Friday, August 26, 2011

Of late

I have this post, and it just keeps getting longer.  It's a miscellaneous list of things I thought to tell you, but never found the moment to.  So I'm just going to blurt some of them out now.

---I read The Hobbit.  It was in the pile of "why haven't I read this" books.  Considering how much I disliked Tolkiens writing style when I tried (quite some time ago) to read Lord of the Rings, I was pleasantly surprised.  My beef with LOTR?  Simply that right from the start, Tolkien left nothing to the imagination.  He described everything in excruciating detail.  I like being able to fill in some of the blanks for myself.  In The Hobbit there is a balance that works for me.

---I am now in the process of reading Naked Lunch.  Wow.  I expected gross and strange, (though I haven't seen it, I was already aware that David Cronenberg had made a film inspired by the book,) but ... WOW, this book is stranger and more gorey than I could have imagined.  I can understand why the American public had a tussle over whether or not to classify it as pornography.  It is ragged and disgusting and poetic all at once.  Most days I can only read a few pages in a sitting before I start feeling the urge to close the book because some part of my brain feels overloaded with a jumble of these... crazy, dirty, profane things.  It's interesting.  Always when I'm reading, I think to myself what a gold-mine of ideas this book could be for an illustrator.  I could see Tomer Hanuka pulling something amazing from it.  At the same time, I don't think that any film could do the book justice.

---My internet is acting up.  Telling me daily for spells that I am not connected when my modem says I am.  Belgacom, you are getting on my nerves.

---In the next 7 days, I work 6.  For half of this, it is the very busiest time of year for the hotel.  The Formula One races in Spa.  How it goes largely depends on the clientele we get.  Last year it was largely press and professionals involved with the races in some way.  Even though the hotel was rammed it was really a very civilized lot, which was so nice.  I didn't feel as though a steamroller had been flattening me for three days straight.  This year all signs point to lovely, civilized people once more, (yay!)  Of course, I try to give the best service I can either way, but it's much easier and genuinely much nicer to serve well behaved, conscientious people.

---Very soon we will be in Spain, on a beach, trying to learn to surf.  I'm very excited for this, but I worry that I may truly suck at it.  We'll see.  Even if I've only managed to get up on the board and stay upright for a few 5 second rides on a few tiny waves, I'll consider the trip "totally worth it."  I've been told surfing is hard, so I'm setting the bar low.  Very low.

---And now, thinking of the upcoming week on a beach, I am reminded I have some crunches to catch up on...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pukkelpop

After a reader commented about Pukkelpop, I decided to leave a brief word that:

a) It has been quiet here, but this has been due to good sorts of my being busy rather than my being hurt.  (I was not at Pukkelpop, the Belgian festival where a freak storm arrived, causing things to crash down on top of a crowd, killing 5 and badly hurting another 40 or so.)

b) I'm still a little in disbelief as to how that happened.  For anyone who was affected by it, know that my heart goes out to you.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Breaking up is hard to do.

Not too long ago boyfriend and I had a talk about how he seemed to be holding himself back from doing some of the things he wanted to do, that he knew would be good for him, and that I was encouraging and supportive of him doing.  He was holding himself back because he felt that being 'selfish' with his time was wrong, because his poor girlfriend might have to be alone at home.

Rubbish, I said.  This is absolute rubbish.  Firstly, it's a lot of pressure to be seen as the only regular source of fun in someone's life.  Everyone needs to have their own lives and their own things, a variety of forms of fun and relaxation to choose from.  I can't be your pretty-much-everything-other-than-work, I said, and you're not mine.  No couple can have only work and each other and hope to go the distance because that's a pretty narrow and stifling kind of life, and both people will eventually grow to resent it.

I happen to enjoy much of my solo-time too, so the idea that I could be thought of as some suffering lonely wisp of a female who is nothing without her man by her side is so very wrong, honestly it's kind of insulting and just ... barf.  I told boyfriend that this seems to have been an on-and-off source of angst for him that we've discussed several times.  Each time I've told him I have my own things I can and like to do.  I've said that everyone needs time without their partner to be able to have that balance, to be able to breathe and bring new things into the relationship, to be able to appreciate or evaluate it from another slightly more distanced perspective.  It's important to remember who YOU are, by yourself sometimes and not to always think of yourself as part of the UNIT.  I've tried to encourage him to do things he's said he wants to do, to remind him to look into activities he's expressed interest in... but this has come to feel like pressure for him, like someone pushing him.  Which is rubbish as well, but fine, I can understand that pressure won't help either so I've said less lately about it.  Until last week.

Last week marked the return of 'mopey boyfriend', with his existential angst and questions about what he is doing with his life, and we ran through the same roundabout of assessing what was the matter, and how he feels he's not as happy as he'd like, why feels he's holding himself back from advancing on the things in life that might make him happier.  And when it came around to the idea of him holding himself back over the guilt of leaving his girlfriend at home alone?  I decided to break up with him.  I told him I love him very much, and I'll stick around for now if he'd like, but that clearly there was something in his mind about having a "girlfriend" that was causing him to make stupid choices based on a cookie-cutter idea that is good for neither of us, and certainly doesn't seem at all to align with his ideas of what would make him happy.  If being an 'official boyfriend' is to be an officially unhappy man who makes poor decisions for himself, then that's not really the kind of man I enjoy the company of anyways, so I said as much.

I don't want him to hold himself back, and if even some part of him thinks I'm the reason, I'm perfectly comfortable trying to take myself out the equation.  I told him that I was no longer officially his girlfriend, and that if in 1 year I see that he really hasn't done much to be proactive and to take CARE of himself, I will make my arrangements, and leave Belgium to get out of his way and on with my life elsewhere.  I told him to get out there and to stop worrying irrationally about something that he now has no official right to worry about.  I said "I'm taking a step backwards, I am officially taking this relationship less seriously, for the good of everyone involved."  I said "Maybe you should too, because I don't want you to wake up one day and think that you if only it hadn't been for me, you would have done so much better for yourself in life.  You need to do what's right for you, and you need to realize you're responsible for yourself, for your choices, for what you do or decide not to do about your happiness.  If I'm part of that, fine, but if I'm not compatible with that, or if you can't figure out how to balance these things together, that needs to be figured out, sooner than later for the good of everyone involved."

I asked him if my moving out would help him to focus more on himself, but he said no.  So I reiterated that we are no longer 'together' and that I wouldn't be comfortable being his "girlfriend" until he showed that he was making more balanced decisions in his life, taking greater responsibility for his own happiness by being true to himself, standing up for what he really wants and taking ownership of that, rather than regularly sacrificing himself for his estimations of what might make others happy.

He seemed forlorn for a few minutes, and then it was like some self-protection mechanism of his ego kicked in and he was really... in denial almost.  As though he didn't hear what I'd just said and since I was willing to stick around and observe awhile it must mean I wasn't serious, as though nothing had really changed just then.  And I felt sad as I saw this happen.  He was lulling himself away from grasping at the seriousness of the fact that I don't ... I can't be an accessory to someone stifling their life away on my account... particularly when I'm quite vocal about saying it's not what I want!

So there, I'm a single lady and my housemate is a man I used to be with, whom I go out with on dates sometimes.  I can't help but feel that getting a place of my own might help him to see a little more clearly that I'm serious about this though, about my taking this relationship less seriously.  I really feel it's important to have a partner who knows how to take responsibility for himself, to stop pining for things he isn't doing and start doing them.  I need a partner who knows how to take care of himself, and how to balance that with the care of a relationship, and right now that balance isn't there.

The boy would feel much better (I think) if he could just get past that mental block... that fictional idea of what makes a "good and loving boyfriend" and get out there and live a little more.

Honestly, if you aren't living your life for you... what are you doing with it?

Chitika