When I was a kid, I was a total tom-boy. Before I was in about grade 9, that is. Then something in me did a bit of a flip and I started actually caring about girly stuff, like boys and how I dressed and make-up and those sort of things. But before that it was all catching frogs in swamps, hiking up the hills, making bows and poisoned tipped arrows (yes, I mashed up berries I knew were poisonous and smeared it all over the arrows I made. I never actually hit anything with them though). It was all about the game - sure, some of the games were Sailor Moon or Witches or whatever, which might be construed as girly, but most of the games were Vampires and Snow Dragons and fighting the forces of evil in the name of good. Because that was more fun.
I would have in those days rather played football and tackled the boys then try to make them date me.
Then, I grew up and it became uncool to be a tom boy. And I started to care what people thought of me, which for someone who always felt on the outside was an entirely new concept. Most people thought I was weird and different, and I revelled in that when I was a kid. I wanted to be like the Great Gonzo - the unique, quirky, individual. I didn't want to be a Miss Piggy, that's for sure.
And even when I started to care about those kinds of things, when I started to care about my appearance and all that, I still did it in my own unique way. I preferred Hot Topic to Abercrombie, and I wouldn't be caught dead in Tommy Hilfiger or Adidas. I was more interested in goth style, corsets and jeans, black make-up and blue hair. My fashion icons were more Agyness Deyn, Betsey Johnson and Vivienne Westwood rather than Cindy Crawford, Carolina Herrera or Ralph Lauren. I just couldn't fall into the full on girly girl mold.
It was kind of funny, when I began to develop an interest in fashion, runway and couture, I felt like I had to hide it. I had a lot of male friends, more so than female, and even my female friends were kind of the Daria-esque women's lib kind of girls who I thought wouldn't understand or appreciate my interest in fashion. The fashion industry in itself was a no-no, a whole cultural phenomenon that was there to oppress women and cause horrible body image and would lead to bulimia, anorexia or worse. The fashion industry was a girl killer.
So for years I felt like I had to keep my love of clothing and design a secret. Shh! Don't TELL!
And then I grew up, and it was okay to like fashion, to admit I have a subscription to Elle and Marie Claire. It was okay to tell people that I wanted to be fashion designer, that I aspired to be like my idols, Betsey and Vivienne.
But there was always one secret I kept from everyone. A dirty little secret that even in my days of not wanting people to know I was girly I kept from them. Because this wasn't something that anyone thought was cool, and I would have been mocked mercilessly.
I was addicted to sport fishing TV shows.
I realised it when having a conversation about how some kids would rush home so they wouldn't miss their shows - when I was in school it was mostly kids rushing home to catch the programming on YTV: The Zone with Phil and Snit. Everyone watched Digimon, or whatever. I didn't rush home to watch those shows, I rushed home to catch the British Columbia sport fishing show on OLN. And when my parents got home, I quickly switched the channel to more appropriate programming, like anything on Teletoon. Sport fishing was as taboo as porno.
I didn't want anyone to know I was watching fishing shows, and how much I loved the idea of sport fishing.
Recently I've been watching River Monsters on Netflix - because I can, dammit. And because I enjoy it. Okay, he sensationalises a lot and the host comes off as a bit of a d-bag. But I kind of feel anyone who calls what they do an extreme sport (he calls himself an extreme fisherman on the show) is going to be kind of a d-bag. It's not the most scientific of Discovery Channel shows, he has a bit of a tendency to over dramatize, and kind of wash over facts, but I still love watching him. Why? Because probably 80% of the show is actually watching him fish, hearing him talk about different fishing techniques, showing you how to tie on live bait and talking about rigging, tackle, and lures.
And damn do I love fishing.
I've never caught anything larger than probably approximately 3 lbs, and I mostly like to catch and release because I'm not the biggest fan of the flavour of the fish you can catch in BC (trout and carp are mostly what I've caught around here). But what a rush even that is! Fishing is the most relaxing thing, sitting in a boat drinking a beer and gnawing on some pepperoni or jerky while you sing fishing songs...
Fishing songs. This is a family tradition now, where we sit in the boat and rewrite existing songs to be about fishing. Like filking or spoofing, we take the lyrics and change them out to be about fishing.
Like a sturgeon! Ooh, caught for the very first time! Like a stur-ur-urgeon, fighting on my line!
I know, that's probably why I don't catch a lot of fish being as they are sensitive to sounds and vibrations, but it does make it a lot more fun.
Anyway, that's my secret. I love to fish, and I love watching fishing shows. I have no problems catching, gutting and scaling the things, frying them up and eating them. There's something to be said of the kind of hobbies that can also provide for you on a basic level. I could never hunt, I have too much of a soft heart for mammals. But I can fish, because fish are probably the most violent creatures on this planet, if you really think about it. They are simplified killing machines, evolving in an arms race to be the better eaters. That's all they do, swim to eat to live and breed so more fish can swim and eat. So why not thin the crowd, cull the heard, catch the fish and join in?
I think I'm going to watch some fishing shows while I sew some stuff up this afternoon. And I cannot wait to get my line in the water this year, I did way too little fishing last summer and I really want to make up for it this year.