Category: love

A vulnerability to love

Love is a rebellious bird,
that nobody can tame,
and you call him quite in vain,
if it suits him not to come.

- Ludovic Halévy

As someone perpetually single, I am known to say that I don’t believe in love. But the truth is that I fall in love everyday. I imagine an entire romance with the ginger barista at the coffee shop. We meet, laugh, love and break each other’s hearts in the four and a half minutes it takes him to make my coffee. It’s not just people. On days off, I wander around the city falling in love with a park, or a building, or graffiti words on a cracked concrete wall. The smell of barbecue in the summer or the crisp day in fall that reminds me of so many firsts. On melancholy rainy days, I fall in love with the miserable girl on the bus. Alone in my house of a hot summer day, I fall in love with the curve of my own hip in the soft light of sunset.

Maybe it’s the obvious vulnerability to love that keeps me so adamantly from falling in love with another person who might feel the same way. Sure, I would love them for that day or those beautiful minutes where our bodies are like flint, but what about tomorrow when I fall in love with the perfect words of a song, or a soft, muting snow fall?

I don’t care about your band

Some of you, those who don’t know me personally, may not know this, but I have the worst track record when it comes to relationships. Or, more aptly, non-relationships.

I often wonder where this failure comes from, since I grew up surrounded by loving relationships and I’m quite good at friendships. But I suck at relationships.

In my defense, some of the objects of these relationships have been less than deserving.

Of course, I chose them, right?

I don’t care about your band by Julie Klausner is one of the most surprisingly good books I’ve read in a long time. I read the first few pages standing in a bookstore in Toronto waiting for a friend to meet me, and I was hooked. Julie Klausner is a hilarious writer. The surprising part, however, is that I don’t normally like non-fiction. And especially not self help… which, to be honest, this book is bordering on. Technically it’s the autobiography of Julie Klausner’s romantic attempts.. and failures. But it’s presented in a very “self help” type way.

But that might just be because I identified so much with it. Honestly, it might as well have been the biography of my own love life. Just a switch of a few names and she might as well have been talking about my life.

It was refreshing.

Refreshing to see that other intelligent, capable women make similarly awful choices when it comes to men. Refreshing to see that one can survive a series of bad non-relationships and still emerge as a relatively functional person.

Because I am largely surrounded by people who are good at being in relationships. Good girlfriends and good boyfriends, people who are always in relationships. Or people who have even less experience with relationships than I, largely because they make better decisions than I when it comes to getting involved with someone who, logically, is just not worth their time.

“There are two kinds of girls who drift toward the more unsavory characters in the dating pool. There are, first of all, the kind of girls who’ve been ignored, abandoned, or otherwise treated ambivalently by their dads, and look to creeps as a means or replicating the treatment to which they’ve grown accustomed…. The other kind of girls who wallow in the Valley of the Dipsticks are the ones who know they deserve better. These are the girls with the great dads; the ones who had their decks stacked from the outset, who knew it couldn’t get any better in the guy department than the one who taught her how to ride her bike… This category of girls, in which I include myself, has a tendency to exceed her allotted bullshit quota for boys she likes, if only because her stubborn mind will not reconcile the notion of wonderful things ever coming to an end.”

“And there are so many guys. I remember the first time a friend referred to a guy I liked as a ‘man’ and I made a face like I was asking Willis what he was talkin’ ’bout. A man is hard to find, good or otherwise, but guys are everywhere now. That’s why women go nuts for Don Draper on Mad Men. If that show was called Mad Guys, it might star Joe Pesci, and nobody wants to see that. Meanwhile, I know way more women than girls. There’s a whole generation of us who rode on the wings of feminism’s entitlement like it was a Pegasus with cornrows, knowing how smart we were and how we could be anything. The problem is that we ended up at the mercy of a generation of guys who don’t quite seem to know what’s expected of them, whether it’s earning a double income or texting someone after she blows you. There are no more traditions or standards, and manners are like cleft chins or curly hair  - they only run in some families.”

The book made me laugh. It made me cringe. It also made me think a lot about the kind of behaviour that I accept from “guys” that I like. Behaviour I would never accept from a friend or even a colleague.

Anyway, it’s a great book. Read it! Well… if you’re a girl.

The between hours

The sun was a gold disc, blurred by salt patterned windows; the horizon a bleary somewhere else. We drive the way of tackle shops, motor stores and cheap motels. The roads lined with general stores and diners that belong to people like Frank and Al and Nana. I listen to a melancholy playlist and that song comes on. The song that fits like a second skin. The song I carry with me always.

We drive until the sun disappears, until the lights of the city appear in its place. After five stale hours, the children two seats ahead get antsy. We adults wish that we, too, could whine are we there yet? We’ve places to be, but mostly we’re tired of between.

Twenty six hours in another city. The heaviest hours I’ve felt in a long time, passing both slowly and too fast: burdened by the weight of sadness and carried by love. I pass on the songs that carried me here and hope they will offer some strength.

My memories are full of Greyhound buses. Of looking at my face in window reflections on buses, trains and planes. Tired eyes and bedraggled hair look better in the forgiving dark glass. I watch one city disappear and another appear in the fog before dawn, and I think of a quote I heard years ago:

Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.
- John le Carre

<3

Predictive text in the T9 on my cell phone seems to tell a lot about my life. When I hit 1 twice, it writes either a happy or a sad face, depending on which I’ve used more recently.

This week, it’s been predicting a <3.

My best friend, Fae, was in a pretty bad car accident on Sunday night with her boyfriend, and they both had to have major surgery. She’s been in the hospital since.

Being a heartbreaking 862 kilometers away means that all I can do is text her and keep telling her how much I love her. Words are not enough. I feel helpless and useless. She’s miserable and in pain in a hospital bed in Pittsburgh and all I can text her is <3.

Last night, I kept my cell phone clutched in my hand all night so that when she woke up in the hospital, alone and unable to sleep, I could text her back. This morning she was moved to the ICU because they think she might have clots in her lungs and need to do xrays.

I need my girl to be all right.

Me and my Faebala<3

Beautifully different

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

It’s hard for me to say what makes me beautiful or different, because a lot of the time I don’t feel like I’m either.

I’m smart, but so are each and every one of my friends. I am by no means the smartest or even the best educated. So being smart, or good at school, is just normal.

I write, but so do a lot of my closest friends, some much better than I. Writing is something that has brought me closer to so many of my friends, something I share with some of my favourite people.

I read a lot, but where I come from books are like water, essential and constant. All of my friends are readers.

I can tell you a great deal about greek pots and/or Greek mythology. But does that really light people up?

I’d like to say that if there’s anything I do that truly lights people up it’s that I’m very good at being a friend. I will do anything and everything for my friends. I love people without restraint, a fact that quite often gets me hurt. I care so much about my friends, they’re the best part of my life. I hope that they know that and I hope that it makes them feel safe and loved.

But again, I’m not sure if that makes me “beautifully different.” So maybe I should ask you, what makes me different and/or beautiful?