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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Rant

 

Came to work this morning to find someone had taken the Coke I left in the fridge, so I had to drink the less-cold one I brought with me. I usually keep one in the fridge and swap it out with one I bring in, so I can always drink the colder one. But apparently I’m not deserving of enough respect for someone else to NOT take my stuff, so yeah.

Always good to know where I stand.

It has actually never occurred to me to take something from a common area that I didn’t put there. If it’s offered to me, that’s different. If I ask for it, also different. But otherwise, if I didn’t put it there, it’s obviously not mine, so I don’t take it. That’s the second time this week that’s happened – and keep in mind, today is Wednesday – but the first time there was a can of Coke in a different part of the fridge, so I figured whoever it was just got confused. Turns out there’s no confusion, just a complete lack of respect for other people’s things.

So now I have officially learned my lesson. I’ll just drink the less-cold Coke from now on. I guess I should have learned from last time, when the can even had my NAME on it and someone took it, but that person later replaced it for me, at least. This time my name wasn’t on it, so apparently that makes it fair game. Even though no one else puts their names on things, either. Apparently when it’s my stuff, it doesn’t matter if I label it as mine or not. I don’t get to be treated the same as the rest of them, regardless.

Anyway.

Seeing my therapist tonight. Which is good, though I am having trouble focusing on what I actually need to talk about. I’m distracted by an inclination towards complaining and whining and rage.

I’ve made a few notes to remind me and hopefully help me focus better once I’m in the room.

My goal is to become less needy so that I don’t feel like I have to talk to my friends at all, or at least not about anything important. Things I could and should be dealing with myself. If I can keep friendly conversation more surface level without getting frustrated and upset every time we hang out, I’ll be better able to listen when they talk, and therefore become a more valuable friend.

Right now, when I accidentally speak about myself and things that are on my mind, I feel like I am interrupting; like I’m an irritant. And if alcohol is involved, I can’t seem to stop myself once I get going.

Ironically, I don’t drink prior to therapy, even though it apparently makes it easier to get things off my chest. I think the value of doing so is greater when I can manage it sober, though, so there’s that.

So yeah. I have to learn to speak less and listen more, or I’ll continue to lose the ones who mean the most to me.

And I’m not sure just how much more of that I can take.

Now for a few more moon shots, this time from last night:

 

And, of course, Hudson the polar bear I love:

hudson-and-sticks

I Need A Nap

Not feeling very great today, and not sure what to write about. I didn’t get much sleep and now I’m a bit dizzy on top of being tired, so it’s more difficult to focus. How is it only Tuesday? Haha

Over the weekend, I sold the wee felted Falkor I’d made, and so it shipped out yesterday after work. There is now enough money in my Paypal account to purchase something special I found on Etsy that I need, but I’m so paranoid about the buyer of my wee felted Falkor deciding she doesn’t want it, or something, that I’m going to wait a while longer before purchasing it. To make sure everything goes through smoothly. I paid a bit extra to ship with a tracking number, so hopefully it will get to its destination safe and sound. Hopefully the recipient will love it and not want to send it back. He’s really cute, wee felted Falkor. I almost didn’t want to sell him. But if all goes well, I’ll have something unique and perfect for what I need it for.

Sorry to be so vague, but whatever. I’ll talk about it in more detail if and when I am finally able to purchase the item.

Man, I really don’t know what I feel like talking about. I feel like napping, not talking. My mouth aches and my mind spins and my heart feels…not numb, but just…cautiously present. Haha

Maybe it’s napping, while the rest of me cannot.

Jealous.

Last night I was watching TV and texting with a friend and rubbing Brody’s belly when I realized that I wasn’t paying attention to the TV at all; so wrapped up in conversation was I. So I turned it off to watch from the beginning some other time (ah PVR). I actually can’t remember the last time I talked with anyone like that, let alone this person in particular. I feel like most of the conversations we have take place in my head, so I’m glad of glad it was in text form this time, because having it written down is a good way of proving it happened at all. It’s not even so much what was said or discussed, so much as how completely focused I was on it. I just sat and typed and thought and read and responded. I wasn’t doing other stuff, or talking to anyone else or thinking about other things. Brody reminded me when it was time to go back outside, and I managed to look up from my phone long enough to notice the skunk sniffing about in the next yard over, so Brody and I headed back home again. But otherwise, I was just in a string of moments with a friend I love, and it was nice. Some of the subject matter wasn’t nice, per se, but the sense of both of us being present in the same moments at the same time was really nice, to me. It was the first time in a very long time that I haven’t felt the need to carry on the conversation in my mind due to my holding so much back from the real one. There are a couple of things I meant to say, of course, but for the first time I felt like they could keep – in exchange for time to sleep – and that the chance to say them will present itself again soon.

In the meantime, maybe that’s partly why I’m so tired today, too. Emotions can be exhausting.

Hodgepodge of Nothing to Say

You know, I was feeling pretty good this morning – not physically, of course, but in every other way. Then I got to work and between how that’s going, and people and the internet and just, like…what the hell, Universe? I don’t even eat cornflakes, so why ya gotta go pissin’ in ’em, anyway?

Ridiculous.

Labels – do they bring us together and give us community? Or further divide us? Because how it feels when you don’t fit into the labels you define yourself with and/or with which others define you, would suggest the latter. And yet we keep coming up with more. We oversimplify and categorize and ignore less and less of the unique individual beneath the groupings.

It’s weird.

This is what some online comment/arguments/conversations look like to me:

Person 1 – I sometimes enjoy watching fish swim around. It’s calming to me.

Person 2 – I can’t believe people like you actually exist! I love the colour orange! In fact, oranges – which are MADE from orange – are super healthy, and you’re obviously an idiot who doesn’t deserve to live.

Note how they aren’t even talking about the same thing. Not on the same page, not in the same book – pretty sure not even on the same planet. It’s not even an argument at that point, because two completely different things are being said. Tearing a strip off someone without bothering to understand what you’re responding to is just silly, people.

At best.

Today has gone so awry in tiny ways that I can’t even remember what I wanted to say. I’m hungry, though, so I’ll eat shortly and maybe just look at pictures I took, or something.

I went through my budget this morning, because I realized I’d miscalculated last week by forgetting one of my more major expenses. I knew I wasn’t as well off this month as it had seemed. I don’t know if I can make it work now, but I’m definitely going to do my best! We’ll see what happens over the next two weeks!

I keep coming up with more things I should perhaps cut out of my to do list, but I’m not sure which ones I’m most okay with ditching. This whole skipping antidepressant doses is messing with my mind and heart, so I’m trying to be careful about which doors I close right now. Trying not to make too many regrettable mistakes, but sometimes it’s hard!

Plus, I keep coming up with more things to add to the list, which is ridiculous, but that is how my brain works. Always thinking of more.

Sometimes I don’t quite know why I do as much as I do, when those I am supposed to be doing them with are actually doing so much less.

Maybe I should just do more for me.

But maybe that would be a mistake, too. So I’ll wait a while and not make any hard decisions until I feel more confident in my ability to make them.

Where possible, anyway!

Relationships And Stuff

Had a lovely, much-needed brunch with one of the people closest to me.  I managed to get some things off my mind; maybe not in as much detail as I needed to in some cases, but better than nothing, which is how I usually roll.  Plus, friends are not therapists.  I have to learn to save my selfishness for the one who’s being paid to listen to my shit.

I do feel less nervous about my first volunteer shift to tomorrow, so that’s good.  I just really need to figure out a better balance between showing up and completely  monopolizing a conversation just so I can unload my own crap.  I’m not good at friendshipping.

I’m not good at relationshipping of any kind, really.  And I’m not looking for anything new, but I still feel like I lost something, and I think part of me is still trying to find that.  I don’t know how to go back to who I was before, but I also don’t know who I am now in terms of relating to other people, nor who I want to be.  If I can even grow more, at this point.  I think in general, most of us just stop.

I’ve never really been a fan of change, after all.

My last romantic relationship was my most epic life fail (even though on an emotional level it’s still kind of a thing for me – does that make me more pathetic or less, I wonder) but the one before that was the one that damaged my belief in myself, and thus took a larger, longer-lasting toll.  That was the one that confirmed some things for me; whether they are true or not doesn’t matter.  Chicken or egg, some things just are.  Reality is subjective most of the time, anyway.  Maybe all the time.

Most relationships of any sort happen when I am not looking for them, of course, though now I feel like I’m…more lost.  Unsure of myself, who I am, what I want.  What will I be when I grow up?  Too late.  I grew up a long time ago, and turns out I’d be nothing of note.

But great at it, don’t get me wrong.  Sometimes I just wonder what else I am too late for; what else I missed out on while I was trying (and failing) to figure out how to human.

Tomorrow is a big day.

 

My Opinion…On Opinions

Opinions.

Everybody’s got them. Everyone is entitled to them.

Lately it feels as though more and more people are voicing them and/or sharing them on the internet, too. About everything. Even if someone doesn’t know a single fact about the subject upon which they are speaking, they are allowed – we all are allowed – to go ahead and spew forth whatever opinion we have on said matter. It’s pretty much our God-given right, and we’re going to exercise it every chance we get, dammit.

The thing is – and this is just my opinion (see what I did there?) – I’m not certain that a) any of our opinions actually matter to anyone but us, especially the uninformed ones, because b) we’re so busy screaming our opinions from the rooftops that we’re not bothering to listen to nor consider the opinion of another, but rather how to respond to them so that they’ll know they are wrong, and c) we’re basically all contributing to the rapid decline of intelligence and critical thinking in our own species.

You know…that thing that sets us apart from and above all the lowly non-human beasts of the planet.

Like, can opinions even be wrong? They can be formed upon misinformation, but can the actual opinion itself be incorrect? By definition, isn’t it really just how we feel about something based on what we believe we know about it? Wouldn’t something more concrete be more like a fact? Opinions can even change (on the rare occasion anyone bothers to inform theirs on something of a continuous basis), so can something so fluid really be considered wrong? Why are we all so eager to prove ourselves and those who agree with us to be correct in something we only feel rather than know?

If I say I feel light-headed one day, can someone else tell me that’s not how I feel? I would think that we should at least be able to agree to disagree, and yet, in most cases, the vast majority of what I see in the world – the public world – is that people can’t even do that.

I think this.”

You’re wrong, because I think this!”

We can both be right, from a certain point of view, and we can both be wrong. So sayeth Obi-Wan, kinda.

But I’m not sure opinion can be measured in a pissing contest, which is basically all we’re doing now. We’re all just peeing and then arguing about who’s pee is correct.

The funny thing is, none of our opinions even matter anymore, if they ever did. Instead of opening a discourse, all we are doing is peeing our pee, and letting others judge our pee – usually while they are also peeing and we are judging theirs – and no one is listening. I’m not listening to you, you’re not listening to me, no one else is listening to either of us.

Unless we already agree. Then we both pee and pat one another on the back for a job well done.

I was actually just thinking about this the other day. I was wondering if I should try to pass on to whoever will listen some of the things that I have learned in life thus far? Or should I focus on continued learning? Because I am fairly certain that I can not do both, at least not with any degree of success. I feel like I can focus on finding the right words to convey bits of knowledge-like gems gleaned over the past almost 44 years, or I can focus on paying attention to the world around me, and struggling to understand it better; to perhaps even understand another being’s experience with this planet, if only a tiny morsel of it.

In the latter pursuit, someone’s well-expressed opinion can help in learning a great deal, though probably the best teacher is experience – paired with mistakes – and finished off with a healthy dose of connections made in between. But it is imperative to good learning for a person to remain focused; to pay attention. To watch in silence more than speaking.

In the former quest, it’s vital to express thoughts and opinions well, and to re-frame words in different ways, in order to not only get them across, but to also confirm that you are doing so. Questions need to be asked to make sure the listener is on the same page before moving on, lest you leave them behind and with nothing to take away from the conversation at all.

Don’t be so busy talking that you forget to check in. If no one is listening at all, then you’ve failed on both counts – learning and sharing.

Neither are easy, but both are – or should be – necessary to some degree. I just feel like I personally need to focus more on one or the other for a little while. I keep thinking about trying to teach and share, but in the end, it’s my own somewhat selfish thirst for understanding that pushes me to keep watching.

And judging the rest of you. I mean, let’s be real – nobody’s perfect. At least I can admit it, though. Sometimes to my detriment, but still. I understand that I have much more to learn than I have already learned, and that even my perceived knowledge or understanding is deeply flawed, so that there is always room to grow. I am also really not good at confrontation. I find I can’t express myself very well when I am upset or passionate about whatever subject is being “discussed”. You know what, though? I don’t think the rest of you are, either. I don’t think anyone is. I’m not sure it’s even possible to have a personal, emotional stake in something and yet remain removed enough for logic and reason to overcome emotion. It’s just that most of you don’t care to give voice to your opinions so that others may come to understand them. You just think that peeing louder makes your pee more right.

And the thing is, for the most part, you don’t really know. You feel like you do, but you don’t. None of us do. But we say it, anyway, because it’s our opinion and we are entitled to it.

Maybe that’s why I prefer to just stay home with the dog and cats who live with me. I don’t have to remind myself to not read their comments.

The word ‘opinion’ looks like ‘onion’ when you type it enough.

On Rules And Getting Therapized

Have you ever noticed how many rules, and guidelines and laws are created specifically to stop stupid people and/or assholes from doing things they should logically just know not to do? And it always highlights the possible punishment, not the fact that doing it makes you stupid and/or an asshole.

Like the emergency alarm on subway trains. It clearly states that it’s for medical, fire or police-worth emergencies. Emergencies. For when you need professional help in some or all of those areas. But just stating that much isn’t even enough, there also has to be the threat of a fine. Because it’s not bad enough that you tied up an entire line because you missed your stop, or need some air or whatever. For some, the only reason NOT to activate the alarm and grind everything to a halt is the threat of a fine. Losing money is a legitimate threat, whereas being an asshole and/or stupid apparently is not.

Don’t run up to dogs because you might get bit. Totally fine if you scare them with your unpredictable and aggressive actions – when you’re stupid and/or an asshole. But geez, you might get bit. And, of course, you’d blame the dog, but that’s a different rant. The only reason for some people to NOT scare an animal is the threat of personal harm, rather than any sort of empathy for causing distress to another individual.

How about just trying harder to not be stupid and/or an asshole, for a change? Unless you are comfortable in your stupidity and/or assholiness, in which case there should just be laws against you.

Anyway.

Finally saw my therapist again this morning! Was very late for work as a result, but totally worth it. I’ll do it again if need be, but I joked with her to stop leaving town for my days off and/or paydays. Haha

It was great to see her, as always, and her new puppy is ridiculous. His name is Cole, he’s a Scottie, and he is young, so basically comprised of fur and tongue. He loves belly rubs (at which I am expert thanks to Brody) and giving kisses. Not great at therapy-dogging yet, but he’ll get there. He’s very accepting, and somewhat distracting until he calms down. I can’t blame him, though. He did just meet one of his new best friends, after all!

(I mean me. I’m his new best friend.)

I didn’t get my list out until later in the session, just to make sure I’d hit everything I wanted to. It’s hard because we haven’t seen one another in so long. There was a period of catching up in the beginning (and doggie distraction). She remarked immediately on my hair, weight loss, and new tattoo, which was funny. Most of the stuff I just mentioned in kind of blanket statements, because there’s just not enough time to cover everything in depth. Or anything, really, when there’s that much build up. I opened several doors to several conversations that we’ll have, hopefully, over the next little while.

Some things we touched on more than others. There was a fairly big discussion about whether or not I can actually ask for things I need, which led to whether or not I feel like I deserve such things enough to ask for them. I guess that’s closer to the root of my communication problem when it comes to talking to people who aren’t being paid to listen to me. There was a similar thread about guilt, and about being “nice” and “polite”; about hurting other people’s feelings by taking care of my own and whether or not I want to do that.

In a weird segue, we talked a bit about my very first therapist. She said she liked when I talked about her because it seemed like we’d had a great connection. And we did. It far exceeded what I’d thought therapy would be like, and tested my ability to be open and do the work in the safe environment she’d provided. I talked today about how it was also the first time I’d experienced how cruddy the system can be, when decisions are made by unseen forces in offices instead of in the room. Decisions that affect lives. Both of us were affected when we were forced apart – she was angry, I was sad and panicked and feeling abandoned on some level that didn’t listen to logic. I guess it was hard to open up again after that because suddenly it all felt so temporary, and not within my control to say when it would stop. It’s hard to do all that work, and then be cut off by people who’d had nothing to do with it all along, and then try to find a way to work your way back to that space with someone else.

I haven’t so far, actually. Not quite like that. Different this time, but equally gratifying, for the most part. I know my guard is still up in some areas, but at the same time, I’m not there for the same reasons as I was almost 20 years ago. Everything is very different in my world now; I am very different. So we deal with me now, anyway, instead of whoever I was then.

Anyway, for the most part, I gave her the Cliff’s Notes on the things I want to talk about – including the fact that I want to talk at all. Maybe this way I can manage not to feel the need to burden my poor friends with some of this stuff, too. Hopefully. On the way to work after, I made notes in my phone to expand on the 4 or 5 main things I want to dig into more next time, too. Because, naturally, I thought of a few more things I wanted to say after I left. Happens every freaking time!

Oh! She also showed me a book that might help get creativity flowing again, which is awesome. I took a picture of the cover so I can look it up later, and she said that if I can’t afford it right away but want to investigate it more, she can scan the first chapter and send it to me.

But that I have to ask her for it.

#clevergirl

Emotional Expression

Still cold out, still not feeling great.

Not really sure how to write this post without sounding like a big whiner, even to myself.  I’m not even quite sure what exactly I want to say, let alone how to say it.

Expressing an opinion is a complicated thing, somehow.  Much worse when emotions are involved.  Personally, I’m not even sure it’s possible to explain an emotion to someone who doesn’t understand why you’re experiencing it, without having said emotion rise to the surface and express itself.  Which is frustrating, because at that point – the moment an emotion is involved – the listener usually stops listening, if they were ever listening at all.  The emotion drowns out the words; the meaning of the words is often lost.

A victim of abuse is expected to report and speak about the experience without emotion – clinically, removed from the event as though it happened to someone else, and almost as though it didn’t happen at all.  As soon as the victim – specifically when it’s a woman – allows her emotions to surface when speaking about it, her experience of the attack is dismissed.  Everything she does before, during, and after the incident becomes suspect, and is placed under scrutiny.  She is asked to explain why she did the things she did, and why she didn’t do what those outside of the experience think they would have done in her place.  Most of the time, no one really knows why we do the things we do in ANY situation, let alone a traumatic one.  Yet victims of abuse – sexual, emotional, physical – are expected to not only figure out their own every move, how the attqcker’s actions were a reflection of their own, and then also explain it to someone else.  An outsider.  As though they are the ones who did something wrong.

The more one tries to explain their experience, the more they are questioned about their part in it, and asked about things that had nothing to do with the attack itself, the more upset, or frustrated, or angry, or any number of other things the victim becomes.  The expression of emotion then drowns out the intent behind the original explanation in the first place.  To report, to express, to scream a truth from the rooftops and proclaim it to be real.

Even if it’s not the nice, polite, politically correct or socially acceptable thing to do.  Sometimes it’s just not possible to remain calm.  Not when everything inside of you is screaming to come out.

Once emotion rises, all that can be seen is the result; the effect of the emotion on the individual.  It drowns out everything else.  It’s like trying to prove you’re not intoxicated after someone accuses you of being so.  Everything you say and do after that appears to prove the accuser correct.  Often by the end of it, you appear to be far more than drunk – you’re hysterical, or unstable, or enraged and a danger to yourself and others.  Extreme emotions breed extreme perceptions.  But not the correct ones.

A black man gets pulled over and detained by police how many times before he is “allowed” to be angry?  How often must one’s entire existence in the world be overlooked based solely on the colour of their skin, before frustration turns to rage, and anyone else is able to see something other than an angry black guy?  How long must someone be wronged and mistreated and yet still get out of bed each day, expected to be the better person, by not mentioning the things that are wrong?

How much can I write in a blog post before it starts sounding like a whiny lecture?  Or a frustrated rant? Or any of the other terms that serve only to undermine my words and bury the point I am trying to make, thereby proving that point, but in a way that ensures no one sees it?