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bigsisterlast year at this time i was doing about the same thing – thinking through what i hoped a new year could/would bring. in a microcosmic example of history repeating itself, i want to talk about the same thing again. i waxed on about how adding something to my life, rather than making the usual i need to change/fix/remake myself resolutions, had really changed my life for the better. had given me something shiny and new. and in a way that getting “fitter” or not eating chocolate could never do. two years after i made the resolution to volunteer i am sitting in the same excited state. waiting to see what will come. what kind of newness and joy awaits me on the other side of tomorrow.

for a year and a half after i made the resolution the first time to volunteer with big sisters of BC lower mainland i spent quality time with a young woman who became my little sister about five months after i wrote the post linked above. i got to know her creative spirit, her joking manner, the way she knew i was a spaz and giggled when i recounted my geriatric falling in the shower episode (and dragging the curtain and curtain rod down with me when i managed to wedged myself between the toilet and the tub upon landing). she brought a lot to my life. and most importantly, stuff i didn’t even know was missing. we were matched for more than the required time commitment (one year) and recently decided to opt for a more informal friendship as our recent attempts to get together formally (the time commitment per week being 2-4 hours), with her now in high school and me writing a dissertation, were failing more often than not.

being part of C.’s life was an opportunity that gave me a lot of happiness. i thought i would never find the “right” volunteering opportunity. never quite meet the requirements or be driven enough to fulfill all the hoops volunteering agencies rightly put people through to demonstrate their commitment. but i did it. and i am still a bit in awe. not only of the drive i felt after i went to the first orientation meeting or the determination i felt getting my criminal record check and the honesty that kinda poured out in my meetings with the big sister’s counselor that matched us. big sisters itself is an amazing organization and the counselors are fantastic – always making you feel supported and appreciated. i am also in awe of the many women (and men) that do this kind of volunteering and make lasting differences in the lives of youth. and all the children and parents out there who are equally committed to having their children benefit from someone else in their lives.

anyhoo – before this sounds like any more of a commercial – i just want to let you in on why i am so excited this new year. i am sitting on this side of another little sister in my future. another little girl who is excited about having someone spend quality time with them. to make them feel important. special. and cared for. while i do have other personal goals this new year, the one i am proudest of, and most excited for, is the new little girl who will enter my life in 2009 and help me realize that we all have more to offer than we think. are better than we know. and have more to learn from little women than we could ever imagine possible.

as an epilogue to this post i want to say that if anyone is thinking about becoming a big sister i would *love* to talk more about my experiences or answer any questions. i know i had a lot of questions about whether or not i could make the time, what the matching process was like, what kind of stuff we would do together, and the list goes on. i know there are lots of little girls out there who need big sisters and i know that the women i know are fabulous so let me try to convince you to do it if you are interested!

also, tell me your resolutions. now.

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not everyone likes looking for a job but i dig it. it’s kinda like winning something. and being in a contest that you can win, unlike every other contest out there. i mean, i did snag five dollars in that recent lottery that was $43 million so maybe i’m super lucky and CAN win any contest out there. we’ll see.

the part people particularly hate – resume writing – is the part i like the most. i know. how messed up is that? but it is fun. especially when i write resumes for other people. so then, when i make shit up about them, i don’t feel so bad cause i don’t know it’s not true. do i? i often initiate the question game – like the one where you ask questions and then everyone has to answer in an attempt to learn interesting and unknown facts about the people you know. [note: this game works best under these two conditions: 1) there is nothing else to play or you are trapped in a car; and 2) there are copious amounts of alcohol. play at your own risk]. anyhoo – during the question game people often ask what the worst job you have ever had was and this normally results in uproarious laughter because you find out someone you know and love wiped old people’s bums or posed nude for art classes (the latter is less funny and more an opportunity to picture that person naked). alas, i have no good answer for this because i have had so few jobs and even though one required me to wear a dress from the 1840s, it is simply not that funny. nor dramatic. nor tragic.

maybe it is because i have been lucky with the jobs i have had which makes me excited about the process of job-getting or maybe it is my naivetee about all the shit jobs out there. i have this weird idea – that i swears is not ekhart tolle inspired – that you throw shit out there and see what sticks. and what sticks is usually the right thing because it is what is (okay – that last part was tolle – i admit it!). but i mean, as cliche as it sounds/is, where you end up teaches you something , if only about yourself.

i have also been thinking a lot about the misrecognition of self, not only because my most recent dissertation chapter is about it, but because i think many of us misrecognize ourselves as not enough or too much – whatever form that might take. i’m too fat, not smart enough, too critical/negative, not ambitious enough, etc. we can’t see past the past that no longer defines us. has become outside our lived experience but exists within us as a cancer. a plague of doubt. you know what people never hear enough of? praise. and the sentence that they are enough. better, they are perfect just as they are. fine. good. complete.

a job doesn’t give us fulfillment, but it offers a chance to live fully through our doubts and fears. through and beyond the nothingness that is the phrase: “i am not good enough.”

anyhoodle – what was your worst job? tell me. now. cause i want to laugh and possibly picture you naked.

(and forgive me for the help wanted poster. i couldn’t resist!).


first, i must say that teaching – my convenient excuse for everything these days – has been taking over my life and this is why my productivity level for pumping out posts has, in fact, been pitiful. however, in order to come back with a bang, i am going to write about my fabulous friday night when i experienced a burlesque show for the very first time. needless to say, i now aspire to be a burlesque performer despite the fact that i know this will never happen. still, one can dream.

you might remember my foray into pole-dancing not too long ago. this experience was, at best, conflicted, and fraught with dissonances between what it meant to be “sexy” for the gaze of (an)”other” – that is, a man. burlesque on the other hand, kicks the shit out of this notion of the gaze. mostly, in a intensely sexy juxtaposition, you feel object to the bodies on stage. as if your only function is to enjoy the beautiful sexuality that forcefully, aggressively, and uber-sexually demands your attention. you will not look away. feel squeamish. or objectified. you will, in fact, enjoy yourself. because, it just so happens, that burlesque is best.

before i went, i experienced some anxiety around the idea that this was – allegedly – a female-centric, feminist-inspired, expression of women’s bodies. i was, in fact, afraid it would be mishandled. mistaken. misappropriated. and essentially be akin to stripping with a greater acceptance of the diversity of women’s bodies. but still. a smidge-y ummm…dirty. and not dirty in the puritanical sense. but dirty in the male-defined and focused sexuality way. on the other hand, i was also fearful of it being an expression of our goddesses within. our inner femaleness. our connection to the moon. and excuse me while i puke, but i can’t handle my inner goddess. it reduces me far too simply to my vagina.

shockingly, neither of these two worst-case-scenarios played out. instead burlesque ended up surpassing any expectation of predefined sexualities or (biological) determinants. essentially – and quintessentially – it was sexy. really friggin’ sexy. and the power of the women on stage was palpable. visceral. and intense.

so what can we learn about the importance of pasties and pussies? well perhaps that the performance of different varieties of female sexuality needn’t be predetermined or presumptuous. but that burlesque demonstrates that it is perfect in the power it affords women over their own representation. their (em)power(ment) within their bodies. their clearly defined and articulated agency. and that by wearing the once pariah-producing brand “slut,” these harlots can kick the shit out of what it means to be a “properly” sexual woman.

this post was brought to you by the letter P. which apparently i am in love with.

this post is also tangentially related to something hilarious i stumbled upon in my blog travels – i give you the mostly hilarious sarah silverman in her music video producing debut (with special guest appearance by matt damon) entitled “f*cking matt damon.”

sarah silverman’s f*cking matt matt damon

enjoy.


when i was three i started figure skating. i skated my ass off after school, before school, DURING school until i was about 13. ten years of trying to be elizabeth manley (an obscure canadian skating reference – congrats to all those who got it) , to be good, to be noticed. one thing i always prided myself on, and my parents encouraged, was that i never cried if i failed a test, lost a competition, fell down. what i remember, and perhaps this is selective memory, is always being encouraged by others with kind words and other forms of wood and plastic trophy-like praise. i was my harshest critic. i was the one that berated me for not doing my figure-eights perfectly, for not landing a jump, for falling in the annual skating show. i wanted skating to be fun and i knew when i was young i was good at it. i wasn’t allowed to “just” do the fun parts, like making up routines and dancing with the partner i received to compete with as a result of being picked from the ice-rink stands as his perfect skating companion. no. i had to do it all. i had to go through the levels as quickly and as precisely as one can at such a young age with no real thoughts of where these circles were leading. when i was 12 or 13ish (my memory already fails me), i quit. just like that. such a big part of my life, gone. i had had to make the decision whether to pursue it as a future and begin lessons with another former olympian or hang out with my friends. be a kid. have fun. maybe i exaggerate. i don’t know what would have become of my skating. surely not the olympics or anything close. but perhaps something. but i’ll never know. and i’m okay with that. most of the time. but my skating past reminds me of my present. my striving toward a goal. only this time, i know what it means. i know it means a future. a job. (part of) my life. and i’ve come to wonder why we, to borrow a beautiful phrase from a loved one, wear our goals, our lives, our work like a burden. why we, when we have everything feel like we have nothing. not enough. like we need more. why we feel less encouraged. under-appreciated. criticized. especially without out wood and plastic reminders of our successes. our achievements. our lives. these days i try not to see things as either/ors. i try to remember that i do everything because it suits me. because it is me. and i am doing everything i’ve always wanted. and wearing it like a burden can only amount to crying over skating.