August 31, 2009

the step back part

i've been writing, but in other places. cataloging my desires, aversions; realizing my motivations for the sophisticated actions i undertake are the same base desires i've always had - security, acceptance, feeling heard.

friend nearly died in a car accident. one of those incredibly important friends who lives far away so i don't get to love her as much as i want to. that was a wake-up call. as usual, even though her life is in chaos, she manages to shed light on mine. in a way i really respond to, because she just quotes me back to myself. can't really argue with that, can i?

finding myself in one of those looking-back-and-hating-it-all times. why i measure my own evolution by progress away from my past is beyond me. i see why it would be natural to do so (different is better, right?) but i would hope that my sense of personal evolution would be a bit more, well, evolved. sigh. to respond to one's environment, to cooperate within it for a more harmonious existence, following the ancient paths of using what each of us does best for the well-being of all, since the well-being of all is crucial to the survival of any of us... how does this translate into yelling at oneself for not doing the things i decided to do? this all sounded so much wiser in a letter to a pregnant friend. i think because i was more willing to accept the mystery of being human and having a brain and a past to mull over. now i'm back to wishing it was a puzzle i could solve and then walk away from.

feeling ruffled, out of place, angsty. argh, i thought angst was done when we hit our thirties. nothing is ever done. replay the past in our heads, knowing even less of it than when it happened.

so, do the things i know are helpful to my own self; a bit of yoga, some cleaning and clearing out in the house, participating in the backyard fire, cuddles with a friend. stop apologizing for being myself, especially when it's unplanned and messy. if i'm going to go overboard, do it with style and energy. and a fucking lifejacket.

August 24, 2009

tourist in my own right

new music! finally named that track i heard at a club last year and loved instantly. swingy & dancy. exciting new music inspires me to listen to more music, so i wandered through the hallways of nightmares on wax, thievery corporation and quannum projects, and in a complete about-face, cemented the weekend with some old country. especially, listened to songs on the road to where gospel and country eventually meet. which is in the sweet hereafter, i guess.

ditching out on large social events is such a gift to myself. not like it leaves me alone. the drift of people that come through our yard anyway - sewing deviants, tribal bellydancers, sweethearted soul-questing djs, lady-loving long-boarding yogis, curious forest-dwellers, recovering misanthropes, sexy special friends - and meet me when i go for groceries - punk psychologists and their unknowingly hip daughters - repel any feelings of true solitude. i thought about it briefly this afternoon; the last time i lived anywhere there weren't people pretty much regularly dropping by was five years ago, right after i moved back from the coast to the city i call home for here and now. except now that i think of it, we had an influx of couch-surfers in that tiny basement apartment anyway. so, barring occasional periods of less than four months, i've lived in social milieus since the last time i lived on my own - twelve years ago.

it's interesting to notice aspects of one's life that have been a long time running. a friend who came for tea was noting the process by which we grieve the long-term past. that even if we don't want it back, we think about our old experiences often. our mind negotiates this for us on an unconscious level - bargaining, measuring against, playing the if-then game (if i do this, then maybe...). when i think familiarity, i think about habits, patterns, addiction. but then, there's the whole argument that stability breeds, i don't know, good things. growing long-term gardens, etc. or something. right?

clearly we see where my experiences have led me. same thing again = ruts, bad. immediately swerve.

so, slow change seems to be healthier for the most part. dynamic homeostasis slowly evolving and the like. where was i going with this? oh, the conversation we had over tea this evening. big changes in lifestyle habits, the sustainability of doing it at ones own pace, the inane distractions the ego comes up with when a momentary moratorium on chaos actually occurs. the ego is the giant corporation in each of us. are there any rules/guides it will follow, or is there simply unhinged sociopathy behind it all? so hard to all get along in here...

got distracted again. whatever. one thing i wanted to mention to my friend, but the conversation didn't go that way, is the risk of looking at a lesson as a huge energy-intensive experience. like, oh, i need to learn how to keep my own boundaries so that i won't let this happen again and tell all the people who regularly cross the line with me to fuck right off, and change my job and - no you don't. you can just learn the lesson.

have the light bulb go off and take it from there.

August 21, 2009

fuck the old days

i had a small meltdown today and slept through some volunteering (set-up for a dance show). after sleeping, there was sitting in the backyard and drinking things that aren't water. instead of bicycling to work, i bought rechargeable batteries and dug out the walkman. took the bus and listened to a seduction tape a friend of mine made for me years ago. it helped. (i was looking for a better song from the mix somewhere online. i couldn't find any; most of the songs are too good to be found freely in this over-commercialized melting pool. i randomly tripped over this though. we were chatting about these guys the other day. ahhh, grade five.)

dizziness and disorientation after receiving a shoulder-rub capped it all off. the feverish theme of the day was realizing nearly all my activities occur because someone asked me to accomplish them.

on the asked-to-do side:
most of my jobs
organization of art & music shows
board of directors
published writings

on the own-volition side:
cat
private writing and letters, zines
sitting in caf├ęs
playlist compilations

volunteering at festivals is about half and half. we see the issue here that my self-esteem is quietly screaming about: left to my own devices, i don't seem to have a lot of drive. i've been noticing this lately. after thirty years of feeling under the gun to play the game, i'm wondering: if i choose to do something big and crazy, would i feel less pressured? if i define myself by some big-ass vastness of lifeworkyness, maybe people will lay off with all the requests that i accept because hell, i'm not doing anything more than sitting in my room with the latest little project that rarely makes it out of my room anyway. (journals, scrapbooks, etc etc)

and i seem not to like parties anyway, so i might as well be working.

still, i can't resign myself to it. it seems like defeat. if i'm not drawn to something, i'm not. but surely i am? drawn to something... at least one thing?

maybe if i say no to the requests, i will notice what it is.

i find this figure-out-inner-goal shit trite and boring. but i don't want to stop here. so how else do i decide how to move forward? hence the accept every offer attitude. but that's driving me crazy, and exhausting me as well. must... find... some way... to discriminate... discern *gasp* what's ... appropriate... to.. me..

August 16, 2009

cue jazz hands

i've just seen a theatrical performance of the rocky horror picture show. it was my first time. i liked the first time being live theatre instead of a movie; it worked for hedwig. i also liked how queer-friendly the show is. highly recommended, in spite of (or along with) the sound-carrying ineptitude in that particular presentation. the frank n. furter character was passionate. janet's legs were interplanetary.

a friend brought me, springing the idea upon me this afternoon at the third annual free sale. i feel glad we went out; the two of us used to be roommates and hadn't connected one-on-one in a while. we sat off to the side and in a slightly surreal turn of events, were interviewd by a south korean video publication of some sort. it took me by surprise. i'm sure the resulting idiocy was translated; embarassment can cross cultures instantly. i think i actually blinked like an owl. for some reason video cameras make me freeze. please let me speak into a microphone or a sound-recorder - this moving camera shit makes my soul chafe.

our conversations after the show took us through the carefully tended provincial government grounds (where we found and ate some edible decorative kale) and over the bridge, where we paused and studied the lights reflecting off the river. discussing politics, human behaviour trends and queer community, we built and altered our own and each other's ideas. i love the community of people around me.

the free sale attracted the usual non-believers (free?!? i don't buy it!! you can't trick me! ... um ...), strange old men and exuberant deal-seekers with small dogs. also, children. i like how many kids i've interacted with since moving here. today i was gently devoured by a compost-monster. i can only cheerfully submit.

the play revived my gender-queer ways of presenting myself. i've been engaging in new and interesting yangish activities, but i've been doing so from a decidedly feminine point of experience. how long has it been since i've wrapped my breasts and dressed to pass as a man, or at least seriously cast doubt? how long since i have, in my physical, non-verbal statements, actively revolted against the boring gender dichotomy? i find the one harsh line separating two distinct genders, polarizing us against each other, to be far too simple to ever accurately reflect our shared reality. i mean, come on, two? two? all this, and only two? this isn't just sex equipment, it's identity. we can be creative.

i am creative. my gender is vast. vaster after having seen this particular presentation of the rocky horror picture show.

August 15, 2009

try and get past the italics, to the italics at the end

what is it about routine that immediately incenses me? i look at the laundry ready to put away, the in-box that's never been empty, the innocent plants that need watering, and i feel angry. angry at plants? they don't even complain.

it's the needing. in the last year, it's been a youth program that didn't have enough emotional support (guess who noticed?), organizing and curating a first-ever youth art show for a victim/crime awareness project, and helping a small business first moving into having employees and running their business according to government rules, which meant a lot of scary first steps and risks to take. eventually the scariness mellowed out, at which point i becamse bored and gave my notice. so there's something to be said about what i seek. let's come back to that.

i took this really easy job for the summer so that i could be responsibility-free (the board doesn't meet in the summer, which seemed promising as well), only to become a key-holder within three weeks. currently, my boss is on vacation and i'm 'running the place'. it's not a high-tech global centre of wealth or anything, but the pattern is uncanny. i attract positions of responsibility. and now and again (and again and again), they need things from me.

my spoils: coming back to my own attractions, i admit that i get off on feeling needed. it was the role i played in the family drama, after i outgrew the baby post. i problem-solve, collect emotional outpourings, smooth out ruffled feelings, head off imminent conflict and generally put people at ease (when i'm comfortable in my own zone, of course).

and when it's stimulating as opposed to grating, i find value in this. or do i?

maybe it's just feeling valued that i value (whew). well, it's helping me meet a need, seems harmless. unless i'm using others to build my self-esteem from the outside instead of from my own experiences. hmm. is there another way i'd like to meet that need (belonging/social security) that seems more centred in myself?

what else do i do that i think is needed by society as a whole?

...

also, and here's an interesting point. is it in my best interest and path to undertake every responsibility that i see or that is offered to me? i pretty rarely say no, although i do turn down projects. occasionally.

other than meeting a need for feeling valued by others, do i learn anything from playing this role?

maybe it isn't even a matter of changing how i meet the need. maybe it's a matter of letting myself realize how much i am already valued. i have such a fear of being left out - still. after all these years and all these social accomplishments. can i nourish the plant of self-confidence in my own garden, instead of buying it from the appreciation of others? can i barf after that terrible analogy? ewww. the power of one's own blog: ruthlessly publishing phrases better burned.

August 12, 2009

carpe that shit, man

peacing out, as hippies say. called in sick to work with a mysterious fat lip i woke up with this morning (them be some powerful dreams) and now enjoying myself as only i know how.

we're having our yearly free sale sometime soon, as the theatre festival takes over our neighbourhood, which means pillaging my room for all the ancient artifacts merely decorating the space, not serving it. i love this liberation.

super fucking cranky on the way to work yesterday, then realized that even on a shitty day, my life rocks. that was compelling. plus it meant i was still allowed to have a shitty day.

of course, being cranky and broke, i tend to notice other cranky broke people. it's helpful to see what works and what doesn't. going crazy and making shit up doesn't seem very effective. accepting offers of short-term employment and making more of your own food helps. urban foraging, good one. staying stuck or buying into the idea that you're fucked and will stay that way indefinitely; bad idea. blaming it all on the meteor shower; amusing. not that i rule out astral influences. i'm no nay-sayer. just that i end up back where i started; broke and cranky. i guess it's a nicer path than blaming oneself to the point of paralysis; it's nice to have an out that is so massive and far away that i can't possibly be held responsible. but seriously?

i don't need a scapegoat to pin the obligations on to. and it isn't what i actually want if i have to force myself to do it. fuck the series of strenuous activities that i "absolutely need to do" to stay myself. i'm on track, evolving like the brilliant motherlover that i am. who cares if the track isn't straightforward? neither are most of the things i like about my life.

bow to the impulse. bow to the overwhelming voice of shrugging it off. grab on to the internal yippee of delight that is always somewhere, always relishing an experience. new mantra:

i am a pirate dressed like a normal woman. no one knows yet. but they will.

August 9, 2009

what kind of faery tale is this?

Special Friend and i were talking the other day about how amazing it is we even found each other. we had a few people in common that only one of us might see anything close to regularly. if we hadn't each cruised the internet looking for good times, we might never have met. more importantly i think, because we met through a dating site, we were checking each other out romantically from the initial meeting: we both knew why we were there.

and i was so new to the whole thing. i had one date with one person before i met SF. and i have not made an e-date since our first. my jaw would have dropped years ago if i were told i'd hook up with someone through a dating site. i have so many sexy, smart and stunning friends, surely i'd have no trouble hooking up? and i don't. but no one does me like SF does me. knows me better than most, and pays more attention to the bits that matter. knows which bits matter. i'm getting all vague here, but that's part of the value in the skill i'm discussing; it's difficult to even describe the arena in which SF operates as he practices his soothing magic upon me.

the cuddles and space when i need it are great (and the space SF takes as needed, and how often our need for space coincides). that either of us found what we were looking for: wow. both in our thirties, pretty sure we'd be alone because we were just too weird, we wanted soemthing too specific; a healthy person that knows how to take care of themselves and does so consciously while still having fun, who wants to explore their whole lives while resting plenty, who likes the subtleties of people-watching (though it was amusing to throw the hipster label around the festival this weekend), who works at being the best selves we feel like being, and at the end of the day, writes it all down. both of us resigned to others not wanting or getting the same out of life. i mean, we weren't hugely isolated or upset about it. we both have friends and love them, but. we were alone.

and then...

full-filling moments

learning more about my own changing perspective. who drops a night of live music by great artists followed by a free party with cheap alcohol and those same great artists jamming with each other and the other volunteers for a night with someone they see regularly? we came home for a nap and never left. now, later, my special friend has departed and i feel happy and fulfilled with my evening's activity choice. painting toenails a spacey aquamarine sparkle and drinking cocoa. i'm surprised how i now care so little about the parties i used to love. i am still happily involved with social activities that differ from my sweetie's (independent activities feels healthy and important for one's sense of selfhood), i'm just not feeling the drive to be up late and carousing around.

found the empathy a bit overwhelming at the festival. i've been stretching my limits in past weeks with the fabulous site crew: meeting and working hard for hours with new people every day, i've been struck with the social dynamics of a community that has been building and flexing for thirty years. these dynamics really do feel like they hit me; in waves, every day, deepening and thickening as i learn more about the people involved through their body language, habits and communication pathways. one of my favourite of elise lebeau's exercises is a great visualization for bringing the spaciousness and equanimity back to one's awareness. it's really lovely for crowds, and i can tell much about my mood simply by whether or not i can even focus on the visualization.

it's nice to be at home, listening to fridge. feeling tired, knowing my bed is right there with clean sheets on it. cat nearby. feeling loved for who i am when i'm not even unconsciously trying to be any of the parts of myself i consider 'better' or more appropriate for public interaction. such enriching harmony, this feeling of acceptance. making it easier to bring all the disparate parts of myself together at one internal fire. getting to know each other, these widely variant versions of self. ah, the yes feeling.

August 4, 2009

groping is for teenagers

new day, at least for some of us. for others it's the same old day. i stop for a moment to consider what my life would be like if i was forbidden to wear pants. it's difficult to imagine why someone would go so far. an indecent act? sure, if your conventional social mores include pretending there isn't anything between my legs. OHMYGOD, SHE IMPLIES VAGINA. SOUND THE ALARMS.

watching comedians last night; fascinating how different comedians use different skills to attract the crowds. some aim to be listened to by everyone (usually helped by volume) and some forego that immediately and craft their set around serving the people in the masses they connect with. i like both kinds.

had trouble grounding yesterday. on my way home from volunteering and feeling totally fractured. this continued through the evening, though mellowed out as i spent more time doing my own thing, in my fabulous home with friends who would check in on my wine and sugar level. the cat also did her part. sigh.

these are the moments when i stop to remember my own emotions and reassure myself with the promise of two solid weeks filled with reading and yoga sometime in february. i miss the solitude and slowness, even as i'm growing exponentially from the experience of august. and really, it's not that far away. the nights are already getting cooler. once again, we pack a sweater. welcome to the first whispers of autumn, fifty-three degrees north. i consider the shortness of summer and its effect on our style of celebration; my city has a festival for every single day from may to september, and desperately happy citizens flock out, spend days awake, cram experiences and sunstroke into every minute of it. i suppose desperate citizens are everywhere, but i still think we show signs of seasonal affective behaviour. i'm not going to classify it as a disorder, that's just silly. one definition of normal and hundreds of definitions for how we 'deviate' from this narrowly defined normalcy? might as well use the law to restrict perfectly acceptable clothing choices. oh wait.