Monday, July 29, 2013

Mosquitoes are Assholes

Thesis:  Mosquitoes are assholes!* 

Evidence:  The multiple mosquito bites on my elbow

Argument the First!: The skin on my elbow is probably the toughest skin on my body (with the exception of my heels with haven't seen a pedicure since that time the lady at the spa sliced me with her foot file - nice job pedicure lady!)  Because it's so tough it must make for difficult stabbing with their proboscis (thank you Google).  This means they're putting extra effort in to biting me there.

Argument the Second!:  Once you get through that tough skin, there's pretty much just bone there.  It must be like trying to suck water out of the sand of the Sahara.  This means that not only are they putting forth extra effort, but they're not getting as much food reward.

Argument the Third!:  It's itchy as hell!  Far itchier than any other bite I've gotten this year!  Driving me F'n crazy itchy!  Want to take a metal brush to my elbow itchy!  This MUST be their reward.

Conclusion:  Mosquitoes are definitely assholes!

Wait a minute....the itchiness has gotten my mind off the other crap going on in my head... could it be that the mosquitoes were trying to help me out using the art of distraction???....ummmm.....NO!

Conclusion (amended):  Mosquitoes are definitely manipulative assholes!!


  * I've been reading a lot of The Bloggess lately and you have no idea how much I wanted to put a "y'all" at the end of that sentence.  She's awesome by the way.  You should check her out.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear?

You know when you look at big fluffy clouds and you see things in them?  Like a dragon...or a unicorn... or Jesus? 
(By they way, I totally took the picture above rather than my usual grabbing from the Internet.)

Apparently I do the same thing with sound waves.  If it's quiet and there is any sort of white noise, I hear music.  My theory is that the sound waves, from for example a fan, head directly to my ear drums, but they also bounce off all the hard surfaces in the room and then these also head to my ear drums at varying times and decibel levels.  My brain then turns all this additional information into music.  (I totally do science!)

It's as if one of the neighbours is having a party and playing music in the distance.  I can make out a beat, a bit of melody, maybe a voice or particular instrument, but it's muffled in such a way that I can never figure out the song and can't make out the words.  I can generally qualify it under a genre.

It drives me absolutely batty!!  If it was one of the neighbours, I could just call them up and tell them to turn down the music, but it's in my head so that isn't an option.  I've tried shifting my head, but that can be just like changing the radio station.  I've even wandered around the house making sure it isn't just a TV left on in another room or something. 

It was particularly bad last night and I was keeping the hubby awake as I told him whenever the music changed.  I can't remember all the genres I went through, but I do remember when it made me think of the music they played on MASH and when it sounded like ABBA and at one point it was kind of country, but with an oboe.  At that point the hubby said that if he listened really hard and stretched his imagination that maybe he could hear the oboe.  With those few words he pulled me back from the edge - It wasn't just me!!

From that conversation I've decided that I'm not completely off my rocker.  I just have a really good imagination.  It's a gift....and a curse!

Friday, July 5, 2013

It's Not Perfect, But It's Mine

A good friend recently told me that I put too much pressure on myself and that I need to give my poor mind a break. 

I've always been a bit of a perfectionist and taken comfort that I generally had a good grasp and some control of any given situation.  Right now I spend my time either in my head or zoning out.  I don't understand what's happening in my body and I have absolutely no control.  It's terrifying, but everyone (friends, doctor, therapist) assures me that I will come out the other side.  I take great comfort in their certainty and their support.

So I will try to take the suggested break.  I'll try to stop putting so much pressure on myself to get better.  I'll try to relax and let this play out however it's going to.  It will be hard because this is something I've never really had to deal with. 

In the meantime, I'll listen to Tim Minchin - by far the sexiest man in mascara!

This is my brain and it's fine
It's where I spend the vast majority of my time
It's not perfect, but it's mine
It's not perfect, but it's mine
It's not perfect. I'm not quite sure I've worked out how to work it
It's not perfect, but it's mine
But it's mine

Thursday, July 4, 2013

OMG! Boobies!!!

Leave it to Pop Culture to give me something to focus on when I'm feeling out of sorts!

Justin Timberlake has come out with a new video.  It was immediately banned by YouTube 'due to its explicit content'.  Canoe was nice enough to post it along with a poll wherein one of the options is "offensive and sexist".

I watched it.  The song is okay - might grow on me.  Watching Timberlake dance makes me think of a white Michael Jackson (artistic but somehow awkward).  The rest of the video is made up of skinny women in g-strings gyrating, dancing and writhing.  There are some moments where they've gone artsy with patterns and colours which somewhat blur the women and are quite lovely.  Most often it's just straight up almost naked women. 

Now I love the look of the naked female body.  The lines, the curves....  Absolutely beautiful!  And I'm not offended in the least bit by this video.  And as for sexist...why is that even an option?  The women chose to do this and were most likely paid very well.  What is more feminist than women choosing what to do with their own bodies?? 

What I don't understand is why they made the video, in this society, with that level of straight up nudity.  Two reasons come to mind.  1. Simply to push the envelope.  2.  For publicity.

The one thing about pushing the envelope is that it needs to be a subtle, but consistent push over time if you actually want anything to change.  Go too far too fast and those against it will rally together and shove you back down.  The makers of the James Bond films have done this beautifully with their opening credits - Goldeneye is a perfect example.  The women are definitely naked, but the presentation is art. 

For Timberlake, I foresee boycotts and that points directly to publicity.  It would have been nice if he believed in his talent as an artist enough to work at creating actual art instead of meaningless publicity.

Feeling Lost

"And crawling, on the planet's face, some insects, called the human race. Lost in time, and lost in space... and meaning." - The Criminologist, Rocky Horror Picture Show

Feeling a little lost today and can't get this line out of my head.  Don't know if it's the meds or just my state of mind, but I'm just feeling really out of it.  I find myself zoning out and I won't know how long I've been standing or sitting and just staring.  Sometimes I couldn't even tell you what I was thinking about...if anything.

I've been out of bed for 3 hours now and have very little to show for it.  I gave the dogs their supplements.  I moved the laundry from the washer to the dryer.  I showered.  I wrote a three sentence post about asparagus.  Either I'm moving in slow motion or my memory is on the blitz or perhaps I've fallen into a Time Warp?  I'm spaced out on sensation like I'm under sedation.

I'm having a hard time fighting the urge to just go back to bed, put on some mindless TV show and phase out.  But I'll keep fighting.  Chances are I won't be leaving the house today, but I'll try and keep myself busy and focused with writing, reading and household chores.  Small victories.

Perhaps I'll avoid the pelvic thrusts as I'm aiming for the side of sanity.

Asparagus is Evil

Asparagus is an evil vegetable. 

It's all "Look at me!  I'm a beautiful bright green colour and full of nutrients and tender-crisp and rolling in delicious butter and I go well with bacon.  You should eat me!"

But really it's thinking about how hilarious it will be if the next time you have to pee is in a public restroom.  Muwaaa-haaaaa-haaaaa!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Silver Linings

So anyone who knows me, knows that I've gone a little 'wackadoo' lately.  Complete mental breakdown, emotional overload, panic attacks, depression.....You get the picture. 

It appears that the old saying is true...dark clouds do indeed have silver linings.  I can't say that it's always true, but it seems to be in this case. 

What is the internet without lolcats?

Firstly, as I have spoken out about what I'm going through, my friends have rallied around me.  They've shared their own stories and in doing so our relationships have grown closer.  In making ourselves vulnerable to each other we ended up making ourselves stronger.  We support and encourage and build each other up.  Sometimes it's in person and sometimes it's just messages, but I love all of these friends and I know that this journey would be far longer and more difficult without them in my life.


The second thing, and perhaps even more amazing, is my marriage.  Our relationship has always been great...not perfect, nothing is perfect, but still great.  My hubby is my best friend and our marriage is my foundation.  I am absolutely in love with the man.  But let's face facts....after 21 years together things get a little too comfortable.  We know each other so well that we don't talk as much as we used to.  We agree on most things so talking about them is like preaching to the choir.  For the things we don't agree on, we've already talked those to death.  We started taking each other for granted... never in thought, but often in action.  You know those old couples that you see in restaurants...the ones that will sit through an entire meal and not say a word to each might even be reading the paper.  Those couples have always made me so sad, but I totally understand how that happens.

Well here's the wonderful thing.... As I have been on this road to recovery, the hubby has jumped into action to take care of me, support me, encourage me, calm me and generally let me know how much he loves me, how much I mean to him and how much he wants me in his life.  I, in turn, am trying to do the same for him.  In my current state it isn't always easy... I always feel it, but it can be hard to show someone just how happy they make you when you're crying all the time.  The words combined with the behaviour just aren't convincing.  But, as a whole, big changes are happening.  We're having date days and date nights.  We're being far more affectionate.  We're openly discussing our needs and our wants and we're finding compromises when those desires are sometimes polar opposites.  We're finding things to do together, things that we can share and talk about. 

I think it's pretty accurate to say that we've shaved a good ten years off our marriage.  To expect the excitement and jitters of the early days would be unreasonable, but we've changed our marital path away from that sad old couple to a more vibrant future.  My love for him has grown and evolved since the day I met him, but now I feel like we've looked at what the future holds and we're putting a plan in action to make sure that we are as connected then as we are now.

Who The Hell Is That In My Mirror?

I caught sight of myself in the mirror last night after my shower and I just stared for about 15 minutes.  I'm down to 114 pounds - still 8 pounds heavier than I was on my wedding day 18 years ago, but 12 pounds lighter than I was 2 months ago (before my breakdown).  12 pounds might not seem like much, but consider that I've lost almost 10% of my original body mass and I thought I was at a pretty healthy weight then.

The lower half of my body is looking pretty good.  My thighs and hips and butt have trimmed down nicely.  My stomach is as flat as it was in high school.  I'm pretty happy about that.  But then there's my upper half.  My cup size has gone from a C to a B - not a huge deal, but disappointing nonetheless.  It's the other areas that don't look healthy.  It's okay when I'm just standing there, but then I inhale and that's when things change.  Not even a deep breath.  Just a normal intake of oxygen.  The first thing I noticed is that I could see the outline of my ribcage above my breasts.  Made me look emaciated.  But that wasn't even the worst part.  There is cartilage at the front base of the ribcage just above the diaphragm.  A quick Google search tells me it's called the 'xiphoid process'.  When I inhale, it looks like a big lump.  STILL not the grossest part.  It sits very close to the heart so I can actually watch the damn thing pulse.  That's just sexy!  <insert sarcastica font here>

Found a picture of this lump on someone else since the hubby probably doesn't want me posting naked pics on the web.

So considering I'm beginning to look like the poster girl for anorexia, it's time to do something about it.  I need to start eating more and I need to start moving.  The hubby suggested McDonald's, but I want to do this right.  Proper healthy meals and snacks to begin with.  All four food groups in appropriate portions.  Good thing my garden's coming in nicely so soon I'll have more produce in my back yard. 

As for moving, I think I'll start with slow walks on the treadmill to see what my endurance is and maybe build it up a little.  Then I'll move it outside.  Maybe I can even keep the general shape and just build up some muscle and toning.  Now if only there was a way to inject a Big Mac into my boobs...?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why So Public?

I'm often questioned on why I'm so public with various aspects of my life.  The basic answer is that it's just who I am.  I've always been pretty much a 'what you see is what you get' kind of person.  As the years have gone by, the person I am has just become more and more controversial and/or non-traditional so this part of my personality has become more noticeable.

I think there are a lot of reasons why I am the way I am.  For one, I want people around me who actually enjoy my company.  I believe that we need to put our true selves forward in order to have genuine relationships.  If we're all just presenting ourselves as who we think others want to see or if we only show people the superficial aspects and nothing deeper then our relationships aren't real.  That said, there are people in my life that I know I need to be more reserved around and I accept that sometimes it's necessary, but as a general rule I do my best to avoid those people.

Second reason is that, while I'm sure most people are generally good, there are some folks who like nothing better than digging up dirt on the people around them and spreading it around.  This is why many people keep everything personal to that others can't use it against them.  I take the opposite stance.  People can't really gossip about you if it's public knowledge.  "OMG!  Did you hear that she had a mental breakdown???"  "Ummmm ya.  It's on her blog."

Another reason is the feedback I get from people around me.  It's amazing what happens when you share your own difficulties.  People come out of the woodwork with similar stories.  Often people you would never expect.  I find this particularly beneficial in two ways.  First, when I'm in the thick of the issue it's so helpful to talk to people who have been through it already.  They provide perspective, insight, tips, support, encouragement and they make me feel so much less alone.  On the other side, when I talk about past problems and hear from people who are currently going through a similar situation, I can be the one providing all of the above.  I remember once being at a specialist appointment (have had so many, can't remember which one) and I was going over my medical history and medications with the nurse prior to seeing the doctor.  She questioned one of my medications and I told her all about it.  She suddenly blurted out "Oh my god!  I have the same problem!  I didn't know anything could be done about it?!?"  We ended up talking for like 20 minutes while I filled her in completely and she intended to make an appointment with her own doctor to discuss it.

In looking at my own comment above, I see probably the biggest reason of all.  "...and they make me feel so much less alone."  We, as human beings, have a tendency to think we're the only ones who feel the way we do.  Teenagers go through high school thinking "everyone else seems fine so what's wrong with me?".  Women go through life thinking "if only I was beautiful like that woman on the magazine cover?"  Well guess what - all teenagers, even the jocks and the cheerleaders and the valedictorians, all feel anxious and inferior and depressed and scared sometimes.  And guess what - that woman on the magazine cover most likely thinks she's fat and was probably photo-shopped so thinks even less of herself.  We all go through crap in our lives on a regular basis and if we were just willing to talk openly about it, I think it would all feel a little less crappy.  We wouldn't feel alone because we wouldn't be....EVER!

So yes, I have recently been through something traumatic which has caused an emotional breakdown like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.  I'm still in the middle of it and I question my sanity daily and, quite frankly, I'm scared shitless.  But the one thing I no longer feel is alone.  I have people to talk to who understand and empathize and who know for a fact that this tunnel has an end.  No one can tell me precisely when or how I'll find it, but they assure me that it is definitely there and they support me through my journey towards it.

Mental health on its own has an unfortunate stigma attached to it.  My breakdown coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week/Month which was actually quite helpful.  There were campaigns going on all over the place which provided information and support and reminded me that this isn't anything to be ashamed of.  The brain is a complex organ and sometimes it goes a little wacky.  For some it's temporary and for others it's permanent, but there is help for everyone.  I'm doing my best to get the help I need and blogging about what I'm going through helps me focus and find support.  If openly discussing my journey encourages others to seek help for themselves, then that's an added bonus.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Don't Even Blink!

There are some moments when I really wish I could believe in god or angels. It would be nice to think that there was some supernatural, omniscient, omnipotent sky-daddy looking down on me and truly caring what happened in my life.  It's a beautiful thought that he would have angelic flunkies who would roam the earth saving us from burning buildings or helping us make better choices or reminding us where we left our car keys.

I was once a deist (many many moons ago) and watched TV shows like Touched by an Angel with reverence.  At the end of every episode Monica would show herself as an angel and would tell some unfortunate soul that god loved him and didn't want him going down this path, that all he needed to do was ask for god's help and everything would be peachy-keen.  It was a lovely thought.

When I'm having troubles, which I'm currently in the thick of, it would be wonderful to be able to ask someone all knowing and all powerful for help.  Someone who loves me and can make everything all better.

But it's all just bunk.  Tess and Monica won't be appearing out of nowhere with golden auras to lead the way.  And Jonathan Smith won't be strolling into town just to push me in the right direction.  In reality the only ones watching out for us are ourselves and the people (all human beings) who care about us.   Only you can prevent fires (forest or otherwise) and if you can't, you need to install smoke detectors and keep fire extinguishers handy to help protect you.  We are all accountable for our own decisions and the consequences thereof no matter what off the wall choices we've made.  And I would suggest finding a special spot to put your car keys so you'll always know where they are. 

When it comes right down to it, even if you could prove to me that this sky-daddy existed, there's no way I could even consider praising him. 

If your god in all his wonder exists AND this still exists:
There is no reasonable explanation other than your god is a dick!

 So through my troubles, instead of the invisible man in the sky, I will turn to my husband and friends and doctors and therapists and medicine.  I will turn to reality.  I will even turn to my dogs who give me unconditional love and affection.

Given my luck, if I did have a guardian angel she would most likely be weeping and trying to kill me.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Deja Vu

Almost 24 years ago my first 'real' boyfriend dumped me.  I put 'real' in quotations because we were fourteen and I don't believe he ever really cared about me.  What he thought he saw in me was an easy mark.  He was determined that he wouldn't be a virgin by the time he turned fifteen in November - such noble aspirations!  We were together for less than three months and in that time he pressured me constantly to have sex with him.  Thankfully I was strong enough, both emotionally and physically, to refuse.  He broke up with me after his birthday, but let's be clear....on his fifteenth birthday he was no longer a virgin, but I still was.  That's right, first fourteen year old boyfriend....had sex with another girl while we were still together and then he blew me off.

I was devastated.  I was hurt.  I was heartbroken.  I was depressed.  I started hurting myself.  I would find a stray staple on the floor at school or a rusty nail on the ground and I would start to scrape it across my skin.  I don't think I would describe myself as an actual 'cutter'.  I didn't do it to feel the pain.  I didn't really want to hurt myself.  Most of the time I didn't really even notice that I was doing it.....but my friends did!!!  My friends would see it and they would stop me and tell me to snap out of it and that I was worth more than that and that he was just a jerk and I was better off without him.....  They would say all the things I needed to hear and all the things that I would eventually come to understand.

But that's not all I did.  One day I walked out in front of a car.  I knew that it was far enough away and going at such a speed that if the driver saw me, he would be able to stop in time.  I actually mentally calculated that and then consciously made the decision to step out in front of him.  He did manage to stop and then he got out of his car to yell out me.  I walked on pretending to be oblivious to the entire situation.  Inside a part of me was shocked that I would do something so dangerous and stupid, but another part of me was just wishing that he had hit me.  I didn't want to die, but I did want to stop feeling all the hurt.

The last straw was the morning that I stood in the shower, crying and staring at the blade of my pink lady razor.  I was watching how the light reflected off it and wondering how much it would hurt to slice into my wrists.  It was in that moment that I truly snapped myself out of it.  It was like my own stupidity had slapped me right across the face.  That was the moment that I did understand that I was worth more than that.  In that moment I became strong and confident.  In that moment I became me and I never looked back.

I feel a need to write about this now, because 24 years later I'm going through it again.  I had a traumatic event in my life that triggered all those same fourteen year old little girl feelings.  This time I saw a doctor and got help.  It's called Acute Situational Crisis.  I wish I had known that then.  I caught myself a few weeks ago with a staple in my hand, using it to pry away the skin on my finger.  I managed to stop myself before I went deep enough to hit blood.  I've also had a few moments driving where I've taken bigger risks than I normally would or I've simply wished that a transport truck would come out of nowhere and hit me.  Just like 24 years ago, I don't want to die.  I just want the hurt to stop.  But also just like then, I know deep down that I have to do this the hard way....through time and by talking things through and listening to the people who love me.  I haven't forgotten who I am or what I'm worth, but that doesn't really help with emotional pain.  Only time will heal me, so I will wait.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Taming of the Bush

The Telegraph - Like it or not, we need to break the pubic hair taboo

This article annoyed me so much that I had to take to the blog!

The article is all about women's pubic hair and the reasons why some women choose to remove or 'tame' it, that some men prefer that and pretty much that all women should stop.....wait....what???  I was with them until that point. 

Apparently porn is the cause for women choosing to lose 'the bush' because all men watch porn and all men agree that 'the bush' is disgusting and that makes all women have low self-esteem so they torture themselves in order to be submissive to these horrible porn watching men. 

First off - I am a porn watching woman.  Within the plethora of porn available there are women of all shapes, sizes, body types and an especially large variety of bush styles.  Some are wild, some are tamed, some are barely there and some are non-existent.  The one thing porn is not is consistently anything.

Porn has opened my mind to a variety of things.  Some things I've tried, some things I am considering and some things where I have immediately said 'absolutely not!' and moved on.  This isn't just contained to the sexual acts themselves.  It also includes costumes, surgical alterations, piercings and yes pubic hair styling.

Before watching porn, I never even knew that altering my pubic hair was an option.  Since seeing some different 'styles', I've tested a few out.  What I discovered was that I love the outcome for a variety of reasons - the feel, the look, the hygiene...etc.  What I don't like are the methods of achieving the outcome.  Shaving is difficult and I really don't like the idea of a sharp blade anywhere near my most precious areas...even if it is pretty and pink or has an awesome name like Venus.  Depilatories are dangerous in such an area.  I tried waxing and couldn't make it through the whole event.  The pain was so severe I wanted someone to bash my skull in with a cast iron frying pan just to end the misery.  I'm still considering laser, but until I find the money (and suitable pain meds), I'll have to be satisfied with just a regular pruning.

My second problem with the article was the suggestion that pubic hair removal is bad for us because of another article suggesting that it may increase the transmission of a certain type of wart. It refers to these warts as STIs (sexually transmitted infection).  I think this is a misnomer.  If you read the other article it clearly states that these warts are very common in children.  This suggests that it isn't so much a 'sexually' transmitted infection so much as it probably just requires skin to skin contact which happens to occur during sex and is more likely to occur in skin which has been 'traumatized'.   So if I shave or wax my legs (with which the author seems to have no issue), then I would probably be just as likely to get these warts.

My next problem is this:
"Several MPs declined the opportunity to comment on the politics of female body hair for this article, with one saying they did not want to become a “pubes pundit”."

Well I should hope not!  It's none of their damn business!!  Is this group actually looking for a governmental stance on pubic hair????

"She points to John Carr of the Council on Child Internet Safety’s suggestion that households should have to opt-in to viewing pornography online"

What???  First, can we say censorship?  Two, one person's pornography is another person's art.  Three, I shouldn't have to go out of my way to contact some 'agency' to let them know that I would like to look at porn.  Will I have to tell them which genres I'd like to be available to me as well?

"Whatever one thinks about porn - and whether an opt-in system is feasible - Object's Bennett points out that it has had an unmistakable impact on young women’s self esteem."

I can agree with that.  Everything in life has an unmistakable impact on self esteem, but not necessarily a negative impact.  For me, porn removed all the taboos that I had placed on sex and from that point on I blossomed.  I became more open and confident and strong.  And part of that was knowing that I could make my own choices about my body.

"As for me? When someone recently asked me what I think the biggest challenge is for young women today my on-the-spot answer wasn't about equality in the workplace or combating misogyny, but what do to with their pubes."

At this point I actually decided that the author was, in fact, a lunatic!

And the closing paragraph:
"Angst about pubic hair comes down to one thing; women changing themselves because of what they believe is expected of them sexually instead of what they want (ask any 24-year-old on their way to a bikini wax if it's how they really want to spend 20 minutes and see what they say). That's the thing about sex and your body it took me a while to realise – you're actually supposed to enjoy them."

I change all sorts of things about my appearance.  Yesterday I got a hair cut and I dyed my hair red.  I wear high heels and short skirts and low cut tops.  I do this all not because society expects it of me, but because I like it. 
And of course people don't enjoy the waxing experience (well some might), what they do enjoy is the weeks after where their body is the way they want it to be.  Having foils in my hair was not how I wanted to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon either, but I'll now have fun with my hair for the next 2 months.

I encourage everyone - all genders - to do whatever they want with their bodies, but it pisses me off when someone else tries to tell anyone that they're doing it wrong simply because they would do it differently or they question their motives.  If you want to turn your pubic hair into dreadlocks that hang down to your knees...more power to you.  But do not ever tell me that I am wrong or have low self esteem because I would prefer that mine just disappear.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Gender Issue

Before I proceed with this post, I want to start by saying that there are some truly wonderful women in my life.  Some I've known for many years, some are fairly new to me and some I've reconnected with after a long time.  I hope you all know who you are and how much you mean to me.  You ladies are exceptional...that's the key word here as I feel you are the exceptions.

I've had many friendships over the years, but I'm not very good at them.  I hate phones so I won't be calling you.  I live out in the boonies so getting together can be difficult.  I'm child-free while most of the women my age have kids which adds to the difficulty with scheduling, but also greatly changes the dynamic of the relationship.

Email made life a little easier as I could then keep in touch electronically, but I still had to find the ever elusive 'time' to write the email.  Facebook improved things greatly.  Now simply by reading my newsfeed I can keep informed of what's happening in people's lives and by adding to my own profile, they can see what's happening in my life.  A comment or 'like' here and there and we all feel like friends.

But all of that is just background for what this post is really about...gender differences in friendships.  For most of my life, my primary friend group has consisted of women.  Some have been (and continue to be) amazing friends, others have hurt me so badly that they have left me emotionally scarred.

The first one was in elementary school.  We used to see each other every day and suddenly she was 'busy'.  It took me a while to get the hint and she never talked to me again.  I saw her shun another girl the same way a few years later so at least I know I wasn't special.  As an adult I was particularly hurt by four different women in the span of 2 years.  Same situation....just suddenly left me hanging without warning or explanation. 

I understand that there are different types of friendships and that they come and go, but I really cared about these women and would have put them all in the category of 'besties'.  And when I asked what had happened in the hopes of making amends for whatever transgression I had committed, three of the four completely ignored me and the other sent me a vicious response that pretty much told me I should have known what she was thinking and that I wasn't worthy of her friendship.

All in all I boil each of these 'break ups' down to stereotypical female traits.  Women can be absolute bitches with the gossiping, back-stabbing, passive-aggressive behaviour.  They'll act like everything is peachy between you and then tell someone else that you're a bitch.  They hold grudges and can be vindictive.  I say 'they', but I know that I carry these traits inside me as well.  I try to suppress them because I hate them so much, but every once in a while they poke through.  On those occasions I try to acknowledge them, beat them back and make amends.

This is the reason that more often over the years I have turned to men for friendship rather than women.  That has its own set of issues, but I much prefer stereotypical male traits over stereotypical female traits.  That Y chromosome makes a really big difference.  Men tend to be more laid back, they don't gossip and don't hold grudges.  If you piss a guy off he tells you immediately and to your face.  You work it out and you move on.  Next day he probably couldn't tell you what he was mad about - it's over and forgotten.  It's just easier to be friends with men.

I generally don't even consider women for new friendships anymore (although some have gratefully still found their way into my life).  I have a hard time trusting women given my past experiences.  Even with my best female friendships there is a little niggling at the back of my mind wondering when and how they're going to break my heart.

My definition of a friend is someone I care about and who cares about me.  When I let myself care it happens quickly and intensely, sometimes without me even realizing that I've let you in.  If you care about someone you should be able to tell them when you're upset and why.  They can't read your mind and if they don't know what they did, then how can they fix it?  If it can't be fixed, the very least you can do is let them know that the friendship is ending and why.  To disappear and leave someone wondering what happened is just mean.

I surmise that some of my lost friendships relate to my views and how vocal I can be about them.  It's called passion and it's a trait that I quite like about myself so it isn't something I'm willing to change.  If that's the reason we can't be friends then I'm better off without you.  On the other hand, if you can disagree with my views and still be friends then you are exactly what I'm looking for.

Having said all that, I feel the need to add that men looking for anything other than platonic friendship need not apply. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If I Believed I Had a Soul, It Would be Made of Music

A friend recently sent me some information on a little known trait called Sensory-Processing Sensitivity (aka Highly Sensitive Person).  I scored very high on the Self Test (various statements with which you agree or disagree) implying that I, along with 20%-30% of the general population, have this trait.  There was one statement on the test that struck me at the time and sticks with me still:  I am deeply moved by the arts or music.

I have always been moved by music - both emotionally and physically.  If it has a beat, not only can I dance to it, but I must.  These days we're surrounded by people listening to mp3 players and yet most of them are sitting or standing still.  I've never understood that.  If I hear music I am compelled to move...anything from tapping my hand or foot all the way to dancing around the room.  I have even been known to break into dance in the middle of the mall.  So yes, I am deeply physically moved by music.

Then there's the emotional.  First off there's the lyrics - I listen closely to lyrics and they often speak to me.  I get wrapped up in the words and find how they relate to my life...past, present, future.  Sometimes it's just a line or a theme or, on occasion, an entire song might touch me profoundly.  In high school I used to write poetry.  I mostly wrote for fun, but sometimes I wrote to help myself work through personal issues.  Lyrics are just poetry set to music.

Then there's the melody and tempo.  This is the part that can affect my mood without me even realizing it.  I have to be careful when I'm driving because a fast and/or angry song can cause me to begin driving more aggressively while during a peaceful song I might find myself under the speed limit.

The genre isn't particularly important to me.  I can enjoy just about everything from Bluegrass to Grunge to Classical.  It all depends on my mood.  But certain instruments reach me more than others. 
The cello is by far my favourite - the sound is rich and exquisite. 
      The Cello Song - (Bach is back with 7 more cellos) - ThePianoGuys

Next is the piano - it has such range and diversity.  There was a boy with whom I went to elementary school who was an extremely talented piano player at such a young age.  He would sometimes play a song during assemblies and, even being so young myself, it would often bring me to tears.
      Für Elise (Piano version)

Third is the acoustic guitar - I grew up with my father listening to Bluegrass guitar records (generally really early and loudly on Saturday mornings!) and I hated it at the time, but I guess it just stuck with me.  I like the 'scratchiness' of it.  In the right hands it's just lovely.
      Paul McCartney - Blackbird [Live Acoustic] [High Quality]

So yes, I am deeply emotionally moved by music. It stirs me.  It touches me.  It makes me feel.  Indeed if I believed in souls, mine would definitely be made of music.

(The arts move me too, but that's a story for another day.)

First Love

Picture it....Southern Ontario, early 1980's, grade 3 morning English class.  The desks were set up in groups of four.  I have no memory whatsoever of who sat across from me, but I'll never ever forget the boy sitting next to me.  He was cute with his curly red hair and freckles.  He was smart and funny, kind and caring, quite shy and loved animals.  We became friends and would spend every recess together by the fence talking about....well...whatever 8 year olds talk about.  I specifically remember him telling me about his of them had lost an eye in a fight.

I had a lot of crushes on various boys throughout my childhood.  I don't remember ever going through a 'boys are icky' phase.  I was always drawn to them.  Some were cute and some were funny and some were didn't take much to catch my eye, but it was always very short lived.  As much as the boys intrigued me, they were still boys and would inevitably do something stupid and that would be the end of that.

The boy sitting next to me was never a crush.  I fell hopelessly, madly, completely in love with that boy.  The only 'stupid' thing he did was not love me back, although I forgave him for that. 

I made no secret of my love.  I was feeling so much and I wanted to share it with the world.  Over the next four years I sent him notes and poems, I followed him around, I watched him play marbles at recess and cheered every time he won.  When his picture was in the paper I cut it out and stuck it to my bedroom wall.  I joined the chess club because he did.  I like chess, but I've never been any good at it.  I'm just not good at games involving long term strategizing - I don't have the patience for it.  On several occasions I have actually been beaten in only three moves - it doesn't sound possible, but that's just how bad I am at chess.  But that didn't matter.  All that mattered was that I got to spend more time with that boy.

So in essence, I became his stalker.  I made no physical advances, but I was always there watching him with puppy dog eyes.  I'm sure every single kid in that school knew and I didn't care.  Thinking back on it, I feel really bad about my behaviour.  I'm betting that my attention probably got him teased a lot by the other boys.  As mentioned above, young boys tend to do stupid things and they can be quite mean.  If I ever saw that boy again, the first thing I would do would be to apologize.  It breaks my heart to think that I could have ever caused him to suffer in any way.

Our friendship pretty much ended when I made my feelings for him known.  He was never mean, but he just kind of drifted away from me.  That might have happened regardless since we were heading towards an age where boy/girl friendships weren't really the norm.  Boys were friends with boys and girls were friends with girls and when mixing did happen, it had nothing to do with friendship.  But still, every year on my birthday that boy would make a point of approaching me and talking to me.  Just a little basic chit chat and then he would wish me a happy birthday and walk away.  It was the best gift I could have gotten. 

It's been thirty years since I first fell in love with that boy and I'm still in love with him today.  I know I always will be because I loved him for all the right reasons - he was truly worthy of my love.  I think of him often.  I've even searched the internet for him with no luck.  I wonder where life took him and whether he's happy.  I hope he is.