Friends

Friends

Over the past year or so, I started to make the friends I should have been making during my ill-fated marriage. We had no other friends. I wanted to, but he was so clingy it was nearly impossible. I accepted that as a temporary state. I didn’t realize the marriage was also temporary.  Imagine growling sounds here.

So I have various friends. And I have also started to cultivate connections with people in my field. The dreaded “networking.” Or as I learned from a course on Lynda.com by Lauren Bacon, “building community and connecting with others” rather than “networking.” It’s about meeting different people, not just people like oneself. But it’s about being authentic, real, genuine. Of course the conferences I went to probably had some facade-ish aspects to them – or my behaviour did. But I’m gonna keep trying. My networking is turbo-charged and it’s gonna be a lifelong habit. No more will I rely on who or what I have, not like I stupidly did in my marriage.

But in some ways, a facade is needed even in friendships. One in particular is a relatively new friend that seems to really like me, or so she has said more than once in the few months she’s known me. She wants me to come to her place, she says. I have been twice. I’m not crazy about going there or being there, even though she has a cat, and I love cats. I liked our conversations at first, when they were kind of intense, but now she’s relaxed into prattling about mundane things that are of no interest to me, and she doesn’t see that. I mention things of interest to me, and she never ever delves into them. She moves on to another mundane thing. What does one do in this situation? I don’t know! The facade is needed because I donno what to do with my frustration when that happens. It’s a mismatch.

I realized it was a mismatch one time when I really needed someone to talk to and my truth got too intense for  her. I’m sorry, but I have lived a dark life and I can’t say “Yeehah!” to your platitudes. Basically the implication is to hide the darkness, don’t acknowledge it, so she can prattle on about how wonderful all the mundane things are, like typical landscaping and so on. She’s told me more than once to lower my standards, as she has. That is not my way.

This is going nowhere, because we are going in different directions. I want a new career and she just wants to enjoy her retirement as much as possible. Her brain has slowed down, and I am honing mine to compete in a new career, in a job market full of mostly younger people. Or maybe really it’s nowhere because I don’t want to listen to what she wants to talk about and she apparently is the same way about what I want to talk about.

We are taking a dance class together. I’m not crazy about the dance class. The teacher is a bit disorganized. She gives instructions and then doesn’t follow what she said, so we can’t follow here. And when she’s winging it, she doesn’t have a method that allows you to follow. I liked the other dance teacher, the Latin one, much more high energy. An actual workout. This one is bellydance, and she spends way too long on one isolation, and I tend to feel cramped in whatever area we’re working on. Twenty minutes or a third of the class on one isolation is too much. More than 10 sets of 8 beats of just chest slides or hip drops is too much. Especially when followed by another 10.

This friend has another friend with a hobby farm, something I would dearly love to have, at least half an acre, preferably four acres. And this friend gave my friend some composted manure, and she offered it to me, since I’m a rabid gardener.  I appreciate it very much. Very thoughtful and apropos to my interests. I feel like a bit of a jerk that I don’t want to go to her place and that I am bored of her, but I accepted her gift. I don’t like playing board games unless there is really good conversation to go along with it.

And I really don’t like the smell of spilled wine gone mouldy and cat pee. I guess she can’t smell it, but I can. The compost had no particular smell, but she was suspicious about it, as if it was dirty. “It hasn’t been processed” and “I don’t really know what composting is.” Well, JFGI. There were worms living in it. It was basically very broken down and soil-like, with some bits of straw or grass fibres left.

I hope her health problems work out for the best and she enjoys her retirement, but she’s too low energy and unthinking for me to really connect with. How to ease out of it without burning bridges.

Film fantasy

Film fantasy

In the film world – families have warm and close interpersonal connections, or even people have such connections with friends. Lifelong friends who are there for you through thick and thin. In real life, family members are distant and indifferent, and perfectly okay with that. Funerals, memorials, and spreading of ashes are not that important, not that meaningful. Sometimes they don’t even happen. That’s how it played out in my family with my supposedly much-loved mother.

Apparently what I was told in literature class at the beginning is true, that people use art to create worlds we can experience that are an idealized escape from the real world. I never believed that. I thought art was about truth. But it’s about beauty, which often doesn’t exist in the real world because it gets trampled or ground up in a machine. In the real world things happen that I couldn’t have ever imagined.

Over the past couple years I have learned that:

  • Someone may intentionally cross their property boundary over into Crown land and log 30-40 trees, gathering enough wood to heat a cabin for a year or more, possibly even selling the wood.
  • Someone may, without authorization, introduce a fish species into a lake and then introduce its predator species two years later, hoping to fish that predator.
  • And then there’s all those people who don’t keep their promises because their feelings changed.

 

Older dance card

Older dance card

I see the eyes of older males lingering on me, briefly. I’m 55. I’m strong. I move gracefully.

I don’t take any medications. Many times I’ve had the experience of a quizzical look on the doctor’s face, a re-ask of the question if I take any regular medications, and then a re-order on whatever blood tests or other tests I took. “Maybe there was some fuckup,” I guess they’re thinking, “since this fat person shows no bloodwork problems.” No, the test was fine. I’m healthy. Possibly because of eating home-grown veggies for many years and generally not eating industrial crap food of various kinds. I’ve never smoked, and I exercise because I know the rule: Use it or lose it. These self-repairing machines need exercise in order to repair. We’re not generally meant to live this long, i.e. in most of human history we didn’t live past 40 or 50.

Feels good to be noticed, to be lingered upon; however, I’ll never have another partner.  Recently, my crazy ex told me about his love-at-first-sight with some totally unavailable person. I told him I didn’t need to hear about that. “I’d be glad to know you had someone on your dance card.” Yeah, well, you dumped me. I didn’t dump you. If I have someone on my dance card, you don’t have to feel so bad for ditching the marriage that I meant to be for life, for ever. My sacrifices that I made beyond reason, hoping for a forever connection. No matter how hard it was, I didn’t want to end it. I wanted to fix it. Make it do or do without.

There will never be anyone on my dance card. No one could possibly accept me, given the crazy relationship that I was in. I weep, but I move forward alone. I took a chance and failed. Gotta try something different in future. Not cut out for romance or deep connection with other people. No one ever loved me and no one will. I accept that; I was not meant to be born. I’m a freak. That’s okay. Someone has to be on the end of the normal curve. C’est moi.

 

airhead bnb

airhead bnb

I’ve been outta town taking some courses. I stayed with family for part of it, but for one night I had to stay in a bnb. Hotels were expensive, and my friend said she uses airbnb. I was really short on time and got caught up in the registration process with airbnb. As someone else said about registering for Save-On Foods delivery from online ordering, “I’d rather stick needles in my eyes for an hour.” But somehow I managed it, and then I got an email “You will receive a reply within 24 hours.” Great – I needed it within one hour, because I had to drive to the next outta town location.  The reservation confirmation arrived just in time, so I didn’t cancel it. Glad, because it would have been a long nasty drive home in the dark, otherwise.

So I get to this crazy place, narrow driveway behind a Tim Hortons. Smooth old fir floors, not too badly maintained. Crusty and stained old ornamental mouldings and crusty and stained ceiling tiles. I only saw one silverfish in the bathroom.

On the door, “An old bear lives here with his honey.” I liked that. The old guy, a Scotsman and former logger, was quite pleasant. Quizzed me about breakfast, which I don’t eat, but it’s a bnb thing, so I took away a couple boiled eggs for lunch.

But after some friendly quizzing about the geology course I was taking, he found his opening to share his apparently-creationist pamphlet with me. I felt a little steamed, as I came here to bathe and sleep, not to have more of this crap pushed at me. Someone leaves it around my apartment building: the lobby, the laundry room. I always take it and recycle it.

So, I figured it was time to quiz him about something in their bnb ad, the queer fact that the place is “not suitable for persons with alternative lifestyle.” Immediately I thought of the man I saw on the ferry from Victoria the other day. He was about 40 years old or so, with massive dreadlocks and a tie-dye t-shirt, and two teenaged boys with 1950s style clean-cut hair-do’s. I asked him what the statement in their ad meant, because I wasn’t sure.

“Me either. Ya know, when I came over from Scotland in my 20s, I didn’t know what homosexuality was. We had never heard of it.” Well, Oscar Wilde had heard of it over 100 years ago, but if you haven’t heard of Oscar Wilde, you’re at a disadvantage, I suppose. Don’t expect his books were that popular in the logging camps. “I didn’t even know about pregnancy.” Well, no need to base your life on your ignorance, I thought. Why not overcome it? But I just said, “That’s dangerous.”

Cut to the chase, before I recycled the pamphlet I found out the key point – Jehova’s Witnesses do not consider themselves fundamentalist Christians, because they do not believe the world was created in some short number of years but rather that the x number of days for creation would not have been days as we understand them, periods of 24 hours. But I doubt the pamphlet explained Oscar Wilde or pregnancy.

That morning, in the Jehova’s Witness’s home, I took extra pleasure in listening to the wholesome 1950s song “Mr. Sandman” by the Chordettes and watching my favourite male bellydancer playfully dancing to it. Pretty sure he’s gay because of how he talks, not that it’s my business, but it did give the moment that extra zest and a big smile for me.

Makeup

I have never understood makeup. That is, I have never worn it. I don’t mean, “only on special occasions” as when other people have told me they “never wear makeup.” I have never worn it in public. I’ve mucked around in the bathroom and I looked like a freak, could never make sense of it.

Oddly enough, I’m quite excellent at painting on paper or canvas. It’s not the painting skill I lack. I’m in the top few percent of colour perception. But social perception – somewhere in the bottom. And makeup is about social perception. I … don’t … get it. See, women dress up colourfully to impress each other, but somehow that also has to do with getting a mate. As with birds. I relate to the crows and robins – both sexes look basically the same. They mate forever. They don’t need to have breeding plumage each year to compete for a new mate. I don’t play that game. I am a geek, I might as well be a guy, with t-shirt and shorts or jeans, depending on time of year.

And then recently I saw a performance by the male bellydancer I’m so fond of. I captured a screenshot of his pleased side-glance, with heavy kohl-type eyeliner.

Now, finally, I want to wear makeup. I don’t think heavy kohl eyeliner is the best thing for a pale, white-haired, pink-faced woman over 50 with zero fashion sense, but it’s what appeals to me.

I never had the experience I imagine is common for most women – the playing with makeup with friends experience of teenage years and later. I mean we didn’t have the Internet in those days, so we couldn’t google makeup techniques. I assume people did it together.  There are books, but probably most people learned from each other.

From books, I learned how to pluck hair out of my face. The book, “The eyebrow,” yes, a book only on that topic, instructed me. But now I spend 4x as much time plucking hairs out of my chin. Pretty much every other day. It’s not makeup, it’s not adding anything. It’s removing something to create a more groomed appearance.

I might as well throw in that I’ve been accused of wearing makeup at times!!! Wow! Actually it was just that I used Facercise by Carole Maggio, awesome facial exercises that plump up muscles and create bloodflow, resulting in rosy cheeks and brightened skin tone under the eyes. Wonderful stuff.

Looking “good” makes it easier for people to connect, to look at your face. It’s good for confidence, too. I just have never worn makeup to get those effects.

But now I want the heavy black kohl eyes. Probably like what the Rolling Stones had back somewhere in the late 60s. Which video was that again? I’m kind of a pop music fiend, but it escapes me right now.

White hair and black kohl eyes. Right.

Youth, age, and beauty

A picture of me at age 16. Of course, I was beautiful. No one told me at the time. No one told me ever. Found the picture, wondered who that pretty girl was.

Now I weep that I never had the joy of being  beautiful. Of being comfortable in my body. Of being connected and enjoying it. In certain rare moments, I felt the enjoyment, but was never buoyed by the confidence in myself. My being, my body, my existence.

I had always been picked on for being “fat.” I wasn’t that fat. I wasn’t obese, but people picked on me anyway. I don’t understand it. Maybe someone else can explain this harsh and unnecessarily cruelty. This peer pressure, this chicken picking, where the one lowest on the pecking order gets pecked to death or social oblivion. For me it was only social oblivion. I’m far too vigorous, aggressive, and strong to be pecked to death. I’ll kill you first, for sure.

Recently, I read about scientific studies on people who get physically attacked. It has to do with the aggressors reading movement, specifically uncoordinated movement. The victims look weak and helpless in some way. I don’t look like that. I may be fat, but I’ll definitely use that weight against you if you attack me. I studied tai chi and Alexander Technique. I move like a tiger. I will get you. I have never been attacked. I see people hobbling in my neighbourhood with so many old and crippled people, a cheap working class neighbourhood. I don’t move like them. Even my ex, last year when he was a total stone-cold jerk and did not treat me with any respect managed to blurt out he is still attracted to how I move. I ain’t pretty but a cat, even if fat, moves like a cat.

But when I was young, I was disconnected from my body’s movement in the moment. No wonder I liked getting drunk, to release the body from restriction. But that’s not real connection.

I weep. And now I dance, every day. And almost worship the beautiful moves of people who weren’t crippled as I was. I’m connected to my body most of the time, and it is a source of knowledge. But it still sits in a pool of past sorrows.