Archive for September, 2018

Expressing Love to a Grown-up Son – Discreetly

Posted: September 13, 2018 in Musings
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Wise friend,

How do you express love to your own grown-up son without embarrassment on either side?

Lovely friend,

When he was already a young adult, my son and I lived on different continents for a few years. From time to time I wrote short love messages to him. I wasn’t there so he could see the love in my look. I had to write what I felt. Rarely, and I hope discreetly enough.

Once I wrote to him:

“Do you remember those years, when we lived in that faraway suburb, before you turned a teenager, overnight? After dinner, you’d come into my arms, and we watched TV for hours like that.
So much love I feel for you, that I can’t describe and all I want is to be able to hold you like that for hours. You are too grown-up for that. At least, we are back at hugs.”

When my son turned 13, he went to a school camp for 10 days. When he came back, his voice was changed, his legs were hairy, and he made it very clear that I wasn’t supposed to touch, or hug. He kept a strict distance while being an incredibly good teenager otherwise. He would not join me anywhere – a visit to friends, a walk, a movie. Nothing. For the first six months, I was going out of my mind.

Wise friend,

For different reasons since the end of September, I was getting crazier and crazier. Much of this was related to Jonathan, or better said to missing Jonathan; a kind of lava that erupted in me after a long time of a quieter time of my emotions. Yesterday, probably due to a bad recurring flu that I had last week, but mainly due to my personality – let’s face it – I reached the highest point of this craziness. Suddenly, I fell to the ground (emotionally), it seems to me on my feet, and I relaxed. I have no idea, for how long the peace will last. The lava has cooled down, and I hope that this volcano will stay still for a long time, as I need the tranquility of my sanity.

Lovely friend,

Oh, Etna has just erupted last week, as well. I have bouts of anger – though less and less – where I advise people to stay out of my way!

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Wise friend,

I don’t have bouts of anger – I have bouts of missing this man, then I relax. While driving, I thought about you again, about anger and cursing. I’m not sure if I told you this before, but my thoughts on cursing are:
I almost never used the word “f…”; I’d rather use “Shivers” or “Gosh” (Gosh!!)
From time to time I used ‘f…’ and I noticed that it did not release, but actually it brings up more on anger.
For a while, last year, I cursed so much, and I noticed that my level of anger was seriously affected.
Since then I try not to use it – the addiction is strong, and it took a lot of willpower to stop – I’m mostly out of it.
I think that everybody uses the “f…” curse in connection with anger. It’s almost like an anchor, and hooks straight into the anger we felt during our lifetime – a bit more anger is added to the original pool each time we use it. The anger of the others, while using ‘f..’ is also chained to our own chain and we carry more and more. It anchors like a serial killer.

Lovely friend,

I use “Shivers” as a relief from stressful or unpleasant instantaneous feelings. When I want to talk about somebody who angers me, I feel tempted to use the adjective ‘f…ing.’ It’s like I can’t show the color of the situation. I make significant efforts to avoid it, as I feel stirred up.
Maybe I should write a Ph.D. about ‘f..ing’ ‘f..’ word and its derivatives.

Wise friend,

Thinking about you, my PhD on f.. and other so-called taboo words had been done, and many times over. Your interpretation is interesting but fails to touch on a major consideration of swearing which is the solidarity factor in haste.

“Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh

Posted: September 11, 2018 in Musings
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I use duckduckgo.com for my online searches. According to Urban Dictionary, ghosting in dating is, “When a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they’re dating, with zero warning or notice beforehand. You’ll mostly see them avoiding friend’s phone calls, social media, and avoiding them in public.” Hence “being ghosted.”

Recently, I listened to an interview with Rosie Walsh, and the interviewer mentioned the incredibly way Walsh describes emotions of love, happiness, and heartbreak. I wanted to read such descriptions in successful contemporary novels.

Many people around me don’t know the word “ghosted.” It is a terrific word, which describes so well experiences of unmarried women trying to meet that final man for once, so the relationship lasts and doesn’t disappear in a split of a second. I talked with aged women as well. Without exception, they told me how many times they experienced that. I don’t know why I felt the need to point out each time: “Married women wouldn’t know about that.” Maybe because married women were around when I mentioned the word. Some of these women had been married for decades. To my surprise, the openness of the unmarried women made me uncomfortable while married women participated in the conversation.

Back to the book.
The experience of being “ghosted” in this book, however, is unique. The story includes a few twists, mystery, some tensions. Few ghosted women would wonder if the men died and that’s why they might have disappeared. Susan, the heroine of this book, wonders a lot about such a possibility.
In real life, while angry and disappointed, women seem to accept that they had the experience of a man ghosting them, and not only once.
As I started reading the book, I felt annoyed and told Susan to let it go. Only my curiosity about what young women like reading nowadays kept me going.
The book is a romance novel. Not the cheap-quality category available on supermarket shelves. It belongs to what I would call a literary novel quality.
However, it floats almost between the two styles. Yes, Walsh captures and describes some emotions very well. She also captures very well the refusal to let it go, the persistence to want to understand the “why?”, the obsession with reviewing every detail of the seven-day blissful encounter. All women went through such phases from time to time, after a relationship suddenly disintegrated, especially when that relationship was apart from any other.
I was wondering if I could advise a male friend to read it, and whether he would enjoy it. I don’t think so.
In the end, it reads like a Hollywood feel-good script. The book has been very successful.
Still, I think that Walsh will end up with remarkable good novels. Just one more step up.

Wise Friend,

I need to share some thoughts that lately have been disturbing me. Would you allow me a rant?

Sensitive friend,

Go for it. I DO want to keep getting ALL your rants. They weave a wondrous tapestry of your life – I get a feeling for you there.

Wise friend,

I wanted to be part of my community. Until now whatever I did, took me away, sapped of time, energy and curiosity.

So when I saw this position in the community, I told myself that I can do it, that I can do it very well. I’ve applied. I knew that it would be very political. I also know by now that I handle conflicts well until I don’t. I don’t even sense when suddenly I don’t. Within my mind, I’m sure that my honesty and clarity helps the other. Surprise, surprise, I don’t notice the boundary, and I step on it and over it. I see that in their facial expressions, in their tone, or even animosity – not just a pure hostility, but a revengeful one. Each time, I’m startled – “It happened again.”, I tell myself astonished and concerned.

I’ve asked a close friend, who works with adults and children who have autism, whether I’m autistic. She wondered why I even thought about it.

“I seem to lack social skills, and I hurt people while I have no intention, I’m too honest when I should be careful. I’m careful, though it seems that I cross a boundary without alarm bells,” I tell her sincerely.
“I promise you that you do not have autism, that I love your social skill, and I adore your honesty. I’m hungry for such people,” she reacts warmly and laughingly.

Sensitive friend,

What happened with the position that for which you applied? You’d have been excellent at it.

Wise friend,

They didn’t even shortlist me for it. Pity.

Wise friend,

My first baby will arrive soon. Please tell me what I will feel. How will my life change?

Young friend,

Nobody, not your mother or friends, nobody can tell you what the arrival of a child will change in you. Why is that? Simply put, because it’s impossible to put those feelings in words. I could tell you that I never felt a love so pure as I sensed for my son, that …

You might hear what I said, you’ll fall in love, and you’ll tell me that I didn’t describe it precisely or well enough.
The arrival of the children in our lives, takes us by surprise, despite having a few siblings. Maybe, it’s different when there is a large number of years between siblings. I should ask those in such a situation. I will.
When children are small, we might sometimes think that our lives have become so uninteresting. We tell ourselves and others that we have to put a stop to our lives and be around and for the children, only. Thoughts float around the fact that we don’t have time for ourselves and they frighten us. It requires patience and dedication.

Slowly-slowly, that heaviness lifts up. I tried to have my few moments of mine – a bit of good reading, walking, a small class here and there, and no other commitments. If culture and discussing philosophy were essential – they were – I gathered like-minded friends around me. Small life successes for short intervals.

With that, watching children change from day to day along all those years is incredibly satisfying. We need to have an interest in them, sometimes like an inquisitive researcher.

It is never a waste of time – we bring up children, we create young adults. It doesn’t mean that our souls, minds, hearts don’t need adult physical and emotional intimacy as well. Some of us might have to wait; some not.

Wise friend,

You’ve asked me repeatedly when I went to Budapest, for the first time.

When I was ten years old, my mum sent me to Budapest to visit the few relatives we had. They found a couple of acquaintances going on the same trip to look after me; it was acceptable during those times. The train carriage was full. It was a twelve hour trip. Suddenly the train stopped, the lights went on, and I heard doors slammed open. Two custom officers (for some reason I remember them as soldiers) showed up at the door of our carriage. They looked around, stared at each passenger’s face, and then they pointed their hands to me, and said: “You young lady, which one is your luggage?”

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I was trembling. I was a good girl, always believing that I must have done something wrong and I never knew what. This time I believed the same. I showed them the luggage. They took it off, and in front of everybody they opened it and rummaged through it all. I blushed as red as a beet root, as I would always would. They found nothing.

Since then, whenever I’ve travelled, I’ve blushed in advance, and the customs officers, without exception touch me on my shoulders, rummage through my luggage, and scan my body. By now, I’m indifferent. I’m ready.

A long time ago, at six, in the snow

Posted: September 6, 2018 in Musings

Wise friend,

What story do you remember about your father?

Dear friend,

Why this question?

One winter, my father and I went up to the mountains. I was probably six years old. The snow covered everything. The resort where we stayed, had a swimming pool, which was empty and I was fascinated by that gaping hole in the ground, half filled with the whitest snow. Nobody was going to disturb its whiteness. We went walking. My father wore a black winter coat and a French looking cap. We had to be careful not to slip. The snow was quite deep, and we both loved the feeling of pushing our feet in and then pulling them out.

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Suddenly, he slipped, and he landed on his back with his hands aside. I remember a flicker of worry in his eyes distinctly. However, I started laughing, with such gusto. I thought that it was beyond funny. I couldn’t stop. I can feel even now, how my whole body was laughing, and there’s this happiness overwhelming me from head top to toe. It wouldn’t have crossed my mind whether he hurt. He didn’t stand up. A few seconds later, he started laughing heartily while still laying down. Then he stood up, unhurt, took my hand, and we continued walking while he joked around. I never forgot his sense of humor. However, he always used to teach me how to think about others, how to behave, how not to hurt others. He never mentioned one negative thing about how I should not have laughed, or even maybe worry. He decided to join in. The joy was too pure. Three years later he passed away.

My son, a father now, would react the same way.

Too much agitation – for what?k

Posted: September 5, 2018 in Musings

Wise friend,

I found your email from December 2001; you let me read what you had written to Jonathan.
***
I took a walk in the Central Park; the day was glorious.
You’re always on my mind; however, it’s getting lonely like this, from a distance. I saw two movies – one Australian (“Lantana”) and the other American (“In the Bedroom”).
“Lantana” was about marriages and infidelities – an excellent movie.
“In the Bedroom” was about the lack of communication between a woman and her husband. During the movie, I felt agitated. I felt guilty because of our frequent phone calls of the last few days, and because we didn’t manage to stay cool-ish.

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I felt shrewd and tempting evil, instead of letting you think and focus on what is essential. I want to apologise a thousand times.

I have to take control of myself so that you can be at peace. I’ve been thinking how difficult must have been for you to plan everything. All these worries, and complications with your daughter, how would you have the strength for other changes? In the end, you’d collapse. Please take care of yourself. How much more energy do you think that you’ve got? Yes, you have to think about everything we talked about and everything about which we didn’t even consider. My dear, you don’t have unlimited energy, and I feel that you’ve exhausted your reserves. I can’t be next to you and take care of you. I would have loved to wait for you at home, open the door for you with laughter and music, the dinner table ready and to spoil you until this spell would be over.

The reality comes back to us: each one of us returns to the two single bedroom apartments, and of the fact instead of helping. I’m so aware and gully to have become the main reason for the events that you have to go through. Isn’t it too much for you?

I’m not mad, and I see what is acceptable – my heart is insane for you.

Emotions seeping through my skin

Posted: September 4, 2018 in Musings
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Dear Wise Friend,

Last weekend I went to Chicago. I was extremely tensed and hurried, and my presentation style was awful. I could feel that my colleagues were horrified. The follow-up survey confirmed my assessment. I felt cursed.

I had this known pain, which was not as strong as it used to be during previous years. It was the pain of a curled up girl. Almost like through the pain I was scratching myself.
After the conference, I spent time with a childhood friend. I was more and more aware that I had not felt her softness years ago during our youth friendship. Could she have gone through similar soul changes like I?

I felt good being with her. I felt as if some of my emotions seeping through my skin.

Dear friend

The lawyer talked with me about the introduction of Legal Aid in this tiny country; many people are convicted without legal representation. While the state has a considerable number of lawyers per capita, very few specialise in criminal laws. It is socially shunned upon, and therefore not many lawyers want to cover that area. People without money cannot have then a criminal lawyer. The lawyer set up a system where one lawyer supervises twenty law students to carry out defence systems for people without money.
Questions and answers followed:
– How do they establish who has or not money?
– It can be quite tricky, especially for people charged with fraud. The fact that they have to sign an affidavit while accused of fraud makes it even stranger.

Quite a riddle, isn’t it?

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In the end, I went to look for my car. My rented car is red, quite modest Plymouth car. When I went out, it was already dark. I saw a red car, and I told the valet, “It’s mine. This is my car.” The valet insisted that no way this car could be mine. He was right. It was a red Ferrari or something similar. Maybe it is mine. Not yet.