Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On the 212th Day of the Year

This is one of those - this-is-what-I-did-today posts that I like to throw out there every once in a while per location to remember what life is like there. A simple, but thorough, documentation of routine and rituals.

Today - July 30th.

It feels like July just began, but also, that August should be here.
Although, as I look out the window, it doesn't look like either month. It still reeks of April.

My alarm woke me at 6:30 AM. I stirred a bit, feeling my swollen throat gland. I was a bit frustrated not to be well yet. By 7:10 AM, I was stumbling about the bedroom, tidying up, making my bed, washing my face, and packing my backpack.

I was dressed in a just-below-the-knee length richly coloured (deep purples, golds, and greens) paisley skirt, a Dyno Jamz t-shirt, my gold and maroon striped vest, and a brown sweatshirt with a map of the world stitched on the front.

Around 7:30 AM, I went downstairs and was welcomed into the beautiful, but busy life of the family I am living with. Breakfast was homemade bread (from freshly ground wheat - this family is gold!) with butter (sorry dairy allergy) with nutritional yeast and sliced garlic. I also drank a small cup of goat milk.

For lunch, I packed up some rice, beans, and kale in a small container.

View from the driveway.

At 8:23 AM, I hopped on my bike and raced down the hill that I get to climb daily. It’s a pretty steep gravely road, certainly bumpy, and an exhilarating way to start the day (with arms that feel like they've been vibrated into oblivions - what's an oblivion?). 10 or so minutes later and I was in town, parking my bike at the Mountain Market. 8:34 AM and I started walking up the hill to the home of my first client, reading my Bible on the way.

9 AM - 2 PM - Client #1
When my client squeezes my hands for balance, they turn especially yellow - this is after a minute of recovery.

Oh how I adore this client (ok, so I adore them all). She welcomed me with a vibrant “good-morning” and verbally guided her in getting dressed. She loves to walk so we headed down the hill to the “Hungry Moose.” Once we made it to town, though, we realized she had left her purse by the door with her money. Luckily, we had all the time in the world so we walked back home, nabbed it, and headed back with a new route. At the Hungry Moose, she got her daily dose of “pretzel... cheese” and we met up with one of my bosses (I think she’s one of my bosses, I don’t know - she’s wonderful, though and certainly steps and steps above me, yeah, we'll call her a boss, but she isn't too bossy). After the walk, we went to the bank where she wrote her name backwards (I’m always impressed - that's how she does it) with a “4“ and waited for her favourite teller. After she exchanged five one-dollar bills for a five-dollar bill, we walked outside where she tried to do the same thing with the drive-through. We walked into random shops and she explored what she wished to see. Back home she made a ketchup and cheese sandwich and settled down with her iPad. Altogether, we were strolling around Haines for 3.5 hours.

I left six minutes early and ran to the post office at 1:54 PM. I had only until 2:15 PM to cross town and get to the next client. I was thrilled with a letter from a new pen pal I had not yet corresponded with, Kelsey who is currently dwelling in San Francisco. She had gone over the edges with a needle creating elaborate designs which was perfect for my next client who loves to touch things. The letter was a satisfying read and I was eager to begin the process of writing back.

From the post office I speed-walked like a champion to Mountain Market where I grabbed my bike and hopped on it, racing down the highway and cutting through the pool parking lot to arrive at the next client’s house right at 2:15 PM.

2:15 PM - 5 PM - Client #2

I enjoyed spending time with this client, catching up and talking about the fair and any new songs we knew. We moved around a bit. She took a nap and then had a snack. To end the time, she read to me, which is always fun.

Done at 5 PM, I biked back over to the post office, parked my bike, and proceeded to drift around Haines for the next six hours without much of an agenda.

I first parked myself at my work’s office to do some notes and get some writing done. A women came in and we talked a bit before I headed out.

There was supposed to be a barbecue at Elisè’s. I wanted to go, sort of. I wanted to enjoy the people but wasn’t sure if I felt social at that time. I can’t say I ever found it. I found the light brown house I thought was described but I only saw a bunch of older men on the porch - perhaps that was it, but I didn’t recognize any of them.

See those buildings? That, in essence, is the entire town of Haines, Alaska.
Yarrow makes for good tea.

I walked back down and through the parade grounds where the sun was turning the grass golden. I sat in the middle of it and worked some more on Kelsey’s letter until it rained. I kept walking to the post office and sat in there, still crafting my letter.

After signing my name, I realized I had forgotten something at the office so I started my trek back - but the trek took me by Jen’s bus (Jen lives in an ol' bright yellow school bus - specifically, a B-bus). Out of habit, I glanced in the window at saw a new face. Jen ran out and embraced me in an ever so familiar, loving Olympia-hug that swept me off my feet. I love that girl. She introduced me to her friend, Kaylin (really Katy, but I can’t seem to get myself to call her that).

We hung out in the bus and I enjoyed their company. I felt loved and a sense of belonging in Haines. With a cookstove and pot, they were set to make some tea... but were lacking tea. We walked over to the IGA and browsed their tea selection and took over the soup aisle.

Today was our dear friend Ashley’s 31st birthday and I knew just how I wanted to acknowledge it. Ashley’s first night, during the year 2012, in Haines was at the home of Andrew and I. When it came to be breakfast time, I learned of his deep love of oatmeal. He expressed how much he adored eating it and how happy he could be with a bowl of it. Since I was short[er] I’ve always preferred Snoqualmie Falls Lodge Rolled Oats and, luckily, I can find ‘em in Haines. They stick with me the longest. They taste the finest. And they smell up the house with the smell of oat-y-ness. Instant oats? A mush my body burns right through.

We made the quick trip to Olereuds where they had the oats in stock and I bought him a bag of the stuff. At the empty checkout counter, I found a blank brown bag and put his oats in it after decorating the exterior. Along our walks around Haines, I also found a “Men” restroom sign, which was perfect for Ashley, as I had decided that, at 31, you are finally a man. A small toy car was also found. We left to check out Merrick’s beautiful new mural at the Quickshop.

Mural by Merrick.

Rumour (correct rumour) had it that there would be a bonfire tonight, in honour of Ashley, so we set out to see if it had began - nope, no bonfire. At that point, I decided it was time to go home. Eh, go home?

On the bike ride down the highway, I realized I still wanted to get Ashley his oats. I called him and he was out having dinner at a friends, but he said he would be home within a couple of hours. Since all I was going to do at home, anyways, was write letters, I decided to make my way over to Ashely, Bryce, Tyler, and Andrew’s house.

I got to the house and only Bryce was  there. Although my intentions were to write a letter, I never got around it it. We got to talking and thinking and processing and reflecting on the life that Haines has given us. The topics weren’t necessarily the light fluffy conversations that many guides seem to want and it was refreshing. Not saying I was glad that the things we talked about had to be, but at least they were acknowledged.

Warning: The following paragraph is by no means articulate. More vague and scatterbrained than anything else. I wouldn’t even bother reading it. One of the things we talked about I could really relate to - the idea of having an problem and comparing it to a wound and, well, you’ve got this wound, often infected, and, in life, we often just put bandaids on it - never cleaning it or giving it time to heal. It’s like when there is something in life that just isn’t right, maybe a way you need to grow or some aspect of your personality or a way of life. You might try and fix it by temporary means , but, in reality, those are all little momentary feel-betters that can’t last and often make things worst. You have to live through the experience. For me, I had to go through the pain, stretching, and growth in order to feel like myself again and I needed to figure it out without other human beings or relying solely on my own strength. Not sure that that made sense. I’m being pretty vague.

Upside-down birthday hug from Andrew to Ashley... gone horizontal.
Ashley came home and, oh, the hugs he gives! I was able to give him his present which he appreciated with beautiful enthusiasm. Yes, Ashley, we remembered and acknowledged your birthday. You're worth remembering. Yeah, we adore you.

It was time for us to go Home (not home, home - Home is a beach where bonfires, that are really beachfires, are held). One person left and asked if I was coming - I told them I was, just a few minutes after them, though. I didn’t want one-on-one time with this person. Then, Rosemary and Alan were leaving and I was excited to get to know them. Oh! What fine biking company I was in! I enjoyed their company extensively and was grateful to be able to bike the miles Home with them. On the way over, we stopped at the Quickshop for ice cream (what’s a birthday without ice cream?) and by some bushes by the water. There was a man with his tent, hiding within. The man, known by them as Stephen, joined us and I was pleased to get to know him.

We arrived at Home and I felt glad I had come. I saw faces I had encountered at the fair nad it felt good to reconnect with the souls behind them. It was an international crowd with folks from Australia, Belgian, Spain... ok, so only three other nationalities beyond American and Canadian. We had people who had just arrived and a man who had been in Haines since 1985.

Mid-conversation, even though it was a good conversation, I felt my instincts kick in that now was the time to go. The other night, I felt it was time to go. It took me a bit to react, but I packed my backpack and headed back.. but then I hesitated and stood on a bench to overlook the crowd. What a mistake. My entire night took on a new horrible flavour and dissatisfaction nearly penetrated all of the memories I had built up that day. Luckily, I was able to counter that pretty well. Anyways, tonight I had a similar feeling, the feeling of, “Margaret, leave - now.” The tide was coming in so folks would beheading out soon.

Normally I would leave without a goodbye, and I intended to, but I realized that I wouldn’t encounter the lasses from Australia for quite some time and I wanted their names. So they got the goodbye of the night and then I was able to slip away. As I marched up the hill to the road, I found myself in the company of four others. But, when it came to biking the 2-3 miles home, I was on my ownsome.

As I frequently do on late night bike rides, I gave Megan a call and she answered. I love her company as I get from Point A to Point B - she’s some of the finest company I’ve got. We debriefed our days, prepared for the future, and discussed her 26th birthday which had occured the day before. It wasn’t until the last 4 minutes that my phone died - I think as I said Tucker Cholvin’s name.

I trudged up the windy driveway and, immediately, Trudy, our dog, sounded out a series of alert barks. And she kept barking. And howling. And wailing. Especially as I got nearer. Yes, she woke up part of the house. I am blessed to live with such wonderful people, though, who didn’t make me feel guilty in the least for the late arrival that woke them up (due to Trudy - normally I can slip in pretty silently).

The hill got me a bit sweaty and I was glad to get off my sweatshirt and raincoat. I ended the day as I started it, by brushing my teeth with fennel toothpaste and washing my face. In went the night guard for my poor grindy teeth. I stripped down and enjoyed one of my favourite things about having my own space - I get to be naked. With the window wide open, the cool air came in and cooled my bare body down and I silenced my mind, just paying attention to that feeling. When I felt cool enough, I threw on my holey grey whale Alaska shirt and wrote some words out on Edison, the Netbook (sorry Tesla), until sleeping seemed like the right thing to do.

And that is what a Monday can be in Haines.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Final Fair Finale Fairs Well

2:00 PM - Bramble.

Dance... and danced and danced with that one kid whose name starts with an "A." For once, I had a dance venue (beyond the kitchen) that we had room to move in where we weren’t maneuvering between stumbling townfolk with full cans of beer.

Hula-hoops were scattered around the space in front of the stage which we took advantage of, doing a dance leaping from hoop to hoop.

3:00 PM - Exist.

Wander around. Kept running into folks to meet and folks already known. Mates to be made. Friends to catch up with. Met a beautiful duo (of Australia?) who were preparing to do the Chilkoot. Then one of the lasses was going on her way to Quebec to brush up on her French.

Listen to what Bonfire at Home sounds like without a cello.

Not that they need me, I know that, they were originally without one -- but for me, it sounded like there was this missing piece in the music, a layer that wasn’t there that gave that feeling of resolution in a song. A low melodic undertone that blended with their voices. Eh, they're probably better off without a cello.

I could hear them playing the circle song, my favourite, from the circus tent. I jumped up and down (out of.... some emotion) as they sang out harmonies that required the third part, where I used to sing, to complete the song. I know how that song normally makes me feel, this incredible feeling, and longed for it. But not being a part of it, not hearing all the pieces come together, made it kind of taste like lukewarm milk with hour-old cereal. They’re great musicians - don’t need me - but that song, oh, how I wished I could have completed it.

4:15 PM - Circus Time.

It was our second to the last performance. It’s always fun seeing which friends make it in to see the show each performance.

I love watching the faces of those who have never attended a Geppetto’s Junkyard performance. Puppet show? What does that mean? They rarely are expecting the full-hour, multi-act, full-cast, full-band performance that occurs in our little big-top.

5:15 PM - Break Between Shows.

I came out of the tent and the fair. was. gone.
Completely over.

When I had left for the show, people were still milling about, buying wares and hitting up the food booths.

Now, things were in the final stages of being  packed away until next year.

The food booths were closed up.
Venders were wrapping up their unsold goods.
A cherry picker was taking down lights from the main stage.

A few folks were cleaning up and a decent sized crowd was gathered around the ticket booth of Geppetto’s Junkyard, the puppet troupe I’m a part of.

6:00 PM - Final Performance.

Some of us were hesitant to even put on the 6:00 performance - folks had gone home and a few of us couldn’t imagine an audience showing up with enough members to make it worth it. But, they showed up.

The purpose of this show was, specifically, for folks who had been running the fair and never had a break to see it.

Yes. It was lovely.
Yes. I was sleepy.
Yes. I was hungry.
Yes. I enjoyed it.

The audience laughter and grins were the perfect fuel for the final stretch.

Post-show, we hung out in the theatre seats and one of our favourite scenes was re-enacted so everyone could see it.

7:55 PM - Post-Fair Stroll.

Wandering the fairgrounds felt bizarre. There was barely anyone around. By this point, the vendors were well packed and gone. A woman searching for a rabbit was left and that was about it.

The Southeast Alaska State Fair certainly does make for one of the finest weekends in Haines of the year. They were right about that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Haines is In-Tents...

With the Southeast Alaska State Fair comes a flood of visitors to our small town. Just like during Beer-Fest, the town is now full of tents under every tree and lining the beach.

 A short hike in the woods reveals a small community of campers.
A stroll through the park puts a bounty of tents on display, some with some rather elaborate set-ups.
 A walk on the beach and there's another colony of tent-dwellers.

And that's one of the freedoms of Alaska. In Seattle, I can never imagine this happening nor being legal. People are strictly forbidden to camp in public places. Here, they're welcome to do so.

Oh Haines...

Sick Kid :: When the World Goes Black and You Fall Down

A sick Lucy - we had her over because her cabin/shack/home was not the warm cozy sort of place you want to be sick at. She and Andrew were sick in the house at the same time and somehow I managed to stay healthy
Andrew watches Bambi.
Came home to find sick-Andrew playing chess by himself.

This past week, here’s what’s been wrong...

Sore throat.
Infected eyes.
Ear aches.

Yet - in all of that, I didn’t miss a single day of work. I fainted at 7:52 AM and at 7:55 AM, I was walking out the door (no, I was not a fan of that at all).

I woke up feeling achy and miserable on the morning of the 19th. I had gone home early, the night before, from puppet practice with Geppetto’s Junkyard feeling sore and exhausted with a hint of a sore throat. I spent the night tossing and turning.

One look at the clock told me I had overslept and I got up and, immediately, the world looked wrong. Everything was bright. I took out my night guard and saw bright static in the mirror. I heard a buzzing and rushing sort of noise in my ears.

I managed to get on a shirt (which turned out to be on backwards and inside out) and a skirt and headed downstairs.

I looked out the windows, all blaring white, disturbing my vision. I held onto the rail as I descended the stairs. I thought this change in perspective would be over by now. It’s all just in my head, right? Perhaps I’m just lazy today?

I started talking to one of my house-mates, a wonderful woman, and all behind her was solid white.

It was if my life was in film and everything was overexposed.

Mid-conversation, all of the light turned to dark and my vision went black.

I fell down.

And that is how I fainted.

I didn’t think I had fainted, but I was told by nurses that if the world goes black and you end up on the ground, that is fainting.

Since then, I haven’t been quite 100% - but I can bike around town and climb up the hill so all must be well, I think.

Pictures are from May 28 & 29th when Lucy and Andrew were sick. Sorry, no pictures of me being sick. Never thought to take any...

Kale Harvest

This morning, before the fair, I got to go and harvest a few stalks of kale.

They ended up being large. These plants have definitely been feeding us well.
And the stripped stalks? Perfect for a kale battle.
Washed 'em all off in the shower. Shook about.
Blanched and bagged.

Rice. Beans. Kale.
That was the perfect lunch for the day.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Irish Exiting

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”

- J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

“Please don’t make another Irish exit tonight,” Andrew asked earnestly of me at the Pioneer Bar one night.

“Irish exit?”

Allow me to illuminate this idiom for you with the help of Urban Dictionary:

...the irish exit refers to the departure from any event without telling any friends, associates or acquaintances that one is leaving. It is almost always the result of being very intoxicated.”

No. I was not intoxicated. I have yet to drink a single sip of alcohol at the Pioneer Bar, even when I was offered all the drinks I needed for an evening for free. The atmosphere does not make me feel like consuming alcohol. A handful of popcorn, maybe, but nothing to alter my judgment for this kid.

Anyways, what Andrew was referring to is this habit I have which I almost just referred to as a ever-so-very-nasty habit. I very frequently do not not not (do not) say good bye or give warning to my departure. I do, frequently, leave without saying anything. I just leave.

Once again, I can come across as rude in this. Sometimes I realize I’m doing it and other times (frequently) I don’t.

Times I Have Been Aware of Lately

- hanging out with Tyler & Jen at the Hungry Moose. I said something and then, without a word, hopped on my bike and road away.
- at the P-Bar one night, hanging out with friends, all of a sudden I just turn around, hop the bike, and go home.
- drinking mojitos at Elise’s, I left for the bathroom, went, and then just grabbed my backpack and left

I just leave. No word about it. No warning.

I’ve been called out on it before and most folks don’t understand it. Then there’s Andrew who altogether didn’t like it.

[oi :: just last night was leaving Geppetto’s Junkyard practice and didn’t say goodbye - Tim witnessed the departure and yelled out, “Goodbye Magi!” and then, before I knew it, a chorus of “Goodbye Magi!” rung out through the tent. Oh to feel loved by a community...]

Events like last night remind me that, maybe people do want to say goodbye.
Maybe they do care that I leave.

I’ve thought through a bit of why I might exit like, apparently, the Irish do (I’ll take Andrew’s word on it due to his Irish citizenship... otherwise, that sounds like an invalid title for an unannounced departure).

Here’s what they could be due towards (see, I like to understand the motives and root causes behind my actions):

1. I figure no one really wants to say goodbye to me.

Have I mentioned how disgustingly low my self esteem is? Low enough that I don’t even think people care if I’m around or not. Low enough that I don’t think it’ll make a difference to them if I leave or not.

Hate to sound like a mopey junior high girl - but it does come down to that, sometimes.

2. A bizarre-complex I got upon leaving Switzerland.

Upon leaving Switzerland, I had to say the most life-affecting goodbyes of my life. They left me wounded suffering from panic-attacks and lack of hunger for an extended period of time.

From that point forward, goodbyes were to be avoided.

I had been through them enough and didn’t need any more in my life. Goodbyes hurt.

3. I become disinterested and just want to leave in that moment.

I’m so interested in leaving that I forget to tell others. I get one-track-minded and just depart.

It’s like my brain goes...

Ok. I’m here. Oh, I don’t want to be here. Well, then leave. Ok, I leave. Leave.

It forgets to throw in there the step of saying goodbye.

4. In some circumstances, I am afraid that in saying goodbye, it will either be, or be perceived as, a unspoken desire for people to ask me not to go, tell me they want me there, and beg me to stay.

I have seen folks, before, who say, “Well, I guess I should be leaving...” just to hear everyone else boost their ego saying, “No! You can’t go. Please stay.”

Everyone wants to feel like their presence is desired.

I want to make sure I’m not doing that and, sometimes, I feel like I’d be doing that if I told people I was leaving.

5. It’s not really a goodbye.

I figure I’ll see them tomorrow or the next day. Goodbye means goodbye and it’s not a goodbye if they’re barely even gone before you see them again.

And that summarizes my Irish exiting.
That summarizes why it’s my departure of choice.

Maybe, someday I’ll get it into my little head that people actually do care when I leave and whether or not I’m there.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

People Walk In and Out of Your LIfe

Highly Capable Honours Class of Kenmore Junior High - Freshman Year - 2006

It’s peculiar how people walk in and out of your life.

I would say amusing, but it’s not always amusing, sometimes it hurts.
Sometimes you don't feel it all because the gap is created so slowly that you don't even notice it.

Like when you go from going really close friends with someone to looking at them and barely recognizing them at all. When you can go from being with them daily to looking them in the eye and know that neither of you feel anything positive in being in the company of each other.

I guess it’s a bit of a falling out.

And, from there, with the way I am, I like to understand how it’s supposed to be.

Sometimes, it’s ok for relationships to die. It’s ok to drift apart.

But I prefer for it end on good terms. I prefer to at least understand what happened. I prefer to have the option to apologize if they feel I have wronged them. I prefer to be able to acknowledge my mistakes and grow and learn from them. It stings - but in the honesty, I feel more peace than I would otherwise. Even if I don’t hear what I want to hear, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to at least hear what's been on their mind.

Sometimes, a friendship meant a lot to you and you wish for it to keep going, although it isn't naturally going to heal itself.

I have to admit, I don’t have much experience on this one. I’m not used to having to really put in an effort to a friendship. I hadn’t been in situations where a friend and I had really hurt each other and then we didn’t know what to do with ourselves up until recently.

We knew that, whatever our relation, it wasn’t in a good place. That we knew.
And we decided to put in the effort to try and fix it.

It reminds me of marriages - not saying we’re like a married couple, we’re just friends. But, sometimes marriages go a bit sour. Then you have two options, or three, really. One is to get a divorce and sever those ties. Another is to keep living in a negative way. The third way can be the hardest in the short run and the most valuable in the long run. It requires full effort on both parts. It requires forgiveness and grace and the willingness to say, “I messed up” and lots of understanding.

With my one mate, at that point, I am willing to work towards a tight friendship, again. I don’t know what it will look like or if it’ll work out, but I’m willing to do what I need to do. I’m hoping he’s willing to. He says he is but he doesn’t sound too confident. He’s still giving me time and space, I hope he understands why - the real reason why.

Then there's folks where, when it's convenient, your mates, but the moment events or school stop bringing you together, the connection stops. Usually I can have peace with that. Sometimes I try and pursue something more. Sometimes I just let it go.

I find it interesting, however, how you can be so well connected with someone and then have such a distance created for no reason. That's life, though, I guess. Ever always changing.

And then there's the people where, even if they've walked out of your lives, they'll always be your mate. When you're together, life will always be dandy and things will work out. There are friends where giant caverns of time and space can be created, but somehow, that wonderful connection is still maintained. I like it when that happens.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Do You Read Me? :: Trying to Understand How to Relate to Others and Needing Verbal Cues to Understand

I've been told I'm on the Autism spectrum. Who knows? It's something to think about, and I'm not looking to acquire another label (although I heard that ADHD no longer exists and all of us hyper-kids now are on the spectrum). But, this is something that may relate to Autism, if I do have it. I think many of us can relate to this, though.

I have a hard time relating people when I don’t know how to relate to them. When I’m not sure how they wish for me to relate to them, I can seem pretty distant or uninterested, mainly because I feel like the ground slipped away from my feet and I’m stretching for a foot hold. I don’t know what to do and feel best talking about it with them, not guessing, a practice many aren’t used to.


The other day, I knew I needed to borrow this shirt from a lad in town - someone I knew very, very well.

Anyways, leading up to that, two days earlier, we had had our first friendly interaction in a while (I went through some time where I needed space and he misinterpreted my actions and I don’t think he’s forgiven me yet and that friendship, in itself, may now be too far damaged to repair in his eyes). Anyways, this friendly interaction was decent and he said he’d call me when he finished what he was doing and then come over to where I was.

Friendly. I could understand those terms of relation, I could mirror those back.

But then, he didn’t call. He didn’t show up. He didn’t do anything.

And, actions without explanation, I didn’t know what  he was thinking. Was that his sign for me to go away? Had he forgotten? Was it a mistake? Did he have no desire to give this friendship a chance to heal and grow? Was it deliberate? Was there a hidden message in there for me to interpret? I’m crap at that, you know...

So, that’s where I stood. I had no clue how he wanted me to relate to him - and much of how you relate to a person is based on how you think they view you. I hadn’t a clue. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, remain open, until he had the chance to explain.

But I needed this shirt for an upcoming show.

And so I showed up, unannounced (his phone was broken and his mate wasn’t answering his) and asked him if I could borrow the shirt. I don’t remember much of what I did, but later, his mate described my actions to me. Apparently I was very cold, not even looking at the man who had the shirt I needed. I wasn’t aware of that. I felt like I just entered, said what I needed to, and left.

It’s very likely that’s how I acted. I didn’t know if he wanted me to smile or get away. I didn’t feel like trying to read his facial expressions, I didn’t feel like I could, I needed his words to explain it to me and, at that point, it seemed like he wasn’t going to talk.

So those were my actions.
And I was looked down upon for them.

I was relieved when I got a chance to explain them to the friend, who is also my friend, at least and I think he sort of understands.

I do want to clarify - this young man is a wonderful person. If I put him in any negative light, it is non-intentional and you can very easily assume that he never does anything wrong... (do you like my disclaimer?)

The moral of all of that?

I like to understand what my relationship to someone is - where we stand in relation to each other.
Specifically, I like to understand what their desire is.

Are we close friends?
Are we acquaintances?
Ought I to brink on ignoring your existence as you could care less if I exist?
Do you care for me deeply?
Are we like sisters?
Do you want the best for me?
Are you always just trying to push yourself ahead?
Are you going to only be around so long as it benefits yourself?

When I don’t understand, yes, I might avoid eye contact (although, I wasn’t aware of that - someone else pointed it out to me recently and this was the explanation I came up with).

When I don’t know, I often want to call it out and have us discuss it. Words I can use more easily - there is no guesswork when someone spells it out for me.

I’m grateful for friends who are willing to say things out loud for me. It is like a sigh of relief when someone says they want me around or even if they say they need space. I am grateful they say that out loud because I then know that they’re genuine - especially when it’s something regarding space.

I am pretty flexible in relating to people, and like to respect what they want.

With the above mentioned friend, my main goal, in talking to him, was to see how he wanted us to relate to each other in the future - I wanted to know what to aim for. We talked about what he saw as possible and then what we wanted. It stung to know that my cold silence had hurt him and closed him up. In the long run, I just want to be able to love him in a healthy, non-self-serving way. That is my goal, regardless of how we relate to each other. I want him to know he is loved and respected.

The reason why I went solid cold (or as he puts it, downright “mean”) also relates to me trying to understand how to relate to people.

I’m not very fantastic at halfway things - I just don’t get them too well.
Either I am using Facebook frequently or it's deactivated.
Either I have sugar in my diet or I cut it out completely.

We were wonderfully close.
I knew I needed space.

So - the solution? Space!
I flipped over to the extreme of space and understood it best I could.
“Well, space means you’re not around the person and you don’t interact.” So I very literally did that. When he came over to talk, I said “good-bye” because that’s what, to me, space was, and that was just what I needed.

And, of course, mournfully, it came across very immature and cruel to him. In his mind, I ought to have been able to politely say “hello” during this time. He thought we could still be sort-of-friends at this point. But to me, I felt very comfortable in this extreme, for once I felt like my feet were on the ground again and I could start deciding where to direct my life.

Perhaps that’s a difference between me and “normal folks.”

Normal folks would relish, more so, a relationship and niceties and whatnots - fine with the "How do you do's?" when you know everything is not alright.
I find comfort in understanding how to relate to someone, regardless of the extreme.

That’s why I find such a joy in hanging out with myself. There’s nothing to figure out. Me and myself? We’re chill, man. We get along just like two lil’ peas in a pod. I value that time spent alone as I make for rawther excellent company, I’d say.

So, chances are, I might feel insecure in my relationship with you. I might need to hear you say that you enjoy my company, because I don't feel at liberty to ever assume that. It will bring me joy when you initiate the time together, because I think I can safely interpret that was positive reinforcement of our friendship. But, when things get complex, I will want to talk about it because that's one of the few ways for me to understand your perspective for certain. That's the way I can end the guess-work and relate to you in the way you want to be related to. In that way, I feel I can best respect your time, space, and wishes.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

When I'm Not Blogging I'm Writing a Letter

Photo inspired by Hannah G. Most of the letters from the time in Alaska. Since the photo was taken, there have been around six more.


Yep. Still write them - the whole envelope plus words on a page and a stamp and sealing it with a kiss, that's how I communicate.

I've been wildly blessed by articulate letter writing mates - which is a huge comfort when I'm away from home.

My address, up in Haines, is...
Mägi "insert favourite animal here" Hubert
General Delivery
Haines, AK

How general delivery works is that I go to the post office, walk up to the counter, and say, "Do you have any mail for me?" Frequently, they know who I am and walk over and check the "H" box.

"You've got two postcards and a vibrant letter... oh! And you got a package today!"

I love it when they say that.

I have yet to go to post office and leave with empty hands - that's how incredible my pen pals are.

A handful of us (specifically Hannah!) are in that letter writing rhythm where letters shift back and forth almost weekly. It's our way of communicating. Scotty is also fantastic. Together, they wrote me a letter. To write back, I wrote to them and then snipped that letter right in half down the middle.

And I adore it.

It took me a while to get to be a good-writer-backer this go-round. My first months in Haines, my head wasn't in a good place, but now I am in a place where I can write more freely and in a timely matter.

I love having a letter in my pocket to re-read during the week.
I love the feeling of love I get with my hands full of words as I leave the post office.
I love picking out stationary and postcards to write back on.
I love writing words out for the person knowing they're just for them.
I love writing out what I would say in person on paper and writing to them as if we're hanging out in that moment.

Envelope inspired by Hannah G.

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