Catch-Up Notes

Couple of things…

I had some really tough conversations last week. Tough for me, anyway. I struggled to be real and present in each one, and am fairly confident that I succeeded each time. It was difficult, but entirely worth it. I’m hoping to be able to keep that up, at least with each of the parties involved. One was with my therapist, so obviously I want to maintain that level of work between us as much as possible. One was with one of my best friends. And one was with someone new in my life.

All required different things from me, of course, but one were very easy for me, and I’m glad I didn’t let that stop me from having them. Definitely a good, positive step, all in all.

I volunteered yesterday, as usual. The gang was pretty much all there, and we worked well together, so tasks were completed quickly. That left a little extra time to spend with the animals, which basically made me feel like I’d really done little actual work at all. I hung with the skunks a bit longer as I spot cleaned their enclosure, etc. Pepe and Flower were out, so that left Sumo, Bambi and Thumper to deal with me being in their space talking to them and such. They did great, despite being somewhat afraid of me. Their curiosity is winning out more and more often now.

I played with Aspen the lynx, I held Cricket the baby kangaroo, I held Hamburglar the ferret briefly (way too much energy, that guy), and a couple of the rats, as well. I hung out in the kangaroo enclosure while they checked me out and Willow the capybara spent a few minutes licking my forearm. And I talked to the birds.

One started doing the Super Grover “near, far” thing, which was new to me, and cracked me up endlessly! Just all on his own, chatting away to himself.

Near….far!!!” hahaha

Maybe the best thing that happened, though, was that the hello birds finally started saying hello to me again. It’s been a couple of months since they spoke directly to me, and I’ve missed it like crazy. It was so good to interact with them again at last!

My heart-breaking but beautiful package arrived for me on Saturday, too. It’s perfect, even though I wish it was for a completely different use.

I’ve been doing some prep work on what I believe will be my next blog. I’m hopeful that it will serve much better than this one has, and be more…just…more.

As always, I guess, we’ll see how it goes.

Change Seems To Be A Theme Lately

Did anyone else ever panic about not having a chimney available for Santa to come down on Christmas eve? I mean, not everyone grew up with a fireplace handy! The only one I had regular access to at Christmas was fake. No chimney – what if that meant no Santa?!

Thank goodness it didn’t, but still. A big cause of stress and anxiety for a time there.

As I lay in bed last night, I asked the full moon and summer solstice and fairy magic and anything else who might be listening for something – but I can’t exactly remember what. That’s probably not a good sign. I think peace was involved, and contentment; to realize what I would need in order to find such things. I don’t remember. Guess it wasn’t that important, really. Another wasted wish. Dreamed later of something going on in my childhood home, and how the trees weren’t the same anymore. I don’t think in reality that the trees are even still there, so yeah. They definitely aren’t the same. I can’t remember what was going on in the dream, either, but missing the trees I loved didn’t stop me from being in a good mood, at least.

So there was that.

I approached someone yesterday with an idea as to how I might be able to do more; be of more use. It was turned down, no discussion required. Wasn’t a very good idea, I guess, but was worth a shot. Always worth a shot, even if it means stepping into yet another insurmountable wall.

If love is love is love, then shouldn’t I be able to have sex with as many guys as I want and still be just as gay as always? Is it about sex or love? Because the two are not mutually exclusive – at all. And sex is sex. You can’t choose who you love, but who you have sex with is usually more of a choice, I think. Maybe our labels need to be more clearly defined. Either that, or people need to stop getting so caught up in them.

I keep running into situations wherein someone doesn’t believe me. With most people it doesn’t matter, but when it’s someone close to me…I’m not sure what I’ve done or haven’t done to warrant not at least giving me the benefit of the doubt. Am I that much of a liar or attention-seeking drama queen or disappointment to the rest of the human race that others are easier to believe – to have faith in – than I am? So weird. I mean, I get not listening to me. As I’ve said, I bore myself more often than not. But that’s different from just not believing I’ll do what I say I intend to do. I feel like I am let down on a regular basis, too, yet I still believe most of what people say; naively so, in most cases. And considering I was in a serious relationship with a chronic liar, that’s still pretty hard for me to do; to not assume everyone is misleading me. Sometimes I wonder if I should even bother making the effort, when it’s clearly not reciprocated from multiple others. Tit for tat, right?

I said ‘tit’.

I’ve learned how crazy lucky I was to get my apartment when I did, and for the rent I did. Even though it has gone up a little each year, I am paying far less than the move-in rent if I were to become a new tenant now. Far less. It’s more than a full paycheque to move in now. I wouldn’t even be able to afford to look at the place, and compared to most buildings, the size of my unit is huge.

I said ‘my unit is huge’.

Was just chatting about TV shows we used to watch as kids, and one guy was adamant about not having watched Wonder Woman when he was growing up. Which is too bad for him, because Wonder Woman is hot! What is it about guys – of pretty much any age – preferring to watch other guys doing things, instead of hot women? Guys would rather watch other guys play sports, solve mysteries, drive cars and motorcycles, save lives using their superpowers – even when they’re wearing tights and silly costumes. Seriously – what is up with that? At what point in our evolution did we decide it was more manly and preferable for guys to enjoy looking at and up to other guys instead of women? Especially strong, independent women. Women who didn’t need saving, and who could think for themselves. How did we become a society that prefers Superman – who gets weak in his tight-ed knees for a woman – over Wonder Woman – who does her own thing and keeps her head on her shoulders rather than becoming hysterical with emotion at every turn? That women are pinups and yet gay is still not okay? Mixed message much?

Speaking of guys, I fully eavesdropped on a couple of young fellas on the subway yesterday after work. One caught my attention because he announced that he was 20, and that college was hard for him. When I turned to look at him (in part to see why he was so loud about his age and such on public transit), I saw this beautiful young thing with dark wavy hair, dressed in a white t-shirt that set off his tan nicely, and sunglasses perched casually atop his head. The friend he was talking to was more plain looking, maybe more shy, but definitely stood out less. I listened to how they spoke to one another, and it wasn’t long before I realized that the beautiful one was on the spectrum somewhere, and that they hadn’t seen one another since they were in elementary school together. I don’t think they even went to high school together, though they both seemed to still be in touch with other people they knew from back in the day, so maybe it hadn’t been as long as it seemed since they’d last seen one another. For certain they’d both changed in the duration.

The beautiful one wanted to be assured that he was cool (the way he adjusted his shirt and sunglasses as he asked the question was adorable, too), but it was much more important that he know he was a good person. He brought that up a lot, and the plain one confirmed it for him each and every time.

You’re a good person – trust me!”

The plain one was obviously a bit uncomfortable with some of the conversation, but he was also extremely patient and didn’t appear to do or say anything to make the beautiful one feel like he was anything less than an appreciated old friend. He mentioned once about how they’d all been stupid kids back then, and that other people had probably changed, too. I got the feeling that not everyone had been as patient with the beautiful one’s social differences as the plain one was being now. Maybe not even the plain one himself. But now, they spoke of what college was like for the plain one, how it was a great experience, and where he lived now versus where he attended school. The conversation actually flowed pretty easily between them, for the most part, and by the time the plain one was preparing to get off the subway (at the same stop as me), he discovered that the beautiful one was supposed to have gotten off two stops prior, but he didn’t even mention it because “I was talking to you”! It struck me as this really kind of sweet interaction between two guys – there was even hugging before they got off the train – that demonstrated how much more of a good man this 20-year-old kid already is, as compared to many people twice his age. He didn’t belittle the beautiful one, he didn’t talk down to him, or make fun of him or hate on him in any way – like how so many of us treat those who are different. Maybe things would have gone another way had the plain one been with a group of buddies, or something, but on his own – totally stand up guy that most of us could take lessons from. I was happy to witness it, myself, and wondered how many others took a moment from their self-absorbed commute thoughts to pay attention to something good happening right next to them, too.

Not that they were right next to me. They were just louder than my thoughts, for a change.

And that one kid was really beautiful. I couldn’t stop glancing over at him. Ridiculous.

Tattoo Talk

I think I’ve decided on my next tattoo. Possibly my next two, as both are on the smaller – and thus more affordable – side. Logic tells me to wait until at least the end of summer, so that I can worry less about preventing early fading in the sun, and put finances toward other things coming up in the meantime.

But I’m also not really the patient type.

The first one feels pretty perfect, and that makes it harder to wait for, too. All of my tattoos thus far have been pretty personal, and these next ones are no different. The second one is becoming more and more perfect the more I think about it, too; a combination of two things that actually go together in ways I only just considered this morning as it all fell into place. I’m even thinking of getting one of my favoUrite people to sketch it for me, since there’s already a part of her in it, as well. It’d be amazing to have that extra little personal touch added in. Trust me, guys – I won’t go into detail right now, but it’s a pretty amazing idea, and very me. It would be the tattoo that’s most from inside me, actually. Only slightly more personal than the wee Kate one I just got. I’m ridiculously excited for it.

Which makes it even harder to wait. I mean, seriously, I should probably get one now-ish, and then get the other at the end of the summer, right? Haha

So little patience. For some things, anyway. For others, I seem to have a lot. I remember when I was young I built a house of cards, and my mom said something about how it had taken a lot of patience for me to sit there and move slowly enough that I didn’t spill the whole thing over a bunch of times while trying to build it. I think that was more a zone-out scenario than a patience one, though. Sometimes I just like to empty my mind and perform some small task, usually involving my hands. I like doing dishes, for example. I like making things clean and shiny – especially knives (so shiny), but even more I like the process. It requires almost no thought, and is kind of comforting, in a way. It’s like a reset sometimes.

Not sure what it is about tattoos that keeps me coming back, my mind always turning on the next way to display another small part of myself to the world. Or, actually, not the world so much as my own self. So far all of my ink is easily visible, and the next two will be as well (I of course already know where they will each go). And I love being able to see them. I love going about my day and catching a glimpse unexpectedly, or purposefully looking at them just because it makes me feel so happy when I do. Like a little momentary break from the routine – some longer than others, naturally.

I once tried to describe them as being something I thought was beautiful, and that they are a part of me. So I think parts of me are beautiful now, where I never really did before. Each one is deeply personal, and all capture some part of my personality or identity or…some other word that I can’t quite think of… The ones I have so far honour relationships that changed me and caused me to grow in particular ways, and at the same time honour the qualities in me that I like, which also grew out of those relationships. In essence, they are little parts of myself that I actually like and wish to hold on to. They are things about me that I think are beautiful.

Besides, if my greatest concern when I am older is the appearance of my tattoos, then I’ll call that a huge win. I am okay with them lasting the rest of my life.

The next two – if I stick to that same order – will be just as personal, and honour just as much truth and growth and identity as the rest. Maybe even more, in the one case.

It seems, too, like every time I get one, I’m already planning the next in my mind. And so far the one I thought I’d get first, is still being shoved further back in line, in favour of the ones that are more expressive of who I am; the ones which serve to remind me of something I don’t wish to ever forget. I’m not even sure if I’ll ever actually get that first one, but if I do, it’ll be after the other ones. I’m still saving the spot for it, though, just in case.

My real first one ended up being Hudson the polar bear I love, because of how knowing him changed the way I look at non-humans and thus how I relate to the world around me. I always got a little rush – a quickening of the heart – whenever I looked at him, and I feel the exact same when I look at this piece on my shoulder. He watches my back, and stands guard over the xoAly tag of my friend, Alysia. She actually was helping me plan the Hudson tattoo before she passed away, and I feel like that happened right as our friendship took a turn toward being even closer than we already were. We’d just started to go from being work friends to actual friends, I think, and while I think all of us who knew her will always feel despairingly robbed, our brief friendship changed me for the better, and I’m honoured to carry her with me always.

My second one that I just got a few weeks ago is to honour my cat, Kate. She was the first pet I had as an adult; the first who was my responsibility alone. We went through a lot together, and I’ll always wish she could know what it’s like to have me as her person now, because I didn’t know anything then and we learned as we went. She’d be crazy spoiled now, even more than she was. There’s a lot I would have done differently if I could go back.

But regardless, Kate was the one who made me a mom, and she will always be my most special girl. A mini-Kate now sits on my forearm, one wee paw reaching up toward me, as she always did. My girl. ❤

The next two will both have a couple of different levels in their meanings, but the second one, especially. If I can get it to work out the way I want it to, a simple little design will hold SO MUCH of my story inside of it. Even the location I’ve chosen for it; it all just fits. I can’t wait.

Let’s see what happens!

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Beauty In Pain

Today’s thoughts are brought to you by a random series of non-events which ended up leading me down a bit of a memory lane trip this morning, and it wasn’t actually too bad.

First off, I was looking for some kind of long-sleeved shirt to wear over my t-shirt, because my body temperature is always all over the place at work, depending on where I am and what I’m doing, so I usually bring layers. I had already worn the two that were light enough for today earlier this week, so I went digging in my closet in search of something else that could work.

I glanced past my many plaid flanel shirts and landed on a rugby shirt I’d bought over a decade ago, but had rarely worn. It seemed to be the right amount of layer so I threw it on and left for work. On the way in, though, I realized something – the shirt kind of fits me again.

It’s definitely more comfortable than it used to be. I bought it before I gained 40-ish lbs over a school year, and it just never felt like a good fit again after that. Not until today, anyway. I mean, it’s not my new old favourite shirt, or anything, but I definitely noticed the difference in how it feels to wear it today. The collar is still all un-ironed and flippy, and it still wasn’t really created with breasts in mind, but it definitely feels more comfortable and less awkward than it has in a very long time.

I was reminded of a photo taken of me (and some zombies) from 2007, after a Midnight Madness screening at TIFF that year. I’ve always loved the picture and hated the picture, and I’m wearing the same shirt in it while trying to look less overweight than I was.

Horizontal stripes, guys. There’s no winning that battle.

Anyway, it took a while, but I finally found the photo in question, and put it alongside one I got taken today:

That Was Then

I realize it’s not that huge a difference, but to me it kind of is. And regardless, that’s not really what I wanted to talk about. In searching for the zombie photo, I came across my old, sad, secret blog, and tumbled down the rabbit hole a little bit as a result.

I’d created it to vent and to just kind of work out some of my overwhelming emotions in a way that would add to the work being done in my therapy sessions each week. In other words, I needed it to be real and true to whatever I felt like saying at the time – unedited – but not hurt or alarm anyone who might read it. An online dumping ground. I didn’t make it private because I felt like some other person in the world might relate to it on some level and I didn’t want to deprive them of that, but it wasn’t something I really advertised, or anything. Not even to my therapist, because sometimes I also talked about her. Haha

I’d stopped writing much on that blog for a few reasons, the main one being that I’d started posting other things on it, as well, and didn’t want anyone finding the sad just because they wanted to read what I thought of a particular film, or what was going on with my possible (at the time) MS diagnosis. I still wanted people to be able to read that stuff if they wanted to, but without having to deal with me depression and whining and the like. So I created an author blog, and an MS blog, joined up with the Mind Reels and eventually created this one as more of a catch-all for all of that. For most of it, anyway. I still don’t feel like bringing the secret one on board, and very rarely post anything there because I am always posting here, instead!

Scrolling through those posts this morning, though, looking for the zombie pic for a comparison, was kind of an exercise and a half. There was so much I’d – not forgotten, but hadn’t thought about in a long time – that I revisited, and it was rather remarkable. So many sad photos I’d found online to represent how I was feeling, and so many memories I hadn’t realized I’d written down. I used to keep a journal occasionally, but this was my first attempt at essentially journaling in an online forum. One that was essentially public, no less, and which contained more pain than anything else.

Some of it was actually rather beautiful.

There’s a couple of devastating posts about when Kate the Kitten died – one which declared basically just that; that I’d lost my best friend and was truly alone – and one that I wrote to remember our last hours together. I didn’t want to forget a single detail, if I could help it. I also didn’t want to re-read it this morning as my work day began, though, so I kept scrolling.

Apparently, I’d written a poem for my therapist for her birthday. I had completely forgotten about it until I saw the post for it today. I wonder if I ever gave it to her?

There was at least one sad haiku, memories of things past that were resurrected in that present and linked within posts. Most just described what was going on in my outer world, and how they affected my inner life.

I found myself expanding several posts and reading them with the years of hindsight that developed in between. Seeing things that were said to me and interpreted one way at the time, but viewed in a slightly different light now. Not better, necessarily – this isn’t one of those “if I’d known then what I know now” kind of things. In some ways, it’s actually sadder now, but that’s not the point.

The point, or one of them, is that the pain is kind of beautiful – in its honesty, its rawness, its lonely desolation. It’s interesting to look at it now, and remember how it felt, and realize that I still feel the same, but not as low down in the pit. I mean, I’m also medicated, so there’s that. Sometimes self-medicated, too, of course. I’m the same person as I was, but I’m not. Have I grown wiser? No. Do I wish I could go back and choose to not do any of it? Not really, because I wouldn’t be who I am now, and Lord knows who I would be, so yeah. Glad it’s all hindsight and not foresight.

That line in the Garth Brooks song, “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance”…I always felt like that was me; that I’d love to not hurt so much sometimes, but I don’t want to give up the happy moments just to avoid the unhappy ones. Now, though, looking back at how starkly beautiful even the pain can be, it makes me think maybe I don’t want to miss any of it.

Maybe embracing both, and accepting both, is how we get strong. Maybe that’s how we get beautiful.