Tag Archives: Birthday

#30: Is it a little breezy in here?

– Contributed by Wee C

About the middle of May I placed an innocent-enough phone call to Liam Hennessey at Applehead Studio, looking for some information on photography for my BFF’s upcoming nuptials. When I was exploring his website I came across his boudoir portfolio. “Crazy fools,” I mumbled to myself. But secretly, I was beyond jealous that these beautiful women had the courage to strip down to their skivvies, put on those “come hither” looks and let some random MAN take their pictures. I mean, really…who is to say this photog wasn’t some Criminal Minds-esque fella, keeping all these pictures of half naked women and planning to abduct them? Right…have I failed to mention that I’m overly-suspicious and generally fear that everyone has it out for me? My, I have a brilliant imagination for someone my age.

At the end of my call I found myself blurting out a question that I was certain had come from someone else in the room. “So, tell me a bit about your boudoir sessions. I’m turning 30 in a month or so and I think a boudoir session could be the BIG thing I do to celebrate,” I say (without taking any breaths…those commas are just for proper punctuation, folks). WHAT?? That couldn’t have been me that asked that. But the grin on my face after the words left my mouth suggested that I was, indeed, the happily-guilty culprit.

I didn’t book my session that day. But I sat and I stewed (and stewed and stewed some more), wondering whether I had built up enough swagger over the course of the year to really do this. And, in usual form, I talked about it, puffed my chest out and said that a boudoir shoot would be my last 30 Thing, all the while never making a follow up call to actually book the session. I bought myself personal training sessions at the gym (and exercised until I literally cried in the middle of the gym). I stopped eating bread and cheese for 30 days, I took the stairs at work (all two flights of them), I was doing a copious amount of sit-ups every night, and I was flexing my behind anytime I thought no one was looking. I was doing everything I needed to do to get myself ready…except make the stinkin’ call.

As is usually the case, Big L laid the law down. And, no one disappoints Big L. Have you seen Will Farrell’s skit, The Landlord? Big L’s a bit like Pearl. Cute as a button, but you don’t mess with her. Needless to say, I called. “Ok, I need to book this thing,” I said. “And making this phone call is about as big of a deal as actually coming to the shoot.” The deal was done. I, of course, immediately called Big L to report on my good behaviour and accomplishment.

I had about three weeks to prepare for my Play Girl shoot. And for about two weeks and five days, I COMPLETELY IGNORED the fact that I was going to do this. Yes, I discussed it with friends, but alone, I managed to successfully block the reality of my impending doom. To make matters worse, two weeks before the shoot I came down with a cold that took me out of the gym for the remaining days leading up to the shoot. Add that into the mix, and I was in full-on denial.

With 48 hours left, I decided I should probably figure out what I was going to wear. That’s when panic set it. OMG! OMG! OMG! What does a girl wear to one of these things? Do I even have any underwear and bras that match (remember, I’ve been with hubby for 11 years, the necessity of having matching underoos is, well, non-existent)? Lace? Silk? Low cut? High cut? Oh, no, definitely not high cut. DO I HAVE ANYTHING, AT ALL, THAT’S FLATTERING ON THIS FLABBY BODY? And in my desperation, I even stood in front of my full-length mirror, pulled the skin around my stomach towards my back (in an effort to look more taut) and wondered whether I could legitimately get away with taping my skin back and not having my make-shift plastic surgery solution show up in the pictures.

Thank goodness for Liam’s stylist, Nirah. Perhaps more appropriately, thank God. My call with her the day before the shoot settled my nerves and actually made me excited for the shoot…like going-to-Disney-World excited. “Pack a suitcase with anything and everything you have in your closet,” she said. “I mean everything. Jewels, lingerie, off-the-shoulder tops, trench coats…” Did she just say trench coats?! I have the most spectacular Big Bird yellow (how’s that for sex appeal) trench coat hanging in my closet and wearing it makes me feel like a million bucks. Telling me I could bring that coat was like telling a three-year-old that they don’t need to leave their sookie blanket at home. Now I was ready to rock and roll.

And rock and roll I did. With Liam, Nirah, and Big L (armed with a little celebratory bubbly) cheering me on, the only other time I’ve felt that sensational was on my wedding day. And fortunately, Liam didn’t fit the creepy profile I had imposed upon him. Whether an accurate analysis or not, Liam seems to simply appreciate women…each one for who their own respective beauty. And I’ll tell you, that feeling goes a long way in helping you when you haven’t got much covering your bits. So, if any of you are going to do this, go see this guy. You won’t regret it.

We shot for FOUR hours. And I loved every single second of it. I left that night feeling like a year had most definitely changed me and knowing that there could have been no better way to celebrate my 30th birthday. Getting the pictures a week later? Well, that was just the icing on the cake.

PS – the photos are pretty incredible, by the way.


A little less itchy (part two)

– Contributed by Wee C

Anyone who has ever worked with me, for me, alongside me will quickly tell you that closing off a project is not my forte. Oh, will you all be quiet? I can hear each and every one of you snickering from here.

But, really. Want a great idea conceived; something that’s never been done before or is a groovy solution to a problem that you can’t solve? I’m on it. Need someone to push an existing idea to the next level? Yup, I got that one, too. Work through the finer details so that everything is just so, done with lots of time to spare, and tied up in a pretty little bow? Have I told you how remarkable that Big L is? Give her a call…she can do everything I can do and way more. Unless you’re a future potential employer or an existing client. In which case, I’ll fake my way through just about anything, consider it done!

So, inevitably, the whole “project wrap” bit of 30 Things has assumed the all-too-familiar place at the back of my mind, buzzing around like a stupid house fly that can’t manage to find it’s way out, despite the double patio doors that are wide open to the great outdoors. And trust me, it’s not for lack of enthusiasm or passion. I’ve got plenty of that when it comes to this topic. No, it seems that my habit of procrastination was one of the few personal hangups I neglected to conquer with 30 Things. And so, despite an almost overwhelming eagerness to write this post, I didn’t. I’m sure few of you are shocked.

Summing up a year of personal change is an almost insurmountable feat. Simply saying “I’m not who I used to be” isn’t accurate. In fact, in many ways I’m more who I used to be than I ever intended or wanted to become when I started out on this journey. Why wouldn’t I want that? Well, let’s see. At the time, I thought of myself as a no-fun, uptight, workaholic, worry-wart that was incapable of seizing the day and relaxing for more than five seconds. I took my BlackBerry on my honeymoon to Paris, for Pete’s sake…that about sums it up, doesn’t it? Bottom line: I was uncomfortable in my own skin, I was indulging in plenty of self-loathing, and I felt I had lost my way. No, I wasn’t ready to be committed or anything. But I certainly wasn’t loving life. And going the Dr. Phil route in search of a “better version of myself” made me want to gag. Gross me green, as the kids used to say (hey, I’m still working on the cool part).

On June 22, 2009, when I conceived 30 Things, the hopes and dreams I had of becoming someone totally different would almost have been Silver Screen, bring a tear-to-your-eye, worthy. I had visions of becoming like Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or Jennifer Aniston as Rachael Green. I wanted to abandon everything that had contributed to making me as uncomfortable and uncertain as I had become. Oh, I had put up a good front. Few people would have known just how much being me made me want to scratch. But I was so itchy at that time, you’d have thought I had rolled in a field of poison ivy.

With 365+ days having passed since then, what’s remarkable to me is how true to me that I’ve become. I’m not a better version of me. I’m not a different version of me. I’m certainly not a worse version of me, nor am I me playing the role of someone else who is playing the role of someone else (a little Tropic Thunder reference just to demonstrate my increased cool factor…c’mon, it’s the only cultural reference I’ve got in my repertoire, cut me some slack!). I’m an authentic and comfortable version of me.

Do I still have hang ups and need to scratch from time to time? I hope so…I wouldn’t have anything to write about in future if I didn’t. But I no longer have a stomach that is turned in knots from dusk until dawn. I’ve learned to lighten the load (both professionally and personally) and I’m even learning to laugh at the occasional Family Guy reference. Ok, occasional might be generous…as might laugh…but I roll my eyes less when hubby watches it, surely that counts?

Perhaps most importantly to me is that I’ve gained control over my life. All those years of stressing and working like a maniac and needing to get every.single.last task done before I left work for the day (only to go home and scramble to get every.single.last task done at home) I thought I had control. Turns out, I was out of control. Control had control over me, if that makes any sense to anyone else.

Here’s the moral of the story. What I have come to believe is that you can change your life. Three years ago I was diagnosed with clinical depression (a shock to some who know me personally, I’m sure). Two months before I started 30 Things I was seeing a psychologist on a routine basis. Today, I don’t even know what I would say if I had to see a therapist. Sure, I have normal human being twitches. But not the kind that keep me up at night and make me so desperate for a way out that I’m banging into every nearby wall in an effort to find an exit. So while 30 Things is over, I’ve learned that life is lived on a continuum, and there is only one beginning and one end. Everything else in between is merely stops on the journey in order to teach you what you need to get to the next destination. I’m working on planning my next trip now. I’m darned excited about this leg, too. Remember, I’m pretty good at coming up with some killer ideas.

PS – for those of you who have been dying with curiosity to learn what my last 30 Thing was, I’ll indulge you. There’s a great photographer in town by the name of Liam Hennessey (Applehead Studio Photography). Seems the latest thing for brave gals to do is a little thing called a boudoir photo shoot. I figured there would be no better way to go into 30. But don’t go looking for the photos. They’re under lock and key. And, girls, every woman should do this at least once. You’ll love yourself (and all your dimples, ripples, and rolls) more during that photo shoot than you ever thought possible.

Closing the Chapter on 30 Things (Part 1)

– Contributed by Wee C

I know tonight should be a celebration, but to be 100 per cent honest, I’m at a complete and utter loss. For the past 365 days I have been on an unexpected journey, heading to a destination I was never quite sure of, with pitstops in places that rarely appeared on my map of life. And tonight, I’ve arrived. But like any incredible trip, parting is always bitter sweet; the memory of an incredible adventure behind you, the return to normalcy in front of you. The trouble (and beauty) is, I’m not who I was when I left.

30 Things has defined me for the past year. It’s what I talked about over coffee with old friends. It’s what I’ve told new people about when I meet them. It’s where so much of my energy has been directed. It’s how I’ve overcome personal challenges, how I’ve learned to live life in greater balance, how I’ve learned to have fun. But, perhaps most of all, it’s how I’ve learned to like myself, to not feel disdain every time I open my mouth, to feel comfortable in my own skin…to be comfortably uncomfortable.

So tonight, as I finished the last item on my list (a “thing” I have yet to be bold enough to disclose) I smiled and laughed as I drove away, so fully satiated by how it all ended. And then I felt it. That familiar sensation that feels like someone is putting their hand down your throat and pulling all the air out. To no one’s surprise, I’m sure, I cried. I cried like you do when an old friend moves away and you so wish they wouldn’t.

Don’t let my current unrest fool you. I feel fulfilled…damn fulfilled… by how I’ve lived the past year. I feel jubilent that I finished my list, and did so with nothing less than a full-blown fireworks display. I’m just a bit wistful. And like any good traveller, am wondering where my next destination will be will be and how quickly I can get there. Stay tuned. I’m pretty sure my next departure is on the horizon.

An Appropriate Entry Into 30

-Contributed by Wee C

Well, here it is. 30 is no longer breathing down my neck like a husband who is tired of being at the mall. No, 30 has waltzed into the room, sat down and made itself at home as if has some sort of right to be here. The question of the week has been “what wild and crazy thing will you do to celebrate”? People! C’mon. Have we learned nothing if not that I’m about as far from wild and crazy as Lindsay Lohan is from pure and demure? Yes, I’ve given you all glimmers of hope over the past several months. But a carefee night at a wedding, a couple of school girl-like nights out with the girls, and a particularly uncharacteristic trip to the ever-dirty local strip club does not a wild girl make. But I do appreciate that you’ve continued to hold out hope for me. For the record, I gave up on my aptitude to be a legit party girl months ago. It takes discipline, commitment and enthusiasm that I just don’t have. Party girls of the world, you have my utmost respect. Holla at your girl, as they say. Insert bum giration and slapping of the behind here.

No, I welcomed my 30s as one would expect I should, in true Wee C style. Curled up on my sofa, snoozing away after a 13-hour work day. I woke up just as the clock struck 12, bleary-eyed, staggering, and desperate for bed. It’s almost poetic, really.

I’ll save my full-blown reflective, introspective, ever-so-insightful post about the past year for later this week, after all has been said and done (and you know I will…that’s prime opportunity to to impart life wisdom and insight on all of you, I most definitely could not miss out on that), but what I will tell you is that the next 24 hours holds my last two “30 Things” up its sleeve. Rest assured, not all hope should be lost. I would NEVER have even entertained these last two things this time last year. But let’s just say that they’re big enough “things” that telling you all what they are, well that would be #31 on my list. And let’s face it, that’s outside of the original scope of the project, so it will cost you more. Happy Birthday to me.