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Figured I'd post pre-Wednesday meltdown just to change it up a bit.

There's an industry group I'm part of that has monthly meetings. It's been a really fantastic way for me to, well, network; not only do I meet people I think are neat or who can teach me a lot about the profession in a ton of different ways, but sometimes I also just have time to chat with people I've formally met but wouldn't enter casual conversation with otherwise.

So, tonight I did some networking about ethical tropical forestry. Now, last week I also followed up on this, trying to figure out where and how I could work somewhere warm, doing interesting work, without terrorizing indigenous ecosystems or populations. From that I deduce that I might want to do this sometime, just to try, maybe mainly because I want to live somewhere I can grow fruit year round and yes it's winter here, how can you tell?

Chatted for awhile with head of alumni relations, which was an interesting conversation as well.

Also got to gesticulate a lot about urban forestry, then see another one of my people doing a presentation on it, in a lot of ways overlapping what I'd have said. On the other hand, same dude said some pretty terrible stuff about homeless people and I didn't know what to do as an audience member. Perhaps I should ask my ethics prof and see how she responds to a real-world situation. She's been keeping class away from those for the most part.

I've been eating a ton of veggies from the local Persia Market, because it's cheap and a joy to shop in and they're fresh. I say this as a lead-in to mentioning that they have seville oranges and they would make a lovely marmalade mead, and my goodness I'm making a lot of booze this year. It is definitely a stress relief valve. I really have need for the future these days, just as something to hold onto.

I miss my rabbits, I just haven't been home to interact much. Still loving this set of housemates; it wouldn't be long-term sustainable but is truly lovely for this timeframe. They remain a good channel to my mental health: when I came home this evening I found myself saying "you look so cute, is that so I'll keep loving you? I'd love you anyhow, you know".

Anyhow, don't have much time, but thought I'd touch in before Wednesdaypocalypse, which is pretty reliably awful and doesn't give a representative sample.

And yes, I ran yesterday.

Edited to add: apparently I posted yesterday and forgot. Memory is terrible lately. Oh well, overlap.
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I'm running still. It's good. My body likes it. It does seem to take years to build this level of... comfort? ...even if those years are intermittent. That's reassuring. I never thought I'd be able to run this well (slowly, continuously, for half an hour without it being even very difficult).

I'm passing classes in school, hitting my target grades on average (90 or above I'm misusing my time, 70-80 is about right). This contempt for the knowledge offered me is not coming easy, but school's contempt for my time and individuality is fuel enough to keep me in balance. Note that my professors are not, for the most part, to blame. It's simply that the terrible edifice of higher education is designed to suck people in, grind them up, and spit them out cheaply and efficiently.

I guess I have one more term left.

I've been cidering this fall, and it's very good for me. I'm hoping to get persimmon wine up too. Anything I put up this year will hopefully be done for my housewarming.

I have feelings towards my property that maybe other people have towards being married? I mean, I've felt these warm/expectant/partner/solid/trust/love/dependable feelings before for people, but never for long enough that I could continue to feel them on the lead-up to entering into a contract about them. But my land, in the future? Yes. And the delay doesn't make me doubt them, it makes me merely gently impatient (sometimes less than gently) for When The Time Is Right.

Relationship-wise I am definitely overextended. I'm waiting. I don't trust anyone really to follow me to Fort; I love the people in my life now; I'm sort of holding the space precariously to see who shows up there, who keeps up with the distance, who will remain in my life. I guess it's defaulting to letting other folks make choices instead of making them myself. That's a thought.

I'm pretty excited about my job next May. It looks like I'll be doing more complex, challenging, higher-level work than I originally expected, working directly with someone overseeing a systems change. I mean, it might not be so much working directly with ecosystems, but... well, we'll see. I'm impatient to start that too. I want to see what it's like. I should start poking a budget for that time, and I'm planning to talk to a financial adviser. Sounds so grown-up, no?

The last couple years a lot of the richness of my life came from my work and my involvement in life systems. Now there's some relationship richness, sometimes the dirty messy kind, and also there will be the outdoors. I wonder how those will balance?

Building

Nov. 15th, 2016 09:36 am
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The words are starting to come, in bits and pieces and fits and starts and little flashes behind my eyes. I've been running around with my arms outstretched, gathering up the world, and soon I will see if I can shape it into something.

In the meantime, in other news, here is Steinbeck:

"Results, not causes; results, not causes. The causes lie deep and simply — the causes are a hunger in a stomach, multiplied a million times; a hunger in a single soul, hunger for joy and some security, multiplied a million times; muscles and mind aching to grow, to work, to create, multiplied a million times. The last clear definite function of man — muscles aching to work, minds aching to create beyond the single need — this is man. To build a wall, to build a house, a dam, and in the wall and house and dam to put something of Manself, and to Manself take back something of the wall, the house, the dam; to take hard muscles from the lifting, to take the clear lines and form from conceiving. For man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. This you may say of man — when theories change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back. This you may say and know it and know it. This you may know when the bombs plummet out of the black planes on the market place, when prisoners are stuck like pigs, when the crushed bodies drain filthily in the dust. You may know it in this way. If the step were not being taken, if the stumbling-forward ache were not alive, the bombs would not fall, the throats would not be cut. Fear the time when the bombs stop falling while the bombers live — for every bomb is proof that the spirit has not died. And fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live — for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken. And this you can know — fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe."
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I'm home. Back at my address, in the bed I've slept in from the beginning of May until two weeks ago. Now I'm in it and it is empty. There is no one here with me.

It's been awhile.

I went from the maritimes to camp with a one-night stop here. Josh was here that night, in town through a combination of luck and finesse. When I came back from camp he also came up; we went camping on the beach and now he's on the road back to Williams Lake and I'm here, in bed with my laptop, alone.

I didn't feel alone quite so keenly before. This was an adventure, heading north to work, and I accepted a level of isolation. That was part of what I enjoyed about it. Dave's visits were lovely interludes, and though I missed him he was definitely part of another life and when he left I returned to mine here.

Now I am building a life here in the interior, and there's a person in it. Not the casual friendly acquaintanceships I've made with so many people that I enjoy as an ambient source of companionship, but something that pulls so hard it burns and rattles and tears. More, I am bridging the two lives for much longer than I prefer; school will last two more years and in that time I am bound to oscillate back and forth.

And in the middle of that duality of a life I took a duality of a vacation. On the one hand I went to Dave's family, to the lovely family island in the middle of a lake with few walls and no running water and all his family that shared so many of his traits and time spent Doing Things. On the other hand I went to camp and then came back and nested in bed then went and nested again beside a lake where the only other people in sight were on far-away boats with a half-stranger to whom I am intimately and roughly tied.

I came back and went into a grocery store. It had walls and people, worse than Vancouver airport two weeks ago which contained more people in that moment than Fort Saint James. I am having trouble looking at the faces of strangers. I am missing trees. And I am missing rooms full of people who know me and care about me and who might have perspective on the kaleidoscope of my life right now. I feel as if the perspective has been knocked right out of me.

I own a car now. As of later this year I'll have a drivers' license. I can walk through the bush. When I've been outside I feel a hundred feet tall and glowing with well-being. I feel capable in so many ways.

Yet, I am still a student. I am somewhat at the financial and scheduling whim of school. I must live in certain places in certain times. I am transitory in a rented room, with the things I love in a storage locker. I can't negotiate for long-term work or settle somewhere. I can't complete my transition into my new life. I can't remain settled in my old one, so far away from where I am now.

And I am still feeling out a new love, sometimes quickly, sometimes so carefully and softly.

I don't know. But here I am, home.

Let's see if routine soothes the burn of re-entry.

Unspace

Mar. 11th, 2014 08:38 am
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TS Eliot nailed it: "...a hundred visions and revisions, ... For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."

That's where I am right there. Nailed it indeed.

I am moving for the end of this month.

I am offered a place in the west end, slightly too small for me and with no deck and no dishwasher but with lovely floors and east windows and Stanley Park and the beach right there and the world outside my front door and in an apartment building so fully autonomous.

I am offered a place at Main x 41st, huge, beautiful and new, dishwasher and yard, but with a family above with kids. It's not the noise I'm worried about; it's the lack of loud sex. Close to Tenay and her family, who could share meals. This list of positives looks longer, doesn't it?

Price isn't a big difference between them. They are both the same distance to UBC biking-wise. I like both landlords.

This is a lifestyle choice. No question. Will I live more out in the world, at the park and the beach and at school, or will I nest up in my home with my hobbies? Will I have folks over a few at a time or in bigger groups? Will I fergodsakes have to rent a storage locker for my booze that needs aging? Even... will I eat more rice or more western/mediterranean (oh dear gods, middle earth, why did I just now see that?)?

I think I will take the west end one, but I am... not sure. No smoking meat. No all-grain brewing. I don't know. This feeling is the meaning of the word torn.

And no matter how torn I am, here's me walking into the future.
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I most often write when I'm lonely and uncertain. I write when the only voice I trust is my own. I write when the alternative of silence is unbearable and when there is no one to listen.

Sometimes I write when I'm happy.

Always I write when I need an anchor, when the storm of my life threatens to blow me far enough away that I'm frightened of it. Love blows me away so hard and so fast that I write of it often.

There's a hollowing-out feeling before the words come. It starts between my floating ribs and crackles like electricity in the cavern behind them up to the bottom of my sternum. So often that feeling comes and I can't find words to release it and I wander through the next few hours hiding it behind my shields, preserving my vulnerable openness from anyone who looks at me in the flesh.

I'm afraid and unanchored tonight. I root myself in action; I find stability in momentum. When the next move is in someone else's hand it's like trying to balance on a bicycle without moving forward. Everything wobbles. I worry that I will fall. And I am so extraordinarily bad at it that even a couple days of waiting for someone else's move can take me apart.

I'm getting good at putting myself back together again. I'm getting good, too, at knowing that however I feel in the moment I *can* put myself back together again. This continual fracture and repair makes me tired, or maybe tonight it's just that I'm tired, but it adds depth to my experience of the world. Each crack is laced over others upon others until the pattern is so intricate that you can stare into it deeper and deeper.

I get lost staring into those patterns.

Oh, this is useless. Words aren't a release tonight. I'll leave you with Li-Young Lee.

This Room and Everything in It

Lie still now
while I prepare for my future,
certain hard days ahead,
when I’ll need what I know so clearly this moment.

I am making use
of the one thing I learned
of all the things my father tried to teach me:
the art of memory.

I am letting this room
and everything in it
stand for my ideas about love
and its difficulties.

I’ll let your love-cries,
those spacious notes
of a moment ago,
stand for distance.

Your scent,
that scent
of spice and a wound,
I’ll let stand for mystery.

Your sunken belly
is the daily cup
of milk I drank
as a boy before morning prayer.
The sun on the face
of the wall
is God, the face
I can’t see, my soul,

and so on, each thing
standing for a separate idea,
and those ideas forming the constellation
of my greater idea.
And one day, when I need
to tell myself something intelligent
about love,

I’ll close my eyes
and recall this room and everything in it:
My body is estrangement.
This desire, perfection.
Your closed eyes my extinction.
Now I’ve forgotten my
idea. The book
on the windowsill, riffled by wind . . .
the even-numbered pages are
the past, the odd-
numbered pages, the future.
The sun is
God, your body is milk . . .

useless, useless . . .
your cries are song, my body’s not me . . .
no good . . . my idea
has evaporated . . . your hair is time, your thighs are song . . .
it had something to do
with death . . . it had something
to do with love.

Li-Young Lee
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I've been doing a crazy amount of learning lately, and I've been surging forward full speed on a bunch of decisions. Let's see if I can get some of it down.

Sunshine + exercise + food == happy Greenie. This is no news to me or anyone. However, I'd been depending on work for the exercise and sunlight, and work right now is a source of stress and not a source of any of those other things. I had been (have been) having a rough winter; I've got a lot of changes going on, much of the outcomes outside my experience or control, and I can't afford to let this stuff slide. So, I've let my competitive instinct kick in and started doing hot yoga like Dave, just... more often. Every single day I do it I feel better for hours afterwards. I am keeping an eye on overtraining issues and not doing absolutely every single say, but it's good so far. It levels my head so well and is conveniently close. I may keep this up even after I start bike commuting.

Sunshine was really forthcoming this fall until sometime in December, which is when I started to nosedive. Exercise can compensate to some degree for light, especially since I'm being kept too busy at work to get out into the light during the week. Ugh.

I'm getting real good at eating enough, and at asking for help when I'm having trouble. It helps that my neighbour is always up for eating together and I can use her presence to put myself into a better place for food. This all gets difficult when I'm financially stressed, though the meat box and farm stuff really helps.

Sex is a problem in a bunch of different ways. I thought I had this figured out; I thought that by taking back my bodily autonomy so I didn't have to ask folks permission before making choices around sex I would fix everything. Instead I only began a learning curve totally different from the one I've been on most of my life. How do I decide who to have sex with and when? How do I deal with humans when I decide to have or not to have sex with them in general? Per instance? How do I deal with the fact that in people's eyes when I don't have a primary partner I am always on some level available no matter how much I protest to the contrary? How do I let people know the ways in which I am more available than suspected, and how less? How do I deal with not having enough sex, or with feeling subtle coercion around sex? How do I deal with sex that I want beforehand but don't want in the moment? How do I calibrate desire vs complexity and work? How much do I like emotions involved in sex and what kind of sex do I like, anyhow?

I imagine you folks who weren't in serious relationships most of your life are laughing at me about now.

I'm learning that I probably want to have sex with fewer people less often than I thought I did, because the complexities that come with it are just not worth it. I'm also learning how sexual compatibility and emotional intimacy work together for me, and how they don't always go together regardless of how much I might want them to. I think I'm learning that when something works, I should let it work, and when I need to push and work hard on something, I should probably drop the sexual aspect of it.

I don't know that my original interpretation of solo poly will end up being what I choose, after all. Especially with the time and energy I'm putting elsewhere, it may just not be worth it.

Romantic relationships aren't enough. In fact, even non-romantic relationships aren't enough. I've made huge strides lately in learning to have friends, people with whom I'm close in non-romantic, non-partnery long-term and very intimate ways. That enriches my life immensely. I've been treating my home, careful selection and upkeep of my house, with as much attention as I have in the past given major relationships. I really enjoy the result. I have decided to add my career to the mix of important stuff to give that much time and attention to.

This has resulted in my making some information-gathering dates with folks at my old school, formulating a career path, and now doing some more information-gathering from folks in the field I want to head into and (this is scary) applying to, not a technical college, but a formal huge sprawling university-temple of academia. I'm formulating a support team (emotional, physical, logistical, motivational) which I can do really well based on my previous experience with working through my diploma. I actually feel pretty confident about this path of mine, though it's me against huge and arbitrary machines within machines, which is never easy for me to deal with.

I may not be in Vancouver forever. I may stay in the Valley forever or I may not, but a million tiny roots are shaking themselves and working their way loose. I had never thought to leave, before, but in a couple of years I will be able to if I so choose.

Mmmph

Oct. 22nd, 2013 07:36 am
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It's been a dry, dry, dry year. We had a long rainless summer, and then after the briefest of rainy weeks our sunny clear fall began. We're still in the midst of that fall; I'm still watering at work, and it's nearly November. It's part of why work is such busy chaos right now.

A big fog has settled over the valley these last several days and I remember I only really sleep well when it rains, or when it's cloudy. I've had to be at work extra early with the change-out so I couldn't get the benefit of the fog, but today I slept until 7am! Seven! When I've had so many 5/6am mornings lately. If this keeps up I'm in danger of being a human again, instead of a won-out reacting mess.

Look, I can even write without panic!

What I came to say, though, is that I've been looking at schools again. I remember this feeling http://greenstorm.livejournal.com/710356.html and the burnout that felt so immediate and meaningful, like this http://greenstorm.livejournal.com/740534.html because it had a set end and because I was achieving an end thereby. I love challenges. I love barely-achievable goals. I especially love achieving the impossible; I love surpassing my limits in the service of some worthy end. BCIT let me do that all the time with that crazy schedule (were there only three of us that worked through it, in the last year?) and at the same time rub my brain against Norm's and those of the other profs. Sure I came home and cried from sheer exhaustion after many-to-most days in second term, sure it took I guess this long to recover, but I loved that set of circumstances.

So now I'm thinking about doing something much gentler, about adding one or two courses a term. I should see what parts of my BCIT stuff will transfer to UBC. I am pretty ultra skeptical of much of the UBC agroecology stuff these days. It would be pretty ironic if I ended up in something foresty over there after deciding so many years ago it wasn't for me. Botany/ecology would be great in theory, but I've never talked to those folks. The other option is Kent Mullinix's Sustainable Ag degree at Kwantlen, but that's a pretty damn big commute and a very new program. Of course, it has <3 Kent Mullinix <3 and I don't think UBC has anything like Norm. I should look up Deb, who teaches at UBC now, and speak with her about options.

But maybe I should avoid making decisions until I've transitioned my job, honestly. If I end up in arboriculture instead of just a different landscaping job I'll need to spend some time in a less-flexible job I can't do amazingly well with my mind tied behind my back.

I was going to title this post "crazy" but I've been super sensitive to negative language around mental health lately. I do, after all, have brothers who are "crazy".
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I've been beset by flashes of an odd feeling lately: not quite at loose ends, not quite bored, but waiting. I have a million things I'd like to do, that I would quite enjoy, but instead of actually doing them I find activities to kill time (and no, not just the internet). I wonder if it's just my organizing-mind burnt out from work and extra-busy scheduling, so I have no energy left over to schedule my solo time?

I had a truly lovely weekend surrounded by all sorts of folks. Now I feel the need for quality time with myself, not just waiting but doing unconstrained by the thousand subtle pieces of compromise and sharing that happen when others are around. I need to put myself in experimental space, to stretch, to challenge. I don't do that with people much except maybe with climbing. I do it alone, subject only to my own judgements.

What does my list of desirable things look like? Perhaps just writing it down is the first step.

o fix pottery wheel & get clay
o brewing 8 top up kousa wine & rack *apple-juniper wine (or cider, for Dec 7 party?) *sweet mead *another (stronger?) batch of graff to be ready for Dec 7 party?
o sewing *stripy skirts *bloomers *stretch long tops
o knitting *cast on in the round (armwarmers)
o biking *scout a 10k loop from my house
o foraging *find a chickweed patch by my home *chestnuts?
o body *I want to climb, actually, but it's annoying to do so before I move. Running? Yoga?
o costuming for Andrew's memorial & wine & cheese

Hm. I'm noticing my enthusiasm for cooking is waning again, and I'm really not up for gardening much right now, though design is fun. I'm probably pretty burnt out in general. It seems like there are some changes afoot at work but it's hard to see how that will fall out in the longer term. My bosses really, really want to keep me, it seems.

Oh well. Take your changes a few at a time, Greenie. Don't look too far down that road.
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I've been having a really rough time of it for awhile. I've been ambivalent on work, relationship, home. I've chosen to ride it out for quite some time now, to hand in there and try small changes and persistence, to see if that changes things slowly over time instead of in my usual sudden all-at-once manner.

In some ways it has. I took a volunteer job on a farm one day per week to help me retain some soul through my other (flexible, lovely bosses, pays well enough, has benefits, soul-killingly boring) job. That volunteer job has grown into a (low-paid, high auxillary benefits) paid job of its own, that can soak up a bunch more hours than I'm giving it right now.

Soon my current home will be off the table-- soon in the grand scheme of things, maybe six months to a year in the actual world. I have a lot of choices at this point. I'm thinking about dropping a shipping container on the farm, insulating and homing it up, and living there. It would be mine in a way no rental apartment could be. I could move it with me when things move around. I wouldn't have to fight with a landlord over rats. The 40' high ones are actually pretty roomy compared to a lot of apartments nowadays. I wouldn't have to pay rent, just the original money to get the trailer and get it nice. I would be part of a community but in my own space.

Blake couldn't live there with me; his pile of phobias would get in the way. There would be inconveniences: space heaters or wood stoves, no toilet without going outside, maybe even a more primitive shower system than I'd expect. It would take a lot of work to get up to speed inside. But the thing I worry most about is that I'd disappear even more in people's eyes, into this archetype of impulsive wilderness that people want in their own lives and so they circle me to try and get it.

Funny thing to be most worried about, no?

But I'm excited about this idea, like I haven't been about anything in awhile.
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I'm not sure when I was here last. I know it's been awhile. I haven't had time home alone in awhile, and that's when I write. I haven't had much time at home and awake in quite some time, truthfully.

School finishes at the end of June. I've given my notice today at work, officially, for the end of June. I've done that to push myself into finding something I actually want to do. I don't have any offers right now, but I do have some connections and some very interesting prospects that I should get on pretty damn soon.

Blake's been laid off, and it looks like all his job prospects are either in Seattle, California, or... New York? Kelowna? Not Vancouver, at any rate.

I'm seeing Angus again, a little bit, as time permits. Practising poly, as opposed to putting off the practice needed to break this relationship in.

I don't know what my life will look like in July, in November, in the future, but it will be different. It will be interesting.

I can't wait to come out of my school-work cocoon where I have no self and climb into the sunlight of my life again. I can't wait to be here more, to be anywhere with people more, to spend more time with my family and especially with myself (I think I am really my favourite person in the end, or I understand myself the best, or something). I loo forward to thinking about things again, and watering my garden and snuggling my rats and whatever else happens.

So here I am, scared, still cocooned, waiting... but with a date on emergence. I expect there'll be a big scramble in June and early July, but I expect everything will, in the end, be ok.

I feel loved again, not sitting at the bottom of the pit but held up by my web again. The web is sparser than it was, but each thread is stronger. I'm learning, just a little, to trust people with my weight.
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Blood and feeling loved maybe go together? Bleeding since the 11th. Party went well. May know where I'm moving.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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I use the word fat in here. It kinda triggers even me. I do this deliberately to try and break down my unpleasant stereotypes. Tread lovingly with yourself here.

This is the tail-end of the marathon-three-days I spend at work/school. I should be at school this second, half an hour into class, but I dropped my bike off and they're keeping her for a week, which kind of broke my stride, and I'm sitting down and that feels amazing, and since about noon today I've really been wanting to write something.

I've been poly for a long time, and I've learned to erase some cultural norms from my psyche and to set aside others in order to do that. I know I'll likely always feel weird sneaky traces of poly guilt, for instance, which results in my believing that any given person is better off partnered to a monogamous person than to myself. This just sits there deep-down, despite my knowing that I am better off partnered to people who have other things going on in their lives (whether those other things are people or different passions) and despite being genuinely happy for my partner's pleasure when they're in a safe happy situation with another person.

I've also been skinny all my life. I don't feel skinny nowadays, I feel "normal" and sometimes jiggly and weird, but during adolescence and through my early twenties I was this same height, 5'8" or 5'9"ish, and 110 lbs, 120 max. That's really pretty skinny. In the last bunch of years I've gained both buoyancy and muscle to the tune of 20 or 30 lbs, topping out at my maximum weight when I'm in very good shape and literally sheathed in inches of muscle, getting softer and wider and dropping weight when I'm in poorer shape. And till a couple years ago I've always slept with tall skinny computer geeks with ponytails, basically.

This is a tangental way of approaching the idea that I've never had to deconstruct my ideas about fatness, though I have had to pull apart other received information like that about relationships. I've been the butt of hostility in the past ("skinny bitch" and "beanpole") but those days are over too.

Oof. This is hard to write. I'm not proud of this.

So, not thinking of this, and then diving into a really intensely hot sexual relationship with Angus (who has tended to carry 'a couple extra pounds' since I've known him) and then with Michael (who is more than twice my weight) I managed to be a total dickwad.

I have to be brief because this hurts to write. Think about this situation:

I meet Michael. We start sleeping together. I find him very hot, the way he thinks, the way we interact, but also his body itself, just the way his thighs feel and the line from his shoulder to his hip and his hands and the texture of his skin and the everythingness of him. And I keep saying to myself, not mindfully at all but in bemused wonder: I never would have expected to feel this way about you. I would say, in with that same bemusement, you are so fucking hot. And I didn't think about it.

And I would forward all this stuff about overeating and the obesity epidemic and whatnot because I'm pretty involved in food activism. Aaaaaand... finally the incongruity hit me. I poked at this in my head for a couple weeks, like a sore tooth, and realised what was going on. I was saying I never would have expected you to be hot because you're fat.

Except it wasn't graceful like this. After all this subtext, after accepting all these unspoken and unconscious endings to my sentences and not walking out on me, Michael had to endure a conversation where I basically said, "I don't know how to reconcile your body type with me thinking you're hot, any pointers?" and it hurt him pretty bad because, face it, it was maybe one of the jerkiest things I've done in my long career of being a dick.

So he was hurt and got quiet and I took it away and thought about it some more. And after a bit I stopped using the subtext. It stopped being woah, I'm shocked that you could be hot and started being just, you're hot. That made me happy, but I wasn't really sure what was going on in my head. Then today someone made a post on facebook and I grasped something more consciously.

It's true that carrying a lot of weight is a health risk.

It's true that stressing over things is a health risk.

It's true that working a desk job is a health risk.

Driving in a car is pretty goddamn dangerous, actually.

Smoking, drinking from plastic bottles, all sorts of things: health risks. In fact, cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. Then heart disease, in which weight is definitely implicated. But, you know, people die, and statistics are statistics. No one actually chooses a mate by running a statistical analysis of everyone in the room and taking the person most likely to live a long time or we'd all want to date Japanese schoolgirls... oh, wait.

So the next argument, and one dear to the food movement, is that fat people are socially irresponsible because they do something which makes them unhealthy and thus a burden on health care and the rest of society, etc. The usual rebuttal to this is: we've all got our vices, so if you conflate attractiveness with health with skinniness, then also conflate attractiveness with health with nonsmoking AND not driving on dangerous roads AND not drinking to excess AND to not getting sunburns AND to using only glass containers and organic food AND teflon pans AND etc etc or you're a hypocrite.

But I've realised that it's much simpler than that for me, suddenly.

I find some people, and some bodies, maddeningly earthshatteringly attractive. I find some people and some bodies very much not. I don't control and can't anticipate this attraction; it's a gift when it's put in my hands.

And, separately, I worry about the economics of health: health care; the high cost of good veggies; eating well; desk jobs; yes, high fructose corn syrup and the subsidy pressure from the agroindustrial machine to maintain a steady cheap supply of that rather than fresh fruit and veggies and by the way more veggies would mean more farmers instead of more jobs where people sit down and that's socially unacceptable; and in the same category a lack of biking infrastructure and pesticides and the lack of self-worth driven by our lack of worthwhile projects to break our teeth on and thus teach us how to be effective in the world and how that leads people to do stupid self-harm or self-risk to fit in; a poor definition of health overall; no actual value placed on a culture where people can share knowledge about how to live well or have socially-sanctioned conversations about same; epidemic depression, the list goes on and on and on.

These two things, what we find attractive and what we approve of morally, are rarely connected and in fact often backwards-wired as per the girls-like-bad-boys stereotype. So it's really not cool what we do: we project all the guilt for our broken food culture and food system onto the people who bear the most visually obvious symptoms of it, then we use the threat of sexual and romantic rejection, which really drives to the core of our happiness as humans, to try and get them, any them that's not us, to make it go away. And we dangle romantic acceptance and sexual fulfillment as the carrots gained for successfully putting that societal skeleton back in the closet where we don't have to look at it. But, that's getting a little meta. My real point is merely the separation.

So there's how I was a dickwad with my projected shit and my inability to treat a human like, you know, a person instead of as a social issue. And that's why I try to be mindful about it now. And it's kinda incoherent because I've had a long week, but I really really needed to get this out. And I'd really like people to respond to it if they have something to say, gently if possible, because I need to hear the voices of my friends on this.
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So I've asked Angus to be out more-or-less for May 1st. We'll have lived here for 13 months; together for a couple more than that. He asked if we'd continue a relationship and I honestly don't know the answer to that question. Probably, definitely, I don't know a way not to be friends with him but there might need to be a period of mourning first or he might get his life in order and sail off into the sunset and not want me around anymore? How can you look into the future, anyhow? Certainly not when I've just finished finals (minutes ago), still have a few major assignments due, had the power out in my house for a couple of days, haven't had space to myself for a long time?

It will be very good for me to have my own place again.

I have a lot of thinking to do about moving-- I won't get all my damage deposit back, but I could probably knock $200 off my rent (It'll be about $1225 at that point, which was good when we were looking right before the Olympics but is a little high for this area right now). I need to keep a 2 bedroom or a really roomy 1-bedroom+den because of the rats. I need to keep hardwood floors (ideally) or I'll deal with laminate. I need to keep some sort of garden space. I'd like to stay in this area, or in a swathe directly east as far as a couple of blocks east of Hastings, maybe as far south as 15th or so. I'd like to keep a professional landlord company or at least not a creepy Vancouver landlord. If I move, more light will be mandatory.

I have a lot of self-care to do. I refuse to learn on Michael, who not only has his own very serious stuff (his dad's been diagnosed with terminal cancer. It's not supposed to last very long in the grand scheme of things) but really just can't deal with my leaning at the best of times. He is a good place of refuge, but only if I don't bring my storms along. I need to continue to cultivate friends who are immediately supportive in every important way: who provide snuggles, unweird straightforward comfortable conversation, who can hold me when I cry or allow me to use them as passive company, who offer advice and stories, who offer things sometimes without being asked, who eat with me. I need to continue to exercise well, I need to bike more. I need to spend time with the sun on my skin. I need to continue to connect with my classmates, who are an incredible source of support even through their own stresses-- in fact, those shared stresses are immensely reassuring.

Our school cohort is starting to drop-- the cute South African boy disappeared the other day and was very brief in texting that he wouldn't see us again, don't ask why. Today, trying to write the practical final in the rain, one of us ripped up the soggy mass of pulp that was his paper, threw it on the ground, and left. He may still pass the course and return, it was only 15% of the grade, but we were all pretty crispy today. Those who remain are tightening, a little at a time.

I need to find myself a bed, a bed that's mine, that's squooshy like marshmallows, and some kitchen stuff like pots, pans, and dishes.

I need to tell my mom.

I'm going to be okay. I just need to remember to eat, climb, and breathe.

If you know Angus, please, please be helpful and supportive to him. It's his depression that's the trouble here, he really needs to deal with it, and I can't make him do that or help him do it. I'm worried about him. If you can think of something to do, please, do that thing.
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Read more... )

Mmm. Morning before a non-work day. Time for writing. It'll be a tight month but I'm getting my life back.

Have I mentioned I'm moving again? My roommates decided the rats weren't for them. I'll be moving in with Angus. I am very much looking forward to that. It's funny, I had about a two-second thought: man, housing would be easier if I wasn't essentially supporting a dependent (food + room) in the form of the rats. The thought left as soon as it came. I'm happy to be doing it, and I'd miss them a whole lot. Seems I'm still deeply committed to this negative-income hobby of mine. :) I do wonder if getting a business license would allow me to write off food & bedding & cage purchases, or if that only works against the income of the business in question. It's something to think about.

So we're looking for a two bedroom, big one-bedroom-plus-den, or anything bigger. There are a bunch of options- a yard or balcony is pretty mandatory though there's one two-bedroom by Juggler's place where I bet I could just trade him yardwork for a veggie patch. We're looking both in the Yaletown-box-with-gym-in-the-building category and in the east-van-on-bike-routes-with-yard category, so it'll be pretty interesting to see what shakes out. You'd think it would be an awful time to be moving but people do seem to be looking, not just for Olympics short-terms stays but for actual tenants. Who knew? If you know of a place, let us know. We're looking between 1000 - 1500/month, but there may be some flex there for the right place.

I am so looking forward to buying someday.

There seems to be a lot of mental illness going around these days. This sounds weird to say, and I'm not sure how to approach the thing in my head. In the last month my brother and a friend of mine have been having issues, my co-worker is always kind of iffy, and there are a couple more people in the wings that are going that way. I mean, you know what to do if someone is physically sick, but even having been through bad depression myself doesn't help me know what to do when someone's in that, or in something else. I'm so very glad Angus is through his recent bit. His body is still hitting him hard physically, but he's a tough cookie. Also I love him like crazy, have I mentioned that lately?

My mom is sick with, likely, h1n1 right now. I need to make her some soup today-- she's really terrible with self-care. Come to think of it, I should offer her my bedroom to stay in. I'm not using it at the moment. Don't want to infect roommates though. Hm.

Chucken-garlic-ginger-orange peel congee, I think.

Discovered a really lovely all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant three blocks away from Angus' place. Tamaya, I think it's called, on Seymour by Robson. It's perfect staggering distance from here, their selection is fantastic, their prep and cooking is good, and they both offer wild salmon for an additional charge and have enough other options that it's not missed. Also, raw oysters are part of the all-you-can-eat menu, and their miso is properly bonito'd. I think I have replaced Tanpopo as long as they can remain consistent for a couple of visits.

Dropping

Sep. 26th, 2008 08:42 pm
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I guess this was the summer where I broke from my life-- took breaks from what I always did, from poly, from relationships, from writing, from hippying-around as opposed to 9-5ing it, from living with people, from surrendering up my destiny into others' hands. I took breaks, and I more-or-less took a two month break from writing. I seem to be back. This is such a seductive feeling, sitting here and falling inwards, letting my self seep upwards and around my consciousness until all that's left in my awareness is me, as objective as I get focussed on as subjective as I get.

Life in general is seductive right now. It's late, I'm sleepy and warm and it's raining outside. Every time I turn around (this in a metaphorical sense, he's not here right now) the most wonderful boy in the world is there, watching me with adoring eyes-- not what I expected about now but perhaps the best thing ever regardless. Music is on. My home is good. There is a family in the offing at Angus' house, the kind of huge messy house full of boys that I grew up in. Dan is exciting. My friends are solid. I'm reading a book on rhetoric; school is coming up soon. I had all-you-can-eat Indian for dinner, and I'm stuffed to the gills in a contented non-greasy sort of way. The rain has been immediate and not too cool and followed with clear crisp sunshiney air.

I am very happy right now.

I am very right now, right now. Normally I get so caught up in the what-nexts, but right now my head is still so busy whirling... You know, I couldn't break up with Angus until I had absolutely given up, until I had completely eradicated any hint in my head that it might be a ploy to get him back. I had to turn my back on any possibility of being with him, and then we end up together again. It really is a new beginning, not on scorched and burnt earth but on ground that had naturally gone fallow with the change of the seasons. Now... here. Here we are.

And... I am trying poly again apparently. I'm doing it differently this time, with love, with respect for my primary relationship, from a place, I guess, of primacy in my primary relationship, but also with softness. I don't feel that if I give in, if I am gentle, that I will be down a peg or that I'll have something taken from me or be losing something. Instead I think helping him to be comfortable will be a gain for myself.

No, it's not really my choice. I don't mind -- pretty boys on top of Angus are certainly gravy, and I'm still (again?) capable of loving lots of people like crazy. It's his call, though, and if it doesn't work out it's his call to call it off and that'd be fine too. That's been the case since the beginning. It's lovely to be starting fresh. I needed the break to monogamy and maybe singlehood to stop this destructive chain of every-man-for-himself poly I'd been doing.

Now I'm staying very far away from the poly groups online, from reading about it, from setting up from other people's experience. I have a bunch of experience that I'm happy to draw on, but I think that the people involved are more important than anyone else's experience, any principles of mine, or any agreements that no longer seem to fit (but that may hold 'advantage' for one party over another).

Doesn't that sound beautiful?

As you can imagine, the whole situation-- the dating situation, the poly situation, the life situation (going back to school for something I love while still working at it!? controlling my own home and space?!) --is touching me at a very deep level. I'd definitely, in the couple of months I haven't been posting much and even in the last year or two as I read back, started to strengthen as a person. Life seems to be a continuous evolution for me; I get stronger, I feel safer, I can interact with people and events in more diverse ways. Now I find myself opening out again and trusting in the world around me. I'm losing the thread of this post because the music is sweeping me up as I write.

Time, perhaps, to stop it then.

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