Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Yours til I'm a Post-Modern Literary Genius

Hi Everyone! Sorry to leave you hanging on the Magical Rock Vagina Cleanse. I'll announce the fascinating conclusion soon. The following post was meant as a Facebook status update for my new business, Deep Cleans by Erica J. Schmidt. Deep Cleans involves me sparking joy in other people's houses. As fate would have it, the post ended up being a little too long for Facebook, and so I decided to publish it here.

Yours til I'm a Post-Modern Literary Genius

Parting with the written word can be difficult. Everyone possesses at least one shoe box if not several crates of old course notes, journals and handwritten letters. Certainly going through these boxes later on can bring laughter and deep joy. Also, everyone wants to channel this material into the book they’re going to write in all their spare time. And how is that book going, everybody?

When I opened my boxes from Halifax last week, I came upon a FedEx envelope of a romantic personal correspondence from 2005. At a CPR course, upon performing a pretend secondary body check, my partner concluded, “Well, looks like you’re in pretty good shape.” Once the course was over, I delivered a rambly verbal machine gun speech. In it I must have mentioned how I believed that we could change the world by writing letters, by being pen pals. My CPR partner’s name was Cavan Van Ulft and he was eager to try and change the world with me.

For the next month or so, we wrote letters back and forth. He was living with his parents in Nepean, while I was working at an Easters Seals Camp. Cavan Van Ulft sent each letter in a brown 3 by 5 Manila envelope.
“Miss Erica Schmidt,” he would write in the first address line. Beneath this, he’d write a flattering and eloquent caption.

“Warning! May be habit-forming or addictive,”
“Post-modern Literary Genius,”
“The prettiest girl on the prettiest street in the prettiest town in Ontario.”

Cavan's Letters
His letters were always meticulously composed and handwritten on plain white paper. Both of us always wrote back immediately upon receiving the other's letter. My stationary varied from long thin strips of cardboard to red and blue paper, in case either red or blue were his favourite colours. I sealed many envelopes with frog stickers. “Sealed with sticky frogs,” I'd written on one envelope. Another time I included a lock of my hair.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dear Cavan,

Maybe your favourite colour is blue, or maybe it is red. Or maybe I should send you a fill-in-the-blank worksheet for you to send back to me. So that I will know your favourite colour. I could also ask you whether you prefer my sentence fragments to be written on stationary with straight lines on it or on blank sheets of blue and red (or some other colour) My next though might have been, do you maybe wish there were fewer sentence fragments and more complete sentences. Or vice versa. Unfortunately, however, this potentially brilliant series of complete and fragmented sentences was interrupted by a phone call.
It was you! I had piece of lettuce stuck in my teeth the whole time and you never said anything! How embarrassing. After flossing and brushing away lettuce and gingivitis (if I’m lucky), I have laid myself down in preparation for sleep…

My Letters
8 July 2005

Re: “Money is nice but it can’t hold hands.”

Dear Erica,
Your letter was beautiful! Thank you so much for sending it. I read it over and over. And the gifts you included in the envelope are amazingly thoughtful. It is very postmodern. Especially the bumper sticker.

(The bumper sticker was inscribed in blue and black markers, “Everything comes down to one thing,” it said. “The single key to mastering human existence is.”)
It is very postmodern. You know by now, no doubt, from my list of favourite things, that my favorite style of art is suprematism, so I am very into ambiguous messages that require input from an audience to be understood. So I think it’s just great. And also very clever…
You are constantly surprising me, exceeding my expectations, and delighting me. You are pretty irresistible, as far as I can tell. So don’t you dare stop – ever.

The Post-Modern Bumper Sticker
There are few people in the world who can compete with me in their eccentricity and intensity. Likely, Cavan Van Ulft was one of these people. The last time I googled him, it seemed he was trying to become the prince or ruler of an obscure island somewhere in the arctic.

During one of my days off at camp, I went on a “date” with Cavan. My parents drove me to Ottawa and dropped me off at the Rideau Center, where Cavan and I wandered around and he revealed his taste in jeans. Cavan was nice enough; however, I realized right away that my imagination had gone overboard, and that our in-person experience was doomed to be infinitely less exciting than our riveting correspondence. As tactfully as my 19 year-old self knew how, I told him so in my next letter.

Within a few days, I received a priority post FedEx package at camp. It contained all of my letters. The frog stickers, the postmodern bumper sticker, my lock of hair, photos of my dog.
In the weeks that followed, Cavan sent me several emails with the words, “PLEASE SEND MY LETTERS BACK” in the subject line. I believed this was ridiculous and have kept the correspondence ever since.

Rereading Cavan’s letters now, I now appreciate that they are absolutely exquisite.

19 July 2005

Probably as a result of the intense heat wave that we have been going through, the scent of your lock of hair has permeated both pages of your last letter and its envelope. In the slight breeze that's been blowing in my back yard, it has made everything around me smell like you. It is absolutely delivious. The only problem is that I frequently get lost in thought while sitting outside re-reading your letters and I think slightly sunburnt... because I kept taking deep breaths and zoning out and losing track of time. But it's wonderful nonetheless...

Everyone should be so privileged as to be the recipient of such generous and inflating epistles. I feel some regret at writing Cavan off as some crazy nut. I think he does deserve to get his letters back. After inhaling one last spark of joy from my favourite missives, I am going to try and track him down, to return his side of this unreplicable correspondence, and to wish him well.

The End.

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Friday, 2 September 2016

The Magical Rock Vagina Cleanse

This morning I sent a message to Jess Beaulieu and Natalie Norman, hosts of the podcast, The Crimson Wave. The Crimson Wave hilariously addresses all of my favourite topics: menstruation, sex and vaginas. I wanted to tell Jess and Natalie all about my latest menstrual project, The Magical Rock Vagina Cleanse.

Natalie and Jess of The Crimson Wave
Like them on Facebook! That's where I got this photo.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Dear Natalie and Jess,
How are you doing?!? Soon you will have completed your 108th podcast which is such an exciting and auspicious number. Congratulations! My friend Kyle Stevenson told me about you ladies since back in 2013, I was inspired to gather all of my menstrual blood in a peanut butter jar and post the photos on the Internet. The post, “Menstrual Blood, Peanut Butter,” remains one of my blog’s most viewed posts of all time. In addition to MBPM, my blog chronicles a significant portion of my Menstruation Memoirs. Menstrual Memoir posts include:

Exalted, which ponders over Seventeen Magazine’s Ask Anything question, “Why do I always get the runs when I’m on the rag,” as well as explaining the term, “Peanut Butter and Jam.”

Menstrual Memoir Photos
I have also written relatively extensively on pubic hair. One of my life’s great achievements is that when you google “Peanut Butter, Pubic Hair,” my face and my blog come up. Same thing for “Spiritual Beard, Secular Vagina.” Here are the links to both of my treatises on pubic hair.  
Peanut Butter, Pubic Hair

Me, post 400 rupee Waxing in New Delhi. November 2015
I am writing to you because I wanted to tell you about my latest menstrual project. It is called The Magical Rock Vagina Cleanse. For the last few days, in preparation for my period, I have refrained from wearing underwear. Now that I am menstruating, I have resumed underwear as it allows me to safely transport a purified magical onyx right next to my crotch. The magical rock/onyx is supposed to absorb negative energy from all my life’s vaginal trauma and disappointments. On August 31, 2016, I wrote my last brilliant epistle to the Generic Married Man. I am hoping that the Magical Rock Vaginal Cleanse will help me to forgive his colossal haiku and pen pal debt. My friend who inspired me to do the cleanse said that she wouldn’t be surprised if the magical rock also helped heal the pockmarks slash infected ingrown hairs that have arisen as a result of my most recent 20 dollar waxing job. That would be a huge bonus. Those things are horrendous. Once my vagina is finished bleeding, I am going to part with all of my underwear, since each pair has travelled to India and back at least once and it is time to let go. I am not yet certain how I will dispose of my underwear, but I know that I will throw the magical rock into a large body of water. The body of water will likely be Lake Ontario, since I’ll be visiting my sister in Toronto next week.

My Magical Onyx is in my underwear, but  typically Onyx looks a bit like this.
While I am in Toronto, I would be delighted to meet up and discuss my Magical Vagina Rock Cleanse with you. Perhaps you can be part of the Rock Throwing Ceremony. It would be such an honour to meet you both. If next week doesn’t work, perhaps we can reconvene at a later date at which point I can enlighten you on the long-term benefits of the MVRC. In any case, I look forward to continuing to ride the Crimson Wave within my own personal journey, and collectively, as you two incredible divas have inspired me to do.
Yours in Onyx and Menstrual Blood,

Erica J. Schmidt.

My cousin is getting married this weekend and I think I will wear this dress.
I hope the Magical Vagina Rock does not fall out.

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Not That Kind of Girl
Performative Crying in Alleys
Memoirs of a Brief Affair

Friday, 26 August 2016

Three Easy Strategies for Feeling Smug and On Top of Life

“I don’t know anybody who has lots of time who is happy,” Fern told me on the phone a couple weeks ago as I whined about my long angsty days, void of life purpose. The thing is I don’t know anybody who’s so busy they can’t think who is all that happy either. When I have too much to do, I feel violated and oppressed. Too little and I become self-loathing and miserable. How then, does one acquire a smug sense of being on top of life? I offer you the following three brilliant suggestions:

1.       Organize your Tupperware drawer.
I have a saying that goes, “Everyone loves a good Patrick.” My other saying is, “Most people’s Tupperware drawers are a total disaster.” It’s true. Very rarely have I ever belonged to a household whose Tupperware organization system did not lead me to fruitlessly search among melted and misshapen containers for equally ill-fated or non-existent lids. The quest typically generates more chaos in the designated Tupperware area and consequently, life seems far beyond the winning. Fortunately, you can make the decision to conquer your home’s receptacle mayhem.
In my life, I have had the enlightening experience of meeting at least two Tupperware Revolution Theorists. One woman, who also happened to give me my first Brazilian, recommends limiting yourself to three sizes, all of the same shape. The problem with this is that roommates and perhaps also partners generally come with a vast spectrum of Tupperware variation and they don’t usually like it when you chuck their things. Thus, this sort of Tupperware Revolution is not available to everyone. A second Tupperware Revolution Theorist suggests only storing your Tupperware with the lids in place. Sadly, this is close to impossible if your kitchen possesses any sort of space limitation which is almost inevitable. X-nay that, but thanks anyways.

You will have to discover the Perfect Tupperware Revolution that resonates with your soul and your kitchen. Everyone’s Tupperware Revolution is personal; however, certain universal principles apply. For example, throwing out mismatched, melted and/or super disgusting Tupperware is non-negotiable. So is wiping out any sort of crud or crumbs that have somehow made their way into your Tupperware drawer or cupboard. Don’t hold back. Trust me, it will be highly rewarding. Once you’ve decided which Tupperware continues to spark joy, it is time to arrange the plastic and/or glass vessels in the most logical fashion possible. I’m pretty certain that it’s better to keep lids and bottoms close together, but as I said, we are all responsible for our Personal Tupperware Revolution. For optimal smugness, be sure to take before and after shots.
The Waverly Household Tupperware Revolution

2.       Send Mail.

Sending mails requires extensive and empowering grown-up skills such as buying stamps, looking up postal codes on the internet and walking to the mailbox. The other selling point is, nobody ever died or cried from getting a postcard. I derive immense joy and satisfaction from sending people mail. This summer, I was delighted to come upon a man who sold vintage animal postcards in front of Metro Laurier. They were only fifty cents each. I bought dozens, mailed dozens, and it was so fun. Unlike Generic Married Men, whatever happens, animal postcards will always be there for you. 
Animal Postcard, Camel with Humps.
3.       Wash all your bedding and put your duvet back in its cover.
No need to get laid to wait until washing your sheets. The satisfaction of fresh clean bedding is everyone’s birthright. Having said that, the task of inserting your duvet into the appropriate corners can seem monumental. It’s almost worth settling for a mediocre partner just to have someone to help you with this. But believe me, if you persevere, you will succeed, and you’ll feel so smug and on top of life. Apparently, there are special tricks for flipping your duvet magically and effortlessly into the right corners. I don’t know much about this. You can’t be smug about everything.

Duvet-generated Smugness
The above activities are perfect examples of what you can put on your Ta-da List. A list that you make at the end of the day, the Ta-da List serves to officialise all of the day’s accomplishments, large or small. While to-do lists may generate pressure and performance anxiety, Ta-Da lists ensure smugness and fulfilment, even when your day was void of viral tweets and cervical orgasms. At the end of the day, do not let yourself hit the pillow in despair. Consider your commitment to Tupperware, personal correspondence, duvet covers or some other noble endeavour, and luxuriate in the truth that you are, indisputably, on top of life.

The End.
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Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

Tips for Getting on Top of Life, with Gretchen Rubin

Business Ideas, on a Tuesday
Performative Crying in Alleys
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The Tidying Festival

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Erin Ball, My Favourite Acrobat

Erin Ball is my favourite acrobat. If you have made the excellent choice of following her on Facebook, you will know that she posts the best selfies and videos on the Internet.  You might also have noticed that her legs end below her knees.

Exquisite photo by Gilles Gelinas!
I like acrobats, and I like to talk to people about their lives. I have been dying to interview Erin for almost a year. As fate would have it, she is extremely busy walking upside down and flying around in various shapes. Lucky for me, Erin generously squeezed me into her eventful life while I was in Onterrific in June. Erin picked me up at the Kingston train station. The back of her car was full of hula hoops, trapeze contraptions and one or two pairs of legs. We did the interview at the Kingston Circus Arts, where Erin teaches silks, trapeze, aerial hoop, partner acrobatics and conditioning.  
If you’re wondering how someone becomes such a versatile and talented acrobat and circus teacher, you need not worry, because I asked.  Surprisingly enough, Erin didn’t take up moving until her early twenties. Movement just wasn’t part of her thing. Then one day, a friend dragged her to a yoga class. She was 23.
As everyone else struggled through the poses, Erin really took to it: “I remember my first pigeon pose, and I was like, oh, I could really get into this.”
Years ago in Montreal, I saw Erin do a backbend in a yoga class. Before I knew what was going on, she had her face between her thighs. She certainly didn’t seem to be struggling all that much.
After that first class, although Erin didn’t get into yoga right away, she decided to go to college and become a personal trainer. Yoga came next, and then circus.
Erica: “Can you talk about falling in love with the circus?”
Erin: “I was living in Boston… Saw a poster for a hula hoop workshop and signed up to do that. And it was kind of a love-hate thing at the beginning, with hoop. Then maybe six months later, if that, I saw a busker’s fest here in Kingston and there was a couple there doing partner acrobatics and the flyer was on the base’s arm doing a handstand… It blew my mind and I said, that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, I need to learn how to do that.”
She found a circus school in Toronto and then Vermont at the New England Center for Circus Arts. There, she became particularly enamoured with the trapeze. Although Erin possesses a natural level of flexibility, strength was something she had to devote a great deal of time to. The process was exciting and empowering. Erin went on to complete teaching courses many disciplines including aerial silks and trapeze, acro yoga, hoopdance and pilates. Within four or five years, Erin started teaching aerial arts and other circus skills out of Kingston.
Erica: “Would you say that movement is now an integral part of your identity?”
Erin: “Yes, mentally, physically, emotionally, I need to move.”

Erin flies again.
Wonderful photo courtesy of SVPhotography
I am always super perplexed to hear stories of amazingly active people enduring ordeals such as amputations or spinal cord injuries. So often these things happen to the kinds of people who take full advantage of all their limbs and cells. I suppose legs and intact spinal cords come in handy for everyone, but this seems particularly true for acrobats, which is one of the reasons I find Erin’s story so compelling. Here’s what happened:
Erin: “I was upset and went for a drive to clear my head. Kept driving. Got out of the car, went for a walk. Sat down and my feet got wet right away which is where the problem happened. Went to get up, couldn’t feel my feet, so I couldn’t walk from that point on.”
Erin had driven about 45 minutes from her home in Bath, Ontario, which is almost 30 km outside of Kingston. Nobody knew where she was going and she’d left her phone in the car. It was March of 2014. Right away, her loved ones reported her as a missing person, but Erin remained lost in the woods for six days. Erin can’t remember much of this time. Given the harsh Canadian winter conditions, and a lack of food and water, she likely went unconscious early on.  
Erica: “Do you remember them finding you?”
Erin: “No. I was unconscious. My body temperature was 19. I was found by a police dog and I guess people came in and pulled me out to an area where a helicopter could get me and then I was flown to a hospital where I think I was out for a few days. They opened me up and put in warm blood and warm fluid. When I woke up I was massive and bloated and didn’t recognize my body.”
Erica: “Really? Because of all the weird fluids and stuff?”
Erin: “Yah, I have photos from the first few days when I was awake where they had to use a lift to get me out of the bed and to sit up. It was crazy.”
Erica: “You couldn’t really move at that point either, so you’re waking up and movement is so integral to your life and like, could you move your hands?”
Erin: “I don’t remember.”
The nurses showed Erin her feet a few days later.
Erin: “There was a very specific point where it all changed and was purple and bloated…”
Erica: “But the rest of your body, your hands were okay?”
While she was in the woods, Erin remembers putting her hands over her coat and crawling across the ground. She thinks the reason her feet were so damaged was because they got wet.
Erin: “I guess it was because my feet got wet, but I managed to keep my nose and my fingers. Super lucky.”
Absolutely, Erin was lucky to be alive. But parting with her feet was not such an easy transition. Erin spent three relatively horrific months in the hospital before consenting to the double amputation.
Erin: “Yah I was kind of in denial. I asked my mom recently to see photos… In the beginning they were purple and bloated with maybe a few patches where there was regular skin colour and then they just got progressively worse. Towards the end it was unbelievable. Like I can’t believe that that was on a human body. They were black. They looked like shrivelled up leather and they were starting to self-amputate. It was pretty intense.
And originally I had been told, yah you should keep walking on them and then I was told, no definitely don’t walk on them and I was kind of trying to walk on them but yah, they were starting to fall off and they were making really weird noises, like squishy. But I had this idea in my head that they were gonna grow back or I don’t know… So I just was not ready to accept that I needed to have them taken off. So woods was March 2014 and then the surgery was June 12, 2014. And eventually it was my family, they had tried to sign for me to have the surgery and the doctors couldn’t do it without my consent, so eventually they convinced me to go ahead with it.”
I asked Erin if finally making the decision provided her with some relief. Instead of wondering and vacillating over the unknown future, now she could go ahead and move forwards with the reality of having no feet.
Erin: “I wouldn’t say it was a relief. At that point I was kind of like well, I’ve had the high points of my life and that’s it, my life is over now.”
At the time, she was only 34. For the months following the amputation, Erin struggled to eat and do much besides lie in her bed, her arm covering her face.
Erin: “I had pretty much given up and decided I wanted to die.”
Depression was not something she’d ever dealt with before. Legs or no legs, there is never shame in being depressed. But I’m sure most of us can recognize what an enormous challenge it must have been to have to reconcile yourself with such massively life-changing events. Unless you are like me and have the twisted and unhelpful tendency to distress about the possibility of unlikely events, you probably assume that your legs are these highly useful things that you’ll get to keep.
Erica: “Did it ever occur to you that something like this would happen?”
Erin: “When I was eighteen I used to ride freight trains. So I travelled across Canada and the U.S. hitchhiking and riding trains and I fell off a train one time when I was trying to get on and I felt my legs go under the train and hit something and in that moment, it flashed through my head, oh my god, I’ve lost my legs and it was like wow, super powerful. And then somehow I got pushed from under and I scraped my knees on the rocks and that was it.
Other than that, I never never would have thought… My body and all parts of my body were so important to what I was doing.
It was something that I definitely never thought would happen to me. I remember in teacher training for aerial arts they were like, do you want to work with amputees or whatever and it was so far out of my brain, I was like, I have no idea, I have nothing, like no. Cause I don’t know anything.”
Erica: “So that’s not a world that you were ever familiar with.”
Erin: “No.”
A good fifteen years after falling off the freight train in Calgary, Erin woke up from the surgery and found that she really had lost her legs. Depression reigned for several months. With movement and physical achievement so fundamental to her sense of who she was, Erin felt totally devastated and lost. Plus life at the stark, soulless hospital, with its airplane food trays and sterile vital checks is enough to get anyone down. I wondered if Erin had experienced some sort of breakthrough or epiphany when the depression lifted. She said that there was one point in September when she tried prosthetics and for a moment, she snapped out of it.
Erin: “It was like, okay, I’m gonna live.”
I remember the video she posted during that time. With tentative confidence, Erin walked back and forth along the prostheticist’s room’s walkway. You could almost hear the people in the background holding their breath.
“I am so freakin happy right now,” Erin had written on Facebook. But soon afterwards, she went back to not getting out of bed. Finally in January, things started to shift. By February of 2015, Erin was committed to using prosthetics every day.
Erica: “What shifted?”
Erin: “Time, I think and just being sick of the hospital, and I just made the decision, I have to get out of here and live, so it’s time to walk and do circus.”
Surprisingly, walking turned out to be somewhat more difficult than circus. From inspirational Ted talks and the cutting edge prosthetics you see in the Paralympics or on Nike commercials, I always thought that the technology available for amputees was quite excellent. It turns out that wearing prosthetics is often extremely uncomfortable.  
Erin: “My legs are in sockets, so normally the tibia and fibula are joined at the ankle but now they’re not joined at all, so now when I walk they’re being pushed apart and there’s a big nerve that runs along in there and so it really bothers me. It’s like a lot of nerve pain just from walking in the sockets. And there’s been a big adjustment period and a lot of pain just having the bone at the front in contact with the socket with every step.”

Erin in cool stripey pants, with her socket-prosthetics.
Thank you to Bryce Murdoch Photography for the stunning photo!
So basically Erin has to walk on her calf muscles which are not really designed for this. And yet, Erin has been amazed at how her body has adapted. When she walks, her calves can actually detect a rock or change of surface from above her prosthetic legs. Despite the pain and discomfort that has come with prosthetics, Erin is already accomplishing far more than most of us could pull off with three to seventeen legs.
Erica: “Do you think you’re more driven than you were before? Do you feel like, ‘I need to be super active?’ ”

Another stunning photo by Bryce Murdoch Photography!
Erin: “It’s different now. Let me think about that a little bit. Yah, I don’t know how to put into words what the difference is… I think before my accident, you know, I was at work and interacting with people but in my personal life outside of that I had started kind of isolating and I think since the accident I’ve realized how important it is to stay connected. Before I spent a lot of time training on my own and I do that now too but I really try to get people around whenever I can.” 

Erin has created a lovely community at the Kingston Circus Arts. Although I used to think of circus as this elite and impossible thing that was limited to the Cirque du Soleil people, it actually turns out to quite inclusive. With so many mediums and adaptations, there is something for everyone, especially when you have an excellent teacher like Erin. I got a chance to try the silks and aerial hoops while I was visiting. Erin struck a perfect balance between helping me feel both challenged and safe, despite my mild fear of breaking my neck. It was beautiful to see all the different bodies joyfully executing so many beautiful and exciting feats. One of the bodies belonged to Erin’s mother Kathy who blew me away with both her grace and her biceps. Erin’s family has been a significant source of love and support during her recovery. It was Erin’s dad who first suggested that Erin take off her legwarmers during a performance. 

Erin's Mom, Kathy, next to Erin. Erin grew quite a few inches when she got new legs and now she gets to be taller than her Mom. Lovely pipes, Ladies!
Erin: “It was really hard, at first I didn’t want to show my legs. That took a lot of getting used to. I was in the middle of a performance and my dad said, you should take those leg warmers off and I was like, I can’t, I just can’t and I did and I never put them back on, but it was like I’m not going to be able to wake up every single day and go out like this and face the world and I have been able to. And I totally do not want to put the legwarmers back on now, but I kind of wanted to make a video of all of the reactions and things that I get in a day. Now I’m totally fine with it but in the beginning it was like, woo, this is a lot.”
The best reactions come from kids, who always ask Erin if she’s a robot. Adults are a little more awkward. They stare and look away, or pretend to ignore the fact that Erin has metal legs. Hearing Erin talk about this reminded me of this lifeguarding training I went to years ago, led by a man who was missing an arm. I felt like me and all the other lifeguards were dying to know what had happened. I asked Erin what the best kind of reaction was.
Erin: “If people are open about it. Ask about it… I can’t speak for other people but I guess for me, I’m putting this out there by choice and so definitely come ask me, it’s here. But yah. I can’t speak for everybody, if that’s what they feel as well.”
I wanted to get a sense of the least helpful thing people could say. Like what has been the worst part, besides the physical challenges and pain.
Erin: “Sometimes people making excuses for me, like you can’t do this because of your legs.”

Another terrible thing to say is, “Well, everything happens for a reason.” Ick. 
Erica: “It’s kind of bullshit that everything happened for a reason. I don’t know if you’re into that, but it’s kind of like, it happened-”
Erin: “Exactly. My mom started getting so pissed off. People would say that to her and she’d be like no, you can’t say that. And I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, but it happened and there are good things that have come out of it.”
One of the good things is the encouraging online community of people who follow Erin’s posts. As I’ve mentioned, Erin’s selfies and videos are the best and they inspire tons of people.
Erica: “A couple weeks ago you posted that you were feeling sad and missing your feet… do you let yourself grieve and have many regrets, do you have time for regrets or is it more like, I gotta move forward, I gotta get over this.”
Erin: “So I would say in general I am pretty happy, I feel like that’s one thing that’s really come out of this. Like before I would go through periods or days where I would be like uh, none of my clothes work, or I’m freaking out about all this stuff, you know low self-esteem days and stuff, and I find now it’s just like fuck it, like you know what, I have metal legs and who cares. So yah, it’s helped a lot with that.  And yah in general, it’s just like I’m enjoying life and whatever I can get out of it. But I definitely do have times when I feel sad, especially watching old videos where it’s like oh, like I’m so used to this now that I forget and then I see a video and it’s like oh wow, that’s what I was able to do… And it’s like whew. But it’s been really enjoyable finding all the new things, and just discovering and being creative. So that’s been great.

Regrets? I don’t really have regrets about it. But I do allow myself to be sad. For sure. The day of the two-year anniversary of the amputation I spent a period of the day in bed crying. Totally.” 
Erica: “Hard day?”
Erin: “Good day for most of the day, but totally allowed an hour of just crying in bed.
Erica: “But it doesn’t consume you like in the hospital.”
Erin: “Yah I don’t stay there. It never lasts. It’s just a short period of time and then boom I’m back to normal.”
Erica: “And in general, some things are definitely better.”
Erin: “Totally.”
Erica: “Sometimes people go through events like this and they say, I am a totally new person, or other people will say that about you, like oh, you’re a totally different person? How do you feel?”
Erin: “I feel like I’ve grown a lot. I’m the same person, but I’ve grown a lot. I’ve learned a lot. I mean, I don’t know. In some ways I feel different… Yah, I guess I’ve just grown and learned a lot and I’m trying to just make the most of this.”
Making the most of this is a massive understatement. Erin, you are rocking this. What a joy it has been to witness you grow on this unbelievable journey.
“Life is weird and difficult and wonderful.” –Erin Ball, my favourite acrobat

 The End.

Check out the CBC's beautiful video about Erin!
Check out Erin's blog socksandsockets!
Check out Erin's classes at Kingston Circus Arts!

Follow Erin on Facebook! 

Me and Erin. Dream come true!
Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

This interview is an example of a blog feature I started called, "Asking People About Their Lives," in which I do just that.
I love asking people about their lives.
Here are my other interviews so far:

Asking Matt Wiviott About His Life

Guillaume Part One
Guillaume Part Two

Shelley Fillipoff: Where is Emma Fillipoff, Part One of Nine.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Mythological Unconditional Love

Some people say that happy romantic relationships depend on the beautiful lies couples say to each other.

“You are unbelievably perfect for me.”
“No one could ever be as wonderful as you.”
“I was miserable before I met you. I’m so glad the moon told me to kiss you. You’re the best kisser of life.”

Yesterday, I felt deprived of such beautiful lies. And I wrote this Haiku:

Haiku: M.U.L.
Unconditional Love is
Something I’m missing.

Some of the 12-step people invented something called Sexual Addiction. S.A. I did not feel like researching all that much about this condition, but my understanding is that Sex Addicts (also referred to as S.A.’s) seek out sex and love to remedy their low self-esteem. Or maybe they are lonely.
I did the twelve steps a couple of times for my eating disorder. For step three or four or five, I had to compile all of my character defects. I wrote each character defect on a little slip of paper. The first time I compiled my character defects, I threw them all into the Lachine Canal, near Griffintown. That was in 2009. I imagine that the Lachine Canal must be full of character defects. In 2011, I wrote out my character defects again. This time, I put them in my homemade God Box. Before I moved to Halifax, I gave the God Box to Simon, my ex-ex boyfriend who I wrote a mediocre epistolary novel with. The novel was called, The Little Savage and the Hermit. Simon was the Hermit. I am trying to refrain from referring to Simon as my ex-ex boyfriend who jumped off a building on January 4, 2015, and this is going not that well.   
I don’t know what happened to the God Box. It was covered with splatters of paint. I used to be quite artistic.
Beautiful lies are the best cure for character defects.
“I love you even though you get peanut butter all over the walls.”
“I love you more than spelt bread.”
“Your vagina makes up for your obnoxious meltdowns, even though you have questionable groin welts from misguided attempts at pubic hair removal.”

As I mentioned, I am missing the Beautiful Lies. Perhaps I am an S.A.
R.S.A. equals Recovering Sex Addicts and such people do not seek out sex and love as remedies for low self-esteem and loneliness. I wonder what they do instead.
I think it is a bit dumb to pathologize loneliness into a vague disease or unflattering label. Probably the S.A.’s and R.S.A.’s are the same as everyone else. They’re just bad liars. I can relate:
“Everyone wishes they were my duvet.”
“My crooked do-it-yourself haircut is spectacular.”
“I am the funniest writer in the world.”

The End.

Selfies are the ultimate beautiful lie.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook.
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, a self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

Why I am like Jane Fonda
God Box

Memoirs of a Brief Affair
Performative Crying in Alleys
Performative Text Messages

Still Me

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Prozac Made Me A Better Dancer

Prozac made me a better dancer.
It also did wonders for my fashion sense.
Some might say the same about my haiku writing capacities.
And haircutting skills.
Prozac did wonders for my fashion sense.
So glad I decided this outfit sparked joy. A Winners Special.

Also, I clean like a madwoman
Which is excellent for Roommate Relations. I think.
Although this morning I got molasses on the floor.
Besides that, my closet radiates order
Filled with clothes that rejoice in their origami folds.

The Tidying Festival Never Ends.
All the Prozac induced bouncing
Stimulates my lymphatic system.
Surely this prevents cancer. And ulcers. And back pain.

Here is a haiku I wrote about Prozac:

Prozac is like a
Big orgasm all the time.
It’s a fucking blast.

(In case you were worried about the sexual side effects.)

If you work for Prozac, and need a poster girl, I am not beyond this.
Prozac, Probiotics, Kumbucha.
I can advocate all of these things.

Prozac gives me an open mind.

The End.

Fun Drug Combinations, by the Exuberant Bodhisattva

Prozac + Caffeine:  this goes without saying.
Prozac + Caffeine + High School Reunion:  You will say the most surprising things.
Prozac + Caffeine + Neon Shorts + Daybreaker Morning Dance Party:  Oh Boy!
Here I am post-Daybreaker. Glistening.
What a delightful and outstanding event.
Stay tuned for the next one!
Prozac + Caffeine + Glute Camp Montreal:  The Butt Ledge has never looked better.
Family Glute Camp on Lakewood Road, with Sister and Dog-Niece.
 You and your Butt Ledge are welcome to join me this evening at 6 PM in Parc Laurier
Over the Hump Glute Camp: Tomorrow (Tomorrow = Today) 
Prozac + Summer in Montreal: One of the best combos ever.

Hope to see you soon!
My Grandma and I practicing our Interpretive Dance Moves. She just turned 90. We have generously offered to perform at my cousin's wedding. Prozac made me more generous. Grandma comes by her generosity and spectacular-ness naturally.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, a self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

Prozac Made Me A Better Person
High School Reunion
Deep Unyielding Depression, Part One
Deep Unyielding Depression, Part Two
Memoirs of a Brief Affair