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billkurtis2for those of you who don’t watch a&e like it is their lifeblood, bill kurtis is a guy (with a silky-smooth voice btw) who hosts and narrates a variety of crime-related shows on the friggin’ fantastic channel that rocks my world. i am currently obsessed with investigative reports (and have been since roughly 1995), where kurtis leads viewers through tales of intrigue and murder, often featuring the criminals and victim-families involved, that lend themselves to infuriating questions such as “should teens face the death penalty in murder cases?” i say infuriating because they take me back to high school when i would argue against the death penalty in opposition to all my classmates whose arguments were premised on seemingly biological categorizations of “goodness” and “badness.” in any case, i digress. in case you are not an avid watcher of all that is disturbing on television, a&e also has a program called intervention. intervention is a “reality show” that documents actual surprise interventions (the person who is being intervened upon agrees to participate in a documentary and then basically gets hijacked by their family with the help of an interventionist – for a synopsis look here) and, usually, the resultant recovery of the addicted person.

yesterday i was watching intervention when something in my stomach told me to stop. i didn’t. and then paid the price. the intervention was for allison – a young woman with a huffing dependency on computer duster (that she actually ingested – that is, blew directly into her mouth and lungs from.the.can) and who also was an anorexic cutter. in her both her sisters’ paraphrased words, allison is trying to kill herself as loudly as possible by inflicting physical pain on herself to demonstrate to her family and the world just how much pain she herself is in. usually, i get through an episode of intervention, having gone through the emotion of it, but satisfied with the recovery process and the epilogue that states the number of months the intervened has since been sober. allison has haunted me since and i think it has to do with a number of factors.

first, her youth. both her and her sister were young women, and very young when they were sexually abused (a reality that later resulted in all of allison’s addictions and problems). they were just regular girls, both hurt, and one hurt beyond recognition. second, her multiple addictions. i am not an expert in the field of anorexia, but i was recently reading about the advent of so-called “drunkorexics” who drink their calories instead of eat them. while this is a tenuous title, and one that many health experts might be wary of, it indicates the integrated nature of addiction – that anorexics often have substance abuse issues, and perhaps vice versa. and third, it makes me think about vancouver’s downtown eastside (dtes) and how all these issue coincide there: abuse and victimization, skeletally-thin addicted women (who i am not implying are anorexic, but are starving nonetheless), and just how easy it is – or would be for people like allison – to end up on the streets without caring people like her family, who of course, have to be in a position to be able to help. this post was originally intended to be about how the bodies of women in the dtes, those skeletal, emaciated bodies, ravaged with years of drug use and misuse by others, are actually held up as a beauty ideal in magazines (to make an obvious, if not disturbing, point). but instead, allison’s story, and damaged body, continues to haunt me, because it could have been me. it could have been any of us who someone decided to mistreat, in ways that are difficult to recover from.

i think it ultimately speaks to the correlation between treatment of our bodies and understandings of ourselves. and if one is too young to have autonomy over themselves and are mistreated, they will often mistreat themselves. a long time ago i was in a car accident and i was hospitalized for almost two months. at fourteen years old, my roommates fell into one of only three categories: anorexics and bulimics, cancer and accident patients, and suicides. i had one of each, although i got to know my roommate C., the best. she had survived not only rape, but her attempt to kill herself after that rape. i decided then, and was reminded now, that there is something wrong in a world where young women’s bodies are mistreated, by others, and themselves as a result of pain. pain over hurt, pain over not being perfect, pain over not being enough. it is often said that young girls live in a scary world, and they should be protected. but i am going to suggest that young women are the real survivors. they are the ones who have to contend with a world that denies them autonomy, and then asks them to apologize.

as you can see, i need my own intervention. an intervention to not watch intervention.

oh. and i’d like bill kurtis to host it.

pantyhosei went to godforsaken edmonton recently to interview for a teaching position. i want to pause here to apologize to everyone i know who lives in godforsaken edmonton, anyone who enjoys it there, and anyone who knows or loves someone who lives there. the prairies are…interesting. that aside, i survived my very first interview and i want to chronicle what went wrong, what went right, and what i learned. here goes.

first of all, my beautiful and wonderful friend L. came with, and that made everything lovely and delicious. she was even trying to be like “edmonton is nice,” “edmonton seems safe and friendly,” and my personal favourite, “i’m sure if you lived here long enough you would find food that was good…really.” needless to say, we both kissed the ground when we returned to vancity. and may the gods of karma strike me down, i can’t see myself as an edmontonian. but i grew up in a small town in ontario. i have perspective. i am not saying i’m better than all that. i am saying sometimes you can see yourself in a place. sometimes you can’t. such is life. that was what my eighth-grade teacher used to say. such is life.

whatever the f*ck that means.

as someone who exists mainly in sweats and the occasional fabulous (yes, i am going to grant myself some fabulousness, so there) outfit when i actually leave the house, i managed to begin the day by shoving my finger through my tights (which were more like pantyhose but i don’t want to admit that i was actually thinking about wearing pantyhose because they are seriously scarring as a fabric, a concept, and a crotch-dropping reality), thereby creating a massive run that could not be hidden. luckily, i had some knee sock thingys that did the trick but showed my knobby knee-caps when i sat. first point goes to murphy’s law. i managed to spend a total of ten seconds with the head of the department before blurting this fact out. i think i managed to hold out well.

second point goes to me because i kicked ass in my interview and i am going to go so far as to say that i kicked ass during the entire TEN HOUR interview day. yeah, that’s right kids. i had all the answers. i was my spastic self. and it all seemed to come together in this glorious performance that by the end of the day i was convinced i couldn’t replicate. but, after my 9 ounce glass of wine (everything is big in alberta), i was sure i could withstand another full day of attention with ease. since seriously it is how i try to negotiate my whole life – that is, trying to attract copious amounts of jacks-attention – it really should (and apparently does) come naturally. points to jacks. for reals.

third point goes to thai food. i don’t think i have to remind anyone that i have a baby stomach, but needless to say, nerves, baby stomach, and thai food is a toxic nauseating mix that almost killed me. yeah, that’s right. i almost died a spicy death. sounds hot. but not.

the last billion points go to me. just cause i am proud of my kickass self. and job hunting is fun, albeit ridiculously stressful.

tell me great interview tales – i would love to hear the chronicles of your pantyhose ripping and such.

okay. go.