Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yoga is my cure

Yoga was just what I needed today. I've been cranky lately, annoyed with everyone and everything. Inconsolable and frustrated, irritable and short tempered.

The drive to the yoga studio is a long one; it's in a neighbouring city, the town I left last year. I don't go very often because of this, but when I do go it's perfect. I made the drive between the two towns every day for many years. It is a familiar drive, over streets and highways that I learnt to drive on. It is a comfortable drive, the same buildings standing at attention, the same bridges and on-ramps and traffic snarles. When I commuted between cities I hated a lot of the drive. Mostly I hated having to be in a car for so many hours, stuck in the same shitty traffic with the same shitty drivers day in and day out.

I used to do most of my crying in the car; it's private and I could do as much of it as I wanted without disrupting anyone else; nobody cares if you scream while sitting in your car on the freeway. Now that my drive to work takes me fewer than five minutes I'm really behind on my crying. I did some catching up today, and by the time I arrived at the yoga studio I was all better.

We did a lot of standing poses today, warrior stuff that energized my inner fighter. I feel like myself again, ready to meet the world head-on and kick its ass.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Drained

My brain has turned to cotton. I want to wrap myself in a gauze bandage and hide. I have melancholy in my legs, fear in my hair follicles; my arms are heavy as though all the energy in my body has drifted down to my hands. They feel fat, like I should be able to cut them open and drain it all out.

Nothing feels normal on me. All my parts are misshapen. I feel like I should cry, but there is a desert in my tear ducts and so I won't.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Taxes

Taxes have always scared me. In my before-life, Colin did my taxes. He had a computer programme and wasn't afraid of taxes; I had no math skills and low self-esteem and was terrified of taxes. It worked out perfectly. I took care of the bills (day-to-day financial stuff not being overwhelming or scary for me) and Colin cooked and did taxes.

We never received a return. The IRS was screwing us over. There was nothing we could do. The Man was keeping us down. And we couldn't fight back. Let's have a drink and forget about it.

The truth was Colin didn't really take care of the taxes. I would find out later that he prepared the taxes each year but never mailed them to the IRS. By the time I figured it out I owed over five thousand dollars in penalties and back taxes and he was dead. It was good that he was dead by then; if he'd been alive when I discovered his lie I would have killed him with my bare hands.

It surprises me to look back and realize how naive I was about certain things then. How I took what he told me and didn't question him; how I just accepted what he told me and didn't become involved even in the things that affected me. He was larger than life to me, and if he said he would take care of something, I didn't make him prove it to me.

This is the first year I have prepared my own taxes, instead of having a professional do them for me. Mr. J and I bought a programme and sent them off last night. It wasn't scary or overwhelming at all, and I feel like I've let go of that stupid little girl who accepted what she was told without question. It took me a long time, but I finally I found her inside myself and smothered her to death.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Web design makes me happy

I am pleased for:

  • Having my own business cards
  • Cascading stylesheets
  • The colour grey
  • Mr. J, who knows everything important about the internets
  • The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to CSS
  • Bunny, because she's fast becoming a programming wizard and she makes it possible for us to do new and interesting things at work.

The end.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Not so sick anymore

I feel almost human today. Human-me is grateful for small things.

  • Cold cream
  • Hot baths
  • Spicy bean dip
  • Code
  • My futon
  • Dark chocolate
  • The internet

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The un-word

There are some things I refuse to say. I have the words, lots and lots of them, but they won't come out properly, if at all. I have journals beyond count of very bad poetry, of letters never sent, of thoughts and desires never expressed.

I have been accused of being unnecessarily mean with my words, and my accusers would not be wrong. I can fill others with love, with lust, or with pain with my words, and I use many of them very freely.

Yet some words ... they stick somewhere inside me, in the centre of my soul, and they refuse to be dislodged. Like cancer of the sentence, they rot inside me.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An invalid opinion

A few weeks ago I was out to lunch at a local restaurant. I was seated near a couple who appeared to be in their 50s and happily married. Throughout the course of my meal I overheard a lot of the conversation they were having, and one part in particular has been bouncing around in my head.

They were discussing the nature of child support laws in our state and the husband's opinion was that child support was supposed to be used to care for a child and not maintain either the mother or the child in unreasonable luxury. His wife grew irritated with his point of view and interrupted him several times to counter with her own opinions in a raised voice. They went back and forth, expressing their opinions and stating why they had them. The husband didn't seem to be arguing with his wife or even expressing an opposing viewpoint, but she kept countering with her own opinion as though she was offended by his; the more they talked, the more annoyed and insistent she became.

The more agitated and annoyed she became, the quieter her husband got and he finally said, "I'm just stating my opinion" in what sounded like an attempt to end the conversation. His wife replied that his opinion was not valid since he had never paid child support when their child was young.

At the time, I was a little shocked to hear such a blatant de-validation of a spouses' opinion; and now that I'm reading Blink that wife's sentence keeps replaying itself in my head. It's not a valid opinion. I think if the psychologist referenced in Blink could hear that couple, he would say that the wife had no respect for her husband, and that she held his past mistakes against him and threw them in his face at inappropriate times. She was treating him with contempt, as though he were lesser than she was, not allowed his own opinion, especially not in matters that triggered her struggles.

As I looked at the couple, I noticed that everything about them seemed to be in conflict. They appeared to be happily married, comfortable with each other and physically affectionate; they were smiling and relaxed, and she frequently rubbed her hand across his back in a gesture that seemed to be soothing, or brushed his hair away from his ears.

But when they spoke, she talked down to him, raised her voice at him and interrupted him when he was speaking. He was rudely berated for his viewpoints and summarily invalidated when stating his opinion.

I try really, really hard not to judge other people but as I watched them finish their meal I wondered, as I imagine anyone else within earshot also wondered, why they were married. Or at the very least, why they couldn't deal with their differences of opinion in a more constructive, respectful manner.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Take two aspirin ...

I am still sick. I can't work. I want my life back. In fact, I want a lot of things back:

  • My concentration
  • The ability to work more than 4 consecutive hours
  • To be able to swallow without feeling like I have a mouth-ful of tacs
  • To experience a non-headache
  • A body that doesn't throb with every ache and pain known to man
  • To not be dizzy all day
  • To be able to speak more than three-word sentences without having a coughing fit

On the plus side, I don't have strep throat. Unfortunately, my tympanic membranes are bulging, which is putting pressure on everything in my head-and-face area and making me seriously cranky.

It's not too late

I am walking along the centre of the field next to my high school. I am carrying a book bag, a purse, and a camera bag. I am wearing a skirt with black stockings, white socks, and tennis shoes. My bags are getting quite heavy. The ground turns from solid ground with weeds to muddy until I come to a wide ravine that didn't used to exist there. I cross the ravine on a very narrow side and continue on; on the other side of the ravine the ground is covered in snow.

As I walk, the snow begins to cover the tops of my shoes, then my socks, and finally my stockings until I am knee deep in snow. I can't get clear of it and I can't seem to pick my feet up any longer. I am late for class. This is so typical of me: I've forgotten which class I am due in, where my locker is, even my locker combination. I am headed to the office to sort all that out. I'll probably go home after that and start fresh tomorrow.

As I am fighting my way through the snow and mud sucking at my feet a teacher comes charging up the path and marches by me. She looks over her shoulder and says to me, "you really need to suit up." I call after her, asking if she means literally or metaphorically and she spins around so she's facing me and marches backwards. "Both," she replies. "It's not too late for either."

I feel grateful for the advice, and it seems to confirm what I already know: I can pull this off. I will go to the office and get my shit together and go to all my classes. She turns herself around to continue her forward march and I can see that she is wearing a hospital gown and her bare ass is sticking out of the back of it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Divorce

A friend of mine is getting divorced. Two friends, actually, since I am friends equally with them both. I feel like I don't know them all that well, though we have known each other for a few years; we don't live in the same city and have only seen each other face to face a few times, though we talk online and trade messages somewhat regularly. News of their divorce made me feel strange. Sad for them, and confused, wondering what went wrong and why.

This is the second couple I've been friends with to divorce, and I remember feeling the same way when I heard about my other friends also. It feels shocking to me, and I can't pinpoint why. I want to cry for them, and ask them "why".

My own parents split up when I was young enough that I don't remember it, though they are currently now very happily married (to each other). My mom has been divorced twice in my lifetime, once in my childhood and once after I was an adult and out on my own, and I don't really remember being told about either divorce. I would guess the feelings of sadness and loss probably stem from that, but I don't remember my parents splitting up and I was happy about at least one of her divorces.

Why then do I feel scared and sad for my friends? Questions chase their tails in my head, questions that I assume chase around in their heads. What will they do? Who keeps the house? Who will take the pets? What about the kids? How do you explain the concept of divorce to a child?

The idea of divorce terrifies me. I am not morally or religiously opposed to it. If it's time for a marriage to end, it should end. I don't think people should stay in situations that don't make them happy, whether it's a job or a marriage or a hobby. I have been married twice and I can recall, with a clarity borne of every positive emotion of which I am capable, precisely how happy I was during both of my weddings. To be spiritually and legally joined to the person I loved the most was a moment that I have never been able to find sufficient words to describe. And the thought of also feeling all the negativity that leads to divorce about that same person makes me feel incredibly sad.

I am reading a book called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell; I have just started it and it's about the decisions we make subconsciously, and how we arrive at those decisions on instinct without evaluation or analysis of fact. Gladwell talks about a psychologist who has learned to accurately predict which marriages will end in divorce by reviewing video-taped sessions of couples speaking to each other about an issue that is important, but indirectly related, to their marriage. He can tell, from just a few minutes of observation, that one partner may be unforgiving and overbearing; or that a wife views her husband with contempt; or that a person is defensive and doesn't take responsibility for his actions. And he can predict with supposed overwhelming accuracy who stays married and who does not.

Reading the paragraphs about the methods the psychologist used to make his predictions sends my mind back to occasions with my friends. I can't help but think about the interaction I saw between them and how I thought they were such a fun, happy couple. And even though this divorce is the best thing for them, I can't help but feel a little sad all the same.

I feel happily married, but now I'm a little curious about what a taped conversation would reveal about me and Mr. J. I hope it would show friendship and love and mutual respect.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Random stuff about me

  • When I read fantasy novels I like to eat food that reflects what the characters are eating. If I'm reading a novel in which weary travelers eat meat and cheese and bread torn in chunks, I like to eat the same thing while I'm reading it.
  • I put salt on almost everything I eat.
  • My middle name was chosen after my dad's, and when I was a little girl I thought that Dad had a girl's middle name instead of me having a boy's middle name.
  • I save every work-related email I've ever received in my current job; with the exception of corrupted .pst files and the occasional lost email, I have every message going back to December of 2000.
  • I like to eat seeds or popcorn one at a time instead of shoving a whole handful in my mouth at once.
  • I smoked my first cigarette at age four, when my mom made me smoke one to cure me of my curiosity about cigarettes. It didn't work.
  • After Colin died, I slowly started abandoning my friends.
  • I find it difficult to hold still while I brush my teeth, and frequently wander around and check email or fidget with iTunes.
  • I have no siblings.
  • At least once a week I shave the hair on my toes.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

There's no such thing as bad yoga

I had a really hard time in yoga today. There were many more people than the last few classes I've been to, and I think all the different people and energies really threw me off balance.

Other people make me nervous; I am not good around people and I tend to come off as incredibly bitchy and standoffish because I don't find it natural to be friendly or outgoing. I am reserved and closed-off, and I tend to keep people at arm's length emotionally unless I get to know them well and like them.

I am trying to be less like this in general, and sometimes I do really well. Today was one of the days where I felt bitchy and closed-off. Then I felt guilty for being so stuck up, because it's yoga. We're supposed to be filled with light and happiness and love for the people around us. I did not feel any particular animosity, but what I did feel was an overwhelming desire to turn to everyone and scream at them to stop leaking their emotional energy all over me.

Carie brought her lovely daughter today, and it was good to see her. My step-daughter expressed an interest in joining me next week too, and I'm looking forward to next Saturday and yoga with all my girls.

I was a little disappointed in myself today though. I really, really wanted to have peaceful, zen-relaxing yoga and let go of my negativity. The fact that I felt all negative about other people's energy around me today tells me I really missed the mark. I couldn't focus on my breathing, kept letting my mind wander and my breath got all bound up. I didn't quite get relaxed in closing savasana and I felt distracted throughout the entire class. Maybe it's like what Ajahn Brahm says about meditation, and how there's no such thing as a bad one. Maybe there's no such thing as bad yoga either.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vomit Haiku

Viral, rising bile
Viscous, static lethargy
Churning malady

Clench teeth tightly
Keep what's inside from the world
Sweat gathers moistly

Roiling, burning pit
Should not have eaten that last bite
Splash on porcelain

Cool, damp cloth to head
Warm pajamas, snug in bed
Teeth brushed, lights out

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In the bath

Floating, cocoon-like.
Soaking, deeply and adrift.
Luxuriously wet.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sick

I'm sick again. For the second Sunday in a row whatever I ate is making me gross inside. A friend jokingly told me today that it was God's way of telling me to fast on Sundays.

God, if you're listening ... I'm sorry I've been canceling my plans with you every Sunday for the past twenty years. Please stop making me throw up.

Birthday weekend

I had a busy birthday this year. My birthdays are generally rather quiet, as I typically prefer not to have a big deal made out of it. This year, however, was quite possibly my best birthday year ever.

I started celebrating last Friday, which Mr. J and I took off together. We went to a video arcade and played until we were giddy with nostalgia and on the verge of having a seizure from the lights and noises. I won over 500 tickets! I am the queen of skee-ball (just sayin).

We spent the remainder of that weekend going to the cinema and doing whatever random fun thing crossed our minds, which was mostly about eating a lot of food and ignoring household responsibilities. This last Friday (the actual day of my birthday) I got the biggest fruit basket from my mom, delivered right to my office. It was lovely, and totally ruined the secret of my birthday, which I had amazingly managed to keep relatively secret in the office. I also got the most delicious vegan cake from Bunny, that I will be begging her to make me again sometime.

Friday

Dinner at Benihana with Mr. J

Saturday

Yoga

Coffee with Lindsey and Carie

Lunch with my parents

Hanging out with my step-daughter and her mom

Sunday

Lunch at Fong Chong's
Chinese Gardens --We walked from the restaurant and caught part of the Chinese New Year celebration.


Roller skating --This was the highlight of the day, possibly of the entire year. I was pretty sure Lindsey would skate, and I've already had Mr. J out there, but I thought we'd actually have to drag Ryder out by his hair and force him to skate. I think he had more fun than the rest of us, though I doubt he'd admit it if I asked.


Coffee at Stumptown

Carie took excellent pictures of the whole day.

I've seriously never had that much fun packed into a whole weekend devoted to just what I want to do. My friends really know how to treat a girl.

Formerly good dim sum

Every year my friends get together for our birthdays. This year I chose Fong Chong's to gather with all my favourite people to celebrate the anniversary of my parents having sex (thanks Carie, Rudy - you've both scarred me for life). One of my friends had never experienced dim sum before, and it was exciting to watch her try various dishes.

We were enjoying the meal, catching up with each other's lives (for those of us who hadn't seen each other just the previous day) and stuffing ourselves full of bau and sticky rice, until we were joined at our table by a small, ugly roach-shaped friend. We squished it flat on the floor, but it pretty much ruined our appetites.

We settled our bill poste-haste and left. While gathered on the side-walk out front, one of the workers bustled out after us complaining about the lack of tip. I've never had to kill a cockroach in a restaurant then been chased down to give a better tip.

I have been going to Fong Chong's for dim sum for years. It is usually an enjoyable meal, but after yesterday's experience I will be looking for a new dim sum restaurant.

Letting-go yoga

I made it to another yoga class on Saturday; this one was a combination gentle yoga/restorative yoga. I liked that we did something a little different than the last class I was in; I can see how I would get bored with the same exact routine over and and over.

During the opening poses, while we're breathing and setting our intentions for our yoga experience I chose to set my focus on letting go. Letting go of the pain in my wrist (I have a cyst), letting go of frustrations at work, worries about my husband, and the general things that I fret about daily. I find it difficult to release all that stuff and just trust that it will be taken care of. I do okay at letting the past go -things that are already done, the effect of which I can no longer have influence over. It's the things that are not decided yet that I struggle over letting go. Things I am responsible for at work that won't get done if I don't do them (because they are my responsibility), or things at home that I choose to take responsibility for even though I ought not.

I think I did okay. I felt a terrific non-weight about all that stuff. I used an old meditation trick, reminding myself that I could pick up that care or worry at the end, but for the duration of my yoga I had to let it go. It helps me feel like I'm not shirking a responsibility if I promise myself that I won't abandon my worries forever. I didn't do any crying this time. I almost passed gas at one point in child's pose. I take my letting go very seriously.

And I left all my worries right inside that yoga studio, and didn't pick them up on my way out.

Peacefully,

My fans