Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Canberra report

I realised this last week that’s it’s been a whole year since I moved to Canberra.

I am not someone particularly given to or good at such things as assessing the state of things (let’s just run along with intuition shall we – I know when things are good and when they aren’t, I’m just not overly interested in spelling out why a lot of the time), but I tried to make myself evaluate how some things are going. So, here is some of it written down, and this post is probably more for my own benefit, than of interest to anyone else.

Work has been good. While it is not at all what I had in mind when I moved to Canberra it has proved to have some very stimulating elements, and some very stimulating people to talk to along the way I must say, and I’m enjoying it. There many peripheral aspects connected with the work that I like. For example, the part of me that is interested in psychology gets intrigued by some of the professional standards matters, and the trainer who comes up from Melbourne to work with ordination candidates on personality and style and healthy ministry etc has given me all her material to work through and so on. So there is plenty to keep my interest in life alive for the times when I am doing the administrative work.

Church has certainly been interesting, and very different. The situation is more of a mission from within, but there are many aspects of it that I can appreciate. I have also recently been going along to another church in the evenings, to meet people and for some input that is more in line with what I am used to. I know that situation could get problematic, so I need to give it all some more thought.

Home is fine. I love the suburb where I am living in the inner North, cycling along the scenic path to work, and the fabulous trees in the local streets. But I am also looking for something to buy at the moment, which won’t be this close to the city, unfortunately. However, just the fact that I can achieve buying anything anywhere here is an amazement after Sydney, and part of the reason for the move, and I hope to do it soon.

There is one element here that has not gone well at all. I tried to sort this particular point out before I moved here and was unable to, and had I foreseen how badly it would go, I would have gone somewhere else. But we are not given crystal balls, and now that I am here I have to manage with what has happened, and make the most of the other directions that road block has sent me in.

Friendship has been slow and it has been just plain extremely lonely at times, but time is necessary and I have made recent progress.

Romance is non-existent, as per the status quo here in the fog. There is a fellow here who has said to me “if you want to go for a brew or see a movie sometime, just give me a call”, but my internal reaction to that is, no, not if you are another guy who is going to leave it to me to do the asking, because I don’t want to get tangled up in that scenario again.

(I’ve learnt the hard way of the discouragement that comes from investing emotional energy into passive, half-hearted men (or at least men being passive and half-hearted towards me), and I’ve learnt the hard way what will eventuate if I do the hard things so the man doesn’t have to do the hard things, namely, I won’t be respected, or valued, and soon enough anything I do do will be taken for granted and not appreciated for the gesture that it is. And I don’t think being asked out by a man who is genuinely interested in me will involve me having to follow it up and make the phone call. (Particularly if I know that the guy has asked other women out properly in the past, but that all he has for me is “you can call me”, it makes me feel like I am to him a second-rate woman, and I don’t want to be someone’s second-rate option.) The two worst things that have taken place in my personal adult life thus far, in terms of how they played out and the ramifications for me, have begun with the two times I tried asking a guy to coffee. So I don’t want any more interactions with men beginning with me asking.

Besides, say I do ask this fellow to coffee. What is he going to think that is? Just coffee? A date? I don’t know, because it’s partly his construction. And it’s a big deal for me to phone a guy to ask him anywhere, and I don’t want to if it’s not going to be taken seriously. The last time I asked and had coffee with a guy, I made a huge effort, and the guy kept me waiting as a nervous-wreck most of the day for a time, then gave me about 45 minutes notice of where to meet him, and when I arrived he was reading his book and drinking the drink he’d already bought himself. Consequently, I felt so un-encouraged that I didn’t say what I had intended to say. It seemed rather like he had contrived the way he went about it to communicate to me that it all meant nothing to him. I got the message.

But say I do ask the guy to coffee and it actually goes OK, then who is going to ask for the second one? Hopefully that doesn’t have to be me. See, even though I have stretched out my neck in the past and asked a guy to coffee, it has been my understanding of the way these things work that if the guy appreciated/enjoyed it, he would ask me to do it again. But instead it seems rather to have absolved the guy of any responsibility, quenched any initiative he might ever have had, as though he decided that because I did it that one time I could do it ever after, and I have wound up feeling like everything is going to be up to me forever. So, I don’t want to do the asking, because I don’t want to be responsible for everything, and I don’t want to have to ask again and again. Besides, it’s horrid. I’d rather pay money to advertise myself online that have to ring a man I know, who obviously can’t be bothered ringing me, and ask him to coffee. And if I do take all the responsibility for the two great disasters in my life, well then I won’t do those things again, which includes not calling a guy asking him to coffee. And as a result of the more recent disaster, and what has been said about it, I need to do what I can to salvage what is left of my reputation in certain circles (not to mention the repair work I need to do on myself), which means not doing anything towards men.

My conclusion is that the right man for me (if there is one) will be one who, for starters, is actually being a man for me, and taking the initiative. So, no, I won’t be calling. If I am to enter into these things I want to be understood and cared for, and I don’t feel understood or cared for by men who expect me to phone them so they don’t have to do it. So there is some of the internal monologue of an INFJ on dating for you. Like they say, life is never easy for the INFJ.)

So that is about the state of things. Other things I have enjoyed are doing a little bit of gardening, and the outdoors being generally more accessible here, and having my own place to do as I please in.

Now that I am more settled and the upheaval of moving towns and job and church is over, I probably do need to make some plans (those dreaded plans), and make a more concerted effort to build friendships and get involved in a few things next year, so life doesn’t glide on by.


Jessica said...

Glad you shared this, re the discouragement of being the asker not the askee. Girl at church who is keen to marry and dutifully "putting herself out there" is reporting terrible results. If you get really fired up you could educate the guy... I mean what a lame move, offering to be asked out. Who wants that kind of half-arsed interest. It's so ambiguous it's meaningless. Guuuuuhhh. Makes me remember that movie "He's just not that into you", which has a good message, well, the message is in the title. I can go to the movies on my own, it's less stressful.

Ali said...

Hah Jess. Yes, I have read that book (maybe I need to read it again!) but not seen the movie. Perhaps I will.

And it can be very stressful too, feeling like it's been left to you to act, when you don't want to (as the worst part is, now the guy will probably act like I've rejected him because I didn't call, but that is not how it works ...). I think men everywhere need to watch Kate and Leopold and keep the ball in their own court (not just lob it into the girl's and leave it there).

Jessica said...

That's why I think it's worth educating him. I can imagine a man getting less brave after some failed attempts, so beginning decreasing the risk, and getting more and more self-pitying. It might be a loving thing to do, clarify the difference between rejecting him through silence and being tired of the game. And suggest that he watch Kate and Leopold :)

Ali said...

Yes, possibly. Though it was a while ago now, so it could be weird to revisit it at this point (and I haven't seen him since as we don't really move in the same circles). It's a vicious circle for men though if they reach a point where they can't take a definite risk, so they get so subtle/ambiguous that women don't take them seriously, so then they get no positive feedback on being subtle and ambiguous ...