Archives for posts with tag: thoughts

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.

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I don’t know that much about Basquiat but I do know that he was one of my ex’s fav artists. My ex introduced me to some of my fav artists, so when I recognize a name that he dropped I do my best to check it out. “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time” is Canada’s first major showing of any of Basquiat’s work so had to check it out.

Whoa.

The works are filled with anger and passion and challenges to conventional roles and stereotypes. I loved the use of colour and primitive symbolism. I particularly liked the works that had words on them – being a reader and sometimes writer, anything with words has my attention.

I love the use of colour, although there was one piece that I found too disturbing for my mind, so moved on very quickly. It was interesting to see his works all laid on, side-by-side as it helped show recurrent themes and symbols and I found it interesting to see how symbols evolved and devolved over his use.

I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit and, if you are in Toronto, then I highly suggest you check it out. You will be amazed by the graffiti style, the range of imagery and media and it will give you some insight about what it was to be a black man in the 80s in New York. Food for thought indeed.

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.

This recent upset, break-up, ending of a romantic relationship has made me take a hard look at some of the things I say and do – re-evaluating of the person narrative. I think I’ve written about how I’ve been bingeing on articles about surviving a broken heart but I’ve also been reading articles about how to start dating again and how to deal with depression.

I have /have had issues with depression. I’ve been medicated for depression. I’ve seen a counsellor and psychiatrist/psychologist for depression, the psychologist while I was on the meds. The meds were in the SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor) family and were, as my doctor put it “A band aid, the lowest dose possible, this is what I prescribe little grannies who are feeling blue.” My doctor, partner and I all agreed at the time that if I was going to take meds it would be in conjunction with seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist or counsellor to monitor and assist me get back into healthier ways of thinking. My partner and I both had/have degrees in psychology so it was easy, we were on the same page about me getting healthy. The meds would help, but we never considered them a long-term solution, I didn’t want to take them for the rest of my life. I owe my partner at the time full credit for helping me make such a sane decision – it changed my life.

Today I read this article: “Why I Don’t Like the Term Mental Illness” and I’m really impressed. I like how the article talks about there being no evidence for depression having a genetic basis or it being linked to any structure of the brain. The author talked a lot about the difference between the mind and the brain – on being a concept we use to explain our thoughts and process and the other being a physical structure.

A friend of mine recently asked what I do to manage my depression. And I didn’t have a good answer. What I know is that the support I received from the psychologist helped me re-align my thoughts and replace unhealthy thoughts with healthy thoughts. She helped me become stronger and built up my resiliency. And I tell you, even today I use a lot of things she taught me and remember the things she helped me discover about myself. When things aren’t going well I ask myself “What am I doing?” and then I follow-up and ask “And how is that working for me?” If it isn’t working, I change what I’m doing and thinking.

Powerful stuff.

I have to tell you, when I talk about my depression and how I got to great lengths to manage it, I’m not managing my brain, I’m managing my mind – thoughts and thought processes – I’m correcting my thoughts constantly and retraining my brain to think in healthy ways. I know that my thoughts work best when I’m rested, so I get 8 hours of sleep a night (or thereabouts), I know my thoughts are healthier when I get up early and go to sleep early, so bedtime is 10pm and wake-up time is 6am. I know my thoughts are healthiest when I don’t eat a lot of junk food or drink a lot of alcohol. I know my thoughts are healthiest when I have balance between spending time alone and with people, spending time at home and spending time out, so all of that gets managed and I keep track constantly of how I’m thinking and what I’m thinking.

And I rely and lean heavily on my support system. When things go off for me, I take a step back and think it through. If I doubt myself I ask for varying opinions, often I get dissenting ones but that helps me through too. From there I ask more questions and then, if it involves another person, I ask for clarification. I never assume I know the answer and try to be sane about what I think is really going on. I try to assume the best about a person and not the worst.

Getting back to the break-up, this is the reason that I was so concerned about him going off his antidepressants – he had nothing in place to help with his thoughts and feelings. He was relying on meds alone and the belief that our relationship was the source of happiness. His thoughts may have been as ill and pervasive as they were when he was on his meds. I didn’t really know him or his thoughts that well, but the glimpses that I had, the things he sometimes said to me, there were some errors in logic happening there. Without help and guidance in correcting our thoughts, finding clarity, they remain foggy and we can’t see the way clear.

I really enjoyed this article because it enforces the experience I have had with depression and my choices and ongoing commitment to myself to live without taking meds for my depression. I regard my depression as “illness” as maybe the author does not, but I regard it more as an “illness of logic”, as if logic can be thought to be ill or diseased and not just incorrect or fallacious. I tell myself every day, many times during the day that I am stronger than the chemicals in my brain, that I am stronger than my depression and my logic sounder and more reliant than my feelings, which are sometimes out of control. I tell myself that those feelings are mine to control and any actions I take I claim full responsibility over – depression is not an excuse, it is my dragon to wrestle with.

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?

It isn’t about thinking there is something better out there. It isn’t about not being satisfied or being unhappy with the current state of affairs.

It is just.

Sometimes I get.

Itchy.

Restless.

Like. I could go home after work or I could drive all night and day and night and day and drive right out to the ocean. Just ‘cuz my toes suddenly want to get wet. And dipping them in the bathtub won’t do.

The urge to move, to change scenery.

It isn’t about leaving people who I love or finding people to replace them. It isn’t about abandoning my responsibilities or de-attaching from the things I have now. It isn’t about running away from something or running towards something.

It isn’t replacing things.

It isn’t about leaving things behind.

It isn’t about feeling trapped.

It isn’t about needing a break.

It is about roaming and seeing a bit of the world, breathing deeply and shaking things up. Just a bit. It is about running, just for the pleasure of running, going somewhere else for a while just to go and have the pleasure of coming back.

I think some people think when I leave, I mean it and I’m never coming back. It is hard to tell people “No, I just like to roam. I’ll come back, promise, wait for me, I’ll come back.” I think that fear of abandonment runs deep for some people. And that is incompatible with this itchiness, this no-reason restlessness. It is recreational leaving. It is creational leaving. And coming back.

There is a certain amount of doing nothing that I’m good with – repose, at rest – but then I’m done. And it isn’t that I want to leave where I am to leave the people who I love, it is about changing my perspective and coming back refreshed and with something new to stay.

Some people, I guess, want to run, run away. But I like to come back too.

I’ve found friends who understand this – I leave, I return, I come, I go. But how to express this urge to roam to a lover, how to tell them “No, time for me to be alone, I’ll come back, have confidence in me, in us, that I will return. Just stay here and I will bring you treasures and stories from my travels.”

How to tell them “Sometimes, I’m at a party, surrounded by friends and I see an open door and I just..slip through. I will leave you there. You will be surrounded by my friends, maybe my family, probably a whole bunch of people you don’t know and how don’t know you and I will walk away. Don’t worry, I will return to you and I will come back to you. Have a drink in your hand for me.”

“I will find the quietest room in the house, the place where guests aren’t supposed to be and will sit down there, by myself, for a while. I’m not avoiding you or anyone else, I just needed a moment.”

How to explain, “This isn’t about you and your fear of abandonment, this is about me and my need for a little time and space. A different head space in a different geography for just a moment or two.”

So, I say to my future lovers out there, to The Last Great Love of My Life, where ever you may be:

I will roam. And return. To you.

But. I guess I have to find you, first.

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!

 

This post could alternatively be titled “The law of declining returns”.

So here is the how it worked:

He stopped holding my hand and following my car home in his car to make sure I got safely home. When I explained that hand holding was important to me, he scoffed.

Then, he stopped asking “When can I see you again?” as we were saying good-bye and didn’t drive me to my train stop.

When I asked when iIcould see him again, he said “Things are really busy for me right now, I’m not really making plans.”

After an overnight trip together, he insulted my curls, calling them “shaggy” and requested that I wear it straight instead as it looked “more sophisticated”.

Then I didn’t hear from him for 10 days.

When I asked if he was still interested in getting to know me and in the developing the kind of relationship we discussed, he said that he was probably too “jaded” to love me like I deserved, that I had a “kind, gentle, passionate soul” and that he could see us being good friends.

So, my guess is that if I saw him again he would insult my mother, burn my house down, slander my dead dog’s rep, key my car and end up stabbing me 47 times.

So, I declined.

I did exactly what I asked him to do when he was done and said “I’m done.”

I don’t fully understand the law of declining returns. I don’t understand the whole “come on strong in the beginning and treat her worse and worse every time”. I didn’t make demands about not seeing other people, I didn’t even ask. I didn’t talk about introducing him to my friends or family – he did, in the beginning. I didn’t make assumptions about who he was or why he made the choices in his life – he made those about me and my choices, thoughts and feelings.

And what I don’t understand most is when someone offers you an easy way out, a way to be neat and elegant and avoid talking about feelings and motivations and just end it, easily – why wouldn’t someone just take it and get on with things. Why avoid it and leave someone wondering if everything is ok and if you are alive – why not just end it and get on with things.

I want people to take the hurt out of the pain. It is going to be painful, endings are always a bit uncomfortable, especially after trying to get close to someone, but don’t get messy, don’t talk about feelings you don’t have and had no intention of ever nurturing. Don’t insult the Buddhist by talking about their non-existent soul.

I don’t know about this dating thing. I’ve tried it more in the past six months of my life than I have in the past…7 and half years. And I’m not impressed. The lack of civility and decorum, the lack of decency is appalling and sad.

I’m not sure how to negotiate with people out there who are like this, who claim to be genuine and nice and in the end just…aren’t.

But.

Well, look around me. I’m surrounded by people who have that, who love each other honestly and truly and treat each other with kindness.

And that is inspiring.

 

It is strange how parts of us fall to “sleep”.

How the brain forgets, how the body doesn’t remember. How we block or let go of certain memories or simply deny their existence as a part of who we are.

There are parts of me that I figured had their time and could be set aside so I could get on with my life. How strange to be proven wrong.

Parts of me are waking up. They are making demands and they are asserting their importance. And I feel it is all a little out of context, like I could have used a slower way to wake up, a gentler way to find my way back to these forgotten pieces of me.

And I know, I know, that I have this tendency to cut myself into manageable bites, easily self-digestible and neat. And it has me feeling messy, this being relocated, firmly in the body. Messy. And confusing.

And it isn’t just me, I fear I’m making a mess of someone else too.

I mean.

There is just so much I don’t understand.