emsk: (Default)

Someone posted something (on facebook, natch) that got me thinking.

I don’t want to be needed. Need implies someone is dependent on me. Need implies that I am something they can’t get anywhere else. Need implies weakness, that only I can fill a gap, that they have no choice but to depend on me. Need implies that I have no choice but to be there for that person, because there is something that they require of me that I have no choice but to fulfill. Need requires things of me, whether I wish to give them or not.

I want to be wanted. I want someone to be strong, to be able to live without me, to have choices and options and freedom. I want to be chosen. Want implies strength, the power of choice. I want people in my life that have other options, who choose me anyway, because I am something that they want in their lives, because they could live without me and freely choose me. Want allows me a choice; I can choose to fill someone’s wants, or I can choose not to, knowing that I may make someone’s life richer for ceding to their wants. If I am wanted, it is because I make someone’s life better, not because I merely make their life bearable.

I don’t want to be a need. I need to be a want.

Originally published at kiwi geek. You can comment here or there.

Grateful

Aug. 7th, 2013 10:58 pm
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Random thoughts for a Wednesday.


I am beginning to understand just how fortunate I was when I went to my GP, eight years ago, suffering from depression. My feelings were never questioned. He offered me help immediately. He wasn’t comfortable offering advice on mental issues, beyond getting me on SSRI’s and referring me to counselling.


I knew I had situational depression, and didn’t need anything other than chemical assistance to remove myself from a hole. But eight years on, I’m realising more and more how grateful I need to be that that doctor had the humility to refrain from giving me bad advice.


I’ve run into situations lately where people have had bad experiences with professionals who should know better – and by contrast, I am profoundly grateful for the way I have been treated.




emsk: (Default)

I bought new pants in, oh. January? February?


I can now remove one of those pairs without the previous ceremony of undoing them. Upon getting on the scales, the reason why is clear – I’m 10kg down.


I’m kind of pleased with that.


Yesterday had some ups and downs. Inexplicably woke up around 7, which is Too Early For Sunday. Then my laptop – faithful 2008-era macbook – died.


But, husband sourced me a replacement (techy friends are the best), I swapped out the hard drive for it’s original drive and will sell the carcass for parts, the drive is available for data restores onto my new to me machine.


Then the Zouk team from last year had a performance scheduled. We haven’t danced the routine together since Christmas. Unsurprisingly, rehearsal was less ‘rehearsal’ and more ‘oh crap no-one remembers the choreo’. Still, we rocked it, and there are some fabulous photos turning up on Facebook.


Then I went to the regular social Sunday dance. And realised that one of my regular touchpoints for “how’s my mental health” is “how willing am I to ask strange men to dance”. Brains, huh.


I got home around 11:30, exhausted, sweaty, and blissfully happy with my place in the world.




emsk: (Default)

I’m struggling tonight.


I have a video of myself dancing. Practicing, at tonight’s performance zouk rehearsal. I’ve never seen myself dance before.


What I see? 200 pounds of blubber. Flapping about on the stage and it is not a pretty sight. If I continue with this it will be in spite of myself, not because I’m enjoying it, but because I’m not going to let myself be such a FUCKING IDIOT as to stop doing something I love just because I hate the way I look doing it.


It’s no-one’s fault but mine. If I lost weight… or if I wasn’t up on stage, I wouldn’t care.


What I see is not how I feel when I’m dancing, what I see has absolutely nothing to do with how I feel when I’m dancing. And there are bits of me that can see that watching the video of myself over again. I can see someone who, despite the fat… I can do the moves, I’m moving in time, I’m not heavy on my feet.. I’m flexible and I’m capable of doing what I’m asking my body to do. I’m in the right spots on the right time. Admittedly you can’t always see that I’m making all the right moves because the blubber’s hiding the muscle. But…


I don’t know. I’m proud of what I can do, I’m proud of the work I’ve put in, and I’ve put in BLOODY hard work. I have worked my ASS off. And other people must be able to see it, I KNOW they can because they say so! They ask me for help, and the girls ask me how to do things, and it’s not because I push my nose in although I suppose maybe I have and I’m just not aware of it? But they don’t have to keep coming back, they could just ask each other rather than asking me. So no, I’m not incapable.


And my teachers could have let me drop out when my partner pulled out. They didn’t have to keep me dancing. They had an easy out and they COULD have taken it and they DIDN’T. So that means that me being on stage is worth something. It’s not worth much but it’s worth something.


Just because I hate the way I look doesn’t mean other people do, it just means that I hate it. And come to think of it, one of the reasons I love watching my first ever zouk teacher dance is that she’s overweight. She’s … slimmer than me, and more muscular than me, and she has far more of a defined waist than I do because apparently I carry fat there, but you know what? She looks GORGEOUS when she dances, so why shouldn’t I?


I’m never going to be like her, but nothing stopping me being like me.


And I keep thinking, every time I’m out socially, that I’m… why should I be put off because I’m the second biggest girl in the room? No-one else seems to mind; I still get invites to dance, and by strange guys as well as friends. So it’s not like I’m repulsive to the male part of the human race. I need to get over myself, right?


Get out there and be proud of what I can do. Even if I can’t be proud of what I look like, I can be damn proud of the work I’ve put in.


So maybe that’s what I go out and do.


Maybe that’s the answer.




Belonging

Jun. 20th, 2012 12:10 pm
emsk: (Default)

My paternal grandmother is unwell. Mum forwarded a text from my aunty – she’s scheduled for a gastroscopy and colonoscopy, as her blood count keeps dropping and they don’t know why.


It says something about familial relations that my first thought was “Why should I care?”


Then I felt guilty. Why do I feel guilty for reciprocating my family’s indifference with indifference? Why can’t I just get over, or at least get on with, the fact that they don’t care about me?


I wonder if I’d mind less if there was a reason that mattered to me. If it wasn’t because of religion, it it was because we actually had an argument, because someone behaved badly. If I’d hurt someone, rather than dropping the facade of faith in a God I don’t believe in.


My mother has never been judgmental of my choices. She knew that my leaving the faith was the right thing for me. Above all, she wants me to be happy. Further, she is a good Christian – she believes judge not, lest ye be judged.


My paternal grandmother, on the other hand, had a rant at my mother about a month ago, when my aunt and uncle went to visit my non-religious cousin (their son). He’s happily partnered up, with a little girl. My grandmother didn’t think it was appropriate that my aunt and uncle should be visiting him. Because he’s non-religious, and living in sin.


I always felt comfortable with my paternal family. I’m very much my father’s daughter – I’m his to the bone, where I never fit into my mother’s family as a child. I didn’t understand their humour – I was in my teens before I was able to appreciate my maternal uncle’s dry wit. But in my father’s family, I fit in. I have no siblings; but knocking around with my cousin, I got some taste of that relationship. We thought the same way, shared the same sense of humour, even the same quick fiery temper. I belonged.


Maybe that’s why their indifference hurts. It angers me that my aunt and uncle would rather put up in a hotel in my city, rather than stay in our home. It angers me that my paternal grandmother isn’t interested in my life. It angers me that such un-Christian behaviour is apparently considered acceptable to non-Christians. That’s not Christianity as I was taught it. I may not practice their faith any longer, but I know what it should look like. It angers me even more that I know they can’t see their own hypocrisy.


I haven’t seen my father’s family in over six years. I last spoke to my paternal grandmother two years ago – she wanted to know the date of my marriage and the birthdate and name of my husband, purely to add his name to the family tree. My own grandmother didn’t even know my husband’s full name. She knew the name he goes by, his nickname, but not his legal name. Once she got that information, she wished me well and hung up the phone.


At least she was polite, I suppose.


I have a wonderful husband, a good mother, a good grandmother (maternal), in-laws who welcome me wholeheartedly. I have an honorary big brother, and other good friends. It’s not that I’m unloved. I’m grateful for the relationships I do have, and I’m lucky to have them. But… I want to be accepted on my own terms, for my family to understand that my life is valuable, that the choices I’ve made were good ones. I want to belong.


Maybe that’s why their indifference hurts. And I wish it didn’t.




emsk: (Default)

I try not to whinge. My life is pretty good, all things considered – I have a job, we have a home, we’re more or less physically well. I have my beloved Tobermory, I have good friends, I have cats who mob me in the mornings demanding cuddles.


But I seriously need to get my act together. There’s a group in my present dance class that know each other, certainly on a casual basis, mostly as a result of all going to the Sunday night social dances. The ones that I have an ongoing fear about going to, for fear of being left out.


Last night, a few of them went out for a drink after class. I was excluded from the invitation (and by the bye, I always thought it was bloody rude to ask everyone else in a circle of people and leave one person out). And I know why it is, it’s because I don’t go on the Sundays because I’m convinced I’ll be left out. And now I’m being left out and it makes me feel like shit. Which is stupid, because if I could just get over myself for ten minutes and actually GO on the Sundays, I might not be left out!


It’s a stupid recursive cycle, and it ends with me sobbing about being fat and ugly and worthless and lonely. And I know it’s stupid, which makes it worse, because then I hate myself more for being stupid. Brilliant!


I never learned how to make friends. I wasn’t allowed to socialise with my schoolmates, and I knew everyone in Mum’s congregation on account of having known them since birth. Well, not everyone, but certainly everyone my age. Plus, if your parents go “look this is Bob, Bob this is Mahal, great you are the same age and can be friends!!!” … well, the introduction bit is easy, and you make conversation with great amounts of eyerolling about your parents, but it is not actually an act of making-friends. It’s appeasing the parents.


I am not trying to go “wah wah it’s not my faaault”, or anything. Merely noting the circumstances that led to me being twenty seven years old and apparently incapable of convincing myself to stop being a fuckwit. Tobermory has a much better success rate of befriending people (although where I don’t know where to start talking, he has trouble knowing when to stop, which can be a problem in it’s own right).


I am shy. I have great difficulty convincing myself that I am likable, and even more difficulty convincing myself anyone would be willing to ask me to dance, despite empirical evidence (the Xmas party) to the contrary. (Whether they’d ask twice is an entirely different pool of stupid.) Not to mention that there are some things I’m struggling to learn right now, mostly because my fat gets in the way. And I’m not, you know, spherical in shape or anything. Last time I was weighed I was well under 90kg (200 pounds for those of you who speak American). I’m fat, but not obscenely so. Just enough to impinge on my confidence.


I picked up dance in the first place because I thought I would enjoy it, and because it’s a social activity. And I have been enjoying it. I’m learning something new, I’m not completely shit, it’s exercise. I know it’s me that has to put in the effort to try – no-one is going to try and befriend the woman who turns up for an hour a week and quietly slips out after class, and never turns up on the social occasions. They’ve no way of knowing that shy is the answer rather than uninterested. Presumably if I made an attempt, they would reciprocate with at least basic politeness, because they’re decent people. (Convincing myself of that likelihood is proving … difficult.)


I came home last night utterly miserable, and spent ten minutes sobbing on Tobermory’s shoulder about how I’m fat and ugly and unlikeable and how I hate myself. Something has to change.




Originally published at spinneretta.com
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Dance has done interesting things for my body image. I am far more conscious of my excess weight than I used to be – three hours a week in front of full-wall mirrors will do that for you, I suppose. With one or two exceptions, all of whom are older women (in their 40′s or 50′s, I’d judge) I am the largest woman. And whether it’s right to do it or not, women do compare themselves to each other; and compared to some of the beauties I hang around with for three hours a week, I am frankly a heffalump.


I know I should go to the social dance nights. It would be good for me as a dancer, and it would be a way to make acquaintances, or possibly even friends. There are some really nice people in my classes, and I know I’d have fun. Last lesson, my dance instructor practically demanded that I start turning up – when I confessed that I had been chickening out, he cracked up laughing, told me my dancing is perfectly good, and thus I should appear on Sundays forthwith. He should know, right?


(I was given a BGP ACTIVATED shirt for Christmas, as a nod to my tendency to require Big Girl Panties before I will get off my butt and do something like an ADULT.)


Chickening out is still easier, though. That way I don’t have to endure my brain going “haha, you are fat and unloved, no-one will ask you to dance because you are ugly”, etc. Yeah, I know it’s stupid and wrong – after all, I got asked to dance at the Christmas party, by different men, only one of which was a classmate, two of whom asked me to dance twice. And I am capable of assessing myself fairly academically, and I am not unattractive. But, the hindbrain is harder to control.


Washing my hands at work a few days ago, I saw myself in the mirror, and realised that my own face is unfamiliar to me. I know that’s an odd thing to say, as I look in the mirror on a regular basis. But it’s not my face I’m usually looking at – it’s my general body (outfit), or a specific feature (zits, plucking eyebrows). My hair is growing out again – I wanted longer hair for dancing, which has given me a bit of an odd in-between fluffiness around the shoulders. I mean, I’d be able to recognise pictures of myself, it’s not that I don’t know what I look like. But my image of myself isn’t what I look like in the mirror at the moment, and that realisation was a bit disturbing.


But I’m also kind of proud of myself. Sure, I might be overweight, and that’s not ideal. But I’ve learned something new in the last six months, and I’ve learned it well. I mean, I’m no expert dancer or anything, but I can do the beginner-level things that I do and do them properly. I have excellent timing, probably due largely to my existing musicianship. I have fun, I am regarded well by my classmates, I am getting fitter and stronger.


Those are achievements I can be proud of.




Originally published at spinneretta.com
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Mum and I sometimes manage to talk about things. Religion, my teenage years, depression. The last time we spoke at any length about those topics, I found out that Mum had absolutely no recollection of what, to me, was a pivotal moment in my teens – the point when I stopped trusting Mum, the point where I stopped confiding in her.


I’d already realised that I wasn’t cut out for her faith. I just couldn’t do it, I wanted other things, I was miserable being forced into the mold young people in the congregation were expected to like, I wanted to be normal. We had an argument, no unusual occurrence for a teenage daughter and menopausal mother, and mid-argument, I finally summoned up the courage to say “but I don’t WANT to be part of the congregation, I don’t WANT to be part of that faith.”


Mum turned around, looked at me, snorted, and said “oh, don’t be silly.”


It was a small moment, really. But I couldn’t believe that she’d called something so IMPORTANT to me silly. I tried to explain a few times, probably failing terribly badly in an overblown emotional teenage fashion, and the moment passed.


From that day forward, I lied to her. I lied about where I was and what I was doing, and who I was doing it with (or to, as the case may be). And I was utterly miserable for, god, I don’t even remember how many years. Teenage blues, yes, but I’ve realised that my stomach problems in uni were stress induced, the varying sleep issues I’ve had over the years are certainly stress-aggravated.

after the jump )




Originally published at spinneretta.com
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paint!

Mar. 7th, 2010 07:28 pm
emsk: (Default)
            

I have painted the living room this weekend.

When we moved into the house, we agreed to give it a full year before making any changes. We didn't quite stick to that; curtains in the living room and bedroom were changed at some point, basically because the ones the previous owners left us were a bit crap.

The blue that the previous owners painted the lounge, while it's a pleasant colour in it's own right? I really, really struggled with it last winter. Winter in Auckland tends towards the cold, damp, rainy, grey, wet, soggy, and horrid. Coming into the nice 'warm' living room that was a dark, damp, grey-blue sort of shade? I really hated it.

It seems like a silly thing to fixate on. It IS a silly thing to fixate on. But I just aaaaaagh blue blue dark wah cold wah damp wah wah. I lean towards SAD, and I hate winter at the best of times, and... and it's officially Autumn in New Zealand now...

So, I repainted this weekend. I did admittedly have something of a misunderstanding with Tobermory regarding the distinction between "dislike paint fumes" and "find paint fumes headache-inducing-leading-to-migraine"; I'd misunderstood the latter to mean the former, and then assumed that subsequent grumblings about painting meant "Tobermory does not wish to help" rather than "Tobermory does not want to be in the house when it happens", in that wonderful fashion I do sometimes have of assuming I know what he means instead of actually listening to what he SAYS.

Whoops. I am at least forgiven.

Originally published at spinneretta.com.
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emsk: (Default)
I'm certainly not above being a memesheep here - and, really, the last ten years have been full of changes. As you'd expect when you transition from your teens to your twenties, I suppose.

2000
Finished high school. Spent a fairly miserable year as all my school friends were no longer at school (either being a year ahead or having chosen not to do seventh form). Graduated high school with pretty damn good grades, all things considered. Started going out with Cyclenut.

2001
First year of university, studying business. Mum had surgery to remove an ovary. Stressed out about money. Survived.

2002
Made the decision to switch into computing, having realised that I'd stab someone with a letter opener if I stayed in accounting. Started teaching computing.

2003
First year of the computing degree. It was a good choice! Was mostly miserable in my home town, had no local friends (although there were one or two people who I periodically went to movies and such with, they tended to be less than wonderful). Lived for the chances I got to leave and visit Cyclenut, mostly.

2004
Uni uni uni, work work work. Started making Internetfriends, beginning with Colitis I think. Started cycling and swimming, and running more seriously. Originally mostly due to Cyclenut's influence, I enjoyed it. Eventually ended up swimming with a tri training squad, although that may have been in 2005 now I think about it. Started working at my first helldesk role. I enjoyed that job.

2005
One of my worst years, and yet I achieved a hell of a lot. Got Internet access at the maternal abode for the first time. The final project at uni, which was a horrible series of ups and downs and disappointments. I eventually passed, though. Spent my final semester getting burned out and doing too much. Miserable in my home town, was officially Nellie No Friends. Cyclenut and I parted ways. Met Internet friends in real life. Finally sucked it up, went to GP, diagnosed with depression. Did a Special K triathlon. Met Tobermory. Graduated. Made decision to leave childhood faith while planning to leave home. Went out with my workmates for drinks. Went to the Christmas party. Spent time with friends in Auckland and Hamilton. Rhonda the Honda died, and I was obliged to rely on shanks pony or my bike for transport.

2006
Graduation ceremony, did the walk in the silly hats. Worked for the web-dev company, worked for EDS (worst. decision. ever.) Bought my first car. Moved to Auckland, on April Fool's day which I still think is hilarious. Officially left childhood faith. Tobermory moved to New Zealand. Purchased Spinneretta. Dyed my hair (went through a rainbow of atrocious colours, in fact). Purchased various stupidly cheap appliances off Trademe until we could afford non-shitty ones. Had first birthday. The couch attempted to eat Reiver.

2007
Left EDS. Discovered how truly psychologically destructive that place was. Started working for my current workplace. Reconnected with Pstyken. Tobermory was hospitalised for the first time with stomach issues. Candycat moved in from the neighbour's place. Played World of Warcraft. Cooked a lot, had various work / money dramas with Tobermory's revolving contracts. Got continually sick with various lung-infection type bugs owing to shitty damp horrible flat. Survived.

2008
My beloved Sharkie-car died. Bought the Scoobaru and Buzby. Tobermory bought a house! Moved into said house. Lots of drama related to house buying and so on. Tobermory got residency! and much rejoicing was done. Moved into house, bought furniture and various necessaries. Spent several months wondering how the hell we'd survived in the tiny flat of hell. Unoffically promoted internally as trainer of new staff, etc. Parked Buzby under an SUV in an attempt to avoid another accident. HOUSE! Had our first Christmas and New Year's parties here.

2009
Made a lot of jam. Attempted cake decorating. We bought a lawnmower and I became the de facto lawnmower of the family. Met the Tobermory-parents for the first time. Was proposed to in front of said parents, burst into tears even though I more or less knew it was coming. Acquired the Tigra and Boomer cats from the SPCA. Thaqui moved in. Bought a piano. Promoted to team leader. Dramas with the Ford, leading to it's eventual return. Attempted gardening. Adjusted to having an entire house available instead of two very small rooms. Mum had dental surgery, during which the family suddenly realised that I was actually a grownup and capable of looking after my mother instead of the other way around.

It's funny how summing up the events doesn't really cover just how much I've changed from age sixteen to age twenty six. Still, here I am. And I'm happy.

Originally published at Spinneretta.
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It's been a busy few weeks. I had a week of night shifts, which was horrible; the usual revolving run of visitors; a run to my hometown to take my mother to a dental specialist at the major town between our respective homes (go go driving 1000km in 24 hours); discovered that my new babyproofing system appears to be making my backside expand at an exponential rate - I'm giving it another month for my system to adjust, then going back to the doctor to complain - on the other hand, I appear to have pulled my head out of the route to depression that I was heading towards, I've shaken the abandonment issues when Tobermory isn't there when I wake up panicking at o'dark'hundred, and I actually have energy instead of crippling tireds.

The peas are still battling the snails, and mostly losing despite all that chemical warfare can do to assist. The tomatoes are now battling the size of the tomato pot, and growing most valiantly. The strawberries don't appear to be growing anything except leaves (most vexing) but on the other hand, they're not dead. The cats are still growing; Tigra is now 3.2kgs at nine months old, Boomer is 5.2kgs at ten months old. BIG BUGGER.

I bought two swimsuits. One via TradeMe, via which means I bought a swimsuit that retails for $208 for $55. The other? Well, I picked Auckland's most recent AMAZINGLY shitty weather, when it was cold and wet and horrid, and went shopping. Walked into a store which I know primarily supplies bikinis to skinny minnies, started browsing. The female shop assistant wandered over, asked what I was after, and turned up five minutes after that with twelve things for me to try on.

The amusing bit? The tankini I eventually bought was half price.

The spa pool is repaired, it needed a new pump. I've broken in the new swimsuit (twice), and it was wonderful when Tobermory's friends from the UK visited this weekend.

I feel sorry for my beloved. Having his oldest / closest friends around has made him homesick in a way I don't remember him being before. There's nothing I can do, either, other than hug and sympathize. The move to New Zealand was good for him, in many many ways, and obviously I think it's a good thing because, well, we're together. But it's the people he misses. His friends. He's a social animal, and he left so many friends, good friends, behind...

Originally published at Spinneretta.
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I'm enjoying spring. For one, it means I get to actually see sunshine outside of my working day, which is really really difficult to over rate as a Good Thing. Admittedly, the next few weeks at work are going to suck (quite a few night shifts, no weekends off until November, for example), but at least there is sun some of the time!

For another, I finally pulled my head out of my backside, went to my GP, and got a change of babyproofing. I was starting to run into the depressive side effects that some people get on Depo-provera, and I have been there and done that once before, and had no desire to go there again. And my GP seemed so pleased that I was being proactive about my mental health, she happily gave me what I asked for .

So, after six weeks, I am feeling much, much better mentally. Time will tell as to whether the effects are obvious to other people - my beloved has already noted that I'm not flying off the handle quite so rapidly - so I'm calling that a win.

Plus, y'know. Hooray, sunshine!

Originally published at spinneretta.com.
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The piano has been a form of relaxation for me as long as I remember. When I moved up here, without one, it took me a long time to learn to wind down, without the piano to use as my emotional adjunct. I sung a lot more, mostly - and as my singing voice is not the best in the world, this is not really an adequate alternative. I love to sing, but other people don't love hearing me. (Although I sing a mean game of Rock Band, provided the stereo is cranked loud enough.)

The piano got me through some really tough spots. I'd come home from a bad day at work, or university, especially when I was in my worst spot with depression, or after I broke up with Cyclenut, and I'd play for hours and hours. Mum always knew that if I started off playing Rage, it was probably best to leave me alone until I worked it out of my system.

When I bought the piano in February, I had lost a lot of skill. This wasn't entirely surprising, owing to my three years without a piano. I could still sight read, although some of the notes out of stave and stave swaps are still catching me out - I can interpret them, but instead of my previous ability to subconsciously translate music->brain->fingers, I now have to stop, check, read, place fingers, continue. Practice is, unsurprisingly, helping.

I purchased myself the second volume of sheet music from The Piano. My piano teacher gave me the first book, years ago. I'd never seen the movie, but the music caught my ear from day one, the haunting emotiveness of it. I watched the Piano for the first time last month. Mostly, I've been playing the music correctly. Having seen the film, I can play the music better. It's taken me a while to return to skill levels where I felt comfortable attempting new music; I then realised that I'd underestimated my returning abilities. It was a good feeling.

In March, I tried a piece from Prokofiev. It's a piece I loved playing, prior to The Big Move. In March? I physically could not force my fingers to play the appropriate sequences quickly enough to even vaguely resemble anything musical, and the octave stretches required were a little testing.

A little testing? A lot. I cried, several times, in February and March, through sheer frustration at my inability to play, something that used to be almost as easy as breathing. I had to force myself through exercises that I used to be able to do with my eyes shut, literally. I'm still having trouble with octave reaches - either this piano is small, or my hands have grown, because I keep playing ninths instead of octaves. Playing scales in octaves is helping, if extremely boring.

Tonight, I tried the Prokofiev again. I manged to play it through. Not well, admittedly, and in retrospect playing glissandos with a large chunk out of one finger (playing with cat, did not move fast enough) may not have been my wisest ever move, but... I can actually DO this. My skill IS returning, I'm not just dreaming it.

I've been around music all my life. My mother is a pianist (although by her own admission, less technically proficient than I am - she is better at playing by ear, though). My grandfather played saxophone and clarinet. I remember sitting in front of a keyboard without legs, bashing away happily at the keys while I was wearing nappies. Mum has corroborated the memory, along with my memories of plunking at the piano she and Dad got rid of before I was three.

I love having the piano. I really can't express how much. I'm relearning music, and enjoying the simple academic achievement therein. I have the emotional release, where I can storm home on a bad day and work my way through Michael Nyman, John Williams*, Michael Hsiao**, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Debussy... anger and fear and upset and rage, temper and stupidity and irritation and frustration, working through to quiet and calm and peace.

Having the piano is really what's made this house home. I've played until my hands hurt, tonight, until the tendons in my forearms are painful, despite scales and exercises, until typing is difficult because I've just had to rewire my brain-finger connections for the third time today, until the cut on my finger was bleeding; and I am unspeakably happy.

* I have the sheet music from Schindler's List. The Krakow Ghetto and the main theme are in pretty much constant rotation.
** I found his music online years ago; the site doesn't exist any more, and none of the Googling I do can turn the man up. This is possibly Google-fu-fail on my part, but it is quite sad.

Originally published at spinneretta.com.
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It's been a weird week. Tobermory's parents got to the airport and then home to the UK safely, which is good. He and I have been wandering around vaguely putting the house to rights. I have about a billion loads of laundry to do, so of course it's been pissing down with rain.

Both of the in-laws cried as they left. I'm glad they've enjoyed their stay, and... well, I feel guilty on occasion that I'm the reason Tobermory is over here, thousands of miles away from his family and his old friends. Seeing how upset they all were at the airport... I love Tobermory. And he's happy here, more or less, but I know he hasn't really had the chance to make friends that weren't originally mine, and finding work up until he became resident was an absolute bitch. He and I are happy together, but I do sometimes wonder, with that little hateful voice from the hindbrain, if ... friends, family, all the life he had there - might not be too high a price to pay for us. He'll miss his family. Probably his father, moreso than his mother; despite, or perhaps because, they don't always get on terribly well.

It's not just his parents, I'm feeling a bit weird generally.

About a hundred women at work are pregnant, I swear I can't walk through the building without seeing yet another belly walk round corners before the body carrying it. I have, in the last year or two, discovered that I have a biological clock. And it's frankly extremely disconcerting to have your ovaries grab your brain by the stem and shake it violently going "OI, YOU. REPRODUCE, PLEASE." While I do (eventually?) want kids with Tobermory, I am sufficiently old-fashioned enough to want to share a surname first.

When I returned to work from my "meeting the inlaws" holiday, I discovered that my female colleague had finally talked her boyfriend into proposing; they're getting married in April, while they're on the trip to India so he can meet her parents. And another friend has also announced her engagement. I am sufficiently childish to carry a strain of "Wah, I got engaged first!! why are you getting married first???" (Not that I'm not pleased for them, I am! But the hindbrain is stupid and childish at times, as well as hateful.)

The whole topic of weddings is such a minefield that I am highly tempted to elope* simply to escape drama. I know, as a fact, that Tobermory's dad and my Mum in the same room would be cause for large scale drama, and ... I just don't want to go there. It's not purely a selfish desire to escape, either, I don't want to expose my mother to that if I can avoid it. And, well, Mum's been dropping hints that she wouldn't mind me eloping for as long as Tobermory and I have been living together, so I doubt she'd mind overmuch.

The answer seems to be a registrar's office, then a party in each country**, but, well, I'm girly enough to kind of want the pretty dress and some nice photos for memorabilia purposes.

Whatever we do, the 'typical' shindig is right out. Amongst other things, my extended family would refuse to attend my wedding; in my own country, within travelling distance of all of them, and I'd rather not be reminded of that fact. And, frankly, I don't have a terribly large number of friends, and it just seems stupid to put on a show for all of two dozen people. I suspect that my family would attend a celebration of some sort if we were already married, and celebrating that fact. The distinction is small, but it's there. I miss my family. I'd like them to meet Tobes, I suspect he'd like my maternal uncle in particular.

Any time I think it over, I run up against eloping as the fairest option, not to mention the cheapest and easiest. I have yet to convince Tobermory of this. Yes, people on both sides of the family and in both countries will piss and moan, or be upset they missed out - and I genuinely like Tobermory's mum, and don't want to hurt her - but eloping leaves everyone modestly unhappy, Tobermory and I as happy as possible under the circumstances, and nobody actively offended.

And hey, any excuse for a party, right?


* I suspect I may have inadvertently communicated this desire to Tobermory's mum - she is far too lovely and easy to talk to - and one of her parting instructions at the airport was that I'm allowed to be as sneaky and low-key about getting hitched as I like, but don't DARE to get married without inviting her.
** This would also have the advantage of Tobermory's mum being able to have an Event, which I suspect she would appreciate.

Originally published at spinneretta.com.
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emsk: (Default)
I miss writing here. But I sit down with a lot to say and end up saying nothing. I've a dozen starts of posts, and they mostly end up ranting vaguely about nothing in particular.

The house appears to have fleas. At least that's easy to deal with; flea bombs, then dump flea powder on the carpet after vacuuming the following week. I miss having kitties around, but I won't miss dealing with fleas. I miss Candy dreadfully. We spoke with the neighbours, told them we had moved out, so they knew to check on both kitties. It was clear that we couldn't move such elderly cats, especially as we'd only be a couple of kilometers - well within kitty walking distance - from their old territory. We've gone back to check on them since; Candy in particular ran up, clearly missing us; but also recently bathed and well fed. I sobbed and sobbed. I miss her so much, the little fuzzy loving presence, the vibrating foot warmer on the bed, sitting on my desk with me. Meowing about my feet in the kitchen. But, we had to do the right thing by them, and I am convinced that we did. Even though it breaks my heart.

Mum visited for a week, and we survived, and even enjoyed it sometimes. Tobermory spent most of that time with her, as I was at work, and managed valiantly. I quite enjoyed most of it, not least because it's our home, our rules, and I got a few petty kicks out of that fact.

I'm back at work, frustrated, annoyed, and rapidly losing all my tolerance for everything. I am in need of a proper holiday, the week off to move house really wasn't holidaying. I am at the point where I have on two occasions broken my own rules about being rude to callers, and told them they have the choice of listening to me or getting the hell off my telephone, as I have better things to do than listen to whiny clueless fuckwits ignore what the skilled technician says.

Not in those words. I'm annoyed, not clueless, and not interested in being unemployed.

There are times I hate my job. It comes home with me, I get stressed and irritated and fractious, I snap at Tobermory and other people. I don't deal with stupidity, I lack kindness and patience with my friends. I know my failings, and they frustrate and depress me.

I came home from work yesterday, sodden with rain, and Tobermory met me at the door with towels, and a freshly-run hot bath. He is endlessly good to me, even when I know I don't deserve it. He complements my failings, draws me out of my shell. Supports me when I need it, tells me to shut up and get over myself when I need that instead. He's good for me in ways I never expected. And despite, or perhaps because of, our differences and disagreements, it keeps working. Two years of residence in that miserable tiny flat didn't destroy us, and if that didn't...

I miss my family. Mum's visit reiterated several things, one of them being that I am very much my father's daughter, and that I am hopelessly separated from my family, and I want to see them. Although, Dad was the odd man out. I resemble my grandmother, and my uncle, and my cousins; not so much my dad. I wish I'd had more time to know them as an adult. Mum wandered around our house, and it's funny, the things she pointed out to me. Things which I know my aunt and uncle and grandmother on that side do in their homes, and I do as well. Not because I'm mimicking them, but because it makes sense to me. Habits and hobbies, thought patterns, mannerisms even. I've always found the nature/nurture debate fascinating.

It's funny, I've never really thought about how life may have been different, had my father lived. For some reason, that idea finally arrived in my brain recently. I don't want to ask Mum, because I don't think she'll know the answers to my questions.

Mum spoke to my maternal uncle on the phone the other night. He was asking after Tobermory and I, our new home, and such. Mum passed on the standing invitation to visit, as I'd asked her to, and as I expected, it was promptly met with a "Thanks, but I don't think I'll be doing that". Until Tobermory and I marry, they'll not see me. And even then, they still may choose not to see the heretic daughter of the excessively pragmatic widow.

It's my own choice. I chose my life, I chose my freedom, and I'd make the same choice again and again. It still bugs me sometimes.

I try to show my family respect. I haven't contacted any of them, except Mum and Nana, since I left the faith. They occasionally pass messages via Mum, and they're always glad to hear that I'm well. Everyone was pleased to hear about the house. But, my uncles have standing in their respective congregations. Even if they wanted to see me, there would be those who considered it irreligious to do so. They are my family, and I owe them respect, owe their lives and choices and religion respect; in turn they respect mine.

Tobermory and I got engaged. My family isn't why. The proposal was extremely unromantic, but very us. No wedding plans yet. We'll get around to it.

And it's 1am. Life is busy, and I can't do it on no sleep.

Originally published at spinneretta.com.
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