I’ve always been a serious person. Even as a young girl, my default facial expression was “Furrowed Brows”, followed closely by “Deep in Thought”. When other kids my age were scampering on the playground and skinning their knees on the gravel, I was off to one side of the designated jungle gym space during recess, contemplating everything from how to pronounce “Chevrolet” properly to how best to display my growing collection of city bus passes on my bedroom wall. I often found myself thinking extensively about alarming topics– like why God would ever want to send anybody to hell FOREVER or what the real difference was between murder and suicide.* I was a pretty serious fourth grader.
This was me in sandstone form: stoic, unwavering, and intimidating to the uninitiated. All that, and I was only nine years old.
*’Say what? Suicide? What sort of Grade 4 class did you attend?’, you might be wondering. It came up in class discussion once, when Billy asked the teacher if people who committed suicide went straight to hell. I had never even heard the word ‘suicide’ before and thought it must be a synonym for murder… which I instinctively knew made no sense… because how would somebody go straight to hell if they had just killed somebody else but were still alive themselves? Maybe God was just marking them down right away for hell in the future, via divine Note to Self? Smote that bastard, ASAP! I was too shy to ask for clarification on this and many of the other burning questions I had. Hell, if Billy knew what suicide was, and he was a terrible speller and couldn’t even finish the Mad Minute quizzes on time, then I should definitely know the answer already. I wouldn’t dare let on to anybody that I didn’t. Hence, I contemplated, ruminated, furrowed, and reasoned on my very own, off to one side while the other kids played. Serious vs. Silly. Story of my life.
I know this dog is probably trying to be serious… but doesn’t he look silly?
Even today, I tend to take the world seriously (and literally, all too often). I take other people seriously. Worst of all, I take myself way too seriously.
June ushered in the Summer of Serious for me. Yes, I had recently returned from a 3-month holiday in which fun and games had surprisingly (for me) prevailed over lofty topics and capital-B “Business Matters”. However, being back at home meant it was time to re-install my factory setting– seriousness– and I was taking this matter of seriousness very seriously. I contemplated everything from how to boost subscribers to Marty’s art newsletter to My Definitive Soul Purpose: No Revisions, Add-Ons, or Mind-Changing Allowed. Deep thoughts. All-consuming topics. I read marketing books like a demon. I checked our sales numbers obsessively. I watched in horror as my svelte frame started to pack on harbour weight, and then I feverishly started reading more books on diet & nutrition, all the while imagining myself (in slo-mo nightmare mode) as the only chubby person in the history of Holistic Nutrition School. After some serious and extensive soul-searching, I eventually changed my mind about going to Holistic Nutrition School altogether but then panicked when I didn’t have anything definitive or “serious enough” to slot into its space. How could I justify “chilling out” as a legitimate off-season pursuit? How could anyone take me seriously if I was waffling through life instead of taking the bull by the horns and mapping out every last detail of my planned existence between now and infinity?
Dear Future: I am mapping you. (Nothing is more serious than a profile shot, right? Except profile shot + lighthouse in the background = boom!)
So I developed a serious case of Serious-itis this summer. On one hand, I’d gently chide Marty for trying to control the weather patterns (because controlling weather = impossible), but on the other hand, I found myself unwilling or unable to do anything that wasn’t explicitly harbour-related myself. I stopped working out. I stopped writing. I stopped reading other people’s blogs. I didn’t even knit! Everything that had kept me somewhat sane in previous years was abandoned for the sake of “The Business”– not at all at Marty’s beckoning, to be clear– but based on my own, hyper-aggressive commitment to setting personal records and blowing our sales targets out of the water. My feminine/masculine energy meter was totally out of whack. Stuck in the “Danger, Will Robinson!” mode (also known as the “THIS. IS. SPARTAAAAA!!!”, brute force mode). I was exhausted, literally bawling some mornings as I rode my bike to work– ugly tears streaming down my face and blurring my vision– and yet I refused to rest or take a day off. I convinced myself that I was the sole reason why our business was booming. Forget Marty actually creating the artwork– it was my commitment to the business that was paying off in lucrative sales, and we would most certainly falter and suffer without me there all the time, overseeing every transaction and personally engaging every single customer and potential customer. Ack.
Our art business depends on me like this ratty dog depends on the dude who is holding him on the tractor wheel. Seriously.
Needless to say, I engineered quite the punishing experience for myself this summer with the skill and cunning of a military strategist. Despite posting some impressive numbers, sales-wise, I emerged defeated after Labour Day like a crisp of my former self– albeit a puffy crisp, 25 pounds heavier in body and approximately 18 million pounds heavier in spirit. (I was like a human version of those puffed pork rinds, as revolting as that sounds. Crispy and greasy on the outside, hollow and cavernous on the inside. Not that I eat puffed pork rinds, mind you. Thank goodness I didn’t have to start school the very next day on top of everything!)
And thank goodness I discovered the top knot bun right after Labour Day, too. I feel like I’m downloading poise and positivity from Heaven itself whenever I style my hair this way now. I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out that Big Hair = Big Fun!
As crazy as this sounds… I have to become serious about having fun now. (Doesn’t it even SOUND fun to become serious about playing? Ha. I’m a natural at this! Right?) Self-care, relaxation, and even a little bit of pampering are of the highest importance to me this off-season, and I’m starting off my recalibration movement with this very blog post. Writing again? Check!
Operation: Dress-Wearing, Phoenix-Exploring, Depeche Mode Concert-Attending FUN. (Notice top knot again. I have a sneaking suspicion that wearing my hair this way will become like wearing overalls was to me in junior high, i.e. all day, every day, much to the chagrin of my no-longer-1990s self.
Welcome back, dear readers. Your off-kilter hostess with the mostest is back, albeit a little worn for wear.
What do you do for fun?
How do you stave off those serious cases of serious-itis?