It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.

Frederick Douglass

Oh, holiday Monday. I remember your yester-years, those casual carefree days, hitting the snooze button and drinking an extra pot of coffee. I remember you from our childhood days, those teens years, early twenties – all the way up to last year, really. Fond memories for sure and, you know, to be fair, I turned the table a bit and stopped working for someone else, so you may be confused. An ordinary Monday sometimes feels like you’ve made a drop-in visit, and then… work knocks on Easter. It’s strange, I know.

So, I am very grateful for the normalcy of boy-yo running home on this beautiful, warm, sun-filled evening. He’s now ensconced in the arms of his ma, who is perfectly portraying five or so characters from The World of Norm. I love watching them in these moments. The good and tough evenings, the laughing, cuddling, even the frustrated cries. I love watching the light move over their faces from the kitchen window. Dude’s eyes are drooping, but he’s obviously reading along silently, word-for-word but his resistance to sleep is not as strong today.

As you know from Aisha’s post, This Morning’s Sunrise, we had an eventful weekend. My mum’s four-day foray was a whirlwind. We had duderonomy all week AND weekend, which was amazing, and in my mind, why I had 50% less stress than if he had been away. We may have found a house while hunting. But I’m far too superstitious to share those details.

What I want to work through here pings close to what Aisha is starting to poke at when she says,

“I’m constantly learning about the many ways we, as people, function and relate to each other and how quickly that unity can turn to disconnect, even if only caused by something as subjective as our perception of the situation or the people involved.”

Aisha
AQFTO

This concept of unity and disconnect, especially regarding family, is one I have grappled with for as long as I can remember. To save you the details, just know that this visit had a mature (I thought) and unique set of parameters I was curious to explore, after years of trying other style combinations. One of them being my more upfront approach to my daily life, as you may know. Specifically, my intention towards being a better and more honest person, ability to express needs, allowances, boundaries, and all that. But that means things have shifted in my relationships with people I don’t connect with daily, which in my exaggerated brain have now become something that I am convinced seems like a clandestine undertaking on my part.

A specific example of a shift is that I am on the autobahn of raising a tiny, intelligent human – so things move fast. In general, it means my ‘needs’ in interacting have massively shifted. Broadly, my life had always been about adults, in whatever stage they were at. Independent, usually intelligent, autonomous adults. Now my life is about both adults and kids who are all thinking, learning, growing, shifting, and expanding together until our time evolves to look like what our grandparents and parents are (maybe) now enjoying with each other. Translated, I mean that until duder is thirty or so, we three are strapped into this ride together until he decides to take the “I’m autonomous now” exit.

So, we (thankfully) now have adult-friends, kid-friends, friend-friends slowly stacking onto side a. On side b… well, let’s just say that my biannual family adventures are resulting in tectonic-like shifts because all our needs are now at completely different stages. My needs, while I don’t understand the breadth, have changed. I don’t know how to explain what they look like or where they begin and end. I don’t know if they are about me, outwards; or about outwards into me. I don’t know if they are permanent, or maybe, the ground will swell, and they will shift back. All I know is that for the most part things feel different.

Reflecting on this, and consequently the stress I experience when hosting visitors, these shifts seem fated, and in many instances potentially anticipated by others. Parents acknowledge when their children become parents, and roles shift, making space for the new people. Similarly, as friends age and begin to date ‘outsiders,’ the original group expands, bringing in a transient demographic. This is natural.

I would say, it’s not so natural for me. I don’t think it has occurred to my ma yet, either. So, I become a stress-bag. No, joke. In fact, in moments of insecurity I genuinely believe my mum will give up on visiting for a while. My discomfort during her visits used to be explosive (talk about mental health cues). I would cry the whole visit, looking for assurances and stability there was no way she could provide. I would hate leaving or have a meltdown if we started discussing something I wasn’t prepared for. What used to make it work though, was that we could sit and work through the conversation, she was patient about my ‘growth.’ We saw eye to eye enough that we could commiserate over how similar we perceived an issue and come up with grand plans for fixing it. We have amazing plans for educational reform, social services, medical, political overhauls – you name it, we got it. We just never looked at ourselves.

Then, my maturation and experience of divergent realities from most of my kin, piled on top of the pile and things got fuzzy. The generational, and time, gap finally made a mark on us. She said it enough this weekend, so I’ll say it here. My mum got old; my stress became ingrained and apparent.

I want to go back to the concept of responsibility versus predetermined outcomes or unity versus disconnect. My mother showing up, in grandma mode was awesome, but every other moment she excused something because she is now old, instigated a shift. Last night, we heard running around upstairs. I was exhausted, had to be up early again, for a drive, again, and smiled wearily at what I thought I may find on the last night my mum was here. Well, my eight-year-old was responsibly re-tucking himself in (night-light, sound-maker, stuffies in formation), while my mother was laying in bed confused about the alarm on her mobile phone and uncertain about waking up on time. I tucked two people in. Then went to bed.

I am solid with this transition. I have known my whole life mum would come to me in her geriatric years. I am grateful I can give back, a small token for the layers of (perceived or otherwise) failure and success on my part. One of the things I have had time to do in preparation, is learn how to make compromises, how to people manage – on my good days. I maybe don’t do it well, because honestly, I only ever have one or two other people close to me at any given time. But also, boundaries and compromises aren’t necessarily comfortable, and when I attempt to create them for everyone, so we all get some of what we need, it can get frazzled.

Compromise can be broadly defined so I’ll give some examples. One. Dude-magoog has trouble sleeping some nights. The reasons are between us but suffice to say we’ve had to do a lot of compromising on check-ins, time he goes to bed, pre-bed routine, and after weeks of trying to be firm, a lightbulb went off. I want to preface this by saying I am not a great bedtime parent. I am ready for him to go to bed, and don’t really get the multiple-check-in-after-the-first-one requests. But, because of where he’s at, he thinks they’re great. The problem is he stays up waiting and waiting and waiting and then is up all night. Me being the final-face before sleep was a situation that sprang up and surprised us all. So, his needs versus my, ‘just go to bed’ mentality, had to be quickly reconciled so the scale didn’t tip over. We finally stumbled on a great compromise – he gets a second check, before I go to sleep, on Sundays (or, Easter Monday). Sometimes, you just have to go to bed. But, sometimes, it really sucks when things are over and you feel overwhelmed or happy and excited, or whatever, and you just need an extra check.

What I want to draw your attention to, is our willingness to compromise and continue to find the best solution with our kids because they are learning to be their best self. We are instilling lessons about self-respect, boundaries, and good decision-making practices. More than that, self-care, and self-monitoring. We inherently understand what we need to give up to successfully raise kids; time, sleep, privacy. We choose to have kids because we are ready (for the most part) to do this, in one way or another – no matter what that looks like to someone else.

When does that stop? The willingness to continue seeing things from the others perspective so you can stay on track. Does it stop for everyone? I know a mother who, to this day, calls all four of her kids daily, visits monthly (so, is not home often!), babysits, goes on vacations, and invests themselves in helping her kids raise her seven (or eight) grandkids. Lovely, no? Don’t think that my mum is not invested in family. She is very committed to her mother, being present in her aged years, transitioning from home to nursing home. This is firmly where she wants to be, and I am in no way judging that decision. It is what she needs, and I had to come to terms with that eleven years ago. She is available to me via phone, text, letter, and travel. This was a lesson that was carved into my brain with a corner chisel. Deep, slow, and measured… a distancing that was forced to be accepted; like breaking up with someone you still love, because they want to be with your best friend. My mum will (in the kindest meaning possible) ‘get around to us’ when she is ready to spend more time in Ontario.

Being subject to enforced separation is not new to me. My mother is notorious for her 1-3 pm nap schedule (worthy of its own blog post), my sister left home without a way to contact her when I was ten, ma moved to Nova Scotia, blah-blah-blah, the list will be on paper eventually, I’m sure. In hindsight, I suppose I took exceptionally well to the, “you wait here until I get back” conditioning. In the “non-absence-absence” I feel with my family I think I tried to stay 23-year-old me: agreeable, quiet, unassuming (also banshee wailing with confused emotional needs). I did this so that they’d… I don’t know, recognize me?

I can see now that that was, well… uh… bad and am thankful for being on this side of that lesson now. But, as I said to my Madre, I don’t think she realized that this whole time she was encouraging me to change, the change wouldn’t be controllable, or reversible. So, I was stuck trying to figure out how to explain our speed bumps (too many to list, but consider every geographical, generational, genre-based, interest based difference and you’ll have begun to cover it) to her, but had to pin that to tackle the interrupting that was taking place during the conversation. We literally had to institute an “is it my turn?” policy before speaking our point. But, I’m willing to do that, instead of just ignoring things.

Change is hard and when, like a parent bird, you push your babies out of the nest, you need to be ready for them to come back looking different. In time, they may come back stronger than you – or still dependent. They may not come back for days; they may build a nest next to yours. Who knows? I haven’t pushed yet. I am not getting this from actual experience. I am getting it from thinking about what people need and what they want, and whether those things can coexist. What mine looked like, and obviously, what duder’s will look like when it comes.

Considering others when you are trying to take time for yourself (grief, growth, whatever) is not easy. Considering others when you have had to forge a lonely path, is not easy. Working through the things that tie us up, is not easy. Making boundaries and expressing real needs, is not easy.

I distance myself most often from people based on one principle. I get confused why my perceived list of expectations is seemingly much more exhaustive than others. Knowing it is partially self-created, I am not looking to point fingers. I am trying to figure out what the heck I’ve been doing. Remembering a longer list of details than the nuances that are recalled about my life, being one example, and further, being forced to hear their details repeated. I don’t forget, and even if I were to forget, they would upset – tables turned, if you knew as much about me and forgot a tidbit, I’d get over it. Genuinely. The grey zone of gatherings and commitments is a different expectation I haven’t quite grasped. Having important plans cancelled is confusing, and forces you to wonder if the repairs you’ve attempted to make to the disappointments you’ve caused, haven’t worked. But then again, you know it isn’t about you, per se, so the cancellation request is granted, and you put your hope on the shelf. Because how could you ask, when it costs them more?

So, unity and disconnect, perceived expectations. This is starting to take shape. Let’s add a final detail. I don’t know when an appropriate time frame is for getting over it or having to get on board. When to modify or raise the expectation to get on track. I am only learning to ask for things, or refuse requests, in a calm, logical, considerate way. One that is respectful of the recipient’s time and space, and includes what I honestly (bare minimum) need to make the compromise worthwhile.

My requests or admissions may seem out of the blue, I supposed. But I keep considering ‘you’ after you’re gone. I allow myself time to consider and process, which means I had to get comfortable revisiting something in a conclusive way and am now here to approach you with it.

For instance, I finally asked my mum to stop being “HELPFUL” when negatively commenting about my hair, weight, look, clothing, because well, she is not a potential partner so her input isn’t helpful if it’s counter to what feels good and attracts my partner to me. It is contradictory and negative. I have had to move out a notch on my ‘belt’ with my sis, hoping its enough space for her, finally.

What do I mean? Ok, here are random statements and my internalized response:

I worry you are overwhelmed, that you aren’t ok, and I don’t know how to help you
I either overly defend, get angry, cry, lie, fall apart, or… manage a good conversation about how I am doing, and we can look at my new reality

You are always saying you’re unhappy, you don’t get enough, you can’t do x, y, z
I get confused hearing this, feeling like I don’t talk about my stresses unless we are together, which is usually for eleven to fourteen days a year. And the odd phone conversation where I can mask the heart palpitations.

I just don’t feel like I belong here
But I have waited for my family to piece back together in an archipelago of sorts, made up of grandkids and partners, evolved from the small islands that drifted.

So, guys, unity and disconnect; in or out of the cart.

I am now an adult with a big brain who is working hard on integrating my care-taker personality with my hard-line-boundary marking, compromise making, parent-self, who had to build and scrap a few (many, who am I kidding) models of what a ‘unit’ was to me. So, I inevitably changed, didn’t stay the way I was thirteen years ago, so now she worries I am experiencing foundation issues, that I am not ok. I am ok, though. I just don’t look or sound like I did. Because there are important things we aren’t addressing, things that changed.

Speed is a theme here, but I mean the speed that is determined by what stage your relationship is at – in time. This abstract relationship has a serious impact on physical relationships. It can take over connections between people. We don’t have patience, because we are moving fast and don’t have time to fill ‘you’ in. Ma comes in for four nights (I go to bed at 9:30…) and three days, so I am JACKED on trying to come across as ok. Why? Probably because my major concern is convincing everyone I am ok, now that I am honestly ok because I want to make room for that elusive quality time.

I am seriously contemplating writing a manual for how to navigate my family depending on your proximity to the players (obviously for secret, internal consumption only). Namely, because in my own head I get ridiculously caught up in the nuances of the private, important secrets that I try and navigate with and for people I have a long history with. To answer part of the original question, it isn’t only subjective factors that affect unity and discord. Having too much information can be detrimental.

I made a few big decisions this weekend and set hard lines down. I’ve shared some, other’s I just can’t (here, or otherwise). Some of them make me sad, seeing the immediate ripple cascading down the corresponding timeline, shaking the foundation just a bit. Others are freeing, and empowering, and may lead to some cool honesty.

I don’t know who in the world is not vulnerable when sensitive to, aware of, and trying to facilitate the needs of any other, without also being sensitive to subjective mistakes. Unless there is an ‘is it my turn’ policy, interpretation can be difficult. That, friends, is when we need the storm. We need things to tumble and shake loose so that fresh buds can sprout.

My ending question then, is this: what, if any, relationships have you stopped working at being tied to that surprised you. Was it gradual; did you resist? Is it final? I am working through a lot, obviously, but mostly because I like to feel resolve. My present state is not affected, majorly, by the ruminations so why not clear the ol’conscience, right? As Aisha said, why not challenge ourselves to reflect more?

Since starting this piece, we found out the hopeful-home is now off the market, the owner feeling everything was going to quickly.

We are on a fast train baby, so if you’re on it, buckle up.


You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
Steve Jobs

“Go back?”

he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”

J.R.R Tolkien

One of my favorite songs to sing to Duder in moments of ‘ok-frustration’ is the “Uh oh! Grass! Long wavy grass!! We can’t go over it-” remember that one? I think these two probably only ever hear the ‘can’t go over it’ sung in that weird, deeper-monotonous voice, reserved for that awkward key ‘catch-all’ community songs are written in (Happy Birthday, He’s A Jolly Good Fellow, any children’s song).

Anyway, I sing that song a lot to myself – making me realize I am still a farmer, needing a song to keep pace to. The ‘Can’t go over it’ song was the first lesson I learned of pushing past something to just, get through it. Believe me, I appreciate the motivation in this song far more than the “I’m being eaten by a boa-constrictor…” (in swimming class…)

What is this about? Well, with a Georgia-font flourish, I can unveil the grand plan; what all the secret, heart-blossoming hype we’ve alluded to has been about. Moving. We, our lil’ family of three, are moving again.

When we moved from the apartment to this lovely home, I was silent about what number this tallied for me. Because I am tired of feeling like I jinx it by saying ‘Well, this is number X, so it has to be the last time!’ but in this case, it is the last of something.

This will be my twenty-first move, in my (soon to be) eighteen years of living ‘independently’ and I am moving back home. Yup, we’re moving West (well… 166km and 2hrs West).

This decision is not new, it had been thrown around in that weird, super uncommitted way you do early on in a relationship. That sense of invincibility, the excitement and passion of our blossoming relationship found kinship in the food, wine, arts, and general cultural scene of Stratford. But, after our own set of challenges, a couple of years, the whisper didn’t fade.

There is a very large queer population, an especially prominent transient population in the summer, as it is a theatre town. So realistically, there has always been that safety-appeal. With everything else that has piled up, it seems like a natural choice to make when we realized, we have to move.

I aspire to be a normal, awesome citizen instead of cloistering myself away. I could comfortably see myself volunteering at duderonomy’s school. We have friends, obviously originally ‘mine’ but they have wholly welcomed Aisha, as an individual, who just happens to also have captured my heart. And duderonomy has friends, already.

My fabled sister lives there, and while that is going to be a short-lived reality, it will be cool to run into her, or call her up for a walk. My niece and her boyfriend will be there for a while, which I am so excited for, also realizing it will probably be more of a ‘run-into-ya’ thing. Maybe not!

We are purchasing a house with my mother.

Talk about setting roots. Family, friends, a house, work is taken care of, we have support – so maybe Aisha will begin to heal. Moving, once upon a time, was something I obsessed over. My mum and I would troll open-houses, talk about moving, look at the paper and… dream. I don’t know why; we had an amazing house. We were able to travel; we spent time in other homes.

But then I started my own personal apartment-carousel. The obsession soon made way for exhausted resignation. It all started when I turned eighteen, and my parent’s conservativism (prudish and maybe semi-homophobic-in-the-parental-way mindset *god I hate qualifiers*) and my requests were not harmonious. So, I, in a much-needed break from what was going on, moved out with a friend from high school, and my then-girlfriend.

How do you decide if you are ready to live independently? Looking back, though I recognize it would have been detrimental to stay, I wish I had waited! I didn’t have it that bad – I would have had more time with my dad. We could have compromised about my request (no secret, I wanted my girlfriend to sleep over because she lived out of town, they thought we would have crazy lesbian sex all over the house…). But that’s not what happened. So, with my multiple jobs and being almost finished high school, I moved out.

I needed to not be at home helping with my dad (as terrible as that sounds), but I ended up feeling over worked anyway. I finally graduated, the romance ended, my second and third apartments were quickly experienced, and jobs started to ‘pile up.’ As did my bad choices, mapped across cities and decades.

But the thing is, I was not ready to live with my significant other. I was not ready for sharing spaces with… strangers (not my family members). But I really kind of had no choice. I learned a lot from this first space: boundaries, fragile lies for gullible people (me), how to be cheated on and deal with it, and a host of other things I don’t think I would have necessarily ever been prepared for. But what followed… Well, I don’t know if you would have been either:

Here we go. From home to Apartment 1 (move 1) and then two other apartments (move 2 & 3) in two years. Then, new city: Toronto (apartment 4/move 4) – home (move 5) – Toronto (apartment 5/move 6)– home (move 7) – Toronto (apartment 6 & 7/move 8 & 9). Then, my small trip to Nova Scotia (apartment 8/move 10) where changing drivers licenses and addresses, getting insurance, etc., was not worth the hassle when we moved back eighteen months later. Apartment 9 and move 11, I’m in St. Catharines. Suffice to say the next few years were a fast-forward of homes 10-18 and moves 12-20.

The move to this house, as I’ve said, felt like a break. Like we could get our bearings, be on-top of parenting and get better in general. We did it too, which is the funny part, and maybe why I feel less stress now. Aisha was successful with her businesses. I was doing well and getting to where I am now. We were learning great lessons, getting into a groove, and then… dun, dun, dun – the back thing.

What does your derailment look like? Because, to be honest, all my moves, all of my changes have made mine quite… elegant if I must say.

I’m kidding. ‘Twenty moves’ starts as a frazzled-pull-out-the-boxes-you-didn’t-bother-unpacking, and eventually evolves into just not having that much to pack anymore, because you’re tired of packing so you ‘declutter’ every time you go. But the support and joy at our recent decision (on the ending end) has affirmed what we knew:  we’ve gotta go. Even duder, in a very mature conversation, admitted he recognizes that he needs a little more schedule consistency, which can best be obtained by removing the…

(what is proving a… thing… is not a thing but the tension of sleepovers elsewhere weekly, when the child wants to, but does terribly when allowed to, is… well…).

My love, my ever-surprising gov’love, chomped it and slid the last, hard, and oddly shaped piece into place this week and asked/told duder’s dad about the move. Which meant it was/is official, everyone (for the most part) knows. The meeting went well. Until there was a moment the next day, that also, realistically, went well. But God, that heart pang. Not even just for me – yes. I want and need to move home. But also, for duderroo. For that brief moment where I forgot how reasonable this is, and that we can go- I honestly thought we may have to stay.

What am I getting at? All of it. My magnetic shift, the time-alignment and auspicious reason/timing of it all, and well, y’know, the stuff I deal with. And now, we get to go. All of this good and bad is pressing at the lip of the volcano and our world is about to be washed anew again. This time, I am feeling that feeling I don’t like but in this scenario it is more like a comfortable sweater. The hood falling perfectly, the arms just long enough.

I am excited to move home. To give duder and my girl what I had, hoping I can find it for them; that we can make it together. I am sad to leave certain things and what had felt like chances and optimistic opportunities, but what is meant to continue, will.

Am I excited to pack up again? Book the truck, get boxes, tape, and then undo it again? No. Not at all. Am I excited for my mum to arrive tonight and show her the listings? Did I love showing Joey, and every moment Aisha and I debated and hand-picked each one? Absolutely.

I love that, even though I feel overwhelmed, a part of a lot more than I am used to, and inundated by things I wouldn’t have been otherwise, I am feeling ok with it. Like it is manageable. Something will blip, without a doubt, but I genuinely believe this is why home became two people, until we needed more.

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” 
― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

All is grist that comes to the mill.

My heart was big, big, big today.

We’re tired for the usual, multitude of (parental, adult, millennial, equinoctial shifts) reasons, but with spring in the air, defeat never possible and sleep not an option (kidding, I got like 6 hours) I went on a bit of a rant today. It was one of those rants where I kept looking at Aisha – to be fair, it’s been 24-hrs of excited ranting – and telling myself, “Dude, she gets it.”

But you know when you follow through on something, and the breadth and immediacy of the results are so amazing you just can’t handle it? That is what happened. During my “AH HOW DO I CONVEY THIS” Google search today to help direct what I am trying to say, I found a LOT on Feng Shui. I have never really studied the art, but the philosophy appeals to me, though it doesn’t wholly capture what I mean. It feels more like a… magnet realigns in me, making me so frigging solid, and things just start crashing down in beautiful, perfect order. The effect of this is something I have referred to as my ‘bubble.’

My bubble is something I am grateful for, because it is like an emotional, plastic hamster ball for me to roll around in. Sometimes, there are a few tough weeks, and then suddenly there are five untypical and unbelievably gorgeous days in a row; the cardinal, or hawk or some amazing bird will come to catch my eye. I will feel… listless and then BAM! Songs that lift me from cloud to cloud to cloud come floating into my world until I break through them into the clear, blue sky, basking in the sunshine of happiness. I have always hoped to figure out how to maintain this bubble. If we were to sit and intimately talk about it, you would see how superstitious, or spiritualistic, I can be. Which is why I suppose, it took this weird moment of moving my bed, exactly when I did, with all the other factors lined up, to see that it’s me (I totally just knocked on wood, by the way).

When I originally put the bed together, I had placed it where it is now. I don’t know if it was the destabilizing bigness of a stress vs. relief vortex of our October move, or just the multitude of differences from 7th floor stink hole to this amazing home, but it didn’t seem right then. I ended up putting our room together in what seemed like the most logical/functional layout.

The past few weeks though, I have dreamt about it, low level obsessed over it, talked about it and honestly have organized so many other places, instead of just trying it out, that I feel kind of basic not having just done it.

Moving on, the excitement I felt all day yesterday (a day literally full of so much stress and worry that I alluded to in the last post, The Bamboo that bends) had me worried I had somehow managed to like, forget that the stress was imminent. Like, completely, forget. If I were the person to do this, this is where I would say, “I feel soooooo ADD,” except I’m not ADD.

I obviously hadn’t forgotten but the positivity and confidence I was able to wrap myself in was dreamlike. Thankfully, I had a mental adjustment in a hyper-clear moment, and realized, no. I had practiced self care in two way: Aisha is learning and becoming a very talented Reiki student practitioner (I know… are there no ends to the levels we keep revealing about our spiritual side) who gave me the “super-pamper-special” on Saturday, and our bed is now in the “Right Place”.

Amen.

Quick idea of what I am talking about – Which way should your bed face – to touch on the idea of considering how a room layout effects things. I looked over the Queen of Sleep’s thoughts on Feng Shui and, while surprised at her interpretation of directional meanings (my miracle occurred because of a 18°N orientation with our heads and feet away from the door and window), she did make me chuckle.

And then I found this, the Feng Shui Tips.Org page that really does what I need it to do. Why? It is malleable in my brain.  Everything I bring into my thought cycles has to be flexible in its use as an interpretation guide (side note: always wondered if I had been a monk in a past life). I need this because I like to have a complete lens to see through; different ideologies influence me based on the situation, and having more than one viewpoint makes the decision… More complete.

Anyway, kua numbers… what the… and tell me more. What is my Kua number? (It’s 7 – I used biological sex because, well, that’s the fact. If you look into this though, the only time gender matters in the application is in Group 5).

I am a West Group which provides me with the following information on the significance of direction:

  • NW: money and success
  • SW: health and vitality
  • NE: Love and Marriage
  • W: Personal Growth

Our new bed orientation: 18°N

(Additional side note: Aisha is an 8, also West group)

Crown of your head is supposed to be in a lucky direction, balance the sides of your bed, don’t face a mirror, remove sharp edges (my favorite tip), etc. Do these factors matter to most people? I am not social enough to say. Do they matter to me? Well, if you could see my vigor and the shit that’s slid in to place in a 24-hour time space, you may allow me the mysticism.

When I say, all is grist that comes to the mill, I mean that I do not shy away from anything that helps me keep my head clear and helps me work on myself. Reiki feels good. Bad energy effects me, whether of my own or others influence. When I allow myself to be open to it, I feel ‘higher’, or clearer. Yet, I can be so practical and analytical I laugh at my attempt to be both. At the end of the day, trying can only make me more aware, no? So, it is all processed, ground down, sifted into my mixin’ bowl and baked into what is turning out to be quite a competent, sensitive and thoughtful person.

I feel like I have always been like this, I just wasn’t big enough at the time to hold it all together, so it came out looking weird. Now it’s like I’ve reached a calm or, a perspective? Or… steadiness? I just haven’t managed to fuse all three together, so they alternate, like a pendulum swing. Thankfully, it is slowing, which means more often they line up and I am afforded (what I assume) really cool adult moments of knowing.

The point, peeps, is that when I trust me, life is something else. Not easy, but, fun. For instance: I got two new jobs today with one more contract getting close to closing. One of the jobs feels like it is what I have been waiting forever for, what every other messed up employment had been leading towards (gah, no pressure). I have written two blog posts in two days. I gardened. Duder is communicating and our connection was one of those things that came back, crashing down in beautiful, perfect order. All I did was (literally) open the door. Aisha is ploughing through the tough stuff. I don’t want to go into it, but suffice to say, she dealt with about ten piles of stinking _ _ _ _ yesterday without having a major panic attack, without a painful pattern emerging at all. She was so present, and amazing, Duder was so grounded by her. She was also subjected to receiving inappropriately delivered bad news today, that was just dropped like a stool stack on our doorstep, yet she sits over there now, somewhat calmly, plugging away. She is literally ski-dooing through those ‘hills’ but this shift seems to have changed the mud and stones to water-spray and sun beams (she maybe doesn’t feel this way, but she’ll have to write a reply 😉).

I needed something. I needed forward, a break, a breath. I need Spring and to harness my strength because this is my moment. This is my season and I am bursting with “YES.”

Someday, I will harness this feeling. I will figure out how to loop it around my waist and keep it with me always. Sometimes I have high hopes for forty, other times I see an eighty-year-old staring back at me, confident finally.

Regardless, I know that my learning is so good. And I am proud to be able to say that. My adjustments are like over-coats now; I can feel and welcome situations, because I trust the time, efficiency and accuracy I have cultivated in my responses. The things I allow in, have allowed me to trust myself. And I am just feelin’ grateful.

I wish I could paint, so this was easier to express. Alas,

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 


― Lao Tzu

I get ya, Lao Tzu.

The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.

– Japanese Proverb

My chest feels like the cosmos today. Wide, unknown in its expanse.

This isn’t the first time my chest cavity has felt like this.

It is just especially interesting, because this week featured my typical ‘springtime intense’ dreamscapes. In one particular dream, Aisha’s doctor motioned me over to the table. He wanted me to see how the surgery was going. In the dream I was as hesitant as I’d expect myself to be in real life but I moved towards the surgery light, past the mint green sheets that created a barrier around the surgical staff, closer still to the metal table, her form laying there. Finally, bending over to peer at the incision and seeing… the galaxy.

What the heck right?

I have serious issues when considering ‘things under my skin’, for instance: a fear that bugs or germs are subdermal but waiting to come out (like spider egg under skin that burst a million babies, *barf). Aisha’s entire back experience has tiptoed along this fear agilely. Sometimes the fact that she had hands or instruments in the middle of her back, where nothing ever goes, is so overwhelming. Because she’s still here, normal, in pain but not an alien. I make myself look at her scar (it is cute actually) because the scar is fine, her skin is fine – it is the fact that she is still not ok, but they were in there, is what is not fine. How do you put that down folks? Fixing her is still a mystery.  

How does this weird dream, my subdermal issues and my chest-feeling have any connection? Their connection lies in how I feel or process fears that are not present.     

I have a heightened, though subconscious, state of fear. It brings to mind Trevor Noah’s standup bit about being in Bali and why he chose not to sit in the front row. Survivalist mentality? I don’t know, because I can recognize that I am for the most part, safe. But there have been lesson-worthy moments that have taught me that unless it is just me, in my space, anything could happen. It is self-preserving, I suppose, an over balancing of safe enough vs…?

The problem with feeling this way is that it means my fears have shuffled me into a vulnerable corner, it is many (situations) against one (me) at this point, and I can’t rage my way out because there is no ‘enemy.’ These situations are things I am looking forward to but haven’t ‘prepared enough’ for, in the event they pan out the way they have previously. Ultimately, this means that big ticket deals are on the horizon that in history haven’t played out so well. What’s on the list? Well…

My mum is coming up in two weeks for a visit. That visit is going to be busy, with a lot of things that are out of the norm. My sister is meeting duderroo for (technically the second, but) first time over a quick lunch in the midst of a packed day. Budmuffin’s birthday party is this weekend, and while I am loathed to admit it, I am generally having problems step-parenting right now, so a celebration event feels weird. I will not affect tomorrow, but I miss the easy flow we used to have. Aisha has been magnificent at bonding duder and I. She folded me into the two of them like the gifted baker she is, yet we are a complicated unit of five, sometimes six adults, plus duderonomy. So, our true ‘us-three-moments’ seem brief but I cling to them andselfishly recognize, that I now need that easiness in order to be on point. (Obviously this is my next self-undertaking) Otherwise, I falter and while Aisha is gracious about it, it’s not pretty folks.

Work-wise, I have hopefully secured two more contracts, which means I will be even busier, but we’ll be more secure, and finally, well… there’s a big announcement (Big A) I can’t make at this time (not pregnant, and overall positive) except to those who know, but there’s a lot of road work yet to do.

Breaking it down…

I am so excited to see my mother. We have a unique and special relationship; she is an amazing memory, a constant source of reassurance. She’s always just there, as she is. Problemo is, well, we do not talk about my gender. Trans issues are huge for her, because my being her daughter is what has made our connection, not that I’m an awesome person. When my cousins asked that Aiden’s earlier name not be used or referred to, my mother was in shock – “How are we all supposed to forget how cute and pretty [dead name] was, of course they are Aiden now, but also [dead name] then.” I understand this with cis people, especially mothers. I hate when people change who they are, but trans issues aren’t like turning out to be a backstabbing wahoo. Observing the community more, following more non binary Instagram accounts, etc. has really emphasized what I already knew, which is: it is the most important thing to value someone because they are a person, a human. But we attach meanings to the details; parents raise their kids biologically, friends used to be made based on biological gender. It is crazy to break away from someone’s pattern if you didn’t realize you relied on it. Example. If your mum was soft, kind, gentle, patient, plush … was that picturesque figure of motherhood who never betrays us, well, how would you feel if they were secretly in a fight club or killed puppies on Tuesdays. It is a shock to find out a side of someone you hadn’t considered, but you not acknowledging or considering it isn’t necessarily *their* problem.

Acknowledging the shock of ‘the other side’ is what people do in the apologizing part of coming out as anything. I haven’t heard one story where, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier” wasn’t uttered, but rarely can the conversation immediately include the, “imagine my shock too, ten years ago when this came to me,” because well, “I knew ten years ago,” is what hurts. The battle is always hard. Expressing a sentiment like “I’m trans” or “I’m gay/bi/poly” too early into your discovery can drum up harsh criticism. So, we learn to wait until we are sure enough, but total confidence and certainty seems to be the last brick in the pathway, so years slip past and the ‘secret’ grows.

This conversation requires a lot from my mum. I don’t feel shame in not forcing it on her. It means the pings will be pinging around over the long weekend. But those pings hold nothing to the look in her eye when she feels… shocked. Spending her sexagenarian years in a super small town made her comfortable with small town things. I’ve always been a shock, a bit of a burden, so why push her septuagenarian boundaries? She is kind, an ally to the LGBT+ community and ultimately, she is so proud and accepting of me. The moments are when she tries to not comment on my hairstyle. She has always been an advocate of me in male clothing, but my hair is always too edgy, provocative, and pointedly making a statement. Finally, I have lost a lot of weight, and that will be a thing (potentially). A thing because I’ve probably lost 25lbs (11kg) since she saw me last, and it doesn’t look all that healthy, and my hair went gray. Weight is her personal demon, and… my general stress and lack of success are probably her greatest fears. A lot to wade through, no? Well, let’s end it with the fact that, through all of this duo-shit, we as a foursome have to team up and undertake a BIG DAY. Aisha and duder aren’t my concern, and explaining what my concern is, is a whole other story.

All of that makes me feel vulnerable and can’t see a way over, under, or around it.

My sister – as you all know – is my [insert proper level of idolatry with independence and respect] but my brain is going all kinds of places, preemptively checking, on how this Big A is going to affect her. The funny part is, I know this is just a gathering of my neurosis because it’s like this: if the Big A were that we were going vegan, my ‘concern’ is how our veganism may impact the social shit she has to deal with as a butcher (she isn’t, btw). I can feel her justified stress and considerations of what her life is going to look like in three to six months with SO MANY OTHER FACTORS involved, that this Big A, well – it is SO. NOT. IMPORTANT. But she is to me, so my brain just goes there.

Birthday party. Ideally, I think we would all hope that split families can celebrate together. I think if everyone is on board and cool with it, it is incredible and worth aspiring to. I am grateful for learning about how this could look by joining this family (Aisha navigates a lot of people). I just also believe that if two years have gone by, then maybe the fusion needs to start smaller and on and mutual terms. Budmuff’s (how do you like the new name?) grandma is nice to me and has been from the beginning in a distant, but cool way; we commiserate, she and my mum like each other. Aisha’s multiple parents are all welcoming to me, authentically. But I do not know any other member of duder’s bio-D’s family and yet, they’ve decided to join our party. As a queer, nonbinary person, meeting new people is never an easy thing. Especially when I recognize I am in an area where most people just aren’t comfortable with my type of spice.

We are already going to be in a big, noisy, child-filled space (overwhelming, no?) with other adults to navigate, public washrooms, misgendering by duderonomy’s friends (not wanting it to affect him at ALL because he corrects people the most) and general socializing. Every fiber of me wants to break a bone instead of going. But I will go, with a smile, confidence, and a rocking ballcap. I just need my chest cavity to empty out, so I don’t have a panic attack and turn into raging-giganto-bullitch. I want to trust that D-fam will be welcoming and above board – but the problem is, I can’t trust that. Am I going to assume they won’t? No – fuck no. But I can’t implicitly trust them. Even if they do show up, try to get to know me, or whatever, they are still coming to the one event we had ‘alone’ with him. Thursday last week, he was out, Friday-Saturday-Sunday morning at grandma’s, Sunday is party day (we invited both grand-sets) but he’s gone Monday, Tuesday, Thursday-Sunday morning next week too. So, there are just a lot of emotions I need to be super adult about, but my brain is getting in the way.

And work. Things are turning out slowly but surely in this department. These new contracts may be exactly what we need to be secure, they are engaging and interesting and add diversity. I guess the question is, how much ability do I have? Yesterday was the first day I’ve had off in weeks. Can one balance 3-5 remote positions and still, be human? Aisha has meal-planned the sh*t out of this house. She is in charge of figuring out duder’s stuff, healthy meals, allergy news, growth needs and his schedule. But ultimately, it has to be on healing, on figure out what to be next. Her focus and drive are amazing to watch grow and evolve; she is carving hill after hill down so we can move forward but is beating herself up over them not being mountains.

Sometimes perspective is hard to gain. I feel like all I do is work (on my computer) and she feels like all she does is cook (alone in the kitchen). This back surgery and ensuing decisions have me feeling like while we are as solid as ever, there is less time to check in. Or trust that what we are supplying is sufficient. This is a vulnerable space.

Finally, its springtime. Are you affected by the seasons?

There is no time I feel more Taurean than in spring. I feel restless, and huffy, my seasonal drive-to-hibernate shuts off and well, I feel invigorated.  

From spring cleaning and seasonal transitions (car, house, clothing, chores) to more day light to take advantage of there is just more once winter fades. Yet, constant allergies, tiredness (those springtime dreams I was telling you about) and general hiccoughs of change are like speed bumps to the ‘more.’ And Hope. Spring brings hope.

I am not really comfortable with hope as a feeling or concept. It seems baseless. It seems like such a passive, directionless, dependent emotion. Cruel, I know. Sometimes I feel like I sound like a monster when I write this stuff down. But here are the feelings, related to hope, I always embrace: Anticipation, curiosity, forward motion. Hope makes me feel like a child, waiting for something innocent and lovely to happen, but then its crushed without an explanation of why. Hope is fragile, especially for me, in April.

I recognized my relationship with spring is strange, a long time ago. This month holds a lot of memories, sadness, new and old dates. There is the excitement of wearing a vest or sneakers, only to realize a coat and possibly a scarf, were still necessary. Going to bed with the windows open, a gentle breeze brushing your face, only to wake up to snow on your windowsill. In many ways, I love the giant F-YOU April brings.

I don’t have any grand summary for any of this. I believe I have reached the cosmos space required for this weekend. I feel calm, vast, and aware. So here goes.

“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear; The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.”

– Meg Cabot

All that glitters, is not gold.

I had one of those days yesterday; actually, I had one of those weeks this week where most things seemed a lil’intense. By intense I mean, not only did Friday appear and we had one box of duder’s school snacks left (no big deal), we literally have no kid-appointed-food-in-the-house. Still, no big deal but whoa – not my style.

There was also a lot of high-hopes at the beginning of the week, rallying to get on top of all that stuff, and then… a bump big enough to take over Monday night and Tuesday and leave stain marks on Wednesday and Thursday. One of those things that even though you don’t want to give it attention, the number of places it affects leaves you constantly bumping into it when you think you’re in a safe zone thinking about, I don’t know, when you’re going to clean the shower next week. I will say that having just watched Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, it is easier to put weeks like these into perspective.

I don’t want to talk about all that stuff though, I want to talk about a cool moment last night where I found myself to be… Bored. Yup, the vacant brain, task-list pretty complete, no book to read and no games of interest, boredom that rarely settles over me. I will say, I’ve rarely experienced boredom like other people seem to have. I enjoy my own company immensely, and can usually think of something that I need, or want, to get done. Last night though was a mix of, “I don’t want to do what’s left” and “There is no evening activity I feel like doing right now” which usually means I’m asleep by nine. Exciting, I know.

So, what’s the big deal with boredom? Well, I found it refreshing. It was nice to turn my brain on autopilot and just sit. Aisha and I have had a few interesting conversations lately about the phrase ‘adulting’, which, thankfully, not many people in our life use. It’s one I don’t have space for, namely because I am finally in a life stage where I feel successful. Where being anal, and on top of things, and paying your bills and having life insurance are cool, so, I am by proxy ‘cause, I’ve got it lined up! But at the same time, the undercurrent of what ‘adulting’ means to people who resist the obligations of being thirty-plus started churning. How by having embraced ‘adulting’ I am doing ok. For instance, I needed some personal time the other day, having had a raising-a-boy-as-a-strong-minded-adult moment, so I decided to clean the shower before I showered, while I was in the shower. I got to ‘play around’ before getting down to business. This was a big moment of blending a duty with a need because my showers are usually the most functional eight minutes you’d maybe ever witness (not, an invitation 😉). I have just recognized the things that need to be done and imagine that my moving through my day (actually just doing chores) I’m actually doing amazing trick shots on a skateboard, swooping down to grab that piece of laundry then springing up with an awesome kickflip to pay the electricity bill two days early. But, as you can imagine, this means that I do not have a lot of idle time.

On to my point. I was inspired to start thinking about boredom when a friend posted the New York Times opinion piece, “Let Kids Get Bored Again”. I can attest to having parents that were into us learning about idle time. I was alone a lot, which is not to say I was bored. I’m blessed with an epic imagination so with the toys I had, my time was well spent. I look at kids today, especially after a week of watching my two favorite kids interacting and getting to know each other and wonder if they even actually know boredom. I don’t think boredom exists in the same sense, but something else does. Like, boredom for me was day five of August, before we went to Nova Scotia, with no TV and no friends around. I’d be sitting under a tree in the backyard listless. No camp, no friends, but I wasn’t sad or lacking. I was just… day five of self-entertaining day play while my parents were busy. That was boredom lol. I like how Pamela Paul fosters an excitement for boredom, for being told to ‘go out and play’ or torturing your sibling in the backseat of a long drive. I was telling duderonomy on our drive to Stratford that when we would go to Florida our ‘entertainment gift’ was a box of clementine’s we could challenge ourselves to peel in one go. We would play eye-spy or I’m thinking of an animal, sleep, read or do word-searches. We’d sing and listen to music. I think my lil’guy would be fine with that, but he does like the reassurance of his electronics.

Do you get bored? Are you ok with the word bored, or is there a different one you prefer to use? I looked into it a little, because I feel that boredom – as a concept, needed to be flushed out for me. I found the article, “There Are Five Types of Boredom: Which Are You Feeling?” which was cool because I like when people separate within one concept. I think the five types fully capture what I would consider the good and bad of boredom, but at the base of it, the worry is it can be a non-productive, uncomfortable space.

As adults, we are not really talking about the light, idle, directionless feeling kids should feel. Ultimately, I think adult-boredom is static, but I like how this article makes me reconsider whether that is negative through their differentiation: indifferent, calibrating, searching, reactant, and apathetic. Most adults who ‘catch a moment’ would be in the category of ‘indifferent’ boredom. Calibrating, searching and reactant all seem to have potential to stir motivation or change, with reactant seeming almost volatile and obsessive. Apathetic boredom seems to be what many may confuse for depression, and the one that flags my brain.

The problem is, most people don’t really do the work in moments like these to consider what type of bored they are and whether they should follow along with the recommended course of action. I would also argue that you can be 90% fine but bored with the room you spend most of your time in, and that can cause a type of restlessness. So, when we talk about boredom, whether as adults or in reference to kids, what matters?

There are (sticking with condensed reference materials here) Six Scientific Benefits of Being Bored that occur when people use their boredom to motivate. When Wikipedia gets involved, you can see why I worry about the other unspoken side of boredom – motivation.

“Boredom can act as an emotion, a drive, state of mind and numerous other constructs which may be both state (environmental) and trait (internal) based in nature. Everyone experiences boredom differently…Boredom interferes with many of our behavioral, cognitive and physiological constructs, often to the detriment of the individual. In the context of motivation, boredom may have an even larger effect. Being motivated requires a number of processes not limited to attention, well-being, satisfaction and reward. Individuals who are more prone to boredom find it harder to focus and attend to stimuli in their environments…Although boredom is mostly seen as negative, recent evidence supports its necessity in our daily lives, particularly for goal setting.

Wikipedia

Motivation is a huge interest of mine. Namely because it is literally behind everything we do in our lives. Are you a go-getter, do you make altruistic choices? Are you interested in doing well in school, or at work? Do you plough through everything for that moment that you can experience the thing that truly brings you happiness? I don’t think motivation is something that can be taught, but it can be fostered. I think teaching someone to be motivated is insanely hard. How do you introduce a concept that relies entirely on the individual that is a constant ‘job’ to a kid? Or an adult for that matter – “if you stopped buying a ten-dollar game every pay-cheque, you’d have x-number of dollars saved” – because now is so much better, no matter how old you are. Motivation is like the balance of everything so boredom can be enjoyed. But the rewards are always far off.  

Motivation is best identified as the unbelievable stories of anyone who has directed a crazy life change and a) went back to school and did some crazy philanthropic project b) lost a ton of weight and is now the spokes person for ‘x’ or whatever story you know. Motivation, when harnessed is an incredible power. Unfortunately, I seem to be a motivated adult who has no where to put it. When I was solo, I committed to Muay Thai and reading, nutrition, and a super intense physical workout regime. So, it was funny after being in a state of “how the hell do families find anything to do in Niagara” for the past year that I found this piece (on reddit and I wanted you to read, so I hope this is legal):

So, for my brain with all these considerations I guess the natural place I arrive at is this: do kids need to go back to boredom, or do we need to up our motivation game?

As an adult, I have moved, relocated and changed my environment often, to downplay the actual amount. What keeps me motivated falls on a, small to fear-inducing, scale that I am trying to figure out how to impart to my lil’fam cautiously and calmly, but the fact that some motivators literally have imaginary monsters chasing me as a consequence, doesn’t make it easy to kid myself that it would help duder with HIS overactive imagination.

But how do I teach duder motivation, when YouTube and all kids-entertainment-systems teach how to engage, win, compete, move from activity to activity, and not be bored. Can an almost-eight-year-old hear beyond the “not right now” to figure that he is the coolest thing he’ll ever know? I think not, but I don’t know how to- nor do I want to- fabricate a motivational ‘ah ha’ moment. For anyone!

I suppose the question is, does being bored mean we make space for motivation? At what age does Nancy Colier’s assertion, “It’s not only ok to let your child be bored, it’s paramount that you do so” (Psychology Today) change? How do you accept boredom as an adult?

“…I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward.”  

― Susan Cain

regular static stretching outside periods of exercise may increase power and speed, and reduce injury

Well, fancy meeting you here.

It’s been awhile, I know. Realistically though, I think it has only been a week since I posted, but I have run out of my back log of posts! This is both good and bad; good, because I have a ton of thoughts freely roaming about, bad because, well, time is somewhat lacking these days.

On the bright side, my editing gig is going well, I received a small raise for my efforts!

Our time in Stratford was beyond amazing, full of sights and sounds from my childhood that made my kids’ eyes light up. It was amazing to experience the full effect of what is left to the crows here: community, kids laughing, friends talking. It was a great reprieve.

So, after all that where is my head at. It is stuck on a Facebook post in a group I’m a part of. The question was:

“If where you stand communicates the nature of the relationship you have with your partner (or ideal partner if you are single), would your partner stand in front, beside or slightly behind you?”

I know I have written ad nauseum about boundaries, relationships, etc. But the convoluted thought train still chugs on, and therefore, so must I.

I have had a lot of partners. In most of those relationships I have been out, front and centre, in a mix of whatever was happening at the time. In some relationships, I felt like the performing Russian bear – mostly confused enactments of signals that meant I wasn’t going to get reprimanded. In others, I felt more like the ‘heavy’, my meeker lover hiding behind my anger and size.

There are a lot of factors for me when considering this question, which is why namely I am writing my response here, and not on Facebook.

I think I approach my partnerships with as clear of an understanding of what they are capable of bringing to the table. For instance, if I had a basic expectation that my partner match (50/50) my level of household contribution, they would be met with an insanely tall, OCD-driven list of ‘to-dos’’. I dropped that ‘hope’ a long time ago, because realistically it isn’t a hope. I don’t even want to have OCD so why would I want my partner to experience that honey-do list?   

But how do you figure out what makes your heart feel like there is balance? Where does your person stand, and what kind of stilts are you setting them up with?

Aisha and I are shoulder to shoulder, hands held. There are many people who may think that is not what our relationship looks like. But here are my two cents. When I met Aisha, I knew what her… Luggage carousel looked like. I was able to look at the track and see if I could handle what’s swinging around. Granted, I was in a cool solo space where I had the time to consider everything. Because what she brings to the table is incredible, so the ‘lower points’ were worth considering.

 What do you do, if you hope for a (promised?) change, but it never appears? Had you waited years for that one ex, or friend for that matter, to… I don’t know, do the dishes? Fold or put away laundry? What about the bigger things?

I have been afforded cool moments where someone close to me, who knows me well, can speak to the side of a situation I am having trouble understanding. Example one, my sister is a step-parent. I could ask her those weird questions that bio-parents may judge, and it was a cool and explorative space.

What is drawing on my mind though, is this. Aisha is killing the ‘promise hurdles’ she made to me (and herself) when she set her eyes on me. Promise hurdles being the admissions of ‘best-self’ potentials we’ll strive to meet. Key note: I don’t make these anymore, the only promise I made was that I would learn to be an amazing step- and co-parent, but who I was at that time was the shape I would stay (with growth) until the end.

We have had to have three *major* conversations in our nineteen-month romance, but the mountains we have had to scale together could have presented opportunity for multiple, destructive arguments. The reason we have avoided them, isn’t just because of what I will say eventually. It is the result of being in a respectful and needs-acknowledging relationship (remember, we both really hate confrontation), because one of my go-to reactions is gigantic, angry and awe-inspiring conversations (read: a fucking-verbal-shake-down-on-what-for). Aisha’s main go-to reaction is to shut down (anxiety, reflective thinker, etc.)

I was reading You Deserve to Date Someone Who…, an article with a really long title that ends with Texts You Good Morning, Every Morning. Not because I am lacking in attention or, as the article suggests, have I fallen into a place where I am not prioritized. Nope, I like reading these articles to figure out what people are thinking about. I have a funny association with morning texts that is as far from romantic as one could get: after my father passed, I texted my mother and sister every morning for a year. Told them something I loved about them, something that was making my day a little easier. I continued on with my mother, because I think it is important. I understand what the writer is saying, and I will set my tangent on solid relationships aside because I’ve come to understand it is very personal what someone accepts as solid, perfect and working.

While we’re here… What are your thoughts on the above? Do you adjust to fluidity with your partner? Are you people who have independent lives and meet for dinner, to make love and sleep, and join a gym together? Outside of in/dependence levels, what about your 5 Love Languages and/or are you even interested in them? My thoughts go to examples I would never name, but that interest me to no end. What levels of mistake repetition do you accept, for example? How big of a mistake do you even allow to repeat? I was just saying to Aisha (as I started this with as well) that with OCD the ‘violations’ my brain filters on the daily, of cleanliness, orderliness, the list is endless coupled with the gender, intellectual, social, whatever happens when you teach kids something and it is discarded, daily (which I am obviously exaggerating. Duderroo is actually impressive at respecting deep level boundaries without conversation). So, to turn this back on me, dishes, are a violation. I hate dishes left in the sink. Why? It’s not germs (but, it is), it’s not that it’s inefficient (though, holy F people, it is so inefficient) or all the other reasons I could give, I hate it because you are literally leaving them for me. But, is this something I am going to rail against? Not anymore (sorry people who had to deal with the time I took to work on that).

One thing that I am inspired to do lately is move around to hear what’s happening on the other side of a frustrating conversation. I don’t like it, and I am uncomfortable a lot, but I am growing. It is making me stronger in my own conviction but allows me to remain gentle. When I think about how that extends to the two people who live with me, forgive my boldness, I feel like they are damn lucky. Look at the article

Man Shares tips (and another long title). This guy is the extreme and awesome example of going in to the thing that someone is struggling with, hearing them, helping them articulate it, because then, friends, there is a lot of shit you can put down.

There is a lot more I’d probably like to say about this, but I also have a lot of other thoughts (and Honey-dos) left to, well… You know.

I’m happy to touch base though.

(I just ended this with, Miss you, so thought I’d let you know in parentheses)

Three Weeks Ago

Hello music.

Hello you.

Today the world is iced over yet nothing seems to be paused because of it, except us. Are you? Has your world stopped because of this ice storm? Honestly, I’m trying to laugh about it. I’m reading about people who are craving a pause, a moment to themselves, desperate for time and right now we have that in spades, the three of us all in our own heads, pregnant pauses of quiet time.  But I think I want something loud. I want to yell, I want Aisha to scream. I want noise and music and an unsteady floor. I want to be in a Fun House at a carnival, tilting and laughing, the laugh tinged with panic. 

I feel too big right now, which is something I have had to work on my whole life. Feeling like my feelings, my need to talk and my inability to know when to stop are things that I have seen five therapists and lost many girlfriends about. I am tempering it and learning when to take space and when what I need to say is actually valid. There are so many things that need to be addressed, that need a plan and structure, things that can not free flow or ‘fall where they may.’ What scares me is that for the first time, I want to free flow. I want to just give it up – but I don’t know how! I watch Aisha, and bear with me, but watching her is like sitting by a lazy river. What comes, passes, you can toss a stone in and hope to help a leaf rushing by a rock; or you can watch and see what happens. It is calming, watching her, even when the river’s contents are not as innocuous as a ‘leaf.’

I woke up wondering about the blog today. Which is natural, wondering about the success or viability of a fledgling project when your mind is spread eagled by other thoughts. My natural character is to focus through the dark and find the pinpoint of light. Reach for the positive because when I don’t, I become a darkness that is not pleasant to know, like Quirrell and Voldemort. So, faced with what’s happening to my partner right now, I have to focus on the fact that she is somewhat competently mobile, not in pain and headed in for surgery number two. Monday she’s back on the table. Who knows for what at this point? Duderroo is figuring this out and is being great. I have had a lot of people stick by me and be around for amazing support, despite their physical distance and/or own medical journey. But what about us, readers? Honestly, I think this is mostly for me but that is probably only a shock to me, eh?

I am working on a giant piece about gender and alcohol. It will probably not even be a combination of what a few of you may think once it is finished. It is fun though, because I love the history and knowledge of wine. I am missing the industry these days as well. This polar vortex has me wondering about the grapes and their health, which of course makes me think about the industry that is relying on their vitality. 

I am becoming quietly obsessed with cooperative housing. A friend I have a lot of respect for brings it up a lot, has lived the experience and is better for it. I have looked into it a few times in the last few years. Tiny home communities, cooperative communities throughout St. Catharines, communal living – you name it. Moving into the apartment was my ‘toe-in’ attempt and to be fair, I don’t think it is something you can test out in a ‘model’ setting. The apartment was dirty, loud, intrusive, and I loved it. Co-ops would be different, because it would be the good of living in a shared space without the feeling of helplessness and disjunct with your neighbors (believe me, the neighbors I was uncomfortable with were not whom you’d expect). If I had the money, I would love to start a co-op. I have no idea how that would pan out, but its forming in my mind and my heart is pulling towards something. 

I am also missing the country. I would love to be in my memory of a hot, dusty run in Digby on top of the mountain. I need something warm, my fingers and nose are in a constant state of cold. I want my lungs to be excited to expand, ocean air rushing in. I want to be in a new place, like St. Lucia or Martinique in a house on the beach, waking up to the ocean and fresh juice. I miss that feeling. 

I am loving music in a way I have never experienced before. I am feeling grateful for Spotify, the app that I can honestly say enhances my life in ways I would never have been able to achieve solo. My high school bestie can attest to the fact that my brain does not absorb musical information, and Aisha can definitely attest to this. Thankfully, I forget the major screw up details from earlier in the week, but I’m fairly certain I missed the mark on a Rhianna moment. 

I am also feeling a lot in my ‘social zone’ lately. Having to talk to Doctors, nurses, medical staff, and family and being lucky for the number of people turning into dear friends during this event. I do feel my introvert draining, but the rare ambivert is stretching, happy to be out. Thank you, everyone who has connected with me closely over the past week. I have appreciated it so much.

I just read an awesome piece by Kristine Levine about giving…? It was a very moving story, and while there was a brief interruption for a surprisingly long list of raw cookie dough treats, I was thankful for the read and finding it on Facebook (thankful for the dessert info too!). Perspective is maybe a better suggested topic for the piece and how experience determines how widely you view a situation in order to absorb the nuances. I am grateful for my scope; I know there are times I am staggeringly shortsighted, but I believe I have a relatively fair and far reaching social/emotional sight when needed.

I have been thinking a lot about my Jungian personality type (The Logistician) and wonder what I would have been twenty years ago had I taken the test. I am so much milder than I was then. Sometimes I laugh because my family would say I am still a little extra, Aisha knows me well but says I am somewhat hard to read, though forthright and I feel like I’m just a quiet combination of the two. I had a show tune day yesterday to help express relief and today is a little more like Bagheera meets Eeyore. I like this new acceptance of personal fluidity, I will say that. I am finding a surprising release in not needing to be so rigid. I’m not sure how this trait developed, but I’m hoping it stays forever and always. I should say I call it surprising because I became rigid as a means of self-protection and organization, on top of OCD tendencies. So, it is really great to be able to be gentle maybe 75% of the time? Now I just need to balance the 25% that is better represented by a mental image of a duck that doesn’t land properly on water. 

Beyond that, I suppose today has helped me realize that there is so much more. In general, just so much more than what is happening day to day. I can also embrace this (writing) as something solely for myself. Which is cool, especially because I had kind of thought I had realized that when we started this ol’beast up. 

To finish off, I’ll say that Letterkenny’s Valentine Special was amazing. Heartbeats is still my only playlist on Spotify, and the Non-toxic FB group is going really well and giving me lots to think about. 

But I think for now, I will shut the computer and go hang out with Abomb. Hope you are all well, and not involved in this ice. Take care.

— Jo