Going AWOL a bit

I need time out. Again. After chatting with a very special woman, I can see the forest for the trees more clearly. The mountain peak is calling me to join it. The view is sensational and I am alone. The air is clearer and I can think … in peace.

So, I am taking time out for medicinal purposes. No humans, other than work, til I feel ready to resurface. I hate feeling unbalanced and caught up in others’ tornadoes.

Ciao, for now.

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I am a tornado. I don’t mean to be.

There is an autistic trend that most of us relate to immediately. We leave havoc and trouble in our wake. BUT we don’t even know we do it. It isn’t intentional by any means!

Colour me guilty. I have spent the last 18mths trying to figure out why and how to rectify myself. I cannot, unless I stay away from humans or I am around thick skinned narcissists. I know why though. I completely miss cues, misunderstand intent, get fed up and/or bored, and basically dance to the beat of my own drum.

I lose friends, turn my back on what seems like toxic work places, have nothing to do with exes, and my funeral will be devoid of mourners. It hasn’t really bothered me. To keep people around, I must sacrifice a huge chunk of who I am. The cost is too great.

In a way, it is easier to split myself in half. Work and very limited social life is manageable to invest a contortion of myself for, but my private life stays mine. That way, I get to be me without ANY concern I’m upsetting people, causing grief or disrupting their flow. As much as it gets a bit lonely, I prefer it this way. The loneliness is easier to deal with than another 44 years of burned bridges.

Burning bridges doesn’t seem to bother neurotypical people. It does me. I have an over active conscience and I am constantly vigilant to the point of mental exhaustion of ensuring my words and actions prevent bridge annihilation. That is why work is mega exhausting. I was hoping being a mechanic would mean little human interaction. Alas, it means dealing with countless macho egos. But fluff em up and they carry on.

The hardest part is being friends with men. I am more male oriented in my interests and I love being around men. I also thought I’d be in my element around lots of mechanics. No. The sex thing always seems to enter the equation. Single men either read my interest as sexual or weird, because of my age. Married men either read my interest as sexual or they have wives that get jealous over nothing. I mean NOTHING.

This has just shown me, or proven to me, that I am pretty much destined to have 3 friends and the rest end up as burned bridges. So, if the rest of my life is just my 3 dear female friends and the rest at arm’s length with no charred bridges, I think it’ll be ok.

Oh, gay men welcome any time! They are the best of all worlds if they are mechanically minded.

Wearing make up, aka clown’s face

One thing I LOATHE is wearing creams, make up, talc etc on my skin. Sunscreen shits me, but I’ll tolerate it because…  Now, I was nominated by my trade school teachers for Apprentice of the Year in my department. I am a finalist and I must attend the awards night. Dress code is formal. Facepalm.

So, a double whammy. Make up and heels. I cannot walk in any sort of heel. First, my balance is atrocious. Second, I have painful arthritis in my big toes. I can hobble about 100m and collapse into a chair, but that is it. As for the make up…yuck.

I have a long, off the shoulder white dress I drag out for such events. It covers my feet, so I can get away with semi heels. And all I really need do is wear red lipstick and make up is done. The dress speaks for me. I can hide in it. Plus, I am useless at applying make up. It is an art I’ll never acquire. I’m simply not interested.

I remember when I was 20, I stayed in a uni dorm. My marvellous next door neighbour was an Italian guy with a very honest approach. I knocked on his door at 3am after a venture to a night club. I just wanted to chat and share a midnight snack with him. He opened his door. He looked, said quietly, “Fuck me, it’s Ronald Mc Donald.”, and closed the door. It was the nail in my make up’s coffin. I’ve rarely worn it since. I laugh now about it because it is typical of Schillaci’s humour. But it killed me.

I want this night over. It is going to be a late night – bad. It requires heels – bad. It requires make up – bad. It is a drive into the CBD – bad. I have people I am uncomfortable around the few people attending to ‘support’ me – bad. I am not looking forward to this at all.

At least I know I’ll have the best lats there that night. Gotta take small mercies where I can, right?

Stuff

Nothing to really talk about. Life is what it is and I’m fortunately on an even keel for now. I was going to post about my past love life, but I do not feel like being depressed. That can wait.

Just remind me to never, ever mix Angel with Antonia’s Flowers. Freesia with patchouli is horrid. Truly horrid. Makes my brain ache and my stomach queasy.

But why there?!

My holiday destinations are not the usual ones. When I was 18, I was determined to go to the USSR, or what was left of it as it began to crumble. I wanted to see it before the old guard were toppled over completely. And I did. I also went to China. I was able to see the old school Communism in full force there too.

I’ve been to Malaysia, Singapore (lived there for a bit as well), Hong Kong, England, Indonesia countless times and China a few more times. I am yet to go to Israel, India, Afghanistan, all the Stans and Western China. Bhutan would be fabulous, but serious cash is needed to go there. Vietnam is definitely on my list for 2019 or 2020. Especially the north.

I had wanted to go to Cuba before the Castro era ended. Too late, girlfriend. I am devastated it is an era now gone. US tourists will flock there en masse.

Anyway, my goal for mid 2019, as a present to myself for qualifying as a fully trained mechanic, is to do a tour of North Korea. I want to see the place for myself. Yes, there will be minders 24/7 and machine guns, but China had them EVERYWHERE in 1992. It was just aftet the T Square massacre and there was fear in the air. Russia had military all over Moscow as well. I began to feel weird without the presence of a machine gun within arm’s reach. They were on board every train carriage and every street corner. My trip to Russia was heavily monitored by Intourist. So, I am no stranger to being monitored by authority.

People always want to know why I want to spend holidays here, rather than go to a retreat or a beach where I can laze around. Simple, really; I am fond of stretching my comfort zone and I want to know what life is like for different people. I may not wear their shoes and walk a mile, but it beats arm chair travel and criticism. I have a deep desire to experience, as much as I can, life from another’s perspective. It helps me grow.

I also feel that coming ‘home’ after these adventures makes me appreciate my mundane life so much more. By doing something hard, the ordinary becomes easier. I used to lift my heavy weights at 4.30am because it made the burden of the rest of the day seems less burdensome. Does that make sense? It seems like my trips are voyeuristic, which they are, yet it helps me feel my life is ok. Which makes me more grateful and a nicer person to work with. You know when you get sick? After being ill, life does not seem so hard? It is like that.

Am I scared? No. To me, danger lurks everywhere. I have more to fear from a drunken Aussie man who weighs more than me than I do 5 days inside North Korea. And I take a huge risk driving on our roads on a daily basis. So, as long as I abide by the very clear rules North Korea sets out, I’ll be fine. Truly.

I had my room raided by Indonesian intelligence services and immigration late one Friday night. I had three machine guns pointed at me, a camera light shining in my face and a news reported standing behind them. I was under suspicion of shady dealings, which I later learned from my sponsor uni that I was being followed for weeks by intelligence for supposedly writing reports about militia groups in Lombok and minor insurgencies. I had no knowledge of that. I was cleared once they learned I had a legit research visa and my topic was far removed from militia groups. I faced that and survived. I’ll be fine. But it goes to show that danger lurks everywhere. And yes, I did a huge poo after the guns went away.

If I go somewhere relaxing, I find it super hard to adjust to the pace of my normal life. If the pace of my holiday speeds up my adrenalin a bit, I come home and find my normal pace less bothersome. It is all a mental game, but it works for me.

I have a distrust of the media. I need to experience things myself to understand them. We get told so much about the artifice of Pyongyang and its staged facade, but let me see it for myself. I want to pick up the vibe and sense what the air is like.

It was incredibly confronting to see my first food queue in Moscow. It was worse in St Petersburg. Food shops were empty. The only people in restaurants were the few tourists. I went into one foreign currency supermarket in Moscow with many imported foods and it was under heavy guard. It was reported in the media, but seeing it was another thing. People had to sell items they were given in lieu of wages to get money. A woman sold Estee Lauder products after work on the streets for a pittance because the factory she worked for had an exchange with France. Rather than wages, her factory gave the workers the bartered goods from France. So, she had to work two jobs to receive USD5 a day. Ironically, the French stores in Moscow could only be enteted by invite and proof of payment in USD. I saw a sick Russia emerging from a history of continued oppression and felt a sudden 20 years added to my life.

I saw Chinese citizens bashed by Russian border control for not having correct papers. A dog and a machine gun joined soldiers as border control entered each of our carriages and checked our luggage and papers. Swallowing and breathing were hard. We could hear the nasal breaths of the charming officer looking through my passport. I saw the two Chinese men further along my carriage being dragged off the train. We were instructed to close our curtains. I peeked. I had to. That is when I saw these bedraggled men being hit with rifle butts. I asked where they would be taken. A Polish man said a local prison camp. They would be lucky to ever return home. I closed the curtain quickly.

On the Soviet side of the rail border, I took off during a six hour break to the market opposite the station. That was another world. I had never experienced what went on there. A huge man in black track pants, no shoes and a ratty white singlet was selling himself. He must have been in his 40s. He was offering himself to other men for USD2. For whatever they wanted. This was 10am in the morning!! Things were so dire that everything was for sale at that market. It was like no Trash & Treasure I’d seen. I drank a big bottle of cheap vodka at the station cafe. Just to settle my feelings. There were only two of us at the cafe. No one else had money to eat. I bought about USD20 of snacks from an old lady. No idea what I bought, but I shared it with my carriage. At each station, women in rags lined up to sell whatever food they could make. Hardly anyone bought the food, fearing disease.

Thank you for caring, but I will be fine. And thank you for asking why I’d want to go to places my mother wishes I wouldn’t. I have lived things my mother wishes I hadn’t. I might seem a sensitive lass, but I can deal with a lot. 5 days exploring selected sights within a very controlled country does not scare me as much as going to some places in the US or Central Africa. If I start saying I want to go to Syria, Burkina Faso or Ukraine, start to worry.

Fears

Whilst we are on the topic of fears, I am going to be brave and publically list mine.

* bats – I freaking well hate them. Beautiful creatures, but do NOT ever contemplate making me walk around whilst they are in flight mode. I’ll knee you in your most vulnerable spot and hide under your keeled over body for protection. They have rabies, you know?! And they shriek and fly haphazardly.

* no one hears me scream – I cannot scream. You know those flaccid femme fatales of the silver screen who scream at this high pitch when danger appears? It ain’t me. I litetally cannot scream. I become like a kangaroo caught in the head lights of a car. Frozen. My nightmares are generally centred around me having no voice or method to communicate imminent danger. Predictably, I face the danger with no help in sight. It still scares me.

* being old and in an abusive care facility – same theme as above. Or, I’ll probably be that ecclectic wandering old lady that walks up the wrong way of a busy highway and keeps a house full of cats. If I have a home… that is another fear…

* 70s and 80s b-grade Aussie films set in rural Oz – these films scared me to near death as a child. I thought all women were raped, men were sadistic bastards with Nazi leanings and fast cars ran children over. I took it all so literally. I was terrified of being alone when we lived in rural towns. I had to know my mother was within ear shot. I hid if I saw people approach and I was walking home from school alone. I still hate these films. I rewatched the first Mad Max just a few weeks ago with my boys. I still felt ill. I never really want to visit most of Australia because all that still haunts me.

* losing my teeth, eyes, hands and/or feet – these things are my tools for living. I do not hesitate to prioritise these things and their health over everything else. Another lot of nightmares are about losing teeth and being blind. I just do not know how people can go about the risks of surgery to beautify or enhance anything when they are already healthy and functional. Having long fake nails was TRAUMATIC. I literally had to relearn how to use my hands again. For a week, I cried in the utter frustration of it all. Don’t get me started on the dangers of false eye lashes…! Why???!!!

* knowing I have been a waste of human space – I know I harp on about this a lot. It is that important to me. I am simply terrified that I have nothing to contribute. That ilI am of no worth. It helps me immensely when people tell me that ANYTHING I have done has helped. It isn’t about payment or money, but helping me understand that I make a contribution. Because I do not see myself or have much awareness of my place in the matrix of reality, I desperately need this information about myself.

* being misunderstood – you’d think I’d stop being frightened of this by now and I’d be used to it. No. A lot of my down time is used to rehearse possible conversations and to commit my answers to memory, should anyone ever ask for clarification, which they never do. Oh, there is one exception – thank you, T1. It means more than you will ever know. (Want to cry now!)

* doing things for the first time – I go into a cold sweat first time I do something physical. My next goals are to weld and learn  to drive a Road Ranger gearbox. Already sweating and amxious. I’ll be fine after I get it.

All my fears are really about me not having coping mechanisms to help me face these things. I know this because I have a zillion things I am NOT fearful of that seem to scare the heck out of other people. You know, the majority of Them out there. I guess I’ve had to learn to live with things that are now everyday events. Many of these things are because of my non verbal state as a child. As I rarely spoke to people, I rarely took on board their deep seated fears. I didn’t know for a long time I should be scared of being poor, spiders, being friendless and/or alone, driving fast (once I learned to ride a bike – whoa! SPEEEED!) and strange people. I was that weird child begging to visit op shops, watching spiders crawl across the floor, being alone for days in our garden, riding down hills with my body hunched over my bike or skateboard and befriending the town’s witch or Down’s Syndrome kid being mercilessly teased. I never batted an eyelid, yet tell me there are bats outside and I will start to quiver.

I began to take on my mum’s fears from when I was about 10. She was the most normal and moral person I knew in our country towns we lived in. I looked to her for pointers on how to live. It has taken me years to shake her very pointless neuroticisms.

She is terrified of spiders, running out of skim milk powder and margarine, our appliances ceasing to work, any kind of near danger on the roads (she does not drive; she is DANGEROUS), loud noises from neighbours, mentally challenged people, people not of Victorian era principles, any culture not of Anglo-Saxon origin (she is decidedly NOT racist, by her own admission), and being like her alcoholic, psychiatrically disturbed mother (almost an impossibility as my mother does not drink and does all she can to be a Stepford Divorcee).

By my early 20s, I noticed her fears became mine. As I slowly had that dawn on me, I began to untangle myself from my mother’s expectations I become like her. We are chalk and cheese; cat and dog; black and white. I now have my own fears that I try really hard to keep my own, so my boys have the freedom to determine their own. It has been hard, for my mother insisted my boys take on her fears too. Climbing that tree is just too dangerous! Piffle.