I Call Bravo Sierra

Common sense isn't very common.

Blue 2

Posted by Keen Observer on October 27, 2015

Sometimes I wish I could turn it off:
Stop thinking, stop feeling, stop caring.
Sometimes I wish i could just stop
living and then it would all stop
and maybe i could feel nOrmAL
and maybe it won’t hurt any more
and then maybe someone might care
that i had a really shitty day
and no one was around to answer
(they all have their own lives and problems and i hate asking for help to begin with for this pussy emotional shit)
my calls for help and to not be
alone and maybe be with me
while i cry, even for a minute
and maybe it won’t hurt any more
because i won’t feel hurt and useless
and unloved and unappreciated
…at least for that minute,
And that might be enough for today.


[Blogger’s note:  I’m not suicidal, but I’m not having a great day.  Just a worse bout of depression than I’ve had in a long time, and this was rolling around in my brain-cage.]

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Recent Thoughts

Posted by Keen Observer on August 5, 2015

I haven’t written much in the past year for various reasons, some good, some probably not good.  Excluding my recent poem and post on Friendship, my last two posts were in February and December on fairly diametrically-opposed subjects.  One was filled with thoughts of love and amazement and hope, and the other was filled with the pain of the end of a friendship I had thought unshakeable.  The two posts were not related.  The main reason I have been focused in other directions is fairly reasonably laid out in my December post.  But recent events have finally convinced me that the love I was chasing—and offering—will be neither achieved nor accepted.  I’m still grappling with the pain of it.  And a large part of that is due to the nature of how this realisation was given to me:  the uncovering of her lies and her speaking “unforgivable” words.

For most of the past year, I have been blessed with feelings of love I have never before experienced (see Timing).  It changed me as a person, and I am at this point a better man than I was last year at this time.  For that reason (among others) I can feel no true regrets for the events of the past year, though I can certainly regret the outcome.  The time and experiences have taught me a lot about myself that I didn’t expect to learn—certainly not in this fashion.  I learned to let go of certain bits of hatred and bitterness towards my ex and my ex-boss, because in being filled with love, I had no room for hate.  It was a startling revelation, as I hadn’t realised I still hated my ex until I no longer did, and I figured I would always hate my ex-boss (he’s a narcissistic asshole–I seem to run into a lot of them in positions of power).

Only love can defeat hate

Only love can defeat hate

I learned about acceptance and selflessness.  I learned about forgiveness.  I learned about inspiration.  I learned about so much, and all from interactions with a single person, a person I had come to know as “perfect”, though I knew she was not:  though she was flawed, she was just perfect for me.  That I also think she’s stunningly gorgeous didn’t hurt, either.  She made me feel alive and happy and young and hopeful and appreciated in ways I don’t remember ever feeling before, to the point that my omnipresent depression was mostly just an annoying buzz that could be ignored at will.

But a few months ago, April, she told me that she had been lying to me (and pretty much everyone she knows) and using me for months, and the nature of that lie and revelation could have been devastating to me.  I’m still confused as to how it wasn’t.  She said she had been doing it to protect my feelings, because she had figured out that I was madly in love with her, but that became hard to believe later on. But we talked it out, and she assured me the cause was no longer required and she agreed for the sake of our friendship not to lie to me or hide such things from me again.  A smarter man might have walked away from her then for the betrayal, but there were defensible reasons not to, including some sunk costs, and the fact that I loved her so deeply and completely that it still sometimes scares me.  Our friendship recovered…or seemed to, at least…and we spent a lot of time together in various ways, and I revealed the full depth of my feelings for her, partially through poetry I hadn’t yet given to her and some new stuff I now did, plus additional writing besides.  And I tried to live my love for her through my actions.  I also learned more details of her lies after the fact and learned some other things that I did not make her aware that I knew, as there seemed to be little point:  the past was the past.

But some weeks ago, the “unforgivable” words were uttered, shaming words that compared me directly to a past abuser of hers.  I was shocked and hurt and confused, because I had never tried to be anything but a source of love and support for her.  But my love was not something that fit into her life’s plan, and so a distance grew between us that I would rather have never happened.  It was during this period of silence where I was giving her space she indicated that she needed that I was confronted with evidence that she hadn’t changed, that she still was lying to me and would continue to do so, that the reason for the lies still existed, and that she was still going to hide things from me.  The lies and betrayal resurfaced, much to my shock.

I’ve never been so shocked as when that evidence slapped me in the face, as though she had done it in reality.  Because of the nature of the space I was giving her, she was supposed to write me something in response to my defence of the actions she compared to her abuser, so I didn’t want to confront her before I saw that, to give her the possible chance to come clean and volunteer her story.  So I tried to wait for an uncertain, unspecified delivery date.  Two days later, the building pressure from that pushed me past a breaking point I hadn’t realised existed, and I…ran away.  With no notice, I asked my boss for the week off and went home to visit my family and my new niece.  I tried to run from her to deal with my pain, and just as though the universe was twisting the knife, she was the last person I saw leaving work that day.  Yes, she’s a co-worker, but we don’t work directly together. (To add insult to injury, the next day, I broke a tooth that’s going to cost me thousands to fix.)

The visit home was good, and I was gradually able to recentre myself.  Most of my anger went away, and my love for her kept trying to overwhelm and suppress my other feelings.  She texted me one evening that week and suggested we talk when I get back (I surprised her by disappearing unannounced), as she felt her writing skills were not up to the task of writing an actual response to my letter.  I agreed, not without trepidation.  We had that conversation almost a month ago, and it was both much less and much more than I feared. (Understand that there are a lot of details missing from here, which is contributing to some of my stilted syntax.)

She lied to my face, directly and very specifically, when she didn’t have to.  The lie was entirely unnecessary in the context, and the conversation could have been completed “satisfactorily” without that information.  Because that information was directly contradicted by the evidence mentioned earlier: photographs from a wedding and the knowledge I have that she doesn’t know I have.  But the photographs were visible to her friends on Facebook for a short time, and they’re pretty damning even without my knowledge, so one wonders why she would take that risk.  I think in part she’s just gotten so used to lying about this to everyone that she can’t help herself.  Despite the fact that the pictures were posed for, taken by someone else, and taken in public.  I guess she’s neither as honest nor as smart as I had given her credit for.  And then earlier this week, additional, more-innocent visual evidence surfaced that makes the case against her lies and deception yet more damning and longer-running, and she remains silent.  And she seems to be carrying a lot of cognitive dissonance in her head to be able to say and do the things she does that seem entirely contradictory to one another, and so I start to wonder if some of the unflattering things that she told me others have called might not actually be true.  Which is a horrible thing for me to even think.

I love her still, and I like her personally.  I like talking to her and spending time with her.  I value her friendship.  But now I question if we can actually stay friends, because she’s lost my trust and my respect.  But we still have more talking to do, and for the first time in my life, I’m going to be picking a fight with someone.  Not just “someone”, but a woman I love and care deeply about…despite everything.  Because I need to see her reaction and response.  Then, and only then, I might be able to figure out what to do, because right now, I’m more than a little lost and confused.

POSTSCRIPT (some time after writing the above and sitting on it prior to publication):  We were supposed to meet and talk more about this, wherein I would confront her, this week, but she had to cancel.  I had given her exactly one mental reason where such a cancellation would not result in the instant end to our friendship, and she managed to hit it on the nose.  So, we’re going to meet next week instead, and she promises that she will fully block off that evening for me.  She seems truly remorseful, but I still have trust issues, despite my soul crying out to be with her.  But at least she had the courage to tell me to my face (we went for coffee), and the conversation that didn’t revolve around that future talk was otherwise pleasant, as our conversations almost always are.  She seems genuinely concerned about our friendship, which makes this even harder on me.  But we’ll see.

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On Friendship – Part 5

Posted by Keen Observer on July 24, 2015

Well, I seem to be returning to Part 1, though not completely.  This one has nothing to do with my former best friend, but it does have to do with the other friend mentioned therein:  a co-worker with whom I used to have a very close working relationship.  We were a very effective team.  However, I made the mistake of believing that our work rapport could transfer to the personal sphere, and asked her out a couple of weeks after I posted that blog entry.  She rejected that respectful advance very completely, though politely, and it took some time—as it does for me—to recover emotionally from it.

But we were able to keep working together pretty well, including going to an industry convention.  And then about a year or so ago, some professional misunderstandings occurred…mostly my fault, though she never challenged me on my behaviour…which resulted in both personal and professional distance growing between us.  A professional disagreement became intensely personal for her, far out of proportion to the offence.  She blocked me on Facebook, though somehow she still seems to skew my “mutual friends” lists with some people, and we stopped talking to each other.

Then a few months ago, some time after having connected on LinkedIn, I brought up the space between us, and we talked about it.  I apologised, and she seemed to accept it, and I promised to do better.  We moved forward, I thought, and after a conversation last week, it seemed like it might be possible to renew and try to rebuild the friendship we had of old.  The response I got from my attempt to make full peace with a friend I had missed?  Well, I got nuked from orbit.  She doesn’t want to be friends at all and keep only a professional working relationship between us.  Which is fine, except for the mixed signals she gave me last week (sharing confidential plans and opinions of hers, as well as discussing having personal conversations away from work and similar things).  What I can’t figure from this is how she can utterly reject an attempt to restore our friendship and claim that “it’s nothing personal.”  I guess she has completely different concepts of both “personal” and “friendship” than I do.  And how much my perception of that friendship contributed to our effectiveness as a team.

I don’t know her reasons, and I don’t particularly care to.  They’re hers, and they ultimately don’t matter.  But whatever they are, I’m down another friend.  Which, based on this interaction, is probably going to be a good thing.  I’d rather be told this than labour under any delusions.  It’s important to know who your friends really are.  It’s important to treat your friends well and not cavalierly.  It’s important to be truthful with your friends and never betray a trust.  It’s important to be available.  It’s important never to play emotional games or act capriciously.  It’s important to agree on limits and boundaries (if any).  It’s important to be honest with them and yourself.  If these things don’t exist, what value the friendship?

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Heartbreak 3

Posted by Keen Observer on July 23, 2015

I haven’t written much in the past months, mostly for good reasons, some for laziness and a lack of motivation.  I might or might not be starting up again.  This poem is a glimpse into the emotional turmoil I’ve been experiencing since April, and more strongly in the past month.

Fighting with Myself

I do not know
What I am
What I feel
I am both
Full and empty
Paired feelings
Happy and sad
Still and shaken
Calm and afraid
Focused and scattered
Whole and broken
Supported and alone
Love and pain
Appreciated and betrayed
Certain and not
I do not know
How to reconcile
So many dichotomies—
Just that they must be
Or I will never again
Be whole or happy
To love once more
Freely and completely
How I once loved you

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On Friendship, Part 4

Posted by Keen Observer on February 7, 2015

Well, this is a post I didn’t think I’d be writing.

You may recall earlier posts bearing this same title, and that the subject of them was largely the same person, though others may have been referenced.  This past week changed all that in an instant, and yet it didn’t.

My former best friend–who shall remain nameless but who knows about these posts–explicitly, but without explanation, abandoned our friendship this week.  Not abandoned, really–more like executed it.  After five months of decreasing and then no contact, nor responses to contact attempts, she blocked me on Facebook Wednesday morning.  She was there, and then she was not.  My first reaction was that she had finally deleted her account, since she had mentioned having considered it in one of our last conversations.  But I mentioned it to a friend, and I was told that her profile was still visible.  The shock of that knowledge hit me rather like a bolo to the nuts.

I had accepted that she no longer wanted to communicate with me for whatever reasons, but that was an action I hadn’t anticipated, since it could be considered very aggressive.  And I had come to terms with her lack of response, though I had been working on an email for the past couple of months that would tell her I was confused but would respect her desire not to communicate with me and would wish her well; I hadn’t sent it, because I couldn’t figure out the right words to settle the right tone.  I still might send it, but the tone has become rather more bitter in the last few days.  I mean, I hadn’t heard anything from her since mid-October, despite a few attempts after that–though I gave up in late November–and she had already severely limited what I could see on her wall and profile (all without explanation).  And there are other factors which I learned indirectly (aka. “CG”–her bf-exbf-bf-fiancé) which caused me to believe that I knew why she had limited and then cut off communication with me prior to this, though I found those factors to be both confusing and hurtful.  So, I was settled into accepting that benign neglect would be the way of things, and I had decided about a week or so ago that if nothing happened in the next month (i.e., by the end of February), I would just quietly remove her from my friends list.  And so, she took this entirely unnecessary step without warning, notification, or explanation.  The only functional outcome of this for me is that I can’t see her profile, I can’t see her tags/other public activity, and I can’t send her messages/reply to our ongoing conversation thread, so there was very little point to taking this course of action.  I still have other contact means for her, unless she’s changed them all.  And in that case, she’s got bigger problems than worrying about me.

The worst part about it for me is that she went the “silent” road.  We had had long discussions about my past relationships and certain aspects of them involving silence and marginalisation of me by my ex.  Lack of honesty and communication doomed at least one of those relationships–the most important one–and she knew that.  So this method of going about “separating” from me couldn’t have been more calculated to hurt me than if she had tried (which I don’t think she was trying to do specifically).  So I am hurt and annoyed and frustrated and confused by all this.  The second-worst part was that the “other factors” caused me to start distrusting her–something I would have said was impossible in August.  And because of that distrust, I had to remove her as my emergency contact and change all the passwords I had given her (in a still-sealed envelope, I hope) to be used in the event of my death or incapacitation.  I didn’t think she would do anything with the information–not immediately, at least–but I trust none of the people around her not to do so.  These two “betrayals” poisoned what had been a beautiful friendship, in my opinion.

But to be clear, I do not regret any of it, except mailing her my passwords–I have a hard time remember the crazy number of them that I have, so changing them all was extremely frustrating and annoying…I had some really good ones that I liked.  But her friendship was of incalculable value to me, and she helped me get through some rough emotional patches in my life and deal with a lot of past anger and stress.  I like to think I helped her similarly.  Her friendship served its purpose, and I think I’m better–and a better person–for having known her.  That’s the legacy I want to remember, not the stupidity of how it ended.  In many ways she gave me back my emotional life, and I’ll always be grateful for that.  But that part of my life is apparently now over, unless she decides to contact me, and in that eventuality, I don’t know what I’ll do.  She made her choice, and it was pretty unequivocal.

But the surprising thing for me is also related to friendship:  the reaction.  I put up a post on Wednesday–D-Day, I guess–after I got home and had eaten some supper.  She can’t see it, having blocked me/unfriended me, but since she knows of this blog, I’m not sure I should repeat the words.  But I vague-booked a little and said it sucked to be “stabbed in the heart” by a friend.  The response to that was strangely strong and gratifying.  I got a supportive comment from an old ex, and a few other comments and several likes to the post.   And then I got some side-band communications.  I had two long conversations yesterday with friends, both of whom I’ve known for years, but I had only been close with one of them.  I try to explain the situation as honestly as I can (based on my knowledge), and the responses and support I’ve gotten from everyone have been uniformly positive.  It’s something that almost overwhelmed me in its magnitude and surprised me in terms of who reached out to me and how.  Which just goes to show you that if you pick good friends, they’ll stick by you.

So, I guess the upshot of all this is a new piece of learning for me about friendships:  good friendships can end, but the best ones don’t.  And only time will tell you which one is which.

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Posted by Keen Observer on December 1, 2014

Timing is everything.  Or so they say.  And in my life, timing has rarely been something that has worked in my favour.  There are many examples of timing basically biting me in the ass, and very few of it working for me.  As examples, we can go from learning about and liking a product just before it gets discontinued, up to buying property high and selling low (of necessity, not choice).  And there are many examples in between.  I started working at my previous company just as its share price was peaking, and that’s the price at which my options started.  When we parted ways, that price was a third less, and all my options were under water.  All 60,000 options.  The company’s shares currently are worth 1/6 of their peak price, if that.  In any normal company, the president would have been turfed long ago, instead of continuing to get bonuses that dwarf the salary I earned there.  My life has been interesting in similar ways on the personal side, with otherwise-benign decisions made at times where they would have greater negative effects.  The pattern has been fairly consistent over the past two decades or so, and I’ve written about some of it previously.

I was looking back over these occurrences recently, kind of indulging in a bit of “woe is me” self-pity at how hard my life has been (it hasn’t, really, in comparison with most, but I have felt a strong emotional and financial toll from the events in my life), but mostly because something happened in my personal life that caused me to evaluate the cost and effect of the sum of my bad decisions, good decisions, and random timing of the events in my life that have guided me down the path I am on.  What happened was I met someone special who has challenged me personally and emotionally in ways I thought were largely dead to me after so much pain and failure.  And she has enriched my life greatly in ways I didn’t expect (and I don’t think she suspects, though I have hinted at them to her).  And the funny thing about it is that my “timing problem” is in full effect, because she isn’t emotionally ready for the type of relationship I would like to have with her.  Which has created an interesting–“It’s complicated.”–environment, though we have become pretty good friends (and yes, she is aware of my ongoing interest in her).

But the beneficial part of the timing revealed itself to me not long after the day I realised how far and how hard I had actually fallen for her (roughly two months into this story).  The day I realised how far I had fallen was the day I realised that I had no more hate left to waste on my ex.  I realised that all of my decisions and all the things that had happened to me–good and bad–had led me down the path that led directly to her.  And so, I could no longer hate what had brought this beautiful, sweet, wondrous person into my life, because the wonder of her just suffuses me.  And then I was surprised to find I still had that hate stored in reserve, because I thought I had rid myself of all of it:  I only noticed it by its absence in the wake of my realisation (which suggests another topic about self-delusion).  I hope at some point that a similar realisation will occur to her, easing her struggles to deal with her past.

And following this realisation, and coupled with getting to know “Lenka” (not her real name), I realised that my past path had served another purpose:  it had prepared me for Lenka.  My experiences, how I was treated, how I learned to adapt and persevere, how I reacted to and was changed by events and people:  all were early training so that I might be the right person for her in a life that was (and is, to an extent) fraught with negativity and bad things (some really bad) and poor treatment (I suspect emotional abuse) and repeated bad luck and her own bad timing–among other things.  I always knew that one of the things I learned at a fundamental level in my last relationship was patience.  A scary amount and depth of patience.  Lenka needs patience like you need to breathe.  I don’t say that as a negative thing, either:  it’s just part of her.  She needs other things I have learned, also:  acceptance, support, respect, appreciation, proper treatment, an absence of fear, the moral strength to accept another’s child in your life (I’m not entirely sure where that came from, but it’s there), the ability to listen without judging, selflessness, being encouraging, offering help, being friendly, not being demanding, loving her for who she is (I haven’t told her that part yet, unless she’s managed to interpret that properly from the poetry I’ve been writing and giving her).  All of these “skills” arise from the experiences I have had over the past twenty-plus years and have taken until now to be amalgamated into my personality.  And I’m still learning more and more of what she needs.

Had I tried asking her out two years ago–or even a year ago–I don’t think I would have been ready (nor would she have been, I don’t think), even though nearly all my experiences predate that.  I needed the extra time post-breakup to internalise and analyse all that had happened, and all that I had (and was) feeling.  So, at this point in time, it was the right time to proceed.  The sequence of events were almost humorously ordered:  following a one-off, random comment to a close friend, it was one thing after another in fairly-rapid succession with me just reacting almost without thinking (punctuated by her three-week vacation) that led to me asking her out, and so this story began.  (Given my usual level of anxieties in such things, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t think too much about it while it was happening.)  Except for the initial anxiety of asking (as would happen with me regardless), I haven’t really had at any point in this process any doubt about what I was doing–an extreme rarity for me–though the process has been bumpy.  I have done things and said things that I would have been deathly afraid of saying to anyone else, yet with Lenka, they seem natural and proper, and they seem to flow easily from me.  I am comfortable around her in a way I haven’t been around potential romantic interests previously, and yet I remain excited about her and my attraction to her is very strong.  And at the same time, there are other timing issues that keep popping up that have me wondering if the universe is toying with me (give a little, take a little, always leaving me off-balance), and the timing of close friends entering and leaving my life has also added complexity–and good (or at least necessary) things–to the landscape.  (It’s an odd coincidence that my closest friend has basically disappeared from my life over this exact same time interval; looking back, it may have been a good thing, because I think that many of the things I have done/said would have been left undone/unsaid, had I had her available to provide input into this situation…which is a bizarre thought to have occurred to me.)

And so the timing feels right, she feels right, the path feels right.  Though the path has not progressed as I had hoped (and much more slowly, as well), I’m comfortable with it and have the patience and perseverance to continue along it.  Looking back on it at this point, I almost think that timing is working in my favour, because I don’t regret anything that has happened–it all seems right and necessary.  I think that if we had started “properly” dating when I had asked her out, it would not have lasted very long; whereas now, I think we’ll have a better foundation for success–she’s in a better frame of mind about it, as am I.  As well, the effort I’ve put into this has made Lenka seem more desirable and more precious to me, making me more willing to support that effort and do what is needful for success. And the interactions we’ve had have had a positive effect on her, also, both in making her feel better about herself (I think/hope), more positive about some things and about men in general, since I’m apparently quite different from her previous experiences.  And the feedback I get from our interactions contributes to my sense that Lenka is the woman that I need in my life, the type of person that will keep my darkness at bay, because I’m focusing my efforts on her, on being the best I can be, so that she can flourish; that will honour and respect me in the way I do her; that will make me feel valued for who I am, not what I can do for her or give her; that will accept the love and affection I have and return it; that will be a stabilising, yet uplifting, presence in my life; that will always challenge me, yet never undercut me.  In short, I think we are what the other needs in his/her life.  But because of my timing, I just need to be patient until she realises it.  Always the timing.

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On Friendship, Part 3

Posted by Keen Observer on July 25, 2014

I was having a discussion with my best friend some days ago, in which she was engaging in some of her trademark obsessive behaviour, while simultaneously fretting about being in this obsessive mode.  This is something I have experienced with her on previous occasions, and it’s not something that bothers me beyond the fact of disliking that she tortures herself like that.  In fact, during this iteration of obsession, I realised a few things:

  1. I like listening to her obsess about things (which may surprise her).
  2. I like being the person to whom she feels she can obsess about these things (which shouldn’t).
  3. I like that these interactions are non-judgemental and entirely reciprocal (she takes her turns absorbing my own outpourings).
    • With the proviso that sometimes judgement is necessary, and is performed in both directions as appropriate.
  4. The connection we have/share is so profoundly deep that any other concepts that do not support these statements are entirely unthinkable.

The last item was kind of the key one in my moment of “Eureka!”  During our conversation, I noted it thusly (with improvements):

You are so much a part of my life, that when you ‘go off the deep end’ [as she put it], I just stand and let it wash over me, the rock on the beach sitting immobile and stable, as the stormy waves crash around it.  I observe and analyse and advise, but ultimately, I am apart from it in such a way that lets me fully accept the action of your storm waves without being drowned by them.  And at the same time, I provide an outlet for you that isn’t damaged by the force of the storm.  But the key is that you and I have such a deep, powerful connection that I can no more turn away from your rage or insanity [her term] or sadness than I can my own.  And so, I exist, and you exist, and we complement and support each other.  Profoundly.

As these words came out of me, I realised them for essential truth.  Or Truth.  I thought on this for some time after and realised that as much as I see myself as her rock, I equally know with certainty that she is mine (and I have also waxed poetical in this vein).  She provides a stable barycentre about which I may revolve, or the heavy storm anchor that keeps my fragile hull from being smashed to flinders, as I am tempest-toss’d by the hurricane of my emotions.  And I am confident in this relationship to the marrow of my bones.  I know her, and she knows me, in profound and complete ways.  We know the other’s flaws, and they don’t matter in the least.  We don’t love each other in spite of those flaws; we just love each other, flaws and all, because those flaws are part of makes us who we are, and we understand this intrinsically.

Though the metaphorical rock acts as an impervious observer to the stormy ocean, in another, very real sense, the solitary rock is enveloped by the calmed ocean, an ocean that surrounds and just…is.  An ocean that is accepting and supportive and tranquil and…there, gently reminding the rock that it is never, ever alone.  The ocean’s presence ebbs and flows, as these things do, but the constant contact between water and basalt echoes how one soul brushes up against and soothes the other, their presence a universal constant.

And as all of these thoughts passed through me, I realised another Truth:  I have little doubt that there are people out there who have never–nor will they ever–have so deep and honest a friendship.  These people I pity with all the strength I can muster, for I have been in that state and am indescribably glad to have escaped it.  Of all the things that exist in my life at this time, she is currently what makes me feel the luckiest, the most valued, the most understood, the most appreciated, the most…well, the list goes on.  I’ve finally gotten over the dazed bafflement at having so wonderful and awesome a friend, but the wonder and awe of her remain.  I have even been so lucky as to have developed other close friendships that I value highly as well, but she’s definitely special, and I believe she has been instrumental in me being able to see and accept these other friendships, to have given me the ability to once again let others see who I truly am.  To risk.

She has been such an incredible gift to me, that I can’t really imagine that life is possible in her absence.   My best friend centres me, stabilises me, gentles me, encourages me beyond my limits.  The reality–the solidity–of the connection we share grounds me so perfectly, that I can no longer feel that I am without also the parallel of she is palpably within me.  I could no more turn against her or hurt her than I can harm myself, because to hurt her would be to hurt myself.  And because of how she gives and supports and loves in return, I know the same holds for her.  The connection is truly soul-to-soul.

And to me, that is the nature of a perfect, true friendship…or as close to it as makes no difference.

Posted in general, life, love, opinion, personal | Comments Off on On Friendship, Part 3

Remembrance of Things Past…

Posted by Keen Observer on November 11, 2013

Nothing to do with anything in this post but the title, but I remember reading some of the above bit of painful prose in the original French. I don’t remember much about it, but I remember reading it, and only vaguely how some things can spawn an “involuntary memory”. The original title is more along the lines of “In Search of Lost Time”, but English editors of French works can be a little pompous and can feel the need to change authorial intent. I was never a fan of Proust, but that little kernel of truth is quite profound, as it relates strongly to interconnectedness.

That aside…

Today was Remembrance Day in Canada and the Commonwealth, and marked in different ways in other countries. Canada uses the day–though not a national, public holiday–to honour its fallen heroes, its war dead, a tradition dating back to the end of World War I. The poppies come out about two weeks before the day. Generally, at no other time during the year is there any mention of such things in the “popular” press, and come the 12th, the poppies disappear from the talking heads on television, and also the public consciousness.

There has been some talk in recent years of a so-called “white” poppy, that’s intended to represent peace, as though the red poppies (there are other colours?) are meant to honour war and killing. People who would believe this tripe are ignorant, stupid, or misled. Or all three. People who think that another type of poppy is needed have no idea what a “Remembrance” poppy represents, and they probably don’t care to learn, either.

War is hell. Period. Some have said it’s the failure of diplomacy, which is probably true enough, but diplomacy is often used just as another military manoeuvre, and is often the opening salvo in the war, or the base causus belli. And sometimes, diplomacy is just another way of saying, “Please turn around, so I can stab you in the back.” Friends close, enemies closer. There are people/entities/national actors in the world with whom diplomacy is impossible, because they are not rational actors. With groups like those, war of some type is inevitable, and it’s harder to fight off, both because they are not rational actors, and because we often give them the means to destroy us.

War is hell. It has a huge cost, beyond military budgets and economic/environmental damage. War kills generations, whether the war is “won” or not. War is a horrible, horrible thing and should be avoided–unless it can’t be. And if it can’t be, that war should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible, to ensure that your side doesn’t bear the cost of it any more than it has to. It should be as nasty, brutish, and short as possible, and preferably destroy your enemy’s ability to make war again for a very long time. People who have studied war’s history, and the history of wars, understand this, more so if they have military experience. Politicians, as a rule, do not, and they are often eager to increase the cost of a war that they do not personally have to pay.

War veterans understand the hellish nature of war at a bone-deep level we “normal” people can’t possibly understand, and for this we should be grateful, because it means that we have not experienced it. And we “normals” have trouble understanding why anyone would volunteer to go out and kill or die to serve a political or necessary end for people they know nothing about. But they do, and they die. It is this that the poppies represent: their sacrifice, not for a glorification of war. The poem “In Flanders Fields” encapsulated this fairly well, which is why it has stood the test of time. They died, that others might live. They died, that those who started unnecessary wars might be defeated in their goals. They died, that evil might be fought to a standstill and destroyed. They died, that people might say egregiously-stupid things about poppies without being imprisoned. They died, and we live. They died, and we wear poppies once a year.

There is a problem, though, in that as we get further away from the global wars of the past, the memories around them fade. And schools slowly stop teaching about the true causes and costs of war. And the sacrifices of the honoured fallen are gradually pushed to the side, so that generations of people grow up not understanding what happened in the past. Memories fade, and people stop seeing the warning signs of oncoming global conflict, leaving us unprepared in the face of existential threats. Memories fade, and people stop appreciating the freedoms they take for granted every single day, freedoms bought with the blood of young generations, something that today’s young generations don’t want to confront. And they fail to see that the price of those freedoms is eternal vigilance, because there is always someone out there who wants to restrict your freedoms, to control your lives and thoughts. Honouring and supporting a military that is the only bulwark against external threats of that type is about the least you can do. And the simplest way to do that is to wear a red poppy on the left side of your chest for a couple weeks around Hallowe’en. If you feel particularly punchy, you can go for a yellow ribbon as a year-round display. But we must not forget. Or there might come a time when we need the help of the warriors to protect us, but they are not there, and this time, it is we who will die, but there will be no one to remember us.

Posted in general, life, opinion, personal, poetry, politics, stupidity, Writing | Comments Off on Remembrance of Things Past…

Sex Workers’ Rights Day (Friday the 13th)

Posted by Keen Observer on September 16, 2013

Sex work is work, as they say, and sex worker rights are human rights. Per the link below, I’m one who comes at this from the libertarian side, the equal-treatment-under-the-law side, the women-have-the-right-to-choose-how-their-bodies-are-used side, the not-seeing-sex-work-as-immoral side, and the not-treating-working-girls-like-pieces-of-shit side. For the record, I’ve never patronised a sex worker (heh…did you see what I did there?), but trying to make/keep this consensual activity criminal is beyond stupid.

(Her blog is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended, and some is NSFW.)

Read her stuff. Maggie McNeill–a retired escort–articulates things I could never find the words for and describes things far outside of my experience. But society treating sex workers as pariahs is why Robert Pickton got away with murdering women–people who were wives, sisters, daughters–for as long as he did, and why other murderers, abusers, and rapists continue to do. And this is in Canada, a country where prostitution is itself not illegal. I mean, listen to the news: recently, two women were killed in Vancouver almost next door to each other. “High-risk lifestyle” is media/police code for “she’s just a whore”, where missing or murdered women are concerned. More often than not, it even means “drug-addled whore.” That they were connected to sex work should never have made it into the news reports, because at this point in time, it’s fucking irrelevant–and perhaps never relevant. Treat murdered/missing women as murdered/missing women, in the press and elsewhere, and maybe violence against women will decrease. That they were escorts may be a relevant line of investigation, but why publicise it or change how you approach the case?

If you haven’t thought about things like this before, read her well-written blog (she is intelligent, articulate, and thoughtful, though I don’t always agree with her), and you will. However, you might end up feeling a bit gob-smacked from time to time at the things you’ll learn, especially about how whores in America are treated, and how they’re trying to export their misguided morality and control-freak tendencies worldwide, where it’s just not wanted. And you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that goes on around the world.

I stole someone's picture.

“Nice pussy you have. Shame if something happened to it.”

You may be shocked at how most feminist groups, who should be staunch allies of fully-sexually-actualised, independent businesswomen, routinely fight against efforts to humanise (read, decriminalise) sex work/workers: a woman is allowed to choose, as long as it’s not choosing to take money for sex. Slut it up and fuck whomever you want, just don’t take cash money for it.

So, though this post is now going up a few days late, I don’t think it hurts to remind people that sex workers are people too. Porn stars have sex with multiple partners for money, and they don’t face nearly the same stigmatisation as someone doing a straight-up financial transaction for sex. They also don’t get arrested for their activities; some are lauded and some run for political office. And as Maggie has pointed out a time or two, cops aren’t smart enough to differentiate between hookers and non-hooker females. In some places just having more than a few condoms in your purse is enough to get you nicked, and that’s utterly ridiculous. Other stories are more harrowing, and all are because of demonisation of sex workers and the illegality of sex work in many jurisdictions. Strangely, however, most people can’t tell sex workers apart from “regular” women: they look just like everyone else. And they are just like everyone else: trying to make a living with their native skills.

Posted in American, Canadian, general, life, news & journalism, opinion, politics, religion, stupidity, Uncategorized, World | 1 Comment »

Brief update

Posted by Keen Observer on September 3, 2013

To all those who still follow this collection of my brain farts, I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in months. I just haven’t felt all that write-y. Nothing has caught my attention with enough intensity to make me want to barf out a post, but I’ve been feeling guilty about being silent for so long. Also, natural disasters, summer, and a busy work environment conspired (and conspire) to keep me occupied, and my adult-education class is starting up again shortly. Perhaps one of these days, I’ll learn some time-management skills.

Anyway, that’s all I really wanted to say.

Carry on.

Posted in general, life | Comments Off on Brief update