The Big Dream and The Get-me-out-of-here

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There is a pandemic sweeping the lives of the late-twenty-early-thirty-something year olds who don’t have children, might have fur-babies and wake up one day asking themselves WHAT THE FUCK.

If you are reading this and taking a big deep breath because you realize you are not alone, you are welcome. If this awakens a long dormant sleeping dragon of thought that you suspected existed but you couldn’t fully recognize, then I apologize – because shiiiiit I am about to justify every niggle you ever felt.

We, the unsettled settled are out there and we are hungry, we are stubborn, we are restless and we are bursting out of our skins. Indulge me in self indulgence all you traditionalists.

Over countless coffee’s and beers, I’ve had the same conversation over and over again. The “I am stuck in a rut and I don’t even know how to get out because I’m too damn tired” one, where educated, hardworking, passionate people, lament the thought bubble we are stuck in. We were told we could have it all. So where is it? Cookie please!

The new normal is that we want to have jobs we like, we want to travel the world, have a couple babies, maybe get married and be able to afford it all while the job market around us is like “JK bae, 10+ years experience, no benefits, $38k pa and you cool with working unpaid overtime and weekends? Holla at me!” and the dating scene is a revolving door of fuckboys and girls who can’t make eye contact with anything but their phones. The news is going: Don’t even THINK about getting on a train/plane or congregating anywhere in public in case of shootings/bombings/knife attacks and our parents are getting older and more dependent. That isn’t depressing. No siree.

Believe me, I’m aware of how lucky I am. I’m writing this to you from a first world country that I am allowed to live in because my parents were born in the right place and got me a “good” passport. If I sound articulate or intelligent by any stretch, it’s because I am also educated thanks to that same birth place, and the guidance of two excellent people who poured money into my brain (via the veins of formal instructional institutions). I’m white, which means I hopefully wont get shot for no reason in my car, and I’m female, which puts me at an advantage or a disadvantage depending on who you talk to, and so long as I’m not running for president.

And listen, I’m the first person to call people out on #firstworldproblems. Believe me. I’ve walked on the sidelines of poverty, I know that there are deeper issues at play in our world than the demented cries of a person who can’t afford the new iPhone.

But if there is one thing I have learned over the last few months of the ups and downs, it is that you can’t just push away things that you feel, and you can’t panic or beat yourself up because you feel them (thanks Mum) or because you are so preoccupied with keeping up the pretences that you have your shit together on social media. We know you don’t have your shit together…we’ve been to your apartment.

I feel it and I’m calling it out. The transition from hopefully graduate to slightly more jaded adult is not that fun at the moment. It’s not cute any more that we feel directionless. This isn’t Sex and the City where our lack of partners is because there is just too much dick to choose from. Our parents are sitting us down telling us they’d “like to see us get on the property ladder” and we’re agreeing with them whole heartedly as we open another letter about our student loans and wondering if we’ll get scurvy if we eat no-brand frosted flakes five nights a week for dinner.

We all started out with such big dreams! We went to school and we played along and we were encouraged to day-dream about what we “wanted to be” when we grew up. And then half of us fell off the wagon somewhere after high school and shrugged and realized that our job’s maybe don’t have to be our careers. Then we split up again when some of us realized that we’d give up that dream job for the security of that paycheck, or the option to travel with work. Those of us that have stayed the course  are more often than not slamming our faces into our laptops in the public library when we are on the hunt for the next job or big break AGAIN, thinking about escaping through English teaching in Asia or “how much DOES selling your *insert body part or fluid* really pay?”

I don’t have the solution to the twentythirtysomething malaise, and no matter how I google it (or Bing it… just kidding The Bing is dead, long live the Bing), no advice post or computer filtered answer can make my decisions for me (though I’d invest in the app that could).

All I know is that personally, I live happiest in the carnage and constant movement of work and sensory overload – when there are TOO many plates spinning in the air (because when that happens, how could I possibly have time to turn inwards). That lifestyle doesn’t really jive-turkey with the expiring “rising-of-the-ladder” career trajectory theory, and I’m tired of trying to be a square peg in a round hole.

Success is measured in many different ways, which is a topic for another day.

But for today – for those this resonates with, just know that you are not alone, and I’ve come to know, for myself anyway, that is the door doesn’t open, I’m just going to have to buy a sledge hammer. The coffee is on me when it comes to these conversations, because maybe if we stack our thoughts and idea’s one on top of each other, we’ll find a way to climb out of these ruts.

 

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5 things I thought would be different when I left home

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It has been almost 10 years since I left home and went out into the wild, scary, unknown world of adulthood living. I feel like I was truly and utterly underprepared for what was out there, and had I known, I’d have pulled a jew-dude (TM) and stayed at home until I was thirty.

But just like with black, there’s really no going back once you have fled the familial nest.

I just had so many misconceptions on what I thought living away from my parents would look like.

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  1. “I can eat whatever I want!”
    Oh, oh…ohhh how I dream of the lovingly prepared home cooked meals of yesteryear. So angry and angsty was I, when a meal was NOT EXACTLY what I felt like eating, but instead an equal measure of vegetables, meat and grains. MEAT! Do you know how expensive that shit is?! What I would give, to have two middle aged people cooking for me three times a day…
  2. “I can stay up SO late”
    Want to know what I did Friday, Saturday and Sunday night this past weekend? Binge watched The Wire (because I’m about 15 years behind in my television programming at this point). I am a morning person, so around 10/10.30pm I start to fade fast. I used to think living away from my parents would be sooooooo wicked because I could just drink and party and watch movies all night long…Turns out my favourite thing these days is sleep. Yeah. I’m pretty cool actually.

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  3. “I do what I want!”
    So long as it doesn’t cost money. Seriously. Sometimes over the last few years I have had all of the freedom and none of the money (funemployed/between contracts) and other times I have had some of the money and none of the time (J.O.B). When can I have all of the money and all of the freedom? (right…right…when I rob a bank Oceans Eleven style…got it…have you guys SEEN that movie? It just came out recently in 2001)
  4. “I can date whoever I choose!”
    Remember when your parents hated that guy you were dating in High School and you were like IHATEYOUWEAREINLOVEyoudon’tunderstandmeGETOUTOFMYROOM! Yeah well. Turns out they were right. Man when I was single, I would have given my left ovary (she’s the gimpy one I suspect) for my parents to be hovering over my shoulder as I swiped like: “No. No. No. Yes Paris. No he will have a weird thing for feet. No. No. What about that nice boy from the coffee shop?” It turns out I just wanna date guys that my parents will like and not weirdo’s with spider-man face tattoo’s. Go figure.
  5. “I’m going to get a creative job and YOU CAN’T STOP ME!”
    In grade 12 when picking degree time came, my mother said to me: “Do a degree with the name of a job in it” and I laughed in her face as I applied for my Bachelor of Arts. I guess, if you were to squint your eyes, choke yourself a bit until no oxygen went to your brain and then smoked some meth – you could really consider my whole life one elaborate “Art”. “So what do you do Paris?” oh me? I’m Art. Yeah I studied it at University. In reality, life has been interesting in the working world (#noregrets) but I definitely find myself veering more towards the corporate world as I see all my fellow creatives struggling and think fucccckthatshit. Oh you live in a basement apartment with your sibling, sister and co-business partners and you work in a deli 3 days a week but your new album just dropped on myspace? Cool dude, Imma go over here and work on my excel skills though….

So many people I know have babies now. Literally holding an infant a week ago and thinking: “this adorable squishy baby girl is going to slam a door in your face some day.”

I wish I could go back ten years and slap some sense into my 17 year old self. Eat my free meals, get my free laundry, and remind myself that unfortunately…your parents were right. Uh! Gross.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…or maims you horrifically for life

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I like that saying: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”(WDKYMYS). It sounds good, it’s inspirational. It makes you think “Heck, things were tough/awful/soul destroying – but I’m still here!!”

People have appropriated that saying into songs (looking at you Kelly Clarkson), put it on T-shirts, tattooed it on their bodies, put it over pictures of sunsets and posted it on each others walls when their friends have been dumped by jerk’s named Derrick (fuck you Derrick you meanie!)

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I like the expression, but I don’t know if I always agree with it.

Because sometimes things kill you a little bit inside and they make you feel weaker, they throw off your game.

Was Leo’s character stronger at the end of the Revenant after he got fucked up by a bear, watched his son get murdered, was left for dead and then had to crawl through the snow and shit of 1800’s Canada to Murder my future ex-husband/baby-daddy Tom Hardy’s character? (Oh yeah, spoiler alert… but seriously if you haven’t seen that movie yet get your shit together – it was nominated for and lost best picture like 5 months ago).

I mean…I guess he was stronger – like how calluses get stronger on the tops of your feet. But he was also weaker because he had lost his humanity, and he was a murderer murderer and he was gross (like a callus – see how I tied all that together? Yay Creative Writing Masters degree)

I wonder if people use WDKYMYS as a way to excuse awful situations they don’t know how to extricate themselves from?

I’d consider myself a strong person who has faced some challenges. Would I exchange them for an easy life where some of the shitty things didn’t happen to me? Yes of course! I’m not insane. Faced with two choices: an easy road and a hard, bush-basher of a path, I think most of us would choose the easy option.

But life doesn’t work like that, and there are plenty of things that will try to throw you off the plans you’ve made, a death in the family, a financial set-back, a painful divorce, an unexpected illness.

So I propose a re-word. “What doesn’t kill you makes you different” – because not all things make you stronger, and thats okay too.

You are not a failure if you come out of a near-death-esque experience and think: “well that fucking sucked” and you’re not stronger.

End of Thought.

 

I am not cool enough for Brooklyn

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A few weeks ago I turned 26 and officially said goodbye to pretending I’m still close to being twenty and not closer to being thirty (whatever… the alcohol intake is the same, just fancier) and to celebrate I took myself down to New York for the weekend (yay for Toronto for being close to stuff!)

I went to New York in July with my Dad and we did all the touristy stuff (that he paid for… thanks Papa!) so my plan for my birthday weekend in New York was to chill, walk around, and eat as much delicious food as I could find, and yes, probably consume a lot of alcohol.

Luckily for me, a good friend from Middle School lives in New York and offered for me to come and crash at her place in Brooklyn. THANKyoufreeaccomodation!

My brother and I went to Brooklyn one evening to meet with said friend one night in July. My brother is a 6”, dreadlocked, stocky dude with a scruffy face and a heart of gold. If I was walking alone on a street at night – I would cross to avoid him (sorry brah… but I don’t trust beards). We got off the subway at a cross section of Brooklyn which I’m told is up and coming and extremely trendy.

My brother thought we were about to get mugged.

Cue group of gangstery latino dudes chilling on a corner. Cue child with no shoes on empty street across from industrial lot kicking broken soccer ball against a wall. Cue dark and stormy night. Cue broken fire hydrant.

It’s okay, we survived and were taken to one of the most delicious all meat restaurants I have ever been to. We were not mugged, but we did get lost on the train system on the way home (No No you’re right New York, your train system is the best in the world and makes perfect sense! Why WOULD the Q run on Sundays after 3pm?! Ludicrous!)

There’s no denying that there is something about Brooklyn.

Throw all the creative, eccentric, wonderful people you know into a place and wonderful things are bound to happen. If New York is the big apple, then Brooklyn is the Japanese fusion, apple infused vegan mushroom brisket.

And I am not cool enough to belong there.

Maybe it’s because I’m a tourist or maybe because I’ve just never been very bohemian, but my outfits seemed to be lacking in feathers and tassels (I wore black leggings and some kind of top and boots most days – I looked like a fucking IDIOT!) and I couldn’t keep up with the slang. I am sarcastic and blunt and while Americans can be both of those things, people in Brooklyn seemed to take everything literally – which made me sound like more of a moron.

My friend has just moved to the East Village – a neighbourhood I spent a lot of time in, drifting out of cheese cake and antique shops. With it’s wrought iron fire escapes, tree lined streets and “stoops” it is VERY sex and the city, and much more where I picture myself.

It’s okay Brooklyn… you’re that hot guy at a party which is way out of my league, but the East Village is the guy that HAS too go out with me because our friends set us up and you’re to polite to leave.

 

Craigslist Crawl

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I love to procrastinate on the internet – there are so many cat videos and crazy personal stories to enjoy – the internet is like a buffet of junk food for my brain. I have access to all these amazing resources, could be increasing my knowledge or bettering myself but instead I trawl through reddit and buzzfeed type webpages, really learning nothing but secretly judging others from the comfort of a desk chair.

Sometimes when I’m stuffed to the gills with mind-garbage, I’ll go to weirder corners of the cyber-verse for my kicks. In my quest to kill time and learn nothing, I’ve pinned fashionable outfits I will never own, posted relationship advice to people I will never meet, and created online dating profiles to stalk/secretly judge those who pour their heart out online.

But the truth of the matter is, I dated a dude off the internet for two years. That’s not something that is a secret – and a large group of people know that I did (the University friends, ahhhh how they laughed at the time – what a stigma it was then back at the beginning of 2009) but it’s something that doesn’t always come up when you meet people.

Stranger: Hey, how are you?

Paris: Great, I used to have a boyfriend from the internet.

Annnnnd Scene. Great work everybody, take 5 and when we come back we’ll try it again, but this time our motivation will be that we’re trying to survive a bleak alien apocalypse while being awkwardly trapped in an elevator.

In case you don’t know me at all, I’m the heart broken type, and by that I mean, I get ridiculously caught up and moody over dudes I like that don’t like me back. Here is the blog I posted back in 2011 when I got dumped. You are probably highly impressed by the nuances and sophistication of early Austraalien blogs. I know I don’t cringe AT ALL whenever I go back in time *sarcasm intensifies.*

I find people fascinating and I am really interested in the stories of others.

There used to be such a limited way to meet people online specifically for dating/hooking up purposes, but now there are SO many ways to find that special someone that is just as weird as you.

Some online dating is like ordering off a menu – the dating profile trawl. Create a profile, select your preferences (height, smoking yes/no, eye colour, number of offspring, age, theories on what happened to that malaysian plane that no one seems to be talking about anymore) and then boom, a dating pool. You can weed out the people you’re not too sure about by a simple list of specifics tailored to your taste.

I used to tell people that online dating was great because you had it all out there on paper – you had all the facts and could use that to determine whether or not you had common ground. Whereas with real-life interaction you had to find out those things for yourself in person (boooo – human interaction – yuck).

So explain this one to me:

Craigslist personals.

I have used Craigslist since August 2011 when I was searching for a place to live in Toronto. I’ve used it multiple times for finding roomies, part time creative work and furniture. But it wasn’t until one fatefully cold, cooped up, winter night with an insane Australian friend (Lady Alexandra Howard, I miss you every day – an actual TITLED Lady just FYI), that I discovered the wacky world of the Craigslist personals.

If you’ve never been over to that part of the internet I suggest you go and fill your voyeuristic heart with glee. I have since spent many a drunken evening crawling through the pages, trying to avoid cock photos blatantly posted, and trying to decipher the craigslist codes (BBW?! What on earth…. to google!) In all honesty on drunken nights in it has become a drinking game tailored specifically to the judgey and lazy.

Never have I responded to a craigslist post, but lets be honest, in one of my FUCKITYOLO moments I’ve thought about it (that’s just how I roll… WILD CARD BITCHES).

I mean… most of the men looking for women posts involve promises of expert cunnilingus or requests to do with feet, or read like something out of 50 Shades of Grey (You want me to tie you up and spank you because you have been a very very bad girl… no I’m actually a really good girl, I vote and pay my taxes and I give up my seat *coughsometimes* to old people so um….) – none of it really appeals to me.

And yet… I currently know two couples in functioning, lovely relationships who met off craigslist.

One couple, I know for a fact, literally happened because of the success of the first couple. Girl in couple two saw what couple one had and went – YEP, help me tailor a personals ad. Both couples are killing it with the whole adult-grownup-thing, so rock on you adorable internet people.

I’ve never discussed with either female-couple-half how many weirdo’s contacted her (I’m guessing quite a few) – but that is besides the point!

In the ever changing landscape of dating and how we as humans spend our time, there really isn’t any excuse to be single if you don’t want to be, what with the smorgasbord of online options.

Step 1: Go online
Step 2: Order boyfriend
Step 3: Hit the little trolley icon in the top right corner
Step 4: Happily ever after.

Right?

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Hmmmm

Or maybe not…yet…

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Since March I have lived right smack bang in the middle of the Toronto Downtown core. There are a number of advantages associated with my new location. For one, there are like 4 hospitals around the corner, so if I ever injure myself during alcohol-related activities, I am super close to medical attention. Another advantage is that I can walk almost anywhere that I want to go in 20 minutes or less. This is great because I am so incredibly stingy when it comes to cabbing places, um… hello…I have a metro pass and two perfectly capable legs.

Toronto feels very safe to me, especially in comparison to the neighbourhood I used to live in during my time at University in Sydney (sandwiched between crackie-town and sketchville-city) and I walk around at all times of the day and night with nary a wary look over my shoulder. The streets are well lit, and lets be honest, Canadians are nice.

But lately I’ve noticed the rise of something women all around the world deal with: Cat Calling.

What is the brain-thoughts behind cat-calling a woman on the street? What is it that a car full of dudes is trying to achieve by yelling things out of a moving vehicle? Is the pickup line meant to be so great, that I will immediately drop what I’m doing, hop into a car and zoom off into my future? Somehow develop bionic man like abilities and keep pace with the car, running alongside it until we stop at an appropriate place so I can fall to my knees and beg you to let me worship your maleness?

So how did you guys meet?

Well… I was on my way to dinner and he screamed “NICE ASS!!!” on the corner of Yonge and Dundas. And that was it for me. I just… knew.

I don’t think so.

What part of a woman walking down the street makes someone think that it is appropriate to yell things? I’ve heard it all.

From HIIII!!! (nice one) to “Girl, you tired, cos you been running through my mind all day!” (Actually I laughed and gave the guys a thumbs up for that one – which probably means they’ll just try it again and I am now part of the problem) and “Whats a guy gotta do to get your number?” to which I replied “Just call 1800-I don’t think so” (I know… I’m great under pressure and just felt like bragging about it on my blog.)

I’m just so confused. Is it funny? Is it for real? Does that guy really want to know where I’m from, gurrrl? Why isn’t he pulling over – it is a very long and boring story.

I have literally NEVER yelled something out of a car window (at someone I didn’t know – friends…well that’s just fair game) where is this coming from? And what would I say if the roles were reversed?

You’re HOT! I’d really like to take lots of selfless with you for my Facebook wall so everyone I never see in real life is crazy jealous!

HEY! You look like you have a great job and my mother would approve of you!

Lets sleep together and then lets make it super weird in the morning and never speak again!

(God I’m smooth)

It is also terrifying if you are a woman and alone on a street at night. Please don’t scream things at me, I’m on the lookout for muggers and rapists, please don’t make loud sounds. I am also trying to make sure my tiny dress covers enough of my legs so that I don’t look slutty but also so you can see how mega my tan is this summer. You’re just adding an extra layer of things I have to contend with man.

Stop making it weird.

 

I hate going to the Gym but I hate being Fat more

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Today, like most days I set my alarm for 6am because yesterday, like most days, I could not be fucked going to the gym after work. Today, like most days, I rolled over, denied my alarm and re-set it for 7.45am.

I have calculated the exact number of minutes it takes for me to check my facebook first thing (gotta know whats happening on them Internets) slather my face in make up, pretend my hair looks all sexy and fresh-outta-the-bed-tousled “naturally”(yeaaaahhhhright), cut up some fruit, add almond milk and gross healthy seeds and blend it to a fine brown paste of sweet baby puke which I then sip, as I gag and curse the heavens. Brush the yellow pearly whites, choose which fab (least hobo-ish) outfit to wear, try to figure out if my outfit is too slutty, realize I don’t have time to change anyway, but yes I should probably invest in some not-skintight clothing now that I have a “real” (ish) job and get out the door so I can either pack into a super crowded subway car, or walk in the fresh (read still -4 degrees + WINDCHILL, mother nature you bi-polar BITCH) Toronto spring weather to get to the office on time.

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And then spend the rest of the day kicking myself for not just getting up and going to the bloody gym as I google pictures of Prince Harry’s gorgeous (and thin) would-be-fiance (I’m coming for you Cressida).

I fucking hate the gym.

People who tell me they love the Gym are out of their goddamn minds/have reached a place where they have replaced fun drugs with endorphin drugs. They are endorphin-addicts. Healthy Harold needs to have a serious talk with you guys. Seriously, track marks/running tracks -same same but different you overly-happy, protein punching psychopaths.

But I digress.

I have no idea how anyone could love a room that smells like sweaty boy-private parts/meaty farts, that contains all 360-degree full length mirrors so one can successfully gawp at all ones jiggling flaws with machines that make you burn and hurt and sweat and cry and beg (no more treadmill… I concede, I concede *weeps*).

But then I don’t know how anyone could love Honey Boo Boo’s mother and scienticifics tell me that she has had sex at least four times so…

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The reason I go to the prison of misery is simple:

laziness.

Que? – you ask. Or maybe you don’t – I don’t speak Spanish.

One would think that the very opposite would be true of someone with lazy running slowly walking, through their veins.

You: But Paris, if you’re as lazy as you claim – you wouldn’t be going to the gym at all! You’d be 659lbs and you’d have Chihuahua dogs, 4 of whom you’d accidentally have squished in your sleep when you rolled over!

Too true concerned citizen. Five points to Gryffindor for your astute observations.

But in reality – getting that fat means I would in fact have to do more in the long run.

Here’s how I figure:

Step 1: Get thin and mega attractive (thin is in… deal with it)
Step 2: Entice a wider selection of potential life-partners
Step 3: Now that am prized possession, select partner with most resources good hunter/fire builder/best cave location
Step 4: Entice partner into legal situation where my happiness is now THEIR responsibility and they must do my bidding
Step 5: Profit

If I was 659lbs of pure ugly and loneliness, I’d have to do things all for myself.
Need to replace the light in the bathroom?
Fat Paris: struggles to reach ceiling as she is 5″4 of uncoordinated girliness girthiness
Thin Paris: Casually select any of the multitude of dudes dying to screw anything of mine in.

Need to tell Jehovah’s Witness people to fuck off?
Fat Paris: Trapped in house. Must listen.
Thin Paris: Not at home – out on fabulous dates. TTYL jesus.

You see where this going.

Yes I hate the Gym, but I also hate doing Laundry (see post below). Both of these things could be cured with unlimited money resources, but as I’m the bottom of the food chain of my industry…

Well.

I’ve set the alarm for 6am tomorrow.