WWGK: What Would Gran Knit

Dear Gran,
One year, on Mother’s Day, you were babysitting me and my sister. I don’t remember where Mom and Dad were, mostly because I was way too excited to have you there, which meant we could probably convince you to have ice cream for dinner. And because it’s been 20 years.

What I do remember is the pancakes we made. They were awful. They were basically hockey pucks that failed quality control testing as hockey pucks. No matter what we did, more milk, less flour, all of the vanilla in the house, we could not make them edible.

That afternoon, we took a walk to the park, and brought the pancakes with us, thinking the birds might like a snack. We watched as a Canada Goose attacked a pancake with vigor, only to spit it right back out. The pancakes were so bad, even the birds rejected them. Turns out Mom had left out parts of the recipe before she left, and even the birds knew they weren’t right.

Thank you, Gran, for all that you do. Especially for letting us eat ice cream for dinner, even if the compromise was eating it between two mini Eggo waffles. We loved it, and we love you. 
Happy 85th Birthday!

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My Anaconda Might

At a certain point, I stopped watching The Big Bang Theory. I don’t actually remember when, but I do know it was not long after Sheldon started dating Amy, and it was very clear to me hose two characters were going to end up married at some point. Subtlety, thy name is not Chuck Lorre.
Every time I try to figure out what, exactly, bothered me about their relationship, I kept landing in the same place: despite the entire premise of the show resting on how different and socially awkward he was, he was still expected to follow a ‘normal’ relationship trajectory. Meet a girl (heteronormative!), fall in love (we’re never actually shown a relationship that would lead to those feelings!!), get engaged (yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay patriarchy!!!), get married (now we’re just like all the other couples on the show!!!!).
And while yes, I’m definitely poking fun at it a little, it speaks directly to something that takes up a lot of my brainspace: how to find someone when the normal assumptions surrounding that process doesn’t really apply.
A few years ago, while working on my old undergrad campus, I passed by a bulletin board with a poster that defined Demisexuality: the ‘grey’ area between asexuality and sexuality, where someone is capable of sexual feelings for another person, but it’s not always the case.
I’m the first to say that the label and definition aren’t perfect – labels never are. I use the term, and see the value in having a label at all because it’s made it easier for me to find community, find other people who have similar experiences and understand, in a really way, the feelings I have that don’t quite meet the definition of mainstream.
I went to my first Ace Toronto meeting last month, and got to do something that scared the absolute crap out of me: I said, out loud, to a room full of strangers, that seeing people kiss makes me uncomfortable. That since I was little, when people would kiss on screen, I’d divert my gaze, turn my head, and not really know why. That I often don’t understand why people kiss, but that it is almost without fail the first ‘base’, the first step towards a romantic relationship, and that my honest thoughts about it are something along the lines of *facescrunch* EW.
In the second of quiet after I finished speaking, I panicked. I don’t talk about my experience of physical attraction with my friends, with my work colleagues, with anyone outside of my therapist (she says on a public blog). I’m incredibly adept at staying in the mix when conversation turns to sex and relationships, while not sharing any personal information or stories. I have to thank whatever is out there in the universe for my natural sense of curiosity, because it means I know a lot, but don’t actually feel the need (yet) to do a lot.
And the people in that room? Knew exactly how I felt. They were kind, understanding, connected to the feelings I expressed, sharing their own and how they’ve found love, community, friendships that span decades, and a place to belong. In that moment, I felt something incredibly powerful: I felt understood.
It felt like being wrapped in one of those weighted blankets you see ads for all over the Internet: comforting, peaceful, like I had been accepted as I was, without having to use words that only seem to fail me when I talk about this part of myself. I left that meeting feeling settled, feeling lighter, and feeling not alone.
There is no easy conclusion here – I try to date, to navigate being all the things I am that differ from the mainstream (fat, dorky, nervous, demisexual), let myself feel the weight of feeling alone when it becomes all I can do to keep moving forward through my day.
I do my best to know that I will get there in time (s/o to Captain Awkward on this one, her writing and advice is perfection). And, if anything, I hope that maybe someone will read this, and have it resinate with them the way seeing that poster did for me, tilt their worldview just enough that they see that the part of them they thought was broken?
It’s pretty fucking great, just like them.
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Terrestrial Locomotion

Dear People Who Run,
I am a terrible runner. I somehow end up with what I’ve been told is shin splints no matter how I approach my running Routine. I stretch, I warm up, I hydrate, I have the Right Shoes, I take it slow, I start sweating, I roll around on the floor in pain. I am capable of very small bursts of energy, followed by hours in the tub, frowning at my feet in betrayal.
I have friends who have conquered the Couch to 5k. I have a friend who once, while running with me to help encourage the habit, couldn’t figure out how to slow down enough to match my ‘pace’, a generous exaggeration. She looked like a really drunk bunny who was just super happy to be there, bouncing alongside me, the human personification of Fuck Off. I was once passed in a ‘fun’ 5k run by, I shit you not, an actual toddler wearing an actual tiara. I’ve come to the conclusion that, while I would love to participate in what looks to be a simple route to fitness, I will not be getting there on my own two feet.
Thank you, People Who Run, for all that you do. Especially for your inspirational fitness outfits, I had no idea so many shades of neon could exist in the same park, let alone on the same person. Bonus points for the two of you who decided matching was lame, and went as each other’s neon polar opposites. I bet the bees didn’t know what to do with you.

It. Was. Magical.




P.S. why do you run counter clockwise around the track? That seems weird to me.
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Black & Yellow

Dear Hogwarts,
When Netflix released the first season of Daredevil, I had two overwhelming, but equally true, thoughts: One – I could never head Charlie Cox use his real accent or I was liable to drop dead, the man is thatgoodTwo – James Wesley is, somehow, an Evil Hufflepuff.
Hear me out. Trustworthy? Keeps his boss’ name out of public view for years. Loyal? Uses extensive knowledge of wine to help that same boss Get The Girl. Unafraid of toil? Legit hires Matt and Foggy to defend an assassin on his boss’ payroll. Smack his ass and call him Fat Friar, he’s a badger 4 Lyfe.

Thank you, Hogwarts, for all that you do. Especially for your rigid rubric system designed to segregate kids based on perceived personality traits with the help of a talking hat, that’s never going to backfire.

It. Was. Magical.*


Teagan (Head Girl, Ravenclaw)

*No. Go away. No puns here. Siriusly.
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Dear Humidity,

Fuck Off.



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Dear Ted Danson,

What I love most about television is the chance to see characters and story grow over time. I always feel at a disadvantage when watching a movie, where montages and title cards reading ‘One Year Later’ stand in to explain how a character now feels or behaves, and why. Television, for better or worse, has always let me experience the journey with the characters I want to know. And sometimes, when I’m lucky, I get to watch something truly, astonishingly wonderful.

I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen The Good Place, but that twist? That Twist RUINED ME. That Twist? Made the entire journey worthwhile and had me madly searching for confirmation that the show had been renewed. That Twist showed me how crucial timing and context are to storytelling, and how brilliant a thing can be when you take it just seriously enough. That Twist allowed you a split second in which you managed to convey the history, gravity, and complexity of who your character truly was, and it was remarkable and a revelation that set off an entirely new tone to an already layered show.

Thank you, Edward Bridge (?!) Danson, for all that you do. Especially for your talent, not just as an actor, but as one who can convey so much emotion, feeling, thought, and evilness, with just one twist of the lips.

It. Was. Magical.



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Walk walk fashion baby

Dear Hair Flip Dude,

I worked at TIFF for 3 years, and I learned many, many things during my 4 Festivals as staff. One, no one reads anything. Two, the people waiting in line for movies during Festival have some of the most fascinating stories you’ll ever hear. Three, it IS possible to be the only one out of a theatre of 500 to find something funny enough to laugh out loud. Four, no one reads anything. But yesterday, on the last day of Festival 2017, I got to witness a rare and beautiful sight: you getting ready for your One True Festival Photo.

There was a ponytail release. A head shake. A calm, cool rake of the fingers through the hair. Then a clear sense of fuck it as you whipped your hair from side to side, as though Willow Smith herself had appeared to personally turn your swag on. There was a booty pop. A small shuffle to the left to make sure the giant TIFF logo behind you was visible. And then, there was the moment of truth, when your friend showed you the photo. You deemed it “Fine-ish”, and made your friend take 10 more shots.

Thank you, Hair Flip Dude, for all that you do. Especially for your dedication to getting not just your One True Festival photo, but the right One True Festival Photo. And thanks to friends like yours, willing to risk pinky cramps in the search for social media perfection.

It. Was. Magical.



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Temporal, Zygomatic, Buccal, Mandibular, Cervical.

Dear Guy at Union Station,

Science, and by science I mean a quick Google search and some shrugging, tells me that it takes anywhere from 26-62 muscles to smile. That same science tells me that to lose 1 pound of fat, one must burn about 3,500 calories. For a 155 lbs person, that would take about 6 hours on a treadmill at a speed of 5 mph, or roughly equal to the land speed of a Loxodonta africana, the African Bush Elephant, when height is directly compared. Walking on said treadmill would also engage the use of around 94 muscles in your basic human person.

So no, actually, turns out I’m not too fat to smile. And doing so for your sake? Would not have helped me lose any of the weight you felt the need to shame. Though walking past you may have helped me burn off some of the anger and sadness I felt at the thought of letting one asshole who felt his opinion deserved breath ruin my night. That feels pretty paleo to me.

Thank you, Guy at Union Station, for all that you do. Especially for your insights into the complex world of weight, appearance, worth, science, social acceptance, shame, and what an elephant would look like on a treadmill.

It. Was. Magical.



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A Theatre Of Their Own

Dear Geena Davis,

I never know if I’m making the right choice when I pick a TIFF film, and thanks to a visit from my friend L for her very first festival movie ever, my worry was cranked up to 11. I wanted the experience to be fun, and had my fingers crossed that this Canadian world premier would deliver.

Once the announcements and introductions and commercials and sponsors and reminders were over, the lights dimmed, everyone settled into their seats, and over the first images and sounds of them film, I heard your voice. I relaxed so quickly, I heard bits of my DNA unwind; I knew we were in good hands.

Thank you, Geena, for all that you do. Especially for your brilliantly sharp line delivery – I have never felt so personally inspired while also feeling like I needed to leave the theatre immediately to learn archery.

It. Was. Magical.



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2pm TiLT – Oct 21, 2016: My ears are still around my shoulders

I’m a GO Train commuter. It’s a large percentage of the reason I’m longing to move into the city, just so I don’t have to plan 2 hours for my ride to or from anything happening in the city. The TTC, as awful as it is, at least runs 24/7, and lets my constant anxiety about making it to Union before the train leaves disappear.

Today, I saw two passengers physically go at each other. And it freaked me the hell out.

I don’t live a life of violence – I’m a white girl from the suburbs. The closest I’ve been to danger is the fact that my hometown is where bombs were made for WWII. When confronted, which is rare, I either Use My Words, or walk away with a sense of embarrassed failure. I am not one to choke out a bitch because she wouldn’t stop singing or talking on the quiet zone of the go train.

But that’s exactly what happened.

I’ve never seen so many people throw their hands up to hit the emergency bar, ever. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen it being used for its intended purpose: most people smack it while stretching and then freak out when a crew member shows up with a defibrillator. People are SERIOUS about this quiet zone – it’s a weird little sanctuary for those who have spent a long day in the city, and want some quiet on the way back home. But I’ve never seen anyone come to physical blows over something like this.

There is no doubt in my mind they both knew down to their bones each of them was right. And I don’t fall on either of their sides, it was so outside of my experience that it was like watching a strange movie where I was somehow audience and participant. And while I’m a fan of the Quiet Zone, I don’t think I’ll ever experience it the same way again.

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