Just got back from Montreal. Was there on a very aspirational sort of trip. I attended an international conference sponsored by a Canadian science organization. It’s an area of science I aspired to work in. I loved it in my undergrad. I was almost publishable.
On the flight over, I sat next to a postdoc who was going to a different conference. When I overheard him talking of their research topic, I assumed it was my conference, because it uses similar technology. Had quite a nice conversation with him on the plane, and he encouraged me and go back and finish my undergrad research. I stopped because my prof left to another university, but also because I didn’t really believe in either myself or what I was doing, not sure which. Maybe both.
Sadly, on the way back I sat next to some wanker who though twig-skinny had to hog the armrest and the foot-area divider. He repeatedly put his foot on top of mine and elbowed me in the side. Eventually I put a thick airline magazine between my side and the armrest and the jabbing ceased. This person sat and watched lame movies and as far as I know was a complete waste of space. Or at least I felt like killing him 2/3 way into the flight. Why the fuck did he need to keep elbowing me and brushing my skin with his hairy arm? I hate people touching me. I really, really hate people touching me.
So I wasted over $1000 to find out that yet again I don’t belong and to get numerous WTF-looks from people who know damn well I don’t belong. But I don’t want to retire into a world of shinyhappy lunches, trips, outings, and classes. On the way home I sat and read a python textbook on my laptop for several hours. Those are the classes, method and tools I’m interested in. I want a real job, not an easy wind-down. I’m not finished! I haven’t even started. I never had a life. I want a real life, not delusion. I’d rather not kill myself right now, logical as that direction may seem.
I was also sick the whole time, hacking into my kleenex and taking antihistamines, pseudoephedrine and cough syrup day and night, bolstered by cough drops as needed. Yet another detail to make my old, grey, undereducated and overweight ass yet more unappealing to anyone there.
And I didn’t even make it to Schwartz’ Deli for the ultimate Montreal smoked meat sandwich. I was just too sick and tired. Instead I grabbed a beef shawarma pita thing that was nasty because it tasted like mustard. Is mustard an Arabic thing? I doubt it. So much for getting it with “everything” when you dk what “everything” is.
Lately, I’ve realized that despite feeling quite alone and unsupported, actually my various friends have given me quite a lot of support. One gave me a big monitor, bigger than the one I have. It’s nice, makes work easier and play a little richer. Two others let me stay at their homes while I travelled to a conference. They appreciated talking to me. They fed me. Thay had time for me! Even my ex wanted to help me.
One of them even dumped out three days of my urine and toilet paper from a chemical toilet in the camper. Now, that’s a true friend, no? Last time I made sure to empty that toilet myself. I had to ask for help how to do it. I bet usually she does it for everyone, but I felt like I should take care of my own bodily fluids, ya know?
And then today I got a chunk of good luck, a bit of freedom. My divorce papers came through. There was some technical glitch with the format, so they were refused last month, but the kind registry clerk took pity on me and resubmitted it to another judge, who ended up approving it. Whew! I’ve been hoping and hoping for that all month, because my ex got into blaming mode and didn’t want to redo the papers, even though it was all by consent. Even though I redid the papers and printed it for him. But now it’s done, and I feel numb. I never wanted to be divorced, but since that’s what he wanted, I’m glad it’s finished.
So what about gratitude? Yes, I’m grateful for the luck today and when the clerk took pity on me, but I’ve talked to people who say gratitude changed their lives. I need my life to change! I don’t want my life the way it’s been. I tried to practice gratitude, but it didn’t do much for me. I read a lot about it. I tried the exercises repeatedly. So… anyone of the very few rarified people reading here have the solution? I don’t know. Life ain’t worth living, and I’m trying to change that.
My friend who doesn’t cook was supposed to eat before she came over. She was going to go out. She had asked if I want to, but I don’t eat out much, so I said no. Then she arrived and she was hungry because she hadn’t made it out to eat. Not sure how the topic came up, but she was hungry, and I offered her a salad, to which she agreed.
Dry cottage cheese, some freshly shredded cabbage, cucumber slices, radish and broccoli on the side, and all topped with 3-bean salad I had made a couple days before. She watched me make it, as I whipped things in and out of the fridge, and bits of waste into the compost bucket. “I’m getting an education,” she said, and, “It’s like a cooking show.” It’s just how I cook – efficiently.
“I should take a picture,” she said when it arrived on the table. But she doesn’t have a cellphone, so this salad didn’t get uploaded anywhere.
I’m good at cooking. Been doing it since I was a kid. When my parents split up, I was tasked with making dinners because mother was late home from work. I got a driver’s licence at 16 with the understanding that grocery shopping was now my job, each week. I’m old school; I make stuff from scratch. Buying a can of pre-cooked beans for the salad felt extravagant – I usually cook them from scratch, but this was a special case of 3-bean instead of just one or two, so the third one was from a can, as I didn’t have anything stashed in the freezer.
Wish I had such facility and variety and habit in my career area. I need to spend more time exploring all the variations there.
I bought a new top for my final night of my dance class. We were going to go out as a group afterwards. Yesterday I tried on the all-black drop-sleeve t-shirt I bought the other day. I thought it was good to hide some arm-flab while still giving some ventilation for the heat and sweat that quickly build up in a dance class. But then I tried it on last night, didn’t think it looked that great. The sleeves should have been longer, but even short they kind of hung down limply. Was a cheap Walmart thing, so I went to return it. Not that cheap, almost $20.
Brought it to the return desk, and an almost-middle-aged female was there. She looked at it carefully to make sure it wasn’t worn. She said, “Sexy.” Sure, this limp black thing that was going to cover my arm-flab, but not that well, was sexy. Really? Well, it was my laugh for the day, just bizarre to find a store clerk telling me what I bought was sexy.
I went to my first bellydance show the other day. A lot of it was student stuff, including some tentative beginners who were clearly challenged in remembering all their moves. Good on them for trying.
One dancer in particular stood out for me above all the others, including the headliner. She reminded me a lot of a favourite other dancer, but a big difference is she’s local and I could take group classes with her at a reasonable price. The class season is just ending and a new one is starting, so it’s kinda perfect timing. Well, maybe I’ll do it. It’s a bit of a drive to get there.
So, one glorious moment and good for me in trying something new and even having a friend to bring along. I’m trying to find my peeps, as the saying goes – find people I can connect with and who like doing what I do. I don’t want to go to lots of bellydance shows so much as I would like to dance freely with other people. At my age, that’s not easy to find. Young people go to nightclubs, and old people mostly do the kind of dancing I’m not interested in. So, a moment of glory. Yay.
I just want to be heard and understood. Not told that someone understands, but shown, to know that someone understands. Like the difference between bad literature that tells you meanings and emotions and good literature that evokes them in you.
About 15 years ago I had a counsellor who recognized my emotion and named it. He said I was profoundly sad. That was the most validation and understanding I have ever had.
Most people can’t do that. They just try to lard it over with some attempt to look at the bright side. They hope I had fun or enjoyed myself. Well, no, I didn’t. I was profoundly sad. I struggled through the battlefield because I am courageous, but it wasn’t fun, for fuck’s sake.
When I get a chance to dwell on the sadness and let it out, sometimes I take pictures. The cellphone makes that easy, a way to take multiple images with low cost and no effort. I have a whole folder of them, me frowning and face twisted in sorrow. Tears, an expression of anguish, and the easy inference that loud cries occurred at that time. I was alone, with no one to care for me, just me. My validation of my own emotions.
I like looking at those pictures sometimes. A break from the rest of the world where sadness is pretty much banned. I would love to post a bunch of these pictures, but I am not going to show my face.
That’s what the guy at the job centre said. For me, the problem isn’t time. It’s capacity to enjoy. There’s not much I really enjoy. Oh, sure, a movie is an escape. Food is great while eating it and alcohol makes the worries fade away, but both of those things are extra calories, especially the second one which has no nutritional value. At my age, I don’t need to eat much, so most every bite should be a nutritious one.
So suddenly I got the bright idea to go get a massage at the massage therapy school. Something I’ve been planning to do for over a year. It’s only $30 for over an hour of therapeutic massage. I checked their online schedule – only one booking left for today, in 15 minutes. I had to dash down there after leaving them a phone message.
It felt great though I feel oddly stiff now as if things were stretched and I should take a hot bath and then ice my sore foot that got killed with all the activity over the past week. I had some strenuous forest hiking that overdid it for me and triggered old injuries and weak points.
So I did something nice for me that felt good. Hurrah for me!