Tag Archives: trust

Trusting in the School of Life

Something flipped my switch, making me think about trust this morning. Trust and asking for help. I don’t really do these things well.

In my full-nomad life of globetrotting to come, I suspect the lessons I’ll learn fastest, hardest, most often will do with trusting others and asking for help from folks who’ve got nothing to gain from helping me.

I could tell you I’m travelling the world alone, and sort of I am, but really, I’m not. Every trip will mean me relying on the kindness of others, and trusting that everything will work out so I get where I need to be when I need to be there.

People after people after people. Flashes of life before my eyes, and then they’ll be gone again, all playing a small, fleeting moment of importance in my journey.

It’s All in the Fix

There are no rules, really, to travelling the world. Most people I know who have travelled long-term did it on savings and didn’t have to work, so hostels were a great way to keep costs down.

Not an option for me. I’ll have to work 30 hours a week, perhaps more if I’m writing well and often. At the very minimum, I’ll need a private room. I also want to do a lot of cooking when I live in towns with famous markets.

For the cooking and the penchant for panstlessness, it’s in my nature to want to have apartments entirely to myself when I travel. Still, I’ve recently made a choice that at least ⅓ to ½ the time, I will stay with hosted AirBNB places.

Bonus points if it’s run by:

  • A Granny
  • A savvy middle-aged artsy woman who makes bold life decisions
  • Foodies who offer opt-in meals that are traditional and regional

Options include lovely families on farms, an avant garde female journalist in Morocco, a Frenchman who enjoys cooking at a professional level, and so many other stories and biographies of people I can stay with.

Megolithic stones of Camaret, France, in Brittany, where I hope to spend 4-6 weeks. By y.caradec.

Megaliths in Camaret-sur-Mer, France, in Finistere, Brittany, where I hope to spend 4-6 weeks. By y.caradec.

The Gift of Limitations

It’s easy to think that having to travel on a budget is a “downside,” but I think it’s a gift.

One of my “limitations” in my travel plan is the goal of spending under $750/month in lodging fees. That excludes a lot of cities unless I want to splurge for a week and follow it up with a budget stay. It also dictates when I can visit popular places (since winter months are cheaper), and it will make me have to make difficult or creative travel choices for a while.

It’d be easier to achieve that budget in South America, but I just want to see Europe in-depth so badly. There are a lot of travel-free years I have to atone for. Plus, I want to eat all the foods and drink all the wines. They encourage drinking at lunch, people. AT LUNCH. And naps!

Why wouldn’t I want to start travelling there?

Lost in Translation

As time passes, I start realizing what it’ll be like with people who often don’t speak English or who do it badly. This will further hone my ability to trust because I won’t understand them very well either and we’re apt to have mixed messages.

Then there’s travel’s unpredictability. One of my neuroses is how it sends me for a tizzy when things don’t work out PRECISELY as I plan. This is exactly what’s going to test me the most. At least I can take solace in that I usually roll really well with adversity and changes in the plan — after an initial freak-out phase, before I take a few breaths and sort that shit out. I suspect travelling will streamline how quickly I transition from freak-out to sort-out in the future, though, and for the better.

Waiting On My Soul to Change

It will all be worth it, though. The biggest classroom, the best lessons, the longest learning experience of my life. They will all be worth it.

I’m excited to see how living-on-the-road travel changes me, how being immersed in other cultures and values reminds me of what’s important in life.

I’m even excited to have WiFi and data plans become problematic, because I’m looking forward to life where I’m engaged and observant all the time, not distracted and staring into my phone.

I’ll also appreciate food a lot more when I seldom have a kitchen I can just walk into and cook in, or when I’m constantly ordering meals in different languages only to find out after the fact that it’s something I abhor. “Oh, look. It’s tripe stew.”

Daydreaming Through Dreariness

My adversities of my 30s really taught me a lot about what the “big things” in life are, and how stupid so much of what we worry about is. I expect for these lessons to be amplified when I’m on the road. All the things I can’t change. All the things out of my power. All the things that can be improvised.

All the things.

It’s increasingly hard for me to live in the present, but I think that’s less about my wanting to get out on the road and more about the fact that January just kind of sucks. Got the no-good winter blues, baby.

When spring comes here in Victoria, it’s a magical time, and it’ll be easier being in the moment and remembering that all I need is a good coffee, a seaside seat, and the time to enjoy it. While I can, here.

A friend just asked me this morning if I would move back to Victoria when these travels are all said and done.

Gotta tell ya, the more I look at the rest of the world, the more that answer’s likely to be no. It takes so much to have the money to live the “good” life here. The swish-swish-zoom-zoom of traffic isn’t really my idea of bliss anyhow. I think a more remote life awaits me in the next chapter after travelling. It’s just a matter of where in the world it’ll be.

The funny thing is, I trust that I’ll find a place that completes me and makes me feel like I have everything I want. I know it’s out there. I know it. People will tell you they travel because they’re looking to find something, learn something. I’m sort of travelling to find my tribe, my place in the world, my passion for people. If there’s anything I trust already, it’s my ability to find that.

That’s a good start.

People are People: Good, Bad, and the Ugly

Come morning, everything always changes. New. Nice. No fuck-ups yet. Yesterday’s badness has fallen away, but it’s left me in thought — not surprising, given I dig thinkin’. And here’s the thinkin’ it produced on humanity in general.

Sometimes we get unfortunate reminders of just how far-ranging humanity is. Good people, bad people. Ugly-ass people.

It’s like that moment from the creepy ’50s sci-fi movie where the scared teen boy looks in the camera and whispers, voice shaking: “We are not alone.”

A popular poster of a reliable friendship.

People bring out the best and worst in each other. We feed or flounder off whatever is projected at us. Here on the interwebs? Hoo-whee! We get schooled but good on humanity here.

Anonymity is the greatest thing to ever happen to cowards.

Some people thrive from hurting others, get adrenaline from it. We shake our heads and mutter “I don’t understand.” But what’s there to understand? They’re nuts.

There’s crazy then there’s The Crazy, as my bi-polar friend says.

It happens. Hate happens. Shit happens. Life happens. It happens.

One of the haters from this past weekend sent a bunch of extremely personal emails to the presenters, using our open lives to launch their attack.

I won’t indulge the meglomaniacal jerk’s wish to get limelighted. There’s a reason I moderate comments, his will never be published.

Stupid fuck, as if. Waste yer time if you like, pal — no blogspace for your hate!

But, boy, it reinforces my thinking on people.

I’ve always been that person who knows, if I have five REAL friends when I die, I’m a lucky gal. Most folks just walk away. That’s reality.

Trust me. Wait until life gets hard. Most people will walk. The ones who don’t, they’re keepers.*

The best thing that can happen to you in adversity is to find out who’s real and who’s not. At least then you’re on sure footing. Look at the lemonade you’ve made from those lemons: Now you know who’ll take bullets for you.

And don’t kid yourself, you’ll be surprised when the sieve of life separates the real friends from your illusory ones. It’s often not who you think it’ll be that makes the cut.

Here’s what I know: Good people assume most people are good. Sure, they are. But, the bad, they take up more real estate in our lives.

Have you ever heard the saying about retail, that 80% of your customers take up 20% of your time, but the other 20% take up 80% of your time with their bullshit? That’s kinda like people in real life, too. That 20% of people really know how to dial up the angst, betrayal, lies, and fear.

That consumes us, it takes over. If we let it.

Most people in life have serious flaws. Just remember that. Remember your own imperfections.  Most don’t have it in them to give “true” friendship to more than a few people. Don’t be surprised if you don’t make their cut.

You’ll have a few real friends in your life. But not many.

Welcome to Realityville.

Hey, your dead-body-removal crew should never have more than 6 people in it anyhow. That would make it too difficult to kill those who know your secrets. Too many to bury in your average backyard. Hardy-har-har.

But, seriously, it’s true. There’s only so many people you can rely on. Everyone else, sooner or later, will fail you. Most fail in small, meaningless ways, but sometimes in huge ways. We dismiss the small failings, but they should serve as indicators for The Bigger Things, because some chances hurt too much to take.

That penchant for flaws is not some price we pay in modern life. People have always been flawed. We just like to dupe ourselves into believing everyone has our moral code.

But they don’t.

And we act all shocked when we see this. Really? You didn’t suspect dickheads roamed the planet? Nazis? Killers? ZOMBIES?

I’m really not surprised some asshole spewing vitriol has emerged from this weekend. I’m only surprised they’ve been sitting around making notes for months, trying to create a destructive picture of who we are out of snippets we’ve revealed. Oh, yeah, there’s a healthy life.

That’s what I’m surprised about. Takes a special knack to be this pathetic for this long.

The rest of it, it’s just life as usual. Like great writers say, betrayals come in love and war, and every other time of year.

I’ll smile and chat with most people, pass a few moments in their company, but when the crunch-time comes, I know they’re not who I’ll be calling.

When the word comes down, handshakes are exchanged, tallies added up, I remember: I never would’ve called them for that dead-body haul anyhow.

Would those you’d call still come when asked?

Then you’ll be just fine. Forget the rest. Seriously.

*And people walk for myriad reasons, not all of which deserve your judgment. Sometimes our own battles don’t allow us to be there for others. We have to make our choices. Don’t take it personally all the time. Take it for what it is: Revealing who WILL be there. Don’t judge too harshly those who can’t be.

Revisiting: "You Can Make Me Come, But…"

I’ve not been in my right mind this week, literally. So, I’m about to do something I don’t often do, which is to qualify and revisit an opinion piece; the one I posted in response to an anonymous question yesterday.

I’m human and flawed at the best of times, but this week I’ve been plagued with migraines, sleeplessness, and a few other symptoms as a result of an acute sinus infection. I’m beginning to get well, thank god, but it’s made me irritable, angry, unpleasant, and really, really bleak for the last few days, and I think it’s been showing a little too readily in some of my writing, and in this piece in particular.

First off, I’m not doing a 180 here, okay? The reader asked if I thought she was a hypocrite for doing everything but sex. No, not for that reason. I think honesty’s the most important facet of any relationship – be it with a parent, lover, friend…honesty’s EVERYTHING.

If you’re not sleeping with someone because you’re nervous, because you think you want to wait, or whatever your flavour is, then be honest. Say that sex is a really, really huge step for you, and you make no promises, and you may even wait until marriage, but that you really don’t know what your sexual future holds for now, and they can’t have any expectations of it, no matter how much you might be enjoying playing with them as you head down the road together. And if it’s confusing for them, tell them it’s far more confusing for you, because you know that’s the truth.

Don’t take the easy way out, don’t choose some simple pat answer like, “I’m waiting until marriage,” when you know deep down inside that’s not what it’s about.

Besides, you’re selling a lot of guys short. No, they may well not wait until marriage, because marriage is a huge, huge thing, but they might wait one hell of a long time for you, and you’re not giving them that opportunity to honestly consider what it is they would or wouldn’t do for you.

It’s such a hard topic, that of when sex is the right move to make. I have no qualms with abstinence until marriage, but whatever the reasons you’re choosing not to have sex, you need to be honest about them. You need to be honest about every aspect of your life, and I truly believe that.

Honesty shouldn’t be some lost virtue, or something we pull out when it’s convenient to us. It’s hard to be honest about our fears and our emotions, and sometimes being honest about them leads to hard places and difficult roads to travel because it can be so damned confusing to admit what lies behind our poker faces, but the cliché of it being the best policy is true for a reason.

It’s only through that honesty with each other that we can face challenges and adversities. If you’re being dishonest, even about something that’s “kind of” true, like waiting for the right person, you’re setting the groundwork for yourself to tell little white lies when it makes things a little easier for you to process.

I disagree with that to the very core of who I am.

Did I handle the question well? No. I’ve been in a really dark place this week and I’ve not been comfortable facing it. I’ve been dealing with things somewhat passive-aggressively, it turns out, and while I have reasoning for it, it doesn’t really excuse it.

And while you have reasoning for stretching the truth, it never excuses it, either. These are the simple truisms behind living a good life, and you are trying to choose how you want to live. Don’t commit one transgression to stave off another. Clearly, by asking the question as you did, you’re already somewhat uncomfortable with how you’re handling the situation, so maybe it’s time to reconsider.

As for abstinence – feeling guilty about it, questioning it… Abstinence is a hard, hard road to choose. You’ll have weak moments. You’ll feel pressured. You’ll feel like you’re alone in a big, sexy world. And if abstinence is really important to you, then you need to be strong and hold your position. Don’t compromise just because of all those pressures out there in that big, scary world. Do it when it’s right for you, because it’s not something you’ll ever get a chance to revisit.

Personally, I thought I waited for the right guy. In the end, we stayed together too long because I didn’t want to admit he wasn’t the right one after all. You need to be aware that waiting for rightness doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve made the right choice, and it may still go wrong, and you may eventually realize you made a mistake, and if/when that should happen, you can’t hold it against yourself. The majority of our relationships are bound to end, and many of those will end badly, and that’s why they say that all is fair in love and war; because sometimes love is war. Sometimes it’s wrong. So, if you’re holding out, be realistic, and know that your intentions are what counts, not the end result of your actions… if that makes any sense.

Anyhow. I wanted to edit that piece as soon as I posted it, but my mindset had gone to a darker place and I couldn’t conjure the genuine sentiment I needed to do the job right. I hope I have now. For whatever it’s worth, sorry it was harsh. I still agree with some of what I said, but I wish I’d said it better.

Q & A: “You Can Make Me Come, But We Can’t Fuck”

I was sent the following question in a comment this morning, and yes, they were right, it is an interesting topic to write about. Time’s not on my side today, so this is a quick take on the question… a question that could unleash some interesting discussion, and I hope it does.

I decided that I want to wait until marriage to have sex, but I’m still a chronic masturbator and ok with doing stuff with guys that doesn’t involve penis-in-vagina sex. I guess I just don’t really trust anyone enough to go “all the way” with them. Do you think I’m a hypocrite?

You want the short answer? Yep, I do think you’re a hypocrite, more or less. Thanks for putting words in my mouth.

There is nothing that makes me snicker more than religious types (which I don’t know if you are one or not) who tell me they’re abstaining from sex until marriage, but that they’ve done nearly everything except things involving penetration.

It’s the same reason why Bill Clinton was lambasted for claiming he “did not have sexual relations with that woman!” I mean, come on. You’ll get them off, they’ll get you off, but when it comes to insertion, you’re gonna play the morality card? What the fuck is that?

Oral sex, manually-induced orgasms, it’s all intimacy, and it’s all banned off primetime TV, all right? It ain’t for the kiddies and the after-school special, y’know?

If you’re not comfortable having sex for one reason or another, fine, but be honest about why you’re not. Don’t claim you’re some sanctimonious person waiting for the right person or whatever. Admit that you’re scared. Admit you have trust issues (which you have done here).

It’s all right be to scared, but don’t cover it up with some vow of chastity. Don’t run from the situation just because you haven’t got the sack to ante up and face it. I think it’s dishonest to be chronically masturbating, allowing men to get you off, trading favours, but then claiming you’re “abstaining” from sex. Why? What’s the point? You’re already doing all the intimate things a person can do. You’re already investing in carnal pleasures. You’re already sinning in the eyes of most religions.

It’s the sexual equivalent of someone being issued a restraining order for not going within 100 metres of X person/place, and instead of just staying the fuck away, they stand day in and day out at a distance of 101 metres, toying with the allowed limits. How is that possibly honouring the spirit of the situation? It’s not. It’s a crock, is what it is.

I could be all nice and say, “Oh, I understand the ambivalence of not having sex,” and all that, but honestly, you’re already feeling guilty and like you’re breaking some code, or else YOU wouldn’t have asked if you’re being a hypocrite. If you have to ask, then you are. Pretty simple.

If you were abstaining from sex and not letting men finger you, not masturbating, not exploring oral, then you would not be a hypocrite.

But, you, honey, are a hypocrite, any way you slice it. I’m sorry if the truth hurts, but it is what it is.

You’re scared of intimacy, you’re hoping like hell you’re being Just Good Enough to be virtuous, and you know, deep down inside, that you wish you could be fucked silly, but you don’t have the courage or the backbone to go there, because you’re scared that once you give them what they’re really wanting, that they’ll walk right on out on you.

And maybe, just maybe, they will. And maybe, just maybe, those fears are valid.

When it comes to morality, religion doesn’t tend to offer shades of grey. Things are sins, or they are not, and you don’t get to have the decoder ring to decide just how much of one particular action equates a sin. It doesn’t work that way. So, if you’re toying with it anyhow, why not just fucking buy the full-meal deal and get on with it? You’ve not started to go up in flames with the fires of Hell licking all around you yet, so what are you so scared of?

Again, I don’t know if religion plays a part in your decision, so the “you” in regards to anything religious is rhetorical, not specifically YOU.

I just wish people were more honest about their actions, and this duplicitous “well, you can get me off, but you can’t come inside of me” behaviour is symptomatic of all the hypocrisy that surrounds us. I grow tired of it, that’s all.

(Feeling that I may have sounded a little harsh in this post, I decided to revisit it, as I know there are some “virgins” out there who are trepidatious about their sexuality, and I don’t want to add too much fuel to that fire. Check out my second take here.)

The Great Divide: When Relationships Falter

I read one of my reader’s blogs this weekend and found myself thinking about it afterwards. Now, there’s two takes on this posting of his, and this is the first of them. The other I need to write, and it’ll probably be shorter. Since this posting, he’s had awesome sex with the wife and things are looking more promising. (Again, two words: Cock ring.)

He said the following:

Lately my wife has a new habit of staying up as late as I do. She falls asleep early often, but it is on the couch, refusing to go to bed until I do, which is funny since we all know nothing is going happen there. If she goes to bed, she wants me to use the computer from the bedroom. It’s like she’s making sure I have no life to myself, that everything about me must belong to her.

I am married, not owned.

The last line really hit me. No, he’s not the first to say it, but it’s a powerful statement any time it’s spoken. We are not possessions. We are not commodities. We need air, space, trust, and faith. We cannot consciously be shown on a constant basis that we are not trusted, or not only will the fabric of the relationship shred, but so will our self-esteem.

When self-esteem goes, so does any hope of a genuine relationship. It’s a vicious fucking cycle, and one that’s often created out of the insecurities of one lover not trusting the other. Often, it’s simply communication issues, which I’ll talk about next time.

That previously mentioned distrust can be valid. Very. Infidelity isn’t some urban legend that wives whisper about around the water cooler, in daunted tones like they’re talking about the relationship equivalent of Boo Radley; it’s a pressing concern for many relationships, and something both parties need to work very, very hard to avoid.

Creating an atmosphere of distrust when you have no proof, when it’s just you being insecure or having a bad time of it, is dangerous. You’re creating a bell-jar effect for your relationship. Meaning, you’re conjuring a sense of psychic disconnection from your lover by forcing them to be guarded, defensive, or even secretive.

In talking about the article in question, my loverman and I were discussing how, technically, Haaaaa’s blogging manner is an act of defiance and untrustworthiness simply because he’s airing the dirty laundry without seeming to be working on it with his wife, but that’s arguable, considering that she doesn’t seem to be talking, and just pointing fingers. I commented that I felt he was doing the lesser of all evils; he either blogged about his anger and disconnection in a way to get to the bottom of it or would find some commonality with others out in the world, or would instead find himself an outlet or Band-aid out in the world, via an inappropriate relationship with a woman, or some other negative stopgap.

Let’s say this loud and clear: You do not own title on your lover. You simply have lease on a part of their lives, whether you’re married or not. It is always, always, always in your best interest that your lover maintain some of their privacy and “me” time.

Clichés are true for a reason; the law of averages states that, more often than not, that is the truth in that given situation. Such as, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” The more you see a lover, the more chance you’re running out of time for yourself. The less time you have for yourself, the more the likelihood that your thoughts are getting drowned out in your mind.

You may want to be with your lover every day, but it’s just not entirely healthy. Time alone needs to be had, not just by you, but by them. Men, in particular, need that time alone. Manhood is a fragile thing, and when men get too embroiled in their women, they can lose touch with part of themselves. It may not be an immediately pressing issue, but it will eventually become a problem for both people in the relationship. Women need to be more possessive about their alone time, too, because it’s far too easy to find “self”-worth through a relationship – also a very detrimental thing, and something all too common with chicks.

Personally, alone time is absolutely essential to who I am. I can do without a social life, but I cannot, WILL not, do without time alone. To do so would be to destroy who and what I am. To do so would mean you’d get no fodder to read.

Marriages, I presume, eventually have phases where things get a little crowded. We’re told that, because it’s a marriage, it’s a “partnership” and everything is co-owned and shared, etc. In the end, though, it can’t be. I’ve quoted Grandma Death from Donnie Darko before, and I’ll do it again now: “In the end, every living creature dies alone.”

Between now and your death, make certain that the person who finds their way into that pine box is a reflection of the person you’ve always been. Keep your passions, keep your loves, and allow your lover the time to maintain their own. Healthy people make for healthy relationships.

Each partner must be able to indulge in passions and enjoyments on their own, or soon, they will lose some of their sense of selves, and while the relationship may continue to seem decent in an average kind of way, it’s not going to be same as it once was. Ever. Instead, the relationship becomes a tug-of-war, or worse, routine. Never, ever settle for the routine, and tug-of-wars aren’t worth the energy expended on them.

We can easily forget about the things that make us tick. Face it, life is designed to distract us from unhappiness. Not thrilled with life? The new Audi will solve that problem. Things getting too difficult? The airline has a 2-for-1 deal on flights. Insecurities getting you down? Bedhead’s got great hold in their hair products, and they smell nice, too!

When we’re unhappy in relationships, in life, we fill the gaps with things, with television, with sleep, with food. We do everything we can but face the problem itself, fearing that the cure is worse than the illness – which is often anything but true. Talk to your lover. Trust them. Give them space. Go listen to Sting’s “If You Love Somebody (Set Them Free)” and remind yourself that the song’s just echoing an eternal truth. Love comes back to you. And if it doesn’t, it was never yours to begin with. Again, clichés are true for a reason.

Why it takes so long to leave an unfulfilling relationship is that we can sometimes forget what it was like to be single, and we forget the sense of fulfillment we can take from ourselves. It’s scary, the notion of being alone versus being unhappy and together. The devil you know, etc. Relationships have a way of falsely making us feel whole – until the relationship’s flaws begin to become evident and we remember that, once upon a world, we were a different person with different needs and somewhere, somehow, who we were began to murkily assimilate with who our lovers were, with the lines dissipating in the dark of it all.

We are not possessions. We are flawed, imperfect beings who sometimes need the space to remember ourselves, for our lovers’ sakes. But, mostly, for our own.