Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Bring Back Ridiculous Raver Girl.




The other day, as I drove home from work, I heard a song.



It was one of those songs that you hear that floods you with good memories the second you hear it.  Do you know those songs??  Those songs are the best!



I listened....I sang......and I danced, as I drove my little Mazda home that day.




But, as the song played on, I soon realized that this memory may not be so fabulous after all.  I suddenly remembered being frustrated the first time I heard this song. But I couldn't quite pin-point  what I was feeling.



But it all came back to me as I fell asleep later that night.


And as I drifted off to la-la-land, my mind wandered back, way back to my university days.



Where days turned into nights…...and nights turned into very early mornings……






It was March 1999.



I was 23 years old and I was in my 4th year of Honours Biology at Western U.


For those of you who have attended university, then you know that there are 2 prerequisites for getting in.   You had to be smart, and you had to know how to party.  Hard.


One Saturday, my boyfriend Dan announced to me and our friends that he had gotten us tickets to a rave for that night.  This would be our first ever.  We would be renting a car and driving down to Toronto.  The rave would start at midnight and go until about 7 in the morning.


I had no idea what the night had in store for me, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for it.  I loved to dress up and party, but a rave?  All night long?  I didn't know if I could do it.


But it was one of those things that you just had to do, ya know?  


So that night, we drove for 2 hours, and finally arrived at our destination.  It was exactly 12:30 a.m.


I jumped out of the van and took one last look at my outfit in the rear-view mirror.



For your reading pleasure, please allow me to describe said outfit to you now.  You will thank me later.



My hair was very long, dirty blonde, parted in the middle, and crimped.  Yes, I said crimped. 
I wore a choker necklace that was made of hard candies.  Yes…..candies. 
I wore a metallic backless skin-tight crop top.  The back was held together by thin strings only.  Yes, metallic.  And yes, strings.
The pants were baggy black splash pants that sat very low along my waist.  Yes, splash pants.  The pants I can’t really explain…….all I know is that it was super cool to wear splash pants back then.

And the final touch?   Black Doc Martins :)

It was the most epic outfit I had ever put together, and an outfit that still remains as one of my favorite of all time.  (Why I don’t have a picture of this outfit remains a mystery……and believe me..... I checked all 3 of my university photo albums hoping to find it!)



Dan and I led the crew to the front entrance of a very, large industrial building.



This was it.


I had a feeling that once I went in, there was no turning back.



As soon as we stepped through the massive steel doors, I knew I was right.



We had just entered a completely different reality.  One that seemed to have zero connection with the outside world.  It was dark, it was very loud and it was kind of weird.


I cautiously walked behind Dan who led me through the huge crowd of partiers.



The house music was deafening.  Everyone looked weird to me, but they were all amazing dancers.  And they danced facing a DJ who they seemed to worship like a God.



There were 3 massive rooms, each filled with hundreds of people,  thousands in total.



Everyone was dressed in the wildest clothes.  Huge platform boots, faux leather pants, coloured hair, body paint, headbands with flashing lights, fur bras....., you name it, I saw it.  My outfit seemed totally tame compared to these avant garde fashions.


I slowly walked through taking it all in.  Lasers were flashing everywhere.  I could barely see where I was going.


I know it’s silly to say, but a part of me was scared of this new scene that I had stumbled upon.  This wasn’t your typical Thursday pub night, filled with drunken students trying to dance while Brittany Spears "Hit me Baby One More Time" blared in the background.


This was intense.  This was unlike anything I had ever experienced.


And just as I thought that,  a very tall skinny guy walked past me.  And at the last second, he jerked his head un-naturally and turned to stare at me.  He was suddenly inches away from my face, and when I looked into his eyes, I gasped.  His eyes were bright yellow, with black cat-eye slits in the middle.  I quickly grabbed Dan and pulled him in front of me as Cat Man continued on.......searching for his next prey I'm sure.



The night pressed on.  I continued to be very intimidated, and completely out of my comfort zone.


I felt like I had arrived on an alien planet where things like darkness and fear were enamored.

Dan saw how uncomfortable I was and said, “Leo, relax.  Just dance”.


But I couldn’t.  I just stood there awkwardly staring at everyone.


I definitely wouldn't dance, that's for sure!  I wasn't a good dancer anyway, so there was no way that I was going to put on an "Elaine" show in front of THIS elite dance group.





As I stood off to the side, waiting for the long night to be over, this random guy danced right up to me.


He was short, blonde, muscular, and very sweaty.


He yelled over the music, "Do you hear the song???"


I wasn't sure if he was talking to me, but I yelled back anyway, "What???"


And then he started singing "Back, back, back, back back to me......back, back, back, back, back to me......"


Then he yelled again, "You KNOW this song!! I know you know this song!!  This song is the best!!"



Who was this guy??  He was crazy!!


How did HE know what songs I knew??  I definitely did NOT know this song.  So I rolled my eyes, sighed, and turned to walk away from him.  When suddenly the chorus of the song kicked in.....


"Bring it back....sing it back....bring it back, sing it back to meeeeee!  Bring it back, sing it back.........."



GASP!!!

I DID know THIS song!!!


I turned around and quickly searched the area for the sweaty guy.  When I found him, I ran up to him, put my hands on his sweaty shoulders and I yelled "I KNOW THIS SONG!!!"


He turned around to look at me and then laughed and said, "I KNOW!! I told you!!"



I giggled as I watched him dance away fluttering his glow sticks to the beat of the song.



And then suddenly, my head started swaying to the music.



And then my hips effortlessly joined in.


Before I knew it, I was dancing.....hard!! 



I couldn't stop.  The music had take over me.


Before long, I was as sweaty as crazy muscle guy.  Even found myself a pair of glow sticks :)



My boyfriend of 4 years suddenly appeared beside me and yelled, "Leo!! I've been looking everywhere for you!" he paused for a second, looked me up and down and then yelled, "When did you learn how to dance like that?????"


I laughed, threw my hands in the air, and just kept going :)




I don't know how long I danced that night......but it was alllll night.



Before I knew it, it was time to go.  The DJ's had stopped playing and everyone was making their way out of the building.




I followed Dan outside, into the light.  The sun was already out.   I felt so tired, but so amazing, other than the fact that I was extremely sweaty.  I tried lifting my long hair off of my neck because it kept pulling on something.  I realized then that my candy necklace had melted from the heat and had stuck to my hair was practically glued to my neck.

But other than that, I was on a high.  This was, hands down, one of the coolest things I had ever experienced.


As we drove home, I looked over at Dan.  He looked back at me and smiled and whispered, "Good night raver girl".

I smiled back and closed my eyes.

----------------------------------------------
I woke up to my alarm.



It was 7am.


I opened my eyes and looked around my bedroom.


I was no longer in university, and I was no longer 23.


I was back to being a single mom.  No more industrial parties, no more metallic backless tops, and no more candy necklaces (which I finally got out of my hair in the shower later that day).



The rave was officially over.





I yawned and grabbed my cell phone.



Half asleep, I searched for a song that would wake me up.


A song that would bring me back to that incredible night.



When fashion was crazy, people had cat eyes......and I was a Ridiculous Raver Girl ;)







And here's the song....just in case you wanted to hear it ;)
It's a good one.  Blare it!








Thursday, 5 April 2018

It's a state of mind.





A song once said that “Breaking up is hard to do”.

But it didn’t quite specify whether it was harder or easier the second time around?


After getting back together again with Handsome Guy, I realized that although we had something pretty amazing, we were again unable to take things to the next level.  And it was very clear to me that  despite all of our best efforts, our relationship had unfortunately reached another dead end.


Once I finally realized that “us” couldn’t work, I needed to end things with him, immediately.  For my sanity….and for my heart.

And I knew that this time there was no turning back.  

This time was for good.

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I was asked many times after our second break-up if I regretted getting back together again with Brad.  And my answer was always “no”.    

Because for those of you who really know me, know that I always need to be 100% sure about any decision that I make in my life.  Even if it means going back to someone with the possibility of it ending again.  Or worse yet, getting hurt again.

Glutton for punishment you might say?  Stubborn even?  Perhaps…. 

But when it comes to affairs of the heart, I truly believe that if you go through a relationship a second time around and you STILL don’t get what you’re looking for, then ladies and gentlemen,  it’s time to walk.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

After a few days of being single again, I wondered if I would now experience a lull in my world of dating?  Or rather……should I experience a lull? 

My relationship with Handsome Guy over the past year and a half was very fun.  There was never a dull moment.  Our time together, including even the simplest of moments, was always filled with excitement, adventure and passion.  

Now...... even though those 3 things make for a very fun relationship, they were not everything that I was looking for.   And in essence, the longer I stayed with Brad, the longer I denied myself those “things” that I really needed to make me happy.

And now that I was single again, I wondered if I should take a break from dating,  and use that time to figure out what it was that I really needed from a man.

And if I would stay single, then the inevitable question became, how long should this period of soul-searching be?

I’m thinking that it would have to be a solid amount of time. After all, I am a true believer that time spent alone is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself.  And it’s also my belief that too many people jump into another relationship right away rather than dedicating that precious time to themselves.


OK.  So my decision was made! 

I would now be single again.  

And I would do stuff for myself that I didn't do when I was in relationships. 

You know......like, read........and sleep.......


.......and eat......


----------------------------------------------

But you know.....the funniest thing happened!?

Within only ONE week of Brad and I breaking up, I was asked out by 2 men.


Hmmm, how interesting?  I thought.


Perhaps the universe didn’t want me to be single??  

Maybe the universe wanted me to jump right back into the playing field again??

Or……maybe the universe was TESTING me??

Well, whatever the reason, I felt pulled to decline the romantic gestures by both of these men.  (Do people still say romantic gestures??  I'm not sure.  But let's pretend they still do!)

But even though I said no........ I still wondered whether that was the right thing to do?


As the universe rolled its eyes at me (as I’m sure it often does), it sent me a couple more tests.  At least I thought that's what they were.

A few more messages from Brad…….being asked out by yet another man……and then finally...... a friend who tried to set me up with a dad from her kid’s basketball team who apparently “would be PERFECT for me….”


Well, all of that combined………..and then it finally happened. 

Ladies and gentlemen......I snapped :)




Ok...... you know me.  I never reeeeaaaalllllllyyyyy snap. 


But I did tell everyone....in a very polite, yet very ASSERTIVE voice, that I needed to be left alone.


Finally!  I had once again found myself in that amazing state of mind.  

Confident in my decision,  and happy :)


------------------------------------------------------ 


As the weeks as a newly single woman pressed on, I felt very peaceful.  

I caught up on my reading and I caught up on my sleep.

And as for eating again,  I went right back to my late night binges of cheetos, old Hallowe'en candy and Peek Frean cookies :)  Because for some reason I think I'm the only woman in the world who is happy after she pigs out on the worst foods ever.

------------------------------------------------------

Anyway, I realized over the years that there must be a reason why I'm rarely asked if I'm dating anyone. 

When I finally asked a girlfriend why, she replied simply, "Because you're happy all the time, not just when you're in a relationship".

That was one of the best things I have ever heard in my life.

Because being single is not just a status for me.  It's a state of mind :)

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I'd love to tell you what my next chapter holds when it comes to my love life, but I can't foretell the future, so I have no clue what's in store.

But I'm sure that this Ridiculous Girl will always have stories for you. (Actually I still have stories up my sleeve that I haven't even shared with you yet!)

In the meantime, I walk from one page to the next....onto that next chapter of my life.

And I'm lucky enough to do it with my 2 best friends.

Because when, as a single momma, are you ever really alone ;)










Sunday, 25 March 2018

Namastay or NamasGO??



Continued from last entry……


There was no way I could meditate like this?

This woman was driving me absolutely crazy.

Here I was hoping for a quiet and serene morning to escape the “noise” of my everyday life, but this woman’s shuffling, rifling and incessant whimpering was creating the most annoying experience ever for me!

I was so frustrated.  

Actually, I don’t think that I was the only one who was annoyed.  I felt like there were a few people in the room who were having a hard time staying focused with all of this background movement.

And I bet Sunim could feel everyone’s negative energies as well because……well….. because he’s Hae Kwang Sunim!  And I had no doubt that he could feel even the slightest  of energy shifts

I think I was right because Sunim suddenly announced to the group“Let us now quiet our minds, turn our thoughts inward, and focus on our breath”.


I tried so hard to focus on my breathing, but every time I did, hot mess would cough again, or sniffle again, or….. just be super annoying again  >:(


This whole meditation thing would be SO much easier if she wasn’t here.  I half-wondered if while everyone’s eyes were closed, I could quietly pull her yoga mat out of the classroom.  With her on it….

Sunim spoke again, “Let any thoughts that come into your mind just pass through.  Do not remain on them.  Do not focus on them.  Acknowledge them, and then let them pass…..”


Ok, I guess I should let that thought pass….especially since it was kind of an evil thought.

So, now what??

Sunim clearly read my mind because then he said, “Continue to focus on your breath.  It is impossible to think about anything when you are thinking about breathing in ….. and breathing out.


Pfffttt….no way!  

I could ABSOLUTELY breathe in and out at the same time that I am thinkin…………..

…………….. ?

..........!!??



Holy crap!?  


He was right!!  


You COULDN’T think and breathe at the same time!!???


This was amazing!!  Why had I never realized that before??

I tried it again.  

My mind was thinking about everything under the sun UNTIL I stopped to focus on my breath.  And then, quiet and peace washed over my body.

Un-be-lieve-ABLE!!!


For years I’ve been filling my mind with stupid idiotic nonsense, worrying about  things that would NEVER come to fruition, and stressing over complete silliness when all I could have been doing all this whole time was breathing!!

Wow.


What a breath-taking experience this had turned into!!  (insert laughter and applause here for that perfect pun).

------------------------------------------------


For the next 2 hours (yes, 2 hours!) I became ONE with the universe.  In fact, the universe and I had become “besties”.

I worked, and focused, SO HARD on my breathing that I became untouchable.


At one point I had actually quieted my mind so much that I felt like I was floating amongst the stars, up in space.   

But then….. I thought that that was a little weird, and totally unrealistic.

So then I floated down to reality………..or rather, down to a large yacht....where I was being shuttled to my own private island :)

This was the life!!



After floating all over the planet, Sunim asked us to “bring our attention back to the classroom and back to the present moment”.


I was SO relaxed.  I felt like mush.  The good kind of mush :) 

And then I wondered......was hot mess even still here??  Or had she left during our meditation session?


I opened my eyes, and there she was.  Still sniffling and coughing and rolling up Kleenexes in the corner of the room.


Remarkable!!


I had managed to perform 2 hours of meditation without once getting distracted by hot mess!??  How cool was that???  

And then I thought to myself.   If I could completely ignore hot mess and exist in my peaceful state of mind, then what else could I ignore????  My kids when they’re fighting……my mom when she’s nagging me about my messy house…….my personal trainer when he’s yelling at me to do that 100th sit up?………the possibilities to ignore were ENDLESS!!  (Well, except for that last one.  Everyone knows that Ridiculous Girl does not work out.  I perfected ignoring the whole “workout” thing a LONG time ago…..).

-------------------------------------------------

At the end of class, Sunim smiled and said thank you to all of us for attending his class.  Then he put his hands together and said "Namaste".

He continued, 
 "The word Namaste means 'the divine in me recognizes the divine in you'.  I wish you all a wonderful week, and I hope to see you again soon".

As my sister and I rolled up our yoga mats, hot mess walked past us on her way out.

She smiled and whispered to a few of us, "Sorry that I was so loud.  I've had a rough week.  I'm really happy I got to join this class.  I needed it".

In my peaceful state, I smiled back at her and said, "You weren't loud at all".


And then, for the final time, I inhaled deeply, and exhaled loudly and whispered to myself, Namaste.

Which in my books means......... 


'the ridiculous in me, recognizes the ridiculous in you'.



;)



The end.






Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Hot mess meditation.




I am a firm believer in the power of yoga.  

Being able to quiet my mind in a chaotic and busy world of work, children and just everyday life is an absolute necessity in maintaining my peace of mind and sense of self. 

So you can imagine that I jumped at the chance at taking my “mind-quieting” to a whole other level when my sister invited me to join her for my very first meditation class.

I was over the moon!  The sacred and energetic full moon that is……

--------------------------------------------------

On the day of my mindfulness journey, I met my sister at the studio, excited and ready to partake in absolute nothingness.

As we entered the meditation room, my sister stepped away to chat with some of her friends.  So I took that time to set up our mats and peruse the space..  It was small, warm and dim-lit.  VERY cozy.  Perfect for a morning of deep relaxation :) 

Once lined up in the room, everyones' yoga mats were practically touching.  It didn’t seem like there was an inch of space for another person.  So I assumed that the studio staff member knew what she was doing when she called out to the secretary,  “We can still fit one more!”.

As my sister and I stretched and whispered-chatted to one another about her previous meditation experiences, I noticed one more woman come in.  She quietly unrolled her yoga mat, lied down and closed her eyes. 

There, the room was full now!  I’m sure we would begin any minute.  So I crossed my legs, placed my hands on my knees, closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

I felt such peace.  This was EXACTLY what I needed after a long and busy week.  I needed to be AWAY from real life! And this was the perfect place.  Quiet and serene.

I took an even deeper breath, this time along with a super loud exhale.  This way my neighboring yoga mat friends would think that I was an expert in meditation.  Because even though I’m a self-admitted “hot mess”, I didn’t want anyone ELSE to think that.


I exhaled one more time, releasing all of my stress from the week before.   I was about to get into my meditation zone when suddenly the door whipped open.

A very loud and rambunctious woman stormed into the room.  She look incredibly disheveled.  Her reddish-brown hair was wild and curly, her outfit was baggy and stained and she ran across the room in a panic holding her yoga mat which was starting to unravel under her arms.  

Now SHE was a hot mess!

The secretary called out after her “Ma’am! The class is full already!”  But hot mess didn’t listen.  She just kept scrambling around us muttering “I need to do this class….”

She stepped over several people and tried to unroll her mat into several ‘impossible to squeeze into’ spots.  We all sat quietly yet impatiently watching her and wondering what her next move would be.

I looked at my sister and rolled my eyes.

This was SO not pre-meditation behavior.  This woman had me all shaken up!  Now I would have to exhale loudly like 4 more times to get back to my calm zen space.  Ughhhhh…..

The secretary politely asked the woman to come back to the office to talk.


I would NOT have been polite.  

I would’ve been like, “Hey! Crazy Pants!!  Your CHI is messin’ us all up!  Get outta here!!”

But regardless of how this woman was escorted, the door closed yet again and we were finally back to our quiet pre-meditation.

Ahhhh…….

It was then that our Yogi ever-so-silently entered the room.  He smiled at each of us, sharing his incredible calm energy, as he took his place at the front of the class.  He then sat down and introduced himself.  Hae Kwang Sunim was his name. 

Ooooohhhhh, his name was SO fancy!

This guy was super cool.  His aura was excellent too.  And I would know because I know aura’s.

His flowy long shirt was also amazing.  

Based on his appearance alone, I just knew that this class would be incredible! 

Sunim began speaking and we were all peacefully listening when suddenly hot mess barged in again!? 

Oh for the love of Sunim!!! 

What was she doing here again??

The secretary ran over to the Yogi and whispered something to him.  She looked frustrated.  He closed his eyes (in true yogi fashion), lifted his hand up to her as if to say “it’s ok, I got this” and he motioned for hot mess to come in.

He pointed to a small spot at the very front of the room next to him and then peacefully smiled at her.

Hot mess muttered thank you over and over again and then proceeded to set up her space.

For the next 5 minutes, as Sunim spoke to all of us, we all tried to get back into our own personal zen.

I closed my eyes, dropped my chin to my chest and inhaled and exhaled loudly again.

But I couldn’t relax, because hot mess kept making noises.  She kept shuffling, rifling through her purse and coughing. 

So help me God if this annoying woman brought her flu into my meditation bubble!  I'll be so pissed!!

But after another minute she got settled and stopped coughing. 

Finally!


But I was wrong.  

It was then that I heard whimpering.  

OMG, don’t even tell me…….

Without lifting my head, I opened my eyes and looked at her.  Hot mess had started crying.

What now????

Normally I would feel bad for someone if they started crying around me but this was just too much!  Hot mess CLEARLY needed to go home and watch This is Us while downing a bottle of wine and a bag of Doritos.  

Sunim looked over at her and quietly asked if she was ok.

She nodded, and then blew her nose loudly into a Kleenex.

I looked over at my sister and mouthed the words “Oh Brother……”


Sunim then began the class.


And I wasn’t sure if this meditation was going to take me to a land of peace and tranquility or to the land of ultimate chaos.




To be continued……