Dear 15-Year-Old Me

wishes

Dear Me,

Greetings from the future – where cars don’t fly, and food isn’t yet in pill form. However, you have an awesome phone and can buy your own booze so it all balances out.

You are 15. Your life is about school, friends, family and all the little details of your everyday existence. You are coasting along, happy as can be and so confident in who you are and who you want to be.

I wish I had more of your blind confidence, your unwavering belief in your abilities and your clear view of the future. As you grow up, your view of the future gets a bit misty, but rest assured you do accomplish a lot.

Now for some words of wisdom, things that I want you to know to get you through the next 15 years of life.

Trusting in someone is hard, being betrayed is even harder. It will happen; friends, lovers, co-workers. You learn to trust the right people and in your judgment. This pain is temporary, a brief storm in your life that will pass.

Life will hurt you, break you, and scar you, but you will survive. It’s never as bad as it seems.

Don’t ever think you aren’t worth it, aren’t strong enough. You can doubt yourself fifty thousand ways but it doesn’t change the truth, it doesn’t change your strength.

Be yourself, be happy in the little things, be caring, be wild, be anything you want.

All of your dreams won’t come true as you imagined they would. Don’t give up. There is no deadline on dreaming.

Finally, don’t stop writing. Whatever you do. Do. Not. Stop. Writing. It may seem hard or you’ll feel blocked, but down the road, you’ll be sitting here writing this letter. Even when the words fail you in real life, there is help in a notebook or keyboard. Writing will always be a part of who you are, don’t forget that.

Dear me, your life is so simple right now. It may seem complex and stressful, but know that you real life is out there waiting for you. That your uniqueness, your strength and caring heart will grow and bring the right people and the right things into your life. Maybe it’s not your dream life, but I promise you are very happy and one day you’ll know that’s what really matters.

5 Things on Love: From an Unqualified Single Girl

5 things on love

Writing about Love around Valentine’s Day when you’re a single girl feels about as comfortable as a hot male gynecologist checking out your downstairs while a Justin Bieber CD plays.

Nevertheless, ‘tis the season and as popular culture, Facebook and even the news won’t shut up about it, its time to talk about looove.

Or, specifically in my case, the lack thereof; unless you count Netflix, Tumblr and my hoodie collection, then I’m seeing several things very seriously. However, I have learned a few things on love that I’d like to share with you all during this magical time of year.

First, Hollywood, books and the OC lied to you. Real love isn’t about the grand gesture or big speeches; it’s about honesty and being with the one person who gets you. As one of my romantic heroes’ once said, “If I loved you less, I could talk about you more.” The guy was so in love with Emma (Jane Austen, look it up) that he literally could not go into more details and Mr. Knightley (aforementioned romantic hero) was not a quiet guy. Love is everyday; it’s sitting through your partner’s favourite TV shows when you’d rather be anywhere else in the world, it’s the I Love You text just because they popped into your head. All those grand gesturey things? They last a moment, but someone who will bring you chicken soup when you’re sick is forever. Forget the boombox blaring love songs, a daily heart emoji will work for me!

Secondly: Love as you want to be loved. You are not perfect, and neither is your partner, so fighting over how long you take in the shower or that they are constantly late is not going to keep the lovelight burning. It will snuff it out like a little kid blowing out a first birthday candle. So many fights are over the tiny details that drive people crazy. Learn to deal, yes it sucks but if you really loved them, the little things really don’t matter. So ignore your partner’s mother’s passive aggressive comments on your tattoo sleeve and they’ll ignore your friends who are constantly over at your house playing video games.

That being said, thirdly: Sometimes, love isn’t enough. Yes, tragic and sad, but even if you really like someone, things fall apart for one reason or another. Rather than dwelling on the crashing and burning, remember the happy times. Every time you love, it’s a lesson to be learned. Maybe you’ll be a little less selfish next time, or they’ll learn to stop being a cheating jerk (even if they don’t, you learn to move on and trust someone else). Love isn’t always easy, and yes, it’s not always going to be happily ever after, but some day it could be, and every relationship that ended before just means more shit you learned to keep you and your dreamboat together.

Okay, back to happy, and I mean Happy. Four: good sex is Important. I’m not talking about huge passion, hours-long screw sessions, I mean sex with connection and joy. Don’t have sex because you think you have to, and don’t do things just because they want to spice it up. If you don’t want to do it, then tell them you don’t. Sex consists of bodies communicating together, so communicate with your words before, during and after. There are two of you in bed, so make sure both of your voices are heard. Make it enjoyable for both of you. Put down the 50 Shades and bring the sexy talk back.

Finally 5: Enjoy love in any form. Whether it be love for your Bestie, your partner, your siblings your parents, your Starbucks Barista; just love with an open heart. Who says you only have to really love just one person? There will be one person who will work by your side for the rest of your life, but there are other people in your life who contribute to your happiness. So appreciate them too!

So with that; I love you Mom, Dad, Sister, Bestie, friends, Netflix and My Starbucks Barista’s who give me so much love, support and caffeine that I so desperately need. And I love you too Blonde reader, for taking the time out of your busy day to read this. Happy Valentines Day!

That One Almost Dance

He had the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. He was my height (which is tall), gorgeous, thick dark hair, crooked smile, and he was my locker neighbour.

First day of freshman year high school, I finally navigated my way to my homeroom and found my locker, in a very ideal spot across from my homeroom and near the cafeteria. I remember hanging up my boy band posters and locker mirror, but I don’t remember my first meeting with the dream guy. I just remember that I was completely smitten.

Up until that point, my crushes had been on boy band members who acted innocent but were skeazy in real life, young actors with mysterious smiles and cute hair, or random boys in school who were sort of cute but as my hormone-ravaged brain needed the drama, these boys became the center of my little world.

In middle school, my friends and I would harmlessly fixate on one guy a year and give him a code name; one boy’s nickname was after a boy band song, and the other was after his unfortunate taste in winter outerwear. We’d narrate his day or talk about things we caught him doing. We’d never ask him out or dream of being asked out by these cute guys, they were simply something to pass the time.

But my freshman boy was different, he made my pulse race, my face flush and my words stutter. No nickname or narrating for this boy. I just quietly pined hopelessly, devotedly to my blue-eyed boy.

We had the same homeroom and a few classes together, and then I walked into the school newspaper meeting and he was there. He was a writer too (mine of course being the better pieces), but I read his words until I memorized them. I don’t recall any one-on-one conversations, but I assume it would have happened. My friends knew how I felt and luckily only one tried to constantly shove me in his path, but I resisted. I was the damsel in the tower, I wasn’t going to call after my prince charming; he can find me himself.

Then it was the first dance of the school year. None of my peers could go, an older friend was supposed to meet me at the dance later on, so brave 14-year-old me, I went completely alone.

Much Music Video Dance, I wore hip-hugger pants, my platform heels (although being 5’7 at the time) and my Backstreet Girl crop top (I may have used Hot Sticks and or glitter gel in my hair). Either way, I was here to dance and have fun and I did. Then, “All My Life” KC and Jo-Jo came on, I swayed alone to the song when a mutual friend of mine and my crush’s found me. She told me that the next slow song, he wanted to dance with me. With me.

I remember smiling so calmly, and said sure, I’d dance with him. My inner damsel squealed and danced around in my mind but as the friend walked away, I stayed where I was for a few minutes then glided down to the washrooms.

I have many fond, dramatic memories of those washrooms, mainly friends of mine having meltdowns or gossiping about girls in school but this was my own moment. I went in, washed my hands and looked at my young and terrified face in the mirror. It was happening. I was going to dance with my blue eyed prince and we’d live happily ever after. Drying my hands I went back upstairs to my destiny.

Sadly, my dreams were just dreams, as no more slow songs played and my prince never found me that night. He never asked me out or had his friend talk to me on his behalf. We just had that one almost dance.

I was crushed, but knew some dreams weren’t meant to be. I moved on and crushed on other boys (real and Hollywood style), but still have fond feelings for Blue-Eyed Boy.

Later, I found out that my crush’s best friend (my arch-nemesis all throughout high school) had a crush on me too. So I tell myself that my crush was being a good friend by not making a move on me to spare his friend’s feelings. It also explained why the arch-nemesis was such a prick to me all throughout high school.

Only fairly recently did I find out that my blue-eyed gorgeous prince was gay (okay to be fair, I FaceStalked him a little). I was a little sad for what could have been and felt a little sad for that 14-year-old me at the dance waiting for my long-waited slow dance.

However, what my blue-eyed boy gave me was much more than dreams and fantasies; he got me out of my boy band craziness and into real life boys and showed me that even if it wasn’t meant to be, I was worth being asked out and maybe fought over a little bit. So, on those days when I think I am not worth it, I’ll remember the boy who sent a friend to ask me to dance (even if there is a little part of me that thinks maybe my prince wasn’t in to me; maybe it was my Backstreet Girl shirt), I’ll remember the feeling of being in the girl’s washroom and thinking I had a happily ever after coming. Someday, my prince will really come.

The Band that Changed my Life

TheKillers

I remember more music than I have memories. It has become so engrained into my life that I have tattoos dedicated to it and spend a good chunk of my paycheck to go to concerts.  I listened to music to fall asleep, to soothe a broken heart, and to celebrate life. Sometimes my taste could be questionable, but when I discovered my band my life changed forever.

Growing up, I listened to a lot of my parent’s music: Irish Folk music, female singers and more folk music. Before we had our Walkmans, my sister and I would have to endure hours in a car of songs like “The Fields of Athenry” and endless jig music. When my dad finally got “Hot Licks” by the Rolling Stones we had him play it constantly as it was the only music we could ever agree on. Then finally: we got our own Walkmans and stereos, which we used to play our radio mix tapes and CDs my mom got from Columbia House. She was pretty hip with the times: she bought me Fugees, TLC, Jennifer Lopez and Fast and Furious soundtracks. My first favourite tape that I listened to repeatedly as a kid was the Dirty Dancing soundtrack (years before it became one of my favorite movies).  I also distinctly remember blasting Celine Dion and Whitney Houston while playing solitaire on my little computer in my room, and having my headphones on listening to the Backstreet Boys.  Then there was Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child air bands, lip syncs with my bestie to “The Boy Is Mine,” and dance routines to ABBA. Very eclectic taste.

Then as I got older, I picked up artists that my parent’s hadn’t heard of:  Blink 182, Sum 41 and my favourite band for years and years, Lifehouse. I discovered them on a That’s What I Call Music CD and played their first album so often I’ve had to replace it three times (its still one of my favourite albums of all time). While I still like Lifehouse, my heart grew to love a different band.

In my “victory lap” year of high school, I was set on becoming a writer. I was the editor and pretty much sole writer of the school paper; I worked on yearbook and wrote stories for local magazines.  Then I took a co-op at the University of Guelph Radio station, CFRU 93.3 FM.  I was working with this very hip woman who wore hand woven tops and went to yoga (before it was the “thing” to do). As part of my co-op I got some airtime, two hours of “spoken word,” which meant that I could play music but I had to talk or have stories for 50 per cent or more of it. I only remember one story talking about education, where I had my only call in (which incidentally turned out to be a boy I hated), but I do remember the music. I would scour their little CD room filled top to bottom with CDs of all kinds of music, any genre you could think of. Then there was the “new release’s” room, with a little boom box to test out the CDs. I carefully cultivated my musical taste in that room.  Weakerthans, Constantines, Gossip and one song that I still listen to but have no idea who the band is. I remember filling out sheets and sheets on the songs I played, I wish I kept copies of those sheets.

Then I found that little single.

I remember being intrigued by its pink and gold cover, it was a promo single sent by the record label (we got lots of those). I put it in the little stereo and I was instantly hooked, it sounded quite a lot like 80’s new wave I was really into at the time (huge John Hughes Fan) but yet different. I had never heard the song before.

It was The Killers “Somebody Told Me.”

I played it literally every single show until I heard it on public radio then had to retire it. Soon after I first heard it, I bought their debut album Hot Fuss and played it to death at home.

Lifehouse and the Backstreet boys was one thing, but this evolved into something else entirely. WhiIe I’ve outgrown the other bands, I’ve become a bigger fan of The Killers. I have all of their CDs, some B-Side songs, follow a YouTube Channel with live shows and was gratefully gifted their vinyl collection which could be my most precious thing besides my autographed Chris Hemsworth magazine.

The truth is I listen to the Killers every single day, even if it’s just one song or their entire discography.  From “Mr. Brightside,” and “All these Things I’ve Done” to “Read my Mind,” “Runaways,” “Human” or “Here with Me,” and list goes on and on.  At some point in the day, guaranteed you will hear me listening to them.

While I don’t always like the music that The Killers put out, I am still a faithful follower, a Victim as they call their fans.  I’ve seen them twice in concert, and soon will go to see them a third time (floor spots- as close to the stage as we can get).

The first show was special because I dragged my cousin to it and I was very high. Sitting in the grass at the Molson Amphitheatre, it sounded so amazing that it was like I was in a tiny room and I was the only person there. I felt the music float over me and out into the night sky (I romantically think it was because of how much I love the band but it was probably the really strong weed). The next time I went was with my best friend, and we sang and danced our hearts out. It was a dream come true.

While they may not be the first band I discovered on my own, they are the first band that no matter what is happening around me, when I listen to them I feel like “me.”  They give me the words that I can’t find and tell me stories that I can relate to. On sunny days I walk around the city with my headphones repeating the words “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” in my head. On dreary days I hum “Mr. Brightside” and I wish I could have written, “It’s funny how you just break down/Waitin’ on some sign/I pull up to the front of your driveway/With magic soakin’ my spine/ Can you read my mind?”

They remind me of my good times, bad days, my past, and they get me through my present. The Killers are also part of the reason why I am so close with my best friend, because she understands and shares the same love for them as I do.

I know I will be a Victim for life: I dream of naming my hypothetical daughter after a cover they have done, plan on following in their footsteps while in Vegas and I’m deciding on what ink I should get to commemorate them.  How was I to know one little pink and gold CD would change my life?  Music will always be my religion, and the Killers are my saints.

Breaking Apart

ErinandLake

Broken.  2007 was the year I was broken. Crashed, shattered. Broken hearted, broken down and the catalyst, broken bones.

I broke my ankle in three places, it was shattered, dislocated; basically the worst of the worst. It took hours of surgery (resulting in pins, plates and two lovely scars), a splint, then air boot, wheelchair and crutches just to get me back on my feet.  This many years later and it’s still not perfect. I can’t bend at the knees very far, nor point my toes any more. I need ace bandages, wrap tape, ice, heat and elevation This is my life, since 2007.

I never expected it to take me so long to get to where I am. I’ve had to write off all these different experiences. Going for a run? Need to find flat running shoes, use athletes tape to tape it up and socks to hold it all together, even then it doesn’t last very long until the nagging pain sets in. Going shoe shopping? Forget it! I went up a size and it’s impossible to find shoes that I like that have no heel at all.

Still, the time between the break and now has been a learning process. Recovery from something that traumatic will change a person.  I learned that no matter what happens, my family will be always there to help me.  Sometimes, doesn’t matter how independent a girl is, she’ll need someone to help her. Sometimes the best help is from unexpected places and to appreciate standing, in a shower, by yourself.

I think the hardest thing I’ve had to learn, is to adapt. I’m pretty stubborn, so to face this kind of obstacle, you can’t scale it on your own, is difficult to accept. Even little things like accepting I can never wear heels, no matter how much I want a pair of nude Louboutin’s, or lace up Manolo’s. Now I just buy every kind of flat shoes at Target and live in flip flops in the summer.  Walking long distances, you take for granted. Now in the summer I’ll walk everywhere and have the rock hard leg muscles to prove it.

Recovering from any sort of broken part of you is a long process. Nobody tells you, but you can’t just bounce right back. It fundamentally changes you; sometimes for the bad, or sometimes for the good.

Ireland 2011, I went on a solo trip to visit family. We went to a local landmark that I always love going to, gorgeous views and very peaceful. The walk from the entrance to the front of the park to the lake view is around 1 ½ km, and very uneven. I managed the walk without too much pain and as I stood by the lake, I celebrated my accomplishment as even a few months before it hurt too much to walk that far. Then I realized, I had to walk back, and my healing continued. 

When I Realized I Was A Grown-up

Girl Looking Over Water-small

Sixteen years is a long time. It’s the age of a girl who dates football players or the boy who drives his Dad’s car with a mix of caution and recklessness. Sixteen years is also how long I’ve known Lola, a woman who was a giant kid at heart and made me laugh myself to tears. We met at a talent show in 1997; her with actual talent and me trying to pass my pathetic imitation of Posh Spice as a talent. We were close all through high school and stayed in touch as I went to university and she moved to another small town. Eventually we drifted apart, tethered only by Facebook, with the occasional message and an almost random run-in on the street in Toronto.

She’s now engaged, and in celebration I invited her to visit me in Toronto for a weekend. I wanted to share this special event with her, remembering all the great times we had together. I bought loads of booze, planned all these events and things to do, and had all these expectations and it turned out to be a fantastic weekend. However, I was surprised at how I felt after it was over.

While I have aged, I’ve never felt any differently from when I was a teenager. Being with L made me realize that not only had I grown up, I was not who I really thought I was.

She came in with a whirlwind of activity and clumsiness (as always); she hardly stopped to breathe as she told me about her life with her fiancée, her two cats, and friends. She talked me into going to the Eaton Centre and proudly told me that it was her first streetcar ride (which she then almost fell out of when exiting). Her innocence, even with her age, surprised me. I had always felt older than her, but she was getting married! I herded her around town, and, for a while, it felt like old times; side splitting laughter, giggling about boys and trying on clothing. Then I had planned to take her out with a bunch of my Toronto friends and take her out we did! They loved her, she loved them, and a grand time was had by all.

Being with L made me realize that not only had I grown up, I was not who I really thought I was.

The next day was full of fun and more tastes of Toronto life, and even before she boarded the bus home, she wanted me to plan her next visit. I smiled weakly, after all exhausted with the late night and the running around and told her we’d work it out later.

I went home alone with my iced tea and confused emotions. I was happy she had a great time, I was exasperated by her and I felt nostalgic because maybe the distance between Lola and I was longer than her bus ride. The things that mattered to us when we were younger don’t mean the same to me anymore; I don’t have tickle fights with my friends (true story), I wear clothes that I find fashionable not because they were in style, I don’t even listen to the same music anymore. I’ve become a mature, wine/whiskey drinking, biography reading, staying in and watching Netflix kind of adult. The girl that Lola knew was just a snapshot of my past that had been left behind in a photo album that L carried on her trip. It was very sobering to realize that magically I had grown up without even noticing.

I later looked at photos on Facebook, reminiscing, and realized that despite how much I’ve changed, there is a tiny bit of me that will still giggle over cute boys, or lip sync to a pop song that I would die if anyone found out I knew the lyrics to. The weekend was nice to revisit the old me, laugh until I had tears in my eyes, and letting myself be goofy with a good friend, but I am better off being who I am now.

Erin Fahy is a corporate drone by day and a Blonde Mag contributor by night. You can follow her on Twitter @rockurworld16. Lola is not her friend’s real name.

Image from Manley Art

I Got 99 Regrets, But My Hair Ain’t One

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“My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.”
~ Woody Allen

Regret is a word I hate. It’s too formal. It leads to too many bad things. “We regret to inform you…”

That word always leaves me pissed off.  Yet, I experience this emotion every single day.

I regret virtually every decision I ever make: from my daily appearance, to choosing my activities, or reactions to events. No single detail escapes my doubts. I wish I was joking, but truthfully, there is always a little uncertainty in all of my choices. Every path I use, I always think it’s the wrong one; doesn’t matter how far down it I’ve gone.

I always think of the path I didn’t take, the boys I didn’t date, the food I didn’t make. Regret is my Jiminy Cricket, the voice telling me I’m wrong. Sometimes it’s instantaneous, like leaving the convenience store full of crap food when I just went in for milk. Other times it just pops out of nowhere, like maybe if I hadn’t been so fucking clingy with that guy from a few years ago… or maybe I shouldn’t have bought that expensive purse I wanted so badly.

I can’t tell you when this started; it just seems to always be a part of my life. It’s not that I’m too critical of myself or that I am unhappy with myself, it’s just something I can’t help thinking. Like right now, at this very moment, I’m having strong regrets writing this article. I’m telling myself “Man, people are going to think you are out of your damn mind. Just SHUT UP! You’re coming off as a self-absorbed whiney brat!”

There is a silver lining, a light between the dark clouds. How I cope is recognizing that I’m going to have this feeling and ignoring it. I mean completely IGNORING it. By forcing myself move on from the decision, and continue on, it’s really shown me that I am doing alright. It’s opened me up to so many new experiences and takes away some of my fears; because I’m going to regret the decision anyway, so I just go for it!

Sure, I may look back at pictures of myself and wonder what the hell I was thinking wearing that or wishing I hadn’t drank that new alcoholic concoction that sounded great at the time, or maybe I shouldn’t have wasted my weekend watching Netflix. Then I remember all the decisions I wasn’t sure about that have paid off a million times.

Erin Fahy purple

One time it was the four days I spent plotting out how to frame and hang some of my favorite pictures. Every measurement was done five times, I cleaned the frames twice and put several holes in the wall, but now I have an awesome picture wall that inspires me every time I see it.

Still, the biggest decision that has never disappointed me is my purple hair. I’d always wanted purple streaks in my hair, and even once tried to achieve this feat with a boxed kit (which was a decision I really regretted, along with my pseudo bowl cut). I grew up, worked in offices and forgot about it, and then I saw my hairstylist with awesome purple hair. I debated back and forth for a few months, would this affect my job or dating life? Even knowing that it can be fixed or its semi-temporary didn’t help. I was really worried I was screwing up my life; putting a label on myself I wasn’t sure I was ready to live up to.

Then finally, I just sucked it up, shut up that nagging voice and I just went for it on my 25th birthday. I haven’t looked back since. I get so many compliments; my boss thinks it’s cool and just recently was called “Purple Hair” all night. This decision has become an integral part of my identity and even with those doubts, I know that I made the right choice.

Erin Fahy is a corporate drone by day and a Blonde Mag contributor by night. You can follow her on Twitter @rockurworld16