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look at my skin go.

October 2, 2011

if you keep on reading this, i’ll tell you about my shamanistic burning man power animal experience. oh also i’m not graduating in november. i’m taking another semester to finish my thesis.


there i said it.


this month has brought me down a peg or two. or a million. at one point my mother said “this month has really brought you to your knees, hasn’t it?”. i prefer the term “emotional shitstorm.” it’s a hard thing to balance when you are a writer – the ego. on the one hand, you need a huge chunk of ego in order to just be able to keep on writing, because in this career people constantly tell you that you are a shitty writer. rejection letters from mags. i could paint the walls with them. but on the other hand, too much ego eclipses what the end result should be, and you become ossified in your beliefs.

i am a lioness. i am fire. i have pride, and it’s something that hurts me and the others around me, and i know that, and i’m working on it, so i apologise. i therefore also have ego, and i am stubborn, so sometimes i am too set in my ways. this month has clearly been about changing that.


i came back from burning man, dusty and wild, and tried to adjust to the real world again. i was split up with (or whatever term you prefer to use) by someone i really cared about and had to deal with my first real heartache at age 24 (!). i was a wreck, not angry, but so remarkably sad. and i still am. i realised that my thesis was no where near where it should have been. i decided to eschew the graduation date that i had worked so hard towards and instead decided to take yet another semester. i realised that my grad program has changed, that i am a third year, that a lot of my friends have moved on. i realised that i had two months left in vancouver. i realised that i had started to really like vancouver.

i’m a mess, guys.  i’ve cried so much this past month, like a real numpty. which i hate admitting, because while i’m a complete baby during movies (i cried during shaun of the dead. truly.) i hate hate hate hate crying in front of friends/lovers/coworkers/colleagues. i hate appearing weak, which i realise now is a pretty big character flaw, because we are all so human, and we all have the right and privilege of feeling things. i can’t control the tears, now. i cried all the way through yoga class the other night. that was a low point. i have cried at work, on transit, in the shower, in front of friends, on the phone, in the street. it’s like all of my upset is exploding out through my eyes, and all of my feelings and insecurities from this past month are loosening themselves and coming out. through tears. if you see me, and i cry, do not worry. just give me a hug.


i am a person who meets deadlines. i have never pulled an all nighter. i have a meticulous calendar that does not let me miss a due date.

the fact that i am pushing my thesis submission date – and therefore my graduation date – back again is very, very hard for me. call me type-a. i know i am. call me stubborn and obsessively organized. sometimes i can be. but this decision – while very, very right – is so distressing to me.

and it shouldn’t be. i was the youngest in my year. there are people my age who still don’t have their shit together. as my mother pointed out, if i graduate in november and if i graduate in april, i will be 24 at either date. and really, what is another 5 months?

i don’t know how to write a novel. i’m scared it will never be good enough. i’m scared that i will keep on pushing this due date back again and again. but i also know that i have to let go of my goddamned ego, and so maybe september was a good month for me, despite the difficulty, because only now, now that i have no no no ego left, could i have been able to consider giving up on the graduation date that i was so violently angling towards and consider graduating at another time.

sometimes we hold onto things too hard and once we loosen our point of view we see that there is another way to go about it all.


when i was at burning man, i attended a shamanistic workshop for finding my power animal. yeah, maybe it sounds out of character for me, but that’s what burning man was about for me – shedding that type-a personality at the gates and being the purest form of myself that i could be.

we were smudged before we were allowed to enter the yurt, which was a very brilliant white. think about that in the midday nevada sun. it was so searingly bright. and there were at least thirty of us, if not forty – weirdos, wayward stragglers – lying in a huge circle with our heads towards the altar, where our shaman was hitting a drum with a baton and walking overtop of our heads, banging the drum near our closed eyes. we were supposed to meditate on what our power animal was. we were told that our power animal could be anything – a bug, a fish, a tree. i thought please god don’t let my power animal be a fucking tree. also i thought this is a joke. what the hell am i doing here?

surprise. i saw something, and i wasn’t expecting to. maybe i had expected that my power animal would be a crow, because they appear so often in my life, and because i love them, and i feed them off of my windowsill like a crazy person. no! the animal that i thought of, for some reason, was a green snake.




back at home, after this shitstorm september, i finally remembered to look up exactly what “snake” meant as a power animal. i had sort of forgotten about it. i had sort of forgotten about all of burning man because the euphoria that i had felt at surviving – at thriving – in such a terrain was overshadowed by sadness and self doubt.

the snake means change. it means sloughing off of a skin. snake medicine is power. and it is strength. and most of all – most of all! – it’s about accepting that change means that a higher knowledge is going to be attained. if you can give in to the change and accept that your skin is about to be scraped off, left danging somewhere, then something good is going to happen.


at burning man, our tent-neighbour, brad, told us “everything is temporary. everybody is temporary.” he’s right, i think. i love too hard, i love too much, i hang onto concepts and ideas for too long of a time. i become stubborn in my infatuations and my wants. but i’m changing. so if i seem a little odd this month – if i snap at you, or if i cry into your cardigan – look behind me. there will be scales somewhere.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 2, 2011 9:13 pm

    you are so beautiful when you’re naked.

    “You’ve got to go at the rate you can go. You wake up at the rate you wake up. You’re finished with your desires at the rate you finish with your desires. You can’t rip the skin off the snake. The snake must moult the skin. That’s the rate it happens.” – RD

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