Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Where I live. What I do. Who I am with. These are our excuses. Our excuses to avoid commitment. Whether it is commitment to a person, to a religion, to an idea.

It has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me these last seven days.

Connection. It is such a rarity for me to experience it. And when it does, it flows through me like mercury coursing through my veins. My flesh, my body, my blood is on fire.

Rejection. Watch an industrial strength blast of cooling agent chill me to the bone. Each liquid metal heat droplet, seeping out, one pore at a time. Waving not drowning. The metal now outside of its container poisons me.

I started officially dating again about a year ago. It was a big step for me. While I have dated on and off since parting ways with the Peter Parker wannabe (who shared my life for just over a decade), it was the first time I actually felt ready to step out and be vulnerable to opening my heart and my home to another soul. Somehow one day I woke up with some newly discovered toughness forming part of my constitution. Flap jacket – check.

Three duds were the early experiences. The “have a cigar – I’ve lived in New York so I must be hot” Chilean, the analyst with a fetish for smart women especially Maggie Thatcher, and the metal emotional graphic novel dude with a macabre passion for snuff films. They say variety is the spice of life but it also gives you heartburn.

Number four – the bohemian dreamer – a writer of music, a painter, a technology artist – a man capable of engaging my mind and its landscape full of tangents. He keeps me talking on MSN to the wee hours of the morning. Inspires me creatively in ways I haven’t experienced in years. And yet it doesn’t feel right. I am suspicious of anyone who spends their days at home and confessing that their circle of friends is the size of a pin. I start to take more control about my choice on when to talk to him – choosing to stem the creative flow.

Number five – life in the wild fair haired rock climber. Not that I stereotype, but the last time I “dated” a blonde as a pre-teen, he pulled my hair and called me names and I swore I would never fancy a blonde boy again. I have been true to my rather obstinate aspiration since then. And yet here I was spending a Sunday afternoon with a blonde haired green voter. I’ve clearly come a long way.

It was a wow experience. I do not think I’ve ever had such an enjoyable date. Three hours of meandering conversation with an instant connection and chemistry that shouted at us. Megaphone loud. I was surprised by the commonality of values, how easily the conversation flowed, how quickly the time passed. I started wondering if I was a closet hippie. Should I start thinking about protesting something? His warmth and gentleness and enthusiasm to meet again gave me butterflies. I couldn’t wait to see him again.

Four days passed very slowly. The feelings washing over and through me during that period of anticipation were a long time coming; a long time past since I had felt such things. Yes, I was ready to be dating again. Our second outing was another high tide watermark – easy. By the time the date was over, I felt everything seemed so natural, such an easy fit, and that the floating almost out of body experience was permeating every fibre of my being. He seemed to feel the same way.

So it came as quite a shock to get the “I just want to be friends” speech a day later – in a message that read along the lines of “we have an amazing connection on so many levels but I am not sure I can be with someone who is not completely into rock climbing as much as I am based on past experience and maybe I find you a bit intimidating…” Gut feelings? Reads more like a burned by experience feeling to me.

Intimidating? I’ve been told that before. A smart, beautiful and confident woman – why do boys find that so scary? Yes, I am a strong independent woman and do like to do my own thing. But I also believe a good relationship involves a bit of give and take - which to me means accepting and allowing a partner to follow their dreams without impediment and being prepared to make some compromises regarding each other’s preferences. I believe it is unfair to expect a person to entirely give up their identity and the hobbies/activities that they have passion for (in my case quiet time on my own to write) but that is not the same thing as me not wanting to try new things. I was excited by the prospect of spending time with someone with a passion for the great outdoors. But I was also honest that I would not always follow them to the ends of the earth in their pursuit of that passion.

And that takes me back to my opening comment. Where I live. What I do. Who I am. It was a tough rejection because I was being rejected in spite of the strong connection. I was being rejected because of the where, the what and the who – these excuses.

I am still ready though. Tomorrow is another day. I can and do wash away the poison easily. I am resilient like that. Ever the optimist. Someone exists out there who won’t make excuses.

And where am I a year later? Taking another break from dating.

Friday, April 23, 2010

procrastination moment number 63 (today)

The start of the football season always poses a challenge for me in terms of distraction from the writing task. And, on a particularly wet day like today, when I am attempting my best hermit writing effort, it is surprisingly easier to curl up on the couch for a few hours to watch a game instead.

I’ve been a fan of (the unique) Australian Rules football since I was thirteen. It was the year I first moved out of the city to the countryside, and (in the nearest small town) there was not that much to do except gossip about the strangers in school (that is, my brothers and me) and talk about football and cattle.

It was the first time I had lived in a place where I could not blend into the surrounds and be anonymous. I could not pretend to be a tree.

Karen, the daughter of a nearby neighbour, introduced me to all that is great about football. I use the term “nearby” loosely – her house was a three kilometre trek across two paddocks and through a small gully. (She also introduced me to all that is great about cricket to round out my training as an archetypal Australian sports fan.)

Karen was body and soul a sports fanatic, wearing her paraphernalia all year round (she would wear it at school if she thought she could escape the Principal’s wrath for violating the dress code), tomboy look all round complete with the short dark messy curled hair. She had one of those smiles that always looked like she had done something wrong, which is probably why she got into trouble all the time with the teachers, whether she was guilty or not.

Karen was considered an outsider, having moved with her family from Melbourne surrounds to this quiet country precinct in NSW a few years earlier - because she was not born a local. In contrast, I considered myself a fringe dweller.

Yes, I admit it, I may have seemed young to be engaging in exclusionary behaviour but I was actually much younger when I first started separating myself. Seven years old in fact – second grade – brand new school (yes, another one) – I did not utter a single word for two weeks. My teacher at the time had called my mother into school to ask her if I was mute. I just was not much in the mood for talking.

Some days I didn’t think there was too much difference between the concepts of outsider and fringe dweller but most of the time I thought there was one fundamental contrast.

I perceived one (the outsider) as personifying a person who wanted to be a part of the crowd and the other (the fringe dweller) as embodying a person who wanted to be on the side-lines of a crowd. One struggled to become a part of a crowd, the other fought to stay apart. What they had in common was not being a part of the crowd.

Whatever brought us together, she missed her weekly pilgrimage to hallowed football grounds to watch her favourite team. In the early days after she adopted me as a friend, we spent many a Saturday afternoon in front of the weekly television telecast of the game of the week. She spent most of the time teaching me the ways of a fanatical fan.

Many of my obsessive habits to this day stem from those early teachings.

I suppose talking about Karen might not be accurately described as a procrastination moment. It’s probably better defined as a moment in my life where the comfort of time spent with a near stranger provided refuge. I found those lazy Saturday afternoons shouting at the television screen cathartic. I still do.

I would almost go as far to say that it might have been a pivotal moment in my life because it was a snapshot of a time where I learned that fanaticism could take a mind away from anything that might have been plaguing my headspace.

Obsession, fanaticism, addiction – there’s not much difference between these traits and we all have them to a lesser or greater extent.

A monomaniacal child, a fanatical football fan – is it such a stretch to see that they can be stepping-stones into other forms of addiction. Surely the fungibility of these behaviours is obvious?

By the way, I am not saying that it is nefarious to be fanatical, obsessed or addicted to anything. It might be a fair conclusion given what I have written so far on these almost weekly notes but that is a harsh call to make.

I would never presume to make such judgments.

I am sometimes good; sometimes bad; never dull. And I am always easily distracted by the football...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

beautiful ugly

I don't normally like hip-hop music but today I borrow the title of this note from a Muph and Plutonic (featuring Jess Harlin) song called "beautiful ugly".

I have been thinking this week about whether I am a little bit shallow in so far as aesthetics are important to me when it comes to physical attraction. Does a person need to be beautiful or sexy for me to be attracted to them in that way.

My thinking about this topic was focussed by an article in the Age (a while ago), which comments on the difference between beautiful and sexy:

The article talks about taste being a very subjective thing although there are some commonalities such as symmetry that appeal to almost everyone. My personal favourite line picked up from blogs was from a man who says a woman is sexy if she wants to have sex with him. Think he might be onto something there.

But I digress. I recently experienced a situation where I was forced to be direct about my (non) intentions for a person. I was not particularly interested in that person (in that way) but felt there was some pressure coming from his side to pursue something more. In the end I had to tell him outright I was not attracted to him. It was brutal, in a very ugly way, but necessary as less subtle messages had failed to hit the mark.

I thought long and hard about whether I was being shallow. By society's standards he was "above average" in looks without being a head turner. (A bit like me.) In my mind, it wasn't what my eyes were seeing that were underpinning my lack of connection with this person.

He often talked of things that made me cringe - spoke of revenge in talking about ex girlfriends (with wrath perhaps number one on my list of things I loathe). He would read something I wrote and respond in a way that completely missed the point of my words. And then when we spoke directly, it was like we were having two different conversations as whatever he heard me say washed over him without sinking into his brain. I fluctuated between being bored when I spoke with him to being afraid of him when that impulsive anger was reflected in his words and actions.

To me, he was not beautiful on the inside. And that was what drove my lack of interest.

Attraction to physical beauty only could be enough to justify me calling myself shallow. But to be fair to myself I seem to be more concerned with a person's behaviour when I make a connection. If a person is hollow that is what makes them unattractive.

And, if anyone is interested in the song, here's a link:

Friday, April 09, 2010

a ray of light?

I've had a couple of weeks in hell at work so this week’s note is me being lazy… A couple of excerpts from the first novel is all I can muster. The mood of my main character coincidently aligns with my own mood today.

So here it is…

It would be reasonable to say that the majority of people associate the phrase “a ray of light” with positive experiences. In some sense it reminds us of the heavens above and a break in the clouds that seem to bring comfort, warmth and hope.

It is a curious image - that (for those who believe in a higher being watching over us) God has placed a momentary spotlight on our lives. We see the ray of light illuminating a path that we must follow.

Of course there are multiple paths that we can follow (irrespective of who is watching from the sidelines). Almost every day provides choices - the things we can say and do.

To me, the light does no more than spotlight the forks in the road. I stand there like a rabbit stunned by the headlights without any wherewithal to decipher landmarks on a map that will help me choose between paths. I am distracted by tufts of tasty grass near the side of the road.

On the one hand, I stand with my eyes closed (in a futile attempt to will that Pandora’s Box** shut so that the light cannot escape it), preferring not to choose a path at all. Road kill.

[Aside: Pandora’s Box** defined. We all know the myth. But here’s how I think about it as it relates to everyday life. It’s the place inside of us that we either are (a) completely of unaware of including the contents (b) have a vague knowledge of its existence but prefer to ignore it or (c) know what hides inside but actively choose to keep it a secret. Our own personal Pandora's Box. I can say with confidence that while (a) is where most of us choose to reside, we behave in ways where the ignorance means our interactions with others, although full of patterns, seem like a broken record. Ignorance isn't bliss if some of those patterns of behaviour hurt others. I imagine my own Pandora’s Box is made of a solid stone shell and it more like a Raider’s Ark insofar as any attempt to really open it might just lead to my face and body melting away into oblivion. So I resolve to keep my eyes closed just for a little while longer with a false belief it will help me to survive.]

And, on the other hand, sensing that some of those forks in the road have roadblocks on them, there are paths that I may never stumble down. Procrastination also equals road kill.

I am lying to myself. I have no map. The map sits inside that damned box into which I am steadfastly refusing to reach.

I am reminded of one of the things that inspire me more than anything in the world - sitting on a beach in the middle of winter watching storm clouds reach across the sky.

Rays of light break through the clouds as shadows of rain sweep across the water. It is Nature in its ravaging chaotic beauty cleansing all in its wake.

To look is one thing
To see what you look at is another
To understand what you see is a third
To learn from what you understand is something else
But to act on what you learn is all that really matters

I suppose I should say bugger it. See if I can slide open that stone lid? See if I can open my eyes. Live rather than die on that fork in the road.