Obligatory NYE Post, Part Two

Ah, 2011.  What an adventure.  When, last year, I set my intentions to continue growth, change, and progress, I had no idea what I was asking for.  This was a difficult, often painful, year, but man, growth, change, and progress did indeed happen.  I accomplished some of the things I set out to do, while others have yet to be realized.  So, my intentions for 2012:

* Finish the book–for real this time!

* Continue on my journey towards health and weight loss.

* Continue improving my yoga, hooping, and riding skills.

* Continue improvements to my business.

* And, you know, just generally become better at life.

Here’s to 2012.  May it be less apocalyptic than evolutionary.

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Peaches lied.

For the most part, life seems happy and good and heading in the right direction.  Things are exciting, even.  I look forward to events, people, goals, etc.  I feel like I’m where I need to be.  But then, every once in a while – usually at night, right before I fall asleep – I take a step back and realize that this is my reality now, and there is no going back.  I’m not on a break or vacation.  I’m not trying this new reality on for size before returning to my previous one.  I am here to stay.  The result is a mixture of grief and panic.  I keep having dreams of being on vacation in some other country and enjoying myself until I realize that, for one reason or another, I can’t come back home.  I’m stuck in that country forever, and have to make it my new home.  I know why I’m having those dreams; they are simply my mind’s metaphor for what’s happening in my life.  I am so, so homesick.  But there is no going back home.  Home is gone.  So now I must go about the onerous and seemingly impossible task of making this new reality my home.  Maybe someday I’ll actually succeed.

Cello Ambitions

I just woke up from a dream, which I wrote about in my dream blog, in which I was playing a cello that someone had given me.  Upon waking, I immediately remembered a woman I met last autumn in Vancouver at my Aunt Janet’s house.  Her name is Sharon, and she and I instantly clicked.  She’s Icelandic, so we bonded over our shared zeal for the little island country just south of the arctic circle that has a sublime music scene and the most beautiful language in the world.  But also, and more to the point, she is a cellist, and I’ve always wanted to play the cello but never had the opportunity.  I told her that it was still a dream of mine, but that at 31 it was probably too late to start.  She looked horrified by this statement and said, “Oh no!  I started playing cello when I was 45, and now I perform in the symphony orchestra.”  That was incredibly inspiring to me: it’s never too late to start.  So this dream came along last night to remind me that, although this desire might have been forgotten or ignored for a while, it is nonetheless latent, persistent, and best of all, attainable.  I may not be able to afford a cello or the lessons right now, but I’m putting it out in the universe: that’s what I want.  I’ll eventually get it, one way or another.

On reciprocity, and how it doesn’t seem to happen as often as it should.

At the risk of sounding like an arrogant asshole (but if the shoe fits…), I’m pretty good at making friends.  I can think of maybe three times in my life when I’ve really wanted to be friends with someone and they, for whatever reason, weren’t feeling it.

The more common social problem I experience is when someone seems very eager to befriend me and I, for whatever reason, am not feeling it.  Over the past few months, two people in particular have been aggressively pursuing a friendship with me, and I just haven’t been able to muster an equal amount of zeal for them.  Believe me, I’ve felt pretty fucking guilty about it.  It’s not that I’m a snob; I don’t think I’m better than these people or more interesting or more likable.  In fact, on a purely cerebral level I can tick off all the boxes on the list of characteristics that I usually value in people.  By all rational accounts, I should totally adore these people.  But for whatever reason, I just couldn’t, and I felt horrible about that.

Enter Other Person.  I met Other Person a few months back and was instantly friend-smitten.  I wanted to be their BFF.  I wanted to spend all my spare time with them.  I wanted us to hold hands and skip off into the sunset.  It was instant.  It was magnetic.

Well, for me it was.  For them…not so much.  At first I chalked it up to personality quirks (“Oh, they’re just not as demonstrative as I am!”), but eventually I realized: karma, my friends, it is a bitch.  The shoe’s on the other foot now, innit?  I felt like a little puppy that’d just gotten the smackdown from an adult dog: hurt, confused, bewildered.  “But… but… I don’t understand!  How can you not love me?  Don’t you realize that when you met me you struck friend gold?  I’m loving, loyal, thoughtful, generous, caring, reliable, smart, funny, adventurous, and fun.  I’m patient and compassionate and understanding about your flaws; honest and open and apologetic about mine.  I will never judge, betray, or intentionally hurt you.  I see you, I get you, and I certainly treat you a hell of a lot better than your other ‘friends’ do.  WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE???”  (I told you I was an arrogant asshole!)  But no dice.  No matter how hard I tried, Other Person just doesn’t give a shit like I do.

So recently I was hanging out with Other Person and it occurred to me that I need to put on my big-girl pants and behave like an adult.  Sure, it would be awesome if there was some cosmic rule that you could never feel drawn to someone who isn’t equally drawn to you, but that’s not real life.  In real life there are adages like, “If you love something, you let it go,” which is another way of saying, “Look, most of what or whom you love in life probably won’t love you back, so quit being a Clingy McDesperaton and let everyone and everything do what they want and go where they will.  That way, if someone or something sticks around, you’ll be pleasantly surprised,” which is yet another way of saying, “Hey, you can’t win ’em all.”  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m letting Other Person go, and I’m trying not to get my feelings hurt by the fact that they clearly don’t appreciate me at my full value, because maybe they can’t help it exactly like how I couldn’t help it with the first two people I told you about.   It isn’t my fault; it isn’t their fault; they just don’t connect to me like I connect to them.  Maybe the cosmos is sadistic or maybe I remind them of their abusive gym teacher or maybe they just don’t dig on curly hair.  Whatever the case, I need to respect the disconnect and move on.

Having said that, the OTHER thing I learned from this experience is that maybe I need to stop running from the guilt I feel about the first two people, turn around, and really face them.  If Other Person was being blind to the friend-gold they were passing up in me, maybe I’m being blind to the friend-gold I’m passing up in these people, right?  So I started spending more time with them recently, really focusing on all the good things I admire about them, and you know what?  They’re actually pretty great!  I don’t know if we’ll be holding hands and skipping off into the sunset together, but we’ll at least be sitting in the grass watching a few sunsets together for sure.

So there’s that.  Life lessons at 32 years old that I should’ve learned at, like, 12 years old.  Ah, well.  Better late than never.

EDIT: This whole blog entry reminds me of this song:

Ah, Bjork, you have a song for every situation.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

So a thing happened at work this morning, and it seems silly to even bring it up, but though it’s small, I think it’s significant.

I was in the treatment area with a vet, a tech, and a receptionist (this sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke, but bear with me), and somehow the topic turned to our bodies.  They were talking about how and where they gain all their weight, the changes they’ve noticed in their bodies as they’ve started to age, etc.  I chimed in: “I hate how I’m built like the fucking Michelin Man.  I have these lumpy boobs, lumpy tummy, lumpy abdomen.  I look like a stack of freaking tires.”  The receptionist – whom, by the way, I think is totally gorgeous and has a beautiful body – looked at me with a flash of irritation and said, “Just… don’t.  Don’t even go there.”  At first, I didn’t understand why she was irritated.  Then, it happened.

There was this little pop in my vision.  Nothing in the room actually changed, but my perception of it did.  I am so used to being the fattest person in the room that I don’t even consciously think about it anymore.  No matter where I go or whom I’m interacting with (except for obviously, drastically, morbidly obese people), there’s always just this underlying assumption that I’m the fatty in the room.  I hadn’t really thought about it at this hospital where I’m working right now, but in that moment I realized that I’d still been thinking of myself as the fattest person there.  And then that little shift in perception happened.  I looked down at myself.  I looked around at the other women.  And then I realized: I am the thinnest person in the room.  And none of them are really overweight at all!  They’re quite lovely, actually!  But *that* was why she was irritated with me: I was being one of those obnoxious girls who is thinner than everyone in the room and complaining about how fat she is.  That was me.  Wait, what?  That was me? I was standing there in the midst of a mundane little conversation that happens every day, every where, among any given group of women, and my mind was exploding: I’m not fat anymore.

50 lbs.  I look at that number, and I understand it.  On a cognitive level, I know what that number means.  I know what it feels like to carry a 50 lb dog, so I can imagine what it is to take 50 lbs off my body.  But this is the first time that I’ve actually internalized it–that I can see myself without it.  Before this morning, I still saw a fat person.  Today, I see myself as I truly am.

Sharing the hilarity. (It’s funny ‘cos it’s true!)

So my friend Caitlin, whom I mention all the time, posted this on her blog recently and it was so friggin’ funny that I had to repost it:

“The other day, I was talking to a dear friend whom I legitimately like and deeply respect. The conversation sailed along, fueled by bullshit, until he told me something really nice about myself.

Skreeeeeeeeee, went the conversation to a horrible halt.

Like the meta, Liberal-arts fuckheads we are, we clawed our way out of the awkwardness by discussing how frigging hard it is to hear you’re awesome. And how I would probably more easily take a punch than take a compliment.

“Let’s see a crazed fan kill you with nice words, you asshole.” –Harry Houdini

Thus, Compliment Club was born.

The first rule of Compliment Club is, do not talk about Compliment Club.

The second rule of Compliment Club is, make sure you’re cuddling a pillow like a baby.

There is so far no third rule for Compliment Club.

Anyone can join and anyone can start their own local branches. And when I show up to work tomorrow with a black eye and a bloody lip? Don’t say a word, unless you want to hear that I like your shoes.”

I hope she appreciates that the act of posting this is, in itself, my first punch/method of entry into Compliment Club.  How d’ya like this shiner, ‘natch?

R.I.P. Dani Deacon

Dani Deacon, my beautiful budgie, not to be confused with the musician, Dan Deacon, whom she was named after because her song sounded remarkably similar to his music, died today.  She was only two years old.  Yesterday, she was flying around, singing, playing with her toys, eating and drinking well, normal stools, no diarrhea or vomiting… basically, being her normal, charming self.  I’ve been working overnights shifts at an EC, so my clock is all backwards.  I went to bed at 4 am and woke up at almost 1 pm, checked my email, then got up to feed and water all my birds.  Dani was on the bottom of her cage, dead.  Her keel was well-muscled and her crop had food in it, so it didn’t appear to be a chronic thing, but she had pink-tinged vomit crusted all over her face.  So, I’m thinking that she had some kind of congenital heart defect and she just acutely went into left-sided heart failure, which causes pulmonary edema, which caused her to vomit up the blood-tinged foam that would make her vomit pink.  The fact that she was a mass-bred budgie with a very rare and recessive color mutation makes a congenital heart defect even more likely.  In the grand scheme of things, this is good news, because it means that some kind of contagion that might effect my other birds is very unlikely, and also it means that it was nothing that I did wrong or could have prevented.  Nevertheless, I feel like I failed her somehow.  Even with the best diet and environment, I couldn’t give her the long, healthy life I want for all my birds.

I should stop writing now.  My other birds are hungry and still need me.  But I feel like I need some time to process this information.  Dani’s gone.  Without any warning.  I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

Goodbye, my beautiful girl.  I will miss you.

 

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