Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm Not Speaking in Code

I have this friend who is very cryptic. A lot of the time I feel like maybe he doesn't really want to be friends anymore, or maybe I've said or done something that he really dislikes. He never says so and I think maybe he doesn't even think so, but it's hard to tell. In some off and on way, we remain friends, hanging out once in a while and chatting when we see each other on campus or at work. For a few months we might not speak much, but then one of us will invite the other to something and then we might start hanging out more regularly again.

It's disconcerting. But today I realized that I really don't know him that well. I have this affinity with him, which makes me feel like I know him, but in reality, I don't. We haven't spent that much time together or talked about anything too important, really. So I have this version of him in my mind; I think we do this with everybody. This version of him tells me what will offend him and what he'll enjoy, but when it comes right down to it, I have to admit that I simply don't know.

I have been told that I am cryptic and hard to read, so maybe I'm just getting a taste of my own medicine. Maybe sometimes he's just tired or moody or in his own world. It's really hard to tell. Or maybe he just really doesn't like asking/being asked for favours of any kind, even if it's something simple, like getting a ride somewhere. Who knows. It makes me kind of sad though, because he seems like a great person and I wish I knew him better. Or would stop offending him, or saying things that make him disapprove. But maybe it's not like that at all. Who knows.

Like I said, he's pretty cryptic. It's all just wild speculation at this point.

(PS. You get bonus points redeemable anywhere for absolutely nothing if you can tell me where the title of this post comes from.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Greasy Soup? Brown Walls?

There's something are two things I don't understand: how can soup be greasy, and why would anyone paint their walls brown? Out of all the colours you could pick, why brown?

I know it covers up dirt. But that just means that it looks dirty all the time. And it's not that hard to clean a wall. Unless you're a really, really dirty person. Or you believe that the only way to see if spaghetti is cooked is by lobbing it at the wall.

As for soup being greasy, that's just gross. I mean, what do you have to put in a liquid to make it greasy? How much fat or oil or butter (essentially the same thing) are you consuming in greasy soup? You shouldn't need a napkin for your fingers after eating soup. Just saying.

That's it. Short post about absolutely nothing this time. Deal with it.

(N.B. There are lots of other things I don't understand, other than these two, but these seemed the most immediate right now.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jet Lag, Brothers from Qatar, and a Chair

It's 4am and I can't sleep. Stupid jet lag. I got up at 5pm today, slept right through my alarm and missed my class. I've already missed two weeks of class, so I really wish I could've gone. On the other hand, what's one more class? I have been keeping on the readings (mostly) so I should be fine.

I'm trying to decide if it's even worth trying to sleep now. I have to get up at 8 to make it to my 9 am class at Queen's College. If it was just the one class, I think I would definitely stay up, but since I have an afternoon class too, I don't know. I don't want to be completely brain dead for my first impression. The morning class doesn't matter. I already made my first impression on her, in my first year of university. And she still remembers that impression quite clearly. She likes to tell the story.

It was the first class of the semester and she had finished introducing herself and going through the usual spiel about course requirements and objectives. Then she said, "It may take me awhile to learn everyone's names."

And without thinking, without hesitating, I piped up, "Why? We all know your name." She just looked at me.

And she still remembers that.

I need to watch what I say sometimes. Not actually. I think she thought it was great. Or so she says.

Anyway, so I'm back in St. John's now. It's so nice to be here. The air is clean and going to the grocery store at 3 in the morning is a pleasant experience (and the grocery store is actually OPEN at 3 in the morning). The security guard wished me a good morning, as if he actually meant it, not like, "I'm watching you, you sketchy early morning shopper."

Then the cashier proceeded to show me a cookbook she was reading, specifically a nachos recipe that compared store bought nachos and homemade nachos in terms of sodium, calories, and fat content. That was fun.

Nothing like that ever happened in Vancouver. A lot of people are way too polite for that. Polite and distant. I guess politeness creates distance. Or distance creates politeness. Either way. Don't get me wrong. There are lots of great people in Vancouver. But they definitely have a different culture. And I like chatty old Newfoundland culture, thank you very much.

I got a chair today. Still no bed, but I do have a chair. It's comfy, but the cover stinks. Just need to do a little laundry is all. Which means I need to buy some laundry detergent. I got some pillows too, and a bunch of hangers. Did I mention all of this stuff was free? Plus my roommates, two brothers from Qatar who are both pursuing a BBA at MUN, carried in the chair AND gave me supper.

So yeah. All in all, it's nice to be back. Even without a bed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Diverging Paths

Why do you have to lose someone you love when your life changes? I mean, it happens every so often, when you move away or they do. But usually you try to keep in touch and by the time it peters out (if it does), you've both sort of drifted away anyway, so it's not so painful. It can still make you sad sometimes, but you get used to it and move on. When you see each other again, it's not all awkward and painful. You're just old friends who haven't seen each other in a while, whose paths followed each other for a moment and then diverged again.

How come in what our society calls a relationship, you are close to someone and then it has to either continue in its present form or explode into shards? Why is there no middle ground? It's either a serious relationship or a fling. There's no room for alternatives in most people's minds. Why can't you have a serious relationship and yet still be single, a separate entity, an individual with a separate path? When your paths diverge for a moment in time, why does it have to be a disaster, a heartbreak, a rending and destroying of the love that came before?

Why do you have to give something up, make some sort of triage, in order to live your life to the fullest?

It drives me crazy that I have to think about this stuff. I wish I could just settle into what seems normal to other people. But whether I can settle or not, I'm going to have to accept that it's the way things are. This whole relationship thing is artificially created, but it's still real, just like synthetic clothing are artificial but still real.

It's hard to express what I feel, when our language doesn't provide labels and terminology for the alternatives.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Unexpected Peace

Sometimes a temporary reprieve comes from an unexpected source. Tonight I watched Seven Pounds again. Rowdy and I started watching it together, even though we're not in the same place. The timing was a little bit off, but it worked out pretty well overall. We were able to talk about it as we went.

I saw that movie when it came out in theaters. I loved it then and I loved it now. Even though it's so incredibly sad, I also find it somehow uplifting, not just because of the amazing performances and the inspired screenwriting, cinematography, and directing. The part that really touches me is the humanity of it. It's so raw and real. There's no pretension, no Hollywood touch-ups, no predictability, no happy ending. It's a lot more like real life than most of the movies that come out on the big screen. Except that I hope it's not like most people's real life. Because that would suck for them.

Watching it made me feel more relaxed than I have in a while. I mean, I've been slowly unwinding over the past few days anyway, but this really helped. As soon as it was done, of course, the tension started coming back, but I managed to keep it at bay long enough to talk to Rowdy without getting into a big discussion for once. That's always a good thing.

I don't know what it means to be in a relationship, exactly. I'm not sure what the definition is. I've been trying to find the boundaries and the rules and figure out what this artificial label actually signifies in practice. But maybe Rowdy's been right all along. Maybe I just think too much. And I think I'm passing that on to him. Now he's starting to think too much.

I can still feel the thunder on the horizon though and it's not getting any farther away. However, right now it's not getting any closer either, so I guess I should just enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Or more like the mix of sun and cloud.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Searching for Direction

I've spent the last three days mostly by myself. Today I hardly went out of my room, other than to get some food. Ever since my sister and my boyfriend left, I've felt like I'm in some sort of limbo. I've been outside, even for several hours, and I talked to strangers, as happens when you go outside in a city, but I've still mostly been in my own head.

Even though I talk to people online or on the phone, it's not the same as real interaction. I have to go to work tomorrow and that's probably a good thing, even though I don't want to.

I'm not sure if my inertia is recovery from emotional trauma or just what appears to be walking pneumonia. I feel exhausted and have a bit of a cough, accompanied by sore lungs. Biking in the cold yesterday didn't help, I'm sure.

I started packing my things. I'm looking forward to being back in Newfoundland, for sure. If I had known that they weren't going to schedule me at work this week (I only work tomorrow because I took someone's shift), I would've headed back sooner. It sucks, because I'm missing school for no reason, just because I was trying to do the right thing and honour my contract. I should've just told them I had to leave earlier. Clearly, it wouldn't have mattered to them, since I'm not working anyway.

I watched a bunch of documentaries today. That's basically what I spent my day doing, other than Facebook and reading. Not much of a day, and I woke up late too. I intended to get some stuff done, but I'm having a hard time motivating myself. I'm running out of time here though, so I really need to get at it. It's probably just inertia, like I said - and I have gotten some stuff done since they left. I'm not completely useless.

I can't wait to be back at school and my old work at the Writing Centre, and see some of my good friends around town too. I'm still not quite sure what to make of this whole Vancouver adventure and everything that came attached to it. I've had a lot of good experiences and gotten to do things I wouldn't have otherwise. I've seen the West Coast now (well, a small part of it) and learned some more about Canada. I've seen Seattle. I've gotten a glimpse of Amnesty International, as well as a volunteer placement with them in their Central America Working Group. I've seen really old trees and really ugly buildings, oil tankers blotting the sunset and wealthy people so concerned with class that they "don't notice anyone who works here."

I guess it's been worth it. It's hard to tell from this close. Maybe in a year or so, I'll be able to understand my experience here better. And of course, the ending to it, when everything exploded and all plans suddenly changed, doesn't help bring any clarity to it all.

I'm not sure where I'm supposed to be right now, but I do know that things could have gone very differently. I could've been on the Dean's List every year and be finished my degree now, if I hadn't been spending my time, money, and energy on other things. Do I regret it? Sometimes. It's hard to know. But I can't change it, so there's no use in regretting something like that. It didn't hurt anyone, except myself, and it's not going to make that big of a difference probably. Hopefully. It's too late now anyway. I'll just have to use what I do have and be grateful for that, I guess.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One Year Later

It's been almost a year since I've posted in here. So much has happened and I've become a different person in that time. I guess I've grown older and more mature, but I also feel like I've lost some of my spark. Don't get me wrong; I can still get passionate about things that I care about, but I feel like I am becoming gradually more disillusioned, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships. I'm not just talking about romantic/sexual relationships, but all relationships that exist between human beings.

I've seen amazing relationships but I'm not very good at them myself. I am fine with people until a certain point, and then once people actually really start to get to know me, they see me as cold, dispassionate, uninterested, aloof. And the fact is, I am kind of aloof and dispassionate. Not cold and uninterested, but I don't show it very much. Sometimes I blame it on my European high school years, but I really don't know. It's just a part of who I am. I've always been introverted, secretive, private. I don't like psychoanalyzing myself all the time, trying to figure out what I'm feeling, why I'm feeling it. It's exhausting enough to do it for my own knowledge, but when I have to explain it all to someone else all the time, it's even worse. I just want to get on with exploring the world, not be stuck in my head all the time.

I've been going through a difficult time lately. Maybe I just have too much on my plate. It wouldn't be the first time. I always try to do everything. I'm getting better at setting my limits and not doing some of the things that I want to, because I have to realize I just can't do it all sometimes.

I'm an independent person. I have always been inclined in that direction, but since I was the youngest in my family, I learned to rely on being taken care of. Since my older siblings moved away from home, I've been on my own, especially since my mom was having a bit of a crisis at that time and she asked me to be her mother. I was fifteen years old and I had to take care of her. People often look back at a pivotal moment in their life when they became who they are, and for me, I think that was it. I realized that she was much more fragile than I had believed, because she seems very tough and strong most of the time. Then later when I saw her have a panic attack, it hit home even harder. I knew then that I had to break away from the pain and anger that had characterized my family for generations.

I don't want to rely on others because they will hurt you at some point. I like being friends and exchanging ideas and having silly fun, but at the end of the day, I want to go home and have some time to relax on my own. I guess I'm just antisocial. The only exception to this is my sister, and she knows that, I'm sure. But even with her, I don't want to be with her 24/7. And she understands that without taking it personally. Not everyone can do that.

I made a lot of bad decisions in the past year. The year before I tried to be someone I'm not and in 2010 it caught up with me. Maybe I was trying to figure out who I want to be, but I know now that it was a failed experiment. I can only be who I am, even with the qualities that I don't like about myself. I can't change them to any great degree; I need to be more patient with myself and refuse to let others tell me what is wrong with me or what is normal or not. I've never been overly influenced by others, but, like anyone, I do care if people disapprove of me. Especially people that I like and respect.

I don't want a relationship that suffocates me, that destroys my spark. I want to love freely, openly, but not in a manner specified by society or another person. I want to give freely of myself to those I care for, but not in a way that they decide for me. I don't want to be tied to someone by my feelings for them or the fact that loving one person restricts my ability to freely love another. Love is real, but it's not Hollywood love. It's not a happily ever after with the One. It's a series of ups and downs, giving and taking, holding on when it's appropriate and letting go when it becomes necessary.

But right now I'm not allowed to let go. My love has been twisted to make me reduce the hurt to someone else by continuing on a path that has been getting darker and darker. Maybe there's a light at the end. Maybe if I change my outlook on this situation, then the dark will turn into black light, and all the details will show up in a blinding neon that hides the scars.