It can be really easy to live with a secret. Three and a half years ago I was living in Toronto's East end, long time boyfriend and cat at home. It wasn't long before I met someone who did more than wolf-whistle out a car window. One night a few of us went out dancing. Mid-twist he kissed me and all my senses were on fire. But innocent walks turned into conversations tinged with sexual innuendo. Alleyway makeout sessions, then sex -- anywhere we could. I found myself turning into this seemingly new person. People who have never cheated ask how you can do it mentally, emotionally. It's different for everyone. But what they don't understand is that it gets to the point where recklessness overpowers all logic and all sense of "right."
When I finally got married at 37, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get pregnant. But it happened in a flash on our honeymoon and we had a son. I was one of my only friends who openly wanted a second child. So began the trying; a summer of love. Which then turned into a fall of resentment. Now my sister and I are in the waiting cubicle of an IVF suite in downtown Toronto.
I had tried yoga, Buddhism, Kabbalah. But I had always fallen short, still searching, still not whole. Trying so many new things, while still having so much sex, but changing nothing in that arena except maybe the guy or the country, led me to reevaluate. Maybe tantra wasn't crazy. Maybe it was actually what had been missing...
I've had only two sexual partners in my life and being diagnosed with abnormal cervical cells doesn't feel like the best way to be repaid. Women are constantly being shamed about their bodies and how they use them and to think even a lack of proper usage can result in the same shame and disconcerted feelings about female sexuality.
After living with someone who never let go of the opportunity to insult or debase me, honestly I had started finding it hard to laugh or grin for that matter. My so called "better half" questioned my existence throughout my marriage and so along the way I started questioning myself. After the separation, as the days turned to nights, I felt a change in myself.
A better day comes along, and I tell myself that it's not that I'm unwilling to commit, it's that I haven't found my career true love yet. I am unwilling to settle. I'm making progress, improving and learning with each step I take, getting stronger at understanding what I love and what I won't grit my teeth through anymore.
Yes, looking at a butt selfie from Kim Kardashian is entertainment and sure, we need the escape sometimes, but I'm wondering if our society can make a little 2014 New Year's resolution: have a little more balance. Maybe a little less coverage of her and a bit more of someone we can relate to and learn from.
I was given the opportunity to visit the Olive Tree Refugee Camp in Atmeh Syria. All the little girls approached me with their unique knitted creations. When I had to say my goodbyes, one woman voiced her concerns about the lack of yarn to work with. That same night, I wrote out the plan for Tight-Knit Syria, a project to help supply yarn, as well as establish an online store to sell knitted products from the Olive Tree Camp.
I was determined to sleep with my long-time friend, Jake. How would I know if I was really attracted to him if I didn't try? It was odd and unromantic. His place was a mess, his bed was unruly and his gentlemanly ways went out the window. The next thing I know, he is unnerved. His condom supposedly wasn't on securely...
When my arms were elbow-deep in the toilet this morning, I realized something. The kids called: "Momma, can you please get me a snack?" "Mommy, find my soother!" I kept saying, "You can do it! I'll help you in a second!" After a few minutes of this, they stopped asking. It got very, very quiet. I peeked out of the bathroom.
In a moment, my view of the world and its expectations of me changed. As a teen someone said to me, "You cry at the drop of a needle." I promised myself right then and there that I would stop being emotional; I would be strong. If I wore my best poker face the world couldn't shake me. I rejected who I truly was, and my freedom to express that. But then life got complicated.
When I got an unnecessary text from him, I smiled. And while that was interesting and made me feel powerful, it also made me sad. I knew how it would end and it had not even begun. I made references to his wife, to him not being available in a way that made me feel respectable. But the sexual tension rose, and the encounters became more and more heated. He continuously told me he wanted me.
I have been with my husband for 13 years, seven of which we have spent as a married couple. Roughly five-and-a-half years ago I started dating. Women. It may sound like I succumbed to something akin to the seven-year-itch, let my hair down and started to experiment a little, but the truth is rather more mundane: I joined my first baby group.
The potential for leaving people out of a social event drives me so crazy I almost prefer not to host anything. Leaving me hanging after a text nearly kills me with worry that I've said something offensive. Drinking gives me a break from my inner critic, and while I'm socializing after a few I feel like I'm on fire, but I pay for it with ridiculous analyses and self-reprimand in the other direction the next morning. These examples don't even tap into the prologue of the social anxiety textbook that is me. Yay.
Last weekend a group of ladies went to Prince Edward County to celebrate one of our dear friend's upcoming wedding. On Sunday morning we schlepped into Picton to caffeinate and were greeted outside the small town café by an impeccably dressed 91-year-old lady with mischievous eyes and one helluva smile. The real climax came in the form of marriage advice to the soon-to-be bride...
After falling asleep on the beach one afternoon I burnt my back badly, and when my skin grew back after blistering, I didn't think about it again. That was of course until I heard the word melanoma and chemotherapy and surgery all in the same sentence. As it turns out, that dark glow one gets from hours in the sun becomes embarrassingly meaningless when you're sitting under a florescent light being told you have cancer.