Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tea, Sympathy, and the Blouse that Did Not Get Me My Beau

Blouse, belt, jeans, and camisole: Reitmans; Shoes: Ingledew's; Clutch: thrift
This was not a particularly special day. It was just one in which I'd been stuck inside in pain for too long and just had to get out, no matter what the physical cost. I thought I might as well look halfway decent, since I get out so little. I thought I'd make it a little event, in my own way.

Beige and navy is not a colour combination I would ordinarily try but I went for it this time, with the navy camisole against the beige blouse offsetting the beige and navy in the shoes.

I got Mark from Mark's Pet Stop to take some of the photos.

On the way, I encountered this great graffiti. Someone's been stenciling up some pretty cool stuff lately. I think this image is pretty feminist, particularly given some of the grim history of missing street women here in Vancouver, and the recent attention being brought to rape culture.

Fight like a girl. Fight like a boy. Just fight to end all this!

And then have a little laugh too. You've got to be able to laugh too.

Ring: vintage
An iced coffee in Little Italy, which is where I live, is a lovely balm to a rough day.  So is a little sparkle.

Once you've had real Italian coffee, you can never go back to any of that Starmuck's nonsense, let alone drip coffee or, perish the thought, instant drek!

My dull day ended up being far from dull. At the cafe, I met two women who are high school teachers. After chatting with them about our mutual disillusionment with the educational system as it is today, we discovered that we all three suffer from chronic pain. Indeed, they were there as one helped the other fill out her disability paper work.

We felt like kindred spirits. We spoke particularly of the difficulty in making others understand our pain because we don't "look disabled." We thanked God for our unions, human rights codes, and labour codes. It is not easy to keep a job when you're invisibility disabled. It's not easy to be believed.

We talked for a long time, with a lot of, "Oh my God, I know exactly what you mean!" and, "You went through that too? Wow," etc.. It was really really good to talk to people who could understand my circumstances.

I felt quite giddy and excited, like as if I'd had a real coffee, which I hadn't.

Sad to say, I can't actually drink real coffee anymore and have to settle for decaffeinated. I used to drink a lot of our fabulous local coffee but, when I became bed ridden, coffee because a recipe for panic attacks. 

Try it some time: drink strong Italian coffee and then lie still and in pain for several hours, staring at the ceiling. I suspect you'll come to the same conclusion I did.

It's tea for me now.

This works fairly well, since Beau is a tea freak. He and I met online and apparently it was the tea in the background of my photo (one taken in my office) that won him over. 

One of the photos I used in my online dating profile. Beau was not a fan of the blouse but wrote me anyway.
It was not the shirt, he tells me, the very same shirt I wore on this day for my little outing. 

Nope. It was the tea, the expression on my face, and the fact that, in my profile, I said I was both "iconoclastic" and looking for someone "not allergic to theists." He really liked that. 

He decided to be brave and contact me. What a lucky break for me!

I'd hoped my profile showed me as someone with some divergent thinking and unusual qualities. One certainly does try to be an original, in thought, and deed, and dress. How dull it would be to be generic or to fit in. I've never understood the desire to fit in, not even when I was a bullied child.

Notice that I often post photos in which I don't look... conventionally beautiful, or conventionally posed. I'm a real person in real life. I've no interest in trying to look like one of a herd.

Headbands: Stylize; Green earrings: thrift on the street; Sleeper: ??; Rosebud earring from Barefoot Contessa

I think it's hard to look conventional in shoes like these. Dapper, yes. Dull? God I hope not.

But I long ago realized that it's not how I look or what I wear that marks me as unconventional. All I have to do is open my mouth and speak, and it's known: Charlotte is not your average bear. Some love that about me. Some hate it. 

But I can't be any other way.



  1. Hi Charlotte! I read today's post and reading about your back pain made me want to read more. I know exactly what you and those teachers were talking about. I also have chronic back pain, and I know what you mean about not being visibly disabled. People don't believe you, they forget, etc. and now my knee has a problem, which makes my ability to walk even more diminished. It's so hard to adjust to this when you've been an active person.
    Anyhow, I just wanted to say "hi" and tell you how nice it was to read posts from another blogger who knows what it's like. I'll be back to visit.

  2. So glad you found me! I'm really trying to reach out to those who know what it's like to be in constant pain, and find that "pretty sparkly things" help them cope. It's bed time now but I will peruse your blog later.

  3. You look gorgeous in this outfit - GORGEOUS! The top, the jeans, the oxfords; all of it. I love those colors on you. Work it! ;-P

    I don't really talk about my pain much because I'm still trying to give people a good idea of what it's like to have CP. I will be posting a pain-related blog post soon. If you want to know what my pain is like tense up all the muscles in your thighs, grab an object and make a tight fist, and hold those contractions - for 50+ years.

    Spashionista (Alicia)