About Fiasco Gal

Fiasco Gal: Anxiety, Punk Rock, Engaged life and Art. Montreal based weirdo whose trying to get back in the writing game but also easily distracted.

Starting my punk rock collection

When I was a young teenager just starting to fall in love with punk rock I had limited funds. I babysat the neighbor’s kids but let’s face it, if the parents don’t want a date-night, I wasn’t getting paid.

So my unstable income predicament paired with my burning desire to have an epic music collection left me at an impasse. For those of you who forgot what the early 2000’s looked like, CDs were still a thing especially when you really, really, really liked album art.

Being the stellar problem solver I am, I found a solution, well a compromise actually. Every other year Hellcat Records would release a compilation CD called “Give ‘Em the Boot”. They sold for under 10$, it had a whole bunch of badass tracks from a whole bunch of bands I had never heard of. The best part was, each CD came with a glorious black and white poster for my teenage bedroom wall.

During this time, YouTube was still in its infancy, Spotify was still a distant dream, this was my way of discovering new music. A lot of the bands I discovered on Give ‘Em the Boot are still some of my favorite bands today: Dropkick Murphys, HorrorPops, Rancid, Tiger Army, Distillers. My Give ‘Em the Boot collection, still sits in my living room and follows me on roadtrips.

Being an awkward, shy and kind of weird teenage girl, Distillers and HorrorPops held a special place in my heart. They showed me that sexy ladies can be badass, awesome, rock a guitar or a giant friggin’ upright bass. They enforced that punk rock ladies wouldn’t have be reduced to being on the sideline or a groupie. I learned to play their songs, found other girls like me ready to unleash the badassery, and did the only natural thing, started a punk band.

We didn’t get further than our high school auditorium, but it was awesome. It turns out a career in music was not quite our calling, but after high school we all set off to find our creative niche. Confident, weird and awesome.

Advertisements

That Anxiety Thing

Well the tagline of this blog says “Anxiety” so let’s get real – I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder at the age of 17 so it’s been about 10 years since that enlightening news. With some research and help from my mother we realized I’d been showing symptoms since the age of two.

So how broken are you Bianca? Do you wear an aluminum foil hat and refuse to leave the bunker you call a house?

Alas, no I’m not that interesting, and I’m *knock on wood* not agoraphobic. Keeping my mind busy keeps my mind at ease so I have no trouble holding and exceling at a job. Some call it anxiety, my bosses call it “thinking 2 steps ahead” – it’s all marketing really. I fear and loathe driving; someone cutting me off can leave me in tears. Yep, that grown ass woman crying in her car, that’s me. I dread and panic the hours leading up to driving somewhere unfamiliar. Social interactions are filled with my constant worry that people are judging me as harshly as I judge myself. I follow up these interactions with my stressful mental revisiting of everything I said that night and how it could have possibly been interpreted.

I don’t sleep. I’m a night owl who never sleeps in past 8am, so that’s fun.

Today I reached a new milestone, after years of on again off again therapy attendance, my doctor said those loaded four words: “Have you considered medication”.

Ahh! Hit the breaks! Screech! My years of promoting in ending the stigma for mental illness and it all goes out the window; there I was frozen, my pride screaming, “I don’t need medication.” I can tell you, being there in the doctor’s office, you’re not ready to hear those words, because maybe you’re just weird and the anxiety isn’t real and everyone has these thoughts. I told him, “but like I know my problems are just petty” to which he replied “no, no they’re real problems.”

WHHHAAAATTT?????

Having my problems validated isn’t as satisfying as I thought it would be. Having anxiety, I’ve always jumped back and forth on whether I thought it was real or if I was just a pussy. I even stayed in shitty jobs to prove that I wasn’t a pussy, took a while to realize those were situations that normal people wouldn’t sit through.

So, what do I do? As much as I’ve been doing my own little part trying to end the stigma of mental illness and here I am battling that little Gollum voice saying, “meds are for the weak!” and “they’ll just turn you into a zombie or a vegetable”. Then that other voice that’s more like Xena going “think of all the people you know personally who are doing great on anti-anxiety meds!”

I’m probably overthinking this, as before I jump on the medication pony I have some legwork to do. Literally. Along with going to see a brand new shiny psychologist, my doctor also instructed me to get daily cardio.

“Arrrggghhhh nooooooo!” My inner child screams. Flashbacks of horrid gym classes pass before my eyes, barely passing, clumsy four-eyes, uncoordinated, out of breath nerd person. As I hate gyms and have no workout machines this has left me with jogging as the only option. So like a rational adult, I’m taking my fiancé down with me – if I have to be up and at ‘em jogging at 6:30 every morning (because who are we kidding, no one goes jogging after work) so does he! Mister-I-love-fitness has begrudgingly agreed to pull his sorry ass out of bed every morning with me.

So here goes it! A (possibly) new chapter of my anxiety life – how bad can jogging be?

Marriage Advice from an Engaged Person

So being an engaged person, I find myself getting huge heap of unsolicited (but granted welcome) advice from every married person I encounter.  It’s all a mixed bag really but I appreciate any advice that comes my way. Some people give referrals, others advice on how to go about shopping for certain things and my favourite are money saving tips ‘cause weddings be expensive and I’m more than content to be drinking beer on my beer budget.

The one that keeps coming up is to choose my photographer wisely. Here I was thinking I was going to choose everything wisely – I’m a bag of anxiety! Of course, I’m going to research everything ad nauseam and compare to make sure I’m making the right choice.   The reasoning for this repeat advice: because you’re going to have these pictures for the rest of your life. Woooshh let that sink in, deeper, deeper, side-track slightly and stop – I thought I was going to have my glorious fiancé as a husband till death do us part. Where’s the advice on that?

I mean great pictures are nice to have but a great marriage is better. Both my and my fiancé’s parents are divorced, and we both know all to well its not so much the divorce that’s painful, it’s the years living with someone that its just not working out with. Needless to say, we’re both very invested in having a healthy relationship and the advice we’re getting from people around us is seemingly absent. Is it possible that no one has good advice or they just can’t articulate it?

We’ve been together almost 6 and have been living together for 3 of those years. Since moving in together we’ve made it a point to analyze our relationship pretty often; like scientists in a laboratory. We google a lot.

So far, we’ve pinpointed things that cause us to fight: not spending enough time together, having a dirty apartment, leaving laundry where it doesn’t belong, and running late. As the cliché goes “knowing is half the battle”. I don’t believe it’s half, but it certainly helps in knowing and acknowledging what our stressers are.

Next, we both agreed to try to avoid our pre-programmed fighting styles, I come from a family who yells and says hurtful things in a rage, he comes from a family that runs on passive aggressiveness and the silent treatment. A yeller and a mime – our first arguments were fun. We agreed to avoid yelling and passive aggressiveness as proved by our parents were unproductive. THIS WAS NOT EASY. THIS WAS NOT EASY. I REPEAT. THIS WAS NOT EASY. Emotional reactions, and that’s what fights are, emotional reactions, are difficult to control but over the past 3 years we made great strides in communicating effectively during arguments. It’s cheesy but often recommended in leadership work shops and marriage counselling to use the words “I feel” instead of you “You did”.

For example:
Instead of saying: “What the fuck?!?! You’re always late for everything its like you don’t even care!”
You say: “I feel like when you’re late its like you don’t care that my time is being wasted waiting for you.”

In short, explain how the other person’s actions made you feel, rather than taking the accusation stance. It’s a relationship not a witch trial, unless it’s Halloween and you’re into that. The other person will be more likely to empathize instead of being defensive which in theory will lead to a faster, easier resolution with less hurt feelings and less sleeping on the couch.

That’s my inexperienced marriage advice for the other engaged people out there seeking it out. Cheers!

Review of Montreal 77

 

“The scariest moment is always just before you start” – Stephen King

That quote should replace “Fiasco Gal” as the title of my blog. There were many failed attempts at trying to start a blog in which my insecurities blocked me. This week-late blog post is just another reminder of the fear of getting started. So, without further ado, let’s review the Montreal 77 festival.

First let’s rip off the bandaid and get the negatives out of the way. DEEP BREATH. Not enough bathrooms, not enough food trucks, all day concert not allowed to leave and come back, not enough green space/sitting space, no band shirts in lady sizes. RETURN TO NORMAL BREATHING.

Onwards to the glorious. The concert was family friendly, which personally doesn’t affect me much but it was adorable to see wee little punk rockers ready to destroy in the mosh pit they totally weren’t allowed in. These kids’ getups were awesome from the spikey denim vests to the temporary colour in their hair, they made their punk parents proud.

The lineup was stellar, Creepshow, Bouncing Souls, The Vandals, Dropkick Murphys and Rancid. How can you compete with that? Getting to see the Dropkick Murphys play made me lose all sense of cool. I was screaming and jumping up and down like an Oprah audience member on you-get-a-free-car day (or a bingo-winged contestant on the Price is Right). No offence to the other bands, you were great, really, but The Dropkick Murphys owned my little punk rock heart that day.

 

Paddle boarding?

I find it funny in a not at all funny but actually kind of depressing way that anxieties can keep people from doing the most random of things. I had been discussing this with a co-worker, specifically in the realm of artistic endeavors. I’ll have an idea, a eureka moment, a flash of brilliance if you will and for a short amount of time I’ll be ecstatic to embark on this new idea and then BAM! that evil little anxiety voice will set in and tell me its garbage. It will list all the ways other people could potentially shit all over this idea and then reassure me that no one will make fun of me for binge watching something on Netflix so I should go do that instead.

My co-worker mentioned that she had the same thing but with sportsy things she wanted to try (yes sportsy, I made up a word and I’m sticking with it). She gave the example of always wanting to try paddle boarding. Despite being only mildly athletic (or not at all athletic, who’s counting?), I got stoked about the idea “Hell yeah, let’s go, let’s do the paddle boarding thing.”

She thought I was joking, or possibly making fun of her. I was not. This seemed to me, from the outside looking in, like a super feasible thing to do, especially since the weather was fantastic. After convincing her that I was dead serious about wasting my Saturday on what she coined as “surfing for pussies” we did a bit of Googling and then booked our paddle board reservation.

The next day I put on my bathing suit and board shorts and went to pick up my co-worker who announced that she had looked up instructions on how to paddle board since the paddle board thing we booked was in French (we’re Montreal it’s always a language coin flip when learning anything new) and we are not the greatest French speakers when it comes to sportsy things – the fact that I call it “sportsy things” in my native tongue should reinforce this point.

She gave me the rundown of how you point the curve of the paddle away from you (counter-intuitive) and all the other finer points travel brochure pictures of paddle boarding leave out. Wasn’t necessary in the end, the instructor dude ended up speaking in both languages, not that there were any super technical terms to worry about.

Anyway, we had a blast, we went with SUP MTL and they were awesome. They took a few minutes on shore to show us how to paddle board. Within a few minutes of being on the water, our glorious group of 8 newbies were off on an hour and half tour. Only 3 people fell off their boards on the course of this tour, I’m glad to say neither I nor my co-worker were one of them. This makes us athletic and validates my using of the term “sportsy.”

Suffice to say I would definitely recommend telling a co-worker to go paddle boarding with you.

Note to reader I keep accidentally calling “paddle boarding” “water boarding” which is really inappropriate. Just be warned that you might make that mistake and be considered a horrible person.

Sorry to say no awesome pictures of us paddle boarding because I don’t have a waterproof camera, if someone wants to give me waterproof camera that would be great. In the meantime here’s a picture I drew of us water boar-I mean paddle boarding on MS paint.

blogboarding

https://www.montrealsup.com/

Punk Beginnings

I stood there in front of the expansive magazine stand, stoked, eager but still trying to look cool. The crisp, new issue of Spin magazine sat perfectly on that shelf with the headline “1977 The Year Punk Exploded. The Sex Pistols’ Bollocks Turns 30”. Punk music just turned 30 and I was freshly 17 and had one punk show under my belt, this was my Bible.

No more time being locked in the basement listening to my punk CDs on repeat. I had just started CEGEP (college) in the city and I’d finally be free to go to endless punk shows and go out drinking (still technically illegally but who was counting?) but not before I read, no, studied, the entire contents of said magazine. The adventures that would follow were certainly memorable and for my teenage heart – oh so exciting.

All that excitement of anticipation lived in that issue of Spin magazine, sitting so perfectly on that shelf. Thou shalt not covet, thou shalt purchase and I did.

2007, the marker of 30 years of punk, was most definitely a pivotal year for me – the music I further explored that year, the friends I made, the things I studied in that year influenced who I am today more than any other year to date. It feels like only a short while ago, but lo and behold it’s already been 10 years and Montreal is celebrating next week in the form of the Montreal 77 Festival, with headlining acts Dropkick Murphys and Rancid. In case you were wondering I have my ticket at the ready and my vacation day booked.

In case you were wondering what that magazine contained, don’t worry, I totally kept it all these years. Johnny Rotten was quoted saying “The Ramones to me were never punk” – and to that I say, he’s entitled to his opinion, despite how wrong it is. There was also a list of the best punk albums from 1978-2007, Dropkick Murphys and Rancid’s funky fresh tunes both made the list. And so did My Chemical Romance’s, it’s okay Spin, everyone makes mistakes – I too remember thinking, they’ll probably gravitate towards a more punkish sound as the emo trend died down, nobody could expect the disaster that was “Sing”.

I could go on and on about the reunions and interviews featured in this magazine, from the British, to East Coast to West Coast punk scenes but y’all should’ve kept your copies for all those juicy details because I don’t have all day.

Cheers to 40 years of punk.

Cheers to 10 years of punk shows for me.

Cheers to this new blog, and the hope for more adventures.

https://www.77montreal.com/en/

Spin. October 2007. Print. http://www.spin.com/