Tuesday 19 August 2014

Random Update: My Week In Snippets

I have been really busy this week, because I launched my own business (yep, I grab life by the balls, people), and I've been doing miserable things like getting cavities filled (though most of my time was spent sitting and waiting for the freezing to work while my hygienist and I discussed online dating forums), and in the middle I've been trying to actually get out of the house a little. So I haven't had time to formulate some big clever post this week, nor have I had time to post some awesome recipes and DIY stuff I've been doing. It'll come, don't worry. In the meantime, here's a very short summary of what has been happening.


I took a big leap and started my own marketing firm. I was already working freelance, but I wanted to take things to the next level and really brand it. It's freakin' scary, but I love what I do and I prefer to do it on my own terms. This way I never end up marketing Nesquik or Axe body spray or anything else that makes me feel dirty. I celebrated the launch of my business by promptly losing my day planner, which is still MIA as it flew off the roof of my car. I spent the next two days curled up in a ball while I tried to remember all my appointments and notes. I recommend you, too, reach for the stars and go for that dream career that you've always wanted, no matter how scared you are...but I recommend you find a different way to mark the occasion.

My best friend MJ moved in with me a couple months ago. I didn't really mention that yet, because I wasn't sure what to say other than, "YAYYYYYYY". Not every pair of friends should live together, but MJ and I have a history and lived together for four years previously, so now, in our 11th year of knowing each other, we felt pretty confident in our decision to be roomies. I don't know exactly how she's feeling about it, but I can tell you that *I* am thrilled. For one thing, I feel less likely to develop a brain tumor from holding the phone to my head for 2+ hours a day while talking to her. Also, we can do little chats throughout the day rather than one long one...it's like Stadtler and Waldorf shorts on The Muppet Show, in their balcony, laughing at their own jokes. But today especially felt like a day where I could say, "Yeah, I'm living with the right person," because she left me this note in the morning:

Only a best friend would know exactly how to make me laugh first thing in the morning like that.


Corben's training continues and is getting more interesting as his age/brain increases. Last week we took him on a steam train at the museum to teach him about trains. Not, like, to teach him about trains, because I'm telling you, this dog has no interest in book learning, despite my repeated attempts to make him watch shark documentaries with me. Anyway, he had to learn how to cope with train travel and this was a great way to do it. Despite hundreds of screaming children and a wasp that flew in the train car, he handled it like a pro. So the next step is a public bus, and we went through the rigmarole of getting him recognized by the bus service, and now--no joke--Corben has his own photo ID for the bus. Yes, I'm in it, but I think I'm pretty much just there to hold him up to the camera.

I've been doing the online dating thing for a few months now. I started out, not to actually talk to anyone, but because I'm an A-type organization freak. So while I was lying there in bed one day, pitying myself because I was pretty sure I'm never going to find someone I want to date again, I decided to see if that was empirically accurate. Dating sites allow you to screen people based on their gender, age, financial bracket, education level, desire for children, etc etc etc. So as cold-hearted-Vulcan as it makes me sound, I went on and selected all my best case scenario choices for a mate, I found that yes, there are still some eligible mates in the world. The rest of the screening is left up to the individual, of course. If you're considering trying it out, may I suggest the following additional screening methods:

1. If they message you with, "Hey Baby/Cutie/Sexy", don't bother messaging them back.
2. If they have pictures of themselves shirtless, when not on a beach, don't bother messaging them back.
3. If they don't have a picture of their face, and you're not interested in participating in a round of infidelity, don't message them back.
4. If they fail to use punctuation or spell check, don't bother messaging them back. Unless you're one of those people, too. In that case, I'm glad you found each other.

I may do a longer post on this topic at some point.

In dating, business, or life in general: if you are unsure if you're good enough, smart enough, or cool enough, just fake it 'til you make it. You'll get there. Here, a song for us self-effacing fake-it-til-we-make-its:

Monday 11 August 2014

For Ottawa fans: help me find my planner, please!

Hey ya'll.

I have a little request for you guys. On Friday last week I lost my agenda book off the hood of my car. We were shopping at Bayshore Mall and when we left, I totally left my iPad and my planner on the roof. The iPad stuck to the roof until someone finally honked at us, but the planner was gone. Thing is, that planner has a lot of my recorded notes on things that are irrelevant to everyone else, but really crucial for me, like Corben's training practices. If you know anyone who might have seen it, or maybe if you have it and didn't know my contact info is in the front, PLEASE help.

Our travel path was: third floor of Bayshore parking lot, then out onto Bayshore Dr, then right onto Carling Ave past the Coliseum, then right again onto Pinecrest/Greenbank. We stopped to rescue the iPad at the corner of Carling and Richmond, so it fell off somewhere before there.

If you have any ideas ("I saw a man wearing a green planner as a rain hat", for example), please email me at jordandangerwrites (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks, friends.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Learning to Listen to Your Body: a rather candid story

My uterus is a badger. If you missed that post,
go read it. You won't regret it.
I started pelvic floor physio this week. You may be wondering, 'What the hell is pelvic floor physio?' and if you've ever been to a typical physiotherapy clinic, you're probably trying to picture what that would look like. Would there be people doing supervised kegels beside the guy with the bum knee who's stepping on and off that fake staircase? Women throwing medicine balls back and forth using nothing but their thighs and groin muscles? Well, maybe that's just my imagination. Nevermind.

It's nothing like that, of course. It's private, for one; a small, quiet exam room and a typical medical bed. There are a hundred reasons for pelvic floor physio for both men and women: tailbone pain, groin pain, injury or surgery recovery, post natal scary stuff, trauma healing...you name it. My reason is tied to my endometriosis, which I've talked about before, but in a nutshell I'll just say that my body has learned that life=pain, so my insides are in a constant charlie horse and we're teaching it to relax.

Naturally, the best way to teach your body to relax is to enter an exam room and take off your pants, right?

I'm sharing this rather personal story because this is a therapy that I've put off for years, figuring that it would be uncomfortable and awkward and possibly painful. Occasionally though, I like to share an anecdote in the hopes that it'll help other people to be brave. Well, this is for you would-be brave people.


My therapist has pink hair and is about my age. She made me laugh almost right away, and more importantly, she laughed at all my jokes. This is the first step to making Jordan feel totally relaxed. I felt like this was someone who would totally 'get' my lady garden experience, unlike so many old men gynecologists who looked pale if I mentioned words like "labia" or "cervical mucus"; I swear, some doctors really seem more comfortable when women just use words like "down there" and "inside area".


She then asked me a bunch of medical questions, which I usually find stressful. But the cool thing was that a lot of these questions were ones I'd never been asked before; they were relevant to me and my symptoms. Some of these symptoms were things that other doctors had shrugged off long ago. For instance, did you know that if your insides are really really cramped up, you can experience nerve-like tingling in your thighs? Well, I know that now--and consequently, my odd tingling thighs are no longer a medical mystery. Unless you've experienced enigmatic medical symptoms, I don't think you can fully appreciate the overwhelming joy that comes from hearing someone tell you they understand why you feel that symptom, and how it works. The reassurance this gave me served to relax me further as I felt like I'd finally found somewhere that could help me.


The next step was an exam, and this meant taking off my lower-half clothing and exposing my lady parts. Male and female readers alike are probably used to exams by doctors that typically take about nine seconds: the doctor comes in, puts on a glove, pokes at an orifice, then pirouettes away from you like they're about to sneeze. I always thought the wham-bam-thank you-ma'am approach was best; I certainly have never desired to have any of my doctors lingering around down there. No, not even the cute ones, because no one looks good in flourescent lights and that includes my underparts, god love her.

Well, there's no zipping in and out in this physio exam. My therapist had me lay back on the table and asked me if I was anxious. I was. She said, "Okay, no problem. We'll just sit here 'til you get bored." And she did. She just sat calmly between my knees, quietly waiting. I felt like my therapist and my vajayjay were silently communing with one another. Vajayjay, meet Therapist. Therapist, meet Vajayjay. I pictured them both just staring at each other. I, myself, felt like an awkward third wheel: a bystander who is keenly aware of a nonverbal exchange happening between two other people. I almost started whistling tunelessly and staring at the ceiling.

Even Wonderwoman isn't on pointe
every minute of every day.
The approach worked, though. My therapist stopped and quietly waited anytime my body got tense. What takes most gynos a brisk ten seconds took us about twenty minutes. It was unnerving and wonderful at the same time. Instead of being more uncomfortable, this extended exam was the least painful thing I've ever experienced at a doctor's office. I've had more discomfort from a tongue depressor while checking for strep throat.


The whole thing reminded me that we all need to have patience with our bodies. We're not all Nike commercial athletes, with muscles that spring into perfect coordinated action with the shot of a starter pistol. Hell, even the Nike athletes' bodies aren't like that all the time. Our bodies aren't always up for stress, or sex, or running, or gardening, or handling that meatlover's pizza. Our bodies, inside and out, need to be listened to, and given patience. It reminded me most especially that sometimes I push my body way too hard, on way too little TLC. And what was amazing was that, here in this little room with a pink-haired stranger calmly waiting for my body to make up its own mind, it may have been the first occasion where I ever gave my body time to be itself in its own time.

It was a surreal way to be taught a lesson in mindfulness. Proof that one never knows where one's next revelation will stem from--even making a new acquaintance for your cootch could be a moment of epiphany. At least, in my world it can be.

Sunday 3 August 2014

Sharing Through Writing: Write What Matters

Credit: Morguefile

I had a friend (and fellow blogger) recently ask me about writing posts that share personal matters—not the kind where I discuss my menstrual cycle, but the kind where friends or family might be involved. He’s got a potentially emotional story brewing, and I really wanted to think of the right words to encourage him; to reassure him that whatever mild discomfort his family may experience from his story would be far outweighed by the profound affect it would have on his readers.

But I couldn’t say it, because I haven’t followed that philosophy myself.

I have a confession to share with my readers: I’m a liar. Well, if omission is lying. If so, then I’ve definitely sinned.


In my first blog, which was all about my wedding, I left out many stories about the hellish family feuds that erupted, the troubles with absentee wedding planners, the problems that my fiancĂ© and I were having interpersonally. Likewise with my second blog which spanned the length of my marriage, and the start of a chronic illness which, to this day, I’ve only ever alluded to in my writing. Upon reflection, I think it was personally detrimental to my own processing of these events to keep things so bottled up. When I started Girl, Crafted, I swore that would change. But there were roadblocks.
credit: Morguefile
First off, I have chosen to write under my real name. This means that many people who read my blog actually know me and the people in my life. Even with pseudonyms, which I use all the time, those closest to us can likely put the puzzle pieces together.

Secondly, I have a fear of trolls—and that’s reasonable. There are people to this day who enjoy talking about my divorce on certain troll message boards, as if they think I don’t know they’re out there. While I understand and accept that even my tiny sliver of fame naturally comes with gossip and anti-fans, it’s hard on the nerves. Trolls can be exceptionally good at saying the exact things that our own inner critics often whisper to us in our heads.


The result, unfortunately, is this: I have people in my life who think, because I don’t blog about my deepest failures, pains, or slights, that they do not exist. Or worse yet, that I’m ignorant of them; that I’m heartless. I also fear that by sharing so little, I paint a rosy picture instead of my very real, and very relatable, human experience.

My recent breakup is a great example. Yes, I wrote a post about it. In an effort to avoid any backlash for my ex, and to avoid anyone feeling like sides needed to be taken, I didn’t blog about my own experiences—not the soul-crushing ones that led to the dissolution of the relationship, and not the anger and pain that came after. In fact, so aware was I that many of the people I talk to every day are readers, I didn’t share these things even in person. I can count on one hand the number of people who know even half of struggles. The result is that I was often labelled as callous or unfeeling; this was exacerbated by the fact that the other side of the story was broadcast loud for all to hear. Which leads to an interesting question: why is it so much worse for a writer to share their true story than it is for an individual who has a large (but face-to-face) audience? Why do we writers of the modern era fear to hit ‘publish’ on that blog post?

I want to set the record straight. My spring breakup was not easy on me. The decision to end things was painful and spanned many months. I sought counselling; I tried wildly diverse tactics and techniques to mitigate the issues we were facing. I had to come to terms with the impending loss of two kids whom I’d come to think of as my proteges. And knowing that I would be too afraid to share any of this, I had to come to terms with the fact that my true grief would never be heard beyond a very small audience—not even my household. In fact, only two people know the story.
credit: Morguefile


It can be very isolating, writing for the public. But this weekend, for the first time, I wrote a Facebook status that shared a little bit about my breakup pain; while I was terrified to do it, the responses I got were overwhelmingly affectionate.

One in particular, though, changed my entire thinking on my practice of hiding my worse struggles. A dear old friend reach out to me…one who has been a guiding light for me in rough times. She messaged me privately to let me know that she takes strength and courage from my writing—the few stories I do share of my real-life struggles. Instead of seeing me as weak or stupid, she reads these stories and sees my perseverance as a reminder to be strong in her own journey. When I am honest and open with my readers, it turns out I give them so much more than when I slave over DIY instructions and recipe photos. And unlike the unfiltered venting that may happen in a face-to-face wallowing session, we writers tend to word things in a reflective, thoughtful manner that is healthier both for us and for the listener.

So I’m telling you all right now: I was not okay before, during, or for a long time after my breakup. If you are, or have, experienced one of your own, please don’t think for a second that you’re less awesome because you didn’t just jump right back into trying new recipes and painting new antiques, as I seem to have done. I bought a giant stuffed pony and a body pillow because my bed felt empty. A giant stuffed pony at age 32. You are not alone if you are grieving and suffering, even if your circumstances demand that you, too, keep your pain (from whatever kind of loss) hidden. I see you just as you are, and you’re still wonderful.

Even this post will be picked up by the trolls message boards, and there will be those (even friends of mine) who may see this post as self-indulgent or unfair to the people I’ve briefly mentioned here. They’re wrong. When writers share their struggles, even those that involve the people around us in some less-than-discreet way, we are doing something selfless: we are giving of our own journey to support the journeys of others.

So, to my fellow writer, I say please write your post. Hiding your story benefits no one, and beautiful things can happen when we share.

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