, showy lady's slipper, and two species of sundew: round-leaved and linear-leaved. I still need to identify the other types of orchids I took photos of.
Oh right, my campsite was in a National Park in the Bruce Peninsula. I stayed six nights.
July: Pagan Festival
I can only think of one word to describe my festival experience: transformative.
I have never felt so much acceptance from a group of people I'd just met. It wasn't just the way they treated me, but the way they treated each other that made me think, "maybe these are my people." I could be wrong. I'll have to attend at least a couple other events and see how I feel. But damn, I think that might have been euphoria I felt on the drive back home.
Moments to remember:
- The skyclad ritual.
- The feminine energy ritual.
- The bardic competition.
- Dancing around the bonfire to the sound of drums until 2am.
The skyclad ritual was my way of giving my ex the middle finger. He hated the idea of other people seeing my body, even in a non-sexual way. Even if it happened by accident. Well guess what? It's my body, and I'll do whatever the fuck I want with it. I don't care what you think.
The feminine energy ritual was about venting our anger. I found it very cathartic.
The bardic competition was like a cross between a comedy club and a talent show for adults. The MC cracked jokes between performances, and each performer would get five minutes to sing, dance, play an instrument, or tell a story. My favourite performance was a poem about a beautiful elf queen being wooed by some dumb kid who kept using lame pickup lines.
Dancing around the bonfire was the most fun I'd had in a long time. I'll have to buy a more sparkley outfit to wear next time.
I stayed for three days and two nights. I was tempted to stay that final night and go back on the Monday. I didn't want to leave. Unfortunately, my energy was totally sapped, so I went ahead and drove home on the Sunday night as planned.
Racing and Training
A week after getting back from my camping trip, I had a 14km trail race. I didn't feel very prepared. Sure enough, my race time wasn't as good as I'd wanted. I did better than I'd thought I would, though; I wasn't as tired at the end of it as I'd been with my 12k trail race two years earlier. So I guess that's something.
After that, I struggled to get back into running. Didn't run at all for two weeks, then on week three I put in two regular runs and a long run. Looking good. Did another regular run the next week, then went to the festival with the intent of doing my long run on the holiday Monday. Nope. Didn't happen. I don't know what happened to my calf muscles, but they hurt so much that day I could hardly walk. Had no choice but to skip that workout.
My legs feel better now, so I went for a short run after work today. I'll put in a long run this weekend. I need to get back on track with my training or I'll be screwed for the 25km trail race in September.
I feel much better now that I hardly see my mother anymore. I've given up on trying to talk to her. It's impossible. Anything I say, she makes about herself somehow. How do you connect with someone who can't see you? Who not only doesn't hear you, but doesn't seem to want to?
If she wants to spend her life having a bad relationship with her only daughter, that's her choice. I can't force her to act interested in me.
Fucked Up Shit in the News
What the fuck is wrong with you, Putin?
Things got even scarier in the U.S. with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. It reminds me a little too much of The Handmaid's Tale.
The coral reefs are dying. Call me a misanthrope if you like, but that upsets me more than anything else in the news right now.
There's probably other stuff I can't think of right now. I wrote this entry over the course of two weeks. I guess the main point I'm making is that life is starting to feel normal again, even with the not-so-great stuff happening in the world.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat that pie that's sitting in the fridge and watch another episode of Stranger Things.