Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

I’ve been fantasizing about spending the day in bed… naked. With red wine. And cookies. And the White Album. And, oh yeah, another person.
I’m not sure who this other person might be. Dashing? So unlikely the mere thought makes me scoff out loud at my ridiculous pain-inducing hope.
There’s a new friend on the horizon… Possibly more than one.
But what I’m drooling over in these flights of fancy is not passion. It’s not about sex or even the nakedness. It’s about the intimacy. I just want to literally and figuratively remove all the barriers between myself and some other person.
I am having vivid dreams of laying naked in a bed reading the Sunday paper with someone.
I am so starved for affection that the idea of being near someone who might brush against my skin is distractingly pleasant. Painfully good to imagine.
And the stupid part? If I could just get over Dashing, I could have this with someone else. If I could love him less, so that I could give up on making it work, or love him more so that I could be even less selfish and stop wanting him to return my affection in the way that I need… This stalemate is driving me a little crazy, which is making me a little twitchy, because I feel a change coming… like a barometric shift. Something’s gotta give… I hope this time it isn’t me.
I just want to play Scrabble, naked, in bed.
And we’re back to the fantasy… Someone pass me a napkin… Or a bib.

Keyless and fancy free

It’s been a long week. A good week. A week with some ups to the sucking me downs. That sounds so dismal but I think it might also be accurate.
I am rediscovering the joys of live music. And pubs. And performance oriented companions. They are so full of life and vigour and they bring it out in everyone around them. I used to have that. I probably still do, I just have it locked behind many, many, many chained doors at this point. Working on finding the keys.
I think I may need to start dating again soon. It sounds exhausting. And terrifying. And kind of pointless right now. But soon… It might be a healthy thing to try.

Well, that took longer than I thought…

OK, reaching out again, to the world, one baby step at a time, and trying not to trip over my own d*mn feet. Literally and figuratively.
Learning how to walk again has been painful. And time consuming. And is still ongoing.
Learning how to love again, or still, or something… Well, it’s time to stop wishing and hoping, Dusty, and get back to feeling good. Or anything.
So starting small. This all-or-nothing gal is learning patience the hard way.
And if I’m going to see the big picture, I have to see myself as part of it.

BBC Emmelines Women

BBC Emmelines Women

I’m back… inaction.

Kicking in my own doors for once...

Kicking in my own doors for once…
Door Ajar by dok1, used by Creative Commonse License.

Hello All.

So my fun health issues turned out to be life-changing. Hence the disappearing act. Not to worry, I’m fine. I’m not going anywhere any time soon. I just have had to pay closer attention to my diet and banish chairs from my world. But it raised up a whole host of fears and panic and issues with which I thought I had already dealt more effectively. Apparently, I’m still human, no matter what I try to pass off to the world.

Eventually, I hope to be able to discuss that time in greater detail, but for now, I’m going to leave it that I felt powerless, and then invisible, which naturally kept me silent for so long.

Also, I’ve discovered I write best (read: at all) in mornings and evenings – and since my mornings are taken up by ensuring I eat an appropriate and balanced breakfast, and literally hanging out in the pool at the local Y hoping for some passive traction to actively do something, and oh, yeah, work -that place where they keep my money and benefits… and since my evenings are taken up by resting my very tired self, ensuring I eat an appropriate and balanced supper, and taking the wall-of-exhaustion medication… the writing thing, became not so important. Which just adds to the voice-less invisibility, so I’m trying to bring it back. It will likely be sporadic, and that’s OK. I am human.

As for the rest of me… well, the chair banishment leaves me at a struggle to participate socially in the world at large, but I’m trying. Bars are at a higher esteem than they have been since I was an undergrad! Also, restaurants with tall tables, you are my friends and I will likely keep you in business.

I do feel on the whole that I am starting back at square one in my struggle to balance my life socially – it’s hard to get very busy on-the-go type people to visit their bed-ridden friend when they have multiple jobs etc. So… it’s been quiet, but I am trying. Again. Lather, rinse, repeat, right?

I have some fantastic medical professionals added to my team, so that’s nice.

And Dashing and I are… good. Apparently, he can find ways to visit the bed-ridden while working multiple jobs and going back to school. You see why I love him?
We struggle and fight, and are learning to better communicate and accept one-another for what we each have to offer. It’s hard. But we’re working on it. And it’s starting to feel like we might actually be working together on it. You know, as a team. Which is the whole point. Teams, communities, they’re hard to build and harder to maintain… but so very necessary.

I’m glad I have this community to return to. I hope you’re still out there waiting to join the discussion again.

Thank you.

Holidays Ahoy!

Holiday Cookies by DC Central Kitchen, CC License

Holiday Cookies by DC Central Kitchen, CC License

I know, I’ve been sporadic of late. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been dealing with some fun physical ailments and it’s Christmas ’round here, so there’s lots to do, lots of duties to perform, and lots of egos to stroke… As much as I get down on holidays in general and fake ones specifically, I do enjoy Christmas. The food, the reaching out, the coming together of communities, the temporary lifting of the apathy we wear for most of the year – it’s warming. It’s hopeful. As tough an image as I put out there, I do look forward to it every year.

Anyway, I’m going to sign off until the New Year, give myself some time to heal, and reflect on the past year, and come back at y’all fresh and full of argument and ways to keep and create communities… Sound good? Good.

In the meantime, I thought I would leave you with a link to some of my archives – posts I love that I’d love you to read or re-read and posts that have top-performed according to my stats page.

So from my personal wish-list of posts:

For a little Laughter and Love try Ego Boost and Sunshine

For a little insight to my life, and to offer me some sage advice, try And My Super Power Is…

To get the glean on one of my fabulous half-baked theories try Smart Woman Syndrome

For tough stuff check out The Unspoken…

And to see where it all began, It takes a…

Now for Go-Getter posts by computer calculation:

How to Keep Friends: A Social Experiment III

Sympathy for the Skinny Girl

Sometimes You Gotta Unplug to Recharge

Warning! Woman at Work

There’s more out there, so click around if you get really bored. Better yet, leave me some comments, send me an email with a request or a question, and most of all have a happy holiday wherever you are! I’ll see you in the new year!

From Black and White to Shades of “Grey”: Does being left at the altar mean the end of a relationship?

Wedding Bouquet by Rosen Georgiev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wedding Bouquet by Rosen Georgiev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A certain popular television series got me thinking tonight. When do you know it’s right to join your life to another? To add him or her to your hub of your community? To allow him or her access to your other communities?

When do you know it’s right to become married?

I say “become married” rather than “get married” because I do not believe that marriage is something you acquire. Achieve, perhaps, grow into, most certainly, but pick up like eggs and milk from the corner store? No.

Also, I believe it is possible to become married without having a wedding. If you throw the law out of it (which it should be), and if you throw out definitions using variations of the same word (sloppy), then we see the third definition in Merriam-Webster as being:

An intimate or close union

Which is entirely possible to develop without celebrating it, without publicly stated vows, without rings or things or kitchen sinks…

Now, I am not discounting the importance of weddings. I do not believe that in general they are frivolous affairs which change nothing in any relationship. I believe they can be quite transformative, but that every wedding may not necessarily be so.

I’m simply questioning the all-encompassing significance our society places on the altar. Is it truly necessary to have a wedding in order to enter that state of intimate union with another?

And, as in the case of our fine characters who inspired this line of thought, can a relationship survive one of the two not making it to the altar? How devastating to the relationship must it be?

I can understand that to the individual left waiting it must be a tremendous blow to the ego, and to your faith and trust in the other person, and that latter part necessitates that it must affect the relationship – but must it be devastating?

An intimate or close union. Union. That requires two people, two wants, two needs, two schedules, and two perspectives to consider.

And I believe one can be entirely ready for a marriage, for an intimate union, for a partnership of that magnitude, and yet, not be ready for a wedding.

Obviously communication is key, but if you are planning a wedding (and hopefully the after-wedding) with a person, and you show up on the day, brimming with certainty and anticipation and a certain amount of trepidation… and that person simply doesn’t arrive… Does it change who he or she is? Does it change who he or she is to you? Does it change what you want from/with him or her? Do you stop loving him and wanting her and needing him or her?

Or can you accept that it happened and move on and still be with him or her?

Is that too much? Is it an act devoid of self-respect to stay on? To continue the relationship after inconsideration and perceived rejection and (typically) intimate public humiliation?

Obviously, one cannot know until one is in such a position, but I can tell you what I hope from myself, and my partners:

Perhaps I am too romantic. Perhaps I was raised by parents who demonstrated such unconditional love that I can’t imagine any singular act on it’s own changing that type of bond.

But that’s just it.

“I love you forever” doesn’t come with caveats. Unless you put them there.

Perhaps it’s the divorced child in me, but I’ve had enough of secrets and ifs and situational relationships. A marriage is not the place for them. Not for me, anyhow. By the time I’m looking down an aisle (or trail, or path, or ribbon, or slip’n’slide – whatever we set up), I would hope that I am already considering that person waiting for me to be my partner, and for I to be his or hers. We would already be family. Our marriage would already have begun, and would not be solely dependent on a wedding happening that hour, that day, or at all.

You shouldn’t have to say “I’ll have an intimate union with you, only after we sign documents/speak vows/party with family,” it should be a process. An ongoing ever-evolving process. I hope I wake up everyday from the moment I know that person to be part of my family and think to myself “Today, I marry you” whether there’s a wedding or not.

What do you hope for in such an experience? Please share your story below.

From Quantity to Quality: How To Make Friends Part III

Smiling Young Couple In Bar by photostock/Freedigitalphotos.net

Smiling Young Couple In Bar by photostock/Freedigitalphotos.net

Sometimes you have to mine a lot of coal before you find a diamond. So if you are bent on expanding your community, or if you find yourself building from scratch, the fastest way to meet the widest range of people is probably what you’re looking for. The final frontier, so to speak.

Speed dating and Social Mixers.

Seriously. I’m not joking. You don’t have to be looking to date anyone, or maybe you are and that’s OK, too. But Speed Dating and Mixers are going to get you in touch with the most number of new people the most quickly.

We’ve talked about doing things you enjoy, and we’ve talked about getting over fear - and frankly, both will help you if you go this route, the former by providing you with subjects on which to converse, and the latter, because, well, you got to have some chutzpah to put yourself out there like that.

I’ve never done it but I’ve definitely thought about it, and actually it seems like such an awesome idea. A public forum to meet new people and hopefully create platonic, romantic, or even business relationships from there. It’s like networking on steroids.

Guaranteed if you live near a major city there are several companies devoted to this kind of event – but your local church, college, or community centre might host them, too. Double check whether you need to be a member to attend.

I know some people laugh at this kind of thing, or think it’s weird, or only for desperate people – but really, what’s so wrong with it? And if you try it, what have you got to lose?

Here’s what I would do to prepare for an event like this:

1. Get dolled up. Not because you’re looking to lure a man or woman, but because when you look good, you feel good. When you are putting your best image out there, it’s so much easier to feel confident. But be wise about it. Don’t wear 3 inch heels if you’re a flats girl, don’t buy a blazer you found on the pages of GQ if you’re a sweater vest type of guy (sweater vest are hot, by the way).  Be comfortable, be you, but be the type of you that feels beautiful.

2. Pack appropriately – mints, anyone? Chapstick, some cash, business cards if you have ‘em. Makeup if you’re into touching up. A lucky charm. If you’re really nervous you might jot down some topics to bring up, or a quotation or mantra that you find soothing or inspirational. Bring a pen and some paper for info exchanges – just in case nobody else brought business cards…

3. Bring a Friend – yes, yes, I know you’re here to meet new people. But it’s always nice to have some back up, someone to laugh with on the way home if the night went horribly awry, and especially for women, there is safety in numbers. Generally these events are held in brightly lit (streetwise) public areas, but it may be a section of town with which you’re not familiar. Or parking could be a few blocks away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and having a friend along when you’re lost, or not sure if that guy is following you, or just headed to the same lot as you will be a huge asset.

4. Be open to the experience. Try not to have preconceived ideas – just go and enjoy. That’s the only way you get anything out of anything – just see what happens. Be present in the moment.

You may not meet your soulmate, or your BFF, but you might have fun. You might have fantastic conversations with people you might never have looked twice at if you’d passed them on the street. You might find someone who can help you with that furniture restoration, or squealing belt in your car’s engine, or who can set you up with an interview for a better job. Or, you might be able to help someone else out. How cool would that be?

Whatever happens, it would be an experience.

What do you think? Is speed dating still too weird? Or is it passé now? What about mixers? Are they just conventions in miniature? Or a house party gone corporate? Would you ever try one of these?

Communal Musings

Community by Jeff Kubina, Creative Commons License

Community by Jeff Kubina, Creative Commons License

So what is a community? Why do we seek it out? Why do we spend all this energy cultivating it? Why do we need it?

Well, I believe a community is a collection of people or things with a relationship to one another; usually with the aspiration of being greater than the sum of its parts. Two people can form a community, a very intimate one, albeit. And one person alone can have a community of the mind or of passion or of achievement – by collecting and experiencing art, literature, and sport.

When we are born we rely on our family, our first community to provide for us, to keep us alive. We are dependent.

As we grow, our independence grows, too, and I think as adults we have a hard time balancing that desire and pride in providing for oneself, in achieving goals without the assistance of others and yet allowing ourselves to find those on whom we can depend. Why should we? Especially in this day and age of technology and superstores we ought to be self-sufficient, yes?

No.

That need of others is still there, sometimes deep within. And the fact is, we are stronger in numbers. Emotionally, physically, and mentally we grow more in relation to our experiences, and the more people, activities, and geography we include in our communities, the more experience we cultivate, the stronger we become.

I say “more” but I mean it qualitatively as well as quantitatively. A man might visit all seven continents in a year while another has spent a lifetime studying in minute detail the 10 square miles surrounding his home – who has seen more of the world? I leave it to you to decide for yourself.

This begins to explain why we seek out and cultivate communities, and I’ve begun to speak of several definitions of what a community might include.

But what about you? Why do you seek out a community? Do you seek one out at all? How do you define it? What do you include in it? Please, let me know, I’m curious to hear what others think on this.

How to Keep Friends: A Social Experiment III

Balance is Key

Partner Yoga courtesy JoreJj Z. Elprehzleinn, Creative Commons License

So I’m putting myself out there. Well, literally, through this blog, but also in my offline life. And I promised to keep y’all updated.

Well nothings happened lately – I’ve fallen off the wagon as it were, what with holidays and birthdays and whatnot. So I’ve decided to update you on my state of mind, and put together a post requested by the Smitten Immigrant. And to somehow combine the two…

So I’ve said before that I’m an ambivert, which means I identify as both introvert and extravert (literally, I took the test in guidance at my highschool a couple of times over the course of several months while choosing university programs, and bang, two different results). And I think everyone has a little of each inside. It’s all very situational and has to do with comfort level, I believe.

Now I’m not a psychologist or an expert in anything, so I can only speak from my personal experience and observation.

Our society values extraverts. As the Smitten Immigrant says in her comment – introverted women are seen as the oddest ducks. Everything from commercials to new television series to reality television focuses on ballsy, popular, sexually hungry, sassy women. They are portrayed as modern, ideal, and normal – whereas their quiet sidekicks are shown as sweet, and old-fashioned, and not worthy of centre stage.

I think this idea really stems from a misconception (one of many) that came out of the feminist movement. It’s this idea that extraverted behaviour is an indication of strength. Introversion and extraversion have nothing to do with strength. I have met many needy, weak, and clingy extraverts, and many strong, self-possessed introverts. It seems we as a society never got over Tennessee Williams’ Laura Wingfield as the example of introversion, and her extremes have faded from our collective consciousness until what was a crippling and obsessive character trait pales and mutates to become our new definition of the word.

So what is the difference then? Well, introverts prefer solitude or small groups, enjoying and thriving off the sound of their own thoughts without the stereo feedback of a crowd. Extraverts prefer the throng, the pulse and beat of a crowd, the gratification of feedback from a source external to themselves.

As an introvert, I enjoy the observation of crowds, the ability to chew over a thought before I say it, the fantasy and daydreaming that can only come with some uninterrupted conversation with me, myself, and I. Thinking more, and feeling more on a soulful level, feeling recharged in a quiet, wisdom-seeking mode. Enjoying me, and my books, and the feel of being an island.

As an extravert, I enjoy the solitude within a crowd, being a part of the whole, the freedom to not think before I speak, and riding the wild repercussions that can come from that. There is an instinct in interacting with people, and a wild high in feeding off their energy. I can get drunk without touching alcohol. And I make friends and connections like a match to flash paper, which is good, because no man is an island, right?

Finding the balance can be like, well, like these.

As a self-identified woman of extremes, I should probably look up my nearest Buddhist temple and start learning to walk the middle path, except I’m pretty sure I’d fail. A lot. (On second thought, that might be a good thing…)

At any rate, my experiment designed to help me create more balance is working, but I need to find the energy to maintain the momentum I’ve managed to create, because otherwise I go back to hermit-ville, and that’s not good for me all the time.

My extraversion really shows when I’m speaking with passion, when I’m performing, and when I’m with other creatives. I may need to find a show… Or go dancing… Except, I don’t know how to go dancing without getting hit on, and I’m really too old for that crap, I just want to dance and feel the beat and the lights and the shadows and the sweat and the smile – and not get pawed at and manhandled. Too much to ask?

Well, until I figure it out, I’m enjoying my books and figuring me out, and there’s nothing weak about that.

This is a start, I’ll be writing more on these subjects I’m sure, but what I’d really like to know now is what do you guys think? When are you introverted, when are you extraverted? Do you ever wish you were the other? When? Why? What do you value? Let me know, below!!

Give and Take

Give and Take

A gift courtesy david.orban, Creative Commons License

Alright, I took a week. I’m sorry, I’ve neglected you and didn’t tell you why or give you a heads up. We good?

If only it were that simple, right?

It comes back to this today. At work I am a Giver, with my friends, currently, I am a Giver, and with Dashing, I am equal parts Giver and Cleaner.

Even with family, especially this time of year, I am Giver/Cleaner.

I suppose we could say I use this blog to Take for myself, and it’s true, I do get something out of it (even more than this, although this was nice!). Or I wouldn’t keep doing it, right?

So when is it my turn in real life?

Well, if past experience serves, December? Not gonna be it.

See Christmas is in December, and my nearly Christian family thinks that means something…

Mini-rant: Why do we all have to celebrate holidays at the same time? I get that it makes things easier for employers and the government, but really? It’s so annoying when the shops all close down and when I was a shift-worker who didn’t get holidays with the rest of the country (hotels never close, yo. Service industry For The Win!) it was d*mn hard to keep track. Is this a holiday where I have to remember to buy groceries before the shops close, or is this a “holiday” where consumerism reigns and just the lucky government and school children stop working? I never knew until I was sitting in my car in an empty supermarket parking lot thinking “Wait… I know this… Crap, it’s that day!” And the reasoning behind specifically Christmas (which is my family’s argument every year) and that it’s not about taking the holiday with the rest of the country, it’s about that’s when it is, Baby Jesus couldn’t help being born on December 25th — EXCEPT THAT HE DID! Religious appropriation – puts Christmas right up there with Thanksgiving in my fake holiday book… End Rant. Continue: Mostly Thought Out Argument…

Add to that my birthday is in December, this past week actually. And from where I sit, birthdays rarely seem to be about the person growing older. Maybe it’s my div0rced-child roots showing but if the point is that it’s my daaaay and time for me to do whatever I want then couldn’t I forgo the party? Or by that logic, shouldn’t that be a mandated holiday every year (I had my first uni exam on my birthday, so holiday mandation could have been useful)? At the very least – could I go on a crime spree and have no repercussions? “Sorry officer, it’s my birthday and all I wanted to do today is race down the highway at 150 km/hr and invite myself inside some nice person’s home (side note: now that’s how to make friends!)… “

It just feels like this period is all about me but not actually for me.

And maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

I get that birthdays are on the surface about surviving another year, and presumably acknowledging one’s accomplishments, and celebrating one’s mistakes, self-reflection, finding enlightenment – but they seem to end up being about how your mother was very uncomfortable once upon a time or how your ex would really like to get drunk and lock himself in your bathroom (true story) or how your community really just wants an excuse to eat, drink and be merry – which means you smiling – a lot… I get that ultimately holidays are about celebrating family and togetherness and gratitude for our communities. I understand that is an easier feat to accomplish when it’s scheduled in the communities’ collective consciousness. I get that the date is not actually important so long as the intention is preserved.

Maybe I’m a Grinch. Maybe I just resent being told what to do and when to do it.

After all, if the point is to celebrate your community and show your gratitude for how they lift you up and preserve you from harm – isn’t making it easier kinda lazy? Wouldn’t it be more meaningful if you took time out and made a holiday happen instead of allowing a religious or governmental institution tell you when to do it?

Wouldn’t you appreciate one of your friends celebrating you on a day that isn’t your birthday more than having to say “It’s my birthday, let’s party, and you can buy me gifts/shots/lap dances?” If it’s not about the gift, if it’s about the thought behind the gift… then isn’t a gift “just because” better than a gift “because it’s [insert holiday]“?

One Last Mini-Rant On This Subject: And for the record, while I would really rather not get anything, if you must buy gifts, on behalf of anyone born in December or early January – Christmas themed gifts are not birthday presents! Buy some new wrapping paper – or use comic books, or newsprint, or fabric, or a dropcloth – stay away from red and green combos (unless the person you’re buying for actually likes that combination – which is cool if they do) and go for red OR green instead, and for goodness sake anything with snowflakes, Frosty, Santa, or reindeer are not welcome unless, you know, the recipient collects that stuff. I would rather you write me a poem, or make a card, or give a gift certificate, or put some thought into what I might like, versus, OK check, gift done. If you can’t find a mug/sweater/tchotchke that doesn’t have Christmas all over it for a winter birthday, you’re not really trying, and it’s kinda insulting. I’d rather not get anything at all. Seriously.

Student living and me.

Just life. But through the eyes of a Blue-eyed History student.

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