Friday, June 15, 2018

Boundaries



Boundaries are so hard to enforce, sometimes.

Especially when someone else doesn’t honor them.

Hitler didn’t honor Poland’s or any other country's boundaries when he invaded. Nor did Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait, for that matter.

Nor did my roommate in the Great Roommate Experiment.

I realized that setting and enforcing boundaries was a lesson I needed to learn, and that was part of this experiment. Another part, I suspect, was learning to have someone in my home, and with that, learning to trust. (And that may be another post for another day.) Due to this experiment, I think the Universe has something up its sleeve. Time will tell…

My roommate and I did have an earlier connection-teacher/student-and now that we had reconnected on a more mature level, I could understand her wanting to get to know me on a different level.

Yet, I am a private person. Well, somewhat of a private person. I mean I do share a bit here on this blog, but there are limits as to what I will share. And what I won’t. The same goes with friends and other human beings as well.

My roommate tried to cross that line. I made it quite clear certain topics were not up for discussion, period. At all. Ever.



I think she saw that as a challenge.

So, she continued to press for information on such topics as:
  • Why I don’t date;
  • Why I don’t rent out my rooms;
  • Why I don’t at least list my guest room on AirBNB, at least for a week at a time;
  • Why I don’t repaint/rearrange my house/garden;
  • And assorted aspects about my sex life.
I gave my answer to the first question: I don’t want to.

For the next two: I don’t want anyone else in my house.

For the next one: It’s my house and this is how I like it.

For the last one: You have now crossed a line, and I left the room.

A few days later, she might bring up one of the first four again. I think I made my case on the last one. I tried very hard on the other four. I tried turning the tables and asked her why she needed to know the information: “I'm just curious. Geez.”

As for the redecoration questions, she resorted to “It’s just my opinion. I have the right to express it.” 

I’d reply, “Yes, you do. But, you’re coming off like a know-it-all. Or that you are suggesting my taste is bad.” 

"Well, you misunderstood me.” (No, I didn't, especially if you're suggesting different furniture arrangements and paint colors.)

For the renting out statements, I first tried the tactic of “Thank you. I’ll take it into consideration” thinking that would stop it. Nope.

I called her out on it and she replied, “I like to keep watering the idea.” 

But if you overwater a plant, you kill it. (I wish I'd thought of this at that time, but hindsight is always perfect.)

I stated that most people understand that “I’ll take it into consideration” also means the topic is off the table. Now.

Nope, she needs to hear the exact words, “I don’t want to talk about it, anymore.” She’s very literal. So, I said them.

She understood, but she later added the phrases “I know you don’t want to talk about it, but...” Or “This is just my opinion and you don’t have to do it, but...”

The more I said I wasn't interested in renting out my spare rooms, for she had now moved onto all my "spare" rooms, the more she watered that idea. She even suggested a friend of hers who was studying at the university down the road and was in need of a place. The more I said no, the more she said "I know you will" with a smug look on her face.

I realized that no matter how I tried to reinforce my boundaries she was determined to weasel her way in. 

So, I tried a new tactic. I simply replied, “I'm not answering the question.” And stood firm.

She even tried to overstep that, “I have a right to ask.” 

“Yes, you do. But you don’t have a right to know the answer. Only I have the right to determine who has a right to the answer.” 

My first partner had a way for dealing with questions like these, though he often came off like a smartass in his delivery.

If someone asked a personal question, he’d retort: “Are you writing a book on me?” 

If they said, “No,” which they usually did, he’d reply “Then you don’t need to know.”

If they said, “Yes,” trying to mess with him, then he’d answer, “Then leave this chapter out.” 

He thought he was being funny, I thought he was being rude, but he got his point across.

Maybe I’ll try that next time, but only if someone doesn’t get the hint the first couple of times. 

Perhaps the biggest lesson I had to learn was that I don't like not being heard. I would express myself to her and she would not listen to what I said. I don't know how many times I would tell her I'd already made up my mind, but she kept pushing which frustrated me. That is what I need to work on; letting people have their say and letting it roll off me like water off a duck's back. 

Not an easy lesson to learn, but a necessary one.
Especially for maintaining your sanity.



FYI: The GRE has come to an end as she has moved on to her next adventure. I have my guest room back!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Guidance and Goodbye


Saying goodbye when a relationship comes to an end is never easy, and all relationships do come to an end one way or another. Things happen; changes occur, frequently due to age. Death is often an ending of a relationship. Therefore, goodbyes are an integral part of life.

I had to say goodbye this week. I knew it was coming one day, but didn’t expect it so soon.

This relationship was 12 years in the making. I had begun to realize the time would be coming when I felt the aging process beginning to take its toll and the dependability beginning to slip. It was an emotional moment when I realized what was happening and that I had to act. And sooner rather than later.

I had started the mental process to distance myself, but the emotional distancing was a bit harder. This makes sense because we can rationalize why we should end relationships yet still fail to act on them, sometimes. Yet, this ending came upon me so unexpectedly that I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. But, it is over and done, and I’m moving forward. As best I can.

I sold my car last week. Well, actually just four days ago.

My car was a 2006 GMC Envoy with nearly 160,000 miles. Eleven years of a 70 mile a day commute add up to some great memories, as well as a physical toll. Everything was working well, considering, up until a couple of weeks before. There were small cosmetic things I could live with. Yet, when the transmission began slipping I knew I had to begin the process. But, could I afford a new car on a new retiree’s pension? And what could I afford? I took the car into the mechanic to investigate exactly what was wrong with the transmission and the verdict came back. It was indeed showing wear. The service rep said it would be about $3,000 to rebuild the transmission. And a couple of other potentially expensive repairs were beginning show their face also. Well, that’s also a down payment for a new car. My roommate suggested finding a cheaper mechanic. But, that would only postpone the inevitable, I countered. But better to be fully prepared, she replied. Valid points all, I thought. 

So, I began my search for something. Now I will say, I am a loyal shopper. I’ve had good luck with my last two vehicles from General Motors. There are certain features I wanted to have in my car, some of which are only available on certain GM models. That limits my shopping choices. I also wanted to be more fuel efficient, and I knew the hybrids were all out of my price range.

I decided on what I wanted to see. I headed to the dealer not intending to buy, but to test drive a couple of models. The young salesman was very attentive, listened to my concerns, my history, my questions. If he didn’t have the answer, he told me so, then he got it. Immediately. An honest car salesman! There were a couple of things that caught my attention about him. He started to get the key for a test drive, but quickly returned for my drivers’ license, a sheepish grin on his face. Hmmmm, a newbie? Well, he was quite young, after all. We all start somewhere.

We headed out on the test drive and I was really feeling the car. It handled well for a smaller version of what I was maybe trading in. The salesman turned to me and confessed, “I’m a bit new at this.”

“I sensed that,” I said. “And I appreciate your honesty. It doesn’t matter to me that you’re new, as long as you continue your honesty.” It turned out he had been there only two weeks!

At that precise moment, I glanced at the license plate on the car to my left, 222. Immediately in front of it was 333. Seriously? Even on a test drive the synchronicities show up! Twos indicate to keep the faith and threes are a reminder that the universe is on my side. I guess this was a sign, or a pair of them, to go forward with the car. I pointed these plates out to the salesman whose jaw hit the floor. “That can’t be a coincidence,” he says.

“Ya think,” I think in my head. “I don’t think it was,” I said, “Oh, look.” I said pointing at a third plate in a matter of seconds, “777.”

We return to the dealership and I’m now seriously considering buying the car. But, I had seen one particular model in the dealership’s online inventory I wanted to check out. I had also wanted to test drive another larger car, for comparison’s sake. I did and wasn’t impressed. Plus, it would have been way out of my budget. After this second test drive, I inquired on the actual vehicle I wanted to check out. I gave the salesman the stock number and we find out it happened to have been parked next to the one we originally test drove. Um, another sign?

We went in to run some numbers to see what I could afford and what I might get for my trade in, still nothing was set in stone.

As we were sitting in the cubicle running the numbers, a strange feeling of “just trust that it will all work out” came over me. And I am not one to ignore signs, though sometimes that ego gets in the way. But, this time I felt I needed to follow my instinct.

We finished the sales papers and I was waiting for the finance department to be ready. Once there, the salesman came in to check on the progress, and to let me know that they were ready to deliver my new car to me, as it had been washed, cleaned and brought to the front. The finance rep then congratulated the salesman on his very first sale! What a day for both of us! I get a new car, and he gets his first sale!

As we were going over the features of the car, I got out my phone to pair it to the bluetooth of the car. The time was 4:44!

I showed the salesman, he shook his head in disbelief. My fourth set of triple numbers in a matter of hours!

I guess it was all meant to be.

For both of us.
2018 Chevrolet Trax

Friday, May 11, 2018

Introversion

I recently posted on Facebook about having a typical introvert day. A few friends ‘liked’ my post with two even giving me a sad face reaction. Knowing them, I’m sure it was more because they felt bad I had a bad experience rather than being sad because I’m an introvert. In reality, the day was just exhausting, neither good nor bad, just exhausting.

Here is my post:
  • You know you’re becoming more and more introverted when socializing with people you choose to socialize with in an activity you choose to participate in is still so damn exhausting all you want to do is get home and sleep for days. #introvertproblems
One of the above friends very lovingly expressed his concern that I might be going through depression. I assured him I wasn’t, thanked him for his concern and then began wondering what exactly is the difference?

According to multiple sources, the difference is huge. As in Grand Canyon huge. Introversion is considered more of a trait, a part of one’s personality; while depression is a condition that can be treated, often with medication and/or therapy. Few people consult therapists to overcome their introversion; but introversion is often discovered while in therapy for other reasons.

Depression worries about the past while it’s twin, anxiety, worries about the future. But, introversion is about the now, sort of. But not in a worry kind of way. Depression can weigh on you, while introversion is part of you.

However, severe cases of introversion can lead to depression.

As I look back at my post, I see another key difference. Twice. The word, ‘choose’. I chose to socialize with that group of people. I chose to participate in that  activity. I made the choice full well knowing it might have this effect on me. Many people suffering from severe depression don’t make that choice; they might choose to avoid social situations altogether. An introvert usually does want to step out more, while someone with depression usually doesn’t. And when we do step out, it drains our energy so much, we need time to ourselves to recharge.


Disclaimer: not all people with introversion, depression, or anxiety react the same way. I am writing with large generalizations in mind. I know many introverts who prefer texting over phone calls to avoid the chit-chat. I am the opposite. With my good friends, I want to hear their voice; I want to hear the nuances of the tone in their voice not have to judge it in a text, often incorrectly. I want to know they will make and take the time to spend with me, instead of relegating a reply to a text when they can make time for it, often hours or days later. I’ve written so much about texting vs. calling, so I won’t go there again.

As I sit here drafting this post, I am aware that I have two back-to-back social events beginning this afternoon into the evening. The mere thought of them is already exhausting me.

And then to come home to a roommate, who can be somewhat needy, is enough to push me over the edge, already, and it’s still morning as I write this.

My therapist struggled with a diagnosis for me. This was shortly after my divorce, and yes, I was depressed. But, I went about my regular routine. I got up, got myself ready for work, did what was required of me, then carried out the rest of my day. I did it all again, the next day. And the next. So, I was functioning. Many people with heavier forms of depression often struggle just to get out of bed. They can struggle in their daily life. They may turn to substances. In the end, she decided on an adjustment disorder as I was having difficulty adjusting to this new stage in my life, but was managing to carry on, as best I could. But, we also did discover I have some mild form of social anxiety particularly as it relates to the gay community.

There is no cure for introversion. We simply learn to live with it. 

So, please never tell an introvert, to “Get over it!”

We can’t. Nor, do we have to.

P.S. I did make it through both social events but was exhausted by the end of the evening, only to come home to the roommate and all her drama. Oy, what a post that would be.




Monday, May 7, 2018

Two of Pentacles

I find it interesting that the more I study the Tarot, the more I find it relates to life. 

I think I’m having a Two of Pentacles kind of moment. Or string of them. Or maybe it’s a phase and I’ll grow out of it.

Or, at the very least, I’ll come to terms with it and just move on.

The Two of Pentacles shows a man juggling two pentacles in the pattern of a figure eight or the infinity sign. Traditionally, Pentacles has been the suit around abundance, prosperity, and material goods. But, the action shown in the Two of Pentacles has also come to suggest something is out of balance or maybe there are decisions to be made. The turbulent water in the background could also suggest unstable emotions. Perhaps I have some decisions to weigh…questions to consider...pros and cons to ponder...emotions to examine.

I feel I’ve been juggling a lot lately. Maybe even more than just two pentacles. 

I won’t deny the human desire for companionship/conversation is growing stronger. Perhaps it’s due to the Great Roommate Experiment, even if I’ve barely seen her in the last few weeks. But, we’ve had some awkward discussions that have led me to rethink whether or not I might want to consider another roommate. Maybe it’s just her personality and a different roommate would work out better. Or, perhaps I’ve been playing the Hermit far too long and am set in my solitary ways. So, roommate or solitude?

Yes, I will admit this has also triggered the idea of renting my extra bedroom out for additional income, even on a temporary basis via AirBnB as has been so often suggested by the roommate. (Evidently, I can dictate the duration and frequency of each rental and I can also remain in my home. Plus, I'd be paid upfront.) After all, I’m now on a fixed income and the extra money would come in handy. So, that is another set of pentacles I’m juggling. Do I rent it out or not, if even on a short-term infrequent basis?

Whether this desire for conversation also translates to mean I might possibly be somewhat open to something maybe more than just a roommate, I don’t know. So, there’s one more set of pentacles, relationship or bachelorhood? And this might be the heaviest set of pentacles I’m juggling, possibly due to the difficult path of finding someone.

I look at the values I’ve discovered or that I've uncovered in myself (weren’t they there all along?) and don’t see them in the gay community. Walking into many gay bars, clubs and other establishments in gay areas and there are baskets full of condoms, free for the taking, should the need arise. The apps are like dial-up-sex; find some hookup for the night without even leaving home and with minimalist conversation.

I like things to progress on a slower, more natural, organic pace. I don’t want to spend the first date deciding who’s the top and who’s the bottom, if there is no deeper connection to be found. Yet, from the conversations I’ve had with friends, that appears to be the norm. It’s all decided before dessert, if it even gets that far. Some guys even put it on their public dating profile for the whole world to see. That’s way too much for me to take in right from the beginning, if there’s nothing deeper. We all know that relationships based solely on sex don’t last.

A Facebook friend posted a meme about gay dating after 30. If I remember correctly, it went something like this, “Are we doing this? ‘Cause I got shit to do!” It’s like a rush to get answers "NOW, DAMN IT!” The games of "who-texted-who last”, “When is it too soon to text after the first date?” and “I can’t be the first to text, I don’t want to appear too eager!” are just beyond my comprehension.

Then, there’s ghosting, zombiing, benching, catfishing, kittenfishing, breadcrumbing and who knows what other mindfuck dating games are played out there. 

Oh, and the infamous gaslighting. Wasn’t there a movie about gaslighting? 

The times I was on the dating sites and apps a few years ago, the comments about men over 40 were disenfranchising, as well as disheartening, with many of these even coming from men over 40. To be honest, I haven’t been on a site or an app in a few years. But, I still don’t think much has changed in that time.

(And before anyone calls me on generalizing, I realize that I am. Yes, I am owning it. I am generalizing. There, I said it. Now, you don't have to.)

The more I get to know myself, the less I see myself out there; both literally (out there mingling meeting guys) or figuratively (out there as a reflection of who I am).

Recently, I shared this concern in a group setting; that once I came out of the closet, I didn’t see myself in the straight community, which makes sense. Now that I’m where I am in my journey, I don’t see myself reflected in the gay community. Someone commented in a kind way, “That’s because you are now coming out of the box. You have come out of the norm.” Hmmmm. Interesting thought, "I’m not normal."

This brings up an interesting paradox: I still mingle in the straight community, but not in the lgbtq community. Perhaps it’s because I don’t feel the need to explain/justify myself in the straight community where in the lgbtq community, I might have to because I don’t adhere to their cultural norms. I’m an outlier. To be perfectly honest, I shouldn’t have to explain/justify myself, and I need to be okay with that. I guess that’s where my work is.

Since then, I’ve investigated a few lgbtq social groups-some for men only, others were mixed. I’ve only gone on to find that each group is a microcosm of the bar scene, or the community at large. Some groups immediately want to know your relationship status prior to joining. Other groups arrange events around such statuses. I’ve written about this ad nauseam, so no need to rehash it all again.

As I’ve been on this path focusing more on settling my inner issues, healing my wounds, and discovering my spiritual side, I’ve begun to realize how important that side of me has become. It also brings to mind one particular Bible verse that was drummed into my head when I was more active in the church: 
    2 Corinthians 6:14 King James Version 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Yes, I would like to find someone of a similar path. While I believe it is possible to find a diamond in the rough in WeHo, upon closer investigation it’s more likely to be cubic zirconia. I may sound like a judgmental bitter old man, but I’m also speaking with some degree of somewhat recent experience. A few of the men I’ve met who claimed to be spiritual were more interested in the pleasures of the flesh than the pleasures of the mind-body-spirit connection. I guess we had a different view of spirituality.

So, how many pentacles is that? 
  • Roommate or Not?
  • Rent or Not?
  • Relationship or Not?
Six? (The Six of Pentacles is about resources, knowledge and power, and interestingly there is a scale in the image, suggesting balance. Hmmmmm…)

I think it’s best to take all those pentacles, set them on the ground and let them be. I can't keep juggling forever.

Maybe the pentacles will just roll away and I’ll simply journey on and let come what may.

And then make a decision.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Queen of Happy Elephants

I felt guided to share this particularly interesting reading.

Every morning I pull a card from three different decks to give me something to think about during the day. I draw one card from
  • the standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck,
  • Steven Farmer’s Power Animals Oracle and
  • the Universe Has Your Back deck by Gabrielle Bernstein.
The reading the other day was quite interesting for a couple of reasons.

As I do this nearly every morning and due to the odds of the different decks, I anticipate a different card each day. But, I was surprised to pull the Queen of Wands twice in a row. And she came up reversed both times! Now, before you start saying she just stayed on the top of the deck from the day before so it’s just a repeat, I will poo-poo that notion right here and now. After each reading, I shuffle the card back into the deck before returning it to the box. Sometime in the afternoon, I will do a practice reading which means I am shuffling and cutting the deck again. After that reading, I shuffle the deck once more before returning the deck to the box. Then, I shuffle the deck 3-4 times and cut it before the reading the next morning. So, the deck was thoroughly shuffled and cut before the next day’s reading. Obviously, this Queen had something to say if she pushed her way back to the top of the deck. But what exactly? And why was she reversed both times?

In an upright position, the Queen of Wands represents the energy of someone charismatic, passionate about life and cheerful; she knows what she wants and sets out to get it. She speaks her mind, and lives her truth. The reversal would indicate her energy isn’t in full force in my life right now, but I’m possibly coming into it, stepping out of my shell a bit. The fact she came up reversed twice in a row, in spite of all the shuffling and cutting, would echo the fact she’s pushing her way into my life, if I let her. I mean, it’s not a bad lesson to learn.

Now, let’s look at the other cards.

From the Power Animals I drew Elephant. His message was “Resolve: You will overcome any obstacles.” The back of the card says to move forward without letting anything get in the way of your heart’s desire. I mean what would get in the way of an elephant? Besides, fear. My own fear. Of my goals. My own fear of being judged or others’s disapproval. I must also learn not only to speak, but live my truth. And have fun along the way! Hmm, good points, all of them.

The third card read “Happiness is my birthright.” I think that is a given even if we don’t always believe it or believe we are not worthy of it. I don’t think that the Divine Source of the Universal Gods and Goddesses really wants us to be unhappy. And if we are indeed unhappy, then we are responsible for changing our own circumstances to become happy.

Let’s piece this together: the Queen of Wands twice reversed is strongly suggesting I might not be at my best right now, that I’m not as passionate about living life as I could be, and I should take a more active role in life; while Elephant is suggesting not to let anything get in my way of my dreams and goals, to let go of fears, to live and speak my truth which reinforces the Queen about being more active and ultimately that will all lead me to my birthright, Happiness.

I’m going to take Elephant’s message about living and speaking my truth to also include writing. So, this blog will be more about my truth, which it always has been. Now, maybe I’ll go deeper into it.

So, beware! 

The Queen of Happy Elephants has spoken!

So mote it be! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Hero or The Fool?

As an author, I try to be aware of literary themes in my Works in Progress. (One day, they’ll be finished!)

As a teacher, I also tried to teach them. One of the most common literary themes is the Hero’s Journey. 

You know the one; where after much persuasion, the usually reluctant, disbelieving Hero sets off on some apparently insurmountable quest/mission that only our Hero can solve. Along the way, our Hero ends up meeting predictable characters-the mentor who always dies leaving the Hero to go on alone; the sidekick who acts as the Hero's conscience; the antagonist who tries to stop the Hero. There might be some other colorful characters along the way. The Hero continues on to ultimately discover his or her strength was there all along, just buried deep inside, then returns home victorious, only to set off on the sequel a little while later.

Prime examples of such heroes are Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, and, my personal favorite, Harry Potter in his series.

It’s tried and true, and it can be seen in our life as well.

After all, I’ve titled my blog, “Jeff’s Journey.” It’s my journey through my life back into myself after a surprise divorce. While I don’t see my journey as insurmountable, I see that it parallels the Hero’s Journey so often seen in literature. I was reluctantly divorced, I've met a few mentors/guides along the way who, to the best of my knowledge, haven’t died. There have been a few sidekicks along the way acting as my conscience, giving me courage to face the future as bleak as I felt it was at that moment. I've fallen into the abyss of the trials and tribulations that rose up along the way forcing me to look inward and recognize my own strength that has been there all along. So, I guess that makes me the Hero of my own journey.

I’ve also recently posted about my interest in the Tarot, where I've found a very surprising parallel.

But, first some background.

The Tarot deck is comprised of two main parts; the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. Due to their imagery, the cards in the Major Arcana represent very broad, spiritual, archetypal people and lessons we might encounter in life. The Minor Arcana may duplicate those lessons but in a more mundane, day-to-day approach. A couple of noted psychiatrists, Carl Jung among them, agreed that the images and the order of the Major cards could be interpreted to represent those archetypal moments in our life’s journey. (As a teacher, I think of the Major Arcana as my lesson’s standard of instruction-what am I supposed to learn-while the Minor Arcana cards are the goals and objectives clarifying the standard-how I am supposed to meet the standard.) 

I mean, what’s more archetypal than the Empress to represent a mother; the card depicts a woman reclining on a throne, surrounded by plants-some of which have been harvested, her gown covered in Pomegranates-the ultimate seed of fertility-making her the epitome of the ultimate mother, Mother Earth; or the Tower card-a structure being struck by lightning and people falling out of it-to represent those moments in life which shake us to our very foundation, thereby giving us the opportunity to build again, maybe firming up the foundation this time. Or, the Fool-a young person carrying his possessions in a sack tied to a stick, taking a step forward as if out to seek his fortune, accompanied by his faithful companion, a dog. The Fool is said to represent new beginnings, innocence, a journey-either physical or spiritual. 

I see comparisons between the Hero and the Fool.

I’ve gone through the Major Arcana and tried to attach the cards to people and events in my life post-divorce. While I have not been able to connect all the cards to something or someone, I feel mostly successful. (The Devil, in particular, is giving me the fits-obsession, materialism, addiction, none of those seem to resonate.) Let’s start with the obvious; my divorce. That is definitely a Tower moment-it came out of nowhere (I wasn’t expecting it, it shook me to my very core and I have rebuilt myself stronger than I was) thus setting me off on this journey. The therapists would be a combination of the Magician and the High Priestess-helping me to balance myself both spiritually and emotionally by seeking outside knowledge and guidance (Magician) and inner serenity (High Priestess). My mother is the Empress, for being there for me. The Hierophant is the legal system overseeing the divorce process. The Lovers could represent my redefining what I seek in a new relationship or those men I dated, albeit briefly, who represented that aspect of my new life.

I could go on, but twenty-two cards could get boring. But, I think you get the picture.

But, wait, indulge me one more-the Fool. 

Well, that’s me, obviously.

So, I am both the Fool and the Hero of the same journey.

My journey.

So, does this make me a heroic Fool or a foolish Hero?

Maybe it makes me me.

A little of both.


Harry Potter as the Magician
The Harry Potter Tarot

Harry Potter Tarot original artwork by Eleonore Pieper, used with permission
For more of her Harry Potter artwork and other works, please visit her page at
https://ellygator.deviantart.com/

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The GRE

No, I’m not taking a college entrance exam, I just felt it was time to check in with the Great Roommate Experiment.

It has been a little over two weeks, and things are running fairly smoothly. Fairly smoothly, for sharing living quarters with someone whose life plays like a Mexican Telenovela and I’m not tuning in to that program, let alone that channel.

I’m learning to set and reinforce my boundaries, while learning to negotiate without feeling like I’m being taken advantage of. Ah, the lessons life brings us…

(Did you notice the word 'and' in the sentence above; italics, bold and underlined?)

Plus, I’m learning to trust having someone in my space, even when I’m not there. Big steps…many steps...all at once.

Roommate: “Oh, what a lovely garden. You should grow tomatoes back here.” (Regular readers should sense my hackles rising right about now.)
Me: (taking calming breaths) “My ex and I did. It was a disaster.” 
RM: “Oh? What happened?”
Me: “They became overgrown and we couldn’t eat all the tomatoes, so we threw most of them out. It became a waste of money. Besides, I just had this all professionally landscaped.”
RM: “Oh. You should move the table under the tree, then you won’t need the umbrella.” 
Me: (deeper breaths) “You mean move the table off the smooth patio, onto the unleveled ground, in-between the plants where there is no room without tearing up the plants I just paid for?”
RM: “So, you don’t want to do it?”
Me: “I like the view of the garden from my dining room table. I designed it that way with the landscapers.”
RM: “Oh.”

In this case I had every right to set boundaries. After all, I have lived here over fifteen years, the last eight on my own. She hadn’t been here fifteen hours.

Later…
RM: “You should rent this room out after I leave. You could make about $500.00 a month.”
Me: “I’ll take that into consideration.” 
RM: “Don’t you want to make extra money? I mean, $500.00 more a month. That’s a lot.”
Me: “I said, I would think about it.”
RM: “I also have a friend who needs a place. He’s quiet, very studious and cute.”
Me: “I’ll take your ideas into consideration.”
RM: “I don’t understand you.”
Me: “You don’t have to.”

And...
RM: “You really need to go out and date more.”
Me: (Super deep calming breaths, like way down to my toes) “No.”
RM: “Why not? Don’t you want to meet someone?”
Me: “No, and I’m tired of the lies and games men play. Plus, they’re usually after only one thing anyway.”
RM: “You’re just stereotyping.”
Me: “Perhaps, I am. Yet, many stereotypes are based somewhat in truths. And have you met a man who didn’t either lie, play games or want only one thing from you?”
RM: No answer
Me: “Plus, since I just retired, I’m looking for a new passion to pursue, as well as work on myself. And I don’t want to get distracted from that which dating would do because I would start to focus on him.”

And there have been some other questions I felt were a bit too personal. 
RM: “You always take things too personal.”
Me: “Maybe because you are asking questions I feel are a bit personal and none of your business.”
RM: “I have the right to ask!”
Me: “You do indeed. You just don’t have the right to know the answer.”
RM: (Plays more intently with her phone.)

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Is there an oracle card for that? Yes, the Bear card from the Power Animals app. I'll keep Bear in mind when I need to stand my ground.

I know this has to be preparation for something, or the Universe wouldn't have provided me with this opportunity. But, preparation for what?

I know I'm moving out of my comfort zones, or being pushed out.

I do sense change is in the air…I’m just not sure which way the wind is blowing.