I am having some difficulty letting go of my neighbour encounter. I still have that bitter and sour taste of the worst kind. I’m bitter because of my own stupidity of engaging with a mentally sick person and letting her get under my skin. It’s hard because she is not the kind mentally ill that gets lock up but the kind that gets special considerations. Life is not fair, never is and never will be. I better just suck it up and be more conscious and wary. I am of the vulnerable sort that gets taken in by sad stories and tears. They know I am a sucker bearing gifts of sympathy, help and sometimes money. I once gifted a friend under a guise of a loan of a couple of thousand dollars. She had asked me to cosign a huge loan for her. I couldn’t do it. I felt guilty refusing so the loan/gift. She rewarded me by asking some time later, How much was it that I had given her? She could not remember. The things that sour a relationship.
They say to be truly generous you give without expectations and no strings attached. Obviously I haven’t reached the truly level. I would like some gratitude and remembrance. I hate being the lone caretaker of a relationship. But then, I brought it on myself. I have no one else to blame. Another time, another friend, and another incident. This friend wanted to pay me back for my kindness to her. She often hung out at my place because all she had was just one room while she was getting her computer science degree. She wanted to pay my train fare to visit her in Toronto where she got a new job. I declined the free rain fare but took up the visit. The first thing she said to me when I stepped off the train was: You’re going to cost me a fortune just in toilet paper to keep you.
Not a very auspicious beginning. It had no good beginning. I ended up flying home in not too many days. And yet I still try to maintain the friendship for a few more years before I packed it in. I truly have a hanging on problem. I brought it all upon myself. Now that I have spilled all the bitterness and sourness onto the page, I hope I can start a new page. I am a good person. I need to value myself, time and energy better. I do feel so much better having unload some of the shit. And though I felt the least inclined to exercising today, I went. The mobility class at the YWCA was excellent. Working on hip movements chased all those ugly feelings emanating from that wretched neighbour woman. It helps to surround oneself with positive and kind people. I was doing something good for my body and soul. The negative stuff are now just water under the bridge.
When the conversation stops, it’s difficult to get it going again. That’s what I’m experiencing – here and in other places. I’ll see if I can get it going again. This stretch of October days has been sunny and warm. My energy and spirit have benefited. I’m doing more and complaining less. Hallelujah!
Having said that, I am feeling overcast by the news. Not watching or listening doesn’t make the bad stuff go away. It’s better to be informed than hiding my head in the sand. That way, I can make better decisions. It is not easy, though, to be in the here and now – watching the migrant caravan trying to gain entry into a better life, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the political scene and Donald Trump in the United States. None of it is uplighting. It is what is happening.
There seems to be so many things wrong in our world. It seems so wrong that so many people are living in abject poverty while the wealthiest one perfect of the world’s population owns more than half of the world’s wealth. It seems so wrong to build a wall to keep out the poorest and most suffering from having a chance to better their lives. It seems that we live such hippocritcal lives. While the world condemns Saudi Arabia on its human rights, the U.S., Canada and the UK still have arms deals with the country. Will they continue?
This is not the conversation I want to start but how could I not? I come from a country whose human rights record is questionable. I have my own personal memory bank of my native country’s violence. I remember the sound of a firing squad in my childhood. You cannot speak out against Chairman Mao. You cannot breathe a negative word to a wrong person. My mother had to be a witness to such an event. She kept her eyes on the ground, she said. The victim was a teacher who spoke out of turn.
My eyes tear at the memory now. Then, I was but a child with no understanding. It’s distressing that not much has really changed. But maybe it has. With the technology and communications today, we are aware of what is happening everywhere. It is not ‘over there’ anymore. It is here, right in our livingrooms. There is nowhere to hide anymore.
Conversations are difficult to start and maintain. The flow takes practice, practice and endless cups of tea. Solutions and relationships can be the outcome in the course of sipping tea and exchange of words and ideas. It does take effort and courage or foolishness. It could be the latter for me. I cannot live in silence of non response and proper ettiquette. I often speak without wisdom.
I’m stretching myself, trying to move a little faster. I poke along like a snail with my head inside my shell. I have no vision or plan. It’s no wonder I get nowhere expediently. I’m just riding a stationary bike. I can’t even tread water. At the moment, I’m sipping tea and snacking on sweet potato chips. It’s not great for staving off drowsiness. It’s something once started, hard to stop. I’ve instructed the guy not to buy them for me any more.
I was talking about forgetting how to turn on my headlights the other night. It was such a strange thing. This morning in the car I could plainly see where the lever was. How could I possibly forget? It was as if there was an empty spot in my brain at the time. A black hole. I vowed to strive for better brain health. I’m giving it some serious thought.
Aside from a little snacking now and again, I eat a pretty healthy diet. I’ve cut out endless cups of coffee since I’ve retired. I’m catching and making up for my sleep deprivation from shift work. I think I have 2 more years to go according to some research. I go to aerobics 3 times a week. I swim once a week. I walk Sheba every day.
I’ve been monitoring myself for toxic emotions. It’s my biggest fault and downfall. I’m a highly sensitive person. I feels things deeply – the good and the bad. I hang onto feelings for a long time. I take things personally. Not so good. I could at one time feel my cortisol level rise with my emotions. I have better control now. I’m slowly learning to relax and to let go a little. I have a long ways to go yet. I’m aware and working on it. Then there’s the toxic relationships. Nothing kills more brain cells than toxic emotions and relationships. It’s something to talk about for another day.
The other day, two people called out my name, Lily! It had such a nice ring to it. There was gladness in the voice and a smile on the face both times. I was touched. My heart warmed. Was it for me? I couldn’t help asking silently, slightly disorientated by the occasions. It was been awhile since I’ve heard my name called. It started a song in my head. James Taylor was singing.
I would like to have such a friend. He would come if I call, wouldn’t he? He sang the words. I like to think that words still mean something. but I’m not sure. Though much have said about the power of vulnerability by Brene Brown, not too many people are willing to show themselves. That is my experience even though social media and electronics make it so much easier and cheaper to touch and be touched. We don’t want to be first to touch. We send out signals and hints. We test the waters gingerly with our toes.
Sometimes I feel such longing and yearning for the kind of friendship and relationships of old. You just call up/out someone’s name. And they come running. You know then you have a friend. It’s not a bad or impossible thing to wish for. It’s something to work towards – making those friendships and relationships. At least I’m recognizing what is important for me.
What really matters to me is that I am able to give back to my mother what she has given to me….love and attention. So when she tells me that she is missing her sister and that she is feeling so not all right and could I take her out for coffee, it is my pleasure to do so.
I had been wondering how she would deal with my auntie’s death. Even though they were separated by many miles, they spoke frequently on the telephone up to 2 weeks before my auntie’s death. By then she was not herself anymore. She was sometimes confused and angry, hitting and scratching at my cousins, too weak to speak with my mother. But she died peacefully at home.
My mother was a bit surprised by her own grief. She felt a bit ashamed of her ‘weakness’. She said that all her siblings were like that. My uncles all cried unabashedly at the funeral. When someone said that they shouldn’t be crying because my aunt was, after all 93, they cried all the harder. So that’s my mother’s side of the family. They lived in each others’ hearts.
My coffee times with my mother are somewhat akin to Tuesdays with Morrie. It’s been a long time since I have read the book, but I remember that those Tuesdays were filled with love, communication and acceptance. That’s how I feel about my time I spent with my mother. She is a great storyteller and a very wise woman despite her lack of formal education. I am who I am because of my mother. And it is a wonderful thing.