Not In The Past

Looking forward from 30

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Pots and Owls

I’m at a bit of a crossroads in terms of what I want to do with my blog again.  Part of the reason I liked having a blog under this alias was to allow me to post a bit more in detail about politics and issues that I may tend to get a little strident on (particularly gay rights), without it being the first thing that comes up when my real name is Googled.  I still see value in keeping a log of my everyday life, as cyclic as it may seem to be right now.

I feel like that while there are benefits to blogging under an alias, I feel like I fall into bad habits on here; especially when I start posting when I’m in a bad mood.  The posts feel like there’s a “cry for attention” aspect to them.  I just don’t feel like my blogging is currently up to snuff right now; I know I’ve written better than what I have in the last little while.  In the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about how the world just seems to be getting worse off, how the news always gets more depressing, and how people just find new ways to make me roll my eyes.  The main thing that keeps me fighting apathy and despair is the art, music, sex and potential that the world still offers.

I want to use the blog that’s set up under my real name again.  Not quite as frequently as this one will be used, but I feel like there’s not really a whole lot to it aside from a few photographs, links to articles I’ve written, and a vague promise that the site will be better someday.  If that is going to be one of the first things people find when they look for me, I want them to at least think I’m treating my ambitions seriously.  I like feeling that people who connect with me have an idea who I am in the real world instead of this nebulous identity that I have to keep cordoned off.  The main person I should be writing for is myself, but I also want to feel like I’m pushing myself to ensure that what I do put out there is damn good.

Streams of consciousness

Am I dwelling too much in the dark parts of my mind that give lease to my anxieties and bad habits these days?  I feel self-indulgent at times, just wanting to find the validation of parts of me that I’m not sure are there.  I want to sit on the beach; a nice, warm beach with sand and not too many rocks.  I stare out at the ocean until the water calls me inside and doesn’t play games with me with sudden brutal cold.  The world seems so small when I’m online, but faced with reality, a drive across the province might as well be a drive to the other edge of the country.

I had a taste of myself that I missed when I was in Ontario; maybe it was just having people in the flesh that do it, where I don’t feel like I need to pretend to be interesting through careful manipulations of letters and spaces.   I need to write people letters again; I still owe too many people some legitimate snail mail.  I feel like I have to keep my activities behind the big door here lest the prying eyes of people who don’t recognize personal space start questioning me on information they’re not party to.

***

What’s holding me back?  I find my boldness is inconsistent and not even tied to whenever I’m slightly inebriated.  What does it take to have me lose my reservations and fear of failure?  Sometimes truth plays too much like a greeting card for my liking.

***

I’m thinking of going camping again; the last time I went was somewhat of a disaster.  First rule for me is don’t go with someone who you’ll but heads with at every stage of the venture.  I feel the road drawing me away from my fixed position.  It’s hard for me to imagine things that aren’t influenced by past experiences, especially if I’m trying to think about something that’s a complete break from my present reality.  I had a dream last night where for some reason I was in a dorm again, and some guy pissed on my floor.  I wonder where that comes from.  Is this really what I’m thinking about these days?  Piss?

How do you harness this desire to write?  I’m remembering the days when my friend and I built a journey for two errant former college athletes going from Duluth to New York to try to beat the mediocrity of their best-case scenario.  I want to get back into that productivity again, but I find that when I’m working, I’m too drained to write, and when I’m not working, I feel too guilty to do it.

Know Thyself

It hasn’t been a month since coming back from Toronto, but I feel like it was ages ago; too many late nights spent on pointless personal projects.   It doesn’t seem likely that the rest of my 30 before 30 is going to be fulfilled by my extended deadline of July 2.  Not that some of these goals matter much, but it just makes me feel like I really don’t have the discipline to keep at even the most trivial personal goal.  I had a job interview this week (don’t want to jinx it by talking about where it was), but I could not sleep the night before.  I’ll hear by the end of the week.

I actually have considered selling my camera from time to time.  For someone who calls himself a photographer, I really don’t take a whole lot of pictures.  I’m beginning to think that I got the SLR more to say I have one than for any potential photographic career I may have.  I feel pushed into molds sometimes, and while “photographer” was more appealing than some of the other ones I’ve found myself slotted into, I’m having doubts that it really is my calling.  I don’t know: maybe it’s another case of me knowing myself.  I feel like the two lessons I’ve been raised with are “settle for what you’re given” and “don’t do anything unless you’re obligated to do it”.

I’ve acquired so much junk in the last few years that I’m tethered to it.  I need to make massive changes, but I don’t have the means to do it.

Forgive my sour tone.

Trying

One thing I like about Something Positive is that sometimes I find it comforting reading one of the storylines where one of the characters goes through ruts or feeling like they’re merely passing time.  There was that story years ago, when Davan was working in that horrible medical billing job, and now the most recent story has Vanessa trying to shake PeeJee out of her funk with a night at a burlesque show.  There was a line in one of the strips that really got to me: “I gotta make changes in my life but I know myself.  I’m going to need you to keep on me and make sure I’m still trying.”

I hate the feeling of knowing there are things that you want to be doing differently with your life, but finding yourself give way to the habits that have pudged you up and softened your mind.  I wonder if people that know me see through my posts where it seems like I’m actually making a concerted effort to make my life better.  Because I know myself: I’m someone who tends to try to get through things unscathed.  I wonder if other people identify my rough patches better than I think they do.  I usually try to mask them, largely because I don’t really want to alarm some of the more over-protective or irrationally anxious people I know.  I also have a tendency to want to be left alone, and worry that talking about what I’m going through could be taken either as a bid for pity or whining.

When do you need to rest and when do you need to keep pushing on?

Where are my words?

What really frustrates me more than anything when it comes to writing is noticing myself drifting into vague generalities with my posts.   I get a little depressed when I notice a group of blog posts that have that same open-ended “try to sound like I’m going somewhere” posts that could have been written by anyone.

What bothers me about them?  I feel like I’m holding back whenever I write things like that, as if my entire purpose of writing a blog is to get people to like me.  There’s a line you have to straddle to be appealing without seeming desperate for accolades or recognition, and whenever I find myself deliberately trying to make myself veer into narratives about growth and discovery (instead of letting them emerge out of the details of the post), I kind of feel like it’s forced and ingratiating.  Whenever I go through one of my rough patches, I still wonder if I’m being too self-indulgent, coming across as whiny.

The more I think about it, the more I realize how much detail helps writing.  I find there’s a lot of beauty in specificity, and what actually draws me to writing is the way they capture a specific mind or world through the use of language.  I’m worried that I’m so afraid of revealing too much of myself that it’s watering me down, and I either become mute or too strident.

What also bugs me?  Those moments where I can’t find the words that do justice to what I want to say.  No matter how on-point or honest it sounds in my head, by the time the words are staring back at me in the WordPress text box, they become just another sentence or paragraph: mere words instead of an accurate representation of the idea I’m trying to get across.  There are days when I want to make sure I’m still piping up from time to time, but sometimes I decide it’s better to fall silent than to go through the motions.

Political poll

Further discussion is welcome in the comments.

Exploration

I’m thinking it’s high time I go around Miramichi with my camera and take a bunch of pictures.

I don’t explore enough.  I usually go from point A to point B.  Even if I take my time and soak it all in, I usually have a set goal in doing so.  Maybe I’m just concerned about getting lost.  This applies to even my photography: I have to play around more than I used to.  I’m struggling to remember advice given to me at the wedding regarding taking outstanding pictures, but one thing I got from it is that I’m just too content to just “take” the picture instead of building it or searching for a way to make it memorable.  I don’t disagree.

This comes to mind when I think about other areas of my life.  Career wise, I have always been looking for specific and easily-attainable work.  I first got into the call centre industry before I was even finished my BA.  My move outside of Miramichi was mainly through that same company.  When I finally decided I had enough, I ended up working for another call centre because I knew there were jobs around, and I knew I could do it; it was also one of those employers that advertise on the government’s job bank site.

I get intimidated by the open-endedness of things sometimes.  I should embrace it.

This ties into my earlier “Bad jobs” post…thought it was interesting.

Toronto Wedding

All the people listed in this blog post are real; however, names have been changed to protect anonymity and to also avoid name-dropping like Dick Cavett.

So yes, I was in Toronto this weekend for my friend Edmund’s wedding.  No, I was not at the Eaton Centre when that guy got shot, but I was there the day before.

I honestly got far too little sleep the night before my 7 am flight.  My internal clock is all wonky, and most of the night was filled with being pissed off about not being able to sleep, as well as a handful of anxieties I’d been nursing the past little while.   Flying to Toronto itself went without issue, and while I had misplaced my downtown shuttle ticket, the booth worker got the go-ahead to print a replacement at no extra charge.  Once I got to the Hilton I ended up crashing for a few hours, before my desire for adventure (and practical need for an umbrella) took me into the subways.  There was some flooding at Union Station, so I couldn’t go south from Osgoode, so I ended up going north, changing trains and getting out at Yonge and Bloor.  While around there, I finally met Leon, someone who I’d known online for about 10 years.  I’ll admit I wasn’t particularly exciting or talkative; I’m someone who needs to be in the right frame of mind to draw out of my shell.  After we parted, I did a little more exploring, decided to put off the Picasso exhibit until a day when I had a little more time to walk the Art Gallery of Ontario, and ended up browsing the huge HMV near Eaton Center for a while.

I headed back to the hotel for a little bit of pool time.  I’m not a particularly strong swimmer, but whenever I have the opportunity to float around in a body of water I want to take it.  The pool at the Hilton is an indoor/outdoor one; it was raining outside but the water was heated.  Sometimes all one needs is a few minutes to just let the water slow their movements into grace and calm.  I was a little curious to check out the Church & Wellesley nightlife, and was actually getting something to eat nearby when I noticed I had got a text from Ed about a half-hour earlier inviting me to go for drinks.  The bar was a little far away, so I took a cab all the way there.  Glenn met me on the street and told me I had just missed Ed, who was a little too far gone and needed to make sure he would be in proper condition for the wedding tomorrow.

During the ride back to the hotel, I found myself lost in thought about what good people some of my friends are, and how I still managed to withdraw from them.  Maybe I’m just concerned about overestimating my bonds and ties with people.  Part of that I think comes from this concern I have from time to time that maybe I’m just one of those people who needs to work myself insane just to achieve mediocrity; that I just don’t have the drive, discipline or personal qualities to make a push beyond the low-hanging fruit worthwhile.  After arriving in an underground parkade, my fellow riders were cracking pitch-black jokes about how this would probably be the worst place to find someone strung out on bath salts.  I got a text from Ed inviting me to come up a floor for a drink.  Upstairs, among an assortment of friends, relatives and the bride-to-be, we had a low-key gathering, which an exhausted Ed still managed to infuse with his characteristic wit.

The next morning, I floated about the pool yet again, thinking more and more about the path to success, missed trains and bricked-up tunnels.  After securing a fairly unsatisfying bite to eat, I rushed to dress myself up for the wedding, concerned about not forgetting one thing or another.  A $16 cab ride to the church later, I was summoned inside a white limousine where  Ed, Glenn, Arno and a few others in the wedding party were gathered before the ceremony started.

Once it was time to head inside, I took a program and book of common prayer from Nash, another university friend.  Yet for some reason I didn’t feel like sitting near anyone.  Part of the reason I guess was to be close to the aisle, but I had this wave of asociality come over me for a moment.  It all felt surreal to be in this beautiful Anglican parish, watching the guy with whom I took 2 am cab rides to the truck stop out-of-town solemnly get married.  Bramwell, another person from our university past, was performing the homily as a man of God, and well-chosen works of classical music mingled with familiar hymns.  Once again, my thoughts turned to myself and guilt over my evaporated faith faded into guilt over my solipsism during my friend’s big moment.   He seemed to exude a great happiness from the altar that poked through my self-involved bubble.

After the wedding I discussed life with Nash, where he reassured me that the path so many of my friends have chosen would probably bring me too much stress and misery to be worth it.  I also took the time to mingle with a handful of other fellow alumni, discussing uncertain futures and trying to keep balanced between masking and wallowing in my aimlessness.  The group I was with had a creative bent, members of which I would run into time to time at a music festival I’d gone to a few times.  Jonas and I talked about photography, as Greta, Denise, Veronica and Nedra milled about observing brief breaks of sunlight and the beauty of the neighborhood.  We took a long-overdue taxi van down to the spot where the reception was being held, a very exclusive private club.  I knew this would probably be a rare night when I saw the wood-paneled walls and portraits of the knighted.

After a pre-dinner mingle, the evening began in earnest with exquisite food served between speeches from family and toasts.  A steady flow of wine and water lubricated our souls and conversations were punctuated with fond memories.  Ed and his wife Ellen had their first dance to a Ray Lamontagne song, infusing the moment with a shared humor and mutual joy.  The night was full of music, spirits and dancing; perhaps the peak was Ed hosted upon a chair to the strains of N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton”.  The anxieties and thoughts that were plaguing me were at bay, muzzled by time to listen to some stories and share some memories.

Once the official reception dispersed, Ed led a group of us to the basement bar in Koreatown for karaoke.  This was the point where things become a blur, but confirmed that career and marriage had not really changed Ed in the least.  By the time I was back at the hotel, I was in no condition for any more, and I would pay dearly for my celebration with the way I felt the next morning.

Despite my condition, I got myself checked out of the hotel and braved my way to the post-nuptials brunch Ed’s mother put on.  Deciding I was in no condition for mimosas, I stuck to orange juice, and talked a bit with Nash, Arno, and a few others I had met that weekend.  I lingered around to see Ed and Ellen open my gift, and by the time I drifted out of the party and said my goodbyes, I felt mostly recovered on multiple fronts.   The rest of the afternoon was spent browsing and walking, and I finally went to that Picasso exhibit.  By the time I had to take the shuttle back to the airport, I was exhausted and ready for rest.

Checking in at the airport seemed fairly uneventful (aside from watching a businessman anxious not to miss his connection raise the ire of the security personnel), and although my plane was a little late in boarding, it seemed like it was going to be pretty routine.   I nodded off for a little bit on the plane but drifted back into consciousness to see city lights.  The ride seemed to be going on for a little longer, though.  The pilot then announced the plane was having trouble with getting the flaps on the wings to the correct position, and while a normal landing was still going to be likely, emergency vehicles would be waiting for us “just in case”.  Eventually, we descended over Dieppe, and while the landing was a tad bumpy, the pilot managed to pull it off and get the applause of everyone on board.  I was just a little thirsty and wanting to sleep in a real bed.

I’m still settling back into life after using yesterday to rest and recover.  There will be other adventures later, but right now I just need to get myself out of the space between paths.

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