Thursday, October 25, 2012

148. Unlearning

It’s so hard to unlearn bad habits.  Even when you think you’ve long since gotten over something, it’s so easy to slip right back into it. 

Growing up with my mom was a difficult thing… for many reasons.  Her and I are just incredibly different people.  One of the most surreal seasons of my life was the summer I spent living with my dad and realized how alike we were.  Totally flipped my perspective on the whole nature versus nurture thing.  One of the biggest differences between me and my mom is our basic personality types.  I lean quite heavily towards the introvert side of things, whereas my mother is all extrovert.  Enjoying being alone is just not something she understands at all.  Living with her as a teenager there were some rules that were just… well, very difficult for me to live with as a young, closeted (even to myself), introverted lesbian.  The biggest one was that I wasn’t allowed to close my door.  Ever.  I knew that there was no where in our home where I could be assured of some alone time.  At any given moment my mother was likely to walk in, without knocking (“family doesn’t knock” she snapped at me once when I asked her if she could do me that courtesy) and just sit on my bed and start talking.  It was maddening.  And totally frustrating because, as I said, I’m pretty introverted.  I need my alone time to feel sane.  And with my mother, to this day, I feel like I need to be “on” the entire time.  It’s exhausting.  So, I developed a bad habit. 

Well, it probably wasn’t a bad habit originally, it was just a survival technique.  I learned that once I was in bed, she would usually leave me alone.  And I mean, I had be lying down with the lights out… if I was reading a book and she could see my beside lamp on, she was likely to come in and want to talk.  So, I would say goodnight to her, turn off my light, leave my door open (yes, it had to be open at night too) and lay there… awake.  For hours.  Just… thinking. Being alone with my thoughts.  It, quite frankly, was often the best part of my day.  I honestly looked forward to it. 

Once I was out on my own it took me ages to realize I no longer needed to do that, I could take my alone time whenever I wanted and when it came time to go to bed, I could just… go to sleep.  I have tried for years to retrain my body to do that, and I’d say over the last decade or so I’ve done pretty well.  I can usually get to sleep within about 30 minutes of going to bed (I know for most people that’s a long time, but honestly, for me that’s nothing compared to the hours and hours I used to lay there).  The problem is, whenever anything of any significance happens to me, I slip right back into the bad habit I have worked so hard to break out of.  And it doesn’t have to be anything major.  A stimulating conversation, a crush, an idea for a story and suddenly I’m back to that old habit again.  I don’t need that time anymore, but I do it anyway, and it actually hurts me now because… well, I need my sleep.  When you look at the clock and it’s 3 AM and you realize you’ve been just thinking for the past 3 hours and you’ve only got 3 more before you have to get up… well, it’s a stupid habit, and I wish I could just stop.

So obviously, I’m writing this because I’ve been having a difficult week, sleep wise.  I’m exhausted, but I can’t seem to stop myself from doing this night after night. 

That’s really all I have to say.  I know it’s not ‘blog theme relevant’, but it’s what’s going on right now.  So… yeah.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

147. Korea again

So... yeah, it's been a while. And, as the title of this post indicates... I am in Korea. Again. I have decided to go back to school, and well, they generally want you to pay for that, so I've come here to save up some money. I always did plan to come back here, but life (ie: needing surgery and finding a job while waiting for said surgery) got in the way. So, here I am. And I have to say I'm loving it this time. Oh, I enjoyed myself last time, but so far this time is blowing it out of the water. I am in Seoul, instead of a suburb, so that has made a difference. I've already made friends outside of work, which is fantastic, and I've found a gay friendly church! If I get back in the swing of blogging I'll probably post more about that at some point. But for now I thought I'd post about something that happened to me the other day that one of my new friends thought would make a good blog post.
On Sunday night, I left church and was walking down the street in Itaewan (the foreigner ghetto of Seoul.) I decided to walk to one of the venders I had seen selling cell phone cases, I needed a new one, the one I got with my phone was pretty crappy. I started walking down the street and had the distinct feeling I was being followed. I was not exactly sure what to do, so I checked behind me a few times, but couldn't pick out who it was and just keep going, figuring I was in public and if anything happened I'd scream and people would hear me.

 Eventually the person following me caught up. I slowed down so he would have to keep walking, but well, he slowed down to and so I sped up. So did he. I gave up and returned to my regular pace. I could feel him looking at me, but I try to ignore him.

After about a minute of this he says "I like your look"

I say "thanks" without looking, I didn't want to be mean, but I was really not in the mood to even be flattered by this.

"Are you new to Korea?" He asks.

"Relatively" I reply, again, not looking.

 "Do you want to go somewhere?"

 "No thank you," this time I looked at him and stopped, gesturing for him to move on. He stopped too. I started walking again, he followed. I stopped again, he stops.

"Are you going somewhere?" He asks.

"I just want to buy a cell phone case, then go home."

"Where are you from?"

 I decided to just end this now. "I'm from Canada. And I'm a lesbian"

"Wow..." He says. I waited for him to walk away.

He didn't.

"Wow" he says again.

There's a moments silence then he says "Have you ever tried a man?"

I sigh. "Nope. Absolutely no desire to"

"It's only women you care about?"

"That's kind of what it means to be a lesbian."

"Wow, I can't believe I'm hearing this... "

"Yup," I say, "it happens."

"You're the second lady I hear this from"

 I nodded, "sorry"

"So, do you like that?"

I was confused, not sure what he was asking, "what?"

 "Do you like..." he made a weird gesture "...that?"

 Oh. "We'll, yeah..."

 "You don't want to try a man?"

 "Sorry. There's nothing you've going on down there I'm interested in"

"But a man can do everything a woman can do, and more."


"Yes!" emphatically.

"We'll then, maybe you should try that."


"A man. I hear they can do everything a woman can do. And more."

"What?!? No... A man with a man? No!"

 "Well, if you don't want to try it, I guess I won't either."

At this point I was resigned to his presence and tried to change the subject, asking where he was from (Nigeria), how long he'd been here (1 1/2 years) and what he was doing (has his own business). He did not want to let this go though.

 "I would love the chance to change a lesbian..."

"Not gonna happen."


"But... The chance to make a lesbian see... "

"Seriously, you go try a man and come back and tell me how you feel about how that went and we'll talk then."

"Never! But to be with a lesbian..."

At this point we reached the cell phone vender and so I stopped. "Never gonna happen." I turned to the vender and told him what I was looking for and waved goodbye to the man over my shoulder. I checked a few seconds later and he was gone, about half a block down the street. And that's what just happened to me on Sunday evening.