It’s taken me a generous distance, as well as a healthy break from the pain, to realize I don’t understand what my mom thought of me. In my earliest years, I believed she loved me, cause none of her demands were unreasonable. After all, children are often helpless and don’t even know what’s best for themselves. Then I grew up, and developed an identity of my own. That meant I had distinctive needs separate from hers, and she would deny every one of them unless they were in line with what she wanted. It was impossible for me to believe there was any love at all when she was the cause of so much of my pain. I’ve since come to realize that relationships are full of nuances, and that it’s possible to love someone wholeheartedly and be terrible for them at the same time.
It’s been too long since we took a ride together. Too long since someone else was at the wheel and I got to score the passing Canadian fields with my new favourite songs. Too long since I saw the old crew and filmed them landing aerials on the farm.
We drive through lovely little villages I’d never want to live in but always think of visiting some day. They’re too small for comic book stores and decent Chinese food and any possibility of getting lost, but big enough to hold the hopes of anyone who ever wanted to build a life for themselves in a quiet community full of old-world charm and decay. The tiny economy based on tourism from an annual country music festival or historic school will make sure it stays like this forever.
The summer started uneventfully, with a mix of rainy weather and cold nights. I long for afternoons in the bright sun, Lou Reed during his Velvet Underground years crooning to me over small speakers, with nothing better to do than wiping the condensation off a cold drink. It’s a life that doesn’t seem far away, and yet a life I never imagine making for myself. I always think it’ll just happen some day, that things will fall into place if I can take care of everything else.
Aaron has me over for dinner every week with Karen and the two kids. It’s a ritual he has yet to break, even though he told me he didn’t want it to be a calendar event when I asked him if we could do something on a regular basis1. Every Wednesday he leaves work early to let me in the house, and makes up the time by working longer hours on other days, a sacrifice that means more to me than he’ll ever understand, and something I never had to ask him to do. It’s nice to be able to look forward to regular plans, and something I share only with him that makes me feel like I belong.
About as often are Magic nights with Trolley and Steph, and these invariably include something delicious for dinner, when Steph takes the culinary arts to a whole new level. They take care of me with food and conversation and booster packs that they never let me pay for. I’m sure I owe a great deal of my sanity to them, when Magic was the only thing that took my mind off the fact that everything fell apart.
In between are things less frequent, but no less important. Musical projects with Jesse or Seth that give me the kind of goals and purpose I’ve been looking for. Sessions with Lisa, when we get to share the things we don’t share with anyone else. Hangouts with Tiana to debrief on our ever-changing lives, and to give each other advice or a pair of ears. Dinners with Heather G when I need my dose of optimism and adventurism. Not to mention the people who send me messages of check up on how I’m doing when they can’t be here for me physically.
It feels strange to be busy again. To be productive, and social, and to need days off when I’m not even employed.
Not that it’s been an attempt to stay occupied; more like making sure my needs are being met. That I have fulfilling relationships that provide me with what I need, involving people who make me feel hopeful and worthwhile and connected and nurtured and protected and satisfied and accepted and understood and validated and loved and confident and safe and in control.
- Only because it’s something he wanted to keep casual, where neither person felt any pressure. [↩]
Today, I got to introduce some very good friends to each other. Everyone got along famously, although it couldn’t have gone any other way with these guys.
It was the first booster draft for three of us. I was massacred in every game, and didn’t have any less fun losing to such great sports.
Unfortunately, nothing interested me when we were picking out rares1, so I got nothing for the deck I’m currently building, and no direction for a second deck. But as Aaron said, even if you lose, it’s cheaper than a night of poker. Sometimes you lose it on the river, sometimes you draw 13 consecutive lands, and sometimes you OH GOD WHY ARE MY CREATURES DEAD ARGHGHHGHGH LETS PLAY AGAIN.
- And there wasn’t a single green rare — exactly what I was looking for — out of 17 rares. I have no idea what the chances are on that, but I know they’re not big. [↩]
Consider the ravens. They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.
It’s starting to get uncomfortably busy. There’s always someone else to visit, another person to catch up with. Projects have a way of finding me too; I’ll hear a song and decide that I need to make an arrangement, or someone will approach me for a website or video when they’re pursuing dreams of their own.
It’s the same way when it comes to figuring out what to eat lately. I open an empty fridge a half dozen times, each time thinking I’ll find a hidden cache of food that wasn’t there before, then someone will call me for dinner.
I’ve been fortunate enough to jam with a few people too, including Heather G, who pulled out her cello for the first time in her adulthood to give me root notes on the baseline. One draw of the bow across those strings has convinced me that I want one of my own; the tones are rich and meaty, something you feel through the entire instrument, and especially the tension of the ribbon (and I thought the guitar was tactile). We even convinced Sergey to pick up some mallets and strike the keys of a glockenspiel with us, the first time in his life he’s ever played an instrument.
I’m looking forward to the Fall, when I have nothing else booked. Part of me wishes I could take a year off and lock myself in a cottage somewhere and work on my own projects without interruption, but I don’t mind so much right now. Luckily, the work is always fulfilling, regardless of whether it’s for me or not, because so often I get to collaborate with such wonderfully creative people. I just need to ride the delicate line between distraction and over-stimulation.