Tag Archives: Friendship

How to get kicked off a couch

Be me, today.

Okay, that was bad.

I’ve been staying on my friend’s couch these days, and I told her from day one that whenever she wanted me out, I’d be out immediately.

I thought I was going to be here for a week, but her and her roommates were generous enough to let me stay for two months. She told me today that she talked to her roommates and was wondering if I could find another couch. It’s finally time to go.

I get it. Even though I don’t have much stuff with me and am here only half the time, having someone living in your communal area gets old after a while. If I were the one offering space, I wouldn’t care so much about the zero rent aspect of it, but having someone sprawled on my couch when I want to watch a movie would bum me out. So much.

I get it, but why do I still feel hurt? They have all been so nice to me, and I never expected to stay here forever, and I also told her at the beginning that I wanted somewhere to stay “until she kicked me out.” So I knew this was coming. I did this to myself, actually.

I guess I overestimated the thickness of my skin. It’ll pass. I need my own place.

I found a place on Craigslist that I can sublet for $300, which is an amazing price for downtown Toronto, but amazingly still over-budget for me. I’ll have to make it work. Hopefully I hear back from this one!

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Feeling feelings. Who’d’a thunk?

I woke up today with overwhelming heartsickness incredibly reminiscent of mornings back in 2003. In high school, I always had a crush on someone, but never the nerve to tell any of them. Typical, I suppose.

One of those precious objects of my affection later became a good friend… and later stopped speaking to me cold turkey for a reason that continues to elude me. And I dreamt of him last night.

I don’t know, I guess it’s fine. I tell myself that sometimes people need life upgrades and occasionally it means shedding friendships that aren’t working for them anymore. I’ve done it myself, and I’m okay with it. Except that, despite knowing better, it vaguely leaves me feeling like I’m the place from which, and not TO which, people upgrade. Also, I miss him. I don’t usually notice, but today I have the emotional field of a 14-year-old, and I do.

I’m doing my life coaching certification course right now, and I’ve also been studying a lot of spiritual stuff. I know that any sadness or fear I feel is the result of a mind construct and does not actually reflect anything “bad” happening outside of me. And that awareness is good.

But I think I’ve been coaching myself too harshly. I feel the awfulness and I immediately get to work finding better feeling thoughts. It works, but only temporarily; it doesn’t take long before I find myself crashing back down to where I started. I’ve been afraid of my fear and depression, and by running away I reinforce the idea that something in those depths is true, that something there can destroy me… and it can’t.

The holidays have been tough for me, as they are for so many others. I have the intellectual awareness that there is much to appreciate, but sometimes my feelings don’t come along for that ride. So, along with daily yoga and meditation, I’ve been experimenting with feeling my dark feelings, even if it means retreating to my room and crying for a few minutes to release them.

I know. This can be difficult to do while, say, the family is opening presents or having dinner. You don’t want to be noticed, you don’t want to be consoled.

During the holidays, the good cheer either lassos you right into it, or makes you hyper aware of how far you are from happiness. The world polarizes at this time of year.

The truth is, though, we never are that far from happiness. It really is a choice, and even though that can seem heavy and unfair, I accept the challenge. Today is a great illustration of the effect of focus: I focused on someone who isn’t normally part of my thoughts, and here I am feeling like a teenager again.

Though I’m still not sure what I will find by steeping in it, I really feel like my work now is to stop being afraid of sadness, to stop trying to move out of it prematurely. To feel it, honour it, release it, and then to have a piece of chocolate cake.

Merry Christmas, friends. xox

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Basic Needs

I’m in a weird mood today.

Where to start?

I feel really bad saying this, but lately I’ve been bored with most of my friends. On top of that, one of my best friends has been very negative, in particular towards me, and it’s been taking a toll on me. However, I do know that something’s been missing in my life, and I know better than to attribute too much of my unhappiness to what I perceive as the shortcomings of other people. It’s not their fault.

After I graduated from university, before moving to Montréal from Ontario, I was feeling absolutely reckless. I was bored of my life, and I needed a major change to happen.

A lot has happened in the past year. I stumbled around, not really knowing what I was doing, but I’ve somehow made some major improvements in my life. Now I feel like I’m at a similar point; I need a major lifestyle overhaul, but again, I don’t know how to make it happen. Am I going to have to stumble around again for a year? I mean, if I knew what I needed to do, I’d be doing it, right?

Stumbling around was exciting; there were a lot of highs, but also a lot of lows. Since I’ve gotten closer to knowing what I need (though I mostly have no idea how to get it), maybe this time there will be less drowning, and more swimming?

I think what I’ve been doing all my life, unconsciously, is submitting myself to dismal situations so that I can figure out what I really can’t live without. Sometimes I will deliberately turn away from something that makes me happy, and I never understood why. For example, I like playing piano, but I used to experience such fear when I felt the motivation to play. I suppose the rationalization is that if you live with something, how do you know you can’t live without it? Maybe there’s something better out there you aren’t living with, solely because you haven’t discovered it or haven’t been giving it any time and attention?

I’m not sure this is the best way to go about living passionately. If I’m happy playing piano, then isn’t my happiness the proof I need that it’s a good idea? Is the perfect version of “happy” really worth all the chaos and torment? Especially since I’m discovering that I end up right back where I started, i.e., the perfect version of happy is the same as the regular kind.

I guess this is kind of the “conscious” way to live passionately, maybe, though it’s an unconscious process. What the hell?

In any case, I don’t really have a choice, I do it whether I like it or not. I’ve lived through some terrible shit because of this impulse, but as an unexpected but also unsurprising consequence, there are certain things that I know I can’t live without, and other things I know not to waste my time on. As  result, I’m not compelled to turn away from everything that makes me happy: less lows, more highs.

These things are, as of now:

1. Laughter
2. Music
3. Spirituality
4. Facing the mind’s fear, asking the dark questions
5. Love
6. Honesty
7. Helping those who can’t help themselves

I’m discovering that I find almost all of these things, or a combination of some of them, in what I naturally am attracted to. Also, they all imply at least one of the others. For example, music, when I’m really into it, is almost a spiritual experience for me. Laughter implies honesty; laughing is almost as involuntary as a sneeze, and you can almost always tell when a laugh is fake (in fact, studies show that when presented with pictures of people who either smiled deliberately or involuntarily, study participants are able to tell the difference). There is no such thing as dishonest love. Spirituality, for me, means a sort of transcendence of love in all situations, a rise above reality, and peace. Helping others is motivated by love, and fear is the enemy of love, and so it must be faced.

I’m having trouble turning this knowledge into action. I’m going to try to go with the flow, and follow through with my inspiration in the moment. Lately, this means:

1. Writing on this blog
2. Writing a horror novel
3. Writing more music, and sharing it by posting it and performing it
4. Writing comedy skits, posting it, or performing it
5. Go to meditation or dance classes

As a side effect of doing what I’m passionate about and meeting more people, I think I might get rid of the bored-with-my-friends syndrome. Anyway, I’m getting very close to drafting a list that excites the fuck out of me. Progress. I also would like to travel and go back to school for either music or counseling.

But I need deadlines. I had the idea of setting long-term goals, and then shorter-term ones (like monthly goals), and then gearing each day towards achieving one of these goals. I’ll try that out.

I’m not getting any younger!

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… I Got Bored

So about that self-congratulation stuff. Yeah, I got bored. Plus, I don’t have internet at home, so when I do feel inspired to write, I can’t. Well, I guess technically I can, but it’s not fun if I can’t post immediately.

I’m still trying make it a point to congratulate myself for things I do right, I just haven’t been writing about it. I’ve actually been making tons of progress in different areas of my life, so I’m pretty happy about that. For example, yesterday (or the day before?) I called my parents. I always think about calling them because I know they’d love me to and they tell me so, but I never do. I just don’t really like talking on the phone for no reason, I guess. But that day, I bit the bullet and it turned out really well because my aunt was visiting my parents, so I got to talk to her a bit, too. Also, I had a time limit because I had to be somewhere half an hour after picking up the phone, so knowing I could say “I have to go now” truthfully made the chat time more enjoyable.

Another thing I did right was finally order a frigging cell phone. It should be here in about a week. I wish it would get here sooner though, because right now I’m borrowing one from a friend… and I have a bad history of breaking cell phones. I won’t forgive myself if I break his.

What else?

I think my efforts to build more meaningful relationships with my friends is working. Constantly being around people distracts me from what’s important, so I’ve been spending more time alone, trying to figure myself out. And because of that (somehow), when I do spend time with my friends, I feel like I’m being more respectful towards them, and towards myself. I’m spending more one-on-one time with people, which I think is really important.  I’ve always been more comfortable getting to know people privately or in small groups, so I’m not sure why it’s been so long since I’ve made that happen. In fact, large social events actually traumatize me. I have fun, but for some reason, I regret so many things the next day. Which is what is happening right now, but it’s all good. Just means I’m taking something away from the experience, though I’m not sure what it is yet! Time reveals all… (I think I just made that up?).

In terms of career… Like anyone else, I’d love to get paid to do what I love to do. The problem is that I’ve been having trouble finding the motivation to actually do what I love to do. What the hell? It’s really hard for me to play music, to write, to make art. Especially the last one, because art (like painting, or whatever) is such a private thing, and I’m already lonely enough. But I tried something yesterday: combining art with goodwill. That sounds so mathematical and ugly, but oh well. I spent all day making and decorating cookies for a friend’s birthday and I had a lot of fun doing it… but I can’t see myself having had that much fun if I hadn’t been doing it for someone. I wouldn’t have been able to just make these cookies for myself; I wouldn’t have cared and I wouldn’t have tried as hard. I’m trying to figure out how I can couple painting/sketching/whatever and goodwill. The thing is, I don’t see why people would have a desire to own a painting, for example. You can eat a cookie, but a painting? I just don’t get it. I guess that’s why artists are poor. But there has to be some sort of value artists provide! Why do I like looking at paintings? I don’t even know if I do. I like guessing at the artist’s technique, but only to get ideas on how to experiment with my own. I don’t feel like, thankful towards the artist, and that’s what I want from what I do: I want what I create to come from a place of love, and I want to feel like I’m contributing to someone’s happiness.

So I can’t bold this one yet, but I’ll leave it in italics because I don’t want to abandon it. I’ll probably write about this periodically (well, that’s essentially what this entire blog is), but I still think sitting down and writing self-congratulations for the small stuff consistently (as in, once a day for a week) would be a great way to motivate yourself to do more things right. Give it a try if you’ve got more stamina than I do!

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Being a Better Friend

I’ve been having tons of fun recently and seeing a lot of friends, but I think there’s something missing in what I’ve been taking away from these experiences. I haven’t been connecting with people very meaningfully. I like being a good friend, but I feel like I haven’t really been asked to be one in a long time, and I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m not putting out the vibe that I can be trusted with a person’s feelings; it’s true that I haven’t exactly been the sunniest, nicest person lately. I don’t know how to emit that “good friend” vibe, so it’s something to think about. In the meantime, I’ll just try to be nicer.

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