Winding Down

Sometimes I marvel at how this species has survived so long under the direction of men. Good grief.

I’m not sure I really know how to friendship. It’s been a recurring theme for quite some time now, I realize, and I’d apologize for it – but I’m not really sorry, so what would be the point?

Anyway, I just can’t find the balance at all. If I keep quiet and listen, I’m distant and disconnected…or – those aren’t quite the right words. I feel closed off because I am putting all of the focus on another person. If I babble on too much about myself, I feel selfish.

It just never feels balanced to me, this whole relating to other people thing.

And I’m strangely okay with that, actually. For the moment, at least!

Making Connections

What began as a kind of crappy day off yesterday, ended up being rather remarkable.

I’d booked a vacation day with the intention of going to the zoo to visit Hudson et al, and I left later than planned, but at least I went.  The weather was pretty gross sometimes, and it rained quite a bit for a while, but I made quick trips to look in on some faves, and some I haven’t seen…all year, I think.  But most of my time there was spent with the bears.

And for once, the rain actually helped.

Steve and I hadn’t been with the boys for very long when it started raining harder than it had been previously.  We eventually decided to move into the sheltered area by Juno and, knowing he’s not a fan of rain, either, Steve called Hudson over to that area where he could also stay dry.  No one else was around, and Hudson lumbered into the spot next to the window we were at and made himself comfortable.  I’ve been that close to him before – when he was a young lad – but this was the first time he’d ever really stayed in one place for more than a few seconds.

I took several photos in the beginning, but not as many as usual, and it wasn’t long before I had put my coat on the floor so I could sit on it and Steve and I basically just hung out with Hudson for a while.  We talked to him and pressed our hands to the glass, and every time he made eye contact with me my heart about exploded.

Nearly four years after he left Toronto, I finally got the chance to re-connect with my favourite bear.

Next up was our weekly girls’ night, but only two of us were able to attend this time.  After arguing back and forth with myself all week about how I should go about these hangouts moving forward, I went still undecided to meet up with one of my best friends.  There are two, but this one I see more regularly, and I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to say any of what I needed today and open up better (despite the rising panic I feel every time I think about it), or if I would just relax and allow it to remain more superficial.

I ended up choosing Option A.

To a degree, anyway.  But still much closer to what I’d been hoping for all this time, so I’m fairly proud of myself. AND I was able to listen more closely, too.  There are I think two things I wish I’d said, but both are related to what she’s going through, instead of things I wish I’d said about myself.  I didn’t leave frustrated and upset and feeling alone for the first time in a long time.  I mean, I left drunk and tired, of course, but …satisfied.  More balanced.  Still some panic, but less than before.

I won’t say I turned a corner, but I did have a good day.  I connected with individuals I love.

That counts.

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Balance

So…last night was so much more than I could have anticipated.  I don’t know what I’d expected, really.  Maybe nothing, which would be how I was caught so off-guard, perhaps.  Regardless, it was different.  Different from my life for a long, long time.  I’m confused now, but in mostly a good way.  And for the first time in ages, I’m excited to see what happens next, if anything.  I’m excited to feel like I want there to be a next.

Then, after too little sleep, I got up too early and headed to the zoo to spend some time with my bear.  I love that guy so much.  And I love the friends who were with me all day, even though none of us planned to spend the whole day there.  It’s so weird…I just can’t get enough of him, or of the whole thing.  I couldn’t pull myself away.

And I saw baby Rey the zebra for the first time, and fell in love with her cute self, so I picked up a wee zebra stuffie to commemorate the occasion.  Her name is also Rey, because why pretend she’s anyone else?

I got the news that Ron Glass has passed away once I got home.  I guess it’s about balance.  I had a good night and day, and had to have that balanced out by having my Browncoat heart broken at the same time.

Suffice it to say that, for me, it’s been an interesting 24 hours.

Volunteer time tomorrow.

More Dreams And Carpe Diem Notions

It’s entirely possible that last night’s dream was a kind of warning, in a way. Though it’s just as likely that it was my brain’s way of expressing guilt and, like, concern.

Either way, it wasn’t entirely unpleasant, and I saw some people in the dream who I haven’t seen in life for a long time, so that was cool. Same with the dream I had the night before – so much was going on, and it largely revolved around people who haven’t really been in my life for several years…more than a decade, in most cases. It’s interesting (to me) that both dreams involved people and situations from roughly the same period of time in my waking life, and yet they didn’t seem to be connected at all. It was a period of much change in my world, and those two dreams managed to reflect very different facets of some of those changes.

Unless last night’s was really just a guilt dream, after all. But still. It chose an interesting route with which to express itself, that’s for sure.

I think whether it was warning or guilt, too, it probably has some merit to it, as well. It definitely got me thinking this morning, and even though I am just as exhausted as I have been in recent days, anyway, that dream has given me a bit more focus today, and that’s a good thing. Maybe nothing will come of any of it, but for now, it’s really got me intent on at least investigating a few avenues. It lit a small fire under my butt, so at the very least, I am using that as incentive today!

I’ve also started planning the next radio play reading, and have begun to reach out to possible cast members to see who might be available. I want to get the announcement of Reelie award winners out of the way before we do this next play, as the script is short and we should have time to do both. All of that should also bring me closer to being able to launch the Mind Reels Patreon page – which would be kind of cool to do for my birthday, but at the same time, I won’t be able to promote it much around then because I’ll be at Fan Expo meeting my boy Luke Skywalker!

So I’ll probably be distracted.

But we’ll see how it goes.

Back to the dream – like, it took place in the school where I did my practicum during my year of teacher’s college. After graduation, I went back several times to visit everyone, and just spend some time in a classroom when I could. I miss being able to do that, I realized. I miss that school in particular, and it’s funny how any time I think about trying to go back to a teaching environment, my mind always imagines it to be done there; at that school, and with those people. Many if not most of the teachers don’t even work there anymore, and even the Principal is someone I don’t know now. The students have, of course, moved on long ago. My little grade 6 kids would be in their 20’s by now! What the hell?! How old am I?! I can’t even imagine it, who they are now; the adults they have grown up to be.

I have no idea what the future holds for me and my non-existent teaching career. What’s more is that I have no idea what I’d even want where education is concerned, if anything. I used to have this whole plan laid out, and then everything came together and fell apart – then came together even more and thus fell apart again more completely – so now I’m just…I don’t know. I go back and forth on it all the time, really. Sometimes to extremes where my feelings about it are concerned. I’m a pretty terrible teacher in the traditional sense, I know. But there are so many non-traditional opportunities out there now; so many different ways of doing things, and more room for forging ones own path a little bit. Not to mention the fact that I am really not the same person I was then. I’ve upgraded. Haha

A large part of the realistic issue, of course, is salary. Like always, I have responsibilities that go beyond taking care of my own needs, and I’m not willing to risk failing in fulfilling those just so I can try something out. I would have to find some sort of balance between risk and security in that, too, if ever I were to take the leap again. Or any leap, really, especially where employment is concerned. These days, I’m mostly just very grateful to have a job which pays the bills and allows me to keep everybody fed with a roof over our heads. Even on my worst days, I am highly reluctant to mess with that again, because I’ve been there when it falls through and I’ve lost it all. I’m not eager to take that chance again.

Just because I’m being cautious, though, doesn’t mean my eyes aren’t open. If there is something more out there for me, I still intend to seize it when I can.

On Dreams And Adapting

I had a dream about one of my exes last night.

Well, not exactly about her, but all the ridiculous drama – particularly near the end – featured quite heavily throughout. It’s likely my own fault for watching Bachelor in Paradise, but still. It’s had an odd effect on my waking life mindset today.

I’m angry.

Not raging mad, or anything, just a kind of over the bullshit feeling. It feels rather empowering.

Of course, I’m also exhausted, so that is likely feeding my grumpy ill-temper, as well, but whatever. I’ll focus on the empowering part!

It’s weird to stand outside of someone else’s relationship – romantic or even just friend-wise – and see a glaring imbalance within it. Weirder still is standing inside of your own relationship and seeing it – yet accepting it, anyway. Even helping to perpetuate it. Such an odd sensation to kind of hate it, and kind of hate yourself for standing for it, yet still kind of assuming that maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. Maybe just for you, maybe just for this relationship, but still accepting it nonetheless. The logic side of you is disgusted with the whole thing. The emotional side of you is more conflicted and unsure how to proceed, so you just kind of sit there inside of it and wait for something or someone to tip the scales in a different direction. Sometimes you even think it’ll be you who tips them – just maybe not quite yet.

The ex in my dream was a compulsive liar, I think would be the term, in real life. I knew this very early on, and I adapted to basically take everything she said with a grain of salt. I think I spoke to this before, in that not believing her became a habit which was then transferred into my next relationship, until I realized what I was doing and willed myself to cut it out and treat that new relationship as the wholly different entity that it was. I still catch myself being quietly sceptical of those around me sometimes, though. I’m not sure if it can all be traced back to that relationship, or if I just have trouble trusting people in general. Same result, either way, though.

Anyway, the lies weren’t necessarily huge, and weren’t usually hurtful towards others. I figured it was kind of a defence mechanism to keep people from getting too close to the real person inside; that it likely stemmed from some deep inner self-hatred, the source of which I was never privy. It was always clear, however, that it had nothing to do with me personally. It was just a part of who she was, and I decided I couldn’t pick and choose which parts of a person I would love, so I chose to essentially ignore some of those parts, instead.

I do that will all living beings, really. No one is perfect, so I chose which parts I like and ignore the rest, if the parts I like outnumber and outweigh the parts I don’t, I mean. Like, I don’t love that Flynn poos on the mat more often than she poos in the litter box, but I love Flynn for much more than where she poos, so I adapt and tolerate and go on loving her fluffy self. I chose to deal with the things I don’t like because there are so many more that I do.

Same with the lying ex. I didn’t realize at the time how far-reaching some of the effects of those choices I made then would be, but still – I didn’t make them blind. I knew pretty much exactly what I was doing. I remember deciding to just adapt and go with it. I remember making excuses for that decision. I remember not being surprised when it all came back to bite me, but still being incredibly hurt by it. Not that I thought it wouldn’t, or that I was special, or that I could change her with my love. Nothing like that. I think it was more just choosing to adapt to it – to change myself a little bit instead.

I think a lot of people do that – maybe everyone, maybe more often women – but a lot of people, regardless. I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve seen one person – often a guy – talk down at someone else – often a woman – and watched the woman just take it. As though maybe a part of her believes whatever he’s saying to be actual truth. And maybe it is, but it’s his truth, and she takes it on as her truth, as well. Maybe some part of me believed I deserved to be lied to by my partner; perhaps as penance for not trusting anyone to begin with (damn you, X-Files!), or perhaps just because that’s what I get when I don’t open myself up to anyone else, either. Maybe I felt I was strong enough to take it on when few others could, which in turn made me feel kind of special. Like an emotional superhero, loving those who feel they are unlovable.

Whatever the reason, it wasn’t the first time I allowed an imbalance to permeate a relationship/friendship, and it wasn’t the last. It’s interesting that watching a cheesy “reality” show could dredge up some of those old emotions to the point where they had to show up all throughout a dream that otherwise had nothing to do with them. Now it’s all swirling around in my mind again, even though I haven’t seen that person in almost 13 years now, I’d say. I guess it’s not really the specific person, anyway, so much as the feelings that evolved throughout our relationship and then escalated during our ridiculously dramatic relationship.

Like, people are mean – to each other, to other living things. Giving someone the power to hurt you is hard, especially once other hurt-y people have paved the way for them in the past. I think the kind of cool thing for me today, though, is that I’m more angry than hurt, and that’s a newer stage for me. I mean, I went through them all back in the day, too, don’t get me wrong. I was hella mad, I was vengeful, I was afraid and I was devastated. I was all over the place, dealing with that sense of loss. Even to the point of not really considering it a loss sometimes.

I remember, like, a day or two after i moved out, I went back to get the last of my things while she was at work. With her permission – she knew I was going in and that I’d leave my key once I’d retrieved the rest of my stuff, most of which she had thankfully packed for me so it’d be a quick trip. I knew she’d screw me over on a lot of it, too, because she didn’t really care if I ever got everything that was mine back, but still. It was mostly just stuff, with no real value to anyone but me, anyway. The first thing I noticed when I got in the door was that every photograph of me or us or anything to do with us had been removed from their frames and replaced with entirely different pictures. She’d essentially erased my existence from her life, pretty much overnight. That realization ruined me to the point where I stuffed as many of my remaining belongings into as I could into a garbage bag and booted it out of there, never to return.

Well, and I left my key. I’m not the asshole she expected me to be, after all.

I also accidentally left behind a few items that were personally very important to me, and never saw them again, either, which sucks. That hurts more now than the picture thing, actually. One hurt was in the moment, and the other – which was a direct result of the first – has had long-lasting emotional repercussions.

I feel like there’s a lesson in that…

Anyway. I’m grumpy today, and feeling less like putting up with other people’s crap than usual, which is probably a good thing.

I will, however, still put up with Flynn’s crap, because the things to love about her will always outweigh the…crap.

Carrying Things

I’m one of those people who can usually be found carrying around a lot of things. Physically and, like, emotionally, too, I guess, but I was thinking more about the physical stuff I drag around with me every day. I’m not sure how long it’s been going on, nor when I turned it into part of my conscious decision-making process, but I often will dream about packing quickly while trying to leave wherever I am, and having a hard time remembering to bring everything I might need.

I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Which has resulted in my having a lot that I don’t need.

I think I’ve pretty much always had a plan in my head; the “what would I do if” sort of running through possible scenarios over and over. A zombie escape plan, sure, but so much more than that, too. Knowing that I can’t prepare for any and every possibility doesn’t really stop me from trying, though. I’ve spent the majority of my life watching, trying to anticipate what might happen next.

That I’m generally wrong doesn’t stop me from trying, either.

I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

That I probably wouldn’t even survive half of the things I come up with doesn’t stop me from trying, either, actually.

In that vein, I also carry around some guilt and indecision as to how I imagine I would spend my last days, if I knew they were numbered. I mean, they are numbered for all of us, of course, but if I knew the number that was left, I like to think I would do things differently from how I do things now. I have ideas as to those I would want to spend that last bit of time with, and of the things I would like to spend that time doing. Those ideas don’t mesh with reality, and they certainly don’t mesh with what’s expected of me. I’m always torn between those things – what I want versus what others want for me, and/or expect from me. I go back and forth between what I think I would choose to do. If it was just my days which were numbered, I think I would probably do what was expected or needed by those I’d be leaving behind. They are the ones who would have to live with my choices after I’m gone.

If it was an apocalyptic thing and we were pretty much all doomed, then maybe I would finally decide to do as much of what I want, with those I want to do it with, as possible. Maybe I would finally take care of my own needs, knowing that it was unlikely that any of us would have to live with my choices for very long after I make them. The sad thing is, those on my wishlist don’t really have me on theirs – or wouldn’t, in the event of apocalypse times. So it’s quite likely that, even if I tried to do things for me, I wouldn’t really be able to pull them off the way I’d want to, if at all. There’d still be an imbalance, only I would be the one making hopeful requests of those who’d rather be elsewhere. And for me there’s no balance in that, either.

I think I’d rather be the one who sacrifices what they most want than be the one someone else has to turn down in order to be where they most want. Or worse, be the one someone else sacrifices what they really want in order to give in to my needs. Not sure even the imminent end of times could assuage that level of guilt! Haha

Here’s the thing, though. None of us will live forever. Every day is one day closer to our own personal end. Yet so many of us are not living our lives in ways which fulfil us.

Maybe it’s time I start finding the balance between what I want and what is requested of me from others, and make my life more my own.

Maybe if I can do that, I’ll find it easier to dream-pack someday.

Writing Prompts – Day 3 of 12

Day 3:  Mystery Cookie

One Day you come into work and find a cookie mysteriously placed on your desk. Grateful

to whoever left this anonymous cookie, you eat it. The next morning you come in and find

another cookie. This continues for months until one Day a different object is left—and this

time there’s a note.

 

Whenever I actually find something left for me on my desk at work – especially if it’s food of any kind – I assume it’s from Generous George, and accept it with gratitude, always thanking him when I see him. For the purposes of this, I’ll assume it was George, but then come to find that it was, in fact, not. Maybe he denies it, and maybe I don’t believe him at first, but eventually come to the supposition that perhaps the cookies are not coming from Georgie at all. I mean, it goes on for months – that’s a lot of false denial on both our parts.

I wonder why “Day” is capitalized in the prompt write-up?

Anyway, one day I come in and, instead of a cookie, I find a small feather. It looks like it’s from a pigeon. And not so much a note – but a map.

(Note: Just got some rather sad news so keeping this short, because I’m no longer very focused on writing at the moment)

So a map. From what I can tell, it’s for an area of my workplace, but one I haven’t been to in years. Not the way it was, anyway. Renovations several years ago rearranged things, so now there is an alarmed security door between where I am now and the stairwell I used to use several times a day. No one really uses that area any more, as this side of the door is just storage space, and all of the offices that used to be on this level have been moved to a different building all together. Other than the washrooms, there’s no need for anyone to come down to the stairwell on the other side of the door anymore. We used to use it as our main entrance and exit back in the day, however, so it doesn’t take long before I recognize what I am looking at.

In fact, it was in that very stairwell – mere months before I moved away for a short time – that a pendant so precious to me I wore it every day, broke suddenly, and a piece of it was lost. It had been a gift, created by hand, and given to me to mark a special day. I valued it almost as much as I valued the one who gave it to me, and even though I changed the cord it hung from a couple of times to keep it strong, the beads and other items which hung from it remained ever the same.

Until that day.

Out of nowhere, the cord suddenly snapped and everything scattered to the tiled floor as I was starting to climb the stairs. I was a tad confused as to how it had broken, as to my knowledge the cord I was using was still in good shape, but the pendant had broken before, and I’d always retrieved all of the pieces, and placed them back in their proper order on a new cord.

This time, I gathered everything up once again, and double-checked to make sure I had it all. I did not. There was a single bead missing. This would not be a huge deal, except that the beads were all in pairs on the pendant, and not having one meant that the balance was all thrown off. What’s more is that a piece of the whole was missing, and that just didn’t sit right with me. Inside, I started to become a little frantic, and then a lot frantic, as the more I searched – even including the help of a friend – the more obvious it became that the bead was gone.

Despite the fact that there was nowhere for it to go. There were no cracks in the tile, no gaps between the floor and the wall which wasn’t sealed. We widened our search to ridiculous proportions, but eventually I had to concede defeat. A bead from my precious pendant was gone, and it felt like a piece of me was missing.

It felt like something important had left me, like the One Ring when it chooses to abandon Gollum in the caverns.

That feeling returns with the memories of that day as I follow the map which had been left on my desk with the wee feather. I actually forgot for a moment that the door is alarmed now and I can’t go through it without setting it off, so I turn sheepishly to go upstairs and outside to come in the other entrance. There is a tiny ‘x’ near a corner of the map, and while it’s close to the door, it does appear to be on the other side from where I now work.

I begin to feel even more silly as I descend the stairs, yet memories of that one day increase the closer I get to where it happened. Now that I am here, I take a moment to re-orient myself with the map (I’m basically lost once I get inside most of the time – my sense of direction is crap), and look around the area of the ‘x’ for anything which appears to be out of place. I can’t notice anything overt – definitely no more cookies or even feathers – and the floors are actually quite smooth and clean, since they are so rarely used these days.

I’m feeling pretty ridiculous and am about to head back to work when something catches my eye. It’s in a corner, hard to see, but the pattern of the tile appears to be skewed ever so slightly. Upon closer inspection, I realize that it’s not skewed so much as chipped off. A piece of the tile has cracked at some point, and while the broken part has long since been swept away, it left behind a small gap between the tile and the wall it connects to.

What the hell, right?

I get down on my hands and knees, listening for any sign of another person approaching, and pull out my phone to flip on the flashlight app. Shining it into the dark corner, my heart seems to skip a beat.

The light flickers off of something shiny in that tiny gap.

Feeling ever more insane and yet driven at the same time, I tug my key ring from my jeans pocket, select the one which appears to be the best fit, and wiggle it into the narrow, jagged fracture. I scrape the key toward me a few times, then feel something give under the metal. One more pull in my direction frees it completely, and a small object rolls into the beam of light still emanating from my phone.

Naturally, it’s the missing bead from my pendant. All these years later, it’s decided to return to me.

I mean, what would have been the point of telling that whole story if it had been anything else, right?