Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Magical Rock Vagina Cleanse, by Erica J. Schmidt

SNAG, S-N-A-G stands for Sensitive New Age Guy. At Café Olimpico I always see this SNAG and he’s one of those people who’s ultra-busy running his micro-nation the MacBook Pro. And so, he never has any time to talk to me. But one day he decided he could spare a moment to grace my life with his secret to success.

“Erica,” he said. “You have to Name Your Wounds.”

As fate would have it, I am average to mediocre at naming my wounds; however; I am just about phenomenal at naming the dudes whose legs I hump and whose dicks end up inside of me.

For example, there was: the Vegan Life Coach, the Tall Cute Cauliflower, Rob One, Rob Two, and one of my favourites, the star of my life’s beautiful blogging fairy tale, The Boatman. As his name suggests, I met the Boatman on a boat. We happened to be at a wedding. Lucky for me, the full moon whispered in the Boatman’s ear and told him to kiss me. In about twenty minutes, we fell in love, and in his beautiful delusion, the Boatman invited me to leave Montreal and go live with him in Halifax in his Big Blue House with his Big Black Dog, and in my beautiful delusion, and also because I had seven and a half part-time jobs and maybe five dollars, I said yes.

As the blogging fairy tale goes, we lived happily ever after for three and a half years, except I had no friends and refused to go on Prozac.

I would highly recommend that everybody move for love at least once, it’s just that sometimes you have to move back. So, two Aprils ago, I had to move back and within a few months, I met the man who would one day inspire, the Magical Rock Vagina Cleanse.

This man I named, the Generic Married Man (GMM).

For me, the best is when dudes are ultra-unavailable, and when they have deep and beautiful and impossible wounds. As fate would have it, the Generic Married Man was all over this criteria. Like I imagine most philandering husbands are, he was ultra-busy running his micro-nation with his kids, a really important job, in theory his wife, as well as the highly time-consuming task of mourning and wailing over all his dead and broken dreams.

But Generic was clear and relatively considerate right from the start.

“Erica,” he said. “I just want you to know, I am never going to leave my family. Like never. That is not who I am.”

And I responded, “Yes! Definitely! Do not leave your family for me. Of course not!”

The other thing he said was, “I’m also not going to be all that available for the next 18 to 25 years.”

For me, this was no problem since I was not the kind of person who would move eighteen hours and give up my whole life for some silly love story.
"That's perfect," I said. "You are exactly what I am looking for!”

So we were off to this erotic, steamy passionate affair, and we met on the monkey bars every three to seven to seventeen and a half weeks.

On the monkey bars, Generic would tell me about all his deep and beautiful and impossible wounds, and I’d sit there shivering, and I’d wish that he did not have a wife. And then, we’d make out.

But not all of Generic’s wounds were deep and beautiful and impossible. Some of them were pretty Generic, and unsurprising.

For example,

“I haven’t had sex since 2010, or like maybe once, but that was to make a kid.”

Or like,

“All my wife ever thinks about is the kids and then I go to spoon her and she recoils onto the other side of the bed, and I’m all lonely and tired and horny.”


“My life is so ridiculously crazy busy! I don’t know who I am anymore.”

Now, I love parents and I love children and I love babies. Some of my favourite friends are parents and I love their kids. As one of my current seven and a half semi-retirement projects, I tie-dye onesies for babies I will never have. But families, I love them. Having said that, one of my favourite things to do is to complain about parents complaining about having children. As though the inherently fulfilling biological task of ejaculating inside of someone you kind of like (like that must be a little bit fun), and then you combine your own special DNA to make this extra unique and exceptional child that comes out of a vagina which is really interesting, and the child is so tiny and adorable – and you find it extra adorable, because it reminds you of you – and then it starts to talk, and everything it says is extra brilliant and extraordinary because it reminds you of you, like as though this whole process is so tragic and selfless and heroic – and also compulsory. Because it’s not compulsory. You know, I always want to tell people, you could have pulled out.

But poor Generic hadn’t pulled out and now he had a couple of kids and a wife who ostensibly recoiled whenever he went anywhere near her. Poor guy was stuck using condoms with me. Although it is not charitable to publish details of one's sexual experience on the Internet, I will say that Generic gave indisputably excellent and redemptive head. Also, he let me hump his leg which, as fate would have it, happens to be my favourite.

Unfortunately, since he was so ridiculously crazy busy, I did not get the chance to hump the Generic Married Man’s leg quite as often as would have been ideal. But that was okay, since besides complaining about parents complaining about having children, and besides leg humping, one of my other favourite things to do is to be a pen pal. I am a remarkable pen pal. While I may be a little intense and self-obsessed and one-sided about it, I would say that in general, I write delightful emails, letters, haikus, postcards, and text messages, and I would say that for the most part, it makes the world a better place.

For the most part, I made Generic’s world a better place. I filled his days with heartfelt and extraordinary emails and haikus and text messages, and every night I’d sign off, not just with the regular and generic x-o. Oh no! I wrote out my x’s and o’s. It was like the opposite of abbreviations. I spelled them out, “E-x, o-h, e-x, o-h,” and I added the innovative and provocative emoticon, the eggplant.
E-x, o-h, eggplant

Generic absolutely relished my stunning and enchanting creativity. He somehow believed that I was spectacular. This was a dream come true, and the best part was, since we barely ever saw each other, he never had a chance to change his mind.

So the whole thing was mostly magnificent apart from the fact that one of my main objectives in life is to be relatively to thoroughly well fucked. This is hard to pull off every three to seven to seventeen and a half weeks. The other issue was that I experienced a degree of conflict in my heart about the fact that Generic had a wife and children. As penance, I would force myself to stalk his beautiful wife on Facebook. Like most people, she had horrendous privacy settings which allowed me to peruse her happy mom photos. I would scroll through all the birthdays and milestones and the millions of ways her precious little children filled her heart with more love and joy and surprise than she ever could have imagined before the little creatures had come out of her vagina.

This made me feel very gross.  

But otherwise, I was relatively happy with how things were going. Having said that, I had accumulated a few other problems in my life. My heart was sort of broken from my last ex-boyfriend and I kept refusing to go on Prozaac. I decided my best option was to fuck off and pull a geographic, and I decided the best place to do this was in India.
Thus, in November, off I flew to Delhi, and I proceeded to bop around India for four and a half months. I spent a great deal of these four and a half months squatting over small holes and shitting buckets of liquid diarrhea. Then, when I got out of the bathroom, slews of horny and sex-deprived men would come up to me and ask, “Oh, Madam, you are very big awesome. Have you made the sex? Would you like to make the sex with me?” To which I would reply, “No.” So India was super interesting, a little hard, but lucky for me, I had my loyal and supportive pen pal Generic to get me through it.
Half Dead in Bangalore
Photo by the Stunning and Exceptional Photographer, Maansi Jain

Generic especially nailed his pen pal duties this one time when I was in Bangalore. I had gone to the latest movie Star Wars with some friends from the youth hostel. After about eleven minutes, I had to leave and projectile vomit into a garbage can. Twice.

I remember nauseously Ubering back to the hostel all by myself. By some miracle, Generic was available. I messaged him on Facebook chat, mourning and wailing that I might be dying and wanted to go home except I didn't really have one. .
Generic’s response was so perfect and comforting.

“Oh Erica,” he said. “Take heart. I’m waving my virtual Erica Flag for you.”

And you would think that this would not be so helpful. Generic’s in Montreal, waving not-a-flag for me, as I puke across the world in a garbage can in Bangalore. But astonishingly, it was a little bit helpful.

Even so, I decided that when I came back to Montreal, the whole thing needed to end. I mean, we hadn’t had sex in four and half months, he had a wife and kids, most of the love was probably in my imagination and I was convinced that once I saw him in person, it would be over. So we arranged to meet on the monkey bars, and I was all ready to can it.

And then, we made out.

And despite thirteen and half more attempts to can it, the ex’s and oh’s, and the emails and the haikus and even the occasional leg hump went on and on and on. Until suddenly it’s the end of the summer and I really don’t like myself that much.

I came to the decision that I needed to resort to drastic measures. The drastic measures were, The Magical Rock Vagina Cleanse.

Pretty much nobody knows what that is, so let me explain.

The Magical Rock is black, it’s called an Onyx, and you can buy it for about three bucks. I bought mine at the Mont-Royal sidewalk sale. What you do is while you are menstruating, you put the rock in your underwear – not your vagina, that’s where the diva cup goes. And as you menstruate, the magical rock is supposed to absorb and dispel all of your vagina’s trauma and disappointment and wounds (and/or ingrown hair issues and yeast infections, etc…). I was hoping the rock would also absolve and relieve my tendency to make pretty inappropriate and inconvenient sexual choices. And then there was one other thing I wanted, which the SNAGS are always going on and on about. It’s called Radical Self-Reliance. Immensely inspiring, Radically Self-Reliant people wake up in the morning, they have a shower, perhaps they even go to work or something like this, and somehow, they don’t need a Vegan Life Coach or a Generic Married Man or a Boatman or whoever to send them encouraging produce emoticons to affirm what they had for lunch.

I was thirty years old and I wanted Radical Self-Reliance.

My first step was, I put the rock into a jar of salt water. This was supposed to purify things.

Next, I composed my last brilliant epistle to the Generic Married Man. The subject line read, “Attachment Wounds.”

Poor Generic wrote back mourning and wailing about some terrifying dream he kept having where his wife and his children are up in a skyscraper, and the skyscraper is burning down, and Generic is stuck on the sidewalk and his legs are so tired and heavy and weak because he has no time to work out since he’s so ridiculously crazy busy, and he tries to climb and he can’t, but even if he could, the building is burning down way too fast, and no matter what he does everything is going to disintegrate and perish. And then Generic wakes up and he’s all alone sweating and screaming silently on his own side of the bed.

With mild sympathy I offered Generic a virtual flag, mentioned that he could maybe text me some eggplants on my birthday, but right now I really needed to focus on me and my rock and my vagina.

Very spiritually, as though my vagina knew what needed to happen, I started to menstruate, right in sync with the New Moon.  And thus began Day One of the Magical Rock Vagina Cleanse.

On Day Two, I got in the car with my tiny mother and my darling grandparents who were both around ninety years old, and the very best people of life. We drove to Algonquin Park where my beautiful and perfect and exquisite cousin, a medical doctor, was getting married at a summer camp.

I sat in the backseat next to my grandmother. I shoved black licorice in my mouth, as the black rock sat beneath my crotch absorbing trauma and disappointment. To enhance our minds, my grandmother read us a National Geographic article called, “When Sex is Shocking.” It was about a bug.

We got to the summer camp where my cousin introduced me to her beautiful and perfect fiancé. They had about a hundred perfect twenty-eight-year old friends who all had magnificent careers and had been in beautiful and perfect relationships since kindergarten or at least high school. I made some small talk about tie-dyed onesies, bug sex, and cleaning out other people’s refrigerators.

The next day, to prepare everyone for the wedding, I was scheduled to teach a yoga class to all these beautiful people who were also rather athletic. And I realized that, I absolutely did not want the magical black rock to fall out of my underwear. Like this just couldn’t happen.

The other thing was that all the trauma and disappointment was starting to make the rock smell crotchy.

So I came to the conclusion that you know what, the hell with this. The hell with Radical Self Reliance. The hell with Magical Rock Vagina Cleanses. I was canning it. For once, I was able to can something relatively promptly. I took the rock out of my underwear, rinsed off the trauma and disappointment and stuck the onyx in my purse.

The yoga class turned out to be brilliant, the wedding was spectacular and before we knew it, we were all sitting at the dinner table and suddenly I was little bit drunk.

There was one of those fun and exciting happy wedding games where you have to do something to get the bride and groom to make out. At this wedding, every table was supposed to write a limerick. In my drunken charm, I decided that limericks were dumb and generic and that we should write a haiku about the magical rock in my purse. To my great fortune, no one at my table objected and I wrote my first haiku since canning my “relationship” with the Generic Married Man. I presented the haiku to my stunning cousin and her new husband. As a bonus, I handed over the magical black rock. Whether or not they decided to keep it remains a mystery, but my best guess is that the Magical Black Rock is now somewhere in Vancouver.

After the wedding I went to go hang out in Toronto. And I thought, you know, yah I bailed on the Magical Black Rock Cleanse, but maybe I have managed to acquire a little bit of Radical Self- Reliance. You never know.

As fate would have it, Toronto is an excellent place for resetting your vagina. You don’t need a magical black rock, and you don’t need radical self-reliance. The hell with it. In twelve hours, I got to hump two people’s legs. This was more action than I got from the Generic Married Man in like six months. It was spectacular. Loved it.

The most persistent temporary source of sexual gratification was this sad, successful and horny actor – he was a little bit older than me, pretty cute, funny, also super depressed. The sad, successful and horny actor was struggling with a whole slew of physical, emotional and psychological problems. He definitely had the deep and beautiful and impossible wounds going on, not to mention an extremely weird dog. Weirdest dog I’ve ever seen. I called the sad, successful, horny actor, Dead Inside Man. D-I-M. Dim. 
DIM's weird dog
Dim has been going to therapy twice a week for twenty-seven and half years. He just discovered his inner child and so he spends a great deal of time lying on the couch and soothing his inner child. And every once in a while he lets me hump his leg which is very fun. After the leg hump, I ask him how he’s doing

Mostly Dim says, “I feel so sad and tired and broken.”

“There, there,” I reply, patting his head. And I offer consolation with a special imaginary flag. Eventually, Dim lets me hump his leg again, and it’s wonderful. One time after a nice leg hump, Dim gives me a nice speech.

“You know, Erica,” he says. “You’re lovely. You’re amazing. But… I just really don’t want to get too attached to you. You know?”

“Oh you too? How interesting! But that’s okay,” I say quickly. “That’s perfect. You are exactly what I'm looking for.”

Dead Inside Man is so neurotic that for him to drive four and half hours to see me would be this massive ordeal, and mostly unrealistic. Plus he has that really weird dog. So pretty much we’re confined to being pen pals. But Dim does think I’m spectacular and this brings me great comfort.

Every night, I’ve trained Dim to text me, “E-x, o-h, e-x, o-h.”

For now, Dim is a little too dead inside for eggplants, but maybe we can work on it.

The End.
Ex, Oh.
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Soul Fucking
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Mythological Unconditional Love


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Dear Vincent, How was your eclipse?

Dear Vincent,

How was your eclipse? I cleaned all the way through it. Cleaning is healing for the grieving and traumatized people. My Magical Hoarding Client told me that the Navaho people consider it unlucky to watch an eclipse and prefer to stay inside and do something they find sacred. For example, cleaning. What a fucking relief. Hopefully you too were protected from bad luck in your windowless office where you treat people with both delicate and indelicate weeping skills.

Over the weekend, my Monday client consulted me about how to ride her couch of her semi-geriatric cat’s stale vomit and urine residue. I replied with a story about my semi-geriatric Big Black Dog who used to have highly irritable bowels and who used to be the star of my blog. One time my ex-boyfriend, Robbie, the Boatman, the other former star of my blog, fed the Big Black Dog rainbow lucky charm dog food. This caused the Big Black Dog to puke and shit all over our bed and couches. We ended up renting carpet cleaner contraptions from Canadian Tire and I remember the endeavour being extremely soapy. Once the dog died, the Boatman’s mother gave us a new couch. She always had an abundance of couches.
Eliot the Big Black Dog, post Lucky Charms ordeal
I might start making my own homemade Enzymatic Cleaner. You need citrus peels. My favourite kind of citrus is grapefruit. What about you?

When I move to my new apartment, I might also take up fermentation compost, though I am not sure I am meticulous enough of a scientist for this to be an enormous success.

In my neighbourhood, people have so many children they don’t have time to do the dishes, so they eat with plastic cutlery off paper plates, and they drink out of Styrofoam, or more plastic. All the alleys smell like piles of garbage. Kind of like in India.

The day of the eclipse, I cleaned all the way through lunch. At midnight, I woke up hungry and ate some cottage cheese. When I finally fell back asleep, I dreamt I showed up topless to my cleaning shift at the Real Estate Agent’s. This made me feel quite embarrassed because my tits are so small and I really should have showed up to work with a shirt on. In my dream, as I cleaned, I accidentally broke the head of the Real Estate Agent’s crystal Santa Clause ornament. The Santa Claus ornament had red and green wings and the Real Estate Agent’s boyfriend had programmed it to fly around in circles up the Christmas tree. When I showed her the broken head, she just laughed and seemed happy and in love.

After that I dreamt that the Dead Inside Man offered me a cheque for 50 grand, as well as his really weird dog.
Dim's weird dog. Weirdest dog I've ever seen.
Then I dreamt that my mother gave me a voucher of redeeming vitamins.

Then I dreamt that someone gave me a rim job, and this made me feel quite self-conscious. Kim Anami, the well-fucked woman, who lifts chandeliers with her vagina, says that anal sex is powerful because it opens the orifice that leads to your deepest shit. I think I am going to apply to be her copywriter. Yesterday, I hooked up with my meditation partner again. We do not exactly open the orifices to one another’s deepest shit, but at least it took the edge off. And I drank my meditation partner’s cum, which the well-fucked woman claims is a natural anti-depressant. So far I have not taken any Abilify, or Celexa, and I don’t exactly feel like dying. Today, I am translating minestrone, apple crisp, spinach salad, and macaroni and cheese recipes. After that, it’s more cleaning and grieving. Thanks for being there.

Love, Erica.

Vincent was my therapist from October of 2016, and May 2017. After we ran out of subsidized sessions, I began to write him daily imaginary emails.

I called the project, "Mondays without Vincent," and it turned out to be quite healing. You too can write imaginary emails to Vincent. 

The secret address is: ericaschmidt85(at)

Vincent will be delighted to hear from you, and he will not judge. He'll write back as soon as he can. The correspondence can remain a secret, or else we can share it here with others and maybe it could be healing for everyone.  Love, Erica. 

Shiny and happy with Half an Inch of Nip (September 2016)

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Poopy Mango Baby Wipes and the First Day of Christmas
Why I am like Jane Fonda

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Dear Vincent, Looks like you got some sun.

Dear Vincent,

Nice to see you on Wednesday. Looks like you got some sun and maybe also a new shirt. I’d forgotten about the headless wooden lady statue on the table between your chair and mine, sharing the space with the apple-shaped stress ball whose stem hovers in a stress-induced moat-like crevice. I had remembered that just like the headless woman, your filing cabinet was quite dusty. Some people don’t give a shit about dust and that’s so interesting. My meditation partner, who I no longer meditate with nor give blow jobs to, also has a wooden lady statue, and she is missing her left arm, from the mid-bicep, and down. What's happening to all these lady statues and their body parts, and why are the human men bothering to keep them?

As I sat down, I told you that my Magical Hoarding Client says that crossing your legs cuts you off from the energy of the universe, but that in my case, it might be an okay choice, since my boundaries tend to be horrendous. My Magical Hoarding Client says the best way to connect with the energy of the universe is to put your feet on the floor and open your knees so your crotch is wide open. In your office, I tried to keep my feet on the floor, my crotch closed. I lasted about three minutes before folding up my legs on the chair.

I told you about last Saturday, one of those days that I call, A Deep Dark Day of Death. Seeping anguished rage onto the Insomnia bed, I called my friend, the Dead Inside Man. D-I-M equals DIM. Dim lives in Toronto, and he was a solid fuck.

“You sound terrible,” he said. “You don’t deserve to feel this terrible.”

Dim is incrementally less dead inside than I am. He told me to haul my ass to the pharmacy and get the Abilify.

On the way to the pharmacy, I passed an old balding lady in the alley, earnestly playing catch with a grumpy seven or eight-year old. Catching and throwing, over and over again, amidst the eight-year old’s frown, and the neighbour’s garbage. I occurred to me that this banal act was heroic, and yet I still felt like dying.

As I waited for the Abilify, I took my blood pressure. It was in the optimal range. Then I started writing a note on my phone, containing my wishes in case of my death. For example, I don’t want to have a go fund me campaign. Another example is, at my memorial service, you can read my poem, We have no idea if the squirrels are happy/ Or/if anyone is.

Back in June, one evening while I was still giving my meditation partner blow jobs, I tucked him in and read him the squirrel poem.

The last lines are, “We have no idea if the squirrels are happy. Or. If anyone is.”

“That’s well done,” murmured my meditation partner in his post-ejaculation semi-coma.

I kissed his cheek, said good night, and then walked home alone.


The Abilify was quite expensive, and the pharmacist said it would not likely work unless I committed to the accompanying Celexa, which I wasn’t willing to do. I cried and then left without buying it.

On the front steps of my best friend’s house, I continued with my “Last Will and Testament.” Funeral songs equalled “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” by Neutral Milk Hotel, a bach cello suite, I think the first one, Space Oddity, and Two Headed Boy, Part Two, also by Neutral Milk Hotel. I like that song because it mentions spines. My friend’s partner and two year old appeared in front of the steps, having just returned from ice cream. I helped them park the stroller and we climbed up the stairs. Up in the apartment, my friend’s two-year-old picked up his Cabbage Patch Doll. He let me hold it and the plushy body brought some comfort. Then the two-year-old wanted to carry the Cabbage Patch Doll in his mini baby carrier. As I helped him navigate the confusing straps, I imagined the world existing without me. Like the Cabbage Patch Doll on my chest, this too felt like such a relief. This mind, it has always travelled to great extremes, just to take the pressure off.
Aaron Paul, soothed by Cabbage Patch Kids. Source equals
My friend came home and prepared smoothies with frozen bananas and blueberry yogurt, and likely some other redeeming ingredient. She poured some into a mason jar for me. I said thank you.

They left for a toddler dinner party, and I wandered around Mile End, sipping the smoothie. When I was done, I was somewhere on Esplanade close to my Magical Hoarding Client’s house. I can’t remember the exact thought that compelled me to smash the jar upon the sidewalk. Something about all the ends being dead, Abilify, roommates, being the family fuck-up, and how I will never get over my ex from more than two years ago. I borrowed someone’s broom off their front porch, swept up the purply yogurt covered glass, and threw it in someone else’s garbage.

I walked up Esplanade to Bernard, and then turned onto Parc, back toward the pharmacy. Halfway down Parc, though the sun stayed somewhere in the sky, hard, vigorous rain began to pour down, with thunder and lightning in the background. I hid under a store front and texted my friend from BC, about rages and moving and being the family fuck-up, and the self-destruct button, and how everything felt like a hopeless crapshoot. My Birkenstocks filled up with water and my skirt blew straight up in the wind, revealing my saggy underwear to everyone on Parc Avenue. Once the storm passed, I returned to the pharmacy in my squishy Birkenstocks. More wailing and then, I shelled out fifty bucks for the Abilify, which I now carry around like an imaginary parachute that likely will not open right away.
My mind has always gone to great extremes
simply to take the pressure off.

I get to see you again in two Tuesdays. The government will pay. Given my unstable situation, you don’t feel it is ethical to have me to pay for therapy. Plus you believe that therapy has its limits when one’s life – my life – is so consumed with putting out fires. You suggested that I might be better off with a social worker, who could better help me meet Maslow’s first rung of human needs. And well, thanks anyways. For now at least I won’t miss you so much. And I guess I can use my envelope of therapy cash to buy couches, and/or a washing machine.

As you were checking your agenda, I asked you if the headless wooden lady statue sparked joy.

“Spark joy?” you replied, puzzled. “I guess we’ll have to dust it first, and see.”

These days I keep asking myself a version of the question, is peace in every step, or in daily handfuls of expensive fish oil capsules, or in a fancy used sectional couch in excellent condition, or in Cabbage Patch dolls, or by finally giving in to Abilify? Or is peace just around the corner, or in some brief flash that will reveal itself for 37 seconds some time in the next 12 years? For now, I’ll just try to wait another day, and I’m pretty sure I’m gonna buy the couch.

Love, Erica.

The End.

Don't forget that you too can write a letter to Vincent.
The secret email address is ericaschmidt85 (at)
Tell Vincent if you'd like a response, and if you'd like to keep the correspondence between the two of you, or else we could post it here and share it with others, and maybe it could be healing for everyone.

Speaking of headless statues. Here she is again.
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Deep Unyielding Depression, Part Two

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Dear Vincent, Thank you for responding to my hysterical phone call.

Dear Vincent,

Thank you for responding to my hysterical phone call. I think I found the perfect new apartment to live in. I will just need to get slightly richer and also, a washing machine. So far I’ve felt somewhat better for almost two days. In French, the parts of my body have different ages, while in English, they are different ages. The difference, it could be significant.

When I was fifteen years old, I wrote my memoirs in a scrapbook for Mrs. Cameron’s grade twelve English class. Being a gifted child, I took the class when I was in grade eleven and since I had skipped grade two, I was younger than everyone else. Halfway through the semester, I crapped out with an overdose on laxatives, and ended up going to a psych ward. For much of my homework that year, my teachers let me off the hook, though this didn’t make that much sense, as I still made time to go on 15k punitive runs with ankle weights. But I did complete the scrapbook. Like so many teenagers, the scrapbook is unfathomably intense, awkward, vulnerable, poignant and exquisite. At the end, I expressed having gained so much insight from the hospital and held such hope that I would get over so many of my dysfunctional patterns.

When my father read it he said, “You write well when you write about yourself. I’m sorry you had to go through that.”

I joked and said, “Well, I’m much wiser now,” which wasn’t true since I’d graduated from laxatives to puking, from the gym to long distance running, and was now down to the weight I always thought would render me happy, but in fact left me strung out and neurotic.

“No, you didn’t gain any wisdom or insight,” said my dad, never one to provide false praise. “But you write well when you write about yourself.” I do not tend to show my dad all that much of my writing. Otherwise, writing is not all that embarrassing. Only a little bit.

Inside the scrapbook, at the end of the story of my life, I’d made a super intense yet beautiful and highly teenage collage.
With Mr. Sketch Smelly markers, I’d begun with an upside down rainbow. I’d considered rainbows to have symbol of my life, if for no reason other than my childhood obsession with the Wizard of Oz, and my childish desire to fly above the rainbow with Dorothy and the bluebirds. Just like in the song, above the Mr Sketch rainbow was a perfect clear turquoise sky, painted thickly with oils, and speckled with yellow petals of flowers someone had brought me in the hospital, and the psych ward craft room feathers. Below were a bunch of fragments. Angry conflicted oil paint from art therapy, a big red x. My trademark Crayola designs emblematic of the hundreds of homemade greeting cards I used to give. A patch from my sister’s childhood Rainbow Bright sheets. And a squiggle of orange and yellow pipe cleaner that symbolized something deep, like rage or conflict, but I can’t remember exactly what.

On the next page, I’d drawn a right-side up rainbow and written the words to Over the Rainbow with a special silver pen. Shiny quarter note and hummingbird stickers also decorated the page.

Then there was an excerpt from my grade one journals from Mrs Vanden Bosch’s class.  I’d drawn a rainbow according to the colours in the song, “I can sing a rainbow.” Under that rainbow stood a row of tiny humans outlined in pencil and coloured in with crayons according to the song’s colour scheme. All the tiny humans had circles for hands with five little nubs for fingers. They all wore top hats. Mrs. Vanden Bosch had granted a green circular sticker and a check mark for my respectable printing of the song’s lyrics, “red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue I can sing a rinbow.” I only misspelled one word, and forgot the period after blue.

My fifteen year old memoirs contain very few spelling mistakes. A few pages before the angsty collage, I summarized what the psychiatrist Dr. Roberts had concluded were my main problems. Dr. Roberts wore her hair in a bun that was so tight it looked like it was pulling on her face. Her skirts were similarly tight and oppressive looking and all the patients shuddered whenever they heard her coming down the hall in high heels. I used to call Dr Roberts the Nazi Psychiatrist, though maybe the Wicked Witch of the West would have been more accurate, and it would have matched the clever Wizard of Oz motif in the story of my life. But Wicked Witch or Nazi, Dr Roberts left me with decisive conclusions about my life, and some of them still feel almost true.

May 2001, Erica Schmidt, age 15:

“Dr Roberts concluded that because I based all self-worth on external praise, I created all this stress for myself trying to please others. I’ve prevented myself from growing as an individual and I’m stuck at about 12 years old instead of 15 or 16. I changed my personality around different people trying to be the person they wanted me to be and now I don’t know who I am or what makes me happy. I would change my voice and had a bad habit of speaking in an ‘infantile voice’ trying to seem cute, naïve and innocent. She said that not everyone will ever like me no matter how sweet. She said that sometimes too sweet is yucky.”

So often I remember the words, “too sweet is yucky.”

Two nights ago, on the Insomnia Bed, I yelled out in my sleep, because I was dreaming I had cut up the angsty teenage collage into small pieces. Chunks of my sister’s Rainbow Bright bedsheets were scattered everywhere. Though I woke up relieved, the rage I’d felt in and at the collage made sense. For now, nothing is quite destroyed, but I think I will avoid that page in the scrapbook.

September 15, 1993, Erica Schmidt, Age 8:

(Grade Four, Close to the Peak of My Life, Mrs Fournier’s Class)

“As soon as I woke up I decided I’d feed my fish. I got out of bed and got the fish food. I hadn’t even looked at my fish but when I did… Yuck! One of my fish was on the glass it was dead. The other two had black spots. (they looked sick) I told Mom. I found out that two of them died because when Mom took them out two were dead. The other one is fine. I bet it will be as tough as goldie my old fish. She went down the drain and came back alive. Isn’t that amazing.”

See you Wednesday, Vincent!

Love, Erica.

The End.

Vincent was my therapist from October of 2016, and May 2017. After we ran out of subsidized sessions, I began to write him daily imaginary emails.

I called the project, "Mondays without Vincent," and it turned out to be quite healing. You too can write imaginary emails to Vincent. In fact, if you'd like, you can send them to me, on any day of the week.

My secret address is: ericaschmidt85(at)

Let me know if you’d like a response. The correspondence can remain between us, or else we can share it here with others and maybe it could be healing for everyone.  Love, Erica. 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Dear Vincent, Now we have passed my thirteenth Monday without you.

Dear Vincent,

Now we have passed my thirteenth Monday without you. I threw up the day several times. The crisis centre counsellor named Bernard said that meditation should really be giving me more benefits that I seemed to be experiencing that day. I told him that as crisis counsellor, he should know that most people come to yoga and meditation because their lives are a total disaster, and in the end, the results are not often all that revolutionary or spectacular. Then I asked if he had ever meditated, and he said yes, but that he had since stopped.

“Why,” I asked.

“Well, I have other things to do now,” Bernard replied. Everyone has other things and better things to do. Bernard’s English wasn’t excellent. I judged him on his appearance, which I will not describe.  When we had twenty minutes left, I went to dry heave in the bathroom next door.

“You don’t see me,” I wailed when I got back. “I miss Vincent.” One time a kid I was babysitting said she missed her old babysitter. I did not care enough to feel insulted.

That morning I’d woken up at 3:30 a.m. and meditated for forty-five minutes all through the Hour of God. Then I made coffee, drawing and colouring in six red moula bandha root chakras as it brewed.

moula bandha root chakra.
Courtesy of Crayola.
Since it was the Full Moon, I did not practice yoga. Instead I drank coffee and tried to complete the book I am working on about cleaning. It is called, “The Deep Cleans Life Cleanse: 99 Strategies for feeling smug and on type of life.” Strategies include cleaning the gunk underneath your light switches with a toothbrush, eradicating rubbermaids and bathroom baskets, and throwing out your fat pants. I only had 32 strategies left to go. Somehow, I listed them all in point form. When I was done, I masturbated, ovulated, ran out of the house to get a latte, and then totally crapped out. It seems I am no longer a two-coffee per-day sort of person.

I should have asked Bernard why he became a crisis counsellor. It’s possible he became a crisis counsellor due to the fact that his life was a total disaster. Just like people who write self-help books about being smug and on top of life do so due to the fact that their lives are a total disaster. Their lives if not their Tupperware drawers. As it happens, I own no Tupperware. I own very little.

“Call us if you’re not okay,” Bernard said as I left. Pretty sure I won’t.

Facebook keeps showing me memories of my happy Prozac face.
Back when I used to be on Prozaac, and it wasn't making me twitchy or suicidal, I told you I was ready to fall in love. You laughed and said, “Everyone loves apple pie.” I don’t love apple pie, but will eat it on occasion to be polite.

I hope your Full Moon was better than mine.
Love, Erica.

Happy Prozac Face
Vincent was my therapist from October of 2016, and May 2017. After we ran out of subsidized sessions, I began to write him daily imaginary emails. I called the project, "Mondays without Vincent," and it turned out to be quite healing. You too can write imaginary emails to Vincent. In fact, if you'd like, you can send them to me, on any day of the week.

My secret address is: ericaschmidt85(at)

Let me know if you’d like a response. The correspondence can remain between us, or else we can share it here with others and maybe it could be healing for everyone. Love, Erica. 

Sad Face
Monday, August 8, 2017 (Full Moon)

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Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go

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Deep Cleans by Erica J. Schmidt (@deepcleanswitherica)
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Dear Vincent. Are you lonely? Do you have a pain body?
Three Quickies, including, I still wish I was Miranda July
How I am violent, by Erica J. Schmidt