Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lessons Learned from...Temporary Moments of Insanity

The Phoenix has always been my favourite mythological character: the quintessential symbol of self-reinvention and the idea that the trials of life allow us to reemerge as new versions of ourselves. During a moment of insanity this past weekend, I got a glimpse of what the legendary Phoenix must feel like.

Yet again, I rushed into a recipe. Julia Child, who claimed that one must always read a recipe completely before beginning, must be getting quite frustrated with me. I attempted to make bran muffins, except in my haste used the similarly branded wheat germ in lieu of its wheat bran cousin. The result, while still visually appealing, was horrifying to the palate. There was nothing I could do but have a mad fit.

I threw the muffins on the floor and watched the berries ooze onto the linoleum, then I scooped the mutilated muffins off the ground and dumped them into the green bin. On top I added every bit of wheat germ, bran, seed and flour we had in the house. I felt like one of the witches of Macbeth around their cauldron. It was extremely cathartic.

Sometimes we need to give into our basic urges to appreciate the pretense of sanity that everyday life takes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lessons Learned from...Riding my Bike to Work

If you've been reading this blog, it will come as no surprise that I am constantly on some kind of self-improvement mission. Often my missions are aborted before completion, but I've refused to believe that they are impossible or flawed...until now.

I recently asked my family: "if you could live any other life, what would it be?". While I had grandiose visions of myself living as a lesbian journalist in Paris, most of them wouldn't actually change much about their lives. So why am I eternally trying to improve myself by metamorphosis instead of accepting myself for who/where/how/what I am and working with that? Not that self-improvement missions are inherently evil, but I am now convinced that they should follow the course of "minor tweaks" (as my sister-in-law puts in) rather than complete and utter personality overhauls.

For example, I've recently moved into a new house and starting to ride my bike to work. I had visions of myself cruising through the city in a perfectly-placed straw hat and cotton tunic, bottle of wine perched jauntily in my basket. Reality, naturally, is a lot more precarious. When I went to buy wine, I ended up buying snacks too, thus my basket broke from the extra weight and I had to hold it to the handlebars manually. It was unseasonably cold, so I had to augment my cotton tunic with leggings, which ripped during my managing of the basket-to-handlebar ratio. I actually don't own a straw hat, and wouldn't be able to wear one anyway since helmets are mandatory in Halifax. So in lieu of my chosen accessory, I donned a CCM black bicycle helmet (the type quite popular with 8-year-old boys).

The result: less polished, less coordinated, but definitely more ME. So what if I'm not the kind of person who is perennially smooth and coordinated? I should rejoice that I AM the kind of person who rides my bike to work and doesn't let things like helmet hair or lacerated leggings get her down. I still made it to work on time. Tomorrow, I'll even have a smile on my face.