Sticks & Stones
I’ll never forget the day when I was eight years old and my mother was in hairdressing school. Using her children as hair models, she took to my head with scissors, gave me a crew cut and turned me into a boy. What’s worse, is I come from a long line of big headed people. No joke, Cilla and I argued about this one day, took out the measuring tape and compared. I measured in at 24.75 inches, Cilla at 24.5. Sadly, I won the big headed contest. So given the size of our noggins, the ultra short hair cut makes us look like lolly pops – so not sexy. So one day, walking home from school, someone from their steps looked up as I passed their home and asked, are you a boy or a girl? Running home crying, I immediately stole a pair of dangly earrings from Cilla and dropped my head in my hands. Life as it seemed was over.
Then there was the time that I was 13 in Mr. Nelson’s art class at Alexander Stirling Public School. That year my metal mouthed pimply self had a major crush on Moyez. Wearing a pair of white paints that zipped up tightly under my baggy fluorescent green sweater, I had it going on (or so I thought). Taking out my scrungie and tossing out my hair, I thought I had the Helene Curtis Vibrance Shampoo commercial down pat. Until I felt it. My seat was wet. Parting my legs, I looked down and there it was…blood. I had always heard of these kinds of stories, but I suppose I thought they were an urban legend and that women, were generally more prepared. But I wasn’t. Whispering to my girl friend and tying my nylon outer shell Nike jacket around my bum, I quietly excused myself. Moyez and everyone with him would remember this day for the rest of their lives and I would be better known as Stephen King’s, Carrie. Life as it seemed was over.
In the winter of 2001, I was 23, crazy and ga-ga over then boyfriend, Luke. Listening to Creed’s, With Arms Wide Open we talked through a cloudy smoky haze about BIG plans of leaving it all behind and travelling. I would continue to paint and would sing with a guitar case open and make money on the streets of Europe. Luke, would be a server and write the great Canadian book. We didn’t need money, we had each other. Our plan was perfect. Passing out on each other that evening, I began to have crazy dreams of being at a Carnival. Playing games with Luke like Water Gun and the Milk Bottle game, we finally came across a large stand that read, Farting Competition. I was game. There in a row of men, I began to blast it – HARD. Laughing at my competitors, I blew them away along with Luke that evening who was rudely awakened to loud trumpet noises coming from the depths of my cheeks and through the sheets. I was mortified. Luke would never want to see me again, I would never be a busker in Europe, his writing career would be over and he would forever know me as the trumpet player. Life as it seemed was over.
All of these life ending times flashed before me the other day over lunch. Thinking, I melodically began stuffing umeboshi plums into the centre of sticky brown rice and rolling them in black sesame seeds, while wrapping others with nori sheets. Munching into them, my face gleefully puckered up to the sour bite of the centered plums and my energy drew inwards to reflect. Umeboshi plums a Japanese pickled condiment are incredibly alkaline food, stimulates digestion, contains antibiotic properties, strengthens blood quality and eliminates lactic acid (which contributes to chronic illnesses, fatigue, colds and the flu). Not to mention, they’re great after a night of overindulgence. So during the fall, it’s customary in Chinese Medicine to incorporate more sour, pickled foods which help to draw us in and calm our racing vata mind.
I suppose I began to look back at these times as I was recently reminded of my kicked ego when the other day I was insulted by a passing driver and how every so often I get an occasional snarky mean comment in response to an article I write.
Sticks and stones, sticks and stones, right?
In those moments, I do take a hit, but now things are different and somehow, life doesn’t seem like it’s over…because we all get kicked every now and then. So I figure that maybe we should thank everyone who ever put us down, rejected us, told us we weren’t good enough, pretty enough or smart enough. They made it easy to jump over a low bar of expectations and gave us the determination to show them and prevail as we figured out that life not only goes on, but is propelled forward.