Thinking Too Much, Too Late

This isn’t really off topic… it’s masturbation of a sort. Literary masturbation.

Tonight, I can’t stop thinking of how I got from point “A” to this point of my life. I don’t know when this mood struck me. I made a comment in response to one of my readers earlier today, “It’s amazing, the footprints left when people walk out of our lives.”

It got me reflecting on some people I’ve known, experiences I’ve had – all that profound shit that shakes down from the tree of life.

I get a lot of emails from this site, people wanting to connect, forge something, interact, I don’t know. Sometimes it seems they want to know more about me, I get questions. They divulge deeply personal things to me, profound problems, fears, experiences. It can be daunting, but it’s very rewarding. I try to respond to everyone, to share a bit of who I am in trade for their confessions.

Another reason I’ve been thinking about myself is that I had this email sent to me about “Stop Internet Censorship,” a new-ish blog formed with a mission, that has a number of esteemed contributors. I was asked to join it, and have, because I think censorship’s bullshit. But it has had me thinking. How does this concern me?

Really, I’m not sure it does. Not yet. It probably will. But I’m pretty open about who I am, thus why I get really personal things sent to me, I guess. I leave myself vulnerable here, only because I feel invulnerable.

Everyone in my life knows I write this. They all know I do everything from sex advice and tips to ponderous deliberations. From my father and family to my employers to my friends, they all know. They accept that this is just who I am, and I’m not ever judged for it. I couldn’t much care if I’m outted tomorrow. It would impact my life little, I suspect. I’d flinch and grit my teeth because I’m a control freak and would rather decide on my terms when to let my identity be known, though.

A reader commented (on this posting) last week, and for all I know, hasn’t been back, that I was, essentially, a hypocrite. It pissed me off. It really, really pissed me the fuck off. So, let’s go with that for a moment. You know what you know about me because of my grace, generosity, and openness. It’s my gift to you, this intimacy with this stranger you may never know. I’m not being arrogant, I’m being honest. That is, in its essence, what blogging is. Allowed voyeurism, by we, the brave provocateurs.

Those of us who do this, who put ourselves out here in the raw – with the hurts, with the reality, with the insights – we do so for our own reasons. We have gracefully allowed you, the world, to be players in our mix. You’re the voyeurs we’re humouring by leaving our blinds up. You owe each of us the very simple respect of acknowledging we all have our stopping points. There are things that, for whatever stupid reasons we have, we do not wish to share. That is our right. When it comes to what it is we divulge, you have no say.

Those are the facts.

It doesn’t change much for me. I still plan to tell you a little more about who I am and how I got here. But just keep in mind that I have a line in my sand, and if you cross it, I’ll mince no words in telling you so. What I choose to tell is always going to be my choice. Fortunately for us all, I love to take requests. It’s just so spiffy and interactive, like a game. I do so enjoy games, after all.

Anyhow, most people treat me wonderfully around here, and I love it, and love those of you who it applies to. I do love to please a crowd. There’s just the occasional twit, and I wanted to say something this time.

But I do digress.

I think it’s safe to say we all know I’m a pretty introspective individual. My life has made me that way, through a variety of experiences. I’ve had a lot of strange encounters with death, a lot of struggle, a lot of experience, in all ways, shapes, and forms.

I guess it’s part of why I’ve been riding the masturbation topic this week. I’ve spent a lot of time alone in my life – I’d have to, to write as much as I do these days. But I love being alone. I can be the life of any party, and my personality, when I turn it on, can win over just about any person, any time. And though I love people, I’m protective of my space. That space is precisely what has seen me through all the struggles and hardships I’ve had. It’s also what makes me an engaging person to befriend and know.

Over the next week or two, I’ll be wanting to spend a little time taking a look at myself, and I hope to have an interesting post of how a girl like me gets formed. Not necessarily because it’s been a request, but because it’s my blog and I’ll do what I wanna. (Oh, I’m just playing. It’s actually something I do every spring… a stop-and-smell-the-self or something.)

I said earlier about the footprints left in our lives when people walk on out, and there’s been no bigger tread than that of the one left by my mother. Six-plus years have passed since her death and the loss still finds me from time to time, and this week has been no exception. Some sad topics came up when talking to my father the other night, and I’ll be expounding on that another time, but tonight it’s too much for me to think on.

I will tell one story, though, of one day spent with her that has profoundly affected the way in which I live my life today, something I hope the parents out there can learn from.

My mother wasn’t well educated, and I remember her getting her GED (high school equivalency) when I was in Grade 3, but she had the most common sense of anyone I’ve ever met. My father made me flush with pride the other night when he said that, then told me I got mine from hers, and took it further than she had managed. I’m proud I had her as a role model.

Something she forgot how to do as she got older, sick, and tired of the struggle in her life (the result of a bad menopause), was how to stop and smell the proverbial roses. But she taught us how to do it in our youth. I remember being in Grade 2 at a Catholic elementary school. We’d take the bus all the way from White Rock, out into the valley, and the whole thing would be a 45-minute ride, up and down the streets in the valley, before ending at that small school by the church.

I remember this morning in particular – a spellbinding onslaught of spring. One of those days after a warm rainy spell, when the April sky explodes in blue and light, and the world just comes alive. The birds sang, flowers bloomed big, the air was rich and aromatic. We couldn’t have been in class for more than a half-hour, when what should happen?

My mother arrives, tells the principal we have doctor’s appointments, picks us both up from class, and makes a beeline to Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park, which was carpeted with baby daisies and little purple flowers I’ve never learned the names of.

She took our shoes off, bought us ice cream before it was even lunch, and told us to play nearby after she hugged us both and told us it was a day made by God.

She then sat down on the grass with a sketch book, and began sketching as we ran wild all over the grass. I remember nothing of that day except the happiness and freedom I felt.

I learned then that life comes with a pause button. To this day, I never let things get too hectic without remembering I can say fuck it and stop it all. I did that again today, the second time in a week. I went for a long bike ride in the rain and just felt incredible.

That day, my mother just sat there, watching us. She looked so damned beautiful, but then, she always did.

Never underestimate the power of spontanaeity – not in life, not in love, not in sex. There’s nothing more spell-binding than a well-chosen change in plans. My life is richer today as the result of a seemingly innocuous little day at the park, spent at the whim of a woman who loved to hear birds chirping, and who’d been overwhelmed by a shitty streak of rain.

And never, ever underestimate the impact it might have on those along for the ride.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll choose a couple more things that have profoundly shaped who I am, and maybe share with you the lessons I’ve come to learn as a result. Self-indulgent, but perhaps a couple people might find it interesting.

It’s fitting I end this post in the middle of the rousing chorus of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.”