emanix: (emanix)
Or, 'The Bastards! - A sympathetic technique for relationship harmony.'

Are you a Fixer? Do you offer solutions instead of sympathy? Does this sometimes cause friction in your relationships when friends or partners who are simply looking for a sympathetic ear find themselves bombarded with 'have you trieds' and 'did you think ofs'? Or are you the partner or friend who sometimes find yourself looking for sympathy only to find yourself in the middle of the Spanish Inquisition?

I'm definitely a Fixer. If someone shares a problem with me I immediately start looking for ways to make the problem go away. This has occasionally caused friction in my relationships with partners who felt it was intrusive or disempowering when they just wanted to heard rather than Helped. But I've found that one particular technique I have used over the last few years has really helped with this. I have also noticed that my friends have been pinching it to use with their own partners and other friends. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery I've come to the conclusion that it might actually be worth propagating further and sending it out into the world. So here it is: 'The Bastards' or How to Fix the Fixers and raise a smile, in one simple step.

Now I can't claim sole credit for the idea, since I pinched the original concept from Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt's book The Ethical Slut. One chapter described a situation like the one I mentioned above, and suggested a way for the Fixer to switch off the urge to Fix and just be there for their friend who simply wanted a sympathetic ear. The writer or their friend would occasionally provide a period of 'Poor Baby', where those two were the only words they said, repeatedly, until their friend was done venting. When I read the description, I particularly thought of one of my partners, who would often be frustrated at my trying to Fix things when really he just wanted to get something off his chest. But my partner thought 'Poor baby' was too patronising. He didn't want babying, so much as the feeling someone was fighting at his side. He felt that 'poor baby' didn't really convey the appropriate air of righteous indignation at the state of the world. So I pondered this for a while and dug around for a phrase that I felt might better fit the mood. The phrase I came up with was 'The Bastards!'

And it turns out that 'The Bastards!' fits pretty much every situation. If it doesn't make sense? All the better. It's not about the logic. It's about the righteous indignation dammit!

"I've had a long horrid day at work."
"The bastards!"

"I ran out of milk!"
"The bastards!"

"Ow, this headache really hurts!"
"The bastards!"

"I'm having trouble in my relationship..."
"The bastards?"

"My grandad's in hospital with pneumonia."
"Those bacterial bastards!"

"I got disappointing numbers from my mortgage advisor."
"The calculating bastards!"

...and so on.

And that's it. It's that simple. Obviously it doesn't fix every problem in the world, but sometimes, well... it's not about Fixing. With a bit of practice, even the most hardcore Fixer can learn to set Fixing aside and bring out The Bastards when appropriate, and folks who know what they're looking for is sympathy rather than help can learn to ask for The Bastards. And we all, hopefully, get on that little bit more harmoniously.

Lucky Bastards!
emanix: (Default)
Apparently yesterday, the 9th of June, was World Gin Day. While I missed the party (by being too busy at another one - oh, it's a hard life!), I thought I'd belatedly mark the occasion by sharing a recent cocktail recipe that has made my friends and I very happy.

Named both for the colour and for the fact that grapefruit juice is often associated with breakfast, this delicious discovery is particularly lovely when relaxing out of doors on a sunny afternoon (or morning, if you're feeling especially decadent). Refreshing, sweet and crisp, with a mix of flavours that you will want to roll around in your mouth as the bubbles bring out every nuance.

The Dawn Glow:

Two large parts Fentimans Rose Lemonade (we used a 275ml bottle per person, but you can buy it in larger bottles),
One part pink grapefruit juice (not from concentrate),
Large splash of Gin
Ice
Optional slice of lime

Pour casually into as large and decadent a glass as you can find. Drink at leisure. Amazingly, the strong flavour of the grapefruit brings out and is balanced by the rose rather than overwhelming it, to create a warm and surprisingly subtle drink that tastes of sunshine and joy.
emanix: (Default)

I have come across this poem online a couple of times, attributed to a Veronica Shoffstall. However it appears that it's also a translation of an original work in Spanish, possibly by Jorge Luis Borges.

Either way, it is beautiful, and expresses a lot of how I feel about relationships, and about polyamory, and deserves to be known.

After a While

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't always mean security.

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman*
Not the grief of a child*

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
And with every day, you learn.




Click for the original language )

.

*I notice these two lines aren't present in the Spanish version. They are awfully pretty, though, and fit well into the model of the poem, so I've left them where I found them. Being a language nerd, I also fixed the last line of the translation: the version I found said 'with every goodbye you learn', whereas the spanish just says 'with every day', which I think is far more optimistic!
  
NB: I'm not keen on infringing copyright, so I'll happily take this post down or correct the attribution if I'm contacted by someone who can demonstrate ownership, but in this case it seems the ownership is fuzzy, and the likely original author is no longer alive to benefit from his work. There appears to be a longer version in Spanish here: http://elprincipito.blogia.com/2005/101102-jorge-luis-borges-aprendiendo.php
emanix: (Default)
I was introduced to the concept of the Self-Evident Epiphany by a friend of [livejournal.com profile] seinneann_ceoil over a large pot of tea one afternoon. The example she gave was the realisation, several weeks before, that on days when she went out wearing a sweater, she felt warmer. Astonishing!
I introduced her to another on the spot: that the phrase 'Self-Evident Epiphanies' not only has a poetic elegance to it, but also has the most perfectly apt abbreviation: SEE!

Every one of us put our heads to one side, and let out a sigh of delight at the beauty of this newly formed acronym. Ah, the sweetness that is the love of geeks for wordplay.

So the Self-Evident Epiphany, or SEE, is a thought, or a realisation that is perfectly obvious in hindsight, but somehow your brain had failed to register it until just now. A favourite one of mine, which despite its obviousness often fails to stick in my mind: if I keep my room tidy, I don't have to spend so much time Looking For Stuff. I realise this on a fairly regular basis, and it surprises me every time!

What Self-Evident Epiphanies have you had, or heard about?
emanix: (Default)
Couldn't make it up:
Tidying my room ready for tonight's halloween party, I notice a black ladybird, with two single red spots on its shell, crawling down my skylight, looking precisely like a tiny silhouetted skull with glowing red eyes. Now if only I can get it to do that again when the guests are here.

Quite a cool set of  variations on a horror story theme here: http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/spoofs_satire/the_babysitter.php

Still on antibiotics, fighting off non-contagious bug, and a certain other joyful infection that is the constant side-effect of me being on antibiotics. Grr. Sick and tired of being sick and tired. It's been at least six weeks now. My partners have been ever so patient, but it's driving me nuts as it's death to my sex life.

I have about three hours of guaranteed energy per day at the moment, so little is getting done beyond the basics of feeding myself and keeping clean. I shall be letting others host the party tonight. The good news though, is that I've finally managed to paint again, after such a long hiatus. Result is not quite finished, but links will be posted when it is. There will be bunnies!

Also made it to the candlelit memorial in trafalgar square last night, which I'm glad about, though sad that it seems needed. Hate crime sucks.

Have a spooky night, everbody!

x
emanix: (Default)
I was at Sainsburys, buying bits and bobs to top up my first aid box, and I couldn't resist getting one of these:

Sometimes luxury is a necessity. (Image of an 'Emergency Chocolate' bar)

Long ramble cut for off-topicness and sheer decadence )
emanix: (Default)
Well hi there,

I bet you all thought I was never coming back... to be honest, so did I - but what the heck! I'm logged in so I might as well post something while I'm putting off sorting out some financial paperwork (uck).

I want these http://www.castles-carey.co.uk/products.htm - all of them - linked together with giant hamster tubes so I can run and climb and wriggle around with glee in an arboreally lifted paradise.

I also want (in no particular order) a regular income, freedom, love, world peace, ten times more energy, my life savings back (long story), time to paint, and for the world in general to just go away and leave me alone for a bit so I can catch up with myself.

Since I last posted I have lived in Gloucestershire, Cyprus, London, Canada and London again, and visited a couple of other countries besides, become utterly jaded with relationships, particularly with men, and spent about six months supporting two people on the income of one starving artist - which I'm rather proud of, even though the particular other person screwed me up and over and I'm now stuck with a day job again until I can build some safety net back up.

Also for the few of you that don't know I'm now producing a webcomic - 'Jim and Tonic, or the Adventures of Jim the Chaosbunny' - which lives at www.chaosbunny.com - there are plans afoot for books and t-shirts as and when I get chance to put something together.

I'm probably going to get myself another login for livejournal and post a bit more regularly - I'll let you all know what my new page is when (and if) I do though!

M.

xxx

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