Posts tagged with "communication"

make the road by walking

I can tell I’m get­ting over­whelmed cause of the mis­takes I’m mak­ing. Fruit is going bad on the counter before I have a chance to eat/cook it, a dose of med­ica­tion is for­got­ten here and there, missed pay­ments lead to inter­est fees; I’m los­ing con­trol of lit­tle details that are nor­mally sim­ple mat­ters for me.

sushi

 

Maybe it’s cause I’m con­stantly try­ing to catch up. On projects I keep putting off cause of my respon­si­bil­i­ties. On life after los­ing the last two years to a depres­sion that left me cry­ing more often than not. On top of all that, I’m try­ing to jug­gle a job, a rela­tion­ship, and the energy it takes for me to heal, while enjoy­ing every moment as it comes. Even though I’m in a safe and sta­ble place now, I still strug­gle to cope with how quickly things are chang­ing. I miss being able to record my thoughts and expe­ri­ences here, but I can’t afford the time it takes to get into that zone.1

The hard­est part is explain­ing to peo­ple why I’ve been out of touch for so long. It means going into a painful (and recent) his­tory, and it’s not easy to get into that emo­tional space, let alone think about things that are dif­fi­cult to relive, let alone open up to some­one, let alone worry about how they’re going to react.

  1. I’m try­ing to accept that it’s okay to wait before writ­ing about cer­tain ideas. It took me seven years before I could fig­ure out how to write about my mom, and that meant a lot of grow­ing before I could under­stand the whole sit­u­a­tion and finally put the sub­ject to rest. There’s so much more I still have to say, about things both good and bad. It’s just hard to get used to the idea that this will become a jour­nal of the past instead of a diary of the present. []

Collab

This is pretty much the most awe­some sit­u­a­tion I can think of. A jam ses­sion with Nic on beats and bass, Jesse rap­ping and on organ + glock­en­spiel, Audra on clar­inet, and me on ukulele. Figuring out what sounds best, mod­i­fy­ing arrange­ments, prac­tic­ing until it feels right.

The night was actu­ally a rehearsal for Jesse’s upcom­ing Canadian liv­ing room tour, the last stop of which is in Ottawa, at the same place I first met Jesse and Audra and Jacob.

Rehearsal

 

Because Jesse’s sis­ter is only avail­able on the east­ern tour dates, that left a spot for one instru­ment on the final tour date, which I’ll excit­edly be fill­ing with my ukulele. It’s only for three songs (and singing one part of a three part har­mony) but it’s going to be so much fun.

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Here’s Jesse singing and rhyming and con­duct­ing us and play­ing the glock­en­spiel at the same time. It’s a new track off his upcom­ing album with an obvi­ous theme about video, except in this ver­sion he made an arrange­ment of Video Tape by Radiohead and VCR by The XX to book­end the verses. I’d never heard VCR, so Jesse had to teach me the chords on the fly.

I recorded this on my iPhone so I could prac­tice on my own; I won’t have a chance to see them for another rehearsal before they go on tour. I’d never heard the song before, and it was our first time play­ing it through together but every­one knew when to stop. It felt com­pletely nat­ural. We were com­mu­ni­cat­ing with­out words, our instincts cul­mi­nat­ing in that won­der­fully solid unison.

Even though I’m still rusty, it felt amaz­ing to be play­ing an instru­ment with other peo­ple again. And this time with mate­r­ial that’s fuck­ing genius, not the same old con­ser­va­tory pieces some teacher chooses for you. At one point I was play­ing around on the ukulele when Jesse had to get the phone, and Nic started putting beats to what I was doing and it made me want to steal Nic for all my practicing.

See Jesse Dangerously in your town:

Friday, July 23rd — The Bird House in Halifax, NS — 6156 Duncan Street, 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 24th — The Galley in Fredericton, NB — 1–178 Westmorland Street, 7:00 p.m (with feminist/anti-capitalist gum­boot troupe Rebelles).
Sunday, July 25th — Gallerie Rye in Montreal, PQ — 1331a Rue Ste Catherine Est, 8:00 p.m (with the vegan ukulele of Nicola IV).
Monday, July 26th — 160 Workshops in Ottawa, ON — 160 Primrose Avenue, 8:00 p.m. (with electronic/acoustic singer-songwriter Jacob Earl).

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Introduction

An ex e-mailed me out of the blue the other day. She blamed it on the fall weather, caus­ing her to rem­i­nisce and Google my name. We hadn’t seen or spo­ken to each other in over five years.

After feel­ing each other out for the first part of the exchange, we caught up on each oth­ers lives. She’s been mar­ried for three years. Moved out to Kingston after liv­ing through the pol­lu­tion and over-stimulation of down­town Toronto. She has a full-time job while work­ing toward her Master of Education part-time. Her husband’s an artist at heart, she says, try­ing to make a liv­ing off cre­ative writ­ing. No kids yet, but instead, two cats, Emily Wednesday and Shadow.

Me? I moved to Ottawa for uni­ver­sity, bought a house, recently got out of a rela­tion­ship, been work­ing as the mar­ket­ing and IT man­ager at a den­tal lab­o­ra­tory. Oh, and I have one cat, but I’m think­ing of a second.

There were some things I’d been mean­ing to ask her for a while. Going through a series of rela­tion­ships since ours has changed my per­spec­tive, and I’ve always won­dered whether she’s grown in this way as well. I put a few ques­tions to her, but she told me, in an ami­able way, that she wasn’t com­pletely com­fort­able indulging my curiosities.

What she had no prob­lem talk­ing about before was now taboo and off lim­its. Was she afraid of upset­ting her hus­band by dis­cussing such per­sonal things with an ex-boyfriend, or did she sim­ply change so much?

There are a lot of things I’d like to say to my ex-girlfriends, but the nature of a break-up can be that of ran­cor. Communication breaks down. People lose per­spec­tive. I’ve always had a tremen­dous need to express myself, per­haps to the detri­ment of my rela­tion­ships, but dig­ging up what’s past and buried for the sake clo­sure seems a bit self­ish. After hav­ing this ex tell me that she was uncom­fort­able, I real­ized that it may have been rather inap­pro­pri­ate of me.

It’s only here that I can say what I want.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen

Poignant

Promised myself I’d be in bed by nine, but my ner­vous­ness has made me too jit­tery to sleep.

Poignant”, he said, just as I was think­ing the word, and it made me real­ize that if there’s one thing I do try to be, it’s poignant. I don’t know why. Perhaps it shows good com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Perhaps there’s men­tal relief in know­ing that one is not alone, that oth­ers can under­stand and may feel the same way.

Politics

Camping beach

Trolley shivers

Campfire

I got back from camp­ing on Monday, and had a great time. We went up as a group of 16, divided into three sites. I resumed my role as the token Chinese guy, since I was the only one on the entire camp­ground. The sites were less than a three minute walk away from each other. Activities con­sisted of bad­minton, ulti­mate fris­bee, read­ing, or just loung­ing. It was 20 degrees dur­ing the day so a lot of the time was spent in the shade. At night it dropped down to about 8 degrees, leav­ing most peo­ple shiv­er­ing in their sleep­ing bags or hud­dled around a campfire.

Some tried to swim, but the water was so cold that they ended up wad­ing. There was a com­pe­ti­tion every day to see who could stay neck deep in the water the longest, but they all ended in ties when every­one agreed that the idea was silly and that suf­fer­ing through the icy water was not worth the poten­tial brag­ging rights.

camping drinks

Most peo­ple brought quite a bit of alco­hol (Wheaties actu­ally got a 2–8 just for him­self), and we were caught twice on the first night for hav­ing open alco­hol con­tain­ers off the sites. Fortunately, it was by two dif­fer­ent groups of rangers, so we got two warn­ings, instead of a warn­ing and then a fine with eviction.

Even when relax­ing on the camp­ground, with no time lim­its and no sched­ules, I dis­cov­ered that pol­i­tics had fol­lowed me there, to a place where one is sup­posed to for­get the stress and con­flicts of daily life. It’s such a pity that life can be so com­pli­cated in the midst of such serene sim­plic­ity, when the only thing that one should worry about is how much beer one has left or whether a fire will be going in time for dinner.

Something that I’ve long real­ized is that the pol­i­tics of life are every­where, mostly preva­lent in uncom­mu­nica­tive or secre­tive sit­u­a­tions. An uncer­tain attrac­tion, a group of peo­ple with mutual dis­like for some­one, or per­haps even var­ied appro­pri­ate­ness in var­ied com­pany are all typ­i­cal exam­ples I’ve most com­monly run across and dealt with.

I always try to remain out of such com­plex affairs, in order to sim­plify my life, in order to have clar­ity. By doing so, I find that things are much less uncer­tain, and I thus have less to worry about. Of course, life thrusts me into such sit­u­a­tions whether I’m will­ing to par­tic­i­pate or not. After all, peo­ple will for­ever be upset by oth­ers. I find that I’ve been able to under­stand and sur­vive these sit­u­a­tions with increas­ing consistency.

It’s quite a dif­fer­ent story when I am per­son­ally involved.