This last week has been overwhelmingly positive. I've come to terms with demons that are years old through coming to accept my limits, had nothing but desire to learn about and have fun with people, had a sober mind to help a friend go through a break-up with her girl friend (of which I'm particularly proud) and found some awesome music.
I've also survived chickenpox (which wasn't as bad as people think: just a flu) and had to come home - a place that used to loathe - for treatment, which may have given space to all of the great transformative experience I've had lately. It's the same city steve had so much fun exploring today/yesterday in the IRC, which fills me with joy. Dude, go ahead and drive around Tomsk and Novosibirsk, too! Let me know what you think! Tomsk is much calmer and more narrow than Kemerovo, with a lot of history on its streets, while Novosibirsk is bigger, more urban and modern (though the latter might be my own perception of it: I do love that city).
One of the biggest changes was in how I see other people. Some of you may know a friend used to have, Sveta; we've been friends for two years before breaking up badly: our flaws collided hard and I couldn't take it. This year, I wrote her a message saying how grateful I was for the time we had, given that I've never said it at the time. She responded with the same. Something clicked in my head: that maybe the person I've been demonizing all this while isn't evil at all and it was me who projected my problems onto her, which is what led us to all the trouble we've had. Suddenly, things became clear: she was no longer the demon - just a person trying her best to stay afloat in life, like the rest of us. Made me realize I still wanted to be friends with her because she treated me with kindness and care.
She said she wasn't sure she can let me into her life again - I was, after all, a major source of emotional pain in her life before. It's okay. What matters is that I've finally recognized my own feelings and expressed them openly; whether we become friends again, I'm just glad it happened to me and, hopefully, I was able to mend a couple of bricks of her bridge of life.
Which is another thing I came to realize: the past isn't merely gone - it builds a bridge that we walk on. Conflicts, when left unresolved, crumble and corrode the bricks of which it's built. We affect each others' bridges when we enter people's lives, and by leaving anger in their lives, we corrode the bricks. An apology, then, is mending another person's bridge - and, perhaps, your own; to mend another's bridge is an achievement, and if you are the source of the damage - a duty.
One of the biggest challenges lately has been losing weight. I took up this rather extreme meal plan to get rid of the belly. It was fun the first couple of days because of the challenge of not eating, and I also tried to do "cardio trim" alongside, but soon my strength, both of body and mind, deteriorated to the point where I could no longer sustain the exercise or have any will to do anything, in obvious contrast with the week prior. I guess the effect's supposed to be drastic, otherwise nothing would happen, but this is a lot; I took a day off it today, to figure out how to proceed. My motivation is that I can't wear my usual white shirt until I trim the fat - and, given how damn good I look in it, it's a strong motivator for me.
Moving to Tomsk tomorrow, partly for uni, mostly because I'm full with what this house has to give me.
And to finish with some awesome music...
Zvenit Yanvarskaya Viuga is a cover of a classic Soviet film soundtrack by the Italian pop-rock band Vanilla Sky. It hit the Italian charts a couple of years ago like a hurricane, and I'm so glad to finally find it myself, because it sounds awesome. There's a snippet of the original in the beginning of the clip.
Prisencolinensinaincuisol is a song from another Italian artist, Adriano Celentano. He may not be as known in the rest of Europe or in the US, but he was popular as an actor in Russia during my childhood. The song is a nonsense verse that means to imitate the sound of American English to an Italian ear; if you turn off your language recognition, you can hear something distinctly American there sometimes. The second video is the modern remix by Benny Benassi, featuring old Celentano in a background role.
We had our first class in there last night. Coats were hung on coat hooks I had hung five minutes previously. The person running the class had my phone number for two days to coordinate everything she might need; instead she showed up half an hour after she said she would and expected I could make it all work. And I did. But it's galling - "Yeah, I've never been here before, or met you before, and the last time my organization stopped by the sheetrock had just gone up I'm sure you can make my three hours of powerpoint and Youtube videos work just fine, especially if I give you half an hour, despite the fact that I've been forewarned the internet is spotty I'm sure you can work it out."
And then my wife showed up and then I took the kid home and then she got home at eleven. I'm on my 3rd or 4th 10-11-12 hour day on this fucker. Monday night was two hours naked knee-deep in lukewarm water scraping blue protectant off a tub. Yesterday, on the other, was easier... but I discovered that the tub they were 3 weeks late in delivering (thereby setting us back 3 weeks) is a factory 2nd with a massive chip in it that will spread if I can't get it fixed. So that made me happy.
The difficulty is the minute that class got there, it was abundantly clear that I don't belong. Nobody in the birth community says "husband" because it's offensive. We're all "partners." And we're all "supportive" and we're all expected to get out of the way so they can focus on women's mysteries. Except during the birth where the philosophy is basically "thou art thy partner's bitch who is suffering more than you can ever know to bring about the miracle of life you're lucky we let you in the room worm now help your master breathe!"
So what I'm left with is I've spent like three years building a business in an industry actively hostile to my gender, that will never have anything to do with me, and which resents my participation. I am a fish building an airplane. It's a fuckin' P-51 Mustang to be sure but I still got gills, you know? The only thing I get out of it is gratitude from my wife, and despite spending the better part of two days cleaning and tidying and polishing that place I was denied any reaction from her last night because god forbid we speak too loudly to interrupt the class.
I realized yesterday that while I've been maintaining social media channels for two years and organizing ad campaigns and infographics and all the rest, I've never once mentioned the birth center on my own Facebook page.
This is really the only place I talk about it.
That probably says something.