Archives for category: Streams of consciousness

Arg! Plane left at 11:50pm and we arrived in Trinidad around 5am or so.

The airport is blissfully air conditioned but I’m grumpy, read an excellent book on the flight down (shameful secret – loving Brother Cadfael mysteries) and didn’t sleep at all!

Dad putters and keeps telling me incorrect information “go find the bags, I’ll meet you there”, “where were you, I was waiting at Duty Free”, “why didn’t you bring the bags?” (I showed dad my two – count them! – hands)

Ummm?

Get Duty Free, the bags I’ve already set aside so we grab them and do the immigration and customs things.

The we leave the AC.

I begin a slow, grumpy melt. Dad’s friend isn’t anywhere to be found. Ack!

Oh wait! We find him. He has left the car parked so we have to wait for him to got get the car and come back.

We wait.

I’m melting.

We wait.

I’m seriously melting.

We wait.

I’m tired, my back hurts and I’m melting!

This is the worst thing ever and I was stupid to think I would be ok and visiting Trinidad is just as horrid as I remember it.

I promise myself never again!

Never. Again. 

The friend comes back and we pile our stuff and ourselves into the car.

The car is freezing with AC turned up to full.

I’m freezing.

I’m not sure how it or if it’s possible to freeze and melt in an overlapping way, but I’m doing it!

Yikes!

We drive almost an hour, against traffic – up and down, around traffic circles, on the wrong side of the road (it feels so wrong, driver’s side is also on the wrong side!) – until we are at my grandparents’ place. 

It’s mostly the same.

Except.

There are now two dogs that are attacking me!

I say “attacking”. 

They are jumping on me, yapping, yipping, generally being excitable. We all know they aren’t ting to cause harm or hurt me. They are trying to love me.

Is there any greater hell for a cat person to be beloved by dogs?

It happens everywhere. It’s like. The dogs know and are trying to convince me – like somehow, if they try hard enough, if they are enthusiastic enough, I will suddenly think “Dogs, eh? Well, what do you know! You really are better than cats!”

I’m done.

I’m so done.

I take refuge in the room with the AC and tell dad and Doll (my grandma’s and then my mum’s helper, truly a member of the family now) and the dogs I’m going to have a nap.

I sleep until it’s time for a late dinner.

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It is my understanding that skin is the body’s largest organ.

Skin has colour and texture and (I blush) smell and (I blush more) taste. Skin can be a canvas or protection against the world or just plain useful. It reveals something about personal care and your hormones and maybe even your diet.

I don’t think I have any “issues” with skin, I don’t actually think about skin a lot at all. I have calluses on my hands and fingers from rock climbing and I have other calluses on my fingers from playing ukulele. I notice that sometimes I have mysterious bruises that I don’t remember getting. I try to keep my skin clean and I moisturize regularly.

I notice that other people have skin and I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy the skin texture (and smell and taste) of various lovers – although I never had hang ups about soft skin or not so soft skin or feet that were smooth or feet that were not so smooth (if you’ve ever had a dancer, runner or climber as a lover, you know what I mean), I loved their skin simply because it was their skin.

I don’t have issues with my skin or anyone’s skin.

Thing is though.

I think my skin has an issue with me, with my emotions.

When I’m sad or upset or stressed, my skin freaks out. It peels, it breaks out in hives, it burns and itches.

I think of my skin as a “distant early warning system”. Often, my skin knows, before I do that something is wrong. For example, it was only after two weeks of breaking out in spontaneous hives that I realized how sad and angry I was with my ex.

I woke up on Monday morning and I couldn’t fully open my left eye! It was shut from dry skin! I examined it a bit and realized – the look, the feeling of a million little needles piercing my skin and yep, you got it, eczema flare up – all around my left eye. Right eyebrow too. Totally gross.

But it wasn’t the grossness of it, it wasn’t even the pain, it was knowing that I couldn’t drive like that! I babied it all day with corticosteroids and it was pretty much settled down by about 8pm. Missed ukulele jam night and everything. Lucky for me, some make-up tricks Tuesday morning and I didn’t even look that gross when I went back to work.

Skin is a funny thing.

Confession time: I’m online dating and dating in real life. The human heart is capable of many emotions at once – it is…ambivalent. So, although broken, it is open and ready to give and receive love. I recognize the juxtaposition of these conflicting states of the heart. I figure my heart and I will learn to live with the paradox.

My first phone calls (3 with the same person) with one of my “matches” went really well – he is far more laid back than his written message imply. We have a date on Friday night, dinner halfway between us at an “upscale Italian restaurant”, so I guess I have to put some effort in to looking good. Blerg.

My first meeting with another one of my “matches” went well too.

I told my brother about it last night: It was going really well, we were talking and walking and he suddenly looked at me and looked a bit stunned and he said “Oh wow, you have beautiful eyes.”

My brother said: Oh, I bet you hated that.

Me: It is the worst. I don’t have the ability to be gracious about it anymore.

My brother: Yeah, it isn’t like you haven’t heard that every day of your life.

Me: Yeah, it isn’t new or interesting. And I just kind of deflate when someone says it like it supposed to be new to me and I’m supposed to be flattered.

My brother: No, I get it, one thing you’ve every day of your life and – ]

Me: Boring. I know already. Tell me something new. A guy is like “you have beautiful eyes” or some variation and I’m like, “yes, I know, thanks for noticing”. So I said to him “Yes, I know thank you.”

My brother: Haha. Oh well, he just met you.

Same guy, as we were sitting having a cinnamon bun and a beverage, suddenly said “Oh wow, your hair is amazing, I just really want to touch it!” My response was “Please don’t touch my hair. Seriously do not touch it.”

Then he said “Oh wow, I wish I could just bundle you up and take you home with me.” I startled and he looked at me and said “Sorry that was bit creepy. I mean, you are so lovely that I’d like to spend more time with you.”

I told a friend about the “you have beautiful eyes” comment and she said “no one has ever told me that I have beautiful eyes” and I had to explain that most men who ask me out say it is because of my eyes.

And I’m not ungrateful. I am very lucky that I have eyes that see and that people find attractive enough to want to be around. I am lucky that when people ask me out that one of the things they want is my eyes on them – they want my gaze focused on them. I’m lucky that the way I look appeals to people and they find me attractive enough to want to be around and feel good to be seen with me.

But.

Am I the only one who laments that the physical is sometimes distracting? The physical says nothing about the personality or character of a person. I get that people judge you first on how you look, but about those second and third and 48th judgments? I do the best with what I have inherited from my parents, I try to live within my body in a way that expresses my character and makes me feel secure and safe and comfortable. For me, there is always a moment of let down when I meet someone in person after emailing them or talking with them on the phone – they get distracted, suddenly they don’t want to talk about ideas, they want to talk about how I look.

They want to touch me.

I feel ungrateful.

I just.

Sometimes I want to leave my physical expression behind, I want to shed my skin, where I intersect with the world, take it off and walk away. I want to be pure energy. I will be a beam of light made up of only of my character and ideas. I will speak to people telepathically, my laughter will sound like water over pebbles. I won’t have eyes or hair or skin or lips or anything – just light.

I want someone to see me clearly. Without getting distracted by the physical me. Get to know me inside out.

He never bought me flowers. Not even after a fight, because we never fought, not even at the end. At the end it was just, The End. By text. I never bought him flowers either. On our second date he picked a flower from a pot on the sidewalk and gave it to me, I thought that was very romantic.

We never learned Japanese together. We talked about it. I bought us both copies of “Japanese for Busy People” and I brought my copy with me to his house every week-end but we never so much as cracked them open.

We never swam in his pool together. We met in September and the weather wasn’t warm enough to swim and it just got colder from there. Same for hanging out by his koi pond.

We didn’t go for long walks on the beach. We walked along the beach near my home once. It wasn’t long.

We didn’t get arrested together for anything. Lacking of trying, probably.

I never met any of his friends – time together was hard to find and we kept being “selfish”, we wanted private time together, together alone. I was supposed to meet some of his friends the next week-end, but he broke with me instead. Never watched one of his hockey games.

We traded books, but neither of us finished any of them before he ended things.

We didn’t cross any time zones together or go through customs together or get on a plane or a boat. We never picked each other up at the airport.

He didn’t spend Christmas with my family and we never kissed at midnight on New Year’s Eve. We didn’t listen to Alan Maitland’s reading of “The Shepherd” on CBC on Christmas Eve together.

We didn’t blow bubbles for his cats to chase.

I never made him a birthday cake or planned a surprise party with all his friends.

He never held me when I awoke crying in the middle of the night.

He never checked the closet or under the bed for monsters.

He didn’t help me hang pictures on my parents’ walls.

He never met my parents.

We never attended a party together, never dressed up and took a picture of ourselves to see how good we looked together.

I don’t have any pictures of him.

We didn’t have a song, or a regular place we always went and ordered the same thing.

He never tried rock climbing. I never tried scuba diving.

We never drank my favourite beer that he was aging for us for one year. The beer we planned to drink in October 2015 and compare the aged beer with the new stuff. (He still has 6 of my bottles!)

I never told him about the first time I had sex.

I never told him about the worst meal I ever had.

Or the best.

We never assembled Ikea furniture together.

We never prepared cinnamon infused duck breast with butternut squash ravioli.

We never hosted a summer BBQ and pool party at his place.

We never argued about his son getting a job and going to post-secondary education.

He wasn’t the one I turned to when I needed help or support. I felt I didn’t know him well enough yet. I was still learning him, finding out if I could rely on him, finding out if he was strong where I am where I am weak. My support system is strong, I wasn’t ready to add him to it.

I didn’t leave stuff at his place, intentionally. Didn’t have a drawer and didn’t leave a toothbrush or body wash there. He only visited my home twice, only stayed the night once. We had sex in his car more times than in my bed.

He never came to a ukulele jam night and saw me do a song for open mike. Both of my ukuleles visited him and I practiced them but he never saw me perform. We never performed a duet for open mike at my ukulele jam. He never tried to play ukulele.

We never revisited our feelings or intentions or mutually agreed that we would spend more time together – the shift from spending Saturday afternoon to Sunday to Friday evening to Sunday just happened due to circumstance and scheduling and not an agreement that we were ready to spend more time together.

We didn’t have a conversation and put a plan in place for him to go off his antidepressants. We didn’t agree to back off or slow down or take a break. By the time he told me his intention is was already done. You have to watch the step down off SSRIs – it is a doozy. He took it fast. Did he crash? I don’t know, I’ll never know, we didn’t have that conversation and I wasn’t there for him to ask. They call it a “crash” because it causes damage, sometimes this break. I am the damage? He even said, things were going so well with me that he wanted to feel the full range – the highs – again. He went off his meds, in part, due to his relationship with me. This is irony, right?

We never talked about irony. Never shared incorrect examples about what irony is or isn’t.

What do you do when your favourite memories never happened?

In brief, what happened was this: spent the rest of the summer (and how long ago that was!) running around, having a blast and neglecting writing.

Then, in the midst of making plans to attend the TIFF (toronto international film festival, only with more capital letters) my climbing partner duped me into a set-up with a guy who plays hockey on the same team as her boyfriend (Wednesday night league). And…in brief, I fell in love.

Gravity. Am I right?

I was in free fall for four months.

And still neglecting writing. Love can be a distraction. Love or something like love, in any case…

A brutal dumping (four sentences by text after my bedtime and a protracted passive aggressive silence) three weeks ago and I’m putting things back in order.

And, of course, “in order” I mean I am re-finding my way back. My way includes writing and sitting around in the TIFF members lounge waiting for a screening of Oscar-nominated short animated films. I feel relaxed and refreshed.

To be honest there is a certain amount of recovery I’m in as well, you don’t profess to love to someone, you don’t have it professed to you without sustaining some damage.

Things were remembered – I like being close to someone, I like hearing how beautiful I am (regardless of if I really am or not), thinking of someone, making plans with someone, imagining travelling the world and seeing the future with someone by side, holding my hands. The cuddles and kisses were nice too! Remembering that I’m a good girlfriend and I have good relationship skills and that I work with someone to build something. Things I forgot about myself. It was nice to remember these hidden things about me.

Woke with the word “transubstantiation” rattling around in my brain. The question: how do I take this damage and turn it into something else? Something beautiful.

Pain and tears may be becoming on some, but I’m a simple creature – I like smiles and laughter and feeling good. So how do I take this pain and do something with it?

I started at the ukulele jam on Monday – practiced a song for two weeks solid. My fingers ached, blew my voice a couple of times. Learned a new chord and a new strum pattern. Figured out how to switch between two strum patterns from bar to bar. Wow. Then overcame the awful stage fright and did it. Not sure how it went, but felt great.

Today, all about recommitting to writing and continuing to write, no matter what shiny things come along to distract me.

Climbing this morning: 7 routes – 3 x 5.10-, 2 x 5.9 and 2 x 5.8. Best session we’ve had in the longest time.

As always, sushi brunch was perfect and now hanging out in the TIFF members lounge waiting for my movie to start. Love looking out into the city with sunlight streaming in, been too long.

Rest of the weekend is more movies, if I can manage, more climbing, seeing friends and maybe getting to see an exhibit at the AGO.

I am Phoenix.

Take the broken pieces of my heart, I’ll turn them into a bird on fire.

Transubstantiation.

This is a new thing for me, using the iPhone to post something, so please excuse my errors, they are mine alone and should not be blamed on the tech that I (mid)use.

No climbing today means a day of “catch up” and feeding the…dare I say “soul”?

Joined to 10am line to the AGO to the “The Great Upheaval” exhibit which is in it’s final two days.

This exhibit features a couple if my favourite artists so, for me, it was no to be missed.

I read an interesting article earlier this week, ok I read a few interesting articles this week…one being about how nature helps relieve various behaviours in children and another about how if we are collecting art we should focus on how we feel rather than monetary value.

So.

For me, it is worth it, waking up early, paying an admission to stand in front of the few Chagalls and Kandinskys that were on display. (The Miro was a surprise and I enjoyed the Mondrians too. Modigliani has never let me down either…)

There is something energizing to stand in front if paintings that I love. I can feel my heart beat change and my spine straighten, I feel a gladness, a sense if joy and well-being, stimulated and thankful. It operates on my whole self – my body, intellect and emotions. It moves me.

I can’t tell if it is about colour or structure or why I respond this way to some paintings and not others and I don’t know why some artists I love more than others.

I know it is true and real.

I must be hilarious to watch in a gallery – I find the artists I live best first, visit them then experience all the other paintings, then I go back to my favourites again. Some kind of homing instincts I guess.

I’m not sure if it is possible to perform open heart surgery on yourself.

Or if it is possible to recalibrate your brain chemistry.

Or if it is possible to heal old wounds.

I don’t really know about the impact time has on these things. I don’t know how much of it is bounded by the constructs of our humanity or how free-will plays into it all.

I know that many, many years ago, when I broke with my ex, I thought I would never write again.

Then I started this blog.

I thought I would never play music again.

Or sing again.

And certainly not in front of other people.

Seven weeks ago my brother walked in to the house, handed me a ukulele and said “Learn to play this. I help host a Ukulele jam every second Monday over at The Stone Cottage. The next one is four days. Learn some chords and see you there.”

So.

I don’t know how things work in your life, but in mine when my older brother tells me do something, I’m rather inclined to do it. He is a big influence on me, I have a great deal of respect and love for him. He has never steered me wrong. And, from conversations with friends who have less than stellar siblings, I am very, very lucky to have him in my life.

I started.

It was horrible.

My fingers hurt. I couldn’t get the fingering right. I couldn’t strum probably and when I showed up at the jam on Monday evening – I was completely lost.

And.

I loved it.

I don’t know what it was or why it was, but I loved it.

I kept trying.

I went out and bought a tuner. And I practiced every night. I found songs I wanted to play, that were way too complicated, but I tried them anyway.

I tried singing

My voice is…rusty and not used to singing any more. I must have hurt my throat a few time struggling for notes.

The last time my brother was over, he asked me “So, I think you should do something for the Open Mike part of the jam. You should be the first.”

I laughed because at that point I knew 3 chords and I could play one consistently. (The one I could play is open strings – C6!) But I heard myself say “Sure. I’ll find something.”

So I listened and looked.

And I found something to play.

I needed to learn and do 5 chords consistently.

I needed to be able to carry a tune, without losing my way.

I needed to learn the words/lyrics.

I started.

I played every night.

I took a cheap ukulele to work so I could practice my chords on the fret board without making noise during lunch hour.

I sang my heart out.

It isn’t perfect, but sometimes you just have to say “Enough. I’m ready, even if the song isn’t.”

So.

Last night I did it.

I got up in front of my peers, the ones who came out to the Monday Night Ukulele jam and I performed my song.

Whoa.

Whoa!

And I know it wasn’t great. After seven weeks, I’m not great, I’m still learning, but, the audience was forgiving and friendly.

And I did something that I was scared to do.

I did something that I didn’t think I would ever do again. Well, I did a few things I thought I would never do again.

And you know, the best part was looking in my brother’s eyes and seeing pride there. It was a great feeling.

It is a remarkable thing to track and observe one’s own changes.

Now that I’m learning to play music again, I’m more relaxed, my heartbeat is slower, I’m smiling more, my walk is looser and slower. My breathes are deeper, my brain is faster and can’t stop hearing music and wants to problem-solve and try, try, try.

And my heart.

Well.

My heart feels.

Better.

It is like. Is it possible for a heart to learn how to beat again? To learn how to fly again?

And what is so funny, so strange about this.  I thought my heart was just fine.

I thought I was happy.

I mean, I’m pretty happy. I smile a lot. I joke, I go out, I have friends, I have things I love to do.

But this.

Having music back. Raising my voice in song.

Well.

It is something completely.

Different.

And I love it.

I’m keeping secrets again.

I’m not embarrassed by this secret, only, this time, the secret would hurt. They, if known, would cause damage to relationships and reputations.

But.

Keeping this secret has made me into a liar.

I’m dissembling to some of my favourite people, telling stories to distract and point them in directions other than the correct one. I’m making up things to serve to explain away reasons, motivations and actions.

And I hate that feeling.

Knowing that I’m dishonest.

It feels heavy in my tummy and causes me to dwell on the state of my character.

As someone interested with the truth. The Truth. Lying isn’t something that I’m comfortable with.

And I know. I know, that keeping secrets is sometimes, often, a part of my job – but that is a trust. I’m required to be discrete and keep things confidential. And I agree to this.

My personal life is different. I like to share my life with people I love, I feel like it brings me closer and strengthens connections between people – creates…intimacy.

So.

If I can’t share this secret with people who I love – it is worth keeping?

If I can keep this secret, if this secret makes me into a liar – is it a secret worth keeping?

I don’t mean…look, every action has consequences, so I’m not going to just simply tell the secret. I’m trying to be respectful of the person who asked me to keep these secrets, but I’m also trying to be respectful of myself and what I can live with.

I don’t want to be a liar.

I want to be able to be honest with the people I can about in my life.

I will keep this secret.

But.

After this, I’m not interested in keeping secrets any more.

Ditto for telling lies.

I guess every  so often all the stuff we’ve been going through in our lives catch up with us and we need a break.

I know I sometimes need a break from my life.

So, I’m on vacation.

Decided to keep the proven and traveled back to Alberta to spend some time with one of my dearest friends. It is funny how for some people it is a place that re-charges them, but for me, it is all about the people.

Took an afternoon flight to Calgary from Toronto, my friends met me there and we drove back to Lethbridge.

The week will be filled with conversation, tasty, healthy food, drinking plenty of tea and water, reading and relaxing from the last few months.

Looking forward to a great vacation!

 

I’m not exactly sure where “online dating” becomes simply “dating”, but I think I’m there.

I mean after 3 more dates – one for a walk without the dogs, one for dinner and movie and one for a walk with both dogs – I think it can be said to be “dating” and not “online dating”.

I’m not exactly sure.

But I think I’m there.

Funny how it happens, how exactly how these things unravel and put us somewhere we doubted we would ever be again.

Every time we say good-bye or good-night he asks when can he see me again. I don’t always have an answer and we get derailed by our various schedules, lives and commitments to others – I’m supposed to be studying now for an exam in a few days, when I’m done my exam, he has family arriving and before you know it summer will be over.

We are very different people who have things in common and like each others company, when we can find the time to see each other I mean.

On the dinner and movie date he took a picture of us in front of the restaurant and I showed it to some of my friends at work today. And they see what I see when I look at him – a charming smile, a cute person and…me? In the picture I look happy.

I don’t know where we are going or how we will get there, but it seems for the next part of my adventure, I have company.