Let’s Get Cracking!

So, I had my fertility clinic appointment a couple of days ago! It was intense! Ultrasound, they asked when my last period was and then I had to explain my situation (no periods), then the doctor met with me and got a medical and family history. He also asked about my last period and I had to go over it again. Then I got an exam, sort of general look over (heart and lungs) and then a pelvic exam and stuff. And then we went back to his office and he gave me the run down on egg freezing, embryo freezing, the stats on how many eggs retrieved vs. how many eggs end up being useful vs. how many eggs actually fertilize vs. how many embryos have no genetic abnormalities and then finally the very very very few/one embryo left from a cycle that can get implanted, and the risks that might not work either. Oh man! And because I’m 40, the chances of genetic abnormalities goes up. So it’s really like, slim chances, BUT still more of a chance of having a baby than not doing anything. Anyway, looks like I will need to do a couple of cycles. Which is more money. The second cycle is discounted though, which is nice. He said he could find me a surrogate when I am ready, it’s expensive though, $40,000. That’s like, a lot of money. I’ve seen surrogates in the States costing about $100,000 though which is bananas. It’s definitely something I am going to have to figure out in the next couple of years.

Making a baby is expensive, at least doing it this way. I got blood tests at the end of it all, one of them is going to find out what a hormone level is that will determine where my fertility is. They were able to count my follicles in my ovaries, which was helpful. I checked the number online and it’s somewhat low, but not like, horribly low. Like it’s still reasonable. But still, it’s now or never really on the egg freezing. They told me to come in on a convenient day. It’s 9-11 days worth of shots from what is normally the second day of your period. But since I don’t have periods we have to check where I am in my cycle another way. Then I go in basically every day for monitoring and hormone injections, and then they retrieve eggs. They said they do it with “conscious sedation” so I won’t remember anything. That still makes me worry I’m gonna be aware when it happens. I really hope it doesn’t hurt a lot.

I’m getting worried my finances won’t hold up for all of this. They will hold up for a while, but I’m also going for a trip to Australia in November, and I’m getting Invisaligns at the end of the month and have to pay for half of that. I dunno! It’s really nerve wracking to know I have to do this expensive thing that is so time sensitive and also a total gamble and in the end I might have to adopt anyway. Like what if it’s just throwing my money away? On the other hand, ANYONE doing fertility stuff has to wonder about that. If I could pay more I could freeze embryos and have a better idea of how many are viable. It’s really dodgy. BUT ALSO they know what they are doing.

I wish I was getting an award this year. That would help. OH I kind of am. Except I’m using it to live on. I dunno, I did my budget and I seem to have enough if I don’t go wild buying shit I don’t need. I really need to sit down and do some math again. Like, how much will Australia cost? How much will Invisaligns cost? How much will 2 cycles of egg freezing cost? How much do I need to live a month?

At least it’s tax deductible. At least, I am pretty sure it is. I seem to have made a lot of money this year. I wish more of it was covered. It would be more affordable then.

Crushing Technology

I’m about a week away from my Fertility Clinic appointment. I need to read my email from the office again and remember all the things I need to bring and do, like have a full bladder, etc. I’m nervous, I really want it to go well. I want to find out I have a good chance of getting some eggs. I want it to not cost a horribly huge amount of money. Ahhh geez. Assisted reproduction is so pricey. Some of it is funded. But also the Ontario Government is getting ruthless with cuts and already took away school repair money. So it’s a bit like, wanting to not be noticed by the evil in charge ha ha aww.

Anyway, I got my script done, at least this draft. I need to do another draft by the end of summer. My hand is shaking right now I don’t know what that’s about. Stress? Ha ha beats me.

I recently talked with someone from a university I applied to five years ago that I got waitlisted for and ultimately didn’t get into. He seems really disappointed that they missed having me in their school. There was a moment when it seemed like there was no record of my application, but they found it this morning. But it did make me briefly wonder if they had lost my application altogether. They didn’t.

But there was this few hours yesterday when I was thinking about what would have happened if I got into that program and that school. I would have been in Toronto a year earlier. I wouldn’t have Posey, which would be sad. I would have met different people sooner. I dunno, it sent me in a bit of a spiral of imagining an alternate timeline and all the things that would have been different. It made me think a lot about Destiny and outside forces and the forks in the road that we all come to.

I remember that university told me to reapply if I didn’t get off the waitlist. And I didn’t, I didn’t reapply or get off the waitlist. I was just so fed up with them, they didn’t tell me my decision until I called, like it wasn’t on the website or in a letter. I felt it reflected badly on the university that they were so cavalier with my application that I had to call to find out anything way past the time people were getting decision letters. So yeah I applied to Ryerson the next year and got in and that’s basically that. I don’t want to go back and get another masters degree. Or a PhD. And I think things worked out ultimately in my favour in other ways.

It reminds me of my near death experiences. I have almost died a few times, like brushes with death, not like being hospitalized. Like being mysteriously saved before potential fatal injuries. Like nearly getting hit by cars, or falling from a height, or things like that. Just these events that leave my heart pounding and I get weak after and am like “Wow that was close.” But I didn’t die. And I’ve sometimes wondered if it keeps happening for a reason, that I don’t die or get physically disabled. I don’t know, that probably sounds shitty because it makes it sound like people who DO die, die for a reason. But yeah, Destiny is something I have been thinking a lot about lately.

Anyway, I got a blender today with Crushing Technology! I think I got it because it had Crushing on the box and I’m trying to use it to make crushed chokecherries. A noble purpose! I guess I oughta fry up some bannock with that too.

BUT Before all of that, I am going to boxing tonight. I am also getting an Industrial piercing fixed this Friday! SO EXCITED! I’m gonna look cute!

Anyway, guess I should get ready for boxing. Who knows what destiny has in store for me???

Still Covered In Bites

OK so these bug bites are only on my hands and arms. BUT STILL it’s been ALMOST a week since I got back from Haida Gwaii and I’m still goddamn itchy!

Haida Gwaii was great! I met amazing people and did some amazing things and saw eagles almost every day!

I also got to screen 2 Spirit videos for people, which was cool!

Now I’m back easing into my work life. I have three major projects on the go right now, and one coming soon. I’ve been editing a video and also writing a script and also working on a doc. We have a new angle for the doc, which is exciting. The script seems on track to having this draft completed by the end of Sunday or Monday. It’s gonna need more work I’m sure, but I feel like the characters are embodying more distinct personalities this time.

I’m getting tattooed next month, and seeing the fertility clinic. And seeing Janelle Monae and L7. So that is all pretty fuckin’ exciting. I also get to stay home until August 8th, which is a relief. Although I’ll be likely traveling the last bit of July, and I know my regular dog sitter is unavailable, so I’ll have to work something out.

I’m also going somewhere pretty fucking exciting in November, and I have a plane ticket already that was surprisingly affordable considering how fucking far away this place is, and I just got my travel grant submitted. Canada Council changed the way they do travel grants, so now there are six deadlines. And the next deadline is in August, so I won’t actually find out about this travel grant until December, SUPER FRUSTRATING! On the other hand, so often travel grants are a gamble and I just go and find out when I get home or when I am travelling if I actually got the grant. So this is kind of par for the course. It’s exciting! I’ve never been to this particular continent before, so I am looking forward to it.

I’m doing other things than working super hard though. I’ve been doing a lot of personal growth stuff, mostly centred around (surprise!) journalling. I seemed to be going through A Thing this last year which brought up a lot of feelings about old stuff, in particular ways I was treated by past girlfriends and lovers. Which really wasn’t very good. And I’m realizing I am a different person than whoever they thought they were seeing in me, especially with the passage of time since those experiences. But sort of that dismissive cold feeling I got off of them made me have a really low opinion of myself and probably put up with more bullshit than I should have. I think it’s kind of sad that I’m not interested in getting back together with any of them. Like surely there must be someone I would want to go back to! But, no. Nobody. And I don’t think any of them would want to try again with me anyway.

But I’m noticing a little bit more attention from people who are VERY different than the people I used to date. I don’t know if it’s because I’m 40 and things are way different now. Or if I’m being more upfront and want different things now. It’s a good thing. Like I don’t want to keep dating The Sexy Girl who isn’t really serious about me and is gonna ditch me right away when she decides I’m not cool enough anymore. And not to say these people interested in me aren’t sexy, just that I think there’s a sense of people who are interested in having families now and actual lives together, and not just meaningless sex and treating me pretty shitty. Like that doesn’t mean I’m going to do that with any of these people, but I really don’t know, and the fact that people are being more open about looking for that sort of thing is a big difference from my dating life before. Anyway, I haven’t actually gone on any dates this year yet. But I might, who knows, we’ll see. I think it’s going to be different than my weird dates last year. And other Weird Things I was doing that ultimately led nowhere.

I just know there’s a sense of needing to be upfront about what I want. Like being monogamous and having a family, and before I did a lot of polya bullshit (I know polya is not bullshit but all the polya I did was pretty much bullshit) with people who really DID NOT WANT children in their lives. It really cuts down on the crap when you’re upfront about what you are looking for. I don’t want casual sex anymore. I don’t think I ever did though. Like that’s just not who I am. Anyway, I feel more positive about that. It’s also fucking scary as shit. I am pretty sure I am ready. But parts of me get discouraged when I think about how much work is involved in developing a relationship with someone, like being open (ha ha you’re laughing) and brave about feelings and clear about boundaries and desires, and things I just don’t have a great skillset in. Because I haven’t had any really serious relationships. Like I don’t remember the last time I had to process with a lover. It’s been a long damn time. For the longest time I was just letting people know my Fetlife name instead of sitting down and having an honest conversation about the kinds of sex I am into and up for and looking for (spoiler: Letting someone read your fetish list is not the same as honest communication). So I feel like I have a steep learning curve for starting a real relationship. Anyway ha ha omg I hope this blog doesn’t scare people off.

BUT basically what I am saying is I think I am really ready to start dating again, and that’s exciting for me. And I think my work is still making me pretty happy, the stress is going to go way down soon, next week the video is due, so that will be off my plate. And this draft is due next week too, then it gets notes, then another draft this summer. So things are positive for me really. When I put my very complicated emotions aside, my life is objectively a really good thing these days. I have friends, work, enough cash to live, resources, community. I think I’m ready to add dating to it. I still need to go back to boxing tho!

Crabbing

So it’s really the first full day on Haida Gwaii. I’m really tired from yesterday, I got up so early in Toronto and stayed up until 11pm in Haida Gwaii. It was grey and drizzly yesterday, but today it got nice and sunny and warm. This morning the people I am staying with took me crabbing. They let me use one of their hip waders too. I have never done such a thing before, crabbing I mean. OR wearing of hip waders either! Anyway, they sent me out into the ocean with a net and some instructions of what to look for. I nearly fell over a couple of times on some seaweedy rocks, so I was trying not to go into the really weedy areas. Anyway finally I see a crab under the water, and it seemed big enough. I got my net and started freaking out because I was trying to scoop it up and it was trying to escape and I didn’t want to fuck up it’s legs… anyway, I got a crab! And I felt really triumphant. It was a male, so we could keep it, and it was big enough too.

I don’t actually know if the crab in the photo above is the one I caught, because there were four of us crabbing so we ended up with a fair number of them. BUT this would be very similar to the one I scooped up.

There were a lot of tinier crabs too, just little babies zooming around and tumbling in the currents. And some flounders or something, there was a flat fish that would zoom around and then bury itself in the sand.

I also saw so many eagles. I’m like “ooooh eagles!” and the people here are just like “yeah yeah” cause they see them all the time.

I’m trying to get some pick up shots for my video I am working on, but so far things here are gorgeous and clean and I don’t know how I’m gonna show how polluted the world was left in my fictional doc. I mean I guess it could be an “AFTER” image when Indigenous people clean up? But also no one from the Northwest Coast is in my video, which is kinda funny. BUT who knows, I could use it for something else. AND there is supposed to be a garbagey beach someone is gonna take me to.

I did a lot of editing on the plane coming here, because the entertainment system went down so the wifi was shitty and spotty. BUT like you can get a lot of editing done in a five hour flight with no internet access. Anyway, I got from 18-19 minutes down to 12 and a half minutes. Which is pretty good. I want to cut down at least another minute or more though. I was supposed to make a ten minute video and I know pushing it can really suck, people get bored, etc. And I’m not sure how my new footage will work. Really I need to get some urban environments, like graffiti and stuff. I need a film buddy who will spot me and look like muscle so no one will jack me for my camera. Ha ha just chicken.

Anyway, it’s beautiful out here. I hope I see some whales! I’ve seen a deer and eagles and crabs and flounders. But no bears or whales yet!

Why Do I Do This To Myself?

I think this happened last June too. Or something. I have a massive pile up of work. Right now I am looking at some applications for a thing, filling out a grant-type application, working on a script, and finishing a video. ALL with deadlines coming up at the end of the month or very soon. Also since I leave tomorrow for Haida Gwaii for a few days, I gotta clean this apartment for my dog sitter to come and stay here and not get grossed out. I know for a fact there are rotten mangoes in the fridge, and there are fruit flies having some kind of shindig in the kitchen. Even tho there is (to my knowledge) no rotten fruit out (out of the fridge anyway).

I mean the thing is I know I can do this! I KNOW I CAN! There’s other stuff I have to do that didn’t even make it to this lengthy list of things, including looking at submissions for a film festival, doing a couple of board meetings, and finally (FINALLY) doing some casting and location scouting for a film shooting later this summer. ALSO (MAN oh MAN!) I need to make some creative decisions about a doc I am working on and schedule more shooting days. Luckily the Haida Gwaii trip is the last travelling I’ll be doing until August, when I go to Vancouver for a few days for a residency. It’s a crazy amount of stress BUT ALSO a lot of money which is helping me do things like pay for some teeth stuff and hopefully pay for some fertility treatment stuff so I can make a baby. AND ALSO set me up further along with my career so I can support that baby!

July looks more fun. I’ll hopefully have most of my shooting on the doc done so we can edit. I’ll be seeing the fertility clinic doctor and find out what the scoop is with my egg situation. I’ll be going to an L7 concert finally and satisfying the 20 year old Thirza in me. And I’ll be getting my bear tattoo, which is SUPER EXCITING! I think all of those things happen in the same week actually. OH MAN I wish my calendar was a bit more sophisticated. I’m blocking off huge spans of time for travel and I really wish it didn’t show up the way it does. Oh whatever.

Anyway! My point is, I am having a busy summer. And the fall is starting to get busy too. I have my fingers crossed that I get into a festival far far away in November so I can go, and September I am PROBABLY travelling, and October I am hoping to stay put.

I have mixed feelings about work trips. On one hand, I really do love travelling, I like seeing new places and meeting new people and doing stuff other places. On the other hand I could probably happily be a lump/homebody. ON THE OTHER HAND I should probably get as much travel in as I can before I have a baby and need to simmer down or start tote-ing a little kid with me to random queer and Indigenous film fests.

Anyway, the funny thing is that even though all of this work stresses me out, even though I know I’m gonna have to push some deadlines, I really do like my life. I can think of few artists who get to do what they love for a living. I’m glad my day job fired me and I had to keep finding work in my field. I’m glad I get to work with the communities I work with, and make and curate and show challenging queer video, especially to small centres that aren’t used to it. I’m glad I know the people I do, who all are really in this same boat of working intensely hard crazy hours so they can stay afloat.

++++++ End of the day +++++

I managed to finish reading those applications, write a grant and submit it, and do a jury all today. ALSO packed and cleaned up my apartment for the dog sitter to come chill out here with the pups while I’m gone. Little Mister had the house key attached to his harness. I HOPE all is well. Maybe I should text her tomorrow before my flight, while I’m hanging out at the gate. It’s Air Canada tomorrow. AIR CANADA!

I wonder if I can buy wifi on Air Canada? I’m gonna be on the plane for one FIVE HOUR stretch from Toronto to Vancouver. I don’t think I have enough songs for that. I know they like major credit cards on Air Canada, but maybe for wifi they would take my meager Visa Debit, or my PayPal. At the same time, what would I really gain from having internet access for five hours? Like yeah it would kill a lot of time…. BUT ALSO like maybe it would just make me aggravated in mid air if one of my more sarcastic friends picked a fight with me online.

OY I gotta get up in like, just over six hours, shower and finish packing toiletries and my carry on and book it to the airport. I mean the good news is I can sleep on the plane. And also I am taking headphones I can actually plug into the entertainment system.

Anyway, I guess I should relax and go lay in my bed now. OH SHIT I didn’t change the sheets for sitter. Maybe I can remember in the morning.

Single Sex Life

Ha ha ok so I haven’t done a super TMI thing here in a while. But I kind of wanted to do something, so be aware I’m gonna be talking a LOT about masturbation in this post. And it’s like, yeah, avert your eyes if you can’t handle it ha ha.

SO I’ve been technically single for a LONG ass time. Like I had a couple of lovers in my 30’s, but really really briefly, and not really ongoing relationships with them. And I had some weird quasi relationships but not sex with a couple of other women. Like really, I don’t even know how to describe those situations. So I don’t really count them as girlfriends. Either way, I have been pretty solitary basically all of my 30’s, except for those Whatever relationships. And I guess I didn’t realize until more recently that some women, when they are single, and they say they have no sex life, they really mean it. Like, I don’t go around having one night stands anymore, but technically you could say I still have a sex life since I still have orgasms on a pretty regular/daily basis.

I’m kind of shocked that there are women who don’t take things into their own hands. I get SUPER SQUIRRELLY if I don’t have an orgasm for a few days. Like it just starts making me feel kind of crazy and frustrated. And usually it only happens if I have family staying with me that I don’t have orgasms, or like I’m travelling and sharing a room with someone. And I know I could go in the bathroom and do it, but ugh, yeah, no, not with people around.

Anyway, being single and having a sex life, even as a solitary person, is kind of important for me. Like I would love to have a partner, but whether or not I have someone I am DEFINITELY still gonna have orgasms. I used to be hardcore into Hitachi Magic Wands. But since I got a lelo however many years ago, I’ve gotten more used to that. And the vibration strength of those two toys are VERY different. There used to be this time I kind of overloaded myself on the Hitachi and I was having a hard time coming even with that. It was pretty brutal, omg. It’s like my vibration tolerance was just super high and it made things really difficult. Anyway, over the last while I’ve mostly been using this lower speeded lelo vibrator, and it’s made me way more sensitive. Only now I’m too sensitive for the Hitachi and that kind of gets to be too much too fast.

But all of this to say I noticed I get stuck in routines. Like right now it’s the Lelo routine, and I think because I’m usually super sleepy when I need to orgasm that I just pick the easiest way to do it. And I remember when I was in my 20’s and more adventurous I would do it in the afternoons and use toys way differently.

Before I had the end of relationship fight with my then best friend, I had tried to do an estimate of the dollar figure without depreciation on all the toys I have that still work. I’ve got at least $2000 worth of toys. Like that’s been accumulating over two decades though, and some of those are leather gear and shit. But like, a good dildo can run up to 100 bucks. And same with good vibrators. I bought one vibrator I kind of regret because it was for penetration and too thick, but I’m embarrassed to say how much it was. OMG. ANYWAY my point is, I could easily start having more creative masturbation sessions. And I’m really sad that any time I get turned on when I’m alone it’s either before bed when I’m too tired to do super adventure sex, or when I’m waking up and still too sleepy to do crazy fun times.

I know they tell couples who have been together for ages and ages that they have to make time for sex and stuff like that, like it’s not supposed to just be this routine chore before sleeping, like the dishes. And that is probably good advice for a single person like me too. I guess I’ve just noticed I’m not as constantly in the mood as I used to be in my 20s. Like in my 20’s there could be a good breeze in my hair and I’d start wanting sex. Now it’s like, almost always those two times of the day, and once in a while during a point of the day when I could actually maybe have fun times with more than one toy.

It’s probably also because I have a lot of work these days. It seems like I should be working, not literally jerking off. Ha ha. Anyway! THAT REMINDS ME I really should get back to work.

Saskatchewan

I’m here in Saskatoon because I’m screening some 2 Spirit videos by other people, mostly women and/or Femme Identified people (but one video is by a straight woman but about Queer Inuit love). I can’t say for sure everyone’s identity though. I mean, Identity can be super fluid anyway, so I don’t want to say it’s ALL these certain types of people, but it’s a very woman/lez/bisexual/maybe trans/non-binary content. So anyway, YEAH! I am screening that and also I curated Chandra Melting Tallow to do a performance, so we’ll see how it goes, I’m excited, it should be awesome. And then visiting people. I’ve only visited my friend Laurel so far, and seen my Mom a lot. I don’t have tons of days here, I leave Sunday. So it’s a very short trip. I haven’t been here since last May, when Grandpa’s feast was held. Normally Crees have feasts for four years after a death, but Grandpa only wanted us to do the one year.

I’ve noticed people are more wary of me in Saskatoon. White people specifically. I made a facebook status about it, how I like try to be disarming by being humourous which was always my go to to deal with like, butchphobia and stuff. But man, people don’t want to laugh when you have ink on your face. It’s like SUPER Indigenous and SUPER subculture (as cheesy as that might sound) and I dunno, it comes with a certain kind of baggage. I knew on some level it would be like that. But I notice it’s more awkward in Saskatoon. And I’ll be like trying to be funny or smile my goofy smile and white people just stare and sweat harder. And they don’t seem to care too too much if they are just passerby, but if they have to interact with me they look like they would rather be somewhere else. I have yet to decide if that’s a good thing or not. Obviously though I really just wish people were cool with it, because it’s part of my identity. BUT ALSO I’m a biracial butch dyke and I’ve had funny coloured hair most of my adult life so like, I’m used to people staring at me or acting weird. But this is different. I’m not hurt by it though, as these people are generally people I won’t have in my life.

AND I did get to be at Wanuskewin today where my Mom is doing a residency, and it’s an interpretive/cultural centre on the site of a buffalo jump, so like, there are a lot of Indigenous staff, who all smiled at me and were friendly and I felt recognized and they were interested in knowing about skin stitch and how it feels and stuff. So in that regard, I felt pretty at home and accepted. Especially since the design on my face is related to Plains Cree women.

ANYWAY it’s been good. I did some shooting outside with my Lumix, and got amazing shots, really gorgeous 4K footage of the prairies. Now I need to get some urban stuff to contrast. I was gonna do some Saskatoon and some Toronto shots. I edited with them today and they were fitting in nicely, I have a LOT to cut from this video, like, about 7 minutes needs to get cut at least. But it’s looking good and I am happy about that. I got some tipis and some sky and some plains and some water and trees and brush.

I have a LOT of work to do this month, a script, this video, three meetings, two screenings and workshops besides my own, I need to watch a bunch of submissions for TQFF. Next month is my fertility clinic appointment and I have some decisions I need to make around that. I did some calculations and I should be able to afford the fertility drugs. But if I have to pay MORE it’s gonna be lean. Possibly still doable, just lean for a while. I also have to put out a casting call for July and do some location scouting up North. So it’s busy. August all I have is one trip to Vancouver. I ALSO have to finish shooting this documentary this month and for sure by early July. So it’s super packed. And I am also going to Haida Gwaii this month, which I am super excited about because I’ve never been.

Today was funny because I went with my Mom to Wanuskewin where she’s artist in residence. And she was doing Beadhive today where she sits at a table and beads with anyone who wants to come sit with her and also bead or learn. Anyway, she was beading with Aurora and I was working on video stuff and the head curator of the Tate Modern came by because she’s talking at the Remai tonight. And Mom talked about her current project which is beaded smallpox blankets, so she gave context about what the deal was with British giving Indigenous people smallpox blankets, and then the curator felt guilty and apologized on behalf of the British and then we all laughed. Anyway, then she moved on and Mom and Aurora were talking about it being fancy people day. Then I went out on a trail walk to videotape some landscape. And then when I came back, Mom was going to the car to get the two smallpox blankets she had already beaded and put them on her table and it turned out it really WAS fancy people day because all these directors and curators from galleries and museums across Canada were at Wanuskewin getting a tour. So they came and stood around us and we all got introduced and it was pretty cute. I didn’t expect going to Mom’s work for the afternoon would be so schmoozy. I had no videos to show anyone. I mean I did and didn’t, my video I’m working on today is still really rough and not impressive yet. And clearly way too long. But Mom had some nice art to show and talk about.

Tomorrow I am going with her and my friend Michelle to Costco, mostly because I know I can get super cheap and big flash drives there. Maybe more power banks. Maybe hotrods. I already went on the first full day here to Berry Barn to get some Saskatoons, and a friend is gonna bring me chokecherries in Prince Albert that I can crush at home and eat. I really love those two berry type things and only find them here.

Anyway, yeah things are good. I have a lot of work, but I think I can do it!

Four Days and Four Cities Later

SO I am back in Toronto. I was initially worried about how people would receive me with these markings on my face. I’m pleasantly surprised to say that in Edmonton, Calgary, Port Dover, and Toronto, people have been pretty okay so far. I’ve been in two airports, a few cabs, very rarely will someone obviously stare at me. I’m sure that will change as more time goes on. But I’ve only had a couple of people give me stink eye about it, both of them were white people, and I pretty much felt it roll past me because I didn’t need anything from either of them, not a service or approval or anything. I did just come home yesterday though, and I know probably some people in my co-op will comment, and possibly acquaintances I have around the neighbourhood who know me because I shop at their store all the time or eat in their establishments. But I have good relationships with those people anyway because I’m generally a friendly person to customer service and wait staff.

I’ve had a pretty good response from people I know in my real life on facebook and stuff. My Mom was in the room when I got it done and has heard me talk about wanting them for years, so she was really positive about the whole thing and it was really nice having her there. I sent a pic to my Dad over text because I actually am not super close to him so he never heard my years of thinking and wanting them. He didn’t even know I was getting them. He just said “You have lines on your face” and then said he had met an older woman many years ago who had the same lines. But both my parents are Indigenous artists, so it’s really like, pretty much impossible to shock them, thank god. And I also really didn’t do this to be shocking, I just did this because I’ve had a yearning for it for so long.

I did feel DIFFERENT though, like the way I move through the world now feels different. When I was in the airports I felt like I was a link between the past that my ancestors lived in and struggled and survived, and a future where MORE Cree people were surviving and thriving and being involved in the world. Like there are people from all over the world who pass through the Calgary and Toronto airports, and there was I! It felt like passing through a barrier, this getting tattoos thing, I’m not really sure how to explain it. I both feel connected to old Cree ways, but also new and like a connection to a vibrant future where Cree people are visible and present and creating impactful changes. I feel like before I had more anxiety about what was going to happen to Cree people, because I’ve got intergenerational trauma from Canadian and American genocides of my people. So even tho I felt like maybe we were okay, there was this sense in my blood and bones of how tenuous our survival is. But something about having this tattoo makes me feel like we are gonna make it, like we are gonna be okay, like of COURSE there are gonna be Cree people in the future, we’ve already survived a massive apocalypse and even though things are hard we can still laugh about things and love each other and do things like mark ourselves with Cree markings in a traditional way like skin stitch. I dunno, it’s really empowering for me as a Cree person to have this on my face. And I’m also really happy as a light skinned person that it’s made me really look obviously Indigenous. People have said it makes my eye shape pop out more, which is really interesting because that’s a part of my face that is really OBVIOUSLY not a white person trait. I have really Cree shaped eyes, some people who don’t know I’m Indigenous think I’m Asian. Like we just have similar shapes. BUT YEAH now I look even less white which is a relief.

I feel like I wasn’t ready for this until now. Like, the artist who did it has only practiced skin stitch for three years now, so she wasn’t available even four years ago to do this. I think the fact that more Indigenous women especially, in particular Inuk and Maori women, are doing so much to bring back their traditional markings, has made this a good time in recent history to finally get them. I think there’s more support among other Indigenous people to do this, which maybe wasn’t as strong before. When I first wanted them in 2007 I knew it was a super radical idea at that time and I didn’t even know really why I felt called to get them. I just knew it was something that got put in my brain and I wasn’t ready and I knew I wasn’t ready and I was trying to figure out what I needed to do to be ready. I thought I would need to be fluent in Plains Cree or something. And I do know a LOT more Cree, but also I just finally knew last year that I could do it when I was 40. I think I also had to seriously think about work, and how to make money and be financially stable without depending on someone who would turn me away for having facial tattoos. And now I am doing pretty good with my career, and feeling able to make money without working a JOB job. I feel like I have skills and knowledge that is pretty specialized and I can rely on, in a field where this isn’t going to fuck me over. If I wasn’t an artist of some kind, I would probably still be considering this and how to keep earning money. I think also just knowing people who have facial tattoos, and seeing this coming back in all kinds of tribes, has really made me feel like it was finally the right time.

Anyway, yeah, it’s really interesting noticing those things, and feeling not only connected to my tribe’s past, but also part of my tribe’s future. I really like that feeling and I hadn’t anticipated having it. I didn’t know what it felt like to know that Plains Cree people were going to survive what has been happening to us.

Skin Stitch Day

I’m writing this from my hotel in Edmonton, tomorrow I take a bus to Calgary to continue my trip and do the work part and the reason I got to come to Alberta. But today! Today was tattoo day.

I’ve thought for a LONG time about getting traditional Plains Cree women’s tattoos. I actually started feeling like I wanted them in 2007. But that was like, 11 years ago, and Indigenous traditional tattoos of that type were still not seen very often. Especially since they are facial tattoos, and people have really strong feelings about facial tattoos. They’re pretty taboo. But it’s also just true that a lot of Indigenous women globally have traditionally had facial tattoos. Anyway, I did do a lot of research on it, mostly my reservations about it had to do with gender though. I’m non-binary, but also feel I fluidly cross between female and male. And in the end I felt I lived on the female end of things long enough that I could comfortably wear women’s traditional markings.

Anyway, Plains Cree women had a typical pattern of three sets of lines or dots. I decided in the end to do lines and dots, so like, a line, dots, and another line, but three times. It’s still really new for Cree women to reclaim these tattoos. Because colonizers made us stop tattooing ourselves, which is also true for many other Indigenous people.

So anyway, it’s now 2018. I don’t know when I finally decided I HAD to do it. I just know last year I decided since I was turning 40 this year, it was gonna be THIS YEAR! So I narrowed down the artist I wanted to use to Amy Malbeuf who does skin stitch and hand poke tattooing. I am pretty specific about only letting women tattoo me, and also I wanted someone who was also Indigenous since it’s such a culturally specific tattoo. So we made a plan this spring, and I managed to be in the same city as her at the same time through some luck between our art careers working in this convenient way.

ANYWAY ha ha there’s my preamble. She got in touch with me again after I did a test walk around town with my intended design to see how I felt. She said it would look really good done in skin stitch. And I have to admit, skin stitch terrified me. I was like, omg. And then of course I felt compelled, because if something scares me that much then I kind of end up wanting to do it. So I was thinking about it a lot, and I actually didn’t google videos of skin stitch being done. I’m glad I didn’t, because I’m sure it looks intense. So basically, when it came to it, the first time I experienced skin stitching was getting the first stitch on my chin.

She came over to our hotel room and set up and it was all super sterile and the needle and thread were autoclaved and she kept changing gloves at different points and there were drop clothes and I’m only telling you all these details so you know how controlled the situation was in case you think about getting this done. Like there were some definite tattoo procedures being followed that were pretty much the same as my experiences in licensed studios. So then she draws on me, and this took a REALLY long time because it was such a precise design. There was a lot of photos and checking in mirrors, it was very thoughtful.

SO ANYWAY finally after all this I am feeling comfortable anyway, and I am getting used to her touching my face with all the drawing and wiping and things. So I am laying down on a drop cloth on the bed and she does the first stitch right in the middle so in case I hate it, then at least it’s symmetrical. And then the needle pokes in, and it’s sharp, and then there’s pressure, and then the end of the needle where the thread goes through kind of widens the hole a bit and then it’s out. And the thread is short, so it’s not like this huge long thread is going through. I also had some gauze under my lip so that it would stretch out my lip and be easier to stitch. Anyway, I was really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to handle skin stitching. But the tattoo machine rips skin, and the skin stitch is more like a short piercing. Not even as painful as a piercing though, because it’s not going through a piece of flesh at the same depth as a piercing. So anyway, I was actually surprised at how okay with it I was.

It was still a big tattoo for skin stitching though. It took about three hours, with a break for sugar and a snack to calm down some intense bleeding, and a bathroom break. But most of it was fine. When things really got intense were the three or four stitches closest to my lip in each line. Those ones were fucking hard to deal with. But like, I’m not wincing or anything either because obviously I can’t move my lips around while someone is stitching me. And it’s a sharp sewing needle being used, not a special needle for skin or anything. But it’s really sharp, so it’s not really like blunt and terrible. Actually for most of it I felt really sleepy and relaxed, it was just the near the lip parts that were difficult.

So anyway, now it’s on there. I was really getting antsy on the last line, I wanted to be done. It’s not like I couldn’t handle it anymore, but yeah I wanted to be done. And then there were three stitches left to even things out, and I really was done!

So far it’s only been several hours with my new face. My Mom and I went to Boston Pizza for dinner, and no one looked at me weird. So far it’s been okay. Tomorrow I part ways with my Mom and head to Calgary, and it might be different there, who knows. We’ll see. I’m really loving it right now tho.

Life, Work, and Weight Loss

It’s Friday!
I have to work this weekend though. I have a script beat sheet due on the 24th. SHIT MAN 6 days! And in that time I also have a shoot I am doing. I’m lucky that we can all agree the ending is fine, so it’s the lead up to that that needs work. I have to get the final script done by the end of the summer, so it’s coming up!

I can’t believe I’m already looking towards the end of the summer.

Also I didn’t realize my work for the last two years would be so busy every summer. In some ways it makes sense though, people shoot in the summer times. Like of course, of course!

I haven’t heard from the ex friend I had to stop being friends with. I think some sadness is creeping in about it, but also part of that is knowing she was being so abusive that there’s no way to go back again.

I’m feeling overwhelmed by baby making stuff again. I know it’s still early days, but I’m trying to get more information for the woman who might be a surrogate but needs to know more, and a lot of information is pretty fucking dire. Like it’s a massive thing to do. Also I was talking a friend the other day about sperm donors and gay men get quarantined for six months when they donate (UGH Fucking government) so it’s better to say you are a couple or throuple or whatever depending how many people are involved. Yeahhh, that is a lot to think about. And then with public adoptions a social worker will come visit you once a month for six months to make some judgements, and you can’t be on social assistance. Which I kind of thought. Anyway yeah, technically I am still on Ontario Works even though I haven’t been paid in three months and want off. So I gotta get off before I go things like this. I am making too much money next month to stay on anyway.

I went and got my hair cut today. I think I overheard my hairdressers talking about noticing I lost weight. I mean I have, and I wasn’t offended, but it’s kind of nice that other people are noticing. AHHHH SHIT and then that gets into that whole fat hating thing I don’t want to fall into.

I have a gut, I mean, it’s likely that will always be around, I had a bit of one even before I got on the meds in my early 20’s that caused me to gain so much weight. But I’ve got more of a shape than just a tube now, which is nice, and my chins are smaller, like the fat is really disappearing there. It’s making me look different. I’m not really sure what I am gonna look like as I keep exercising. I haven’t been to boxing in a couple of weeks, but I want to go this next week. I can only go swimming next week then I have to take a break while my tattoo heals. And then I can go swimming in a few weeks again, and then in late July I have to stop again for another month after the NEXT tattoo heals.

Having my body change on me is weird. I actually never really thought I WOULD lose weight. I thought I would just be the way I was for good. But now I have things changing my body, and I know I have more muscle because I am stronger and I can also see more muscles in my body. And more muscle mass means more fat being burned even at rest. I mean so I heard.

ANYWAY I hate being excited by my body changing, because of the fat phobia and ALSO I think fat bodies are fine. BUT ALSO I had a lot of dysphoria when I DID get fat in my 20’s, because until that point I was honestly quite a skinny kid. Like, it looked so different for me and I had a lot to deal with coming to terms with it. And so now going back the other way is also weird but also exciting like it’s the old me that has always been here. And I can also see some other reasons why that happened. Like as a kid I was VERY active, I rode my bike a lot, and all through high school I walked my dog for an hour every day. I haven’t really been so active as an adult.

Ha ha so anyway, maybe I am gonna be one of those annoying light skinned masculine of centre androgynous skinny people that everyone rolls their eyes over because they are in a certain place in desirability levels. AHHHH ha ha desirability privilege. But is that still true for masculine women/non-binary people? Oh hell I don’t even want to try and unpack this right now, I’m so tired today. I do know though that I am getting more flirty attention from people. A lot of men unfortunately, and it’s just like ohhhh no that’s not what is gonna happen here. But I think probably some women are giving me a little bit of attention, they can be really subtle though and I don’t pick up on subtlety well.

Either way, this is all gonna be changed very shortly, since next Sunday is when I get my face tattooed in Edmonton. And I’m sure it’s going to change who is attracted to me and why. It’s probably going to make people find me very confrontational/scary also. And also it’s going to make me more obviously Indigenous, which is what I really want.