Friday, June 30, 2006

69. Happy Canada Day!

Man, if ever there is a time I miss living in Ottawa (the capitol city of our great Dominion, for those of you who don't know), today is the day. The day usually begins with a Canada Day Brunch at my friend M.B.'s house, and then take a walk around Ottawa. I usually go with a bunch of friends to watch the fireworks on The Hill at around 9:00 (again, that's Parliament Hill), and I've even stuck around for the massive concert afterwards. It's just a good time.

But today I am in Korea. The Canadian Embassy threw their party last weekend, and from what I understand, pretty much no one went, cause, well... it was a week early! I guess they wanted the day off as much as anyone else. I know my coworkers (who are all Canadian -- at least the ones that count are, anyway) are all going out tonight, but I am not among them. I would either end up out with "Lick My Boob" girl (which is unappealing for obvious reasons), or end up among the sea of couples that are going out with S. and D. Neither option is really sounding great to me. So I will stay here, wishing I was home, and probably playing around with some video I took of my kids yesterday.

I actually do have some blog relevant thoughts to share, but I'm not in the mood to write anything serious. I want to be drinking mimosas and eating breakfast quiche at M.B.'s house. For today, I am quite homesick.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

68. The End of Wednesday Nights

I mentioned in my previous post that my coworkers and I go out for dinner on Wednesday night, and usually end up heading out to a local bar afterwards. Well, today was Wednesday, and we followed our usual pattern. It's a good pattern, I really enjoy it. The title of this post is not referring to the end of this routine, but to the way Wednesday nights now end.

The night begins with the 4 of us at dinner, and then 3 of us head to the bar... and then we would go home. I live next door to S. (as I've mentioned a few times) and so we would usually walk to our apartment building, say goodbye to D. and go home together, but now that S. and D. are together things are different. There's a point, during our time at the bar, when I can sort of feel how they both are eager to leave so they can be alone... that's an awesome feeling. And then there's the walk home, which is awesome because I'm dreading the moment when we get to the door and then I have to somehow extricate myself from them without seeming rude, even though I know that they can't wait for me to leave. Up until tonight, I had to do it in such a way as to somehow pretend that I didn't realize that S. wasn't coming with me... it was weird. Tonight, I just walked into the building when we got home, sort of waving goodbye behind me. D. called after me, "What, you're not going to stay for the awkward goodbye?", and S. followed with "Please, come back and stand around..." To which I, somewhat bitterly I admit, responded "Sure, because that's fun."

I'm not mad at them, the situation is what it is. I just hate the fact that I have an awesome time until that point hits in the bar, and then it goes from fun straight to torture. Being a third wheel? Not fun. Thanks to the wonder of the birth control pill (which I'm on for medical reasons) I know that I'm PMSing, but nevertheless, that sensation had me on the verge of tears tonight, which was why I walked away from them so quickly. I realize that it was rude, but I think bursting into tears in front of them would have been worse.

I don't like this feeling, and it happens all the time. Everybody but me eventually pairs off. I am the spare part that they keep around in case they need me at some point.

No, that's not true, and is really unnecessarily grim and depressing. But whittle it down to something more palatable and realistic and you'll get something close to the truth, I think.

Anyway, that's how I'm feeling tonight. I'll be over it tomorrow, and will go through it all again next week, but I won't be PMSing, so it shouldn't be as bad.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

67. Parched

To begin with an aside, my computer has completely crapped out on me. I've left in the hands of D. (one of my coworkers) who will hopefully uncrappify it (yes, I made up a word, sue me). I feel very naked without my computer. Especially living so far from home. All of my friends are sort of in my computer (via MSN, Skype, etc...) so not having it also sort of isolates me.

Oh, in case you are curious, I'm writing this in an internet cafe... or what is more accurately called a "PC Bang". It's a pretty neat setup, the computers are fast, and the chair is insanely comfortable. But I want my computer back!

Okay, on to the subject at hand. I had a weird experience the other day that I thought I'd share. My coworkers and I go out for dinner together every Wednesday night (it breaks up the week quite nicely), and often after dinner we go out to this nice bar (with nice couches and a huge library of English music) afterwards and just talk. I can't remember exactly how the conversation progressed, but I got talking about my recruiter (the man who found my job here for me) and how creepy he was when he picked me up from the airport. Actually, he wasn't creepy then, he was creepy in the car on the way home... he kept stroking my thigh as he talked to me. It was a little bit unsettling. Anyway, as I was talking I reached over without thinking and demonstrated the 'thigh stroking' on S. (my neighbour). And that's when the weird thing happened.

Have you ever seen the ground so dry that it's all cracked? Have you ever poured water on ground like that? For a few moments you can see the water, shiny, and reflecting back at you, and then a few seconds later, the earth just sucks it up and it's like it was never there. Well, that's what it was like when I touched her leg. I hadn't done it with any intention or desire, but the moment my hand made contact I felt... something. Like a drinking sensation. Like I was dying of thirst, and there, in my hand, was water.

Needless to say, it kind of freaked me out. It was a very pleasant sensation, but I pulled my hand away, and like water on parched earth, it was gone in a few minutes.

No, I am not attracted to S. At least, I'm fairly certain I'm not. I conducted a few thought experiments when I got home because I was worried, and I passed. (Heh, I think the 'thought experiments' I did would probably freak a few of my friends out, but whatever, I just had to make sure). I think it was just the contact.

S., of course, isn't the first woman I've touched... I'm a fairly physically affectionate person, and most of my friends are women. I'm not sure what made this different. It's not the first time I've touched someone and felt 'something', but usually that happens with someone I'm actually attracted to. I don't really know what to make of this. Maybe I'm just sort of starving... or to continue my metaphor more accurately, dehydrated.

I don't know what to say, really. I don't know if it means anything at all, if it was just a fluke or what. It just happened.

I do know that yet again, I find myself watching as a friend (or in this case, friends) of mine go through the process of developing a romance. I like them both, and am therefore happy for them. I will mention some selfish concerns I have. I was excited about them getting together because D.'s contract ends soon (he'll continue teaching, just in another city) and I was hoping S. might convince him to stay, but it looks like she (I admit, wisely) will not be doing that, and... and this is my big one, I suspect that S. will move to another apartment when D. leaves, which will mean I will get a new neighbour who I probably won't like as much. But I can deal with that. I can deal with a lot. I just don't know that I can deal with constantly knowing that I am never going to be first for anyone. Not that I was ever first for either S. or D., but I am now aware of the fact that part of the reason we were hanging out so much together was because they wanted to hang out with each other, and with me in the mix, they could do it without being over-obvious about their feelings.

I'm just consistently getting 'bumped down', priority-wise, when these relationships begin, and I'm kind of tired of it. I want to be a priority for someone. It would be kind of nice. I know from experience that there are times when I will really need to talk to someone and will not be able to find anyone to talk to. That has happened to me more than once, more than a twice... more times than I care to count actually. It's not that I expect anyone to put me ahead of their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend... it's just that, well... it would just be nice to be higher up on people's lists than I seem to be. And I know that sounds selfish, and I suppose it is, but the thing is, because I don't have a husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend, the friends I have are way up there on my list. I don't have prior committments, I can drop things and come when they call, I am almost always available when they need me. It just doesn't seem to work the other way, at least not anymore that pretty much all of them are married, or on their way to being married.

Phew. Once again, writing this out has caused me to veer off of my original topic. I think I'll just leave it that way for now. Especially because I'm paying for this time by the minute.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

66. Envy

So, there’s some drama going on among my coworkers right now.  One of my coworkers, an awesome guy I will call D. has asked my neighbour (S.) out.  He’s had a thing for her for a while and finally, on Friday, screwed up the courage to act on it.  I’m not sure if anything is going to come of it, because there are extenuating circumstances that I’m not going to get into here, but I’m kind of pushing for it…

What does this have to do with me?  Well… he took her out on a date and clearly explained his feelings for her and got a goodnight kiss out of the deal.  I realize that a goodnight kiss isn’t that big a deal, but having never had one (at least not from anyone I really cared to be kissed by), my initial reaction to hearing this news was envy.  

Not specific envy.  My neighbour S. is awesome, and attractive and I have no idea why I’m not attracted to her (and I’m not going to think about it too much because I’m quite happy not being attracted to her and I don’t want that to change if I can help it), but I wasn’t envious of D. getting to kiss her specifically.  I was just jealous that his ‘confession’ yielded fruit (minimal as it was).  

For some reason I tend to tell girls that I’m attracted to about my feelings for them.  It’s a guilt thing, I think.  I feel guilty for the feelings I experience, and then I feel bad for the girls that I’m attracted to because there is a dynamic to the relationship that they are unaware of.  I feel guilty for every time that they touch me and I get butterflies, and they have no idea.  I feel guilty because I know (or believe) that if I they were aware of my feelings that they would act differently and so I feel that I should give them the opportunity to act that way.  It’s weird, I know, but it’s a pattern I’ve followed.

The thing is, never once have my ‘confessions’ borne any kind of fruit… never once have I made one of these confessions and even had a glimmer of hope for fruit.  I honestly don’t know what it feels like to even just think that someone I have feelings for might possibly have feelings for me.  My throat is clenching up just thinking about it.  That’s a pretty basic thing I’ve missed out on.  

Actually, I’m just realizing that I’ve lied, at least a little.  One girl I told about my feelings did hold my hand for about 10 seconds afterwards, and that 10 seconds was the most romantic 10 seconds of my life.  Even though she only held my hand out of pity.  

Man, what straight people take for granted.  The freedom to feel what they feel.  The freedom to express what they feel.  The freedom to hope.  The freedom to try.  I suppose I could do all of those things if I chose, but I’m still in between here.  I don’t know what I believe, Side A, Side B… it’s all so confusing.  I keep hoping that something will just click and I’ll know, I’ll know which side is right, but that isn’t happening.  So here I am, watching people live their lives around me, and I live my half-life here… in limbo.  (I’m still in a funk, in case you didn’t catch on.)

Anyway, it’s a gorgeous day, so I think I’ll go outside and let the sun burn away some of this angst.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

65. Lonely

Yes, I am descending into typical blogger angst. I have no idea what has brought this on, but I have been in a funk for a couple of weeks and have only recently diagnosed myself as lonely.

I know that I am in a foreign country, and some of this is to be expected, but honestly, I haven't felt like this for years... and I've done a fair amount of living in foreign countries in that time. I get along awesomely with my coworkers (drinking nights notwithstanding), and have become particularly close with the girl who moved in next door, which is awesome.

But I'm lonely.

Part of it is my own fault. She is my main friend here, and because of that, I'm so careful not to 'cling'. I've done a bit of sucking people dry in the past (when I was in my depression) and I am so leery of doing it again that I know I've built some walls to stop that from happening. Plus I happen to know that even since then there have been times I've been perceived as clingy -- well, it only happened once, and it was a result of a series of misunderstandings, but still... it's a sensitive issue for me, so I have probably become even more reserved since then.

But there are other things going on. There's something that's been bothering me, and I can't really talk to her about it because... well, it's something I hate to talk about. Like, I really hate to talk about it. But here it is, because I need to express this. I've mentioned a few times here that I am overweight. This is a sensitive issue for me even back in Canada (in part because it is the first thing both of my parents think about when they think of me... lovely)... but it is even more sensitive here in Korea, where I am surrounded by Asians who are typically quite petite. The children commenting on it doesn't bother me because they can say both "you're fat, teacher" and "you're beautiful, teacher" in the same sentence and mean them both equally. There is no judgment in their statements. But the adults are another story. I get pointed and stared at in the street all the time, and my boss... oy, he's just plain rude. At first I chalked it up to a cultural thing, but I've noticed that he doesn't say the things he says to me when we're alone when anyone else is around... so he knows that they're inappropriate comments. What this is doing to me internally is that I am getting way more self-conscious than I am normally (and I'm normally quite self-conscious). What happens is that when I'm in a group of people, I suddenly become aware that they can see me and I become incredibly nervous and want to hide. I've had conversations where I realize that it probably seems like I'm lying because I can't make eye contact (or my eyes become really 'shifty'), but the reason I'm not making eye contact is because I've suddenly become afraid and am trying to hide it. It's frightening because I remember that feeling from when I was at my lowest, and I really don't want to be back there again.

Part of the reason I can't talk to my neighbour about this is because I hate talking about this, but the other reason is that she is a health nut. Like, she gets up at 5:30 every morning and runs for at least an hour. She knows the caloric content of pretty much everything that goes in her mouth. You name a sport, and she's played it, on a team... she probably has trophies. I just can't imagine discussing body image issues with someone like that.

Now, I'm big... that is a fact, but I'm not unhealthy... I went for a battery of tests before I came here (at my mother's behest) and all my tests came back saying that I am in excellent health. My cholesterol is actually better than most people, my blood sugar is well within the norm, by blood pressure is also within the norm... the only health concern I actually have is that I'm anemic (which seems kind of funny to me because I picture anemic people as kind of reedy and wan... the opposite of me). In Canada I'm more active than I am now... I go for long walks, I like to swim, to bike; I even go to the gym occasionally. Here, I do none of those things because doing any of them gets me stared at. My neighbour takes Tai Kwon Do here, and I've been invited to join, and I would love to... it would be a fun cultural experience I think, but I can't imagine doing it and not being terrified... like to the point of tears. People pointing, laughing, whispering... giggling. It's horrifying to me, the stuff of nightmares.

Heh, so I guess there's more going on than simple loneliness, but that is a part of it. I want to hang out with people and not feel judged. Not judged for my appearance, not judged for my beliefs, not judged for my sexuality, not judged for my sexual history (or more to the point, my lack of a sexual history)... not judged at all. And I don't feel that here. With the exception of my boss, no one has actually said anything overtly judgmental towards me, but I feel it anyway. And it makes me lonely.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

64. Attention Straight People:

Okay, so again, I have let things slide. Sorry. I've just gotten really busy. My coworkers and I are getting along awesomely and have been going out almost every night after work. Not going out drinking or anything (well, sometimes), mostly just going out for dinner and talking until the wee hours... it's just so much fun. We actually had a massive 'religion' talk until 2 am the other night, with two of my coworkers just peppering me with questions. Even the 'drinking nights' have been cool because no one has felt the need to force me to drink, so we go out to some bar, and talk until 2 am, I drink water or Coke, and they drink whatever and we have some awesome talks. It's all good...

Well, it was all good until Friday night. And that's where the title of this post comes in. The message to straight people is this: "My sexuality is not a toy. Nor is it something I do to amuse you, so back off!"

What happened on Friday? Not that much actually. I will preface this with some info. First bit of info: My coworkers all know I'm gay now (well not the Korean staff, but all of us English speakers -- well, all but one of us English speakers, but the one who doesn't know sort of doesn't count). Second bit: I personally don't believe that drinking is a sin... I know many Christians do, but I see no Biblical foundation for that belief, so I don't have a problem with it. I don't drink to get drunk... I don't even really like alcohol, or the sensation of being drunk (yes, I've been drunk a few times). When I do drink, it is quite honestly just to be social or polite. And on Friday night, I don't know that it would have been possible to avoid because of the language barrier between us and the service staff -- they barely understood us when we were ordering the drinks we did, I doubt they would have understood anything about my wanting some sort of non-alcoholic beverage (for those of you who don't know, I'm in Korea right now). Anyway, I had a few on Friday... nowhere near enough to get me drunk, although I think I was a little buzzed for most of the night (I forget sometimes that fruity, girly drinks can get you drunk too). My friends, of course, had way more than me and were quite plastered, and that's when things started to happen that were pissing me off. The night had been really fun and then there were shots... and body shots (which, for those who don't know, is when you drink a shot off of a person's body), and dirty shots of Tequila (when you lick the salt off of a person's skin, and then do the shot). I suddenly had one of my coworkers, who I really like otherwise, standing over me, having smeared salt on her cleavage, holding a shot of Tequila and yelling at me, "Lick my boob! You know you want to! Come on! Lick it! Lick it!" I was literally cowering away from her, but as I looked around, I realized everyone was staring and laughing. I was pinned between her in front of me (and she's kind of an Amazon) and others behind me, all really wanting to watch me do this. I did it, to get her off of me, and then ran to the bathroom to calm down because I was so pissed off. I sat there, on the toilet just fuming... do they think that I, as a gay woman, am just so grateful to have a boob in front of me that I'll just do whatever? I'm sure in her drunken state she was thinking how awesome it must have been for me, and how kind she was to allow me the privilege, but it wasn't at all. It was horrifying and humiliating. I didn't really know how to explain it to her, and I doubt it would have mattered. (She actually did follow me into the bathroom a few minutes later, because she thought I was throwing up, and I let her believe that because... well, I have a strategy of pretending I'm a lot drunker than I actually am so that people stop buying me drinks. They seriously just can't seem to comprehend that I actually just don't like it.) But seriously, do you honestly think I want to do something in public that I haven't even done in private? With someone I'm actually not attracted to? With everyone watching? It was kind of a nightmare.

And then there were the constant threats (of course, I'm sure they weren't meant this way) of 'getting me laid'. Actually, these statements were made by the same girl, so maybe it's just her I'm annoyed with, and I should remember that it's just her when she's really drunk that I'm annoyed with. After a certain point in the night, that was pretty much all she was saying to me -- "We're gonna get you laid girl! That's what friends are for! Don't you worry...blah, blah, blah..." I really was containing my anger at this point because I kind of wanted to scream at her. What would I have screamed? I apologize in advance for the profanity but here it is: "Would you please recognize that there is an element of choice in the way I have led my life, and STOP SHITTING ALL OVER IT!!!"

We're all going on vacation together in the Philippines in a couple of months (well, the girls anyway, there are male staff, but they're not coming) and I'm kind of dreading it now. Well, that's probably putting it a bit strongly, but there are elements of the vacation that worry me. I really like this girl when she's sober, but I imagine that she won't be sober for most of our vacation... Oy.

Anyway, it's been nice to get this off of my chest... and sorry for the huge gap in posts.