About Kittie

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Culling the herd

At least, once a year (or when I’m in a mood), I look through my list of Facebook friends and the list of folks I follow on Twitter and Instagram and do a little trimming here and there.

I cull the herd on Twitter and Instagram usually because my interests have shifted. I haven’t blocked anyone from those sites yet. I suppose there is always a first and it might happen eventually.

Facebook is a little different. Depending on the situation and/or how I feel about a particular individual, I won’t hesitate to unfriend them. If I’m feeling particularly sour or homicidal about the person, I’ll block them.

Sometimes, I have to think long and hard whether or not to cut certain individuals from my social media life and in some cases, from my life completely. And almost always, they get deep sixed. Yeah, I’ve been unfriended, too. All I can say is good riddance. Glad they made the first move. I sure as hell don’t miss them.

Recently, I culled one from the herd. To be honest, given our history, I shouldn’t have accepted his friend request. But I was feeling comfortable with where I am in my life and I thought, ok, enough time has passed, so let’s see if it’s possible to consciously move forward in a positive manner.

Well… that was a big fucking mistake. Let sleeping dogs. Don’t walk or drive through the neighbourhood. Stay away. For some things, second chances were never on the table.

So now, I have a few things I need to get off my chest…

First, if you’re asking me to participate in rebuilding our broken relationship, I (that would be me) get to control the pace on how quickly, or slowly, the rebuilding process runs, not you. I will not be coerced into something that is ultimately a falsehood for me, just to make you feel better.

Second, just because you seem eager to get the ball rolling, doesn’t mean I really want the ball to roll that fast. As it turns out, I never wanted the ball to roll in the first place. I didn’t realize that until I started feeling cornered, claustrophobic and expected to do something that would be normally considered, in certain circles, the right thing to do. The right thing, in this case, was absolutely wrong for me.

Third, I acknowledge and take responsibility for my choices and my actions. Nothing more, nothing less. DO NOT ask me to take on your responsibilities and own them. I will bury you. And that goes for all the other assholes, male and female, who have put the blame on me when things didn’t go their way in the relationship. You want a fucking doormat, go to the nearest hardware or home decor store and pick one up to wipe your feet with. Have a nice life, fuckers.

And fourth, I will not sacrifice my agency just to please someone or to keep that person in my life. In other words, I will not set myself on fire just to keep you warm.

So, yeah. Every once and awhile, I will cull the herd.

On the crooked and winding trail

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view — Edward Abbey

Telling a story populated with interesting characters is just as much fun as actually traveling to another part of the world. With my current writing project, I have been able to do both.

I have to admit the last three field research expeditions have been eye-opening, awe-inspiring and in a number of ways, deeply personal. The trails and roads I’ve followed on these expeditions have only made the trail I’m trying to make for myself as a writer all the more crooked, winding and dangerous. If you were wondering, I mean that in a really great way.

The more crooked, the more winding, the more dangerous, the better. Just a different kind of adrenaline junkie.

Sure, there’s a ‘lonesome’ component to it. But I wouldn’t call it ‘lonely.’ I think of it as solitary. If you’re thinking of solitary confinement then there’s no amount of explaining that can be offered to make you understand the appeal of being on your own.

To me, these kinds of expeditions are best done by yourself. You get to follow your instincts. More often than not, if you bring along another person who really doesn’t have an integral role in the research, you won’t discover as much. The other person is a distraction. That’s one reason. Another reason would be the other person really doesn’t get what and why you’re doing what you’re doing. They may understand it theoretically. They can be empathetic about it. But unless they’ve done something like what you’re doing, there is no true understanding. They will be a distraction. And that is another reason I travel alone. Get more shit done that way.

Let’s be honest, there are only a handful of people who I would willingly have as a travel companion. Outside of that group, there are certain expectations I have to meet. Yeah, no thanks.The politics of relationships, regardless of the type of relationship, are hostile and confusing enough for me to remain a lone wolf.

Maybe one day, this lone wolf will find the perfectly imperfect mate. At long last, I’ll have a companion who won’t annoy me during my expeditions. But I highly doubt I’ll find this person. Lived long enough to know any legitimate opportunity to be in a romantic relationship worth fighting for, has always been slim to none.

So, I will travel the road and blaze a trail with friends who I trust and who will be there for me when I need them.

Anyway, I’m chomping at the bit to continue writing since life makes the annoying habit of interrupting it. I suppose with Christmas coming next month, things will get a little more hectic. Plus, I have a crazy list of movies I need to see in the theatre and a couple of books I need to read. Where the fuck do I make the time?

Oh well, I’ll figure it out. Maybe I’ll start rationing my time. Hmmm. That could work.

On the fringes

If you don’t mind haunting the margins, I think there is more freedom there Colin Firth

I think of myself as an outsider. I’ve always been an outsider.

My friends might argue that particular self-assessment is incorrect. They could be right. I do enough to fit into society. Be the good citizen and everything that comes with that role.

Regardless, I’ve always felt like an outsider. I base that on my childhood experiences growing up in an area that had been considered a rough neighbourhood. I think it still is looked upon as rough or at least not as sketchy as other parts of the city.

The friends I made in elementary school didn’t last beyond Grade 6. Too young to be emotionally attached to anyone who wasn’t family. The friends I made in junior and senior high didn’t go beyond Grade 12. I hated junior high because that was the time period when I was bullied by a selfish bitch who was so insecure about herself that she thought being the tough chick was the best way to be popular. I have nothing but ill will for her. So, the faster I got out of Dodge, the better. She made her insecurities my problem so, no, I don’t have any empathy for her. If I get the opportunity to punch her, I might become a little empathetic towards her. If you tell me I should forgive the bully, you had better stop reading right now and don’t come back because forgiveness is concept I don’t buy. Grades 10-12, I learned people had different ideas of what friendship entailed. Yeah, fuck that nonsense and fuck the twat who taught me that lesson. Apparently, I didn’t cater to her ego enough.

Well, there were the three friends who I met in Grade 7 and who remained in my life until my late 20s/early 30s. I walked away from them. I’ve discussed the reasons in previous posts. Not rehashing it again.

So, yeah, I’m an outsider. I’m also a late bloomer and that most likely muddles things for me. But if I think about it, I probably wouldn’t change a thing. Given my temperament, I’m perfectly suited to be an outsider. I might even be a low-level outlier for all I know. I have no problem being a lone wolf. The mechanics of relationships, especially the romantic kind, leave me baffled, claustrophobic, disappointed, homicidal and indifferent.

I’m better off in the margins. No expectations to fit in. Just acceptance. There’s a freedom to be myself, to explore my perceived eccentricities, to indulge my imagination and to create.

The times I moved away from the margins amplified the feeling I was unwelcomed or at least, welcomed IF I played by the rules. It didn’t take me long to figure that out. It’s one of the reasons I never had a legitimate chance at being a full-time photojournalist or sports photographer. But to be honest, I’m a better picture editor than I am a photographer. And I believe I am a better fiction writer than I am a picture editor. I’m glad I’m not a photojournalist or a sports photographer. I’d be missing out on the shit I’m doing now and what the future might bring with it.

However, it doesn’t mitigate the fact that whenever I tried to play by someone’s rules, it never really worked out all that well for me. There was, and will always be, someone who is better at following the rules than me. So, why should I even try.

Maybe I wasn’t eager enough to suck up to someone or wear the knee pads and kiss someone’s ass or suck his dick, figuratively speaking, of course. Maybe I always believed there had to be another way to do things and not feel like you sacrificed your gut instincts to do it. Maybe I believed you should at least like what you see in the mirror every time you wake up and walk into the bathroom.

Maybe.

So, I’ll play along. Up to a point. Then I’ll go back into the margins, unintentionally make my own rules and create. Work in my own little vacuum and only look to outside resources after I share what I’ve been working on with a very small handful of people who I implicitly trust.

Which reminds me… I have to pick up a copy of Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion. For who don’t know him, he wrote One Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s NestSometimes a Great Notion was recommended to me by my writing mentor after he read an excerpt of my work-in-progress, otherwise known as my writing project.

Reading Kesey’s book is research. It’s the same kind of research I did when my mentor recommended very specific books, written by Elmore Leonard, Mickey Spillane, Frank Miller and James M. Cain, for me to read. Kesey’s book has been ordered and I should have it in my hands in a week or two.

Back to the margins I go. Where I am most comfortable. Where I am at my most creative.