Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I found myself wondering why I'm writing this. Since I have no readers yet, I must at least have some internal reason for doing it. And as perverse as it may seem, I think I am doing it because I want to try to integrate some disparate threads of my personality. There are things one can say pseudonymously that I have not reached the level of feeling comfortable saying even to a therapist (and I had, I think, a pretty good one for a while). I talk enough that if you took everyone I talk to, they would know pretty much everything. But it's pretty fragmented. So maybe I can say everything I want to say knowing that I'm saying it to everyone (or, as of now, no one). And get some of this stuff out of my head and into the world.

I had a nice couple days. Yesterday I went to the Hart House Library and read the day away. Hart House has long been an important place for me. The aesthetics of the place were important in my decision about where to go to school almost 15 years ago now. It had been a long time since I'd done that, and it brought back all kinds of different memories.

Though the most potent one was of when I brought Music to Hart House. She fell in love with it, the same way I did, and for the same reasons. People like us aren't used to being in places like that. And the idea that it's just a public place for anyone - or close to, at any rate - blew her mind, the same as it had mine. She sat in one of the windowsills, just to be there.

People like us? The children of immigrants can't be guided by their parents into the ways and norms of a society the way that other children are. Their parents are learning these norms too. To some extent, we guide our parents. Music did hers. I did mine, though to a lesser extent. The result is that our knowledge of our own society is a little uneven. We seem like we know everything, but some ordinary things are exotic and strange to us, just like we think we're ordinary but seem exotic to others.

I met a very good friend of mine at the Pearson airport today. She was flying back home through here from a trip to Europe. Lives in California. She had a couple of hours at the airport so I went across town to meet her there. She looks tough, dresses tough, lots of piercings and bits of metal sticking out from her clothing. She's a beauty, and I've seen her in a dress and she looks as out of place in one as I do in a suit (emotionally out of place, I mean. I think she rocks the dress just like I rock the suit). There's a piece of her soul that is just like mine. We both take infinite responsibility for what goes wrong. We both wrack ourselves with guilt. We both manage conversations well and tell stories, entertain groups and then suddenly crash and become awkward and silent when we feel out of place. But we were both pretty mysterious to each other. I was very intimidated by her, and I suppose it took me three or four years before I figured out that she was intimidated by me.

I don't want to describe what I do here, on the chance that someone might read it at some point. But it can be genuinely traumatic at times, in the sense of seeing and experiencing things no one should. I met this friend of mine (I think I'll call her Artwork) through the work. I met Voice through the work. And Music too. Once, after the worst trauma that I had, Artwork decided to come across the continent and visit me. Before the trauma, I had just broken up with Soulmate and was torturing myself with guilt over cheating on her. I had come back from abroad with some critical incident stress. I was more alone than I had been in a while and was trying to throw myself even deeper into work to avoid the problem. Artwork came to my city, brought me back to the world, helped me soothe my guilt, told me to move on, told me I was worthy of love, and slept with me. It was nice. Not earth shattering like with Music. Not overwhelming like with Voice. Not like coming home like with Soulmate. But just, nice. She really did it, saw it, as an act of friendship. In the end it did help me I think, and I am grateful for it, though when we did it a few more times over a year I ended up getting attached to her in ways that she didn't need or want to be dealing with at the time, and our friendship suffered for a while. That was many years ago, and since, she's counselled me on Music and Voice and Soulmate and myself, and I've been there for her too through her relationship ups and downs. We shared a moment today, at the airport, taking the new train between terminals and sitting in one of those coffee stands that could be anywhere in the world. We talked about how we both feel like we're waiting for something to happen, in some kind of in-between. It's a different, better in-between than I've been in in a while.

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