Just food

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.

Bellydance glory

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.

My life is over?

My life is over?

I’ve definitely felt this for several years. My marriage going down the toilet amplified the feeling and showed that I even screwed up in the one thing that I thought would save me.

And now I’m chasing after something else to fix my life, a new career? A year of job applications got me one interview, but no job. Now I’m trying “networking”, ie connecting with people in the fields I’m interested in. And someone is supposed to like me and if there’s a mutual fit I could be in?

I don’t fit. I never have belonged. I always had to struggle to even play the role of fitting anywhere. I’m a unicorn. I’ll explain next time. I’m spending over $2000 to go to various learning and networking events so that I can connect with people in fields of interest, find out what I need to know, and ultimately make a career change. I fear that “what I need to know” is that “this is not the place for me.” Fifty-five years of that message has brought me much despair.

Taking these steps, making these decisions – it doesn’t feel natural, doesn’t feel comfortable. There are moments of excitement and many more of terror.

When I met my sweetheart, we were both despairing of this world, wanting out, and then hoping for salvation in each other. Turns out we just hurt each other. He found his salvation elsewhere, blaming me a thousandfold with hailstorms of criticism, along the way. I feel so beaten down since our connection failed. I thought we had a plan and a life together, to the end.

In the end, as in the beginning, I am alone and hurting.

Triumph in the night

Triumph in the night

So, of course nighttime is when the desperate emotional eating happens. After I’ve waded and pushed through the day, often without much self-awareness, sometimes with emotional walls so I can focus on what needs doing, and often with a growing sense of dissatisfaction. And at the end of the day, when there’s no more energy of motion, I collapse in a needy lump. Can’t get what I need, but sometimes food can take the edge off. Habitually, it has. Alcohol could do the same thing. But whatever thing it is, it’s not the thing I need. I need peace, joy, and connection.

I’ve been cultivating those, and wanna talk about the connection – the self-connection, now. Because I don’t expect to have a partner again. I don’t expect any friend to be there for me. Rarely they are. Would be nice, but I clearly can’t count on anyone. Not like in the movies. I watched a movie like that tonight, “Friends with Kids.” A nice fantasy, love with a twist or two. But another thing I did tonight was my triumph, my new idea.

A project the last couple weeks has been doing a time study, just tracking my major activities on a spreadsheet. They’re also colour coded into four categories – pink for emotional crap, yellow for maintenance, blue for fun times, and green for go-go stuff related to my needed career change. So I’ve increased the amount of green time. Four hours today. And still working on decreasing the nasty pink emotional time.

Having noticed how the nighttimes lead to eating and movies, just as for probably a lot of people in this world, I felt dissatisfied. Then today I got the brill idea of a potential new habit: working into the night. See, when I’m absorbed in work, I’m fairly content. I forget to eat. And then there’s the payoff of figuring out some puzzle, as I did yesterday, or learning something new. And I can see myself doing this as a habit, crazy as it sounds. Counter-intuitive, I mean, this kind of self-connection. But that’s what it is, self-connection.

With sharpening my skills, I should be able to get a job in this field. Hit the ground running. Keep a fast pace on deliverables with knowledgeable and optimized approaches, just as I do in my current dead-end gig that I only do for money. Tonight after the movie, I sat and did a GIS tutorial for an hour. I can see this working for me. Because I’m doing something both constructive and gratifying, instead of late-night eating, this is triumph.

Illness ?!?

The week has begun with a whimper. I’m sick for the first time in a couple years. Congestion, sore throad, no energy. Had to cancel activities – and in a way I’m relieved. Most of the activities are effortful, unlike the bellydancing class, which I really regret missing. Social effort. Professional connecting effort. I don’t have a lot of confidence in unstructured situations as I’m very much an outlier, and I never feel like I fit in.

Logic I can do.  Leading, I can do. Tech stuff, I can do. Social connecting on the fly – not so much.

I get the impression other people in my bellydance class feel a bit awkward with their bodies, even though they are all younger and slimmer than me. All have smaller feet and nicer waists. I just get that feeling.

For me, the dancing feels perfectly natural. For me, it is not a sexual dance. It is all about connecting with the music, and using the body to do that. It’s movement to rhythm. So I have nothing to be shy about: I have a good sense of rhythm, and if I screw up there’s no ego attached. I don’t have to be perfect. I’m not a professional. I’m not even putting on an amateur performance. I’m just foing this for me.

If you wanna see some amazing bellydancing, check out this, or  this or this or anything else by Bagoas. And if you just want some awesome traditional drumming, check out this or anything else by Reda Darwish. These guys and their art have kept my spirits up many a day over the last three months or so. Dancing is a great escape into the music. I probably look like a complete idiot, and that doesn’t matter too much. Prevents me doing it as a social occasion, but luckily that’s not my first reason to do it. I’m a music-nut first and foremost. Music is one of the truly glorious things in life.