Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 151

I feel like I should have something to say but that the heat has affected my brain. Either that or I'm in shock due to having a three day weekend. It's still continuing silent around here with the exception of my mother sending me a 'poke' on facebook and calling without leaving a message today. I only know I feel an apology is in order and that I'm not settling for less this time. Beyond that I feel like I don't have anything to say at the moment. I'm feeling less stressed as the days go by. And, I wonder at times if that's a sign of some inner coldness on my part or, instead, an indicator of the negative influence she's had on me. *sigh* Time to turn on the A/C, methinks. More tomorrow, probably.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 144

Went hiking again today, this time at Chub Trail out west on 44. I think the park is actually called West Tyson. It was probably the toughest trail I've checked out so far-lots of hills and very rocky in places. Very beautiful but very muddy. Enough with the rain, seriously! About 2 hours in, I got to a point where I figured I'd head back before I got completely covered in mud. About 5 minutes after I do, I see these three little boys walking by themselves, heading in my direction. I stop, thinking I'll let the parents catch up with them and let the group get past me on the narrow trail but, when they saw me and started waving their arms like they needed help, it was obvious that something was up. Turned out that they'd wandered off on their own, walkie talkie in hand and had no idea how to get back to the trailhead. Poor things, the walkie talkie was out of range of their parents, they'd dropped and cracked open one of their bottles of water, leaving them with just one between the three of them. The oldest boy kept tearing up (but continuing to walk along at the same time) and the two younger ones, only wearing flip flops in all that mud, had given up and were going barefoot. I couldn't imagine what their parents were thinking, as I chatted with them, sort of shepherding them back toward the trailhead. Luckily, one of their parents met us coming back after we'd been walking about half an hour and, then, these little boys (I'm guessing the oldest was 9) just dissolved. That whole time, they'd done the stiff upper lip thing and held it together even though they'd been wandering, according to one of them, 'for a long, long time. Maybe an hour,' before I ran into them.

There's not really a point to this blog, I suppose, except for the fact that what I usually get out of my hikes is a sense that I'm doing something vaguely exercize-ish and getting to connect with nature and the chance to clear my head after accumulating a week's worth of crap at work. It was kind of nice to feel like there was a little something extra out there this week.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 142

Okay, so, I'm still struggling with the fallout from my most recent encounter with my mother. (I prefer to think of them as mini seminars in tolerance-sounds so much more positive.) And, actually, the fallout so far has just taken the form of silence. It's both a nice break and slightly unnerving as I'm left wondering what she's going to come back at me with now. *sigh* I know, deep down, that I'm just doing what feels better for me and that I'm fighting for what I deserve. It's still just really hard.

The other thing on my mind, the thing that has me creeping on here at work, is this larger issue of honesty and pretense. Work has gotten more and more difficult lately as the emphasis is shifting to impressing on me the importance of acting like I care about what goes on here. I'd say that I don't care but that's not an accurate description. I do care about doing a good job and meeting the expectations laid out for me. But, do I get excited about the work that this department does? Do I want to understand on more than a superficial level how what I do fits in with what everyone else is doing. No to both questions. I've said before that I take care *not* to read what comes across my desk too closely and I really don't want to know exactly what goes on in the labs we oversee. So, I'm left with the dilemma of trying to act as though I do care well enough to keep this job until I can find something I do care about. This gets the 'dilemma' label because, well, I just plain suck at pretending enthusiasm anymore. About the only time I can manage it is with one of the munchkins and that's nowhere near the same thing since I really do care about whether they're happy or not. But, here? I really just don't care if the staples line up or the ink on the agenda is the right shade of blue. Is this a sign that I'm immature or ungrateful? I've tried to refocus and find again that gratitude I used to have for just having a job but the feeling that I'm being pressured to treat this as a career when it's not going to be that for me is making it more difficult.

Okay, enough bitching for now. More later.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 137

Ugh. Just ugh. I'm right on the edge of my stress threshold after this week and the usual suspect is at the bottom of it. And, I feel like I've both talked the topic to death and gotten what is the most sensible, caring advice from people who genuinely know what they're talking about. So, why do I still feel so torn? Why is it so godsdamn difficult to just make a clean break?

My best friend all through school had what I could only describe as a childhood right out of a very melodramatic tv movie. If I hadn't been there and seen a lot of it happen, that is. Her parents-man, they were some winners. Passing her back and forth after their divorce as they fought each other through her affection, letting her watch new lovers abuse them, doing crazy shit like holding the other parent at gunpoint. And, I always held whatever was happening in my home up against what they were doing to her and kind of said, "It could be *so* much worse." That's the biggest roadblock to recognizing a different form of victimization or abuse than the overt, more physical or even easily labeled varieties of emotional abuse. I mean, very few people (aside from this friend's mother) would justify having sex with someone in a car while your 12 year old is in the back seat trying to cover her eyes and ears. It's a bit more difficult to draw out and label the more subtle forms these things can take especially when you've watched someone grow up dealing with stuff like that.

Realizing that people can live through so much worse than I've had to face makes trying to fight for respect and the right to live my life free from condemnation and what feels more and more like harassment seem petty and childish sometimes. Yet I've reached a point where I feel so cornered by all of this that I see no other, reasonable course of action. So, no, I don't like making these decisions and I don't relish the idea of letting the 'inner bitch' go to work and doing what seems necessary to establish a lasting autonomy. And, my short-lived attempts to do this very thing in the past make me feel like I'm never going to succeed for that very reason. I don't *want* fights and disagreements and turmoil and drama. I don't *want* to have to avoid phone calls and messages. And, I really hope that doing these things won't result in the things I fear. But, I recognize that I haven't sought or initiated this drama and that I've done nothing to deserve the continued craziness being thrown at me. So... I'm trying to let go. I'm trying to step back from the insanity that still feels like normalcy after so many years of it. I'm reluctant to use these tools and I'm not very good at it but, I feel that there has to eventually come a point when you just have to either lie down forever or put an end to something that's killing you slowly once and for all.

Perhaps I won't be able to do this with confidence or without doubt. Perhaps? Okay, fine, I am probably going to keep having to tell myself I'm not the bad guy in this for a long time if things aren't resolved the way I need them to be fairly quickly. But, I'm tired of espousing certain ideals to others and not getting to see them realized in my own life. I only get once around, here. So far, it's been tough and cold, living in this world, more than it's been the happy-making thing it should be. I am tired. I'm going to try and find a new game to play while the larger pieces of my heart are still unshattered.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 130

The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
"On Children"

"And a woman who held a babe against
her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable."

We devote two days each year to mothers and fathers. We send flowers, buy cards, give gifts, etc. Yet, it occurred to me today that we don't really discuss what's important about parenthood. And in my usual way, this makes me want to throw questions at the general populace. How separated is the idea of one's mother or father from the biological definition of the labels? How much importance do we attach to the idea of gender in them? Where we place those who exist outside these labels says so much about us a culture. We, culturally, seem to like nicely delineated roles and labels. How many stories do we have about the quietly hardworking mother who bakes cookies and kisses hurts away? Or about fathers who are gruff and stern and teach their children about work and stoicism?

We could provide, perhaps, just as many about deadbeat dads who vanish on their children or single moms ill-equipped to handle motherhood who inflict their own variety of harm on kids through negligence and/or ignorance. We thrive on these simple, relatively uncomplicated archetypes of parenting. Well, I can't say that with a completely clear conscience. There are plenty of people in my life who I know see past that, who embody a different model proudly and with a great deal of deserved resentment at the limiting attitudes they see lauded with regard to what makes a mother and what makes a father. There are also those who don't get the honor of a title who parent in ways unnoticed and unsung.

When I honestly sit down and think about what seems valuable to me about the idea of a parent, a mother or a father, what I think about are the small ways so many people have helped to form who I am. Who are helping to form who I am becoming, I might even say. I spend a lot of time around people who have children lately. As someone who's wanted to be a parent for a very long time, I pay attention to them. And, I want to have a nice, neat conclusion here about what I've seen, what I plan to borrow and steal and avoid based on the different types of parenting I see going on all around me. But, I can't. The closest thing to an essential truth I can put in words is that most parents seem to make it up as they go along and that the strongest, happiest, most loving children I can point to seem to be the ones whose parents (whether single, partnered, of either gender, whatever) fall outside the carefully constructed ideas of parenthood our culture puts out Hallmark cards for. They're still strong parents and teach their children well but I see in their homes love balanced with discipline and more importance placed on the joy of being a parent than on modeled perfection. These are the parents who, it seems to me, who value their children as individuals and, if I can paraphrase Gibran, realize that their children aren't really 'their' children.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day 123

Noticed today that a blog I read regularly has shut down temporarily citing (albeit obliquely) concerns over the blog's content being read by those the writer is connected with in a professional capacity. At least, that's what I got out of the carefully worded statement that has taken the place of entries. Now, this particular blog does deal with sex and sexuality and the blogger's experiences with sex in a very...explicit manner. Regardless of the content, though, it's troubling to me. Wouldn't you think one's private life should be respected if one made clear, successful efforts to keep it separate from one's professional life? Also, it raises the question of what's an invasion of privacy these days. When does who we are outside the office become fair game for the boss, in other words? MO, I believe, is a right-to-work state, which means they can let you go for almost anything... Something that I'll be thinking about for a while, I'm sure.

Went out hiking again today, this time to Pere Marquette. Horribly muddy but I did manage not to fall this time. Gotta get some decent shoes for this, though. Took some pics which I'll put on fb as soon as it starts cooperating.

Another job interview on the 10th. I keep applying places and hope that something will turn up soon. In the meantime, I registered for PSG and joined the online group for that so, I should be able to put together everything I need and not end up down there for a week without something vitally important.

The next vegetarian potluck is on the 22nd, too, so, if you're reading this and not on fb for an invite, consider this one.

Got to see the munchkins yesterday for a couple hours. We all went to the Science Center and I think they had a good time. Emma and I had a discussion about who would win if a porcupine and a crab had a fight and decided that the crab would be okay as long as it kept its face hidden. Emma: "The porcupine would stick him in the face! In the face! In the face!" You'd have to have seen the demonstration she gave with two puppets to really appreciate it, probably.

Aside from that, I've spent the last week continuing to think about risk and being literally dared to take one or two. We'll see how that goes. If I go through with it (which I will unless I am somehow prevented from it by the gods. So there!) , I'm sure it will find its way in here. Oh, and I had a very nice date the other night with someone far too young for me but who is also quite fun. :)

That's it for now-more another day. Maybe even before next Sunday!