Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Dear Vincent, I just had a reasonably life-changing orgasm with a medium-sized yellow zucchini that was on sale in a basket, 5 for $1, on the outskirts of marché Jean Talon.

Dear Vincent,

I just had a reasonably life-changing orgasm with a medium-sized yellow zucchini that was on sale in a basket, 5 for $1, on the outskirts of marché Jean Talon. Now I am waiting for the flowing brilliance to rush out of my zucchini fucked vagina and reveal my soul’s deepest truth, and it’s possible I am not waiting long enough, and am lazily opting to cop out by revealing vague and unnecessary truths about my ZFV, for you and for the Internet.

The idea for fucking a medium-sized yellow zucchini came from my friend Sexy Motorcycle George who passed through town on Friday, June 29, 2018, Day 1 of a 7-day heat wave, and before we cuddled all night and did not have sex, SMG did his laundry and for some reason the washing machine did not drain and on Monday, July 2, 2018, I waited seven hours for the Elvis Appliance People to come and they did not come, unless they stopped by without calling while I was around the block buying strawberries. The washing machine filled with mildewed SMG rinse water is not my greatest hardship although sometimes I fear that a broken washing machine is the first step to an unforgiving and unrelenting spiral down into dire poverty.

Five yellow biodegradable and compostable dildos for one dollar is truly an excellent deal. Larger and more solid than a cucumber. Not much happens in my dreams about you except that you are riding your bike without a helmet, and in one dream you’d shaved your head which is not a look I’d recommend for you, if you have any choice in the matter, that is to say, if you somehow escape cancer treatment that causes you to lose your hair, slash, if you somehow escape the ordinary and generic balding process.

And yet, whatever happens to your hair, in my dreams or otherwise, my undying love for you does not seem to be living a short life.

Before the century long afternoon waiting for the Elvis friends, I cleaned an Acupuncturist’s condo at the ends of the earth, and in fact it was a lovely and chatty time and I got a latte and $100 and three needles and  a lift home, and all seemed reasonable except that as I was getting ready to head out the Acupuncturist said, you look great, you have really big legs, and then the Acupuncturist went on to say something about how deranged everyone who wants anorexic legs is, and instead of my agreeing about how deranged everyone is, a Solid Fat Day ensued and I wondered and still wonder if I am eating too much nut butter and ice cream, though in fact it seems I am not eating quite enough since I periodically wake up at midnight or two a.m. unable to sleep and in need of more cottage cheese and or nut butter and or crackers. 

The morning of Tuesday, July 3, 2018 was again somewhat of a Severe Fat Day (in fact, the whole week was a Severe Fat Week), and I felt and feel so heartbroken that after all these years, I can still barely love my thighs and the rest of my cells for two to seven and a half hours per week. If I were a therapist, I would specialize in people who cannot love their thighs and the rest of their cells for much more than two to seven and a half hours per week. It is as guaranteed a business model as wiping the pubes off busy or lazy people's toilets, and far more lucrative. And anyways, the morning of Tuesday, July 3, 2018, I only did a reasonable amount of exercise given I would be cleaning for six to seven hours, and I sobbed profoundly, however the noise and the duration were both moderate, and I arranged for a reasonably responsible breakfast and lunch. The truth is my thighs are the best I can do. 

Deep love to your thighs and to everyone else's,


Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Dear Vincent, Elizabeth Gilbert says that, every time you have sex with someone, some small part of you dies.

Dear Vincent,

Elizabeth Gilbert says that, every time you have sex with someone, some small part of you dies. I always hope the part of me that will die, will be the most terrible part. The part I can’t stand.

The night before the last time, I had to say good-bye,
I sat on the ledge of my bathtub, and washed my feet, and suddenly I saw the most deeply upsetting stain on the under front rim of my toilet. And felt baffled and horrified that I had never noticed this before, and also distraught at the thought that perhaps all of my cleaning clients are currently enduring this tragic toilet situation.

In the middle of the night, I woke up quite hungry,
and concerned about the toilet, and saying good-bye,
and being alone,

and I considered various new and optimistic morning routines I could take up to fill my life with hope.
For example,
figuring out how to orgasm without humping the duvet, or my sleeping bag, or someone's leg.

My favourite clichés are,
The heavens parting
In the blink of an eye
Over the moon

The ends of the earth,

And that thing you have when you love your therapist.

When the long goodbye was over, I walked up my fire escape, wept
with reasonably impressive delicateness,
and then
went straight to scrubbing
the horrifying toilet stain,
and this had very minimal success.

A robot on Youtube recommended lemon and vinegar, a pumice stone, water-based sand paper, Coca-cola,
and always finish off with a mountain of vinegar and baking soda.

I embarked upon a new and optimistic morning routine, I will take up to fill my life with hope.
And this had very moderate success.
Now I am washing my sheets.

Clichés I hate are,
Throwing the baby out with bathwater
(probably this took me
at least twelve years
to understand, and who would bother with that anyways),
the straw that broke the camel’s back
(this always makes me think of plastic straws you drank your chocolate milk with when you were a kid, and now everyone is shunning the plastic straws because the seagulls are choking and because plastic continents are forming in the middle of all the other continents),
you need put your oxygen mask on first, before you can help anyone else. Because in pretty much every situation besides a sinking airplane, you will preserve your useful consciousness for more than 18 seconds if you think of someone else before yourself.

Whenever I have sex, I always hope that the part of me that will die
will be the most terrible part.
The part I can't stand.
It occurred to me that perhaps if I say goodbye to three or five or seven more people, it might make me ready to say goodbye to you.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Dear Vincent, If Oprah does not invite you to sit in her decadent plushy green chairs in the middle of the Oprah Forest to discuss your beautiful soul's beautiful hero's journey, it's possible this might be a blessing. It's possible you might just be spared. Love, Erica.

Dear Vincent,

If Oprah does not invite you to sit in her decadent plushy green chairs in the middle of the Oprah Forest to discuss your beautiful soul’s beautiful hero’s journey, it’s possible this might be a blessing. It’s possible you might just be spared.

Love, Erica.


Dear Oprah,

My beautiful soul’s beautiful hero’s journey is I broke up with the love of my life’s most beautiful blogging fairy tale and after six months of weeping indelicately in public, I ran away to India and this was fun for approximately five and a half weeks and then I got extensive shits and I got to be an emaciated and hysterical bone rack and when I finally made it back to Canada, I was so washed out that I had to go on Prozac and then I met my therapist who I fell deeply and madly in love with and this really messed me up as did accidentally doubling my Prozac dose in the winter of 2017 and then going off of it and then breaking my roommate’s delicate and precious teapot, and meanwhile, to fulfill my enormous potential and to live my best life, I clean other people’s bathtubs and sometimes I weep over the ledges of these bathtubs, or else the dusty baseboards, or else the refrigerator drawers filled with mouldy vegetable chunks, and approximately 100% of the time, nobody notices.

Love, Erica.

Dear Vincent,
When I call the crisis center they tell me to call back because I am crying too hard.
They should bring back the role of the Village Wailer, and this should be my job.

Erica Schmidt, Mile End Wailer.

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, as I wailed below the Saint Laurent underpass, two people, asked me if I was okay, and I blubbered ‘I’m fine, this is just me, a walking disaster,’ and then next to the railroad tracks, a woman on her bike who said she worked with addicts insisted on an extended conversation, and she asked me what I liked to do, and said, ‘I can see you like to walk,’ in fact, she was right, and in fact, she was quite kind, and in fact, I sincerely hope our encounter was good for her Mother Teresa complex. 

Addict Mother Teresa Friend said there isn't some magic formula, you just keep trying different things to see what works. I guess this is not terrible advice.
On the way home, underneath the underpass, some dude walked by me and handed me an apple. He had an apple too, and I was too lonely to go home and so I followed him to Clark Park and watched him wash the apple in the water fountain.  

His t. shirt was white and on the right breast corner it said something about the Xavier school of gifted youngsters.

“Were you a gifted youngster?” I asked.

“Oh, this is from X-men,” he said. “And it’s a rare shirt. Kind of my superpower.”

“Oh,” I said. I know very little about x-men, due to being a philistine.

“What about you? What is your superpower?”

I did not want my superpower to be mopping, although I am quite good at this.

The star of my life’s most beautiful blogging fairy tale used to say, my emotions could maybe be a superpower.

The star of my life’s most beautiful blogging fairy tale had never seen anything like my emotions.

“Maybe my emotions could be my superpower. But mostly they just give me a really hard time.”

My emotions, they
are very astonishing.

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, I found a dead mouse, stuck to a sticky mouse trap under a kitchen sink, and the sink belonged to a family who has an enormous baby, and I always say that the enormous baby’s face is very astonishing.

Every 12 minutes to 36 hours, I feel totally astonished.
The guy with the gifted youngsters t. shirt said, “I bet people give you all kinds of suggestions on what you should do. Meditation, working out, yoga, journals.”
“Yes,” I said. “And I have been doing all of it since I was seven years old.”

He went to drink beer with his friends, and I went home to do the dishes.
The apple was macintosh. It tasted small and generic. Then I fell asleep on the couch.
In the morning, I finished a translation about houseplants. Apparently, there is no reason to resist growing houseplants. None of my houseplants have grown since I got them, and the basil seems doomed. And I have a lovely succulent plant that Dexter brought.
Succulent plants are very trendy.

I am not happy with my Village Wailer performance though some might say it was rather impressive.

Best wishes for an unoppressive and/or invigorating day.


Dear Vincent,

I can appreciate professional boundaries but just to let you know where I am coming from, last Friday afternoon, I gave my client Linda a free haircut and henna streaks at my house, partly because being a hairdresser is my dream job and partly because on Friday, May 27, 2018 I knocked over Linda’s precious and delicate miniature horse ornament and the front left leg came off and considering how suicidal I became after breaking my roommate’s teapot on Friday, May 26, 2017, and considering how the horse’s leg can probably be glued back on, the incident was not all that traumatic; however, it did instil a self-imposed obligation to buy another horse and to say yes to the next seventeen things Linda asks me for, and this began with the henna streaks and the haircut.

Last night I dreamed about cleaning big chunks behind someone’s stove, and the chunks belonged to my client Genevieve who barely needs a cleaning lady and who is about to move across the country and I’m a bit sad because we get along great and Genevieve signs off all her texts with three emphatic thumbs up, and I sure as hell could use three emphatic thumbs up every other Monday or Wednesday. In my dream, I cleaned up all the chunks behind the stove, and then I went to Genevieve’s wedding, and I was deeply embarrassed by how disgustingly dirty my feet were, and the groom was Tim Ferris, and Genevieve and Tim vowed to manifest the spectacular hell out of their lives, and when they kissed, it was passionate and convincing.

I woke up at 4:14 and all the stoves and the bathtubs and the whole week seem impossible.
I really wish you could save me and that you loved me back but you can't and you don't, not even if I offer to give you a free haircut and even though you probably like some version of my face when I am not sobbing it off, and maybe also my legs and all this, along with at least 37 easily listable details of life leave me feeling breathtakingly disappointed.

The other thing I want to say is, I packed a sandwich for lunch.
Love, Erica. 


Dear Erica,
Where is your nervous system?
Thinking about your nun friends.
Love, Erica.

Dear Oprah and Vincent,
Linda’s haircut went great.
Love, Erica.

Dear Vincent,

On a podcast I learned that to relieve trauma you can lie on the floor and cradle the back of your head and then gaze your eyes from one side of the world to the other. Maybe I will try that the next time I am hysterical.

Love, Erica.

Dear Vincent,

I still love you, and I still love Oprah.

Love, Erica.

*Names and crucial identifying details have been altered due to excellent professional boundaries. Send your letters to me, or to Vincent or to Oprah. The top-secret email address is ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com.

p.s. Vincent is my therapist and I have that thing where you love your therapist and I get to see Vincent every other Wednesday.
I still love you, and I still love Oprah.

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Dear Vincent, It used to be that the last time I felt home was in a tiny blue penthouse apartment in Mysore, India on the 10th avenue of the 3rd stage of a neighbourhood called Gokulam in November of 2014.

Dear Vincent, Now you know I have that thing where you love your therapist.

Performative Crying in Alleys

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Dear Vincent, It is the new moon, and I'm pretty sure I'm ovulating

Dear Vincent,

It is the new moon, and I’m pretty sure I’m ovulating.

They say the smell of burning is a sign you’re having a stroke, but it can also be a sign of poor stove top and/or toaster hygiene. Death is certain, its time is uncertain, why do I still eat beans? And why did I text the Married Man on Mother’s Day?

Because every sad Married Man needs a darling Happy Mother’s Day from a long ago, faraway, once upon a time fuck who continues to love him in a narcissistic and compartmentalized way.

Married Man has the same old Failed Oprah Project, Dying of Loneliness, Ridiculously Crazy Busy Angst as usual.
This weekend I was not Ridiculously Crazy Busy, and I remedied my Failed Oprah Project and my Dying of Loneliness Angst by sorting out the highly amateur chaos of my junk drawer and my wine box, which tends to hold mail from the government, and ADHD checklists, and letters from my ten-year-old pen pal who has autism, and bars of soap from my tiny mother who does not know that I find the way bar soap melts on the side of the sink or the bathtub to be rather and deeply upsetting. And I recycled the abnormal psychology text book which I found in a plastic bag that was getting wet in front of a dumpster on my way home from dropping off my tiny mother at the train station. And I cleaned my fridge and freezer that contain about seven food items, plus ketchup, and I wiped down the shelf that hold my empty coconut oil jars, and emptied the crumbs of my toaster that would and will throw up bread forever, even though I always forget to buy bread and only tend to eat it every six to nine and half days. 
I consoled the Married Man with the theory that everyone in their thirties is alone every Saturday night, sorting their Mason Jars and watching Youtube videos about attachment trauma and dentist-free dental hygiene. 

Re: The Mason Jars, My relatively famous sister is a case in point.
Sentences that start with Everyone are so easy, and kind of my favourite

The Youtube video about dentist-free dental hygiene was a bit of a slog, but I did end up making homemade toothpaste, alone on a Sunday evening. I poured the toothpaste into a jar, and it looked like a moist and chunky brown stool sample. Putting the toothpaste into my mouth reminds me a little bit of cookie dough, and also the questionable mixtures my sister and I used to put together out of everything we could find in the kitchen and the bathroom, and we’d call it a potion and serve it to each other in a mug, and say, “if you loved me, you’d eat this.” My homemade brown stool sample toothpaste tasted like our childhood potions, but minus the orange juice.

As I child, I feel I had more access to orange juice than any other food source. Now I feel totally at peace with the thought of never drinking orange juice, ever again.

Stool Sample Toothpaste + Sister and Me at the Height of Our Potion Making and Exceptional Fashion Sense Era.
The Married Man did not ask me how I made the toothpaste. If anyone is wondering, I made it out of clay, and diatomaceous earth, which is the hippie’s defence against bed bugs, plus a few other things I could find in the kitchen, and this did not include orange juice.

The last thing I texted the Married Man was, I don’t see how what I just made is actually toothpaste.

I feel this is a reasonable ending.

Happy New Moon!

Love, Erica.
Do not die of Loneliness! Me and Imaginary Vincent would love to hear from you! Send your letters to the secret address, ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Dear Vincent, It is Mental Health Awareness Week and now I am going on 33 years old and just about two decades striving to earn my Mental Health Certificate, or, even better, my Mental Health Prize

Dear Vincent,

It is Mental Health Awareness Week and now I am going on 33 years old and just about two decades striving to earn my Mental Health Certificate, or, even better, my Mental Health Prize. Some might say these perpetual and frequently neurotic efforts have made me far too obsessed with myself and quite frequently, I would tend to agree. And then every once in a while I think, well and oh well, all this had made me a reasonably eccentric and vaguely lovable and fascinating creature with very Shiny Chrome and almost impeccably clean windows, and liberating fashion sense, and an interesting sentence every once in a while. 

These days I am thinking about how if you are suicidal or deemed psychiatrically at risk, you are more or less stripped of your human rights and thrown into a room all by yourself for 72 hours, often restrained. I doubt this is very helpful at all. In fact, I think it is terrible. 

And I am not really sure about Borderline Personality Disorder. I kind of think that Borderline Personality Disorder is like the irritable bowel syndrome of psychiatry. When I eat too many carrots, I get diarrhea, and this does not mean there is anything particularly disorderly about either me or my bowels. Something similar happens with too many grapes, or spoonfuls of coconut cream, and chocolate covered almonds, and all of the legumes. I won't say anything else about this except that, I have a saying that goes, Clap Loud If You Believe in Borderline Personality Disorder. The correct response is, a whole bunch of devastating dad jokes. 

The other thing I feel very aware of is that everything can change in a flash and though you might have all the champion strategies and an excellent network in place, life might still unravel rather tragically.

On Tuesday, as I sat in a park, I saw three kids playing with a bright yellow sponge bob square pants ball. They thought that it would be a brilliant idea to throw the ball into the middle of the pond. One of the little girls changed her mind about the brilliant idea and when she saw the beloved ball in the middle of the pond, she let out an indelicate weep. The little boy say, "Don't worry it will come back." But he didn't do anything, he just watched. And in fact, one or two times the ball did come back and the children giggled with delight. Then the third or fourth time, the ball got stuck a couple metres from the edge of the pond. So Indelicate Weeper sobbed some more and Don’t Worry It Will Come Back shrugged his shoulders and just waited. But the other little girl, maybe 4, said “I’m gonna find a stick.” With the stick, she could reach the ball, and everyone giggled in delight again. And this went on until after one throw, the ball ended up just a little too far for I’m Gonna Find a Stick to reach it. So Indelicate Weeper sobbed and Don’t Worry It Will Come Back shrugged his shoulders. But four-year-old I’m Gonna Find a Stick wouldn't give up and she found some bigger kid and asked her, “Can you help me get the ball?” And the bigger kid said yes, and she could. And the ball came back to the edge of the pond and everyone giggled in delight until it was time to throw the ball once again. 

What I want to say to people who struggle, and this is a lot of us, is, keep reaching however you can. 

Love, Erica. 
Reach out to me, or to Imaginary Vincent at ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com.
p.s. Vincent is my therapist and  I have that thing where you love your therapist, and I get to see Vincent every other Wednesday.
This is your strange and beautiful life

Follow Erica J. Schmidt on Facebook

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Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
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Guillaume, Part Two

Dear Vincent, Thank you for responding to my hysterical phone call.
Dear Vincent, This is a hungry ghost.  
Dear Vincent, This is what the Dead Inside Man says about killing yourself.