Friday, January 7, 2011

Ephiphany No. 3: Hair today

There are several truths in the universe.

The sun rises in the east.

The sun sets in the west.

And I am a blond.

I'm a blond, dammit.

I was born a blond, I've lived a blond and, in my heart, I will always be a blond.

A few months ago, I went darker ... for a change. I needed something new, something different, a refreshing outlook on life.

Hair is an easy way to make that change.

My hairdresser and I agreed on brunette with blond highlights. It would make my hair healthier, she said, instead of stripping away all the colour that has attacked my golden locks as I've aged.

Yeah, there's red, a family affliction ... although I'm not sure my three red-headed brothers consider it so.

There's brown.

There's blond.

And there's gre ... er ... silv ... ah, never mind. There's just a bunch of different colours in there, OK?

The change received great reviews. People loved it.

I grew used to it.

Time came for a touchup but I didn't have the patience for foils and whatnot.

I went all one colour. Brown. Brunette. Lost in the crowd. Blah.

(Caveat: I am soooooooooo not calling all my brunette friends blah. That's just how I felt.)

I went on vacation. Pictures were taken. My friends would show me the pictures on the LCD screen of their cameras.

I had no idea who that brunette staring back at me.

I look in the mirror and I see a stranger.

"I can't wait to dye my hair back to blond. It's about time people saw the real Abi and stopped messing me about," said Abi Titmuss.

I have no clue who Abi Titmuss is. According to Wikipedia, she's some kind of model personality whatever out of the U.K.

But she nails it.

Anything other than blond and I don't know who I am.

So, it's time to get back to the real Angela.

The blond.

And the balance of the universe.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Epiphany No. 2: Don't be stupid

Being the centre of attention wigs me out.

You find this hard to believe, I know.
But it's true.

In a lot of cases, I'm happier being a wallflower.

It's not like I'm a stranger to it. I was a pretty reserved teenager ... at least I think so. If the brothers read this, they might have a different story.

I can remember standing at the edge of the crowd at high school dances, wondering what it would be like to be in the middle of the dance floor, whooping it up with everyone.

Sometimes I had the guts to go out there, even to ask that tall guy with the fantastic mullet to dance with me.

Even years later, fresh into my first job as a reporter, my stomach would do flip-flops before every phone interview I had to do.

Like a goalie before the big game, I'd head to the washroom, throw up, take a deep breath and then get the job done.

And every time I'd move to a new stop on the newspaper trail, I'd get back to that little place of nervous anxiety ... not to the extreme I initially had, but still my hands would shake as I reached for the phone receiver.

I suppose it comes from a fear of failure.

Failure, in fact, was not an option in our house.

Bring home an 85 and Dad would inquire 'where did the other 15 points go?'

Grounded for marks that some kids would have been happy to bring home.

It made us tough, driven to succeed, never satisfied.

But it's kept in me a need to stay reserved at times when I know I'm not very good at something.

Stand in a batter's box and swing for the fence? No problem.

Take the mic and thank 1,200 people for coming to our fundraiser? Easy peasy.

Head to the front of the bar and pound out a rendition of Ice Ice Baby? Pshaw.

Try to imitate dance moves in front of a room full of people who barely know me?

No. Thank. You.

I'll cower in the corner of the couch, make up lame excuses and duck my way out of it.

Wrap my mind around the intricacies of playing a hand of poker?

Oh hell to the no.

I'll be over there playing Solitaire.

It's not like this has stopped me from trying anything new but anything 'new' is always closely within the realm of things I've already done ... and done well.

Maybe it's time to loosen up some.

And not be afraid to look a little bit stupid on occasion.

But don't be surprised if I throw up on your shoes first.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Epiphany No. 1: Shit happens

It's OK to ask for help.

Remember a few weeks ago, when I came to that conclusion? That I'm not very good at it and I need to try doing it more often?

I got hit in the face with another good one a few days ago.

It's OK to let people help, even when you don't need it.

Let me backtrack for a moment.

I spent New Year's weekend in Middleofnowhere, Idaho, surrounded by giant, thin pines draped with freshly fallen snow and by an amazing group of friends.

We made merry, ringing in 2011 in fine style.

It was like a fancy camping trip. We grabbed all our booze and food and fixings from Spokane, Wash., and ensconced ourselves in the loveliest of cabins, a remote, wooded resort area.

And Shep went, too. Yay!

He was the beau of the ball at times. How hard is it to not love him after all?

Especially since he happily served as cabin garburetor when we cooked too much food.

Onto his bowl went the leftover bacon and eggs.

Nom nom nom, said Shep.

We left him to his afternoon nap and went across the path to Party Cabin. We ran out of beer and had to make a trip.

'Hey, the place still smells like bacon. Maybe we should open a window.'

'Um, hey, Ang, you might want to look at the floor.'

There I stood, mushing around a couple of piles of runny dog poo, not even noticing as I focused on my singular task of More Beer.

My heart sunk. I made my dog sick. I didn't even notice his distress when I burst into the cabin.

My singular task became Operation: Bacon Shit. I grabbed what materials I could find -- paper towels, water, Comet and a plastic bag into which I shoved each wad of poo-covered paper towels -- and cleaned up the mess, all the while my stomach lurching at the wonderful aroma of doggy diarrhea and bacon, two smells I loathe at the best of times.

'Let me get that for you.'

I looked up. My friend stood there with the cabin mop in his hands, offering to help.

No, I said. And I was adamant.

Shep is my dog. He is my responsibility.

Thus, his messes are my responsibility.

And as I've learned over these last 20 years of living alone and independence, if I don't take care of my responsibilities, no one else will.

My friend became pissed off. All he wanted to do was help out of the kindess of his heart.

I said no.

It took me a few minutes to recognize what I'd done and I felt horrible.

So, it isn't simply enough to realize I have to learn how to ask for help. I also have to learn how to accept it when it's offered.

Because people are kind. And they care. And they want to help ... without ulterior motives.

Just help.

Especially when shit happens.

Especially bacon shit.

Monday, January 3, 2011

After dark

Two things I absolutely had to do today: go to the gym and write.

Going dark was not easy but not difficult either. 

I gave myself permission to Tweet a few times. Oh come on, Darryl Sutter stepped down as general manager of the Calgary Flames.

You know I had to say something.

Then there was the guy next to our table on New Year's Day, talking about Viagra being a damn ripoff at 95 bucks a month.

"Just get two tongue depressors and a roll of duct tape," he said.

That's gold, Jerry. GOLD.

So, no. I couldn't completely remove myself from the internet for a week, but I gave it the old college try.

That's gotta be worth something, right?