Lazy Luddite Log

29.3.11

The Living City


It is twelve months since I returned from Canberra to Melbourne and as much as I came home I have also experienced a life that is subtly yet significantly different.

On returning from my only de-facto relationship I got two kinds of messages from Melbourne friends. One was "we are sad for you but happy to have you back". That was lovely. The other message was "you gave it your best shot". I think that is right but consider its implications.

I had the best chance I ever had to make a partnership work. I was given a wonderful opportunity by a fantastic person. However I fell short of expectations once more and (I felt) one time too many. A friend came to the Bush Capital to drive me back to Melbourne and I must have been shitty company because that long night was possibly the worst of my life. I stared at the terminally boring Hume and could see nothing in store for me but another day and another and another...

* * * * *

I think I was a bit blank like that for three months on returning home. I normally go happily to things but in that timeframe wanted to stay in and had to deliberately force a happy facade and attend more from commitment than desire. I knew that eventually I would improve and wanted to get back into my life.

I went to a wedding very tentatively because of all it represented. Fortunately my friends do things the way they want and this ‘pirate’ wedding reminded me that things can happen at a speed of our choosing. Well if we happen to find others that agree with us on the pace of commitment anyway. You can only determine your own actions in life and sometimes you have to re-assess how you do that.

* * * * *

Following those three months I was more well-adjusted and in a condition to develop interest in others. Just feeling that in yourself (let alone expressing it) is a good thing. However such feelings combined with the Canberra experience provoked plenty of introspection.

I pondered what kinds of human interaction work for me. One is keeping my own company which I enjoy and can fill with assorted past-times. I started with the intention of focusing on me but somehow other humans played a much bigger part. Friends have always been important and the extent to which I engaged with the minds of others was both energizing and exhausting. Communication takes work but is worth it.

* * * * *

Then there are the assorted human interactions we deem 'relationships'. That I was in an exploratory mood was evident to a few others. Someone put me on the spot in a small group conversation by asking me if I was considering Polyamory. At the time I made some melancholic comment that maybe nothing will work for me. I can do it more justice now with the following statement:

“It depends.”

That may seem like a nothing response but I will tell you my thinking. The differences that exist between any two relationships are greater than between any two models of relationship. This is because a person is far more complex than the cultural constructs we invent and it is the person or persons you relate to that matter. So whatever intimate interactions I have cannot be described till they are negotiated because they are a product of the unique humans involved.

Who can predict what is on my horizon? There are too many factors involved including my own preferences. For one thing affinity is an ingredient of attraction for me and that limits those I find interesting. Personal circumstances will limit things even further. And then what if there is more than one person left in this dwindling number? Shall I make overtures concurrently and risk seeming like a cad? The things we do for both sentiment and sensation! Sometimes it all seems like too much to bother with.

* * * * *

Things have gotten better since that long dark night on the Hume Highway - possibly I am just better adjusted to a lack-of-predictability in life. I have left the freeway and am now in a city block with many criss-crossing streets and laneways. Sometimes I will walk and at other times I will choose to stand still. Sometimes I will wander and at other times I will ask for directions - everybody needs help sometimes. Whatever happens is okay as long as friends continue to communicate with and embrace me (literally and figuratively) and I hope I deserve that. Anything more is a bonus.

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10 Comments:

  • Most of the interesting conversation arising from this post is over at the LJ cross-posting (as usual). However I will throw a few things in here.

    I got a private message from one friend giving me some lovely advise - basically say that "people are always worth the bother". And also that sometimes in the Living City others cross your path even if you decide to stand still for a while.

    The other thing is to say that the tone of my message is a more optimistic one I suspect than what I put under "The most private thing I am willing to admit" in this OKCupid profile: http://www.okcupid.com/profile/Originaluddite

    By Blogger Daniel, At 14 April, 2011  

  • 11 years ago i asked you out and either you didn't get it or you thought I was ugly.

    I went to the Monash MURPS or whatever it was called. I had a crush on you for months.

    If you went for it - you would have had the best sex of your life.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 26 April, 2011  

  • It is very likely I was just oblivious. I can be and was much moreso back then.

    Or even if I was aware I may have just been too timid to respond. There are definitely way more factors in all this than just looks.

    I think these sorts of one-way communications happen all the time. It is a common problem and I think you may have inspired me to do a new blog entry on crushes.

    As for sex - well - I admire your confidence at your own ability to deliver good sex but I think that is the product of particular _combinations_ of lovers rather than the ability of one person to make it good. In other words I will never know. Which is okay as what I _have_ known I have enjoyed.

    Anyway I hope the last decade has been a full one for you and you have met others who notice overtures better than I did.

    By Blogger Daniel, At 27 April, 2011  

  • Well I learnt my lesson after that, and was much more clear when I made similar overtures!

    Last decade has been fantastic. Only wish I could have shared some of it with you!

    Looking forward to your next post.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 27 April, 2011  

  • Wow, you have an internet stalker who is hiding their identity!

    - AJ

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 28 April, 2011  

  • I know right! The vibe has shifted however from spooky to almost sweet. Well I think so anyway but then I'm a sucker for compliments.

    By Blogger Daniel, At 29 April, 2011  

  • I read your "Crush" post. Pretty good.

    I feel mortified at the thought of being "spooky". I was just reminiscing, because it was a significant turning point for me.

    Being anon is unattractive, so I will bid you farewell.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 29 April, 2011  

  • Words like "ugly" contributed to the original rather challenging tone but I am happy we had a constructive exchange. And thanks for reading.

    By Blogger Daniel, At 30 April, 2011  

  • I'm copying and pasting comments to this same post from LiveJournal (complete with messy formatting text). See below...

    From: originaluddite
    Date: March 30th, 2011 09:02 pm (local)
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    I have been drafting this for a while and I _still_ find it difficult to accept that I just hit the publish button.

    ***inhales and exhales slowly***
    (Reply) (Thread)
    (no subject) - nouv_ella

    From: originaluddite
    Date: March 31st, 2011 09:01 am (local)
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    I'm happy "it depends" makes sense. As I say, every scenario is different, however the other thing I have decided (from lots of observation and some experience) is that everything is also the same. Introspection and communication and respect are vital in any interactions. Likewise joy and fascination can come from across the gamut of human relations.

    I think I have a way-with-words but whether I am _wise_ in action is another matter. I both hope and suspect that some of my decisions in recent times have good long-term consequnces even if the short-term effect is to make me wibbly inside.

    Your interpretation of "different expectations" may work in many instances. However if the expectations of another (and another and another) are consistently more stringent or precise than yours then you have to look back critically over things. I am prepared to go with the flow and make every day good. Others however have a definite game-plan that I am too slow to come round to - a game plan given them by our culture.

    My post is personal but it could very well have been phrased in a political way with me ranting at the expectations that we are conditioned to want. And whether it is right or wrong it is a world I have to live in and contend with. So I have to be honest and cautious in what I offer and say "I may be nice but is that all you want" from the start.

    You are right that I've been true to who I am, but sometimes it seems there is a huge price to pay. I looked back over some saved text messages from 2008-2009. To be reminded you are loved every day is a big thing, as you know. What if I had held onto that and simply made a commitment to change who I am over time? Many do that and some even succeed.

    But I made my decisions and much has happened since to tell me that there is still plenty that is surprising and challenging and rewarding in store for me. And Melbourne is a good place to be in whether you feel weak or strong.

    A lot of us have been brave lately. I think its a vibe we are getting off one another. Admitting things... expressing concerns in a timely way... committing to work on things even if they are difficult... I have definitely taken some inspiration from friends in this regard.

    Previous incarnations hey? Sometimes I wish I had started on this current incarnation sooner. But then maybe it took all the time I spent becoming me to get to be here.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

    By Blogger Daniel, At 09 May, 2017  

  • I'm copying and pasting comments to this same post from LiveJournal (complete with messy formatting text). See below...

    From: why_am_i
    Date: March 31st, 2011 11:50 am (local)
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    <3333333333333
    Life is for experiencing.
    (Reply) (Thread)

    From: originaluddite
    Date: March 31st, 2011 02:56 pm (local)
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    I know. And I'm happy that I long-distanced dated in 2008... moved interstate in 2009... continued to live life in 2010 rather than turn inward.

    These experiences are worthwhile in themselves as experiences and have definitely contributed to personal development.

    I can understand a resistence to experiencing life mind you coz it can be harrowing. I have been lucky - everyone I have gotten close to in recent times has been decent to me.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

    From: pezzae
    Date: April 3rd, 2011 04:31 pm (local)
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    "It depends" I think is the true answer to most questions about relationship/sexual orientation/preferences. It always depends on the people, the situation... every human relationship is really 'complicated'.
    Like Ella, I suspect you are being unnecessarily down on yourself by using 'I failed expectations' rather than 'we had different expectations'. Expectations can only be failed if they are previously communicated. Even if many people share the same expectation about the course of a relationship, in this day and age you have to talk about it and find out if your expectations are shared. If you share expectations and find a mismatch, it's no-one's 'fault' or 'failure'. (I am making assumptions here based on the little I know of what happened - I have been meaning to ask you about it but other events have kindof taken over our conversations!)
    I love that your 'current incarnation' makes time for seeing people you want to keep communicating with, and I'm grateful to be one of those friends.
    <3 and yay for bravery!
    (Reply) (Thread)

    From: originaluddite
    Date: April 4th, 2011 09:04 am (local)
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    I worry that some may think that "It depends" is stating the obvious but I think that is a useful exercize because I observe far too many thinking that labels and models can substitute for the kind of minute course-correction in life that is necessitated by the complexity you rightly refer to.

    There was a lack of communication in Canberra which is interesting because both Petra and I were pretty good communicators overall. And yet there were assumptions... things never stated explicitely... misinterpretations. One misinterpretation was her thinking I was simply self-deprecating in saying that I fell short of some of the life objectives others seem to take for granted.

    I think I say more on that in the third last paragraph of this post: http://originaluddite.livejournal.com/25091.html

    We have focused in chatting on more recent things and that makes sense - the recent is usually more interesting whatever the relative levels of significance of different experiences. Canberra had a huge _philosophical_ impact on me even if its emotional impact has been ecclipsed. More recent stuff was to do with me actively testing my own bravery within a scenarios I deemed to be "the safe kind of scary".
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

    By Blogger Daniel, At 09 May, 2017  

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