Stagnation

TTW-Summer-2016It’s not something we talk about too much in the international community. It’s the closest thing we have to a taboo subject. But it’s something we all struggle with.

Staying put, settling down, finding a home.

Some of us want nothing more. We’re tired of always having to make new friends, chart new territory, break down barriers. It’s exhausting. We’re ready to grow some roots, relax, find a strong circle of friends. But who do you relate to in a town where no one else has your background?

Some of us never want to stop. We love re-inventing ourselves, starting fresh, finding new challenges, new adventures, expanding our infinite friendship circle. We’re never more at home than in an airport. Thriving on the winds of changing, and always searching for where to head to next. But what happens do we do when we run out of places we can go?

I have always been in the latter category. I can’t keep my feet still, they always end up following my head into the height of the clouds.

Yet here I am. Stuck. Reaching year 4 in Toronto and the inevitable “thousands of reasons I can’t leave.” Everyone has their own list, or their own inhibitors, when it come to the place they settle down. Everyone has their own pattern and their benchmark for what a long time somewhere is. So I won’t bore you with my own. What I will say, though, is that it’s much more difficult than I ever expected it to be.

We’re not supposed to talk about it because it’s a “poor-little-rich-kid syndrome.” It’s a problem of the privileged. We were raised to adapt, adjust, fit in, camouflage. We’re malleable to our circumstances, whatever they may be.

Except when you become so malleable and mutable that you no longer feel comfortable holding a shape for too long. Like river water that has been captured into a tank. Your flow and energy disrupted, seized… stagnated. tree-roots

It IS a privilege. It IS “poor-little-rich-kid syndrome.” But that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Somehow it’s perfectly understandable for a person who has never moved in their life to experience culture shock when they find themselves somewhere new, and yet the same rule does not seem to apply in reverse.

Really, I’m just wondering if there’s any else who’s felt the same. Who has struggled with staying put. What made you stay? What made it ok? Or are you on the other side of the spectrum, whether as a 3CK or otherwise? Where is home? How did you figure out where to find it?

I guess I just need to know I’m not alone.

Advertisements

Why We Should Stop Trying to Label Each Other’s Sexuality

h-SEX-EDUCATION-628x314

I’ve been reading up a lot on queer culture and sexuality lately. My curiosity was originally sparked by a conversation I had with a friend about the “guidelines” for gay sex. From our very ignorant cis-gender perspective we were attempting to posit about the sexual role of each partner, and whether or not some people would have the same consistent role, as most often happens in heterosexual relationships, or whether both partners would alternate and the experience would be more flexible and versatile.

The first obvious answer to this question is that really it’s none of our business and who cares. However I’ve always been a firm believer in the importance of open, non-judgmental communication as a way of breaking barriers. By informing yourself and actively overcoming ignorance you make ever progressing steps towards acceptance, compassion, and equality. And isn’t that really the ultimate goal?

In any case I went off to do some of my own research after this discussion and came across the second obvious answer. Each person is so unique in their personalities and personal preference, and every relationship is so unique in its emotional and sexual interactions that of course there is no “standard practice” or “rule”.

I came to realize that the discussion my friend and I were having was much like the

conversations kids have in high school before their first real sexual experience. When you still imagine there’s some sort of magical trick, or rule, or key to making you good in bed. That there is some sort of secret to sex that everyone knows about but you.

The truth is there really are no rules when it comes to your intimate relationship with another person, whether sexual or not. The rules of interaction are much like those in every day life; they are established as part of a fluid process of experimentation and communication, on the basis of mutual respect, and enjoyment.

That is why I find, more in more, that I tend to reject terms like transgender, cis-gender, homosexual, poly-amorous, and so on. Not because I think they are insignificant imaginary constructs. Quite the contrary, I believe they are extremely important to the process of research, and education on sexuality. However I do think the terms should be read and understood both for their uses as well as they’re inadequacies. At the end of the day, any term used to define sexual orientation is a rigid, concrete expression for a very fluid and abstract concept. One that will ultimately signify something different to each
individual it relates to.

For this same readefining-sexualityson I don’t believe in the adage that any single person can be “amazing in bed.” Sexual enjoyment requires a level of comfort, consent, and intimacy that no single person is able to have in every sexual encounter they experience, whether with the same person or even different partners. This is also why the idea of rape is so vile and horrid. Because it’s ultimately a corruption of such a pure, beautiful, and intimate moment between  two (or more) people. A moment that is such a pure expression and exposure of your self in both beauty and ugliness.

That’s not to say that sex defines you in any way. Again, this is why I so heavily reject a rigid use of sexual labeling. Your sexuality isn’t a definition of who you are, it’s merely an instance of self-expression. Just like your preference of sport or cuisine don’t define you, rather it is a collection of these things, and your relationship to them, that does.

So why am I saying all this? Why does it matter? Because it matters that we have these discussions. It matters that we speak openly about these subjects whether they relate to sexuality, race, culture, ethnicity, or any other taboo topic you can come up with. It matters that we speak about the elements that make us more complete, diverse, and unique human beings. It matters that we analyze these things. Because it is in this analysis and discussion that we generate acceptance. That we are able to co-exist without the repression of hate and political correctness. Because it is only by understanding our own selves, as well as the world around us, that we are able to truly embrace each other and celebrate our differences.

But of course this is all just my own opinion, with recognition of my privilege and my bias. You’re more than welcome to disagree. And in our disagreement I hope we can find our own acceptance, and friendship.

Reflections & Confessions

A while ago I had a very enlightening conversation with my man thing (as I refer to him), and came to quite an interesting revelation. I am a workaholic. 124236_m

I never really considered workaholism as a problem, I just figured it was a term lazy people applied to people who worked hard so that they didn’t feel so bad about their laziness. That logic in itself should have probably been my first hint.

For the last year I have been unable to work while I’ve been struggling through a visa process that will let me live in Canada permanently. You can imagine this has not been easy for me. I piled on project after project just to keep myself distracted. After a while I found it hard to balance my regular chores with all the activities and hobbies I was working on. I found myself just as stressed as I had been while I was working and studying full time. Of course all that culminated in a massive row with the man thing, that led to a deeper conversation about what had started the fight to begin with. And that’s when I realized. The funny thing is, once I brought this up to old friends and family who had known me for ages they all aced as if this was all very matter of fact and something I should already know.

So I stopped altogether. For the last few months I’ve been teaching myself to relax, catching up on all the films and TV shows I’ve been wanting to watch for ages, playing all the video games I’ve been putting on the back burner, just learning that it’s ok to do nothing. Which leads me to why I’ve been missing for so long.

After 4 or 5 months of forced relaxation, I’m ready to ease myself back into action. So be ready for regular posts and updates once again. How about you guys? Do you ever have problems trying to do too many things at once? Or is your problem more to do with procrastination?