Friday, August 6, 2010

i'm afraid of the dark.

Opening night of a black and white movie, if my life was to play out on the silver screen.

Heavy red velvet curtains part, audience waiting in anticipation of the horror and beauty to come.
First scene, let's rewind my life 3 years and start the first frame with a party scene. Gaunt little doll of a girl, hair to the sky, too much makeup and chemicals in her to do anything but stand in place and feign pretention while she's secretly planning her escape route.

She floats in a sea of cheekbones, mascara, collar bones and black fitted corsets while the flashbulbs pop in her face and her friends pop pills into their mouths.

They smile, she smiles, but only with her mouth. Her eyes are vacant and glassy with dreams of being alone in bed, her dreams backlit by red lightbulbs and the darkest of shadows.


Fast forward to present day.
The sun is shining, the girl has the same untameable mane of hair, but she is naked faced and bicycling to destination nowhere. For the first time, she feels she is going *somewhere, instead of running from *something. She smiles with her eyes, with a purse full of books and bottled water and a heart pumping something between love and hate. They both keep her alive.

The love gives her something to live for. The hate fuels her soul in a way that feeds her creative drive, her passion for the dark side that exists in us all. It's externalized in every brush stroke of her paint brush, every line of her pencil, every word of her books. The past hatred has led her to this point, this wonderful level of appreciation of beauty both natural and contrived.

I used to cast a judgemental and spiteful gaze upon others back in the days of bones and lipstick. I thought less of girls (and guys alike) who seemingly put no effort into their appearance, the ones who were unassuming and didn't feel the need to cake on layers and layers of makeup to make themselves seem better or prettier. I didn't see the natural beauty for what it was because i was so fixated on creating the illusion of perfection through a careful application of lies and shallow trickery (some people call it foundation and mascara).
It's only now that i look upon these same people and wonder why they feel the need to hide who they are inherently as humans-no masks, no fakeness. Why can't they do without? Why hide who you really are; a natural beauty that shines brighter than any shade of eyeshadow.
It took me awhile to get to this level, i never believed the friends and lovers who told me that i looked better without all of that garbage on my face. I thought it was their way of trying to one-up themselves in a complimentary manner. We all have those people. The ones who will order salad, instead of the indulgent fries that you've ordered-dressing on the side, no less. The ones who will tell you with a conviction that they don't feel that you are, indeed the same size but gloat in the fact that they swim in your clothes. I thought it was a form of control that my lovers would exert on me, in a cheap attempt to make me appear less of a person to any male or female who may potentially look at me in a romantic light.

I wake up in the morning and still see some flaws, as we all do. But i feel a sense of pride, wonder, accomplishment when i can look at myself and not hate and loathe every inch of my being. I have lovely natural eyelashes, and beneath them, my eyes sparkle with a newly acquired livliness and depth. My skin has cleared from my system no longer being poisoned with a deadly cocktail of booze, cigarettes, powders and pills.

Maybe following Dr. Gillian McKeith's diet has helped, maybe it's the biking, walking, moksha and being surrounded by beautiful little children (who point out when i'm colouring outside of the lines-haha) that has made me feel a little more centered and in touch with who i am.

Last night i accomplished something i always thought was beyond my realm of possibility. I was at Komenda (skate park in Charleswood, built in memoriam of Michael Komenda) and i conquered my long standing fear of dropping down both banks into the bowl. For a girl who has longboarded for years but never really been a bowl skater, this is huge. The first bank was nothing, maybe a two foot slope. The second bank was so intimidating, standing alone but especially coming out of the first bank. It's about an 8 foot drop, which mellows out at the bottom. You gain huge speed out of it by itself, never mind coming out of the first one. I tackled them both independently, trying to get the balls to do both in succession of the other. The first few times i would screech to a grinding halt at the lip of the second drop; heart in my throat and stomach at my feet. Being the only girl at the park, i felt i had something to prove.

Our skate friends were watching me peer over the edge, chickening out every time. One guy who absolutely shreds offered me this wisdom:

"Yuri, you'll kill it. It's all in your head-you're psyching yourself out! You've done the first one, don't worry about the second. Just let it happen. Don't even think about it. Don't visualize yourself bailing, just picture yourself at the other end of the park coming out of it." After a few failed starts and stops (which i liken to the hesitation cuts on a slit wrist) i cranked up my music and started pushing off with my foot.

I made sure nobody was watching and i took that heartpounding leap into the abyss, i let my wheels carry me into uncharted waters....
and i landed it. Both feet still firmly planted, wind blowing my hair behind me. I rolled up the bank by the rail and felt like my heart was going to explode. The song playing in my headphones was "Let Go" by Frou Frou. It reminded me of watching Jeux D'enfants with my partner and feeling an overwhelming love and pride. I looked up and hoped that none of our skate buddies were watching, but they were. The first time I attempted, i made it. I fucking made it. We air high fived and i felt like i was on top of the world.

I told myself i wasn't calling it a night until i landed it 5 times. The first four were exhilerating and the fifth...i barely had time to correct my footing before the board slid out from underneath me and i bailed-concrete connecting with my head, hip and elbow all in one breathtaking blow. My board had gone on without me and i rolled up into a sitting position while all the cute little skater kids ran up to me, one of them holding my board and another offering me a hand up. So funny, cuz these little guys are maxing out at 15, 16 years old...and ripping up the bowl harder than i ever think i could. Maybe one day. Ha.

Anyways, i walked up the vert with the grip tape scraping up my already battered hands, devastated. I was so angry for myself for getting cocky and trying to go faster, harder, longer...

My two boys were waiting up at the lip of the bowl, flashstands and camera gear strewn all over. My lips went numb, my face drained of blood as the shock from the impact set in, and i started to cry. Yes, i hurt. It was more a matter of bruised pride, than bruised body. The little guy looked at me in awe and said in a solemn voice, "Yuri. Safety first!"

I laughed through my tears and said, "I KNOWWW! I just wanted to make it 5 times before we left."

So i sat down and resigned myself to a night of both accomplishment and failure, with hot tears running down my cold face. Then i looked at everyone else tearing it up and decided to give it another run. I knew that if i left the park on that note, the next time i came back i'd be too shitscared to try again. The fear would manifest and multiply exponentially until my head overanalyzed the drop and i'd never give it another chance. I wiped my goddamn tears and lifted my chin.
So i got back on the proverbial horse and cranked up The Preacher-Brother Ali. After the second bank rushed at me underneath my feet, i gritted my teeth, lowered my center of gravity and did it all over again. That first rush, that first fear, that first hope; it almost made me puke. I landed like a cat on it's feet...and again...and again and again until i made it 10 times.

I didn't quit. I didn't fucking give up, like i've given up on so much in the past. I proved myself, to the sk8ers and most importantly; to myself. My bruises and scrapes are worn like badges of honor, just like all of my past scars.

They brought me here, along with all of the harsh words, kind words, love and hate.

Today seems so bright and full of hope it's kind of ill.

I hope your day is just as lovely.

Hearts, kisses, bullets, pearls and hugs.


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