Ph-ph-ph-phases

I had this phase when I was four or five years old during which I was very comforted by the smell of a wooden playing cards box my mother had given me to play with. I remember her telling me that it came from Switzerland. It must have been during the winter, because I found out that its woody smell was stronger when I left it on the hot air vent. Its woody scent was mixed with the smell of wax crayons and their paper wrappers. Whenever I was feeling uncomfortable, I would go to my room and smell the inside of this box. It made me feel like I was hiding.

At seven, I had this friend down the back alley from my house. Her parents had these rough white quartz rocks that filled an old flower bed along the fence, and whenever my friend made me angry, I would steal one of those rocks on the way home. I don't know why I thought that I was somehow getting back at her by stealing her parents' ugly bedding rocks, but it made me feel all sneaky-mean when I did it. This went on for months, when one day my friend did something that is now unmemorable but at the time really steamed my onions. Instead of stealing more rocks on the way home, though, I got my collection of them out of my bedroom and dumped them all back along my friend's fence. I figured that, since the rocks were ugly in the first place, they could just have as many of them as they wanted.

nails on a deck and a cat

When I was fourteen, I took a book out of the library on transcendental meditation. I kept it hidden under my mattress, because my mother had warned me about the possible evils of meditating. She had some theory that it actually drew you further away from God and closer to selfish matters. I felt like I had porn in my room. I spent months sitting on my floor after school ceasing to think and waiting to rise out of my body. Secretly, I was hoping that I wouldn't have to get back inside it. All I ever got was this sensation of rising out of the top of my head. I panicked. End of story.

There was that really weird-for-me phase near the end of grade twelve when I was terrified of being anything but perfectly heterosexual, because I was suddenly afraid that my whole sexual history might mean something, which, duh, yes it did, but I suddenly decided that religion would be the way to go and wanted to go to religious college and then to seminary. See? Because being a church minister will knock the queer right out of you, right? As you may have guessed, I decided to skip religious college and ended up doing a lot of acid for a couple of years. Phew!

When I was about twenty-five or twenty-six years old, I had this pretend girlie phase. I say pretend, because never in my life had I been into sparkly make-up or manicures or the like, but I started wearing nail polish and lipstick and putting fruity products in my hair. It felt novel, because all that crap felt like some crazy lady costume. I found that all the prettification stuff took far too long for me to upkeep, it was expensive, and my short shorts were starting to wear out, so I gave up the ruse and went back to t-shirts, jeans, and chapstick. Do you know how much wax jobs hurt above the kneeline? And lipstick requires so much re-application. I'm sure that the amount you end up eating has got to do some kind of long term damage to your internal organs.

And then, there was that phase during which I wore almost nothing but black aside from jeans between 1988 and, oh, wait, that one's still going on. Oops. Except for today of course, because I'm wearing that oh-so-fashionable red, orange, and black striped shirt I've had for five years that makes me look like Sesame Street's Ernie.

I think my next phase should be about wearing clothing that is less than several years old and that actually fits.