Tag Archives: transitioning

Finding My Words

I’ve been enjoying the reclusive life and doing a lot of solo exploring in small chunks since I’ve moved. It can’t, and won’t, continue for much longer but it’s been a brilliant choice on my end.

It’s only now, clearly, that my desire to write is returning. I was sure this would happen sooner, and part of the Being Antisocial Plan was so that I’d reconnect with my words. Well, yeah. It’s taken time but it’s happening.

Sunset off Clover Point in Victoria. Par moi.

I’ll embrace antisocial behaviour for a little longer — a week, maybe two — to let my wordy seeds grow. Then, I’d like to start meeting people and think it will be easy to do so. Optimism helps, kids!

If I’m in the right mood, people generally like me. Or, people I like tend to like me. That’s not cockiness or anything, because being liked just isn’t hard — be nice, be interested, be interesting, be kind, be authentic. It’s much easier, of course, when you actually talk to people and make an effort. So, until I do that, I shall remain anonymous and lifeless. Yay?

As we both might know, I’m no dummy. I’m the thinky-thinky type, like all geeky writer girls tend to be, and all my cerebral wheels have spun something fierce in the months leading to this moment.

See, I know what small towns are like, and at 1/9th the size of Vancouver and my living in a very small neighbourhood within that, I know anonymity evaporates in a hurry once you start fitting into the community. And that’s great, it’s nice to feel noticed and like you belong, but once you have THAT, you never have THIS again.

I talk to people, I’m chatty, I smile a lot, and most people enjoy bantering with me, so I expect to start knowing more people than I don’t. One day, I’ll be able to recall this 8- or 10-week period where I saw no one but strangers, did nothing beyond shop browsing, and never got greeted by name.

Kinda awesome. For a while. Life and its contrasts are fantastic. People should enjoy their weird life phases a bit more. The start of a relationship, the awkwardness of being new… Newness is fantastic and fleeting. Everything gets old so quickly.

It’s common that we get so caught up in wanting the future to happen now that we forget we can never come back, we’ll never have THIS moment again. We’re the impatient fast-food, flash-cooking society, and it shows in our lifestyles.

I don’t own a microwave. I am in no hurry, friends. Anymore, anyhow. Namaste.

There’s nothing to regret about holding off on joining the Locals Club. I know I’ll get there, and when I do, I’ll absolutely adore being a part of this community. It’ll be great living in a place where I can walk all the way home after 2 or 3 drinks, where I can casually go meet people at the city’s most popular parks and beaches, since they’re all a short walk away. I’m under no illusions of a) what my life can be like here, and b) what it’ll take for me to connect with others.

But, for now, I’ve more literary aspirations in mind.

For that, it’s nice, this anonymous wanderer schtick of mine. A rewarding way to burn off the rat race hangover I’ve had since I escaped the faster, bustling drone of big city life.

I’m still in the headspace where I feel like I have so much I need to do, and that’s all part of the necessary efforts in transition. It’s catching up on work, finishing projects around my home, and other little things. But now I’ve found time for writing (and even blogging) each day for a week.

The change I’ve sought is officially afoot, it seems. Oh, writing, how I’ve missed wanting to do you.

Longtime readers know I’m a big believer in writing being a muscle. The more one does it, the more one taps into the rhythm and grind of what makes writing great.

But if you’re living a life where nothing inspires you, nothing sets you free, it’s hard to tap into that. In fact, it’s damned near impossible. I should know, because that’s how I was feeling for much of the last two years. Trapped and frustrated.

That’s changing, quickly. I’m becoming fascinated and intrigued often. I’m becoming inspired and recharged from time to time. I need more. More, more, more!

Creativity requires much in life but it mostly requires focus and awareness. Stimulation, too. And we can trick ourselves into thinking the city is what we need for stimulation, but, for some, cities are built for distraction, not stimulation.

I’ve been so distracted so long that this silence and quietude in my new life is overwhelming at times. I’m so undistracted I’m confused.

And that too is part of the life transition. Slowing down. It’s the emotional and mental equivalent to the way solid ground feels after an afternoon of being at sea or a day spent 4x4ing. The sudden stop is jarring to our equilibrium.

Well, I feel the same these days. It’s almost panic-inducing at times, because I’m still waiting for that day when I don’t wake up thinking my vacation’s over and I need to return to the city soon. Because I don’t. I live here now.

That’s something I have to remind myself of, daily. There is no rush, there’s no return, there’s just me, here, now.

So, that’s where I am today. Still anonymous, still wandering, still transitioning… but a writer once again.

Easing Into the New

I’m still bogged by crap as I transition into my new life here in Victoria, but it’s slowly coming together for me.

When I moved, I’d been sick for more than a month previous, and the “sickness” turned into six weeks. At the end I finally realized I have a dust allergy, bought a Neti pot, and now doing it a couple times a week seems life-changing.

Now I’m finally getting caught up with work, getting my home to make sense, and see a vague form of a light at the end of the tunnel. (Woohoo!)

The beacon on Ogden Point's Breakwater, after rains and before the storm. By me.

As I start catching my breath, I’m trying to come up with things I want to do differently now. Like incorporating some meditation in my day, exercising, eating better, and taking more time for myself.

I’m not yet at the point where I have any semblance of real CONTROL over my life, because everywhere I turn there’s some little project around the house that’s yet undone, and my ADD self obsesses on the undone. But, come Easter, I see that all changing for real, since, well, it should be done!

My body has been rebelling against me, with too much walking too soon after too much moving and othe stupidity, so my plan is to really get firing on all self-indulgent cylinders — eating properly, taking “me” time daily, doing the rehab workout daily, and just creating a new kind of balance in my world, and slowly increasing the walking.

Balance has never been something I’ve attained. Why, I used to wonder. I’m beginning to think balance is pretty impossible to attain unless a) you work from home and b) you set limitations on your time.

Remembering to be awesome to ourselves is like shopping for unicorns — WHO DOES THAT?

But that’s the whole point of moving here. But making the choice to move here doesn’t magically mean I’ve figured that shit out. No, it will be a learning process, Grasshopper.

Victoria’s still pretty expensive. Less expensive than Vancouver, but it ain’t no bargain bin life here, my friends. If it were cheaper, then it’d be perfect. There’s still some financial stress, but the life balance possible here makes it worth it.

What Victoria has that Vancouver doesn’t, is great accessibility, if you choose the right neighbourhood. I’m lucky. I’m walking distance to great beaches, downtown, and one of Canada’s top 10 public spaces, Beacon Hill Park. I’m surrounded by character homes from the 1880s and turn of the century, lots of trees, and places to just be. Here’s the place I’ll become the walker I always thought I’d never be.

There are a lot of new-agey types in Victoria, and I’m hoping to learn from some of the less frou-frou ones on how to get out of my head a little more, and get into the moment. I’ve been so caught up in worry for so many years that I’ve forgotten how to just absorb the world around me for an hour.

Yesterday, I finally escaped for a bit to take in the ocean, and for the first time just sat down and looked, put my camera down and stopped “focusing” the camera in order to just focus me. It was pretty blissful.

I’m a sucker for movies with great teachers and students who overcome, like The Great Debaters, and there’s a line where Forest Whitaker says to his son, “We do what we have to do, so we can do what we want to do.”

I've been thinking about balance since I saw these dudes balancing driftwood on end, at Holland Point. By me, yesterday.

Well, I’m doing what I have to do now, then I’ll be able to do what I want to do.

My goal, ever since I chose to move last November, was to get completely moved in before Spring began in earnest. I’ve been telling myself since day one that I’d be done by Easter, with time off (four days!) for good behaviour.

That gives me 12 days and I’m optimistic I can do it.

I’m leaving my bookshelf until Easter Weekend. That’ll be my final project. I’ll be picking out books to read in the next few months, and organizing by genres, and making some notes on writing dreams. It’s going to be a very, very indulgent night of literary obsessions, and a good bottle of wine will be required.

Yes. We’re getting to the turning point here. Soon, I’ll have fewer distractions. I’m very excited to see how that unfolds. I’m trying to imagine it and it seems ridiculously fanciful. Like who has THAT life, where they can roll out of bed at 6, get half their workday done by 10, get dressed, enjoy a break, and finish the workday entirely by 2 or so, and enjoy the rest of the day?

Soon, maybe me. :)

For now, it’s not quite so simple. But, soon.

Oh, For God’s Sake!

Okay, to the anonymous who left the comment that has inspired this rant:

It’s okay, I’m not taking it personally, and I understand you were coming from a nice place and being genuine. Still. It ain’t you, it’s society, and I’ve been meaning to comment on this for awhile.

_____________________

I just broke up with someone, and I’m a bit touchy about it, even now, a whopping eight days later. I know, all these hours and days have passed us by, a whopping eight days and six hours, and I ought to certainly be all good and better and fine about it.

But I’m not. I know, I’m hoping to nip this in the bud before a stunning two weeks has passed, but I’m so emotionally stunted that I’m not sure I’ll quite manage that.

Okay, obnoxious mode is off.

Here’s the deal: I fucking hate the western culture of pretending we’re stoic and tough and good and fine just a few days after any kind of adversity befalls us.

It’s like old-school hockey. “Holy smokes! Didja see that hit?! That boy had his bell rung but good. The coach is looking him over, and he’s giving some shakes of his head. Holy hell, he’s joining the team again. This kid’s a trouper — bell ringing and keeps on singing!”

Back in the day, you took your hits like a man and played through, no matter what the cost. Naturally, it turned out the costs were high.

You have to understand, strong and stoic are things I strive to be. I understand life’s hard and comes with challenges, and it ain’t all fun and games. I’ve had some really hard times in the last decade particularly, and I think I’ve handled them all pretty well. Never perfect, but who among us is?

If I just up and dropped the thing with the ex, and all the struggles I’ve hit this week, you know what? You’d stop reading me. Because I would cease to be myself. It’s this overly analytical, detail-focused, mildly obsessive, often compulsive cynical satirist you’ve come to enjoy. That’s who I am. I’m a rebel without a cause, a thinker without a clue, and a poser with no apologies. That’s me. I get lost in the chaos that is my life because I am absolutely unapologetically self-obsessed.

I’m not at all the guru some people have taken me for. (WHY have you done this?) What I am, is a really, really, really good reality surfer.

See, whatever comes at me, I find a way to ride it until it breaks. I’m very good. I’ve had to be. I don’t have a smooth-sailing life in the least. Ahh, I’m so in it for the drama, man.

Anyhow, whatever. The point is, my relationship ended just a week ago. I’m not gonna just drop the topic and be magically healed like I’ve just had a Jerry Falwell moment or something. Anyone who does is just asking to get fucked mentally, because that’s not how to deal with troubles. Own it, experience it, make love to it, and let it go. Don’t just chuck it and hope the garbage guys come.

I’ll be moving on from this, you can bet your ass on that. Soon, too, probably, but it’ll happen after I’ve really come to learn something from the experience. See, my life is lived because I choose to examine it — and now, immediately, not some 50 years down the road as I write my memoirs.

Keep in mind: This week holds a party, a concert, a big social night out, and maybe a couple other things. It’s busy. I’m not sitting around on my ass as much as it might sound. When I am around, I need to learn a little about podcasting.

The podcast looms in the nearer future now. A matter of weeks, for sure, probably three of them. The trouble I now have is that I need to design a new blog. I will be keeping the Cunt alive, and feeding it periodically, but there’ll be a new blog, Smut & Steff, a companion blog to my podcast. You’ll see photos and notes and such about things inspiring me any given week, some postings of mine, and that sort of thing. I intend to have it be a very symbiotic relationship, sort of like blog+podcast=steffness, I hope.

So, a new blog, a new podcast… much looms. In the meantime, deal with my self-involved life — I can’t afford therapy, and you’re a sexy listener, so I’m thinking it’s working just fine for the short-term. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest and shit sometime this week and my writing will snap back on soonish, I suspect.

Thoughts On a Monday

I wonder sometimes if not being alone with our thoughts is why Becoming Single is often so hard for us. We finally feel like the scary silences are broken by this voice of this Other who has acclimatized themselves to becoming a part of our lives. And, one day, they go. For good, for bad, for now, for all time, they simply go.

Then, silence. And in that silence, questions of doubt, of your worth, of your import, they all start to whisper and wail in the walls of your mind, and then where are you? In a storm of your making. A thought storm whirling around your newly deserted cerebellum.

It doesn’t matter that I don’t think it’s me that caused my recent break-up. It doesn’t matter that I believe myself to be a good person to know and a kindred heart. It doesn’t matter that I know what talents I have an all areas of my life. What matters is, I’ve suddenly found myself single again. Naturally, the next step is to wonder what’s wrong with myself and why it didn’t work.

I’ve done a little of that this past week, but not nearly as much as I would have expected. Probably one of the least likely questions for me to ask myself, actually, is “why me?”

I once wrote a rant about how much existentialists piss me off, and how much I hate that question, “Why me? Why me?” I think I said, “Why you? Because it’s your fucking turn!” Maybe that’s as simple as it really is. I don’t ask why I go through adversity. I know why, ‘cos shit happens, and this shit is my shit, and trying to figure it out beyond that is gonna give me an embollism.

Sitting around after a week like I’ve had and wondering “Why me?” isn’t exactly productive. I do it, though, but to a different end.

I don’t remember how much I’ve said, but the people who laid me off on day two of employment have offered to have me back to the job on August 1st, and I’ve agreed. To tell you the truth, when I first started that job, I was expecting to be hired for another on my very first morning with them. I wound up catching my prospective new employer at a bad time, tried calling later, and remain in the dark about that job to this day. The point is, I walked into my “new” job with a really bad attitude. I didn’t want to be there, and wanted to be hired for another job by noon.

In short, I was a fucking spoiled brat who was living anywhere but in the present. WHAT IF I lost that job to get reminded of how appreciative we ought to be about everything that comes our way? What if I lost it to be shown just how wrong negativity and cynicism can be? I thought I would hate the job, because my perception was that it was 80% bookkeeping. Know what? That’s the last dude’s incompetence. In my world, it’s 6-8 hours a week, and that’s after having been around for a week. In fact, now that I’ve been there a week, I know the job’s a good fit for me. What’s more, I’ll be awesome at it.

So, this week and next week, I’m working for my old employers. (Never burn bridges.) Then, I’ll return. It’s nice, it’s the first job I’ve had in a long time where I’ve been able to walk in, figure out what needs doing, and not have anyone on my back micromanaging me. Some of us folk have motivation and a sense of work ethic, you know, and we work better without being told what to do. That’s me! If there’s anything I felt at the end of my day Friday, I’d have to say empowerment would be the word.

In the end, I’m glad to be single this week. I’ve been through the ringer, and while it’s awesome to have someone around to be a support and all, there’s also something to be said for enduring adversity on your own. This has been the second worst summer of my life. Hands down. Only the summer when my mother died was worse than this. And I’m so proud, I guess, that I’ve kept it together to a degree. I’ve not let all of you in as much as I could have about all the things I’ve been feeling. Those who read The Ditch probably know more about that side of my life of late, but either way, I’ve been stifling some of the fear.

I had a boyfriend once who fancied himself a philosopher. We were talking about insanity and Catch-22. If you think you can go insane, does that mean you’re more sane, or already insane? I believed then, as I do now, that it means you’re probably less likely to go insane if you realize the potential you hold for becoming insane, if that makes any sense.

After this past month, I can tell you unequivocally that I think it’s possible I could one day lose my sanity. I don’t think I ever will, but I could. This past six weeks felt pretty fucking close to it, but it never did happen.

I’m finally in silence, though. Not only am I single again, but the constant bickering going on at the back of my mind has ceased – the insecurities, the worries, the wonders. For now, it’s ceased.

There’s the old saying, “Why do I keep hitting myself in the head with a hammer?” The answer? “Because it feels so good when I stop.” Welcome to my life. And this, this is “stopped,” and it feels so-o-o good.