Archive | July, 2009

This troubling absence of desire

31 Jul
'Tis true: there's magic in the web of it

I haven’t wanted to eat for awhile.

Since November actually.

See, there’s a difference between wanting and needing to eat. I eat now when I know I’ll be incoherent at a meeting. Or once my stomach is making loud, painful demands.

It troubles me because I used to love food. Then it starts to dawn on me that my favourite dishes all had associations with feelings and not so much taste.

The best lasagna I ever had was in a small cafe where I would hang out after school to attempt my Add Maths homework. Alone with my books in the midst of the smells of the kitchen and the comforts of a cushy booth. School was hard but right then, right there it was all good.

The best kurma I’ve had is my mother’s. But then I also remember the care she’d take with her cooking, the times she’d take a mouthful of rice in her hand and feed it to me. Every time I eat with my hands, I think of her.

The best pastry I tasted was in Copenhagen, Denmark. The danishes in La Glace don’t crumble – they melted in your mouth. It wasn’t at all what I expected. But then I never thought I’d be holidaying in a little flat on Istedgade, cooking kai lan in oyster sauce and seeing the street walkers come out after dark from my window.

All the food I loved all were associated with memories, with feelings.

Then I remember I had a breakup in November. Aah.

I remember telling you I loved you more than life.

I recall never being happier in my life than that long ago summer in Denmark.

I remember when I first saw you I stopped breathing. So cliche but really, I was frozen to the spot. Right then, right there you were all that existed for those few seconds before I came to my senses.

I have never wanted nothing more than I have wanted you.

So now I gave you up, I have nothing left to want. I pick at my food. I have no cravings, no longings to fill the void.

There was a temporary moment when I played with fire, when I momentarily attempted to rekindle whatever passion I hadn’t given over to you. The trouble was my matches fell on damp soil. It’s painful to hear within the walls of your own home the words: “I keep thinking of this girl and I don’t mean to offend you but you aren’t her.”

It hurt but at least I felt something. Now I’m back to feeling and wanting nothing.

I gave you everything, it seems, and kept nothing for myself.

As the Fool said to Fitz: I have never been wise.

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With rose tinted glasses, she could only see love

26 Jul

I heard of Yasmin Ahmad’s passing while I was learning a song, and checking my Tweets ever so often.

My Twitter feed was littered with tributes. The sadness was palpable. We’d lost someone inspiring, who’d touched so many people with her stories and her genuine warmth.

I ended up doing a mashup of the hymn I was listening to as tribute. Because I have no words left to describe the force of nature Yasmin Ahmad was. So many deaths of icons this year and Yasmin was our dreamer and storyteller.

We’ll miss you so much. RIP. Al-Fatihah.

(Lyrics mashed up without mercy from the old Lutheran hymn, Be Still, My Soul)

Be still, my soul:
when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened
in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know
His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe
thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul:
when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed
we shall meet at last.

Confused, broken and searching

21 Jul

The past month has seen me obsessing over Type theory. Why, at the grand old-ish age of 31, am I only now delving into personality theory and figuring out my motivations?

I don’t think it’s ever too late to make the effort to get to know your constant companion: you.

At different stages of our lives, we want different things and we are different people. I had to take some time to reassess what I wanted and where I intended to go.

At 25, I had a nervous breakdown. I’d thought that I had achieved nothing in nearly a quarter century of existence and questioned why I deserved to breathe. What difference had I made to anyone or anything? Existential crisis – not fun.

Looking back, I feel a lot more compassion and perhaps some puzzlement at the sheer amount of self-reproach my younger self was capable of. Now I’m feeling lost at sea once more. Time for some pause. Some thought. Some prayer. Some reflection.

The last 6 months have been a whirlwind of change for me and I admit it’s been hard trying to adjust to so much change. I’ve been so tired, my eyesight has deteriorated a lot, my digestive system has pretty much decided to go its own way. A lot of it is work stress, combined with my own tendencies to bottle up my feelings, put up a stoic front and push the limits of my endurance.

I wasn’t coping well. Why? I looked at the situation. The people. The events. In the end, I decided it all boiled down to me and why I was reacting the way I was to work.

Type theory has been interesting in that aspect, labeling me an ‘INFJ – Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judger’. One definition can be found here. Lucky me, I’m supposed to be rare. Hard to get to know. Many sided enough that INFJs often confuse themselves. Joy.

So armed with enough type theory books to load a camel with, I took good long looks at my traits, the way I approached life, work and other people. I’d recommend Type Talk at Work for most people already in a career. For the people still figuring that part out, I’d say the book Do What You Are is an invaluable resource.

Of all the definitions I read, one particular profile rang a clear bell about my current issues.

FORESEER DEVELOPER – INFJ
Personal growth. Sustain the vision. Honoring the gifts of others. Taking a creative approach to life. Talent for foreseeing. Exploring issues. Bridge differences and connect people. Practical problem solving. Live with a sense of purpose. Living an idealistic life often presents them with a great deal of stress and a need to withdraw.

So my ideals and reality aren’t gelling right now. What do I do now to get past that?

I guess I still have to figure that out.

I have been, and always will be your friend

2 Jul
Sunflower

Image by palestrina55 via Flickr

When my entanglements ended, as was their wont, I would sever ties and walk away.

It seemed pointless to ‘remain friends’ or ‘keep in touch’.

It’s over. Go.

Yet now I find myself eating with and greeting old lovers.

There is no self-consciousness.

No need to play act or pretend. No anxiousness. No fear of being left vulnerable.

It feels so good now to leave behind expectations, recriminations, real or imagined sins.

“Remember this and do not abuse it,” I said to one last night. “No matter how angry I might get at you I will never stay angry for long.”

There is no talking about the past.

We move forward as former intimates getting through the rest of life as friends.

It is far too easy to mistake physical proximity with real intimacy.

I believe the truest connection between two people is one forged with care, effort and honesty. To genuinely have real affection, to give real consideration is far harder for some than stealing a kiss or moving in the dark.

There is nothing to hide. Nothing to be afraid of.

Not anymore.