High Waisted Beach Pimp: A Winter Holiday Walk

Yesterday, in between my family's Christmas and his, Aidan and I went for lunch and a walk around my old neighbourhood. He lived here at one point, too, but for less time. I don't think he ever claimed it as his.

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Christmas is hard for me, and this year it is harder. We needed to be away and alone together, to tell our stories to each other in the middle of it all. We are lucky to have each other for the storytelling.

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Photographs brings us around.

I like to take pictures where the gravity feels off. I want everything to float. I usually fail, but I like the feeling in my brain when I can see inside how it might look. It's the sense of the thing I knit together in my mind that satisfies beyond the actual photo. It feels like a warm meal of soft food mixed with an afghan your grandmother crocheted mixed with the weightlessness of paper ash floating up on heat waves.

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And it's okay to fail at this. It is popular these days to tell us it's okay to fail, but they're lying. They work to twist failure into some kind of grand, alternate success so that the idea of failure is erased. The idea of failure is still wrong. We've simply misinterpreted our lives.

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It's okay to fail, though, and it's not always a misinterpretation. It's okay to take bad pictures. It's okay to be unable to write anything akin to what you feel is a readable poem for thirty years. It's okay to know that the great American novel will never come out of you, and not just because you're not an American. The pictures and the poems and the math of a bad plot that won't resolve unknot you for other things.

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This unknotting isn't a success on its own, but it is important work. It is a basic tool. It is no more a success than breathing. It is important for working out the kind of love you understand, the kind you can bring to this place.

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It's okay to tell stories down the rabbit hole of your heart and mind. It's where you live best sometimes, and it's an unwinding spool anyway. You walk backwards as the rope traces your path; it peels out while the handles twist against your palms, feeding out the kite line to the beginning.

No one can see around the corners, not even the success marketers who would draw new boundaries to make you feel the false win, but you're feeding out your own line, tracing your own corners. You've already drawn the way.

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Grace in Small Things No. 551

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  1. Hoar frost has covered everything here in Saskatchewan, and it is absolutely magical.
  2. My mother made one of my favourite deserts from childhood, and it was just as delicious as I remember.
  3. I got to read my nephews a book while they cuddled up on my lap tonight, and they still smelled sweet from their bath.
  4. I am finally sleeping well again after more than a week of insomnia, which makes everything seem brighter.
  5. After tonight, the days start getting longer again!

Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in Grace in Small Things, a community for acknowledging and growing gratitude.


Say happy birthday to me and make the world a better place at the same time! Heifer International "…links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income…" This year, I am raising $1764 ($42x42) to celebrate my 42nd birthday on December 29th.
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A Few Quiet Moments While I Get Ready for the Holidays

Even as a child, I found Christmas stressful, so, from the moment I stepped out on my own as an adult back in 1993, I have abstained from decorating and putting on fancy dinners. There was one year when Aidan and I decided to have a quiet Christmas alone, and I wound a few garlands around the lamps and put out wrapped presents, but he contracted the worst flu of his life and spent two days literally wrapped around the toilet with a blanket. No more garlands for me.

Despite my Spartan approach to the holidays, though, it still manages to ramp up my anxiety, because other people make holidays plans that include me — oh, humanity, with the giving and the taking with the same hand — so I decided to set aside some quiet time for myself in the middle of packing and wrapping presents.

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I have finally found the perfect way to boil eggs that peel well. I need a few more test runs to prove it, but they are lovely and warm in the palm and easy to eat.

I am wearing my new favourite tunic. It is a deep pumpkin colour, and I may actually show you a picture of it one day. It's proof that I may be the only white North American capable of buying cheap Korean clothing online that actually fits.

I sipped hot, thick coffee and let the steam tickle the end of my nose.

I counted out supplements for my holiday travel. I love the soft, small sound of the capsule clapping together as I pour them out and shuffle them from right to left.

And I found this lovely pomegranate. She's a grandmother of a pomegranate, older and textured, but I'm going to crack her open and see what's inside. I bet she's sweeter than most.

This hour of quiet has me back in the spirit. A few things are left undone, but I am not. I think I need to leave something undone more often.


Say happy birthday to me and make the world a better place at the same time! Heifer International "…links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income…" This year, I am raising $1764 ($42x42) to celebrate my 42nd birthday on December 29th.
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