Sides

I don’t really like people, in general. As a species, I often hate us.

But my hatred is not strong enough to outweigh my compassion and overall kindness. I ignore what I don’t like, more often than not. I don’t have the need to randomly call people names, especially if they are complete strangers to me. I have all sorts of my own biases – racial and otherwise – but they aren’t so ingrained in my psyche that I feel the need to act out as a result. Or attack someone because of them, or anything else. I don’t think certain people deserve more or less than other people, and certainly not because of something superficial that is out of their control.

I think people in general should stop couching their hatred in politics. It’s not a political view. It has nothing to do with Liberal or Conservative, left or right, political parties or perspectives, nor even individual candidates.

Being “politically correct” has nothing to do with politics. It’s about not being an asshole.

If you want to talk about, say, abortion, and whether or not it should be legal…that’s more of a political issue. Though, even that one is tricky because it involves a person’s right to choose – specifically a woman’s – so often sexual politics come into play in those discussions. I have my own views on that, and to me, there really isn’t any other way to see it, but many folks try, anyway.

As is their right. The difference is, I don’t try to legislate their opinion.

So…another topic. Say education. That’s something that could fall under the realm of politics. People will forever quibble over the details of how money should be spent, where it should come from in the first place, whether sex ed has a place in a public school classroom or not…that’s what politics are for. Quibbling over the details, and sometimes even having an actual discussion about them.

It is not, however, a place where a majority group (I’m looking at you, straight white guys) should exert pressure to ultimately deny members of minority groups the same rights they themselves are afforded.

We have so many laws and regulations which were created to curb the number of incidents in which stupid people hurt themselves or others. We have so many more which were crafted with the intention of stopping people from being cruel to one another.

But you can’t legislate kindness. Hatred is there whether there are rules against it, or not. People just couch it as a freedom of speech or some other such policy in a political forum, and continually seek the “right” to openly express it. We’re seeing more and more of that right being exercised after the US election fiasco last week. So many people chose not to vote at all, or voted independent, or just voted the party, without actually thinking about what it meant.

It’s not about being Republican or Democrat this time. From what I can tell, there are two kinds of people, and the categories do not fall into the political realm, but rather into the personal/social/emotional one. And I’m not sure that anyone is able to change which category they fall into, let alone if they’d want to change it up. I’m pretty sure I can’t, as even though I have hatred and darkness inside me, it’s just not strong enough to overpower my basic, better-natured instincts. I don’t have to curb it because it’s the law or uncouth or even politically incorrect. It’s just who I am inside. I am in part both kinds of people, but one ultimately outweighs the other.

The way I see it, you’re either a kind, caring, compassionate and ultimately flawed human being…

Or you’re an ignorant, intolerant asshole.

Let Hatred Ring

I was alone for 9-11, too.  Physically alone, at least.

Not that an election result is comparable to so many lost lives, of course.  But the impact it has – how changed the world seems after – feels similar to me.

Or maybe it’s more the change in me; in my perspective.  Maybe the world is the same as it always was, and I just see and understand things differently now.

To me, this goes beyond an election, or individuals, or parties and politics.  It goes beyond one broken country.

To me, hatred won.

Intolerance won.

Ignorance and fear have won.

There are many who will stand against the waves of hatred coursing forth from the many more.  But I won’t be one of them.  Something in me has snapped.  Something in me is gone now that my eyes have been opened, and there’s no getting it back.  It’s done.

I’ve been swept away with the tide.

Hate trumped love, after all.

Err On The Side Of Hope

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This was one of my horoscopes this morning. It’s just a silly thing, of course, yet this one touched a few nerves, or something. I haven’t been able to read through and break it down into exactly which things set me off and why, and while I won’t do that here, I probably will do it on my own, at some point.

Alone, as I do most important things. Haha

I’m super emotional lately, too, so I’m sure that has something to do with my reactions, as well. At least my emotions aren’t in a constant state of overwhelming yet, though. I’m still weaning off my anti-depressants, so while I fully expect some roller-coaster rides of complete what-the-fuckery, I’m actually kind of surprised that it hasn’t been worse, so far. Much better than expected this time.

Some things about that horoscope:

  • I’m still in a learning period – always. I’m a lifelong learner, and don’t for one moment think I’ve got things figured out. Not about me, not about anyone else, not about the world. I think it’s good that I’m at least aware of that fact, and that I don’t pin all of my learning on my childhood. I know I have more to learn than I already know.
  • It’s true I have a hard time accepting my childhood, though. And my adulthood, but my childhood more. I used to hate that kid. Now on good days I tolerate her, but thus far haven’t come close to liking her. I can’t even think of any one quality to like about her, so the notion that someone else could basically makes me think she’s lied to you, too. Also, I don’t like people, anyway, so this should come as no real surprise, either. Haha
  • If my adult life is the fruit of the imperfections I corrected as a little girl…then I’m screwed, with nothing much to look forward to. Which I suspected was the case long ago, so I stopped trying. Instead, I focus more on just trying to be better than I was; better tomorrow than I am today. I feel like that’s a more attainable goal, and works in both the short and long term. This blog was supposed to aid in that, but I can’t bring myself to do it properly, nor can I bring myself to make time and do more on the side. It’s not making me a better person, it’s not shedding light on any kind of truth I could share, and it sure as hell isn’t improving my writing, so I’ll likely just finish out the year and be done with it. It’s too hard not to edit, or write about different things because I know certain people will read it – it’s all just not really me. And I have a hard enough time trying to figure out who I am as it is, without worrying about who other people think I am and how to live up to that.
  • Which brings me to that whole part of the horoscope about the people close to me love the child they see inside of me…that may be true, but since no one is close enough to really see the actual kiddo, I’ll be taking those opinions with a huge grain of salt. Of rock salt, probably. If I don’t let anyone get too close, they won’t be able to prove me wrong, it’s absolutely true.

But they also won’t be able to prove me right, and I prefer to err on the side of hope.

Frustration, Money-Hating, and Coming Up

Feeling a tad over-stimulated today, on top of not having had enough sleep last night. Like, less sleep than usual. There’s, like, three different pieces of music playing nearby, and I can hear all three at once. The person whose sales I am supposed to be coordinating hasn’t come to work yet this week, so I am flying solo and trying to stay under the radar while just keeping afloat as much as possible. It’s frustrating because I don’t have access to all of the information I need to be effective, among other things, but I’m doing my best. Maybe next week will go better.

Found out Roseanne is coming to Toronto for Just For Laughs!!!

I can’t even begin to express how excited I am by this news, nor how much I would love to see her in person. I decided immediately to just buy a ticket and go by myself, just in case it’s not anyone else’s cup of tea. I totally get it, and I’m not even the hugest fan of her stand-up, nor of some of her politics/opinions, but I still adore her overall and her sitcom meant more to me than I know how to say. Man, I loved the Connor family! Damn.

Also found out there are lion cubs at Jungle Cat World right now, so naturally I want to go pet one, along with other critters available to interact with. But I’ve also had my eye on the Keeper For A Day program at the Toronto Zoo. I really want to do that…and in more than one area, so I want to do it more than once. More than twice, even. haha

And Jays games. I’ve only been to one so far this season…and it’s just occurred to me that I don’t think we ever sorted out the ticket price vs beer/food consumed after. Maybe I’ll just buy the next round of tickets and we’ll call it even again.

Anyway, I hate money. And having too much on my mind. And being tired.

There is a slight chance that we may get the Mind Reels going more consistently again. We’re talking with our producer today about meeting up for a strategy session next week to determine next steps and perhaps learn more about how we can get episodes posted ourselves more quickly and regularly. That would be a good thing. I really like doing the interview/chat thing. Since late last year, though, I’ve been feeling like everything has just ground to a halt, and getting it going again is a little like pulling teeth. I haven’t even been trying to line up interviews lately because I don’t feel I can guarantee it’ll happen without the rest of the team on board. Hopefully we’ll at least decide to do it or stop doing it, and then take it from there. But I think even just talking about it will get people excited again, and we’ll start moving forward once more.

The crazy thing is how we could probably be excelling at it, in some regard. Even during Hot Docs, some of the PR people who had never seen us interview folks before were so impressed with how we made the guests feel at ease right away, and how we could get everyone laughing and having a good time long before the “interview” was over. At the same time, we give them a space to talk about and promote their passion, and everyone gets to enjoy the end result. People usually end up enjoying their time as our guests, and viewers often end up liking to watch our guests, even the ones they know nothing about. Not every interview show has that kind of easy feel, I don’t think.

We’re easy. Haha

Anyway, we’ll see what happens. I’m sure we won’t decide to stop doing it at our meeting next week, but I do want us to stop talking at some point and actually start doing. That’s been a huge factor from the beginning…we talk about a lot of things, have a lot of ideas, and even start implementing some of them. But until we start committing to doing what needs to be done, we’re just going to keep resting on our laurels and nothing will ever change. It’s easy to get excited when talking about doing stuff, but actually settling into doing those things takes a whole different kind of excitement. It takes one that lasts, and the commitment to see tasks through.

Oh! I think I am going to become a volunteer at a local place that deals with animals soon! I have an orientation session at the end of the month, and that will help me decide if I want to do it regularly, or if I am even suited to it. It’s mostly just cleaning up poo and the like, but there’s animals!!! I received the Starter Handbook thingy last night and learned a few things about the place that I hadn’t known before, too, and that got me even more excited to give it all a try. I don’t know how much actual contact I’ll have with the animals themselves, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the zoo, it’s that just being around them is highly therapeutic. Also, NO PUBLIC. Being around animals, staff and other volunteers sounds pretty perfect to me, despite all the poo. We’ll see how the orientation session and my first shift goes, and take it from there. More details to follow later! 🙂

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Last night, I finally finished reading my friend’s book, The Summer Of Letting Go. Okay, so maybe Gae Polisner aren’t friends in the traditional sense. I mean, we’ve never met in person. But we met as writers, which is almost as good. And I actually would like to meet her in person someday, especially if such a meeting included her little doggie. Charlie pics and videos have gotten me through many a bad day, after all!

But I digress. I’d already been ugly crying over a particularly powerful episode of Chicago Fire, and then decided to read a bit before trying to sleep. I was closer to the end of the book than I’d thought, though, so I ended up staying up a bit late to finish it. And ugly cry some more.

Dammit Gae!

So, first off, it’s a really good book. I’m not about to write a review of it here, or anything, though (I will, however, try to remember to do it on Amazon and the like), because that’s not quite what this post is about. It’s more about the emotions it brought up in me.

I can’t claim any kinship with the protagonist – my little brother is alive, I don’t feel like my parents hate me, and I’m not a teenager. I don’t have a Lisette, nor a Bradley. Nor a Frankie Sky (though…maybe Brody would fit that bill, a bit). But there is definitely something in the way she blames herself for her brother’s death, and understands and accepts that everyone else must, as well. It’s not even something that needs to be discussed. It just is. She understands it as simply her reality, and the way she interacts with everyone else in her world is a result of believing that they understand reality the same way she does.

There is something innately relateable in that to me. Something powerful that goes deeper than circumstance, and brings up some pretty powerful emotions. That everything comes to a head at the end of the book, and that I chose to read it last night when similar emotions have already been building up inside of me, as well, made it a kind of perfect storm for ugly crying.

It actually still affected me this morning, too.

This sense that someone I love beyond reason, of whom I think very highly, could think far less of me, and in some cases actually hate me, is a feeling I fully understand. I don’t even have to know specifically why. Just that I am inherently detestable to those whose opinions matter most to me. That even if they love me back, at first, that will change soon enough. I don’t even try to fight it anymore. I just expect it, and accept it when it happens.

Even as I type this, I know how it sounds, and I’m sure there are people who think that telling me that’s not the case will impact my understanding of my own inner world in some positive way. It won’t. I know it’s rubbish, on a logic level. But further inside on a level even I can’t see, lurks something else. And writing any of it down isn’t a request for someone to try and argue it. It’s more an exercise in locating words to adequately describe a particular sensation; something which has always been there, and just never spoken about. Until now. See, that’s the thing with writing stuff down sometimes. Having someone else tell me something that lies inside of me isn’t true, or isn’t real, doesn’t actually change anything. Be me giving voice to it takes away its power; like shining a light into a dark corner and seeing for myself that there’s actually nothing there to worry about. Someone else telling me they turned on a light and didn’t see anything means nothing to me. I have to see for myself. That’s how one grows, really. Do the work yourself; don’t expect anyone else to do it for you. And trying to do it for someone else takes away their own voice; their own power.

This isn’t intended to be me saying, “I am unloveable and will never know happiness” or whatever it sounds/reads like. It’s about me admitting to myself that I sometimes feel that way, that it affects how I relate to other people – particularly the ones I want to feel closest to – and that if I can recognize it, put words to it, maybe I can diffuse it.

There is an enormous difference between thinking things in your head when you are alone, and actually trying to say them out loud, or write them down, or what have you. The transfer from vague thought and emotion into something more concrete…it loses something; some of its power. That holds true to really great thoughts and emotions, too, of course. There’s just no perfect way to convey our most powerful inner realities to anyone else, even though we all feel a lot of the same things.

We just don’t all feel them quite the same way.

Which can be frustrating. But when you do get something out; when you see the lightbulb come on in someone else’s eyes and know without a doubt that they get it; that they understand. A crazy kind of connection gets established in that moment, and even if the shared understanding is of something horrible, you know at least that you are no longer alone in it. And that’s worth all the frustration and effort, I think.

As for me…I’m not great at liking myself, usually, so it’s easy for me to believe that those I hold in highest regard wouldn’t, either. Part of me is always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and when it does, I claim that I knew it would happen, because that’s how things go for me. FML and all that.

It was pointed out to me long ago that it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy to hold back for fear of being hurt if and when the other person stops being such a large part of your life. And I get that, so I try (sometimes) to curb the machinations of the dark beast within and force myself to aim for the lightbulb moments as much as I can. It’s not easy, and I fail more often than I’d like to admit, even to myself. I do get confused about what actually is true sometimes, though, and that’s where I fall into my own trap.

I guess, at least for now, I need to try harder to enjoy the time I do have, and spend less time trying to predict when it will end.

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For The Love

So tired today, guys. So so tired.

Struggling through this work day, but it’s okay. Getting there.

Went out to see my beloved Arden and the Tourists perform for the first time in years. First time in years for me seeing them, I mean, not for them performing. They just rarely do any public gigs these days. It’s all been private events lately. My lovely friends indulged me by driving to the venue and hanging out with me for a couple of hours, and then driving home.

But there have been a couple of things making it hard for my brain to settle down, and unfortunately neither is really resolved yet.

It’s all driving me crazy and making my animal-loving heart hurt.

First, it was discovered earlier this week that there were some baby raccoons trapped in the no-longer-used chimney at my work. Not sure how they got down to the bottom of it, or if their mom was with them and/or able to get in and out, but they could apparently be heard scratching around in there just above the flue. Debris was falling from inside as they were possibly trying to find a way out. I didn’t go investigate because, frankly, I have trouble listening to animals in distress right now. It’s too upsetting for me just knowing about them without having to hear it, as well.

So for the past few days, all I can think about is these poor critters, trapped, likely without food and water, basically dying a slow painful death in there while we stand around and listen. I was running through every possible scenario in my mind last night, and wondering if I would come in today and risk my job trying to get them out, or at least taking matters into my own hands and calling wildlife services to come and do it properly.

Much to my relief, the building manager called wildlife services, and they came in today to see what could be done.

One thing they discovered is that there are actually two chimneys, and at the bottom of the other one is a nest of baby squirrels. They aren’t worried about them, though, because mom can get in and out and eventually they’ll be big enough to get out, themselves. So that’s good. And cute.

The other thing they discovered is that there are no baby raccoons in this chimney. There is a single pigeon. Unfortunately, the chimney doesn’t go straight down – there is a bend in it and the pigeon is at the bottom where they can’t get to it, so there’s no way to retrieve it from the roof. The flue is stuck shut and no one has been able to get it open from the bottom, so for now, the poor thing is fully trapped in there. For at least three days and counting.

I went and had a look and discovered that there is a piece of brick jammed at the edge of the flue door thingy, which is likely what’s preventing it from opening. Again I’ve been toying with the thought of taking matters into my own hands and risking my employment to try and get the flue open…but so far I’ve remained mostly impotent. No one really cares about saving the pigeon, but they do care about how much decomposition can smell, so I emailed a couple of people to let them know about the piece of brick, and offered some ideas as to how to remove it, as well as a spare coat that we could wrap the bird in and get it outside safely.

I’ve received no response, and am not really sure if more is being done or if they are just kind of tossing around ideas or dismissing it all together.

So while I am glad it’s not baby raccoons dying in there, it’s still somebody dying in there, and it still bothers me. Will have to see how it all plays out, I guess, though that also makes me feel cowardly and almost as bad as someone who just doesn’t care.

I don’t know. We’ll see.

The other issue bothering me right now just arose yesterday evening. Brody and I were out for a walk when we came across a woman looking for a missing dog. Apparently while in someone else’s care for the day, a restaurant delivery guy accidentally allowed the dog to scamper into the apartment building’s hallway during the transaction. No one noticed, but it’s a big building. Pepper (the dog) wouldn’t really get past the end of the hallway. However, the delivery guy also apparently had no issue with the dog riding down in the elevator with him…and then the douche let the dog outside!

So little Pepper went for a bit of a run. He was spotted on Yonge street, on Mount Pleasant…they think he was basically running his regular walk route. He’s escaped once before and made his way home once he got tired, so everyone was hoping he’d turn up somewhere safe before too long. I went out, walked Brody again when I got home, and went to bed.

This morning, there were missing dog posters all over my street and surrounding area.

I’m hoping someone caught him and kept him inside overnight. He wasn’t wearing a collar (because he wasn’t supposed to be going outside), so it’s possible someone has him and wouldn’t know what to do with him until they saw the signs this morning. There are a million other horrible scenarios that also could have happened, but until I learn otherwise, I’m going to keep praying for Pepper’s safe return.

And if I can find out which restaurant that delivery guy was from, I’ll make sure never to give them my patronage.

Seriously, who let’s someone else’s pet just run outside? People I hate, obviously.

Being Mean For Honesty’s Sake

I often think about honesty, and truth, and the price of putting it out into the world. Like, I almost never speak or write what I actually think or feel. Even on here, I know it will be read, and for sure some among you will take whatever it is personally. That’s what we do; we assume everything is directed at us, whether it is, or not. I mean, the internet makes that much easier, because everything posted online has a degree of, if not anonymity, then at least distance and separation between the author/speaker and the individual reader/audience member. We can say and write whatever we want – promote our truth – and for sure someone out there will read it and think, “Fuck…is she talking about me?!” Whereas, if someone speaks to you directly, via letter, email, telephone or in person, there’s really no denying that you are the one to whom they are referring.

So I, for one, self-edit pretty much all of my actual self away. Or, not away, but hidden inside. I don’t express at least 90% of what I actually think or feel – at least. Probably more. Because it’s mean. There are compliments and such that are nice, so I try to say those, at least when they are true. Usually, though, truth and honesty is pretty mean, and it hurts people. I don’t like to hurt people, even people I don’t like, so I keep it to myself. To spare them. To spare you.

But what is that doing to me, I wonder? Keeping it all in? Surely it’s not the healthiest way to live. (And don’t call me Shirley)

I see and hear people purging what seems to be everything that comes into their heads, regardless of how it may make another person feel. Which I guess is great for them, but they’re mean. Many don’t even appear to try finding a way to express themselves without being hurtful. Either they don’t notice how their voices are being received, or they don’t care. Neither is a quality I want to nurture in myself, and I don’t even like people. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a better version of this inherently evil species. The best version I can be. Or, you know, just better than I could be, if I cared less.

This post went so differently in my head while I was riding to work on transit this morning! It was less vague, yet more stream of consciousness-y.

I think we get ruder and meaner as we get older. Older people will say stuff to your face and not give a crap about your precious feelings. They don’t need to hide behind the interwebs. They’ve got stuff to say and not enough time in which to say it all, so they get out as much as they can, while they can. There’s definitely no time for beating around the bush, or re-phrasing, and no point in keeping it all bottled up inside. Each new day is an opportunity to speak your mind. And now, with the internet, we can be different parts of ourselves depending on our communication method of choice in any given moment. We can show one semblance of truth on Facebook, another in an email, and something quite different to those in our immediate vicinity. It would be interesting to watch the internet generation get older – see how many selves they have when all of the feel like expressing their truth all the time.

I wonder what I’ll be like as I get older? Will I still try to remain quiet, or will I just start expressing my anger and hurt and whatever else I think and feel to whoever will listen? Will I even care if anyone is listening? Maybe I’ll just talk, anyway. To animals, to the air around me. I already apologize to inanimate objects on occasion, so it’s not a far leap to raging my way loudly down the sidewalk, really.

Would I feel better, expressing all these thoughts and feelings? Would it be a relief to just get it all out? Or would I see how my words affect people and just end up wallowing in guilt and regret all the more? (Though, I’d probably get lots of space to myself on public transit if I was speaking my thoughts aloud…food for yet more thought)

It’s so easy to say, “I want you to be honest with me”. But trust me – you really don’t.  Or to say, “Tell me how you really feel.”  Yet truly, you don’t really want to know.  I am not mean or rude enough to make my thoughts and feelings known – yet – but I am absolutely mean and rude enough to have them. I watch you and hear you express yourself, and sometimes it even hurts me, but so far I’ve resisted the temptation to reciprocate or follow your example. It’s not always easy, but I’d rather that than than have to live with the consequences of the effect my words would have on you. Also, I’ve been keeping it all to myself for so long that it’s not only a habit, but I’m also not entirely sure which ones are real overall, versus which are just momentary or reactionary “real”. Which will still be true tomorrow, and which are just lashing out in hurt or anger. When I think about it, it’s difficult to tell for certain. I’m emotional, just like everyone else, but I recognize that emotions fluctuate and change and come with varying degrees of intensity. What I think or feel in a given moment may just be a knee-jerk reaction that winds up not being accurate once I’ve taken a moment to breathe through it. So the idea of doing permanent damage to a relationship, friendship, and even a stranger’s day – all to satisfy a temporary need that may or may not make me feel better – is just not something I’m willing to do yet. It thus far does not seem worth it.

Besides, I’m also aware of how I hurt and insult and upset and anger people on a daily basis without even realizing it. That sentence doesn’t make logical sense, I suppose, but there it is. I know it’s happening, I just can’t usually tell when or why. When I do realize something specific I’ve done, some line I’ve crossed, it’s too late. The damage, however unintentional, has been done. That realization alone is enough for me to carry the guilt and regret inside me for likely the rest of my life. Having that person or people telling me how I’ve made them feel, or highlighting my error in being, makes the burden 100 times heavier. Maybe it makes them feel better to point out my shame, so I let them have their moment, or moments; whatever they need. That’s the only way I feel like I can even partially make up for what I’ve done; allowing them – allowing you – to express how it’s made you feel. But I know how that makes me feel, so I won’t reciprocate.

Usually.

Truth hurts. That’s what they say. It hurts because it’s often mean. It hurts because something we are afraid is true has just been confirmed by another. While part of me wants to be honest with you, and tell you what I think and what I feel, so far, I just can’t. Because even though it’s not my intention to do so, the truth – my version of it – would hurt you. Or anger you. Or confuse you. Or any number of other adverse ways in which it would affect you. Therein lies my frustration. I want to be open and express myself, but I hold back because of how it’ll affect you. Because of how affecting you in a negative way would feel to me.

So far, it’s just not worth it.

Though, at the same time, sometimes I’m drowning in unexpressed and unvented emotions. Yet I see you appearing to have no qualms about putting your thoughts and feelings out there, regardless of how it might make me or anyone else feel. Regardless of how it makes me feel. More and more I wonder to myself – if I am showing you more regard than you are showing me, and if I am showing you more regard than I am showing myself – how can I ever hope to find any sort of balance in my own life? It’s not my job to coddle you, and yet that’s exactly what I do. All the time. Every day. By my own choice. Not because I am a nice person. Not because I wish only to spread peace and love across the land. I’m not a unicorn.

I do it because, above all else, I fear a life without you in it.

Sometimes I just wish you felt the same about me.