дружба и любовь
Monday, April 24, 2006
It was windy tonight when I rode home on my bicycle, viola strapped on my back. I borrowed Jen's black "zippy" on the way out the door, just in case the temperature dropped. It did, just as my friend L. and I returned from our walk to Picnic Point and back. We sat on a large rock, watching the shadow of an otter and talking about friendship.
I've never been particularly good at having friends. I crave intense relationships to a small number of people. Casual friendships, acquaintances- I can't do them. My preferred form of friendship is the friend who lives in another city, appearing in my life occasionally by phone, e-mail, or letter. Sara is an exception because we see one another so rarely it's like we're in two different cities.
I think this is why I'm able to relate to Stojana so well. When I saw her in January, it felt as though I'd never left Kharkov. Of course, it was that very distance that enables our friendship. We walked through Shevchenko and Gorky Parks, baring those things which one rarely reveals to anyone, even God. Our frienship survives because the mundane is absent.
I love easily, I love wholeheartedly. However, I'm also afraid of loss. It's easier for me to turn my back on love and friendship than it is to forge ahead and trust in said relationship. As a result, I burn bridges quickly. I regret the mistakes I've made, I miss the people I've lost, but I'm not sure if I feel that way because I really miss/regret or because society tells me that I need to have friends.
I sometimes worry because Jen is my closest, dearest friend. If she were gone, I would eventually recover, but the loss would be devastating. I adore her and have little need for other people, beyond my occasional IMs, phone calls, and letters from my distant exes and friends.
In the year since my transgression, I've challenged myself to be comfortable with who I am- to accept the flaws in my character and find comfort in the things that define me. It's okay that I despise social situations with more than three people. It's normal for me, even if it's not normal for many other people. I need friends who can understand my inability to participate in social functions with any semblance of frequency. I learned that this year.
Now, the challenge is to embrace friendships. I need to learn not to push away those who can challenge and support me. I've denied myself friendships because I'm afraid of losing them, of committing social faux-pas. In forgiving myself, I must also learn to embrace others.
It sucks. To be honest, I'd love to be a hermit. However, it's not a viable career option at this point. I think Jen would feel stifled. So- onward. Learn to make (and keep) friendships. Continue to challenge myself by doing such horrid things as joining orchestra (which ended today, thank God. To me, there are few things more humiliating than being the worst person in an entire orchestra.) and *shock* mingling at social occasions.
Now, back to my comfort zone. Tofu/peanut satay and the latest episode of Big Love with Jen.
Monday, Monday, Monday
Monday, February 27, 2006
Days seem to melt into one another. Some class, but largely, sitting at my laptop browsing my blogroll. Swiftly reading a travel memoir in the three days before class and hurriedly composing a response the night it's due. Entirely avoiding other things. Going to mundane LGBT programming and practically doing it on auto-pilot.
I'm in a state of discontent with my job. Sometimes I feel like I'm not making an impact because I do the same things over and over and the students react in the same ways. They have unique insights at each program, but I've done the program so many times that said insights are not new to me. However, I need to be present to guide them through the illumination of thought. Wow! Gay people are oppressed! Then again, the majority of participants are already allies. How to reach those, especially males, who aren't? How to reach the students who don't come to the programs, the students who need our programming the most?
Home life is happy. Jen and I cooked dinner together last night- pierogies with fried onions and sour cream, butternut squash with brown sugar, crescent rolls, and homemmade pudding. Did I mention the wine? I like Reisling Bloom despite it's girlyness- even the bottle is pink. I crave our domesticity, the moments we spend together and those we spend with Jen in her desk chair, making Powerpoints for her students, while I curl up on the sofa, my face shoved in some travel memoir. We're happy.
We went out to see "Jesus is Magic" on Saturday with Sara. It felt dirty to laugh at her jokes, but oh, they were funny. Afterward we went to the Casbah for appetizers and overpriced drinks. Lots of talking. Jen and Sara have the capability of embarassing me as each knows me too well. I can't get away with anything. Fuck.
Sara and I go to Ukraine in 10 days. Oh. My. God. I'm going back. It's becoming more real to me. My dad visited Sunday and brought (finally) the album of our trip in high school. I bought a suitcase for the trip. Again, another pilgrimage, another journey to this land of my heart. What am I looking for there? What do I expect to find? I know I am searching for my childhood. A time lost. How can I reclaim that time for myself?
Friday, February 17, 2006
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Uncle news. I have three maternal uncles, N'nai B, N'nai Y, and N'nai A. They're all unmarried and since my dad left, they've been the only solid father figures in my sister and brother's lives. Since fall, a lot of things have been going on in my family that led one of my cousins to say "Why are all these things happening in our family?"
In September, our youngest N'nai, A, passed away while on a hunting trip with my brother. CPR was unsuccessful and we lost him. It still stuns me that he is gone. I've lost more distant relatives before, but never someone so close to me. His death has forced me to heavily re-evaluate my outlook on life/death. Philip, my little brother, who witnessed his passing, has had a very difficult fall/winter. I think he is still blaming himself and of course, is terrified by what he saw.
My middle N'nai, Y, has been dating a much younger woman, R, for several months. N'nai Y is in his fifties and already has two children with two different women, as well as a 5-year old grandchild from his daughter. Even though he wasn't an extremely active presence in their lives, he obviously loves his two kids and they are as fully a part of our family as any of us other cousins. (None of the N'nais ever married and Y is the only one with children.) This fall, he surprised the family with the news that R was pregnant! She had our new cousin about 2 weeks ago, Baby C. Now, my uncle has no job, no car, and still lives at home. He has major heart problems and diabetes that prevent him from rejoining his career in construction, but now this baby has no livelihood. Everyone is afraid that my grandmother, his mom, will end up supporting the new family. When Baby C is my age, his dad will be in his late seventies! Of course, Baby C is a blessing and we all love him- but just wish N'nai Y had been more responsible.
Then, this past weekend, my oldest N'nai, B, was checked into the hospital because he had a wire in his foot. He has diabetes, but hadn't been as careful as he might have (can I say should have?). He didn't notice the wire in his foot and it became infected. Now, he has to have his leg amputated. (And he did, on Sunday) Of course, we love him and support him, but it really sucks! I am frustrated because I wish he had taken better care of himself. N'nai B is a bike rider and now he will not be able to ride his bike. He is in my thoughts as he recovers at the hospital and I wish I could be there with him.
I love my family, I really do, but sometimes I just want to shake them and tell them to get it together! I am working hard to make choices in my life so that Jen and I will have the support we need when we have kids, but it just sucks that some of my loved ones are not making good choices. It doesn't mean I love them less, only that I wish things could have been different.
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And Iím getting older, too
Thursday, February 9, 2006
I'm home from Ukraine. I've put off writing about it because it was so emotionally intense that I'm not sure how to do the trip justice on something as plebeian as my blog. It took me almost eight years to return to Kharkov and the wait was worth it. I don't know if it would have been as cathartic had I not waited so long. I needed to be in a space where I was emotionally ready to go back. I needed to be old enough to go completely on my own. I needed to have something to come home to.
Kharkov was not as changed as I'd feared. All that I still loved, with only a very few exceptions, remained. The city has experienced an explosion of capitalism in the past eight years and is filled with overlit shops. Still- my beloved parks, the Mariya stationery shop, the ugly toy mall (which no longer charms me as it did when I was younger), and even the shop where I developed my photos remain. The Elena restaurant was gone, but there's a new McDonald's on Pushkinskaya. I'm not a huge McDonald's fan, but I got a little sick of the endless porridge and pickles combo I had everyday so I had a few Happy Meals. (Okay, I got 3/4 of the Narnia toys when I was there...)
I met Ana, of course, as I stayed with her family. She was one of my first crushes. After about 2 hours with her, I couldn't remember why I liked her so much. We barely spoke, but on the last night had a decent conversation over a cigarette. She left to go winter camping before I returned to the U.S.
I saw Olga, the woman who took care of me back in 1998. She cooked for me and took me to see my kitten (now cat), Eponine. Eponine remains a feisty gamine and wouldn't let me touch her. Oh well. I guess I deserve it for leaving her in Kharkov.
Best of all, I found Stojana. She's the daughter of one of the teacher's at my old school. I was worried I wouldn't find her as I couldn't remember her last name or her dad's name. Olga, the superwoman, found Stojana's number; Stojana and I spent hours walking in Shevchenko and Gorky Parks. It was odd to back on those two parks, where she and I onced rollerskated and played in the amusement park. We're older now, but closer than ever. I used to think that whole "kindred soul/ bosom friend" stuff was total bullshit. I don't anymore. I'm so happy I found her again.
Now the bombshell. I'm going back in 4 weeks.