Loneliness

Loneliness

Really, I’m quite happy to be alone most of the time. I love that I can work alone at home. I just wish it were quieter. Noise is a major weak point for me. Or, I love quiet. I drink it in. It soothes me. But I don’t want to be alone all the time. I enjoy our one or two employer-sponsored parties in a year, and not just for a free gourmet meal, either. Mainly it’s a chance to socialize.

I really needed some human connection today, and had no idea how to get it. So sick of relying on posting on discussion websites. I really want friends, and to see people’s faces. But it never seems to work out. This is a lifelong problem. I had one friend as a kid and puberty killed that. She went boy-crazy and fashion-crazy and I was alienated. As well, my parents split up and my mum moved us away. That girl was my best friend, and my last best friend.

Oh, sure, I have my canoe buddy. We’re taking a course together next week. That’s the social highlight of my year, no doubt. But even though she’s my oldest and I suppose best friend, and I do treasure her, it’s not enough.

I got married to what I thought was a friend for life. That didn’t work out. He’s still around in my life, though, and we saw each other today. Or, I saw him. Not sure he saw me at all, even though we met to see this art show toether. See, he’s proudly autistic, doesn’t make eye contact. Got his diagnosis now and validation to behave as badly as he always has, or worse. He’s totally self-centered. It feels strange even now to spend time with him, though I’ve gotten over much of the extreme hurt. It’s not personal. I don’t like that it’s not personal! I want to be treated as a person. He literally has contempt for social things, and expresses that disgust regularly.

I knew he wanted to go to a crappy amateur art show, and I was desperate to get out of my four walls, so I suggested we go. It was as crappy and pointless as I expected. Nay, more so. Not only was it amateur art or the driest and kitschiest manner, but it was a small exhibition of all works done on square canvasses. Just no interest whatsoever, for me. My interest was in interacting with SOMEONE. And I have no one.

There have been people in my building who reached out to me.  One was a very caring woman who literally let me cry on her shoulder one day. That was a high point for me. A mothering moment that I really needed. I don’t feel like I got any mothering from my actual mother, you see.  Mum’s dead, I’d been grieving the loss of my marriage, my friendship, and my life plans that I invested in for 10 years, and crying on someone’s shoulder unrestrainedly was a high point for me. A connection.

But, she moved away, said she’d contact me, and didn’t. Of course I contacted her several times, and not just to forward her mail, since I moved into her old suite. But she never got back, never had time. I know she has a terminal illness, so I could put it all down to that, but I conclude that I was not a net positive in her life, apparently. You can only reach out so many times and then ya gotta stop bugging people. I wish her the best.

Another person in my building reached out to me and we had visits at her place, and even thanksgiving dinner. But… she invalidated me several times and we do not share views. Well, I don’t share her views and I don’t think she stopped talking long enough to find out what mine were. So when I went away for a year during my separation period, we exchanged a couple emails that quickly resulted in a conflict. She sent me stupid forwards. I just asked her to please not send these to my work email. I had entrusted her with my work email. She apparently got offended, because she told me I should learn some tact. And that was it. She never responded to my boundary request. I repeated it. Silence. Fine, we are done, I thought.

But I came back after the separation period and she was all friendly. WTF? People who do things and then act lik enothing happened – very invalidating. Finally, I told her one day recently that the reason I don’t respond to her is she didn’t respond to me. Finally, it seems, maybe she has stopped trying to jolly me into another bullshit conversation.

What the hell should I have done differently? Nothing, I think.

Then there was the platonic F2F friend I made off Craigslist. We had some trauma in common. I liked that we could talk about it. But apparently that was too much for her as she started complaining that people (me, when I inquired) don’t want to visit her, and similar issues about what she wants. Well, I want someone who can talk about the dark stuff without fear. Sure, I can play board games and visit, but not if it has to be all superficial, too. I’m not losing my mind, as she seems to be. I remember things. I’m not ready to let everything slip away. Her chaos drove me mad – couldn’t remember where anything was, where we were going, or to prepare whatever was needed for the agreed upon plan. Sorry, I’m not ready for dementia. I will fight that by learning, thinking, remembering, thank you very much. Not my kinda people, if they choose to be okay with chaos.

Are there any of my kinda people? I need people.

Advertisements

Love

Love

Is this not the best cheddar cheese ordinarily found in grocery stores? Please let me know if you know of a better one. This is very sharp and cheddary, and often goes on sale. What more could I want? Well, there is a cheese with truffle bits in it – fabulous, but $10 for a small piece maybe 1/3 to 1/4 size of this one, which is often on sale for $4. So, that’s like 3x as much. And, sure, it tastes 3x better and maybe I’ll buy it one day, but I haven’t yet. I tried it at a conference… wow! So I researched what on earth I had eaten. I love cheese, okay? Cheese slathered on seedy bread with a base of butter to stick it all together. Oh, yeah.

I have been kicking butt on life, okay? Making bucks, getting fit, making friends, setting limits with other friends. Even though it’s amazing to be wanted… it’s even better to not spend time with people who aren’t that interesting. “I like you – You’re a good conversationalist.”  And then, “Why don’t people want to visit me — I mean you.” Wow, believe me, this is not the kind of experience I’ve ever had before in my life. Am I on something? Is this a hallucination? No. It’s just a result of being 55 and trying to connect with people in the world. And I’m sorry, but it’s hard to connect with someone who has given up on trying, who can’t remember anything, and is just lowering their standards (her words) to make life more comfortable.

No, I have drive and passion. I want more. I’m not satisfied. Yes, death is a comforting thought, but that’s because life is so unsatisfying. I don’t want to lower my standards. I want great cheese, the good kind, and soon I’ll buy the kind with truffle bits in it, dammit.

But that’s just hedonism, is it not? Sure, it is. I want to do something grand. I want to be totally absorbed in a mission. Frankly, I am not excited about the achievements of Tony Robbins or Arnold – no need to spell his last name – but I totally desire to be completely absorbed in pursuing something with intensity. Arnold’s workout sets were insane, and I love that, even though the drugs he took are no longer legal and in fact guys built like a brick shithouse do not actually appeal to me. And Tony, the coke-head (I think, no aspersions cast) Robbins, no, I don’t get excited about his insane rants and coal-walking, but I am totally impressed with how he learned to give speeches. He went and gave several a day, not just a few a month. Go Tony! I dig that.

But what am I to do in this world? I am having difficult figuring that out. So many aptitudes. So much  random knowledge. So much passion. No frickin’ clue about what to do.

I’m TCB, doing all I have to do, but I want glory. And it’s not coming from cheese, luscious as that is.

 

I hope it’s not too late

I hope it’s not too late

Sometimes it is hard to be good at a lot of different things. For me, it dovetails with indecisiveness. There’s no reason to choose one single thing. There’s never been one clear thing I should focus on, one clear path.

I’ve done artwork for various people who needed logos and things like that. “You missed your calling,” I was told. Yeah, well, I don’t see much excitement or meaning in commercial art, even though I don’t mind doing a logo for ya. And as far as the art scene, I didn’t see a place for myself there, either. I love music, too, but loathe the music scene. All of these scenes are about fashion, pecking orders, and politics, all things I don’t understand well. Those are my weak points, blind spots. I’m good at many things, but just uncomfortable with all that.

A lot of people have assumed, told me, or asked if I’m on the autism spectrum. Well, maybe I am, but I never had a diagnosis or any help, so technically I’m not, as no clinician has weighed in on that. Plus I’m female, so we women don’t fit the typical autism categories which were based on males. Plus, I’m obviously very high functioning, so even if I’m a complete fucking freak, I’m not exactly disabled the way a low functioning autistic person is. I like my ivory tower, so maybe I’m INTP.

So, what to do in life? I am acquainted with a couple people who have experienced what I dearly wanted all along: to have a specific direction, dream, and goal from an early age.

Of course there is my favourite artistic fusion bellydancer, Bagoas, who explained in the short documentary film about male bellydancers that he has been doing this since he was 15. I guess he’s in his mid-20s or something now. Certainly under 30. He does such wonderful, original, skilled, beautiful, joyful, playful, and expressive things that I so envy that I never had a life like that. I never belonged anywhere that I could pursue anything that interested me. I’m sort of acquainted with him because he’s a Facebook friend. Maybe in the next year I’ll go see him dance in Seattle. But basically I’ve watched his videos over and over because I’ve been going through the toughest time in my life with my divorce and all, and his expressive art always beings smiles to my face. Smiles, plural, never just one smile. His playfulness is absolutely golden, and wrapped in musical expressiveness and artistic precision.

Then there is a guy I know from the Scrabble group, a retired cop. This week he told me he had tried to get into the RCMP at age 21. It was what he always wanted. He was a cop  all his life and then a bylaw officer. I’ve heard of a lot of cops who get messed up from the conflict, violence, and tragedy involved in their work, but somehow th is guy came through unscathed, apparently. He doesn’t seem troubled, unhealthy, overweight, or anything. He seems very light at heart, playful, open, and able to hear others. In a man, those are all nice qualities, and in a cop they aren’t exactly the stereotype.

And I have nothing.  I can do all kinds of things – visual art, statistics, applied math, writing, research, teaching . . . and I am completely lost.

Fire!

Fire!

Thunderstorms are exciting in the city, but at this time of year, when it’s been so dry, living out in forested areas makes thunder and lightening more of a nerve-wracking thing. The serious fires aren’t yet near my friends who live off the grid halfway up a forested mountain, but they are troubling many many people in the province right now.

The picture above is from the provincial government’s wildfire website for 11:30 p.m., July 8, 2017. Yesterday there were only 3 major “fires of note.” Today that’s doubled.

I’ve often thought of living in a remote area, but apart from my lack of extreme outdoor skills, the fire fear has killed it for me, hands-down. Forests and fires are not that well-managed here, meaning that we don’t do controlled burns. I’ve seen them done on the prairies, so I was surprised to learn a while back we don’t do them here in BC.

Just to review a cliche that should be common knowledge – Smokey the bear and the “Only you can prevent forest fires” from my childhood in the 60s. Yes, it’s good not to throw cigarettes out on the ground, especially in dry or wild areas. However, preventing all forest firest causes problems because we are not going with nature. Nature, at some point, wants fires, and the forest needs them. Nature – natural ecology. The natural patterns of wild forests include fires. Another cliche: Some seeds need fire to open. Another cliche: Fires create variety within a forest, which increases biodiversity and resilience. Stopping fires but leaving fuel on the ground leads to bigger fires in future.

So, yeah, that makes it even more scary than a natural fire pattern, because we’ve made it worse. And likely so will climate change. More energy and variability in the system (ie climate change showing a higher average temperature on the long-term) means more and bigger fires, generally speaking.

So, right now some beautiful rain would be great, because it’s shaping up to be an ugly fire season th is year.

 

Fireworks in the sky

Fireworks in the sky

It’s firework season in Vancouver. I missed a big event on July 1 because I didn’t want to deal with transiting through downtown while 350K people who like fireworks are also transiting, but there are much bigger reasons why I have no use for fireworks.

The main reason is that they are just ugly compared to the beauty of the sky. I say look how many painters and poets have attempted to capture the beauty of the sky, or referenced it in their love of nature or wonder at it. Apologies to Turner’s painting of train smoke, but neither that nor mere human-man fireworks come close to the gorgeousness of the sky. No camera can capture it.

Now, my bias is not hating crowds and noise. It’s also that my colour acuity is in the highest human ranges, top four percent. Subtly rippled, shaded, highlighted and textured clouds send me into a trance of wonder, easily. It’s a good thing I don’t drive a convertible, let’s just say.

And cheesy boom-boom fireworks, explosions of chemicals in the sky, can’t touch the beauty of a sunset, or broad expanses of cirrus or cumulus clouds on a bright day. Even low stratus in a drizzle is amazing, geographically, though I don’t usually wonder at its beauty! Seen to much of that here in Vancouver. Even a night sky, out of the city’s light “pollution” is more beautiful than fireworks, something akin to a glittering embroidered blouse, but tented above us. Wow.

And yes, golly gee, it’s amazing that transitory patterns can be traced in the sky in such a grand way by tubes of chemicals packed by humans and thrown into the sky. Yay, physics and chemistry. Being a spatialist myself, fascinated by spatial phenomena, I was interested to read up about the packing of the tubes. Basically, the spatial orientation of the packed materials, including timing set by distances, determine the expanded spatial positions of the projectile chemical bundles. And gravity does the rest. But it has always bothered me that these materials end up on the land or in water bodies. For fireworks are often done over water, seemingly for safety reasons. Safety of people – not of water ecology! It seems like fireworks is something it would be nice for our culture to outgrow. But I know I’m towards the end of that curve, and currently that’s not what most people want.

For me, fireworks obliterating the beautiful sky is ironic to the point of ridiculous. I will stick to enjoying the glory of the sky and its quiet, subtle, ever-changing beautty. Okay, not always quiet – but thunderstorms are glorious, too.