Saturday, November 30, 2013

Solondzed

Happiness is probably my favourite movie. Well it's up there at least, cause who am I to choose favourites? I prefer a grouping to a singularity. Regardless, for those of you who have not seen Happiness, you might well be thinking, sounds like a charming movie. Nothing wrong with happiness. For those of you who have seen the movie, you might well be thinking, what the fuck is wrong with her? And for the tiny few of you who get it. Get why Happiness is such a fantastic movie, this post is for you.

Over a year ago I posted about the breaker of my young heart. Astoundingly named Hart,  which is why I mentioned it before. And his actual name is really that, and I wish I could change that I used it. I used it back when he was  mostly imagined. He was constructed out of memories drugged with young person passion, so he was not so much a real thing as he was the perfect story. And I had to use his name, because it was such a perfect name.

I was sitting playing nerdy boardgames with my ex and kid. We have family board night in a kinda cool little cafe that has some superior coffee. I was distractedly looking at my phone while my kid was off playing with a friend. I saw an email came in. It was from Hart. The real one, not the imagined one. I was surprised as my heart actually skipped a beat. But I left it. To be read later, when kids are in bed and ex husbands are home.

He was feeling nostalgic. It made me smile that I was a source of this for him. When I wrote the post Superheros, I was in those feelings too. What I want to say here is not the details, but the feeling, the very strange sensation of walking slowing into your memories with a person you have not seen since those memories were made. I sent him to this blog, but to the front page, knowing Superheros was in there, buried and dripping with young girl angst. I thought, if he reads down far enough he will find it. I woke up the next morning with a message. He had.

We started going over memories and trading one liners and I caught myself flirting. With Solondz -esque compulsion I could not keep myself from talking to him. Here I was chatting with a memory.
Though bit by wit we started to catch glimpses of the older versions of ourselves. And with what I can only describe as discomfort, I began to yearn just slightly for the lost possibility. He did too, and upon his discovery of my love of the afore-mentioned movie, it came into sharp focus what he had lost. A girl who could see the humour in the pain.

I got him on okc. To get him laid, I guess. Who knows, he seemed to be in need of connection, and for me it's always been a good place for that. He lives a million miles away, so compulsive need to seduce aside, it was impractical. Plus it's funny. It's Happiness funny. It's bittersweet, sarcastic and darkly human funny. The kind of funny that not so much makes you laugh out loud, but rather makes you shake your head and shut your eyes. He showed me who his first date will be with, and she looks perfect. I don't mean, sparkly teeth, shiny hair and nails perfect, but smart and sassy and able to hold her own, perfect. She looked like a good fit.

When Hart first wrote to me, he wrote of compersion. It's the word poly people give to the feeling of happiness you feel when your partner is happy with someone else. You are happy for their happiness. It's a Solondz kind of happiness. One that hurts to feel. Happiness and irony and pain all in one. Hart later wrote that what we we doing felt like the opening of a movie, and maybe it is. Perhaps more in the middle or the end. But it has the elements.

It's not a Huges', boy meets girl/ boy loses girl/boy gets girl... it is  more, boy meets girl/ girl loses boy/boy finds girl/girl gets boy to go online to find another girl/girl ends up back where she started. In there somewhere, the boy keeps losing the girl too. But it's whimsical and funny and smart and filled with nostalgia. It shows the reality of trajectories. How sometimes you just jump in at an opening and jump out again at another. I love Solondz Happiness, its hard to watch, but if you do, there is stuff in there that is beautiful.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rub me the right way


I feel like I am coming out from under a rock. The Masters is done and now I have been unleashed into to world "qualified." It's strange, our identities. We wear them like clothing. My last fashion statement was a hit at parties. "Oh a massage therapist? How interesting  I have this clicking noise in my shoulder...."

My new counselling therapist incarnation brings out some the same kind of thing, albeit a very wormy can indeed. "Oh that's amazing. You know my uncle is a pedophile..."
People have always offerend me their skeletons though. I seem to invite the TMI. Truth be told I like it. I am interested. As you regular readers know, I love a good story. I don't get invested in the moral, I more just enjoy the journey. My story today kinda bridges that gap, the massage therapist meets emotional pain gap. I am not sure it has a moral, it was just a day I spent and I thought I would write it down.

Last month I had a vacation planned. A small one. Superman and I had rented a beautiful cottage and I was about to head off for 5 days of peace, quiet and dirty dirty sex. I havent really had a vacation in a long time and it was truly well deserved. As is our destiny, best laid plans and all, became unravelled.  He had to fly off and rescue family and I ended up taking my other favorite boy instead. He was about to leave to move to another coast and was a lovely substitute cuddle, but I was still a little sad that my time away had been upended. Massages were in order at a local spa I decided, and my friend and I set off, happily high to cook ourselves in hot tubs and get rubbed by people trained to do so.

I had called the spa and asked for an experienced therapist, because truth be told, I am not easy to massage. Let's just say I have lots of stuff, and I really don't like being petted. I need an elbow or two and some strong hands and I love gettting massaged. This particular day I was ready for it. I just wanted to lie down, close my eyes and let some hands take away some of the crap that had decided to crawl under my shoulder blade and hide.

So there I sat..patiently waiting, and time kept ticking by. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen. I could feel the anxiety rising. Where was he?  I went to a staff member and said, "I had an appointment 15 minutes ago and no one came to get me." I felt like a kid whose parents were late picking them up at school. Panicked, sad and worried that they would never show. They called and looked for him and assured me he was coming. I didn't believe them and my eyes started to sting with tears of disappointment.  Finally this very frazzled looking middle aged man showed up. He looked a bit like a younger Nelson Mandela, strangely enough. Not whom I would have pictured, but my experience has told me, that the most unlikely looking massage therapists were often the best. He was profusely apologetic. He told me he had made a mistake and had given the previous client 90 minutes instead of 60. He said, don't worry, I still have 90 for you. I was so relieved that he was there that I didn't mind. I just told him I understood. I was a massage therapist too and I knew how things happened. He was there now and that was all that mattered

We walked to the little hut. He was still so filled with apology, and I did my best to assure him. It was Ok. As we entered into the cabin he looked at me and said, "I have had my mind all over the place today. I don't usually make that kind of mistake. You see, I just found out this morning that my wife has a brain tumour."

The information hit me like a punch. But trained as I am, I didn't show it. I told him with as much empathy as I felt that that was terrible news. I was sorry to hear that. I said to him, "I understand. Just massage me. No need to talk or think." For those of you who are not massage therapists, you may not quite get it. There is something about going into someone else's body where you can leave yourself at the door and just enter into the moment of exchange. It is a very beautiful place we go sometimes when we work. Hokey as it sounds, it's healing to massage. It's hard to explain in words, but he knew what I meant and he gave me a very grateful smile. He said, "It won't affect the massage."  I said, "I know."

For the next 90 minutes I received one of the best massages I have ever had.
How do I really explain how absolutely beautiful that afternoon really was? I think I will just leave it at that.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Strong

 
 I have started seeing clients. My course work is done and I am now unleashed and allowed to scamper through the minds of those who are willing to let me. I had my very first client last week and all self deprecating snide comments aside, it was a truly moving experience. She was my kind of client. She is dying. Or at least she is in all probability dying. She was certainly coming to terms with this as a possibility. She is a cancer sufferer, or at least that is what she is now. What she was before was an entrepreneur, matriarch, socialite and the centre point of strength for her family. Now she is someone new. Someone everyone is uncomfortable with.

     Her daughter called me. She knew I had met her mother in a coping skills seminar I had given several months ago. I facilitate these all day events at a local cancer centre where skills and support are given to patients to help them cope with the multiple levels of stress and emotions that go along with being branded with the big "C" (or hushed, whispered little "c".) I had left an impression on her mother, she said  and she wanted  her to come see me because she felt she was not coping well. Every second word out of the daughter's mouth was related to strength. She is not strong enough, she is not fighting like she should, I am worried I am not strong enough, she was always so strong and now she isn't anymore, can we find some way to give her the strength? I felt for this daughter, whose love and respect for her mother was so apparent. You could see she was reaching out, not knowing how to make her mother back into the woman she used to be.

      Strength is such a loaded idea. What is it to be strong? We always think of it as a great character trait. Strength of mind, strength of body, strength to bear pain, strength to hide your feelings. You hear these stories in eulogies of how wonderfully strong the dead were. No one says, they were vulnerable and hurt and needing support. Instead we champion the stoic. Go into the night with your head held high. Why is this so laudable? Why not go into the night kicking and screaming and holding out your hand clinging to love and looking to be buffered from the fear? Because it hurts the ones around you. It burdens those who love you. It is scary to show your pain. It is even scarier for those who love you to see it. Both sides end up feigning strength. Shoring up their walls to hide their terror. It contains it supposedly.

       I saw this woman. And after about half an hour she was able to cry. She said to me, "oh, that feels so good. I have not cried in years and all I really wanted to do is cry." I told her that I had a very positive attitude towards crying, and I thanked her for being able to feel safe enough to do that in front of me. I wanted to talk to her about what it meant to be strong, since this was the word that was pervasive. I said, what is the strongest tree? In your mind is it a redwood? Giant and immovable? Or stop and think for a minute about a palm tree, slim and flexible. Delicate almost in appearance. When hurricane force winds blow who is left standing? It is not the old giant tree with its rigid trunk and unyielding branches. It is the palm tree, bending over to impossible angles, washed over by the force of the attack, accepting of the onslaught, that will survive. These are trees that were born to withstand trauma.

     To me strength is feeling. Strength is reaching out and admitting that that you are hurting and being able to accept help. Strength is being able to see your loved ones in pain and allowing them let go and bend with the wind, while understanding that it will not break them. Strength is not about building an impenetrable wall over which nothing gets in or out. Strength is about resilience and showing your pain and knowing that it will flow over you like a hurricane. It's true, some storms are too strong and we can become uprooted, but if our very design is to bend and flow with the wind, most of our storms will pass over us making us stronger and ready for the next one.

    So I dedicate this blog to the sufferers. I get angry sometimes with the rhetoric of fighting and strength that comes with cancer. It puts this onus on the ill. It makes them feel like they are failures when they look at their fear and their sadness. It makes them feel responsible when they have no energy to get up and fight. I say to them that your strength is in your reaching out your hand and saying, I am scared, I am lonely, I need your help. Your strength is in bending, and coming close to the ground where we can touch you.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fucking love

It's become frustrating all this cake eating. Having it. Eating it. Then came the couples counselling course. So now I have the privilege of self analysis. I love this class. I think it is my destiny but the class is dangerous. It's all about attachment.

Attachment styles are the next big thing. Are you securely attached? Insecurely anxious? Insecurely avoidant? Have your neurons been healthily formed to make your limbic system fire in a good way? Did you get enough attention as a child so can you safely roam trusting that your home base is steadily waiting in the wings to greet you with love and support? One can't help but to look at themselves and ask, what are my patterns?

The last couple of weeks I have been steadily self diagnosing. We all want to think we are securely attached. That we are both connected and independent. That we are capable of giving love that is open and trusting and that someone will do the same for us. When I peel back my layers I wonder. I wonder why there are times I feel so lonely.

It's not for lack of relationships. I have those. My daughter, my family, some beautiful souls that I can share my bed with. A big hairy dog who takes up too much space and demands love and affection in an unconditional and terminally endearing kind of way. There are just moments when there is an emptiness, a feeling of reaching out for something intangible with a longing so deep and poignant that your heart literally aches. The most deeply rooted fear in us all. Abandonment. Was it because someone didn't pick me up when I cried?

Thank fuck for plasticity. Our brain's unstoppable ability to change and grow and learn. Turns out, if you can find someone to pick your crying ass up in the present, you can change your destiny and feel safe all by yourself. Or so they say. The trick is to trust that you are not too heavy. Maybe I should eat less cake.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fantastical



I remember watching a British documentary once, years ago. It was about sex. They were interviewing men and women about their fantasies. They edited all the men together and one after one, they said the same thing: two women at one time. Threesome. No description or detail. Just the simple repetition. Two women at once. It was as if for them, just multiplying tits and ass by two was the ultimate turn on. More is better. Crass and direct. Boring.

The women however were dirty. Really really dirty. Dirty and specific. Dirty and creative. Dirty and downright kinky. One fantasized about apparatus, machines, and equipment and ways to be restrained. Another thought about animals, dogs and ponies. Another wanted to take control, having a man kneel before her and paint her toenails. And then there were the aliens...

I was talking about this with some friends, and we began to describe our own fantasy lives. We all agreed we had worlds. Not flashes or images, but narratives, details and repeated scenes that we would go over and over again until perfected. Personally, I have an island. I visit that island and replay scenarios. Chase scenes, auctions, and public displays. It's my world.

My favourite story is from a lesbian friend of mine. She had this fantasy that involved a power station. In her fantasy it is her orgasms that fuel the electricity. She would be in the station and people would have to make her come over and over again so that the energy would be generated. She said it made her feel so powerful. I loved the image. A city illuminated by her come.

I have had partners ask me what my fantasies are. I think in hope that they can fulfill them in some way. It is rare that I reveal the details. For one, they could never do to me the things I imagine. I think that is the point of the imagination. To go to the impossible. It is so limitless. I am not ashamed of my dirty world, it just belongs to me. I am in it's centre, the most desired, the most insatiable, the most irresistible. It feels like home, however, where calm sleep follows.

So two women you say? Imagination please. What are they wearing? How do they smell? What do they say to me as they take control? I need details please. I need impossibilities. It is a fantasy after all and that is the point.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

BIRT



So it is December 31st and I am in my Bikram yoga class and the teacher suggests writing a letter to ourselves for our intentions for 2013. First off, yes I know, I  am on that hot yoga bandwagon, I admit it. But what can I say? Sweating profusely in a room filled with people with really hot bodies is strangely addictive. Yeah sure, it's great for my core muscles, and somewhere in there is a quest for inner peace, but often it is just worth it for the six foot five blond  shirtless adonis downward dogging it right in front of  me. Ah the sweet smell of objectification. Let us just say, the teacher's continuous reminder to "stay with your breath" whilst probably not aimed directly at me, was certainly applicable to my wandering eye and brain.

I have never been one for New Year's resolutions. People ask me what mine are and I generally shrug and say I hadn't really thought about it. It's true, I probably have a shitload in need of resoluting , but empty promises made to myself after a night of disappointing early evening  binge drinking in uncomfortable shoes never really appealed to me.

I prefer the idea of an intention over a resolution.  Baby steps . So much less binding. Though word on the street is that the road to hell is paved with them. Good thing I thing I think the concept that there is an eternal fiery pit of doom for the damned is a crock of shit. I do have some intentions for the next little while, though. They mostly centre around appreciating my kid, my friends and my romantic entanglements. I often find myself slipping back into patterns of pissed off-ness about what I can't have rather than recognition of what I do have... and I do have so very much.

My main intention is to try and live right now. Must be the yoga again. That whole mindfulness thang. I catch myself wandering in my brain to the future. Calculating endless outcomes and probabilities. Imagining horrific results. I have a tendency to play out all trajectories so that I can preemptively solve all worst case scenarios. I wonder why it is I don't play out all the best case scenarios? Even when I pretend to win the lotto, I have myself figuring out how to discuss the issue with my financial advisor and how to divvy up the loot so that friends and family will all get what they need without harmful tax implications. Even my most depraved of sexual fantasies have an element of problem solving. How exactly is  that rope and pulley system designed? Wouldn't want to lose all circulation to my hands. How much do I go for at the auction and will there be a sensible diet and exercise regime on Slave Island? I mean if I am going to fetch such a high price, shouldn't my master get what they paid for?Endless planning.

So my intention for the year is to simply stop planning. I know that sounds totally counter productive. I am instantly imagining all the things that could happen if I didn't plan for all the things that could happen. This year I am taking a vacation from my calculating brain. I trust it will function adequately under pressure, in a crisis or with the duress of procrastinated deadlines. Let's just put that future stuff on hold for the instant and intend to be alive and noticing what is here and now. As I sit here on my couch with my dog, listening to my kid play cheerfully in her room,  I am noticing all the stuff that I never imagined surrounding me. It's best case scenario and I never planned for it.

So my New Year's wishes to all of you: May your present be better than you imagined futures. May you be surprised by what is in front of you and may your plans be outdone by the realities of your present. Namaste.