Spinning Plates, And The Like

Man, last night was fun!

The Mind Reels did our third Old Timey Retro Radio Play episode, and as always, it was a blast! We had five guests, four of whom were doing the read with us for the first time, and one who’s happily been with us every time so far! We had to fiddle with gender roles a bit, as we only had one female guest (and me) but more roles for women than for men (for a change). Luckily, everyone came to play, and the guys decided to keep the roles as female, but played them with a gusto that made the end result even better than I could have possibly imagined! Tim and I also worked out a back-up strategy so that we can get the content posted more quickly ourselves, rather than waiting for it to appear on the Smithee sites (which it will eventually, but we are growing impatient so have a lesser quality version to go up on our sites more quickly – best of both worlds, really), so everyone will get to enjoy the final audio/video read, and just miss the hysterical practice cold-read. So excited to share these with everyone! Thus far all of the guests have been turning in some hilarious performances, and I feel like it’s only getting better as we go along! We may be onto something here!

I giggled all the way home…and then again all the way to work this morning. So much fun, guys!

Also, when I got home last night (after taking care of the critters, of course), I sat down with a Rogers Live Chat agent to sort out my new billing issues now that I’ve upgraded my internet package. Thanks to Cindy in Moncton, NB, that went even better than I’d hoped, as well, and I’m already so pleased with the upgrade that I basically can’t wait to just go online all the time. For everything. It’ll be like second year university when the house we were renting had a BBQ so we literally barbecued everything we could think of for the first few weeks of school that autumn! It’s like a new toy, and I can’t wait to play.

But wait is exactly what I’ll do – for a tad longer. I have other plans tonight. 🙂

I still have a ridiculous amount of things to do, even as I slowly drop potential projects from the list. I have to be so freaking careful with my budget this month, too. Like, every month, but this one especially because of Fan Expo and new Rogers billing and the fact that I can’t quite seem to get any sort of routine down in my every day life. I’m having trouble anticipating upcoming expenditures – even simple things like what I figure I’ll need to spend on groceries for myself and the critters. For some reason, it’s suddenly become a big question mark, even if I don’t buy anything different from last month. I think it’s because there is just SO MUCH going on, and so many changes and decisions and sacrificing some things in favour of others. It’s a constant balancing act, and I haven’t been sleeping much so my mind has a difficult time retaining it all. It does, anyway, but more so in recent weeks. Every time I make a decision between two things, for example, a third thing will crop up and another choice will need to be made.

That’s how it feels to me, at least. Like trying to keep all of my plates spinning on their wee poles – but sometimes forgetting one of them even exists until I notice that it’s about to fall. It’s exciting, but a tad stressful, too. I worry I’ll forget something important one of these days; something I can’t catch in time and rebound back from.

In the meantime, though, I’ll just go get another chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s and try to remain calm and alert. Alert-ish. #sotired

Seeing Differences

When I was accepted to teacher’s college, I found I’d been placed in a rather unique section of the program called Urban Diversity. I was in the 10th group of cohorts for that particular program, and it was kind of interesting to see all the different people who were in my class, as well as who, for the most part, would become my friend by the end of the school year.

The Urban Diversity section of the Education program focused more on teaching children in classrooms and schools which are more reflective of the city’s diverse population. I remember someone once commented on how “white” my Grade 6 class was, and I countered with the fact that about 80% of them didn’t speak English as their first language, which would obviously contain a different set of struggles from those who were being taught by someone of a different skin tone.

Anyway, it was cool to look at the notion of teaching each child, as opposed to teaching a classroom of children. Seeing difference, and teaching to it, was the opposite of everything I thought society had taught me thus far, but as soon as it was discussed on, like, Day One, it all suddenly made sense to me. The whole “everyone is equal” model doesn’t really work. Everyone is not equal, and punishing those who are ahead by forcing them to slow down, or leaving behind anyone who can’t keep up, is just silly, and counter-productive.

So I learned about teaching from a different perspective, compared to the other sections within the Education program, and it stressed me out. I was painfully aware of not being able to fully teach to each child, and of how things I said or did could be received by one child far differently from how it was interpreted by another. I hurt one of my best Grade 8 kid’s feelings because I stopped calling on her for a time. She thought I hated her; I thought I was trying to give other quieter kids a chance to speak. We got it sorted out, but I’ll never forget how flabbergasted I was that she could think I didn’t like her. She was my go-to kid if things ever became too frustrating because I knew she always got it. That was an important lesson to learn, and to keep learning. Because everyone is different, after all.

But it didn’t help with my non-existent teaching career, in that I never really got my feet under me and felt the confidence I would need in my abilities to run a classroom.

I can’t run a classroom. Haha

Anyway, in the Education classroom, on non-teaching days, I sat at the Table of Misfit Toys with my regulars. My friends, the other oddballs who didn’t quite fit in. We were often the most fun, and sometimes other teacher candidates would join us just because we were that awesome. I still liked almost everyone else in the room, of course. I just didn’t have much in common with them, and felt like I didn’t fit in as well as I did with my eclectic mix.

What’s interesting is what I was told later from my main guy, Marc. I haven’t seen him in well over a decade, but at the time, we were quite close, and went through a lot together, even after the school year ended. He’s a brilliant young guy, whose brain never stops working things out, and has one of the best, warmest smiles ever. It goes right to his eyes. I actually hate that we lost touch, and keep hoping we’ll just bump into one another again someday.

So anyway, Marc got into grad school, and did his Masters of Education, as well. He was, therefore, still in touch with the man who had created the Urban Diversity division, Dr. Patrick Solomon. Dr. Solomon sadly passed away some time ago from stupid cancer, but he left quite a legacy in his wake. He was the first person I met when I got to campus on Day One (he walked me to class), and hugged me on stage during our graduation ceremonies. According to Marc, Dr. Solomon confided in him once that our table of misfits, for the most part, all started off the program in the mindset/headspace of where he wanted everyone to end up. That was not only an enormous compliment, but also explained why we’d gotten so frustrated so often when we were doing the learning instead of the teaching. I was of the understanding that there was something we just weren’t getting (there was even an extra IEP for me at one point – , whereas the reality was that we’d already gotten it, but had to sit through the rest of the year not progressing while we waited for the rest of the class to catch up.

That’s not necessarily meant to come across as bragging, though I suppose it kind of is, but more to explain the fish-out-of-water sensation that I’d felt for so long, and that I knew I was capable of passing on to kids in my classes. Classes I’d never have, as it turned out, but at the time, it was a hefty weight on my mind.

It’s occurred to me in recent days that I’m feeling much that same way again now, sometimes. I think that’s why I can’t express myself in a way that anyone else quite understands. Partly because I am just not articulate, and partly because I’ve already gone through all the stuff they’re saying and trying to progress further, but I have to keep going back to the last save point, so to speak, to see if I can catch everyone else up; get us all on the same page, before I can turn the page. We just rarely seem to get there, which means I rarely go any further myself, even just in my own head.

Maybe this is part of how the internet is making us dumber. We’re exposed to more people, so we spend even more time trying to find common ground and get on the same page that we actually never get through the first chapter, let alone past it. We spend more time feeling and reacting than we do thinking, because it’s instant. Or, as fast as we can type. The fact that so much conversation is done online instead of in person means that more is misunderstood due to lack of vocal inflection, body language, and eye contact. Everything looks black and white on the page, so we’re all starting to think that’s what the world is. One or the other; all or nothing; left or right (haha CToT xo).

But it’s not. There are more shades of grey than we can even sense, and it’s exciting and invigorating to explore them, but we never do. There’s just no time, which is funny, considering how quick and automated things are now compared to life prior to the Industrial Revolution, say.

Not that I am old enough to remember that.

I do remember the 80’s, though, and parts of the 70’s…I remember life before the world was opened up to us via the World Wide Web. I remember phones with rotary dials and cords that got tangled up and stretched to shit. I remember no cable and only 3 channels via antenna. I remember going outside to play, riding my bike around town, going home when the streetlights came on, handwriting letters, and book reports and essays. I remember when computer mainframes took up entire rooms, and cordless phones were new and enormous.

I remember when everything was slower, and yet there was more time to think.

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.

On Making Friends

Guys, I don’t feel good!

My skin hurts, I can’t breathe, my sinuses itch (along with my ears and throat) and my body aches. Pretty sure I’m rocking a fever, though very low-grade, so it’s okay. So tired, and have another late night tonight.

BUT it’s Gala 2 of the Canadian Screen Awards, and I gotta say – I’m pretty excited for it! It’s always more fun than night 1, but also more low-key than the big broadcast gala, because that bad boy is televised, and so everyone gets away with much less than the non-televised event. I am definitely looking forward to tonight and Sunday, regardless of how sick I may or may not feel by then.

Also, today a friend I haven’t seen in years stopped in to pick up a mic for her new camera! She messaged me on Facebook to see if I even still worked here – that’s how long it’s been! I gave her my number and told me to text when she got here and I’d run up to say hi. She did, and I did, and I stayed to watch the transaction take place because I have very little idea of how to use the new system to create a new customer and process a credit card transaction, etc. So I actually learned something, AND got to catch up a bit with an old friend!

Turns out she’s getting into something similar to what Tim and I do, so I think I want to try and bring her into the studio sometimes when we need an op to monitor the sound and switch between cameras. We need more operators available than just our one poor go-to guy!

It’s kind of weird how, like – before the internet, I wrote letters – and sometimes even used the phone, though I don’t like the phone at all – to keep in touch with people. If we lived near one another, we’d even hang out in person on occasion (or daily, in University). Then came the internet and I found I was all about email. I loved being able to sit in the same room with someone and have secret conversations via email instead of out loud. I liked, too, being able to tell when they’d read it, based on their reactions!

I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2003, and that was largely because I was angry at my ex. It was a little thing, but bulky, and didn’t have camera functions or anything fancy. I used it to talk on sometimes, but that’s when I realized how much I prefer texting, and I have to say – I haven’t looked back! Pretty much all I do now is text or email or what-have-you. I mean, I have a smartphone now, so I can do way more than I could on that first little phone. But compared to what my current phone is actually capable of, and what I usually use it for…vast difference.

Lara, the friend who dropped in today, has been in my life for almost as long as I’ve been in Toronto, give or take a year or so. I had email when we met, but no cell phone. I even carried around a little mini phone/address book thingy to keep track of contact info so I wouldn’t lose anybody.

I carry around a lot of stuff, actually. In case I need it sometime.

Anyway, so Lara and I live in the same city, but we’ve both left for long-ish periods of time, so that’s likely contributed to why we lost touch. Also we don’t hang around in the same circles anymore. I don’t think it’s a case of “you make time for the people you want to see” things, because it’s not really an issue of being too busy. I think it’s because we both know we don’t have to. Our friendship is so easy and low-maintenance that we can go several years without even really talking to one another, and yet she can drop by my work and suddenly it’s like no time has passed. We’ve caught up in five minutes and are already making each other laugh!

I mean, we keep semi-track of one another on Facebook, of course, but not on a regular basis. We just will see something turn up in our feeds and like or comment and move along with our daily lives.

Not because we have to, not because we want to, but because we can. Because we both know that the other is there, no matter what.

Though, after Alysia died, I stopped seeing people as anything other than temporary. Not like in a mortality way, because I’m aware that we’re all going to go sometime. But more in a time is precious kind of way. I tell people I love them way more often now, for example.

I wonder sometimes if friendships formed largely online will last as long or be as stable as the ones we forged in more organic and personal ways. It’s much easier to maintain more friendships via online interactions and social media, but only time will tell if the setting and method of friendshipping will end up having made a difference.

Will we find we are more connected to one another? Or less?