Sunday, August 10, 2008

Places That Make Up "Me"

I've lived in a few places at some length, as you know. I got started in Yokohama, Japan; then had two years in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the year JFK was shot I was in Kindy in Tucson, Arizona. I went home and lived in Yokohama, but went to a Catholic convent school in Tokyo for 10 years; when I was 16, I went to a public highs school in Minneapolis and a then private collage in St. Paul. I went home to Yokohama and worked for 14 years, all but the last three years in Tokyo. Then we moved to Auckland, New Zealand for two years, and we've been in little old Nelson for the last 12. In between, I've traveled a little bit, too; most notable to China on my own in '86, Australia in '88 and Scotland in '90 and '03.

Each place and each era had different influences on me; the influences also depended on my age at the time and what I was doing. And all the places and times make up this collection of cells that's known as me; I'm a sample book of sounds, colors, tastes and beliefs of all these places. I'm by no means unique in having lived in many places, (in Nelson, it's excruciatingly difficult to find a Nelsonian who has lived here all his/her life,) but I still seem to not fit so many people's prototypical mold and being told off for not behaving appropriately has been the story of my life, starting with my family, but even by others who have lived in many places. (I've also had friends who appreciated me as an anthropological anomaly.)

So, in my case, my workplace was often my "group"; I identified myself by my workplace, I socialized with the people from my workplace, and I worked hard to try to carry my weight at my workplace.

It's only recently that I discovered Ben to be a true ally; not having had "best" friends in the movie/TV sense, I was always prepared to have Ben disappoint me, or to disappoint Ben, not in the sense of us divorcing, but in the way my family criticizes and disapproves of the way I am. Not a bad thing at 50. And just in time, because I don't have that crucial compass, my workplace.

I am a weaver now, and I love to work alone in my basement. I go into lockdown from time to time when I don't go out and don't talk to anyone but Ben for days and weeks. I know I'm not alone in wanting to be apart from the world and work in solitude, but I hear often enough that it's better for humans to be in touch with other humans, to live in a community.

On days when I laboriously get out of my PJs and go into town to meet up with a friend, I come home elated and inspired, and I renew my appreciation for how big a contribution that particular friend makes in my life. Some of them I met after I've become a weaver and they offer me sincere camaraderie; some knew me in my previous life, and I'm particularly appreciative of these friends' ability to update their understanding of me. With them, there may have been temporary drifts while I was figuring out what I was doing, but the bond now is stronger and more precious. And sadly there are friends who don't see or can't accept I'm a different person from when they met me, (or don't care where I'm at because they are too busy discussing their latest allergies,) but I feel less guilt in distancing myself, because it's important that I stay on track just now.

And then there's you. I don't much care for the term cyberspace, because after all we live on the same Planet Earth, so I don't know how to describe our "place", but I take pride in being a member of our group, and thanks for letting me talk about me-things.

2 comments:

  1. Nice to know that I'm not the only one who has really changed- or at least grown into myself in "maturity" ;-). 10 years ago I had a GIGANTIC social circle, but as I have realised what I really want to be doing (and I've been able to stay mostly away from paid work to do it!) most of that has fallen away and I feel like I barely have time for the very shortlist of friends who I still respond to hails from! I spend as much time alone as I can and love it- I will never have another moment of boredom or aimlessness as long as I live. I often wish I had discovered fibre and especially weaving when I was a kid as it would have been just the ticket for my precocious pree-teen self. I'm nowhere near smart enough now! I'm happy to be allowed to be part of your online 'posse' ;-).

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  2. OK, "Posse".

    A good friend of mine had super hostile reactions from her friends when she turned from social work to performance art. Some were downright insults! I felt so sorry for her because she had no idea what was happening to her, and she spent so much time and effort trying to fix it. I think she's been much too busy/popular to worry about it, I hope, and she has always had lots of musician friends and I know she spends a lot of time with them. Phew!

    And she still has time for me, but I have to book a week ahead.

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