I have been trying, and failing, to write more about dancing with the Eccentric. The problem I keep running into is that it's difficult to phrase everything in a way that doesn't sound either like some sort of abstract head trip, or a thinly-veiled euphemism for sex. It isn't either of those things, but it is significant. He's spent the past year pressing some interesting buttons -- kindly, and with my permission, but pressing them repeatedly nonetheless.

The Eccentric wants a high level of emotional intimacy from his dance partners. This isn't an inference I've made; this is an actual conversation I have had with him, about why he dances, and what he wants out of me. He is not kidding. I've been the FWB for people in open relationships before, but this is the first time I've run into someone who's allowed to have... uh, 'feelings-buddies'? I guess? Not even "allowed" so much as I think he just ran his life this way until he found …

Emotional Valance

I went out dancing after work a couple of weeks ago. Apparently I am a person who does that now. I try not to think about it too hard. This is my strategy for pretty much anything that involves the Eccentric.

The club our group descended upon does salsa and bachata. Bachata is notorious for making boyfriends angry. This is because it often looks like this. It doesn't have to, but you do get pretty close. A lot of the directionality and rhythm from the lead actually comes through your right knee, so you pretty much have to be in each other's pockets the whole time.

Properly executed, bachata combines two of the Eccentric's favorite things in the whole wide world: Showing off, and being used as a giant teddy bear. He is very cuddly. His friend-radius is about five inches, give or take. At one point about two weeks into our acquaintance, he was telling me all about how I'd get a chance to meet his wife when she came to the show that night, while standing practically on my…

Introspection: Day Four

I've just quit a horrible job.

It didn't start horrible. It was a seasonal gig. I re-upped for several years because it was a lot of fun, and I got to work with artsy weirdos. But I've spent the past few months having an extended conversation with them that can be summarized, from my point of view, thusly:
Me: So, you keep asking me to do things that are physically impossible, like cover the job duties for 2-3 separate positions by myself. You also keep asking me to do things that I am sincerely not comfortable with, like asking me to give additional on-the-job training and directions to my own brand-new supervisor. You would never ask this of any of my coworkers. Please quit asking me.Them: You're right, we would never ask your coworkers to do this. Because of turnover, you have been here many years longer than any of them, a situation which we have chosen not to reflect upon in the slightest. You can look forward to more of the same, indefinitely.Me: If you want me to…

Introspection: Day Three

I don't deal with avoidant people much. They tend to avoid me. I generally feel it's kinder to let them. Someone who refuses to assume they know what other people are thinking unless told, and someone who would rather swallow their own tongue than state their wants outright is a bad combination, and makes everyone unhappy.

And yet, I seem to have a friend who is like this. The first time I did something that rubbed them the wrong way, they let me go on doing it forever, not only not telling me, but doing their damndest to make sure I didn't notice anything was wrong. When they finally did say something, they had an honest-to-God panic attack right in front of me, and disintegrated so badly I couldn't tell if they were afraid I would quit talking to them over this, or afraid that I wouldn't. To their credit, they were completely aware that this should have been no big deal, and it was their anxiety that had made it snowball so badly; but on the other hand, if it was…

Introspection: Day Two

I'm not very good at asking for comfort. One reason is that I learned very early on that no one was responsible for coddling me. Asking people to do it anyway was a great way to get disappointed, if not yelled at.

Another reason is that... well, it doesn't help much. I don't generally verbalize things to other people until they have grown to a serious, obstructive Problem, which hugging does nothing concrete to alleviate. The only problem you can fix with hugging is the problem of "I have been insufficiently hugged today." Inasmuch as I do have friends, and many of them are in the performing arts, this is not a state of affairs that persists long enough to be an issue. People in theater will hug you because you're arriving, or departing, or remaining, or happy, or sad, or nervous, or because you've broken up with someone, or just because it happens to be a Wednesday in the month before the spring equinox just before the full moon.

I've any number of p…

Introspection: Day One

Every year, I give myself until the end of January to figure out my new year's resolutions. This prevents me from trying to take stock of my entire life while I'm still exhausted and sad from the six-week Festival of Consumerism And Family Joy, and concluding that I'm a terrible person and need to burn it all down to the ground. I always try to fix everything at once, and that... does not work.

This year, one of my small stupid resolutions is to finish a senbazuru. Senbazuru are the "thousand paper cranes" of Japanese folklore, usually tied together in twenty-five strings of forty cranes each. They are perhaps most familiar to Westerners from the story of Sasaki Sadako, a young hibakusha -- survivor of the atomic bombings -- who developed leukemia some years later, and began folding cranes out of scrap paper while she was in the hospital. She finished 644 birds before passing away. Her classmates finished the rest. A statue of Sadako stands in Hiroshima today, in…

Things To Do On Vacation: Stretches & Workouts

Week Four: Things To Start Your New Year's Resolutions With

Maybe you're already a student eyeing the resumption of classes in January with a certain amount of dread. Still cool -- if your mind is already slightly over-expanded, maybe you'd like to concentrate on your body instead.

Yoga with Adriene. I'm not big into yoga myself; I find a lot of practices both grandiose and vapid, having been run into the ground by Yuppie idiots who think that stretching is enough to make them "spiritual". The only yoga class I've ever taken was with an actual Indian lady who treated it a lot like conditioning for modern dance, something which I can get on board with. Adriene is a very normal, chatty human being who explains things in terms of physiology and occasional snarky pop culture references, and uses yoga for purposes of relaxation and stress relief. She's not perfect ("yoga for weight loss" is not an actual thing), but I find her less of a pretentiou…