Sunday, September 27, 2009

time to get my feet wet

Yesterday I had a really late breakfast and a very long talk with a good friend of mine. She's the kind of friend that kicks my ass when it needs kicking. She asks the tough questions and demands answers...and if we get sidetracked she asks the question again. Everyone needs a person like that in their life, especially when that person is beautiful, witty, and makes kick-ass coffee. And, always has a supply of good chocolate on hand for good measure.

It's been a year since my ex and I split up. A year of growing, moving, opening up to myself and the world around me. It's been fantastic and painful. And I've come a very long way...some of you have been with me since the beginning, and some of you are amazing friends that I have met in the last six months....but somewhere along the way, I've left something out...forgotten it, ignored it, tried really hard to pretend it doesn't exist. I'm good at that - avoiding things that might be painful. I've taken a few risks in the last year, but it's not enough.

It's one thing to come out into the sunlight and declare myself a lesbian. I can blog, post things on facebook, join fantastic and supportive groups- all of which have been invaluable in my quest for selfhood.

It's another thing to date. Really go out with a real woman.

"I'm not ready!!!" my ego screams at me...."Just give me a few more months, or even a year to get used to things...."

I can make every excuse in the book. But really, I'm terrified. And it's not about being a lesbian and not really being sure about what to do, and it's not worry about being open. It's always been this way. I choose the safe route. When I dated men (and I didn't date many, so I have limited experience to draw from here), I waited for them to make the first move. Because I didn't want to take the risk of getting hurt.

It's a whole new world. I'm a whole new person.

So when my friend asks me (because she knows a thing or two about people I've been attracted to, may still be attracted to, and goodness knows I have no place to hide anymore) why I don't tell those people that I find them attractive, I've stopped making the same old excuses. Generally, I would say "I can't do that," which we all know is a lousy excuse. A cop-out. It's what scared people say... and I worry:

-that my inexperience will show
-that I somehow won't measure up
-that the surgery-created loose skin will be a turnoff
-that I might make another crucial life mistake

Whatever. I'm very good at excuses.

And then when another friend e-mails me and tells me that this or that person on my Facebook is hot, and have I ever thought about dating them (presuming they are single and somewhat local) I respond politely and never give it another thought...and if I think about it, I think about all the reasons why I can't.

You get the picture, right?

So I can't sit back anymore and wait for the world to show up at my doorstep. It ain't gonna happen.There are no lesbians beating down my door, except for my friends who are demanding to know when I'm going to get over myself and just get out there.

I have to start somewhere...and the only place I can think of at the moment is the Internet. I've made these half-assed attempts to post profiles and such - I call them half-assed because they are really just apologetic little meanderings that send the following roundabout message "I'm supposed to be dating now, and I really don't want to do this, so here's my pathetic attempt to find someone and won't you please just tell me how wonderful I am so that I don't have to do anything?"

I am a kick-ass writer. I should be able to post an intriguing profile...but for those of you who are reading, and have tried the glorious internet, I have a few questions. Just a few, I promise.

Which sites would you recommend, and why? And which would you avoid? I'm clueless here.

What kind of things draw you to someone's profile? What turns you off?

And if you were me, would you admit to your inexperience up front, or would you wait until you've established some kind of contact with someone? I'm torn - I don't want to lie, but I don't want to scare anyone away.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

finding my balance

We call it Mabon. I follow the cycle of the seasons, and in my spiritual practice I honor the changes that are taking place as the season turns. Where we live, it's harvest time, just before our Thanksgiving (second Monday in October) and the season is changing, from summer to autumn. This year the changes seem more subtle, because our summer weather wasn't very hot, but still, at night the air is cooler. The leaves are changing colour and starting to fall. I'm feasting - on corn, zucchini, tomatoes, early macs, pears, many fresh and tasty foods are out there right now, especially where I live.

From Wikipedia:

The holiday of Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed (in Neo-Druidic traditions), is a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and God during the winter months. The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology.[14] In the northern hemisphere this equinox occurs anywhere from September 21 to 24. In the southern hemisphere, the autumn equinox occurs anywhere from March 19 to 22. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas/Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.

Persephone begins her descent to the underworld, and Demeter mourns for her lost daughter. Day is in equal balance with night - and in this season, we search for the balance that is missing from our lives. It's part of the process, the cycle that brings us from season to season. Winter, the dark time, is time to reflect and plan for the coming year, Spring is for sowing seeds, summer is for growth, heat, energy...and autumn is for harvest, and for giving thanks. And we begin the cycle anew by sending out tiny little tendrils of intentions, hopes for the next season of growth.

We met last night, and we ritualled together, as we do for all Sabbats. And during that ritual, we were called upon to do three things to prepare for out own descent into the darkness that precedes Winter Solstice, Yule....we named our blessings, our harvest for the year. We purged ourselves of what we no longer needed. And we asked for the things we needed in order to continue our work.

It was a very emotional time for me.

I focus on the negative so often, especially in this space. Sometimes I need to vent, and look - here's a blank page for me to vent with. Sometimes I just need to know that other people have felt what I am feeling - and I know that a few of you, reading these words are with me. You are where I am. You've been where I've been, and can relate to my experiences. So I bring everything here, vent, and carry on with my "one wild and precious life."

But when I think back on the past year - wow! So much has happened, so much has changed...and in almost every single instance, I was better off for the experience. I have so much to be thankful for...and I don't say thank you often enough.

So, here is my list of gratitude, for the Universe, the Goddess and all the blessings she holds:

  • First, my family. I have two beautiful daughters who bring me so much joy - and a fair share of angst as well, but that's parenthood. But beyond my girls, I have my parents, a sister, three brothers, their spouses and kids, aunts, uncles, cousins, a grandmother still living and sometimes terribly confused at 98, but today she recognized me. And while I sometimes feel that my changes have caused some distance between us, there are days (like today) when I start to think that it's mostly in my head. (There is a story behind this, but I have to post it separately). I love them, I love them all (but I would like to take my uncle who thinks that not liking gays is not the same as homophobia and give him a good swift kick - really, because arguing didn't seem to work)...and I am so grateful to have them in my life.
  • And my friends. Friends from high school that I've come out to that have suported and encouraged me (thanks S). Friends who give me support and love always, who let me cry when I need to and make me roll on the floor with laughter, but who kick my ass when it really needs kicking(you know who you all are). Friends that I see once or twice a year, friends I see almost every week, and friends that I've never met. You've enriched my life in countless ways.
  • The house I live in, my neighbourhood with its tall trees, the co-op, the community garden, the creek that flows beside my front door.
  • My job. Work that I still look forward to every day, in spite of seventeen years of chasing kids around.
  • The talent that I've been blessed with. I may not be writing much right now, but I can write, and do it well, and I'll be back at it eventually.
  • 130 pounds lost and a body that can move, walk, run, breathe, and live. A body that I like, that looks good. I can buy clothes now! And sometimes I look amazing.
  • 44 years young and not a grey hair on my head.
  • Being Canadian rocks. I love this country.
  • Food. Fresh fruit and vegetables, things that I cook (and I am a good cook), diet coke, Tim Hortons coffee, pistachios, water, blessed clean water.
  • Abundance all around me - I may not have a lot of money, but I have good food, shelter and every material thing I need, except a treadmill, and I know that I'll find one I can afford. The goddess has been so generous to me - and I intend to share that abundance in every way I can.
  • Cats, dogs, birds that sing outside my window in the morning, ducks, geese that fly overhead in formation, spiders, snakes, just about every living critter I can think of except mosquitoes and fruit flies.
  • Being aware of who I am, being a lesbian and learning to accept, love and thrive in my new life. Coming to that awareness was a difficult process, and I still struggle, but my struggle is not really about learning to live as a lesbian. It's about the same thing I've struggled with all along - being open, being fearless and learning to love from the inside out. Out.
  • Women. How I love them.
  • Writers, books, words, poems, blogs, facebook updates, all the ways of communicating that involve some form of text. Except text messaging because I don't do that.
  • Music - and all those incredible singer/songwriters who can capture moments and emotions, and store them into small bits of joy and beauty. I couldn't live without music, and I am so grateful for my own singing voice. My talent doesn't bring me to the stage, but how I love to sing!
  • Beauty. Georgian Bay and the Niagara Escarpment, places that make my heart sing and my words flow. This beautiful, precious planet we live on.
  • For all of you who drop by and read my words, whether you comment, or silently take it in, thank you!
  • My Refocksa family. Once we were strangers, can you believe it? Thank you for your comments, your encouragement, for allowing me into your hearts and lives.
I'm sure I can think of more, but I've hit the major highlights anyways.

I purged - or tried to. I keep trying to get rid of the same bad habits, the same patterns that haunt me, that hold me back - but I am so stubborn, and I could not let go. So I hereby banish the fear - and it's all really fear, when I think about it. Fear that keeps me closed to new relationships, fear that prevents me from taking risks, fear that holds me down when I really want to fly.

And I welcome in the things that will open me up, help me to risk it all for the sake of living fully, without fear and mindful of every moment and blessing my life will bring - courage, creativity and love.

I am so blessed. It's time to live my gratitude.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

silly me

This morning I took Emily to the farmer's market before I brought her to her dad's. Our market is something else, a major tourist attraction, and lots of kid stuff to do, like pony rides and jumpy castles. (and my favourite ranting point, who in the hell thought building a Wal-Mart on the same road was a good idea?)We had waffles for breakfast, and just wandered around.

I called my ex to let him know that we were running late, and I could hear the excitement in his voice. What's up, I ask him.

He's in love. I knew this...but I think this is the first time he's ever used that word with reference to the person he's been dating.

I'm happy for him.

But why do I feel so sad? It's not like I want him...or our relationship, or anything like that.

Sometimes I just don't make sense, even to myself.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

just bits of news

Bullets are the best I can do today...

  • the keyboard on my new laptop is seriously messing me up. I can't type worth shit right now, so everything I do is slow. And I'm really not sure if this machine is any faster than my old one. It has a lot more memory...that's a good thing.
  • My daughter's teacher has a son the same age, who is in my after school program in a different town. Because of this, the school principal has decided that she should change classes. Conflict of interest apparently - as a small-town girl, I seen all kinds of this stuff happen, and to me it's no big deal - because I'm a professional and I know the difference between a personal and a professional relationship. But the decision has been the school tells me. I have mixed feelings - Emily hates change, and when I broke the news to her yesterday, she cried and cried. She has a great teacher, and I think she would do just fine in the class she's in...I'm not going to say anything to the school ever again, because I also know the teacher in the class she's moving to - a little bit anyways....and I'm afraid they'll move her again, not that they have anywhere else to move her. But her new teacher will provide an excellent queer-positive environment, if you get what I'm saying. So that counts for something.
  • I have writer's block, I have it bad, and I can't get going creatively. I think I'm stuck!
  • Have you ever met someone that you felt a really strong connection to, and then had them suddenly disappear from your life for n reason at all? It sucks.
  • I like my new job. Except on Wednesdays when I work from 7:30 - 6. And even then, I like the work, just not the long day.
  • I think we sold the house. And that means that my life, other than with regards to Emily, will be completely separate from the ex's in a few months. This is good.
  • I went out for dinner last Friday in a small SW Ontario town and ended up singing on stage with the house performer. Yes, alcohol was involved. I'm a cheap drunk, but I have fun!
  • I need to sing more often.
  • I find Top Chef (Las Vegas, running on Food Network)very distracting for all the wrong (or perhaps right) reasons.
  • I have to go now, or I will be late for work!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm okay, really

I'm not exactly overflowing with guilt, but I feel bad for having left so many words unsaid. But life happens...and for a week or two every September, I have trouble finding my feet in a quickly moving world. So, a quick update before I sleep.

- I started my new job last week. I like the work, the centre seems okay, but I'm not gelling very well with my new assistant. She is a qualified teacher, but she's not qualified to work in a child care centre - a bit complicated, really, but she's not. She took umbrage with the fact that I can't leave her alone with the kids...hey, they're not my rules, the government makes them. And three times today, she corrected me in front of the kids...she...corrected me. My first rule, when working with anyone is that if something needs to be said, it's said away from the kids. I seldom need to correct anyone, because I'm used to working with professionals. And my beef is that I didn't need correcting. Hey, I may not have a B ed, but I know what I'm doing. I'd better, after so many years in the field. She acts like she has this huge chip on her shoulder, doesn't interact with the kids, stands around and looks bored when she has to do mundane things like, serving snack or vacuuming the floor. Part of the job, for supervisors and assistants alike. My prediction: if she so much as smells another job, she's outta there. Overqualified and bored.

-Emily turned 6 on Sunday and started grade 1 on Tuesday. I love her, and I love watching her grow. I do get nostalgic occasionally for my baby, but really, it is so exciting to see her transform as she gets older.

-I'm getting a new laptop this weekend. Well, not brand spanking new, but better than this one, and the price is right! I'll be able to upload video (hopefully)....and store more music...and maybe even upload pics to facebook and blogger without sacrificing an entire afternoon. One can only hope.

-My anemia has flared up again. I have my period. Coincidence? Not at all.

- I made tomato sauce on Saturday and hope to do more this weekend. I love food - cooking it, smelling it, tasting it. When my ex and I split up, that was the thing, seriously, that I missed the most. I love to cook for people - and cooking for the small person doesn't always cut it. She likes Kraft Dinner. I like curries, and food with a bit of heat. One good thing is that we both like tofu, so a stir fry usually goes over well. After I moved here, I stopped cooking for a little while - well, I made stuff, but I didn't put my time and attention towards food as I used to. I've started again - being conscious of what I eat, and how it's made. I used to make my own bread, cookies, granola, yogurt. I'd like to get back to that again, and this time of year is perfect for things like tomato sauce and pesto - I have so much basil, which I love, but I need to use it up, or dry it.

- A good friend of mine is coming to spend a few days with me at the end of September. She lives far away, and I don't get to see her very often, so this is a real treat for me!

-Life is good. In fact, life is great. It takes time for me to wrap my head around change - and the job change has been harder than I'd like. Saying goodbye to the kids at the old centre was rough. And now I have to start all over again somewhere else - hopefully, this job is more secure than my last one.

-I'm beginning to understand that the only person who holds me back is me. And in order to create the life I want, I need to learn a few things. First of all, that I deserve it. Second of all that I can achieve it. And third of all, I need to ask for it.

It's all about learning to dance, and not being afraid to take the lead once in a while. I've never been great at taking risks. But I don't want to wait until it's too late.

Over and out - I hope you are all surviving and thriving this week.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


(and now for something completely different...)

I composed the following poem and took the pictures at Bruce Peninsula National Park near Tobermory, this past August. I was inspired by my solitary walk around Cyprus Lake.

We share a language.
The inflection of ripple against rocky shore,
nuance of a loon's morning cry

the conversation of creek over waterfall.

There is symmetry to our entwining
like cedars
straight, yet rooted

solidly in pliant earth.

Rocky outcrops
form footholds
as we scale

and soar.

We are blessed in this union
by the idylls of the bees
and the pinch of blackfly against skin.

like the sun,
the ever-changing water
and silence.
Paddles slap on surface.

Wind hovers in branches.


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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

tea with milk and sugar

When I was a little girl, I lived only a few blocks away from my maternal grandmother. Almost every time I went to visit, even when I was tiny enough that I had to sit on my knees to reach the table, my grandmother, Oma, would make tea for me. It was really for me - my mom has always hated tea, so Oma and I would drink the pot ourselves. She would put lots of sugar in it - mine and her own - and dilute my cup with copious amounts of Carnation milk. Never regular milk - always Carnation milk in the red and white can. Almost invariably, she would open the cupboard and pull out the biscuit tin. Social tea cookies went so well with tea - sometimes, but not often, there were digestives. I was allowed to have three, just three, and then the tin was put away for another day.

If any of my cousins or siblings are reading, they can relate to the significance of the ritual.

It became a mainstay in my life. Through childhood and adolescence, the tea was ready almost as soon as we arrived. For a while, after I finished high school, I had the privledge of living with my grandparents, and tea became an evening ritual. Tea and Yahtzee, or three-handed euchre. Oma and Opa moved to the small town my parents lived in, and she had water brought in from London Ontario because the tea just wasn't right with the hard water in her new house. In my twenties, my thirties, my forties - up until about three years ago when she broke her leg, and began her physical and mental slide into old age (she is 98, so it was inevitable), I could creep next door, drink tea, eat social tea cookies, read the paper, and just be.

It is ingrained. When I need comfort, I drink my tea with milk and sugar. Carnation milk, if I can get it. Other times, I drink it black - or clear, or whatever they call it. In fact, I seldom drink Orange Pekoe - only when I need comfort.

I drank a pot of tea tonight.

It has been such a busy week. I start a new job tomorrow. Emily goes to grade 1 on Tuesday, and she turns 6 on Sunday. We've had two birthday parties for her, and a bowling party for my brother that was not as pleasant as I would have liked. My house is a mess - I came back from camping to a weekend with no time to clean or do laundry. I'm PMSing - which also means for me that my hemoglobin is down. Tired all the time. And while I can generally carry an outward positive attitude, when my anemia flares up, I just don't care, and I start feeling depressed and anxious and a wee bit lonely.

This month I was prepared, or so I thought. I knew what was coming, and truthfully, just knowing that my depression has a physical basis helps immeasurably. I don't beat myself up for getting the blues, and I don't allow myself to wallow, either. I cry when I need to, and then I get up and go to work in the morning.

But something isn't right. I'm feeling a wee bit stuck, and it truly sucks that I can't move ahead. It bugs me, and I get pissed off at myself for not being able to get out of my rut - and I see it as a rut because I am so very stuck inside my own insecurities.

I've blogged before about how lonely it can get for me. I have amazing friends. I consistently fail to ask for what I need, because I'm trying to be strong, I'm trying not to bother anyone, I'm treating myself as thought I really don't matter.

I like living alone. I like being alone some of the time - in fact, if I don't get alone time, I lose my mind. But there's a balance I need to strike, and some days I feel completely isolated.

So much so that I stare at the computer screen upon occasion, waiting for spam to block, so that at least I'm doing something. When I catch myself doing that, I unplug and go for a long walk. I don't blog, because I know how pathetic the poor lonely me routine must feel to people who are I journal, and sometimes I cry, and I worry that this is it.

I live in a city where I know very few people. And no lesbians at all - most of my friends live in other places. I have no idea how to meet people. And I am really horrible at selling myself. I haven't found an internet site that I really like because I just don't get it. What's with the smile thing, anyways? And I hate posting my picture because I am terribly afraid that I look horrible (on an intellectual level I know that's not true, but I'm being real here, not intellectual). I am just no good at this at all.

If I never have the confidence...and that's what it really boils down am I going to meet anyone?

I am sure that there are people who've been physically attracted to me, but I don't know who the hell they are because I have no clue about stuff like that. I am truly oblivious. I don't know how to flirt, I have no idea what to do if someone in interested in me and/or vice versa.

Yeah, I was in a relationship for ten years, but not a lot of it was...physical. And I didn't actually have to put myself out there at all, because he did all the work in that respect. Safe from the get-go, and so wrong for me.

So, I'm stuck.

I had a dream a few months ago. In the dream, I was standing in a restaurant and talking to someone, I don't know who. And across the room from me, sitting at a table, was someone I really really liked (insert famous singer/songwriter name here). I said to my companion "I'm going to ask her to dance!"

But I never did. I couldn't work up the courage to cross the floor and speak to her.

This bothers me on so many levels. I've tried, many times during meditation, to recreate that scene, and just walk over to her. I can visualize it to a point and then my brain goes sideways and I end up somewhere else. I've tried putting other people in that chair - visualizing that it's someone I know, that I feel safe with, and the result is the same. I can't get there - and it's become so symbolic of where I am right now that I can't spend much more time thinking about it because it just makes me sad.

I feel like a failure. I can't sit here and wait for things to happen to me - I need the courage to make things happen, and somewhere, somehow, it's lacking. I should be able to change this - after all, I can do just about everything else. But I don't seem to have the tool kit I need.

And it's not all about dating - some of it is. Some days I just want to talk to people.

Today I realized that it's not just some dream I had. It's actually quite true. I'm 44 years old, and I've never asked anyone to dance.