February 28, 2011

Empathy ...

I have just read a terrific explanation of Empathy.

I know I am a reasonably empathetic individual.  I had some troubles earlier in my life which gave me a good solid foundation.  I come from a family that leans toward the arts, although the sciences are not ignored.  And I read a lot.  Okay, constantly.

The thing is, many of my less sensitive friends will say/ask me, they don't care/why should they care ... But I'm pretty sure they already do.  And here is how I will explain it to them the next time they ask:


Beauty, eh?!

February 21, 2011

The Plan B

In my late teens and early 20s I worked very hard to change my life.  I had been a pretty miserable kid, caught between warring parents, angry grandparents, teachers who were irritated by a bored and academically advanced kid and, later, a pissed off and turned off teen.  I attracted the attention of the bullies, hung out on the fringes of the different cliques, and eventually made friends with a few beautiful misfits who needed a chubby, insecure side-kick with whom to go out on the town.

The few boyfriends I did manage to land didn't last long.  I always ended things clumsily within weeks of accepting invitations to "go around".  As soon as they became too familiar to me I became nauseous at the sight of each of them.

The only boy who I didn't reject of course, of course, rejected me.  Regularly.

We were perfectly matched.  He hated his father, and I mine.  For very different reasons, I thought at the time, but as it turned out the reasons were pretty much the same.  I just couldn't see it.

We never talked.  Seriously.  We could exchange smoldering looks from across a bar, and when we danced he made me weak in the knees.  But I can count the conversations we had over the course of our relationship (years) on a single hand.  He dumped me often and hard, and always the same way.  By disappearing.

God, how I loved him.

After him, and in between him, I compared every man I met or dated with him.  They had his lips, or spoke with his cadence.  They bounced when they walked, just like he did.

Years later, and even after I'd ended things forever and married someone else, I confessed an ongoing problem to a friend: When things got rough with my husband, and at the time they were tenuous at best, I would imagine what it would be like to see this guy again.

I was pretty sure that we had known each other in past lives, and that he would be a carry over into my next.  Kindred spirits of a sort that couldn't work things out and were doomed to forever enter each others' lives until we got it right.

When I thought about how things would be good, that we would be a perfect fit like an old pair of perfect Fluevogs, she laughed.

Oh, she said,  Michael calls that your Plan B.

Her partner had this theory that everyone has a secret Plan B.  Someone they had broken up with who would swoop in and make everything that wasn't okay better.  Regardless of how they had behaved in the past, doomed relationship, the Plan B would be way better than the current beau.  Way, way better.

Of course, reality is much less enticing.  My Plan B had a pretty harsh drug habit.  He always insinuated I might be cheating; that couldn't be further from the truth.  The chances of him changing were ... slim.  Okay ... none.

My friend and her boyfriend had a good point, and I abandoned my Plan B and concentrated on my good, solid Plan A.  Imperfect, for certain.  He was unsure about us, too.  But he was the first man I dated that didn't remind me of Plan B and I was pretty sure we retained the potential to make a good life with each other, regardless of our struggles.  I persevered all the way through his grad school year, with us apart and his living the college life.  It included a semester overseas -- Paris in springtime of all places -- for which I joined him.

He persevered too, we talked a lot, and together we survived.  Paris most definitely helped.

I FB emailed my no-longer-Plan-B last year, because he was out there and connected to so many of my friends and I hated the thought of being surprised.

He replied, Karen who?

To which I replied, Ah.  That is so you, my love.  And left it at that.

February 20, 2011



Don't be alarmed.  It is just the sound of my head exploding.

February 14, 2011

Of magical thinking ...

When I was in my teens, maybe 15 or 16, I don't remember, I knowingly taught myself to be bulimic.  Not because I was overweight (I was, but I was somewhat reverse dysmorphic, er ... a term I'm officially coining to say that I didn't have an accurate view of my body and did not loathe it).


I taught myself bulimia because every eating disordered character in every story I (obsessively) read wound up getting the attention they needed, talking to terrific counselors who listened and gave them comfort, having their parents pull together and stop acting like self-centred jerks.  As an added bonus, the characters' boyfriends stopped acting like sex-crazed maniacs and more like, well, in retrospect, girlfriends.

Perfect!  I thought with a brain that was obviously addled.  That's my plan.

So after dinner, when the spirit moved me, I disappeared.  Sometimes to my parents' en suite bathroom, with the transistor radio turned high.  But more often out the back of our garden, behind the hedge of evergreens, to toss up whatever I could of my dinner.

From early on, this activity left me with mixed feelings.  I was amused that the evidence was gone before morning, and totally weirded out that my dog was likely concealing it, if you know what I mean ...

I felt guilty, because, hello?  It was kind of gross.

But moreover, I liked it.  I didn't know why, but I did.  It wasn't like it did much for my weight, that continued to yo-yo like crazy.

Was it control?  I certainly didn't feel like I had that anywhere else in my life ... but bulimic behaviours soon became the norm, so any feeling that I controlled something was short lived.

There was something, though.  I felt ... relieved.  I felt momentarily unburdened of the angst, pressure and sadness that had always existed for me.  And I was pretty sure I could eat ... well ... anything.

February 10, 2011

In other news ...

Just discovered that my freezer full of berries has been w/o electricity for a week ... ah, renos, how I love the chaos you bring an already chaotic existence.

Bright side:  friend took my son for 2 hours so I could clean up without distraction.  I might even manage a nap.  Plugging in the fridge in the garage if anything is salvageable and planning marathon canning session this weekend ...

Other bright side:  booked into hotel (Living Social deal I bought last fall) with family for Sunday and Monday nights.  My guy has a meeting on Vancouver Island, so ferry costs also covered.

There are always bright sides.  Somewhere on the earth, even under the clouds (which I love) the sun shines on.  My crazy life continues to be pretty awesome.  Could use some sleep, though.

February 8, 2011

Sisterhood ...

I swore I wouldn't write about my sisters, but I ... have ... to ...

I have the most amazing sisters in the world.  Together we work through the weight of our worlds, talking and sharing information and balancing each other out.

Funny, this seems like a dumb, trite little post, but I just ... have ... to ... SAY IT!

February 2, 2011

I expect more

from doctors than eye rolling and extreme sighs when I ask a question about a loved one in their care.  Seriously.  Are we 6?!