The Lesbian Sisyphus Myth …or Reality?

Lately, despite some little efforts, I’ve been struggling  with my worst enemy:myself. Some phantoms were coming back, some ghost of my past, some unsolved family issues, everything came back just when I thought things were getting better after moving.

I was feeling very lonely yesterday, so I called my Swedish friend and I went to her place.I told her I was alone and she invited to come over.She welcomed very well, as usual, and when I called her I was feeling kind of confused. I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to talk. But I think I was feeling too overwhelmed, after the gay pride and have done a public came out. So, we started talking and she said “we need to know the way to find you friends”. She pulled a piece of paper and start asking me questions “what ages would you like to choose?””what kind of type would you like to meet? intellectual?” I don’t know how I said it but I did. I told her I’m gay. She is getting closer to the 70’s and is an active member or the Unitarian Church, my church. She said ” I thought the partner you were talking about all the time was a male”. I apologized and I said I didn’t know how to tell her. And after I said “do you want me to leave?” “no, no” she replied. “There is nothing wrong with being gay”. I felt relieved but awkward. She suggested to join groups at the Ottawa University but I said after a conference you live the place with empty hands, nothing happens, you don’t develop any kind of friendship. So, the idea to join a political party came out. Well, I don’t know how to meet people here but I’m sure in a noisy bar won’t be my thing. I said “there is nobody of my age” She said “of course they are, some people break up too”. She is an accountant and told me she had many gay clients. So she knew a lesbian couple they broke up but now my friend is retired. I can’t believe she knew more people that I’m.

I left her place and again that sensation of having left  a burden behind and at the same time, another burden ready to be hold. I went home, I felt sad, it wasn’t late yet. I watched some episodes of Breaking Bad and sleep came in 1 hour.

I went to work, it was a long day since no invoices were coming, too long day. I came home earlier. No emails, nobody to talk on Skype. I was sneaking some Facebook profiles, checking with envy how some of them enjoying time with family and friends. But this afternoon was to hard and heavy for me. I went again to Gatineau, like a dog dreaming of his favorite bone. I went to see my ex. I mean, to park the car outside her place and waiting. That part of town has changed, more shopping centers, more places to spend your money. I stayed there for a couple of minutes. She wasn’t there, I guess she was with her girlfriend. I think she spent time the weekend at her place.

Lenny Kravitz song was on my car singing a love song….and I was thinking of Sisyphus myth that for me is a reality. The big stone downhill is my past which is something that I know perfectly, my only reference, something I got used to. The mountain is the relationship or even part of my life, the life I had in that relationship, the stone, my ex, my comfort zone?, past that is crashing down again and again and again. Probably my past is more comfortable, plain of regrets, something I know perfectly, something will not hurt me anymore, but I hurt it.

The stone can be many things, too many, too heavy, the myth is a reality….I’m trying to get out of that pattern…the pain is like a woman giving birth, like a Yakuza been cut his little finger, like an immigrant alone in a strange town.

 

 

 

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Gay Pride 2012

I went to the Gay Pride 2012 in Ottawa, my new city. I took several pictures but from another perspective, so that means, they aren’t that good like years before, why? Because this year I marched!

The parade started at 1pm, but I didn’t want to lose parking space in downtown. I arrived at 11.15am and I was killing time in one of the benches at Bank street. I was waiting also to a Shawarma restaurant open for having at early lunch. In the meantime, an Arab guy passed me by at looked very very weirdly. He did that twice, it was uncomfortable but well, what you expect when you’re sitting near the Comic Book Store, so many weird people were around too. Gay fashion Summer gays were walking down the street. Sure, you want a good spot to see the parade.

I stopped at Tim Horton’s for lunch, in fact a sandwich breakfast. I sat near the windows and outside there was Miss Leather Ottawa 2011, a beautiful black woman, wearing leather clothes and her whip. She was waiting for his friend, she pulled out a lighter from in between her breasts. I miss an opportunity to take a picture with her.

A young transgender passed by after, slim and tall, wearing no bras, she was cute, I noticed she with hormones because of her skin and breasts were from a teenager. At this point it was almost noon. So time to go to concentration point were all gay groups were gathering and start the gay pride.

I was walking and suddenly I was thinking…I’m going to be out but very out, people will take pictures of me, will people recognize me? I got a bit nervous but not that much. The concentration point was Confederation Park, that looked like dump park. I saw people decorating cars, balloons everywhere, I saw the leather group passed my by, and at the same time I was looking for the Federal Employees group. I wanted to march with them. I didn’t find it but then almost at the end, I recognize a face. A lesbian from Unitarian Church alone and waiting. I said hi and she said she was waiting for more people, she was the only one. I was feeling uncomfortable, I never got along with her or her wife. I asked for her baby, who is 7 months, she told me probably they will come to the parade too. To be honest, I didn’t care, I just asked those question because….as Sheldon says “social convention says so”. It was awkward, again, the phenomena of “if you don’t belong to a group, you’re outside”. I was writing a memo on my phone and I looked around she was talking on her phone too….so, I left without saying anything.

Just some meters away I found the group I wanted to march with. Sarah was there, the fatty founder leader with Johnatan. The banner with the Logo was almost ready. Our number #42, the Church was #84. Johnatan gave a Chinese umbrella, the had several from their grandparents, so smelled old but it was very fancy. A mini van came, the Forces of Canada would march with us too. I spoke to the Captain, who was originally from Russia, he was telling me he went to the Toronto Parade and Army gave them a jeep. Well, I guess in the capital for budget issues the mini van was a good option. Johnatan knew all men around, from the runners groups, the rugby group, the swimming group etc etc etc. All of them were from the same range age, over 45 years old. That was the most interesting thing. In general, the gay population in Ottawa is very young, most of them belong to University groups like Ottawa U or Carlenton U, Jewish group and so other I couldn’t see because I was in my spot not that free to get around.

At 1 the parade started to move slowly. I think we walk like 2 kilometers. Another girl came for the parade in our group. How many cat were marching for the Federal Employees Group? Just 4 cats, the minivan was behind us and another soldier, came later, so, the Forces were 2. Most Federal employees don’t want to be involved in public events, they prefer the suburb life and be out of trouble. Is being gay a problem? Could be, depending who your manager is or what position you have. But I this point of my life I wanted to live the live that I want.

I was holding the extreme of the left banner with my left hand and the right one the Chinese umbrella. A girl from X-tra magazine took a picture of me. Another guy with a huge camera took another pic of me. Officially out!.

We were marching slowly, what a feeling. You feel almost famous and at the same time invisible. I was wearing sunglasses, temperature was 31c and even more I think, I was saying to everybody Happy Pride people don’t look at you, they avoid eye contact, just few in that big crowd really looked at me. Some members of the Church were watching this spectacle, I recognize one from Sweden, the girl marching with us asked me “do you know her? I said “yes, she’s from Church” And she replied “so now you’re really out!”

In front of us, at the beginning, the aboriginal gay group was marching, with aboriginal instruments singing what? aboriginal songs….after, the Pride Parade crew stopped us and  the Great Canadian Theater bus was playing very gay music. What a difference. I felt blessed for this music. They were throwing candies and chocolates. Us? no budget. In fact, Johnatan told me he was affected with the cuts at the government. He’ll know if he’ll be out in September when things become official. Sarah, I forgot to asked her and the other girl, she told me she was affected but probably in the second round could be.

At Bank street I saw a lesbian couple from Church and they hugged me. I felt great.  I asked the girl to hold the banner because my arm was exhausted, and guess what she said “actually I don’t” I wanted to kill her, Sarah couldn’t holder either because a problem with her arm, but at the end, Johnatan exchanged with Sarah and the other girl with me. So the rest of the parade was cool for me, playing with my umbrella and saying Happy Pride to people who didn’t care at all.

The parade ended in a big gathering. There was a stage, many communitarian groups. Again, too many young kids around. A woman was staring at me from far. I got scared, I thought she was my ex, but false alarm, but she was beautiful. I don’t know if somebody found interesting but I felt alone in all the crowd. Sarah left and the other girl disappeared. I got a headache it was too hot. On stage Apocalipstick was playing. Not that bad, I hope they don’t have copyright troubles because there’s another group in Los Angeles with that name, and they’re tough girls. When I left the place, more and more people were coming. I decided to go home and take a cold shower. I deserved, my headache was becoming more serious, so I grabbed the car and went home. I drank a couple of liters of water. I hugged my cat and I was happy to have done a crazy thing. Conclusion, this town is almost taken for a new gay lesbian generation, the young ones, some radicals, some more adventurous, old school were almost nonexistent. Of course, they’re in couple or already married with kids living the suburban lifestyle that now gay people can deserve. I didn’t see many old people in 30’s or 40’s, more of 50’s I’d say….getting a bit out of the picture. Funny, how you, being a minority member can be excluded from another minority group. But, at least I’m trying what a normal gay do, trying to fit…trying and trying.

Gaybash and The Cirque Bizarre

The Gay Pride started. Well, started like 1 week ago but I just decided to go to see The cirque bizarre, a burlesque group from Ottawa at the same time, DJ Caswell, from NY would play that night. And that night was yesterday.

In my mind, or logically speaking, I thought the Cirque would perform at some point at night. I arrived almost 10pm. The bouncer a butch and a guy were on the front, I asked the butch if I could buy ticket right now, she said it was ok. It’s incredible, how this kind of discomfort between dykes butches happens….unbelievable…avoiding looks . One of the girls disguised with a hat and what I thought was underwear shouting through my ear 15$. Yes, the party what that noisy, the decibels could have killed any bacteria around. There weren’t many people, of course, it was early but I’m not younger anymore I wake up for going to work at 6am. All people were around 25 and even younger. The are was like a weird square, so, they decided to put like 2 bars one in front of the other and in between, tables and chairs. In the front, a small space for dancing, the scenario where the turntable was and some portable toilets in one side. There was also a mini giant scream projecting some images of black people swinging, extracts of movies of 70’s, where girls style Victoria Principal or Rachel Wells in leotards, were doing aerobic choreographic dancing. At some point, there were extracts of porno movies of 70’s. Can you imagine the code dress? Can you guess what kind of gay profile were in the party?….yes, DJ Caswell and his crew from NY love Americal Apparel style. At moment of night what I noticed the most was the high quantity of crew from Montreal and NY were there. I mean, at some point more than people who bought actually tickets for the event.

When I arrived there was DJ female that I don’t know her name and I don’t want to know it either. Her style was techno cheap, some tunes with cumbia style, reggaton, ok, she was latino I guess. Awful for me, I prefer DJ Tiesto. Some Caswell crew went to the scenario, rolling on the floor, open her legs obviously in a sexual position. Most of their crew were wearing heels, dancing was challenging but funny. When I was looking at this, there were just one gay couple, 3 women, a butch…all young. I must admit I went a bit formal, I had the look I left the office after have seen the Assistant Deputy Minister. Well, I looked fashion. And I was dying to see the Cirque Bizarre performance.

I was sitting in the couch that looked like a big red lips, very comfortable, there were two other couches high- heels-shoes look like. It was also like a photo studio. The photographer was on wheelchair. Small, long hair and skinny. He had a Nikon super pro camera. His assistant, and older guy, were moving the lamps and flashes.

I’m still listening that DJ female and her horrible set, that reminded me Morrissey and that part of his song “hang the DJ, hang the DJ”,  I really wanted to hang her . When I was looking at the stage, photoman came to talk to me “how are you? are you having fun?” I found this nice of him. I introduce myself shouting and he showed me his pictures. He’s name is Steve and is a freelance photographer…I think if I get married I’m going to hire him, he’s bloody good. I saw his pictures and photo compositions, man, he’s a pro. He was dancing too despite the wheelchair.

One assistant got totally naked, photoman took picture of him and his friends. Also, some Caswell crew came to take pictures. Funny the way they dress also, full body tattooed. A second DJ went to stage, this time music was decent. More people were dancing, more people arrived, more young people, few young girls coming.

I have forgotten how kinky people can be in the gay environment. I saw a young guy with an older bear, another guy caressing his friend’s butts. You can imagine when they started dancing. I was dancing a bit it’s just with my knee injured I felt my feet were glued on the ground.

At 1 am, finally, Cazwell appeared. His started very powerful but then like 15 secs of silence, there was a technical problem, music came back after. It was great and it was time to go to bed. I was tired and I had to walk like 10 min to get to parking. But tomorrow is gay pride march, so let’s see what happens this time….I don’t thing the love of my life is or will be in a improvised disco space. And I hope she likes DJ Tiesto.

 

 

 

Summer Almost Gone

Last Saturday was my final exam of Communications I, no idea how I did but I think I passed. It’s my second month in the capital so far…I’m still getting stable in the financial side. I found a “cheap” car insurance, cheap for the Ontarian standards, the total is $1174, something like $100 per month. If you remember, probably you don’t, some quotes were of    $2000 and even $3000 per year. Because my lack of experience, I got only like 3 years…it was a real bless to have it.

I paid the phone bill, the internet and I’m just waiting for Hydro which I suspect it’s going to be a bit higher for being my first invoice. I started physio but today the therapist called sick, usually I go twice per week and I’m waiting for my insurance to pay me back. So, as you see, for one person, this can be heavy.

Last week I almost had a panic attack. Sometimes after work, when I’m home, alone, with nothing to do, I got nervous. Happily, I didn’t have the attack but it was closer. A friend of mine in France asked to change my diet, stop coffee (clean for 2 weeks now) and I’m taking St-John’s pills, kind of natural relaxing medicine. Also, another friend from France asked to see my therapist which I haven’t seen for almost 2 months. Honestly, I didn’t want to see her. What for? to talk about this again? I know the answers and I didn’t want to hear them again. It was too much what I was living at that moment. My mother’s birthday was coming and since we had a very bad and twisted relationship (she doesn’t accept very well my homosexuality) I chose not to talk to her. Every year when I phone her for Christmas or Mother’s day, she is always indifferent, treats me if I was nothing and at some point I didn’t see why I should I call her this year. But I think despite I say to myself it doesn’t affect me….it does in a indirect way. I talked about that to the therapist, I said everything about the physio, the possibility of surgery on my knee the MRI. I felt empty after that, but something inside my chest was burning…some tears escaped….and finally the therapist “what are you going to do to change that?” I knew she would say that, I don’t have the answer. I’m trying to do activities without success and school is getting to my nerves. I was feeling calm and relaxed in the chair, I liked the silence of her office. I think that silence that for me was sacred for her was uncomfortable and she tried to talk to me. She said “you seem depressed”. I just picked my bag and I said before leaving “yes, I’m depressed”.  It was a waste of time, at least she has her money and me…not sure if I was depressed or too tired and exhausted to do this mental, physical and geographical move in all senses. When I was sick the week of the pseudo panic attack I felt totally hopeless, alone and lying on my bed. I got scared. I remember a friend of mine in Peru, he told me once having friends has a utilitarian objective. I understand much better now what he was talking about. I didn’t stay in her office because when she said “you seem depressed” I figured…”oh no, now she’s going to say to take pills” bullshit, being alone and having social difficulties to interact with people, pills won’t help or solve the problem. This town is a sum of ghettos. You family can be a ghetto, your friends from school and all people you knew when you were a kid. This physical and cultural abstraction, to have been taken from my homeland to move in Quebec and now in Ontario….wooow, too heavy for just one body and 2 shoulders.

Yesterday, I had my MRI in my pelvis, in fact, I got 2 big fibroids and the gynecologist asked for that test, that I waited like 7 months to be booked. I wasn’t painful but noisy and uncomfortable. The put me headphones to protect me from noise and I had to keep my respiration several times. The noise sequences were between 15sec until 5 minutes. I got a bit claustrophobic when I got inside the tube. They put me and injection that left my mouth with a metal taste. And there I was, feeling bombarded by noise and just a voice telling me “take a big breath, hold it in” some secs later “breath again”. I waited like 20 minutes after just in case if a reaction could happen. I asked after if I could see the pictures, the girl told “for confidentiality reasons we can’t show you the pictures, ask your doctor”….damn, it’s my body after all, I wasn’t asking for her opinion, just curious to see the big fibroid in 3D (big one is like 28cm long).

And that’s pretty much my Summer, with some weeks too hot, paying bills and …still alone.

Painful Physio

Yesterday was my first physio assessment. My Swedish friend recommended me this place and this guy. When I arrived to the place it was a war zone. They were doing renovations which made see things smaller, dirtier and chaotic. The receptionist wasn’t that friendly as many other I bumped in Ottawa. Am I complaining about the customer service here in 613 region? Of course, until now I haven’t found a nice one.

If you have seen those war movies where there are several beds, one after other, with a hallway created for the bed separations, people moving machines between them and trying to cross at the same time, obviously, without success….that is clinic I went.

The Dr or Physiotherapist looked more like a Hawaiian guy than Philippine one. A bit taller than me and fatty but muscles in his legs, with blond fake hair and hyper talkative.  My Swedish friend was the person who told me he was Philippine, but anyways there I was, in a third-world-look-like centre.

I have to wait like 15 min. and finally came. He checked my both knees. I got a condition. I got flexible joints, like the contortionist, which is not very normal and not very helpful when you get older. I explained I hear a crack on my right knee side but eventually the pain moved to the other side. He said the fluids inside the knee moves and the sensation of pain can move as well. He found that knee a bit loose compared with the left one. He also said seemed like a ligament was torn but that I have to wait for the MRI. Probably a sport medicine doctor should take another look. Since I got this flexibility condition is hard to say if the ligament is torn or if could be heal only with physio. But even with an operation, I need to exercise my squads muscles in order to prepare me for the surgery. The Dr. was showing me his knee, 4 surgeries on the same knee, he looked proud, like a soldier showing his war scars. He said he didn’t feel any pain at all. The scars were small ones, between 4 and 7 cm.

I did some exercises with a ball, with a rubber cord, with a machine, on the floor, against the wall and so on. And believe me I felt like an elderly old chick. I felt exhausted. I realize I can do those exercises and more at home but also at the gym. I great opportunity to go, I’ve been procrastinating this idea for…years. I wish I could grab my bike but I’m still scared of doing more damage than other thing.

I left the place a bit discouraged. The possibility of another surgery and now, been totally sure that my condition of flexible joints, that with time I’ll have more tendency to have this problems, the need of magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and probably the all alphabet of vitamins for the rest of my life made me feel that getting to the 40’s can be more painful and expensive way of living.

 

 

 

Crutches

It’s almost 2 months since I moved here in Ottawa. Adaptation is horribly difficult. All weekends I got the sensation of losing my mind, my temper,my breath. Today I vomited, too much stress and loneliness. Again I couldn’t talk to anybody, just a frustrated call to France and I had to hang up for going to the bathroom to puke.

What exactly is the reason of this reaction? Since last week I realized weekends I don’t go out side my ex’s apartment, I don’t drive that much because I’m closer to all services. That was one of my crutches to kill time the weekends in Hull/Gatineau. I discovered my neighborhood. I saw a prostitute corner of Merivale Road and my avenue. Some others were at Carlingwood area. I visited that zone and it can be rough. I was surprised the way gentrification can developed. In another post I’ll talk more about it.

I got exam next Saturday, my Communications course. I didn’t want to study, I feel tired, I cry all the time because I feel totally lost, alone and I don’t know how to concentrate myself. Every assignment I never get 10 points, only 5. It’s very discouraging. It’s the first time I don’t feel confident about myself. Instead of reading my grammar books I discovered a good book: “Fun Home” written by Alison Bechdel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fun_Home. This story took me a couple of hours to remind my own homosexuality process. She, a dyke, her father, a closet gay and of course, a dysfunctional family as a final product. She mentions several important classic American writers that nobody these days reads.

I think one of the parts I liked the most is when she describe her interest for lesbianism and call it “theoretic homosexuality”, that means, you look into the books and dictionaries the definition of the words homosexual, lesbian, Sappho etc. When I was a high school I remember going to the library and sneaking in the psychology dictionary the word homosexual and suicide. In fact, the word suicide had more priority than other things. Bechdel’s book troubled me more than I though it could do. I’m feeling I’m questioning again my identity but not my homosexuality. My body or the way I see my body, the way I want to be recognized. I must admit I don’t like to be inside a woman’s body, it’s not pleasant at all to me, but with time I got used to it. Got used to it? I think that was the root of the problem. Also, in that book, since she’s a kid, the isolation, despite living in the same house with her mother and specially her father, the main character, she started to develop compulsive behavior like counting drops in the bathtub, or marking overwrite signs in her diary…isolation can be so disturbing and destructive….I’m feeling the same in a different way now. She mentions Marcel Proust, one of French Existentialism wave in literature. Just for the record, this guy at the end became some obsessed with silence that his last days he spent in, what now, we call the psychiatry room, the room with kind of mattress in all 4 walls. He put that in his room in order to write his last novel. Sometimes I become obsessive with noises, I’m very sensitive now, before I wasn’t that bad. But my anxiety is becoming a bit worse. Other thing that happened was….I don’t know how to explain it, Morrissey said “‎”And when I’m lying in my bed, I think about life and I think about death.
And neither one particularly appeals to me” . Yes, I feel exactly the same, I feel I’m in a limbo. I’m not there but I’m. I don’t think, I exist, because of inertia. I feel so empty. How can a person with a job, salary, money in the bank, a car, and the little detail no family or friends at all, can feel that way?  This morning, while I was throwing up, after that, I was almost crawling, petrified on my bed, no number to call, for a moment I thought I should have called the ambulance. I was lost, but the worst, I was completely alone. That was painful.

I’m still having headaches right now. I didn’t have dinner because my stomach is still struggling with lunch. It’s 8.30 pm and there’s still light outside. Tomorrow Monday, I have to start work again. Somehow, I’m glad of that, it keeps me “busy” despite the low level of incoming invoices. Also, last week, my boss announced me I’ll be extended but I don’t know for how long. This situation of being or not being renew is driving me crazy. I moved here and it’s expensive. Losing my job in these conditions would be critical.

How many crutches will I need to survive my new place in Ottawa? 48 hours, a completed weekend…when Friday comes I freak out and I mean it. I become aggressive, intolerant, I don’t want to go out but also I wan to. A total contradiction in me. Something normal I should say. My ex was a clutch, a painful past, but still, a past that belongs to me. Here, I got nothing, I feel I need more but I don’t know how or where to get it.

Sketch Book

I was waiting for that moment since a couple of months. There is an international movement: Dr. Sketchy Anti-Art School. There are everywhere, check in your town. Here in Ottawa they meet 1 per month. So, with a little sketch book that I bought in my weird visit I made to Manotick town and with a pencil, I headed to Mercury Lounge, a nice place in downtown.

The entrance was 10$, not that bad. I didn’t know how the “procedure” was. There were 2 models disguised like Marvel heroes, or heroines. The poses were between 1 min and 20 min. I was a brand new so, I sit at the very end, hiding myself. Well, it’s been like 20 years I haven’t done a sketch.

The funny thing about this group, as soon as people grab their seats, they start sketching the sketchers!. Looking quickly, bending chins, eyes up and down, sketching fast to avoid the “sketcher model” didn’t feel was a casual model.

There were people very skilled.Better than I. Grabbing some beers or alcohol, or sandwich bought at the lounge and sketching. One model was disguised as Fenix, a character from X-Men and the other, no idea. I’m not a Marvel fan, so the experience was fantastic. In fact, I never felt that before, the sensation of pleasure and joy doing sketches. Of course, nobody noticed I was there. I’m still invisible.

There was a little contest: sketch the model and insert the word POW! somewhere. We had 15min. And guess what, I didn’t win but my sketch was chosen as a 2nd best. I was surprised. I’m not that rusty as I thought. Somehow, my idea and goal was to meet people but since everyone was concentrate with the sketching thing all people were staring at their notebooks or iPads. There was a break of 15min but I wasn’t able to talk to anyone. And they seemed to know each other. So complicated to meet people in a new town.

We’re few weeks away from the Ottawa Gay Pride 2010. I’ll be there but I will march with I’m not sure with which group but it’s going to be fun.