Monday, June 27, 2016

Lovers Be Warned: St. John's Holds My Heart.

 I was reading one of my posts from my last trip, the one where I woke up and felt the reality sink in that my ex was gone forever.  I was alone, and the thought of that future seemed so daunting.  Immediately afterward I opened my journal to my most recent entry.  It was written at an open mic.  I realized quite suddenly that right now the idea of a future with a romantic partner feels surreal: maybe even impossible.  How could I expect a lover to follow me around the world, or patiently wait until my wanderlust is spent and I fall breathless, exhausted back into his/her bed? Who would want to fall in love with someone whose ultimate goal in life is to leave for weeks at a time? To find intimacy (though not physical) with strangers?
I have been feeling an undefinable inner conflict with my most recent (and very new) relationship, but I didn't understand why I bounced back and forth between wanting to keep it casual and nurturing the possibility of love.  It's because I gave up the life I wanted to be with a man who simply could not travel the way I wanted to.  I won't do that again.   St.John's solidified that for me:

This island with it's steep sloping fjords, covered in trees so wind-battered that they grow entangled with each other to survive... She is like me.  She falls fast and deep yet stands high above sea level, her heart bursting with colour, her pulse the music that drowns out the gale, her light that draws many a sailor into her bay...

Walking downtown I realized that I wanted to possess St.John's; I wanted to call it home, make it mine.  Then a voice says to me: can't you be happy just knowing it exists and that you got to inhabit it, even if just for a week?  That it will continue to exist as you do, even if not in your direct reality?
I realized I need to feel this way about my lovers as well.  The feeling of relief with this thought was overwhelming.  I felt gratitude for those I am blessed to be able to share my love with at this moment, all those in my past who still walk this world, the ones I shared a coffee "moment" with and
those in my future. I have been intimate with so many people over the last year, in conversation, art
and music, though only one physically...Why some of them I am fine with moving on from and others I want to hold onto... This is still a mystery to me.

St.John's is one of those I wish to hold on to.  She was my lover, my mirror image. However, for now, it appears we are simply not meant to be together. I do like to imagine that over the next couple of years I will find a way to be back with my beloved and I will curl myself  into her nooks and crannies while the damp cold winds of winter swirl around her coast.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Miracles in the Mundane

I unzipped the black pull along suitcase. Tiny shells like crumbled crackers were settled in the corners. The smell of ocean flowed over the sides and I leaned in breathing deep. I tried my best to scrape them out with my fingers, but in the end it just seemed right to let the east mingle west on the plane ride home. Perhaps one day a dusting of broken shells from yet another Ocean will be added to the mix. Now I could be finishing my packing, but instead I am drinking Beer at the pub and watching the sunset. I live in a beautiful part of the world. I have good friends and a great community in which to raise my kids. I am blessed. Sometimes I think I want more. Sometimes I try to push too much into a small space. I limit the happiness I feel from what I already have in order to fit in the joy from something new in. Problem is, the joy from the new is fleeting and unstable. I need to keep my gratitude for the miracles that may otherwise become mundane. The mundane is a miracle. We look for grandiose signs; burning bushes, angels and resurrection, but our own chests rise every minute with no conscious effort. Literally more than a miracle every minute takes place inside your own body. People are looking to connect with God, what they don't realize is that they're connected already. They expect God to speak in a big booming voice or in tongues. But God whispers in spinning poplar leaves, rumbles in your heart beat and laughs with thunder. Everything you experience with your senses is God telling you: I am here. I am here. I am here. Faith is answering back: I know. I know. I know. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hairdressers and Dating in your 30's

Even though I have been sporting a very easy to maintain hairstyle, it does require me to get a trim every couple of weeks.  I found a hair salon downtown that I really like, so I go there.  My last hair dresser and I had a great conversation about dating in our 30's.  It was so reaffirming to have someone on exactly the same page.  Here's what we noticed has changed for us:

1. We know right away if someone is not going to work for us. Guys rarely make it past the first date. "It's there or it's not. I don't waste my energy or his if there's no spark right away." She said.  Agreed.

2."I don't argue anymore, If I don't like how someone treats me and it continues I just leave. I don't tell them; don't do this it pisses me off.  I don't expect other people to change their behaviour for me."  "Yes," she agreed. "Expecting people to change just creates resentment."

3. I don't set rules in order to avoid situations in which I would feel my romantic interest would "cheat." If there's anything I've learned, it's that if someone is going to have sex with someone else, they will.  No matter how many rules are set.  The rules simply create stress in the relationship and a general feeling of "I don't trust you."  In fact, to take it a bit further, who am I to even expect them not to sleep with other people?  If the person I'm romantically involved with really wants to have sex with other people, then maybe they should be.  My only responsibility is that if they do sleep with other people, is to ask myself: Is this type of relationship a good fit for me? If no, then I wish them well and move on, if yes than okay, I'll continue. 

It's incredibly freeing having this outlook.  I had it when I was much younger, before the idea of marriage entered my mind. Marriage is no longer a factor for me, not that I wouldn't consider getting married in the future; it's just not my planned destination, the journey is what I'm interested in.  

Suddenly dating and relationships no longer seem so daunting.  Many single women in their 30's have warned me about dating at this age.  Yes, there were some awkward starts however, generally, I've quite enjoyed it and made some new friends in the process.  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

To My Dad

Amongst the many articles about rape culture and fathers perpetuating it, I want to take a moment to give a shout out to my dad.  To my father, who taught self defense (which I absorbed via osmosis) to the youth in our community, females and males equally.  While doing so enforcing the idea that no one should touch you without your permission, and vice versa.  To my father who didn't hang mildly pornographic magazines objectifying women in his gym.  To my father who focused on building self confidence via personal challenges and self discipline. To my dad who never uttered a word about women "asking" for it.  To my dad who never used the term "slut" or "whore" when describing a female. The sexual jokes you made (which were rare in my presence) were never degrading towards women.

I didn't realize until I got older, that my father was the exception.  That he was surrounded by a rape culture, yet never perpetuated it in my presence.  So, thank you dad, for being a decent guy and setting the standards for the behaviour I will and will not accept from men in my life.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

White Coats and Small Steps

I suffer from white coat syndrome.  Really though, I feel anxiety handing over my body to anyone who I percieve feels they are entitled to touch it.  Anyone with authority.  This is not just a childhood trauma thing, I have experienced and witnessed caregivers do horrid and disrespectful things to people's bodies through out my adult life.  I have seen coercion.

My last ultrasound I tried to go it alone.  I did okay, but I think I can make it easier on myself.  I deserve that. So I called the hospital social worker.  When I talk about my past and my emotional needs, I hate feeling vulnerable.  I hate the sound of compassion in the voice of the counsellor/caregiver, it reminds me that what has happened is awful and it makes me feel weak and weepy.  So I make sure that I approach it in a very formal way.  In other words I talk "shop".  I've read the books, I know the terms professionals use and I use them.  I told her I was looking for a trauma informed caregiver to talk to the ultrasound staff before my appointment.
"I disassociate." I tell her in a frank manner. "It's my coping technique, however I realize that can be hard to be around someone doing that.  So if you could please explain to them, that when I go blank, I am not in a bad place.  I'm simply not there.  If you could ask them not to try to pull me back with small talk or tell me to breath, that would be very beneficial as those things bring me back to the current moment which I find to be very uncomfortable."  She explains that she would be happy to talk to the staff for me ahead of time.  She asks if I want her to come in and sit to be there to remind the staff to not talk to me unless necessary.  I feel instant rejection to that offer. I know why: Firstly, she is sounding sympathetic and compassionate, can't she tell I need this conversation to be emotionaless? No, I tell myself.  She's not recognizing your formality and that's okay. Secondly, I didn't want to impose.  Ugh.  I roll my eyes at myself.
"Yes. That would be very helpful. Thank you."
I told her I would make the appointment for when she is working at the hospital and call her back and
let her know... But I tell myself I'll do that tomorrow because by the end of the conversation my hands are shaking and I just don't have it in me to do anything else requiring emotional strength on this particular subject today.  So I compartmentalize and begin to write my blog about it in my head as this gives me the feeling of control and purpose over the situation.  Then I throw on my sexy leather jacket and walk to my favourite coffee shop, and happily put aside that which can be dealt with tomorrow.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Lumps and Life

So it's that time of year... it's time to have my breasts covered in goop and sound shot through them, because of a few little lumps above my left nipple.  They aren't even considered to be pre cancerous technically.  It's just that women who have them are up to twice as likely to develop breast cancer.  So I am encouraged to do monthly breast exams (Yep, the lumps are still there) and a yearly ultrasound to see if there are any changes indicating another biopsy is necessary.  Last year, I was biopsy free.  The year before, not so lucky.

I always act spiritually tough during these times, like I'm strong enough not to think about the big C while I await test results.  I tell myself worrying about it won't do any good. But every year I break down into tears of relief when the results are benign or negative for growth. Apparently I was just suppressing my emotions, despite the fact I thought I was just really cool with the whole situation.  Kinda seems like the theme of my life.

So over the next few weeks I'll be hugging my kids a little tighter, perhaps being a bit more spontaneous than usual (skinny dipping anyone?).  Hell, I might even buy myself that TARDIS purse I want.  Breast lumps can be a great way to remind you of how alive you are and to take advantage of every moment.  

Life is too precious for mediocre coffee. Well really for mediocre anything...