Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day Disclaimer: The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues. If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss. Given the nature of some subjects be prepared for nude images as there may be some. I avoid […]“Polyamory” – Freya’s Chambers – Sexual Orientation — The Grey Wayfarer
I noticed a year or two ago that at least as many of the people I consider important in my life are no longer with me, as there are living people, that is, they have died. It’s probably quite normal for someone of my age (I’m sixty-five in June) but I find it totally frustrating. One, I don’t make friends easily. Two, I hate losing anyone that I have since people are so hard to replace. Three, they’re not exactly replaceable anyway and in the course of missing them I realized that I don’t want to replace them, can’t replace them and sincerely just wish that people I love would just stop doing it.
I can see a day coming when I myself will die, and then I’ll truly be without any friends and loved ones at all. Mind you, I probably won’t notice since I’ll be dead. Unless my younger sister is right, and she’ll be there waiting for me on the other side with her amazing smile.
My sister Judith has always been morally opposed to death and dying, she simply won’t have it! Mind you, she’s not been all that successful at preventing it, but who knows, maybe her attitude has forced some of her loved ones to postpone it for a year or two anyway. Maybe. Hmmm… Maybe not.
Goodbye Kathryn. I’m really going to miss you. Well, at least for now.
A step by step Guide to making at least one good decision every day of your life.
Would a Guide like this be useful? If someone gave it to you, would you do what it said to do, or would you do the same thing you always do when you get advice you don’t really want?
You probably will do what you have always done so far. Right? Why not? Well then, it’s got you to this point in your life, the point at which you’re asking for advice about how to make at least one good decision every day.
On the other hand, maybe you’re ready to try something new, and give The Plan a shot. If you are ready to give it a try, then let’s get to it.
First, make a list of things you can’t live without.
The list can be short or long, it’s up to you. But just a suggestion, keep it as short as you can. The more stuff you can’t live without, the more stuff with which you have to live.
Take your time making this list. It is important. Who says? Well, for one, you do. So, take at least a couple of hours thinking about it before you decide finally what should be on the list. What do I think should be on your list? You really don’t want to know. I don’t even want to know. Because it’s totally irrelevant to the Plan. It’s also lesson one in The Plan – What I think is important to you doesn’t matter, and you should stop spending so much time worrying about it. I’d probably put all sorts of stuff on the list that you wouldn’t think of anyway, because it’s stuff that is important to me rather than to you.
I am sure you have a lot of experience at figuring out what is important to me and other people in your life. We have told you often enough, in enough different ways, so you have a pretty good idea of how to get through a day without once thinking about what matters to you.
Hmm. Back to the list.
Try to figure out stuff that matters to you, and that you really couldn’t imagine living without in your life. It’s probably not stuff, at least, not physical stuff. For some of us it really is physical stuff like cars, houses and other things like that…. If it is, then put it on your list. But ask yourself whether your life would be any better or worse without it? (Just a random thought to ponder on the way to The Plan.)
“It’s no accident that most ads are pitched to people in their 20s and 30s. Not only are they so much cuter than their elders…but they are less likely to have gone through the transformative process of cleaning out their deceased parents’ stuff. Once you go through that, you can never look at *your* stuff in the same way. You start to look at your stuff a little postmortemistically. If you’ve lived more than two decades as an adult consumer, you probably have quite the accumulation, even if you’re not a hoarder…I’m not saying I never buy stuff, because I absolutely do. Maybe I’m less naive about the joys of accumulation.” ― Roz Chast,
This is where I admit that I have a lot to learn from my partner about eliminating unnecessary stuff from my life. Over the years she has driven me a little crazy, what with her habit of giving away things she no longer wants or needs, like lovely jewelry she hasn’t worn in a while. She’s given diamond rings away to our kids or their partners, and random bits of ceramics or glass wear, simply because it occupies space she doesn’t really want to maintain anymore.
Actually, she’s brilliant. She has always had a knack at being able to focus on what matters to her, and let the rest go, even at the risk of offending other people. Good on her, good advice for the rest of us.
But minimalism aside, which has critics as well as advocates , there are practical reasons for adopting a more limited list of important things to keep than just the amount of junk you have to pay to store or display.
The idea applies well beyond things, and includes non-purposeful or even destructive connections to organizations, companies, services, or even relationships. Imagine going through the things you pay for every month to determine which of them could be eliminated without reducing your quality of life.
Even if you’re resistant to eliminating television or cable vision from your life, how hard would it be to get rid of all the channels you never or seldom watch. Recently I eliminated over 50% of the channels on my Telus television subscription, and ended up basically with the minimum number of channels I could get on a basic service, as opposed to an enhanced package.
It’s not that we stopped watching television, or even that our interests had narrowed to the point where basic TV would satisfy us, rather we found alternative sources of programming at a small fraction of the cost, using internet based sources rather than broadcast TV. It wasn’t that we weren’t using these sources before, but despite using these alternatives we have been paying for all the extra channels on cable for years, even though we had stopped relying on them for content. It was a habit and being a little too lazy to go through the list and eliminate the unused or unnecessary.
We did go back, a month or so later, and added back a couple of channels we realized are of more valuable to us than we previously thought. It’s okay to backtrack. It’s rare to right about anything completely.
Now I’m going to talk about some of the harder things to reduce, eliminate or deprioritize. The harder things to let of are relationships that no longer serve a positive purpose in our lives, but in which we continue to invest time, energy and emotional commitment. Of these, the easiest ones to eliminate are people or time commitments that simply bore you to death, literally. How many social meetings or gatherings do you attend every month that actually fail to enrich your life experience? Do you really have to attend countless committee meetings, or have a hand in the governance of your local whatever organization. Is it really your duty to sit on your strata council?
For some people, these social organizations and gatherings provide meaning and purpose, and for those people they are far from unnecessary or a waste of time and energy. For most of us, not so much. So just stop going, resign or don’t offer up your time. Trust me, most often your absence will hardly be missed.
An even harder group to eliminate are destructive friends, relatives and acquaintances. It’s amazing how many of the people in our day to day lives take pleasure in inflicting misery on us. A good principle to follow – if someone really doesn’t like you, stop spending time on them. Also, if you really don’t like and admire someone, stop spending your precious life energy trying to fix them, or getting them to change into someone you might like. Stop trying to impress that opinionated aunt, or the bitchy neighbor down the block who never has anything positive to say. Don’t return phone calls to people who merely want to give you a piece of their mind on any subject you don’t want to hear. Especially people who phone or visit merely to criticize or put you down.
When was the last time you looked forward to a visit from/to your least enjoyable acquaintance, friend or relative? Just stop going, listening or participating. You’ll feel a lot better about yourself if you stop listening to poison, about yourself or anyone else you care to know.
So, make a list of what you don’t need or want. Whether it’s stuff like an old table wasting space in the family room, or a relative who hasn’t a good thing to say about you for twenty years. Invest yourself in those things and people that matter, divest yourself from those that don’t.
Step One could take a while, first to make the list, then to actually implement it. And then to revise it again. But do it with relish, and reward yourself whenever you eliminate something else or someone else that no longer serves your best interests. Enjoy the absence of unnecessary stuff as a kind of liberation. Likewise the absence of destructive individuals in your life.
A less cluttered life is by most accounts a better life.
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This morning I read an entry in Facebook which started an exchange about how women and men see the interaction between the genders so differently as to suggest that rather than simply different genders males and females of the human race are almost different species.
And of course I’d see it that way because I’m a man, based on what the feminist writer is saying about how women perceive men.
Her first point is that women spend much of their lives de-escalating the emotional temperature of interactions with men, because they perceive the actions and behavior of men through a lens informed by a lifetime of gender based abuse, assault and rape. So whether or not a man is acting aggressively towards a woman, at any given moment, she is anticipating that the interaction could very well turn into an assault or rape or at least abuse and doing everything she can do to turn down the temperature so that doesn’t happen, on this specific occasion.
So even with men who have never acted offensively in any abusive way, women are accustomed to automatically assuming that they have to behave in a manner that won’t escalate behavior into violence or other abuse, simply because it has happened so often in the past that there is an automatic assumption of risk based on real world observation.
Almost without regard to how various women process their previous experience of male/female interactions, the threatening nature of these transactions has an effect on how women perceive male intentions and actions.
According to these observation, then, it suggests that men should simply shut up and not express any opinions on any subject. And if they find themselves attracted to a given woman, they should probably keep it to themselves.
Well maybe not so much. What it does say is that men need to be extremely sensitive to how their communications are likely to be viewed by women, whether by strangers or even intimates. It says that expressing affection or attraction has to be done in a way that is not threatening to a woman, and doesn’t demean her or make her feel cornered.
It the article isn’t an overstatement of how women feel about men, in general, then I fear for the human race. Half the race is terrified of the other. And the other half has no idea how to behave so as to not further terrify the other. Neither side seems to be able to communicate with each other without being threatened or misrepresented, or being seen as a monster, simply because of gender.
This hardly amounts to gender equality. Unless by gender equality we mean that both genders are totally fucked.
I think that blogging can provide an opportunity to express ideas in progress, rather than completed or resolved. In that way, then, writing a stream of consciousness blog is a legitimate reason to change subjects or tone during a single blog, rather than make a blog more like an essay, complete in and of itself. Jumping around from subject to subject, however, makes it pretty hard for a reader to figure out where you’re going, or indeed, if you are going anywhere, at all.
I find writing a blog, especially a personal blog, is pretty difficult, and I find myself frustrated at trying to focus on a subject, yet aware that I have so much to say and yet can’t seem to say anything much at all. Part of my frustration is that I often feel the need to state conclusions to my conundrums, rather than being willing to hang around without resolution for very long. Or to let a written piece end without any resolution of the issue raised in the piece.
Writing a blog is a little bit like a conversation with my daughter. It runs all over the map without ever actually getting to the point. With her its because she’s really afraid to ask for what she needs or wants, or perhaps because she feels it necessary to justify or rationalize her requests. She’s over thirty, actually thirty-five tomorrow, and she’s way too dependent on her Dad. And that’s both of our opinion. So we’re working on it but its a new conversation without any known parameters.
And like it or not, she really does rely on me more than is healthy for either of us.
Writing about intimate relationships is hard, because I know that I believe things about the other person that don’t seem true to them. And yet which seem all too true to me. With her, it feels to her like I don’t support her, believe in her, trust her, have confidence in her ability to take care of herself and my grand-kids, etc. She says that I don’t like her. And sometimes it’s all true.
Sometimes I don’t know how to explain to her that even while all those things are sometimes true about my feelings about her, they don’t really encompass what I feel at all.
What they don’t express are my observations that she is beautiful, brilliant, talented in many different ways. It doesn’t inform her about how much I love her, and how little difference I seem to have made in her life, despite massive efforts to do so. I often feel that I am sacrificing myself on the alter, trying to care for her with all of her disabilities, illness, and violently victimized past. Ultimately, she seems broken to me, and I don’t know if she will ever be able to put herself together again. In fact, helping her often seems to be contributing to her brokenness more than to helping her to heal.
They say that the first step towards solving a problem is to acknowledge that you have one, and to express it in words.
I have a problem. I don’t know how to love her without either abandoning her and letting her sink or swim on her own, or alternatively, holding her up and destroying her by undermining her growth into a self sufficient person.
Which is the harder road? For me or for her?
My nephew married a local girl in their home town of Gibsons, British Columbia. I took a lot of pictures, and have a lot of thoughts about the inevitable passage of time. It feels like yesterday when he was born to my sister, and he has become a grown man all too quickly for my taste. Still I’m delighted to be his uncle, and equally delighted to celebrate this day with him, and provide him with photographic evidence.
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A close friend of mine, a photographer in Vancouver, with well-developed skills and a wonderful eye, is struggling with a major conflict between his intimate relationship with a long-term woman partner and his even longer term artistic exploration of the female form through nude photography. I think it’s important to define both – what I mean …