Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

Archive for the tag “alienation”

The Paperback is OUT!

At long last THE PAPERBACK OF THE SPIRIT OF FLYING IS HERE!!!  And what a long strange at times completely exhausting trip it’s been!
My labour of love – I hope you enjoy reading it.

Currently available in the UK on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1v0tQUL
And in the USA  http://amzn.to/1uHjSFr

Phineas the thumb-cat inspects the very first copy of the bookbook!

Phineas the thumb-cat inspects the very first copy of the bookbook!

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Introverted adventure to Malinalco

I recently went to Mexico’s quirky capital, D.F.– Distrito Federal – on business and decided to tag on some writing time and make it a two in one, just for me. Going on my own was not the original plan, it just happened that way.
I’d forgotten how enjoyable and liberating it can be travelling on your own; doing what I want when I want, no one to take into consideration, no wondering if your companion is bored, or being bored myself with other peoples choices. No fears over missing out; I can relax in the evening with a book back at the hotel room, rather than feel irritated and overloaded in a bar; a compromise to a travelling companion who thinks we should go out; it’s what people do on holiday isn’t it… No packed days of stuff that you have to do or fit in, just a couple of ideas and see where I end up. A lot of cosy bookshops and cafés then…!

Random cafe in Mexico City

Random cafe in Mexico City

I’ve been asked a lot how I found out about Malinalco, or Mali as the locals called their picturesque little mountain town. Happenstance is how. I was in a hurry so I ran into the bedroom, grabbed my Mexico travel book, threw it on the kitchen table in passing en route to the toilet… Out of curiosity looked I looked where it had opened when it landed, read it and thought that sounds good, why not head there? So I did and it was lovely. Truly beautiful.
During the week it was a tranquil, relaxed haven with Wednesday market being a film-makers dream. So much so it felt out of integrity to take photos of all the traditionally dressed up traders with their wares and handmade crafts, come from all the little villages and towns around for the day.
Roll around Friday and the week-enders arrive; hotels and guest-houses fill up, the amount of shops and restaurants triple and the town centre becomes party-central until the wee hours of the morning. Time your visit to suit your recharging needs.

2014-08-20_17-34-53_116Going away to write did not work out quite as I had imagined for a variety of reasons. I missed my husband and the cats yes, that was expected.

Part of me wanted too much to explore to be disciplined. Where we live there is little or nothing I haven’t already done countless times, so being in a new and beautiful setting with wild rambling walks and culture at my fingertips, I wanted it all; Inspiration, experiences, nature, exercise. Though I wouldn’t consider myself a nature person, I do like the absence of other humans and the company of trees and other pretty greenery. Add to that an Aztec temple, museums, and lots of craft shops.
To just lock myself in a room (which I chose specifically because it had a desk instead of a tv) or sit on the balcony, felt a bit like ignoring a buffet when you’re starving – dumb and counter-productive. It also made me feel too weird and judged, though I don’t expect anyone actually took any notice.2014-08-22_10-29-55_164

There was also the old pressure stalking me, ready to pounce… Others may hunt down all the sights for great shots to show friends back home, and to sustain themselves whilst saving up for their next adventure. I’ve realized I travel in search of spiritual connections, in the hope of encountering soul family. I look, I search, even though I know the futility of it all. I can’t help myself. My fear is what if “they” are here and I miss them because I didn’t “make the effort” and “push myself”.
That fear drives me on. I wander aimlessly, perusing, observing, smiling, trying to relax, be approachable. While part of me wants to scream at my soul creator come on, darn it! Something, someone. Make my effort worthwhile! Someone approach me for a change, strike up a conversation. We don’t have to become bff, just ten minutes of meaningful conversation, a connection, a spark of light and glimmer of hope at the end of a solitary tunnel, that the loneliness (not to be confused with solitude) won’t last forever. That it’s not the life sentence I’m beginning to fear.

For someone as introverted and highly sensitive as myself it is a truly horrible pressure to force yourself to “go out and meet and talk to people” because I think I should, but I have yet to find another way to make friends. Noone’s ever come knocking on my door saying “I heard you were in town, I’ve been expecting you. Want to go for a coffee?” and turned into a fast friend.
Just because I’m introverted does not mean I don’t want friends. It just means I’m not interested in what I call extrovert-fun; the bars, clubs, noisy shopping malls and crowded parties. It could mean walks, coffees, lunches, small groups or one on one.

View from the Aztec Temple

View from the Aztec Temple

Lastly it was the am I getting x pesos worth out of this day, x being the cost of the basic hotel-room and food etc. It goes something like this; if I’d been filling notepad after notepad with pages and pages of inspired prose of the kind that barely needs editing, then yes. Heck yes. As it were, I got some good character studies that no doubt will come in handy later when fleshing out the population in my current novel with personality traits and quirks that make them fascinating characters. But nothing near what I had hoped for.

When I started writing Andino Andina the writing flowed. It was a magnificent stream of inspiration and consciousness a writer – any writer – dreams of. Writing at it’s most enjoyable. I wrote for hours, not even pausing to eat, until my hand was all cramped up after some seven hours that I had to continue with my other hand, which is considerably less easy on the eye.

Knowing I only had enough funds for a few days and not producing “enough” to justify the expense to myself, I booked my ticket back home.
I then asked myself what I needed most; more culture nourishment or more nature (both being in short supply where we live) and decided on another 24 hours in DF, rather than listening to another night of bad karaoke while trying to focus and squeeze coherent sentences out of my pen somehow.
It turned out to have been a wise choice. I spent hours in the hazy sunshine topping myself up with the delicious coffee and warm atmosphere at the Mono Azul, watching the hang gliders high above, before catching a colectivo to the bus station in a neighboring town and bus back to the big city.

Coffee at Mono Azul before leaving Malinalco

Coffee at Mono Azul before leaving Malinalco

And that is where I met some truly lovely people; on the microbus, among them the flyers I’d been watching from below, making their way back up the mountain for another flight. It was wonderful to be really seen, in the moment. I have a honest interest in flying of any kind and if I go back I’ll definitely consider a tandem. They in turn showed a genuine interest in me and my writing. We didn’t swap email addresses or anything; it was not one of those meetings. But I came away with a smile on my face that lasted, even in the pouring rain, for the rest of the day.
Or maybe that was the sweet, wild strawberries I’d filled my thermos-flask with and shared with the hotel porter and the cleaner 😉

Until next time,
Catpaw

Torn Away

I’ve just spent weeks, months even, with all these people; friends, family. We’ve been working, laughing, playing together. Now – they’re all gone. In less than a minute. I don’t even know if I’ll ever see them again in this lifetime. That we will meet again, in another time and place, is not much comfort right now.

It is as if they have fallen off the face of the planet, or been swallowed up by an earthquake. Now it’s just me again. And I have to learn to live with that fast, get on with it.

I feel disoriented, bereft, torn away.

 

When I open my mouth to try to tell my husband what I’m feeling – I burst into tears.

As I cry – the memories of this whole life existence fades. All in one night. All that “really” happened was that I woke up, to the noise of the gas-truck blaring, not any natural disaster.

My body feels heavy with grief, still.

 

Later it made me think of a particular episode of Startrek Next Generation, the one where Captain Picard awakes to find himself living in a small village where he is a well-known member of the community who is suffering from a delusion of being a starship captain. Thus stranded, thirty years lived, all in 20-25 minutes according to Riker.

I feel like this a lot of the time, as if my memories of my “real” life away from this planet are just out of reach most of the time, but very certain that living as a human on this planet, at this time, on this planet, is some kind of interlude. Unlike Picard, who retains his memories clearly from his life on-board the Enterprise, mine are a lot more hazy.

 

Still the feeling of looking for my life in this existence, for meaning. Knowing without the shadow of a doubt that the basics of existence will never satisfy me. That is like only having one book to read after living in a library; never travel – even curtsey of discovery or history channels; just grow your own vegetable garden and never again set foot in an exotic restaurant; never leave your village or town ever again; same people, same conversations, same gossip, day in, day out. That just is not me.

I don’t know how to squeeze myself into such a small life when I know there is so much more out there.

 

A bit like Rose Tyler trying to describe what can not be put into words in this short clip from Dr Who:

 

Startrek; The next generation:  Series 5, Episode 25,  The Inner Light.

Not long after the Enterprise approaches an unknown buoy or satellite, Captain Picard falls unconscious on the bridge. He awakens in a village where he is married but also something of a village eccentric who thinks he is a spaceship captain by the name of Picard. His wife Eline tries to soothe him and his good friend Batai does not judge him. He lives a full life, has children and grows old. The planet he is on is dying however, suffering from a long and seemingly permanent drought. On board the Enterprise, the crew does its best to revive their unconscious captain but to no avail.

The dusk and dawn

 

The dusk and dawn

 

When the worlds overlap so slightly

is when the pain of separation

is at it’s most intense.

I never looked at it that way

I only knew it hurt

but I couldn’t work out why

I’d been just fine five minutes before

just like for me in 3d

I often don’t realize how much I miss something

until reminded

by having it once more

a blessing in itself, in disguise

So at dusk the pain of separation from

my soul family is so palpable

because of those on the other side

are cloaked but near.

It hurts so bad I never made the connection

I never thought that’s what it was

tho now,

when I compare the two

missing someone who has passed over

or longing for someone who is away

I can see they are one and the same for me.

 

So here I am subconsciously thinking I’m travelling and

moving the world over

in search of my souls cherished companions

where I need first to explore

and know intimately

the Pain of Separation.

And I know how to be a stranger

just as I know how to pack up and move.

Years of temping taught me how to pick up and fit in

without ever being noticed.

To the next place, and the next…

Many times I wanted to stay

mostly for the camaraderie I witnessed

but it was not to be

and anyway, I was always too soul restless for that.

I’d spend a year with the same group and

the itchy feet would start

Like watching from the sidelines

the echoes of voices

the same lines

over

and over

and over…

When I got a close fit

they’d disappear out of my life

often without a trace

no explanation, no closure

and the confusion and question-marks would hurt so much

sometimes instant,

other times time would trickle away

and they’d be irrevocably gone.

Too late to grieve like for a lover lost

but I guess I grieved on the inside instead

the tears I never shed

the dull pain never identified as such

the missing unvalidated.

Never enough to hold me in one place

when I needed to move on

in search of

and exploring it’s counterpart

when it starts to get comfortable

like ants all over

unbearable

I’m subconsciously urged to move on

by boredom at work

of fear of stagnation.

To stay in a stale job one needs very special colleagues

or a fulfilling life outside of work.

A fulfilling job can equally accommodate

an empty personal life.

Mine was rich on the inside

whilst empty on the outside…

I wanted the inspiring career from day one

to make up for the empty feeling inside and

later to cover up for my lack of success in attracting all I thought I ought to have

I don’t know if it would have made me happy or not

since I never got the experience.

 

Then I came here

I reckoned I’d moved for every other reason bar love

so I thought why not try that.

Actually, that was an afterthought

It wasn’t so much of a choice

as it was a a road with no turnoffs…

No matter how much it pained me to leave

my friends, the job I loved, the car of my dreams

I knew with every fiber of my being

I was doing the right thing.

And so the next phase of my life began.

For a while all the bits of my crazy life made perfect sense.

 

It certainly stepped up the feelings of alienation in a way I had not foreseen. I had expected because I was on the right track at last to quickly make new friends. It didn’t happen that way. Spanish turned out to be just as impossible to get the hang of as it was at college, and I found myself surrounded by women of all ages with babies on the brain and not much else; tourists in search of sun and an escape from their everyday life, problems and worries; and men fuelled largely by beer and tacos.

As the friends I had made left one by one and work dried up, the layers of the onion deepened.

 

My friend Jacquie once said when I was new to Park Gate and feeling low about it, that it takes about a year to make real friends in a new place, and I’ve found that to be my truth too. It’s been almost six years now and here I am, mainly alone, acquaintances aside.

Every other year I encounter someone I feel is close friend material for sure

only to never hear from them again.

 

I don’t know how much deeper into this onion I have to go

or what I’m supposed to do.

What I know is I’m not aligned with much on this island anymore.

I’m not interested in drinking, smoking, bullshitting and bar-hopping. I’ll never have any interest in babies, kids or the soaps on tv.

The sand and the palmtrees on the beaches does not make up for the absence of other things nature wise. I need personal space and will never be comfortable living the way many Mexicans do, on top of eachother and in and out of eachothers pockets and space all the time. 14000 residents plus tourists on 3 square miles of buildable land is too densely populated for me, with more people arriving every week, and soon every foot of land will be covered by concrete in one form or another. I’d like to live somewhere where alcohol is not the main fuel of the economy.

But I only have to look at my husband of almost 5 years now to know I got the man right!  I wouldn’t change him for the world.

 

So now I know

what that dusk and dawn feeling I’ve always dreaded is.

I feel at peace and easeful, for a little while.

I give the kitties a good brushing because they love it and

passers by smile at me and I find myself smiling back,

right here, right now.

 

So where do I take it from here

or where does this take me more like?

I don’t know.

 

Do I care? In the now, no.

If I let myself go to the future, yes definitely.

How much should we allow ourselves to dwell on the future?

I don’t have an answer for that right now.

I don’t want to go there.

Because I am here

and I like to stay in the moment for now.

 

 

10 April 2013

(c) Catpaws Cafe, Liz Rosales.

Solitude matters, and for some people it’s the air that they breathe (Susan Cain)

Thank you Susan Cain for your talk on Ted that was brought to my attention by an equally introverted fb friend, Rue Hass.  It came very timely after I wrote this last night, in my head, and on paper this morning.

 

 

Waiting for the body to grow up and clarity of mind to dawn

to know where to go

when what you like is not good enough

& you’re good at everything except what counts……

 

 

If I am the only one

who can see –

– is it really so?

If there is no

confirmation

to be found in the

outside world

Am I just too early

or is it all a delusion?

A ruse of what is a possibility

destined to never actually be

there being noone who knows

how to nurture it

least of all me.

 

Over and over the drumming was heard

and the choir of 99% chimed in.

The last percent was busy doing

what I should have been doing

playing for fun.

 

Now I look around the bar

in a place where if you don’t work behind one

people want to be in one

drinking and enjoying

your self?

In the crush of other people

the noise almost deafening

I don’t want to shout and shout and lip-read.

Snatches of sentences

words without meanings

whatever I want to convey

shortened almost beyond recognition and

crammed into something of fewest words possible

what can be yelled at an other

conversation in tatters

I don’t want to wince every time the speakers hit another tinny high

every time the once boy now supposedly grown up who spent weeks and weeks learning to

make that piercing awful sound

more suited for a footie match.

It adds an other discordant note to the ones already

ringing in my ears.

 

I keep doing this to myself.

This is what people enjoy,

this is what they do for fun,

a voice whispers in my head.

I feel so odd

so alien to this side of the human race

coz I can’t help longing to be somewhere else.

I keep doing this

going out to join the others

trying to be part of

rather than removed from

trying to be a human and in some small part fit in.

Thinking

hoping

sometimes in the past even praying

that at some point

the switch in me will flip &

it will become fun, enjoyable.

I’m still waiting.

 

Back when I was still expected to be a sheep

all at once

nothing and everything.

All lived under the life draining law of Jante

that would attempt to grind any and all aspirations

out of us

‘for our own good’

and ‘to prevent disappointment’.

So the flock still runs

like flocks everywhere do

multiplying

baaaaahahahaha.

And the one who supposedly broke free

still feels wing clipped and

the chains dragging behind

wondering if it is too late to

learn to fly!

gain overall views

soaring high above the ground

the wind on my face and beneath my

stubby wings.

 

I get lost

trying to find myself

I get lost

trying to find my way back to myself

i get myself lost in

what could I have been?

my wind reduced to a restless rodent.

 

I tell myself

Let it go

let it all go

digging around in yesterdays

isn’t going to move me

upwards and onwards,

just act like quicksand

for my spirit.

Invisible tethers

for the eagle I long to be.

 

Being a shaman is a bit like being a unicorn in a herd of horses, one get’s judged as a defective horse. (Bear Heart)

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