Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

Archive for the tag “cultural differences”

Rootless nomad life

We’re driving around, me and dad. Places I have never seen – not that I’d remember.
Dad tells me there are a lot of artists – and by that he mostly means painters, visual, multi media perhaps – living in this coastal area… He lets the information hang in the air as I say uh-huh or something equally eloquent to signal I’ve heard.

I wonder how they can afford to, with new looking cars parked out front, house and all.

I also wonder where I went wrong.

It is a pretty area, and it doesn’t call to me. at. all. There is no pull. Places look perfectly fine – but I feel nothing.

I wonder if I could live there. I scan the energy and nothing blips. I feel transparent like a ghost. People look cheerful, content even, going about their lives, and I feel no kinship to anything. Secretly I had hoped I would. At last. After all, some of my ancestors lived in the area.

For I don’t care for what gives their life meaning to them. What makes life worth living, or at times enduring. I don’t understand that which makes them tick; family life and after school activities, sports-day, and routines.
And I feel intensely envious and like a giant failure at life. It’s like that part of my software was never installed, not even a factory version. I feel defective or deficient in what they take for granted, the relatability to family life and bringing up children, the natural order of things.

I want so badly to find somewhere I want to stay. I tear at myself, at my mind and my heart, in search of a key that will unlock something, to let me understand. Allow some imagined escrow to wash over me like an avalanche of love and belonging, friendship and help.

I seriously doubt I’d find kindred spirits here, they weren’t there before, and I don’t think they have moved in during my absence. Just salt of the earth people living their family lives, each in their own way.

And because people buy artists, or charisma, rather than art, I guess my lovingly crafted creations would continue to go unsold.

For extreme outsiders who aren’t “cool” or relatable don’t waltz into the kind of employment needed to allow you to live comfortably here. And don’t tell me about doing what you love and what you make will fly of the proverbial shelves. It’s a myth. Monetizing hobbies will suck the joy out of what you used to love. It will slowly turn it into work. Unpaid work. No. Made with love does not work for freaky. “Be yourself” is not enough, it never has been. Wanting more than what’s beyond the scope of the village and the nearest towns does not sit well. UNLESS you return a success, triumphant. A person who has “made it” and want to go back.

If I go back, does that mean that it’s over, the beginning of the end of everything I wanted and dreamed of? My chance and opportunities at making a life my way somewhere else expires?

Finally the escapee has been caught and brought back. Chastened and told to be thankful; ‘so many people what to live here now’. Except me. As soon as I could, I set out in search of my tribe and what I had spent my life up until that point longing for; somewhere I wanted to stay, fulfilling work, and I’m still searching.

Will I ever find the strength and funds to leave and start over somewhere else again?



I recall as a teen landing back in the big city after visiting parents for a weekend, the high of being back, the persistent glow of hope that something I want might come my way here, and at the same time something tore inside me. Gratitude to be back, mingled with an undefined feeling of guilt like oil and water in the pit of my gut.

I recall countless bus and train journeys, watching through the window the passing land or cityscape, occasionally feeling such profound spontaneous gratitude that I did not have to step off, that that was not my destination. That I didn’t have to make my way home anywhere around there. It all felt so…wrong. Energetically.

Sometimes places looked quite pleasant, only to have that gut-wrenching deep despair hit me. In me, not the area. Energetic mismatch.

Wiser or more jaded?

When you move a lot, your safe space becomes something else but your home, something you can bring with you, your music collection perhaps. Pieces of music and the emotions they invoke supply that feeling of connection, familiarity, a virtual hug. When you let go of almost everything you own what you do have becomes precious.

One evening, out of curiosity, I compared what I listened to when I first moved here, and it was startling. It didn’t feel like bliss, but hope. Faith that life would continue to improve now I was in the right place.

I expected to find my feet and my stride, friends, and meaningful work. My happily ever after, travels with my love. I was ready and gladly gave it my all.
I did not anticipate loneliness, extreme isolation, and the impossibility to learn the language proficiently.

I wouldn’t say I made a mistake, I’ve had experiences I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on, but I feel done. Cooked.

Now I want to experience the counterpart, what I thought I was heading into; connection, in person friendships, joy.


How do you look forward, when there’s nothing to look forward to?

How do you get your life back on track? When you hardly have enough spoons to get you through the bare minimum of the day as it is?

Moving just three blocks in June meant leaving behind the opossums I’d become so fond of, and made me cry. I want to hug my cats and never ever let go… Leaving them behind is absolutely out of the question.

Can one write oneself out of the hole you find yourself in? Does the pointless tears ever stop coming? So many questions, so few answers.

I wrestle sometimes with crippling separation anxiety. So much so, I hardly know who I’d be without it. I struggle to appreciate beauty in the moment because the thought of it’s fleetingness is agonizing.
I am aware enough to know this stems from trauma, in my case from an other lifetime, watching the first earth blow up; losing almost everyone dear; and never able to go back. Nothing so far has managed to shift this.

I even feel angst when I read friends who are travelling and meet others for an evening and no contact details are exchanged. I hand mine out at random instead of asking people for theirs.

At times my world seem filled with “what if I never —–again?”
What if I never get to see and spend some time with this or that friend again, – or these days – never get the chance to meet at all?

Not being able to separate myself from the anticipation of having it ripped away again robs the moment of joy.
Torn apart, over and over, and no amount of tapping I’ve done has managed to shift it. It’s like a bottomless well. And to complicate matters further this happens over possible future events too…

That and lack of visual memory. I can read my words describing to myself the gorgeous bright stars flying at night high above the clouds; the Himalayas painted gold in all their glory, passing over Ireland at dawn showing exactly why it’s nicknamed the emerald isle, etc. I can’t picture it, and on either occasion not having a camera to hand to capture a pale impression of it for posterity, breaks my heart.

When you love people in many places you end up like me, Fractured. Pieces I can never reclaim.

My apparent inability to ‘be in the moment’, ‘live in the now’. Even as a young person I was always living in or for the future. Learning anything that could be of future use, for when I can leave school and this place behind, go in search of MY life.

And now, having failed to find home, and for the most part also tribe, I feel lost.

Where the summer is short it is precious.

The woman I read on IG wrote about the end of summer, how her kids go back to school soon, and this was the last weekend away from the city and the humdrum of everyday life. She started her micro-blog when the pandemic first hit. I found it a lot later.

It reminded me of the unbearable end of summer holidays as a kid who hated school, (or at least the bullying and demand to ‘conform or else you will not be allowed to play later, as an adult’).

It’s hard to wrap my head around; at the time I read it we were still in the midst of summer here, with months of hot humid heat to endure. The steady stream of drops of sweat making their way down my spine at regular intervals confirmed this, the burning sensation on my face whenever I strayed out of reach of the fan.

I miss enjoying the summer, or perhaps the shared experience of it. I enjoy the winters here so perhaps I ought to look for new friends in New Zealand or something.

The hurricane season was very active, I can hardly believe we’re in the middle of November; this year has been one long exhausting fug from the get go. For the first time ever I didn’t even look forward to the autumn, my favourite time of year, it’s just been TOO uncertain and a feeling of constant brazing for (and trying to outsmart) what may be served, even for me who can’t abide routines. I feel drained and exhausted, and unprepared for everything.

I look again at her photo, the lit candles on the windowsill against the deepening blue, the last colours of dusky twilight, the sea view. I cry.

No doubt she has worked hard for many years to build her life and get to where she is today, but so have I and countless others. And I have nothing to show for it. No successes, no shoals of friends to celebrate my birthday or other milestones with, no treasure island.

The last days of summer, the end of things. I don’t know why it always hurt so much? The tears I never cried, my stomach in knots. Time being something you never get back. Anxieties galore.

“LIVE LIFE! This isn’t a dress rehearsal” I once had a key-ring proclaim. Thank goodness for that, I couldn’t deal with having to do this all over again.

When the longer evenings and the cosiness of autumn returns
I greet it the same way my mother used to greet spring.
A kind of return of life, rather than light
A time of rebooting; evening classes commence, new projects, enthusiasm at work.

Everyone knows daylight is important to your health, and as someone who’s experienced the long dark winter months where you only see the sun for an hour of two on your day off work – if it’s not raining or cloudy that is – I get it.

S.a.d. is a very real for a lot of people.

But we forget darkness is important too
unless you are terrified of it I suppose.

In the dark resides the opportunity for reset. It is so much more than sleep.

What next?

What next?

I can’t sleep, so I get up and go to my office corner. Look around, as if what paper I write this on, and which pen I use will make the slightest difference. Because putting words down on paper makes it more real? Final?

What next?

What do I do now?
Fortified with drinks, the one he swore he wouldn’t, he finally talked last night. Not the conversation you want to have after midnight or even 3am.
I’ve been living with a stranger for some time, but the scale of it finally became clear. The duplicity is staggering. The audacity as well. I. Am. Shocked.
I’ve been a fool, but only because I thought the situation would turn around and improve. I didn’t want to give up. Over the years I thought at some point my love, kindness, and flexibility would “pay off”. Turns out people just take what they can.

When I found out there was no “us”, just before C19 hit, I didn’t know what to do. I still don’t, and damn if I haven’t spent every day and parts of nights when I should have been sleeping searching for a way forward. While at the same time wondering who will survive or if I will become just another statistic.

What next?

I’m here because I have nowhere else to go, and no way of getting there.
I’ve kept us fed and housed out of savings, being frugal and thrifty. Funds are dwindling.
Being forced to spend these months confined at home together have been, at best, awkward.
It never ends with a bang, and this time not even with a whimper.

Last night I finally got to see the belly of the iceberg below the surface. I am angry, but only enough to say, That’s. It. Enough.
There will be no happy ending. No team. No together. I won’t have have your back and you won’t have mine.

What next?

I gave up everything to move here. I truly thought it was forever, not until.
I got nothing of what I had hoped for, but I got the cats.

Two cats I adore that have kept me going. Both former strays who are afraid of people. Milou has been with me since 2011, and Tabita moved in 2015. I can’t imagine them being indoors only, they love going outside. Neither has ever worn a collar or been chipped. The only time Milou has been to the vet was to get fixed. I have no papers about vax, etc. Both cats are pictures of health.
I can’t imagine wrestling harnesses on and dragging them through noisy airports full of strangers, carrying them through scanners, be poked and prodded. I’ve never carried Milou. They are both terrified of thunder. Yowled the entire way in the carrier when we moved house. Milou kept throwing herself at the door repeatedly trying to get out and cut her nose; then refused to come out for hours, scared and raging mad.
Still the sweetest, most protective, being I’ve ever met. Freaked out the time I had to take Tabi to go have her eye looked at (it wasn’t an infection, it was stress induced). They have kept me alive.

What next?

Is there anyone out there who can help a broken person help themselves?
I am open to new possibilities and opportunities to present themselves.

What next?

 

Milou and Tabita watching the rain. Wondering what next.

Wanted: new life

It’s not yet 9 am and I’ve already cried. It never ends with a bang, always with a whimper. The kind where you ask yourself repeatedly if you got this right, is overreacting, or making it up? “face facts” as some might call it. Is it over, or is this another hurdle to push through? Unless it is one more serving of cultural differences, this is the end, because from where I’m looking, I’m the only one trying. He’s coasting along.

It’s deceptive, we get on so well. That’s not enough, I suppose. if there’s sex without love, then love without sex is possible too. but that’s not enough for some. everything is negligible if there is sex, it seems. sex outweighs everything else.

For 12 years I’ve been here, supporting, loving, caring, waiting for his kids to grow up so we could go off and do things. I’ve supported financially when not even their mother does.
After February’s bombshell I was still prepared to forgive if not forget. Try and find a way forward, a compromise of some sort. but there has been no efforts made apart from mine, no attempts to regain or rebuild my shattered trust. Again I wonder if it is cultural. I know his brothers have done the same, but in those cases there is mutual offspring providing motivational glue.

Then c19 hit and focus shifted to just stay alive and get through this first. One thing became clear though; we have very little to say to each other any more.
The first five years we talked and talked, longed for more time together. Now we finally got it, like in so many other situations, it was too late. He refused to talk unless drunk – I don’t see the point then because, a) he doesn’t make sense, and b) don’t remember later.
attempting to start even a civil conversation over dinner is like trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Cagey, monosyllabic replies, often ending in frustrated, not exactly arguments but something smaller, similar.

What hurts the most – beside the lies – is there is no “we” anymore. No little unit of us in the world.
Hoops I braved and dealt with, for as long as there was us, it was worth it. Now I have to remind myself to, if something comes along, to choose what’s best for *me*, because there is no more us.
I feel cheated, sure there’s been growing and experiences I wouldn’t want to trade, but I was so certain this was forever, not until.

I remember, watching the outcome of brexit and being upset and crying, and he said, “what does it matter? you’re not going back there”. and in the middle of everything sad and gloomy, it felt reassuring. Now, it still means I have nowhere to go.

Last night I was trying to form some kind of fictional hope in my mind before sleep; if I could have anything, wake up tomorrow to a new life, what would it look like? and I couldn’t.

Mexico you have drained health and life out of me, bled me of my savings and will to live. When will I receive something else, something new, something I actually want, a way forward and help out of here?


If anyone who made it this far know of *online work*, real leads, like your company is hiring, please drop me a line. I don’t have the energy to chase and jump through a bunch of hoops right now. I’ll consider most things, except sex and violence and coldcalling/selling. Thank you.

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!

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.

So what’s underneath the onion

The sewing machine is ”playing up”.   So I don’t feel inspired to sew now, but the next fayre is a week away and this stuff needs to be finished before then. I felt inspired when I designed, cut and pinned them, but I ran out of daylight and sewing black in the evening does not work for me.

So what?  I doubt there’s anyone who always feel inspired, just f-ckin deal with it! I rarely feel inspired to clean or cook, go food shopping or do laundry, shower or brush my teeth, yet it has to be done. Deal with it.

So I scream and punch the sewing machine – I don’t need you to have a highfalutin opinion about my lack of enthusiasm right now – just do your f-ckin’job and sew!!!

It’s not just that it is full moon though it probably contributes.   Hubbys family is coming today, and no matter how nice they are as people, for me it is always fraught and highly stressful. It means ridiculously long and late nights, not enough of and poor quality sleep, guilt over needing apparently twice as much sleep as everyone else, and general frustration.  Creative projects and writing gets put away until they leave.

For days the frustrations of feeling required to behave to fit the extroverted social norm, with the fake smiles and pretending everything is just fine. All while at the same time being bored to tears by the same old drama, but too well brought up to pick up a book and zone out the way others play with their smart-phones, play games or fb. Of hours of waiting around for nothing.  Of concentrating like crazy to try to understand and follow the conversation, until my head feels like it’s going to explode.

Sick of the glib jibes pointing out that I have not learnt spanish yet even though I live here. How I should go out and practice with everyone any opportunity, how I should take the opportunities and practice here and now. How I must be sooo lazy because I still can’t speak. Learning a language when immersed in it is sooo EASY…

And noone has any understanding how hard I have tried to learn, how much I have studied and how f-ckin’ impossible it feels by now. How deeply embarrassed and frustrated I am about this.

Nor does it stop there.  I’m not Buddha or Jeshua; if you poke me repeatedly I get hacked off. If one more shower of unsolicited ”helpful” hints as how I should live my life; not scratch at the hundreds of insect bites on my legs and feet, what to buy and use (same sh-t I have tried and then some) and how terrible the scars on my legs look, I WILL loose it and SCREAM. They may not understand the words but I’m sure as hell the meaning will be perfectly clear. You’ve trod on my boundaries one time too many so back off!

Am I mirroring their own suppressed anger and frustration if I let mine show? The fear that this is all there is (so let’s keep on dancing) ?

I’m so damned polite and unwilling to offend, but I’m also so darn tired of the same old dance. I ”behave” as is expected of me, in a grown-up friendly manner. Even if it feels more like a parody at times. How much I despise the same old ”well-meaning” small-talk and would love to be able to have a meaningful conversation.

I want to be my usual quirky inner self and for that to translate and come across as the loving and affable me my friends know and love.

But right now I feel none of those things, or rather I feel anger and frustration as well and those voices are so much louder right now.

I can just imagine the unspoken words. Leave that english bitch and and get a nice mexican girl who will be up to date on soaps and drama, is a good catholic instead of a bad influence and who will cherish his children. Unlike me.

And you know what? He had 40 years looking for one of those and he chose me! For who I am, for how we get eachother, for the spiritual bond and love we share that makes the struggles worth working our way through.

Underneath that lurks my fear that whatever I do will reflect badly on my husband. I don’t want to come between him and his family. He gets frustrated too but is hell bent on ”fixing” it, fixing it here meaning waking everyone up and get where he is coming from. I gave that up long ago. Everyone does their own journey following their own divine timing.

How do you ”interact” with unconscious extroverted people, when you are a conscious, highly sensitive introvert? When there is no common ground and no common language?

My personal answer was to step away and find friends to fill those spaces traditionally held by family. People who like me for who I am, and who’s company I enjoy.

It is like being 16, 17, 18 or 19 etc and going to visit my parents for the weekend. This time it will be different. This time we will get on. This time will be the new beginning of a new relationship between us.

Every time with an open mind and the best of intentions, ready to forgive, forget and let bygones be bygones. Let the crap slide and not raise to the bait. To ignore the put-downs and criticism and focus on… what exactly? What I wanted to have; mutual respect and appreciation. If you treated your friends like you treat me you’d soon find yourself lonely indeed. Yet, it’s me who’s finding her self alone here. What irony.

Contemplating the word love, it’s usage in eft & personal connotations

I often wondered why the lack of verbal ”I love you” from my parents would bother me so much. In fact I can’t remember ever hearing them say it. There was the occasional I like you tho. And that’s just it, it suddenly dawned on me. ”I like you” is conditional. Be like I want you to be and I’ll approve of (or sometimes even appreciate) you, but only if you conform to my ideals, my likes, my wants.

Unconditional love – or unconditional acceptance – is just that; Unconditional.  No matter what.

All this came about because of mulling over the original set-up statement in EFT (emotional freedom technique or simply Tapping). I came across my notes from a talk I heard by Puja Kanth Alfred, author of the book Geo-Specific EFT, about tailoring to different cultures.  And I agree with how utterly awkward the statement ”I love and approve of myself” can sound to non-american ears and when translated into some other languages.

It is meant to feel supportive, encouraging and nurturing, yet to me it does not. The word love in this context to me feels polarized and contrived and because of that I tense up rather than relax, release and let go. Unconditional acceptance feels more neutral and to me it’s vibration is that of holding up the ceiling, of allowing what is to just be.  Unconditional love on the other hand feels more like an oxymoron. It sets up the slightest expectation of something positive being en route and the inner switch in me then flips over to steel myself in case of disappointment in some way, or getting nothing. It’s setting me up for getting nothing after expecting something (”good”). Of being let down. Go without. The promise of a gift and finding the nicely wrapped box empty. Of disappointment when it all turns to nothing, of being short-changed, a promise turning out to come to nothing. Of being forgotten or overlooked.

Personally I’ve experimented with ”Even tho … blahblahblah…, I accept myself (or I accept this in myself) unconditionally (or completely)”. Acceptance allows me to relax and just be.

Just how complicated can one person make the world around her?

Catpaw 5-6 July 2012

Interested in cross cultural EFT?  Check out Puja Kanth Alfreds website:   http://www.emofreetherapy.com/geo-specific_eft.html

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