I fully admit that one of the things I enjoy about Iceland is the general shortage of suspicious men hanging out on street corners, or following you around the grocery store, or being that guy you dated in high school, but it happens everywhere and Iceland is no exception. I’ve had one guy who was overly persistent in a bar, but I don’t hang out a lot in those, and another who has ‘questionable’ (those are absolutely air quotes) opinions about the role of women and doesn’t seem to hear the word no, but that’s two men in two years. Pretty good I’d say.
On this fateful Tuesday, I met man three. A little before 8pm I saw a guy walking up to the door of student housing, and since any day you have to dig your keys out of your bag a moment sooner than you need to is a sadder one, I quickly waved goodbye to my friends and jogged up while he still had the door open. I thanked him, and he said “you’re welcome”.
I’m very active in my sleep. I spin, talk, kick my sister, and any number of inconvenient things. Additionally, and for whatever reason, I’ve also always had very vivid dreams. They’ve changed as I get older and it’s interesting to note their progression.
When I was a young child, probably 3-10, I mostly remembered nightmares. They centered around family and friends, but most often my parents. I’d wake up terrified because I had dreamed Mom and Dad were mummies, or half spiders, or my mother had been kidnapped by aliens. The worst part was I couldn’t tell the difference between dream and reality until the morning, so I lay utterly still hoping nothing in the nightmare was waiting to get me. I also dreamed of walking to the bathroom a lot, but then I’d wake up and walk to the bathroom. It was a literal message that I needed to pee.
Puberty brought on some alarming changes. I’d wake up 3-7 days a week dreaming I’d died, and almost always by murder. It’s not unusual to dream that you die, and it turns out my Mom had the same sort of murder dreams when she was that age. Thank you genetics. That phase lasted until my early twenties, and brought many interesting firsts. I dreamed regularly in black and white, and once in Spanish (if I didn’t know a word I couldn’t think it). I dreamed that I was someone else, for the first time changing genders, and I had a couple of truly spectacular dreams.
Thank you Charles Darwin for your angry cat illustration from The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.
Ages ago (20 months if we’re going to be exact), my Insert Family Connection Here found a blog that talked about Emotional Labor: What it is and how to do it. I recommend you read the post here, it’s very interesting to go through. Through my IFCH, I got to do some self reflective practices on who I am, what is important to me, and my role in relationships of all kinds. I was not particularly happy with what I saw. There are a few things that I see other people doing, poorly… and it made me acknowledge several things that I consistently push off on other people, and how very unfair that is.
Since I obviously have no control over what other people do, and I’m very uncomfortable telling them what they should do, I’ll be focussing on my own behavior. In the 20 or so months since I was introduced to Emotional labor, I’ve reread the blog and a couple of articles, and tried to change some of my own, ahem, insufficient behavioral patterns. Here’s the result.
The biggest emotional labors I push off on others are:
Taking a turn at coordinating other peoples’ schedules for a swimming trip, board game night, or coffee brunch (etc.).
Sending cards and thank you notes to people I care about, or who have done something kind for me.
Arriving late, consistently.
Expecting others to understand when I want space even though I haven’t said so, or feeling upset because I need to tell them in the first place
These are a struggle for me, and although I do plenty more, they are the repeat offenders.
So, one of the roommates has a truly, absolutely, undeniably awful professor. I should just back away. I should breathe deeply and let it go. I’ve never met this woman in my life, but I just. can’t. take it. Thus a post is born of my impotent rage and seething, emulsing empathy.
Nora’s in a creative writing class, and one day hopes to publish books. Like most of us who end up trying to writing something, Nora has a voice and things to say. I enjoy hearing her stories, and we’re at the point where each week after class we meet to chat over dinner.
There have been many hysterical updates about a guy who uses the same three character names in every story (this has led to an excellent game, where we call each other these names unexpectedly in public, and the first one to laugh loses). He also likes spelling things backward to make unique place names, and we did discuss how it makes the names a little less unique when you do it every time. Liaf. I also like the updates on Nora’s stories. She writes, if I recall correctly, science fiction, and likes to try all kinds of new and interesting things as she learns about them. It’s interesting to watch someone else search for ideas, and go through the editing and revision process. It leads to insights about my own projects, and we sometimes problem solve about how to get around things like how very whiny 1st person narratives can be.
Unfortunately, not everything about Nora’s writing class is great, and the number one thing I can think of is her charming professor’s feedback.
Worst Feedback of the Semester: in descending order