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 reading...so 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 to...how 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.


Mon said...

Oh Sweetie,

I'm so there with you, and now I very much get the tea with milk and sugar comment I questioned earlier. I'm sorry you are feeling so down, I wish I had some words of advice for you.

You and I have been walking parallel tracks for a long time, and here we go again. You know, because you commented that I wrote a very similar post myself yesterday. I think it boils down to just wanting to surround myself with people like me, and being unable to find them here. That frustrates me, scares me and makes me sad and angry. Still we keep walking the walk. We are strong, you and I...

Much love,


Ang said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. I am going through a really tough personal transition. I am trying to be at peace with it all but its' difficult.

Camlin said...

Mon - it's good enough to know that someone out there gets it. I feel like I need some kind of how-to manual. "How to leave your partner and gain independence" I figured out on my own, but I just can't get to the next step.

Ang - I hope it gets better for both of us.

Anonymous said...

Being around people who understand you makes a big difference.

I know you'll get to where you want to be soon enough b/c you're taking all the right steps towards achieving it.

Confidence is something we all need to work at but once you feel it, there is nothing sexier. Keep working on that.

All my best!

~Just me again~ said...

First off I grew up with the same ritual of tea with 'carnation' milk with my parents, followed by 'two' cookies only. My friends were amazed that we were only allowed 'two'. LOL. This tradition carried over to my two girls when they were little and they visited Oma & Opa.

It is hard finding the 'one'. Hopefully you do, it will happen when you least expect it.

Ironic that you should write that you like living alone. My eldest is moving out at the end of September, and I'm ok with that, as she's barely home anymore. (I did a post yesterday, about being alone, and needing a 'man'...*roll eyes*)

You do what you want, and when the time comes so will she. ;) (((Big hugs)))

Camlin said...

greg - figuring out where I am is the key to moving ahead. If I write my revelations here, instead of in my paper journal, it forces me to make steps towards changing things. Odd, but true - maybe it has something to do with having a support system...or people who are going to call me on my repeated mistakes....

Just Me Again - maybe it has something to do with my Dutch background, the Carnation Milk thing. I know when my grandparents came to Canada, the recipe for home-made infant formula included Carnation Milk and corn syrup - perhaps it acquired a reputation for being a healthy choice ...

I only live alone when my youngest is at her dad's...lol the last thing I need in my life is another man!

Anonymous said...

You know what I have been doing lately. Just sit back and observe people. Watch how people do things, talk, react to things, just all of the above. It makes you realize you are no different then anyone else out there and may give you the courage to go out and do things you normally wouldn't do. Then take that first step and "ask someone to dance" and as you do it more and more it might get easier.

reeflightning said...

ah camlin, witch with the wild red hair!
one of these fine days you will look across the room and with absolute certainty ... meet the eyes of she with whom you would dance for the rest of your life. in all likelihood you will fall over your feet in your haste to reach her! and if she is 'the' one, i expect she will meet you halfway across the room!

yeah right ... i know!
words are easy and waiting is not!