Life, Etc.

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I haven’t written here in forever and people still follow and like and visit and view… Not that I mind. It’s nice to know my blog is functioning even if I’m not.

And it’s not that I don’t have anything to write because I do. I have a lot of it in fact. Also, I do write a lot of posts but I keep them in my drafts without publishing them. I don’t know if I ever will. The issue covered in these posts is super personal and even more sensitive.

So is anything happening in my life aside from this super personal and sensitive issue? Not really. I work, I sleep, I exercise, I get a fruit smoothie from ReBar, I go to Be’er Sheva for the weekend, I avoid bars, clubs, concert venues and any social event which may have a big crowd, I don’t go on vacation and certainly not metal festivals. It’s just that my mind and my body is so totally consumed with said personal issue that I can’t bring myself to focus on or engage in anything else. In case you didn’t already notice, I didn’t even mention zine production in the above list. Or writing letters or doing any kind of art whatsoever. I barely even read any books. No, I don’t hang out with friends, no I don’t attend metal night, and no I don’t engage in any form of activism.

Personal issue made me into a hermit. Straight up.

I don’t care either. In fact, there is a lot of shit I don’t care about. Forget politics or social injustice or international crisis. The only thing I see is the personal issue. And the reason I don’t care about being a hermit or anything else is because the personal issue is a damn good reason for it.

It needs to be emphasized that I am not sad or upset or depressed about my hermit status. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve never been happier and have never felt more grateful. Every day that goes by uneventfully is a blessing and even a miracle.

So why am I writing this? Fuck if I know.

Do I care? Haha! See above.

Peace, love and recluse.

Bang to the Beat of the Gun

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Yesterday, I read the final story from a book my friend got me for my birthday – The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari. Not a book I would pick to read on my own, but my friend sent it to me and I said I’d give it a shot, and was pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, the last story of the book, titled as the book, includes a part where the character describes the difference between living in Israel and living anywhere else. She says that the quiet that saturates every other part of the world (or particularly the place where she was at the time) feels lonely and boring. In a stark contrast to the noise and the stress of daily life in Israel. She says that maybe it’s the fact that in Israel, there is the ever-present shadow of death lurking everywhere, the fact that you can die at any moment that makes this place so fast-paced and so loud.

In another story, the author also depicts life everywhere else as safe and comfortable. But that it only depends on how one perceives it, because safe and comfortable can also be described as utterly boring.

This is how I view it. When I lived in Montreal, nothing moved. Everything was quiet, everyone kept silent and to themselves, nothing moved, and I was bored and depressed and I couldn’t stand it.

Moving to Israel, I was thrilled by the excitement and the flow of events. How people appeared to be moving together and thinking together without even noticing it. How people would all stop together whenever there was a siren on Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron, and how life suddenly resumed when the siren stopped. Also how traffic and pedestrians stopped flowing into the street when there was a suspicious object in the area, and how they spilled back into the streets when the danger was removed. And how complete strangers suddenly become your only safety net when you all congregate in a safe space during a siren. How danger, fear and tragedy brings together people from different backgrounds, descents, origins, cultures, and yes, even religions.

During these times in Jerusalem, we all stare at each other to make sure the other person is of no threat. When a suspicious person walks onto a bus, again, this sense of togetherness comes through – everyone shifts together, everyone fumbles in their purse or pocket for a self-defense object (pepper spray, gun, a blunt object).

Stuff like that never happened in Montreal. In Montreal, you had to look for your community and your safety net, and even they might not want to join in your fear and may not care about your tragedy. This is the loneliness of a quiet place. The boredom in the overwhelming lack of danger.

One day in our office, we had a wave of clients waiting in the hall. A Muslim family walked in, facial expressions changed at once, the wave shifted back, the two people who owned a gun reached for it, all at the same time, everyone on high alert in a heartbeat. It was like some kind of morbid dance. But it’s through this dance and this atmosphere where I felt most at home. It was like I found my entire extended family, my true safety net, the only people I can trust no matter how sketchy and disappointing some of these people can be in other areas of life. In this one thing – danger – we all stand together, move, think and speak together. Because you can die at any moment, and you must dance with the crowd in order to survive.

I also wrote about this in my upcoming zine. I said that safe and comfortable are not adjectives that are usually used in the same sentence as Israel. But that is where I feel safe and comfortable. I know the dance, I learned the steps, I know what to expect and what’s expected of me.

I love this place. I love the noise, the stress, the danger, the fear, the excitement, the love and the hate. It’s the mindset you learn to accept – taking the bitter with the sweet, the life with the death – and appreciate every moment.

Peace, love and war and hate.

All That I Can’t Say

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Last night I had a bitch of a time trying to fall asleep. I was feeling under the weather and tired as hell, but I was tossing and turning for no less than two hours before drifting off into an uneasy, short-lived sleep.

It felt like out of nowhere. I was suddenly hit by an intense case of anxiety like I haven’t felt in years.

Last night was metal night and I was sitting around with a couple of girls, younger than me, who said stuff like “I’m turning 27 soon, that’s so old!”

I barged into their whining and said “I’m going on 33 in October. What does that make me? Dead?”

Frankly, I must say I regret all the times I complained every time my birthday rolled around and I would say “I’m 19, I’m so old!” or “I’m 25, fucking old!” But I do recall being excited for the prospect of turning 30, because for me, 30 means stability. I saw it as a time in your life when everything suddenly falls into place. A time of perfection and organization, when you feel happy and comfy in all areas of your life – financially, psychologically and emotionally. And that’s exactly where I was and what I felt when I turned 30. I completed my therapy with flying colors, I got a wonderful boyfriend who is now my husband, I have my home, my dog, my job, my savings account, my hobbies and my family, all of which I’m so thankful for and happy with. So for the past few years, things could not be better, except for a few medical issues.

But last night, shit just collapsed all around me. I’m going on 33, and although I personally do not think it’s old (even if I went through some medical issues which would indicate otherwise) while the people around me are still in their 20s and complain about it, I felt a terrible hole. Something lacking.

Last night, these girls were talking about their extensive sexual adventures, body modification, eating disorders, while I stayed as silent as a corpse. I had nothing to add because my sexual history started at the ripe “old” age of 20, and the sexual partners I’ve had could be counted on a single hand with one amputated finger. As for bodmod, I am now at the stage of tattoos. I am not getting any more piercings because taking them off and putting them back on once a month every time I go to the mikve is a pain in the ass. And I’ve never had any eating disorders although my body image issues abound.

But it’s other things that I wish I could talk about and tried saying last night a couple of times, but couldn’t get a word in. Because my issues are those that only people like me can understand. My medical issues, old people issues, trying to get pregnant which is not the easiest thing in the world despite what everybody thinks… things that I want to say but can’t because I don’t have a human BFF (my dog is my bestie) who can understand any of it, or at all. And in a world where people think that 27 is old and where all you need to have a baby is fuck, my experiences are worth shit and don’t make any sense. If I tell them that with all the wonderful things I have in my life, all I want is a full uterus, they’ll play fish, completely at a loss for words.

All the friends I had who have had the shred of a potential of being a best friend moved away and cut all contact. The rest of my friends are my husband’s friends, all guys. No offense to the male specie but there is no way in hell that any of them can understand what’s it’s like to want a baby so bad, you’re willing to sacrifice everything you’ve worked so hard for – psycho-emotional wellbeing, money, relationships, health, all the perfection I reached at age 30 – just to have one, and then to find out that even conceiving will be a bitch, and feeling like half a woman as a result.

And with that, I started crying, rolling around in bed in a mound of anxiety mixed with paralyzing fear and loneliness I have never felt before.

I see the kids on the bus, the mothers with the strollers, the pregnant women, the toddlers with their smiles full of milk teeth, and I can’t stop staring and wishing and wanting so bad. So bad.

Peace, love and health. Only health.

All I Leave Behind

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I had great plans for the Passover holiday. One of them was rereading all my old diaries to find entries that I could include in a new split-zine I will be writing with my friend. This was an activity that I underestimated in terms of just how long it will take me to read all my diaries, which was basically the entire week. So all my other plans fell through, and I just kept on reading, marking pages, highlighting, noting stuff down…

I also underestimated the emotional effect that rereading all this shit would cause. All the corpses that would resurface. It was a rollercoaster of emotions – some parts made me laugh, some inspired me to no end, some parts even turned me on. But some parts were also shocking and terrifying, confusing and utterly heartbreaking, mainly because I couldn’t believe that this was once me. That I would express myself this way, and that this was how I thought I felt and how, in some instances, I completely misled myself. In 2003, I spent half a diary talking about my boyfriend of the time in excruciatingly graphic detail. Not one page would go by without my mentioning how much I love him and all that shit. After a hiatus of at least a year an a half (about a year after he broke up with me), I wrote an angry entry, in big capital letters:

“[name] is a motherfucking shitty asshole! The only good thing he ever did was reveal his true colors when he broke up with me.” Then I went on to say how guys are only good for one thing and that’s fucking. Then I wrote a note to myself to read this entry a couple million times before ever allowing myself to fall into the abysmal hell also known as love.

Although I knew this before, it was only after I read this entire diary that I realized how true this was – I was never in love with this guy. I was obsessed with him. None of it was true, none of it was real. I was misled into thinking I was in love. I was blind to that until I went through therapy and learned to love without killing myself and without focusing my world around “him”. It was only when I met my husband when I learned what true love feels like. And I wrote about that too in my later diaries, when I first met Elad and felt true love for the first time: “I still feel like I come first. Like my inner child comes first, but I love the shit out of this guy – how is that possible?”

I told my husband about the journal entries I wrote when we first met. It turned both of us on. When I put all these experiences in perspective, I suddenly became more attracted to him, even more than before.

Later on I also wrote about the horrible job I had for two years and how I was struggling to keep myself sane by keeping a steady social life, hanging out with my boyfriend, and writing endlessly, even if it kept me up well past my bedtime and I woke up the next day feeling like a zombie. I was amazed at how strong I was and how I pushed myself to write even if I was beyond tired (or as I put it: “somewhere between excruciatingly exhausted and comatose”), and how I managed to overcome my fatigue with the help of my art.

As I read these entries, I felt overcome with a sense of inspiration like I haven’t felt in a long time.

I want to resume my journal writing and I think I’ll start this week. I’ve just been bogged down with zine plans and zine writing (which is no less awesome, I must say!), plus I have a contribution to write to this riot grrrl anthology, plus I have some letters to write, packages to pack, and shit to mail out, plus I have to start this split-zine as well… basically all the stuff I had planned for this past week and managed to do nothing.

AND, I just got word that I’m about to receive a new stack of Stephen King books… oh boy. You’re just gonna drown me in your prose again, Steve, aren’t you? And keep me from getting any decent writing done, isn’t that right? Why must you always be so fucking awesome?

The inspiration to read Stephen King somehow always demolishes my inspiration for creativity. Always. Without fail.

I feel so happy and so sad at the same time. *sigh*

Peace, love and Deicide show in Las Vegas. Can you dig it?

No Regrets

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The website Nego Sentro posted a list of 37 things I’ll regret when I’m old. I’m not old yet, but as a person who doesn’t believe in regrets, I still wanted to know just how right or wrong these people are.

As it turns out, I am still a person who doesn’t believe in regret and these people are full of shit.

1. Not traveling when you had the chance.

I am travelling at least once a year. In the past three years I’ve been to Belgium, Holland, France and Italy. In the past, I’ve been to Poland, Switzerland and several places in the States and Canada, and will soon go to Germany. Further potential destinations include Scandinavia and China.

2. Not learning another language.

I already know three languages, Hebrew, French and English, and am currently in the process of learning German.

3. Staying in a bad relationship.

I can’t say I’ve ever been in a bad relationship. And right now, I’m in a great one. So yeah.

4. Forgoing sunscreen.

Never happened.

5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.

There are many bands/artists who performed when they were not yet my favorite. Once they became my favorite, they either died or stopped performing. Many, i.e. not all. I have seen Arch Enemy a few times, King Diamond once and will see him again, Ozzy once, and I go to European metal fests whenever good bands are on the bill. Next up is Wacken where I am looking forward to Amon Amarth and Carcass among others.

6. Being scared to do things.

Things? What like skydiving and bungee jumping? It’s not only because I’m scared but also because I have no interest in extreme sports. Watch horror movies and riding rollercoasters? Been there. Tattoos and body piercings? Done that. Be a little more specific and I’ll decide if I’ll regret it or not.

7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority.

Integral Tai Chi is my weekly thing. And it’s good shit. And even when you’re old, you can do yoga or martial arts or whatever you want. Age is not an issue when it comes to fitness. You ever seen those wrinkly old men who go jogging in the mornings?

8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.

You’re talking to a feminist. Try again.

9. Not quitting a terrible job.

I did that three times in my life, and am now pretty damn happy with my job.

10. Not trying harder in school.

I never had to try too hard to get good grades. I was smart.

 

11. Not realizing how beautiful you were.

That’s actually true. In my teens, I kept complaining about bad hair days and unmanageable messy curly hair. Today, I miss that head of hair and keep wishing I would get back my curls. However, today I appreciate my looks more than before. I especially love my belly and my chest. I got a good body, and I take care of it.

12. Being afraid to say “I love you.”

I did and still do say it. I was not afraid of it.

13. Not listening to your parents’ advice.

I’m mostly a good girl. If I don’t take my parents’ advice on one thing or another it’s because I know what’s good for me and what isn’t. I took my mom’s advice to eat red meat and spent the rest of the day on the toilet as a result. I know what my body needs. No more red meat for this girl.

14. Spending your youth self-absorbed.

I don’t think that is something to regret. I think it was a necessity. In my teens, I knew I was cold and selfish. I admitted it to myself and my family, and I was happy about it. Today, I don’t regret it because I see it as a necessary part of my psychological development. I saw it as a means of self-preservation, and it was super important to me at that stage in my life.

15. Caring too much about what other people think.

Actually, I never cared about it when I was younger. The older I get, the more I start to care, for other people, not for myself. But yeah. Most of the time, I don’t give a shit.

16. Supporting others’ dreams over your own.

What? Oh, maybe it’s for people who have kids and don’t support them when they pursue their dreams and shit. I’m not there yet.

17. Not moving on fast enough.

Physically? These people really need to get their shit together and start making more sense or being more specific… I think that these days, things are moving way too fucking fast. I like to stop and take my time and live in the moment. It reduces my level of stress and improves the quality of my life. I just don’t see how I’ll regret that.

18. Holding grudges, especially with those you love.

I rarely hold grudges. And with those I love, they tend to fade away pretty quickly.

19. Not standing up for yourself.

Sometimes, standing up for myself involves getting into a fight. So if not standing up for myself means avoiding a fight, I go for the cleaner of the two. And I never regret thwarting a fight.

20. Not volunteering enough.

I volunteer in my own way. I contribute my time and efforts to the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center in several ways. I volunteer as a freelance reporter sometimes. I volunteered at the JSPCA once. I think I’ve done enough.

21. Neglecting your teeth.

I removed my labret to keep my teeth healthy. That was a major sacrifice, dude. And yes, I do brush, I do floss, and I go for yearly cleaning. My teeth will fall out eventually. No matter how much I take care of them, they will end up in a cup of water by the end of the day. This is part of being old.

22. Missing the chance to ask your grandparents questions before they die.

Done that. And what the people who compiled this list are forgetting is that grandparents will probably talk your ears off about their life and about “the good old days” without you asking them anything.

23. Working too much.

Ha! Not. I got lots of hobbies and I have a rich social life. I work when I’m at work and I’m very good at the skill of taking a break, taking a nap, take the time to cook and eat and meditate. No regrets there.

24. Not learning how to cook one awesome meal.

I know how to cook several awesome meals. So y’all can eat it. No regrets yet again.

25. Not stopping enough to appreciate the moment.

See number 17. Consistency, people!

26. Failing to finish what you start.

I can’t think of a single thing that I started and didn’t finish… I started learning German in university and didn’t take any further lessons until just recently. But I am committed to it now and I will finish it. Duolingo helps a lot.

27. Never mastering one awesome party trick.

I’m not much of a party person. So party tricks are not my thing. I rather go to a live show and headbang till my neck gets sore.

28. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations.

I don’t. Although in my culture, people love to tell me how to run my life, how to talk, how to dress, what to eat, when to marry, how many kids to have – none of that has any effect on me. I don’t know how these people never get tired of bugging the hell out of me with no results to show for it.

29. Refusing to let friendships run their course.

Done that more times than I can count.

30. Not playing with your kids enough.

Not there yet.

31. Never taking a big risk (especially in love).

A big risk? Depends what you consider to be a big risk. If dating someone I met online is a big risk, then I took it. Twice. If having unprotected sex is a big risk, I also took it. Three times.

32. Not taking the time to develop contacts and network.

“Networking may seem like a bunch of crap when you’re young.” It still seems like a bunch of crap. And I’m doing pretty good for myself. So there.

33. Worrying too much.

Nope. I take it easy.

34. Getting caught up in needless drama.

See previous question.

35. Not spending enough time with loved ones.

I live with two loved ones – my boyfriend and my dog. And I visit other loved ones (parents and family) every other weekend. That’s pretty good considering other people who see their loved ones once a month or only on holidays or never.

36. Never performing in front of others.

I did that a couple of times! Haha!

37. Not being grateful sooner.

I think that every time I overcome another hurdle, I become more and more grateful. Quitting my awful job, going through therapy, finding a great boyfriend and lover, getting a dog, living in Jerusalem, travelling, being happy… I’m grateful for all that. After I was diagnosed with Myotonic Dystrophy, and later after I broke my elbow I started appreciating my body more. Being grateful that I can still walk, talk, move without much effort, function perfectly fine in my daily life, and do so much more than other people in my condition could only wish to do. Also, during my weekly Tai Chi exercises, the final part is meditation and it involves the “stage of appreciation,” where you need to think of two good things that happened in the last 24 hours, no matter how small. The instructor says “a grateful heart is a happy heart.” And I’m pretty damn happy.

Regrets are a waste of time. Appreciate the past, live in the moment and believe in the future.

Peace, love and a bunch of other zen shit.

DIY Month – Day 11: Work on Novel

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I started to write a novel ages ago. Like over a decade ago, no joke. I changed the whole thing about three years ago and really started getting serious about it, but then it dwindled off again. I think it’s because at the times that I was writing it, I was going through a series of crises and really needed to write something of a considerable length in order to get it out of my system.

The last time I wrote in my novel was when I was still working in my old job, which was pure hell. So although I was no longer in therapy, and I was in a stable and healthy romantic relationship (which I am still in today), I still had a lot of issues to work out because my former boss was verbally and emotionally abusive.

Today, I have a good job, I’m in a great relationship, I’m happier and emotionally healthier than I’ve been in a long time, and I am reluctant to dive back into that period of my life where no matter what my facial expression revealed, I always suffered this constant nagging pain in my core.

Last night, however, I remembered how articulate and powerful my prose was when I was writing my novel. I wrote it when I was in the zone, and I feel kinda bad if I were to let it go to waste. So I switched on my old ass laptop, and started rereading the whole thing. I got about 120 pages written in it, and I didn’t even get to the hardest period of my life which was the summer of 2009. I think I may be able to do it as I was keeping a diary at that time and it could help me remember.

But again, I am totally not looking forward to feeling that pain again. Reliving the hardest part of my life would drain me and drag me down into zombie mode. And most of all, I am scared. My inner child is terrified of this pain. Just thinking about it hurts her.

Rereading the first few pages of my novel last night brought up a hurricane of feelings, both negative and positive. The negative ones were immediately caused by the stories in my novel. But the positive ones were caused by my unconscious comparison with my present state. I’ve noticed how much I changed since then, how much healthier I am and feel, how much better my life is, and most of all how great it is to finally be in a relationship with a man who is emotionally stable and mentally sane. I realized how different I am in this relationship where I love my partner to Heaven and beyond, while at the same time, this relationship is free of self-obliteration and where I still take care of myself and love myself, unlike my past relationships where the word “I” never existed, and the whole world was just about “him”.

When that last part hit me, I felt so grateful for it. And after an intense night of wild love-making, I was on the verge of tears. I know that this novel is something I have to finish for myself. But I also know that there are so many people who would get hurt by it if even a word of it was published. It would hurt my parents most of all, because most of the bitching and the anecdotes of my past traumas involve my parents. It would hurt my family as a whole. It might offend some of my friends. It would definitely offend my ex boyfriends, and especially my current boyfriend who will no doubt get upset by the rather graphic descriptions of my past relationships, fully loaded with extreme emotional narratives and sexual episodes.

So I came to a decision. I will finish the novel (at some point in my life) but I will never publish it. It’s not worth the pain it can cause. And if I have it all to myself, that’s all I need.

Peace, love and Sunday on the Mountain

Chronicles of Badass

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“Fade into yesterday
Searching for my youth
Try to digest it all
Searching for the truth”
– “Horrible” by Jack off Jill

My parents just recently unpacked all the boxes they brought to Israel in a container. I’ve been spending the past couple of weeks rummaging through old photo albums and VHS tapes with home videos from Canada. It’s relics I haven’t seen since I left Montreal over six years ago. But looking through these memories, it seems like it’s been a hell of a lot longer.

I found VHS tapes from my Michael Jackson craze, Marilyn Manson craze, and about a dozen tapes of home videos, trips to Israel, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, endless videos with my Canadian family and school friends. That last one is the one that totally blew me away. Even though I used to watch these videos ad nauseam back in Canada, watching them now is almost surreal.

On these tapes, my friends and I keep saying “I’m so bored,” or “This is so boring,” or “I’m sorry for anyone who is watching this. You must be bored to tears.” But somehow, these “boring” videos made me laugh hysterically with a slight touch of nostagia. I was also marvelling at how much things have changed. Even my boyfriend picked up on it.

“What’s that accent?” He asked with a raised eyebrow when he heard the 14-year-old me speaking Hebrew on the tape.

“I had a heavy French accent when I spoke Hebrew back in the day,” I said, and remembered how I still struggled with it when I just moved to Israel. Even if my Hebrew had improved, people could always pick up on my French accent and it irritated me. Today, my accent is gone, and I speak Hebrew rather well, with an accent that is Israeli enough.

The way my hair changed is also staggering. I had a full head of long, full, thick, Shirley Temple curls, which today have become plain, thin and wavy, and lost much of their vibrancy. My theory is that when I was born, still living in Israel, my hair was straight. It became curly once I moved to Canada, and now that I’m back in Israel, the climate shift confuses my hair so much that it doesn’t know if it should be straight as it was before, or stay curly. So for now, it settled with wavy.

There was also something in my smile that changed drastically. I think it’s the simplicity and the honesty of it. Back then, it didn’t take much to make me smile or laugh. I was a child, I had yet to experience heartache, failure, loss, and deceit. I was in a private school which was my little bubble. I knew nothing of the world outside of it. It was only when I graduated and started CEGEP and then university that I realized just how isolated I was.

I was a child and I remained a child until graduation. It is this isolation that made me simple and honest. It is this simplicity and honesty that people refer to with disdain as being naive.

I don’t think I miss this isolation too much, but I do miss being able to laugh as a kid, with no worries in the world except that she and her friends may be boring the audience with silly videos.

Another thing I noticed was how much my style of clothing has NOT changed. I still prefer pants over dresses. I still don’t go around wearing high heels or makeup. I still like loose, baggy clothes, pants that are too long and drag on the floor, shirts that don’t expose much or anything, plain jewelry of either fabric or plastic, no gold or silver…

I don’t know if dwelling on the past for too long is healthy for me. And my boyfriend also seems kinda bored with it because all these tapes are riddled with French that he doesn’t speak and inside jokes that he doesn’t understand. And while I laugh my ass off, my boyfriend pulls his long yawn with his trademark scream/growl, and that’s when I know I ought to shut off the VCR and get back to realtime.

Peace, love and “You’re leaking out!… You’re freaking out.”

My friends in front of Herz.

School Day. That’s me on the right, with a kickass head of hair.

On Purim. I’m the one with the freaky smile.

Before the onset of my Myotonic Dystrophy symptoms. Me playing guitar.

Two Friends and a Worm. I’m on the right (eating a jelly worm)

Plaid Pants on Better Days: Me at 18 wearing the same shit as I am today, though slightly less faded.

Trip to Stratford. I’m on the right.

Ice Cream in Stratford. I’m on the right again.

Stratford group

Class of 2000. Me with my friend during our graduation.