I am not made to be social

«How come you do not have friends over?» was the question she asked me.

Honestly? Because I’m too tired to be social. My work is so socially intense that the last thing on my mind when coming home is having people over. It completely drains whatever energy I have left. And when weekend comes along, I’d often rather be left alone. Alone with my child, a good TV documentary or a long walk/bikeride.

I spoke about this (social life) with one of my friends the other day. Our social relationship doesn’t revolve around social gatherings at each others houses drinking coffee and talking about people we know and do not know. No, we are social on the football pitch – talking football, discussing light matters that both are comfortable with. We don’t need more than that for our friendship to work. It is, in fact, the only thing we need. With other friends I have other «deals». Sports, music, drinking, online discussions. I don’t need more. I don’t want more. I don’t want to sit around with my brother doing nothing than talking. No, with my brother I go on bike rides talking about Strava. That’s all that I need. Or go to England in July discussing aviation.

I come from a house (where I used to live) where there was no huge social activities going on. The odd visits from my parents, maybe some people over now and again. Not often at all. Maybe no more than once a month. I was pleased with this. It meant I could recharge my draining batteries. I understand now that I was extremely lucky considering how my energy levels drop like a stone these days. It fit me perfectly. Perfectly. I like to endulge myself into my hobbies and thoughts, not to sit around talking with others at all times.

A social life is not something everyone needs or wants. I like my friends, I enjoy their company, but from time to time I often find online friends where I can simply type up a few sentences and have a proper conversation much more convenient. Where I don’t need to continusly try to make up conversation topics (of most which usually bore me). It is more straight to the point, more honest and more relaxing.

It is often the undefined and the things you are not aware of that comes and suckerpunches you. The dramatic increase in my social life is exactly that. I am just someone that have to go along with this ride and adapt. A Mother and father-in-laws (two mother-in-laws actually), her friends here and there – people over, people staying for too long too my taste. Sometimed 16 hours of non-stop socializing. It wears me completely out.

I am not made to be that social. Not in this field of work.

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Do not attack the core of me

We ended up in a heated discussion the other day. In front of parts of her family. I just couldn’t help it. Enough is enough. I could not tolerate her attitude towards computers and social media like it’s all the devil works. Like nothing about it is positive. I know where she got it from (her mother) and I know her level of knowledge of this subject (none).  I was pissed because she buggered into a subject she knew nothing about, and I was pissed because she even had the nerve to suggest I lacked friends because of the internet. I was pissed because she suddenly tried to put words into my mouth, and be the judge of things she knew nothing about. In fact, I am still pissed off, but I try to act content. The self restraint I have to be in charge of when she sets out in one of her uneducated and prejudice rants towards the internet and social media is beyong anything I have ever experienced in this matter before.

I know she’s wrong, and I have the data and the research to back it up – but she won’t listen. And when she makes it personal, I explode. I can’t handle it. I have always lived under the rule of not trying to have strong opinions on subjects I know little about –  but rather learn about it before talking and having an opinion.

But there’s more to it than that. With everything unravelling in 2016-2017 I lost much of myself. With this relationship I have gained so much, but I am holding for dear life onto what makes me being me. I lost one dog and partly another dog due to all these circumstances. My greatest interests have taken severe blows. My interest in music is being attacked (and I feel it is almost being mocked) yet again by opinions of the uneducated. My interest in history is present, but not understood – only accepted.

Football is not understood. I have explained that football is part of my social life. There’s very little coffee and sofa conversations in my life as part of my social life – it is often found through an activity. Football, aircraft, music. I have explained this several times.

I have told her several times I am not typical local or Norwegian even – I am through the internet and past experiences – international. She referred to both her ex boyfriend and her sisters boyfriend to underline her argument that it is more normal to have social life where people “stop by”. But, I don’t want them to stop by. I work in such a social job that I want time off being social. And simply to use an ex boyfriend to underline a point is not what I consider good behavior. But now I’m venturing off topic.

I think one of the main reasons why I react so vividly to these types of opinions about social media and the internet is because I am fighting for the core of myself. What I am. I am not to loose anything else that defines me as a person and what I am. I have lost enough as a it is, a complete change from 2015 to 2019. Four years. A complete change. I don’t want to loose anything more of what I was. I want only to gain, not to loose. Many of my biggest achievements have come through the internet. I am extremely proud of my achievements, and if they come under attack I will respond with all guns blazing. Do not touch them.

Does she really know me?

I’ve been with her for 1,5 years now. Going on two full years. It’s not a lot, maybe, but time is more precious once you grow older – and you try to do a lot more with less time at your disposal. You sort of stop and suddenly realize that time is not infinte – you actually see a start, a middle and an end to it all. However, I’m already drifting off course.

I am sometimes wondering how well she actually knows me, and how much she actually tries to get to know me. Does she actually show an interest in me and my interests/hobbies? Does she support me in my doings (and wrongdoings)? Does she actually understand who I am? I am tempted to say; no.

She doesn’t understand aviation and my interest in aviation. She doesn’t ask about it, or show any interest in it. She doesn’t really need to understand, I don’t need much, but I do need her to accept it.

She doesn’t know anything about my taste in music, and shows no interest in digging into my archives of music. She doesn’t know that my knowledge of certain bands stretches incredibly far. She doesn’t want to listen to my music, and doesn’t ask about my music.

She doesn’t want to know about my interest in the paranormal. She gets upset when I speak about UFOs, and gets embaressed when I mention it. Embaressed as in thinking it’s all nonsense. She gets faith mixed up in the interest of mysteries and the paranormal and even I’m the one with the knowledge I’m still being treated like someone with no clue.

There’s so much I could tell her – teach her – but she just don’t want to listen to me.

She doesn’t like certain TV shows – I haven’t even bothered, but I know she would hate a show like The Curse of Oak Island (I love mysteries). She hates Sci-Fi, and when I try to argue that Star Wars is actually a lot like Fantasy but in space (she likes Fantasy for some reason I don’t get since she hates Sci-Fi) she gets annoyed. When I say The Handmaids Tale (we both love it) could be defined as Sci-Fi is you stretch the term a little – she objects vividly.

How well does she actually know me? She doesn’t. And I don’t understand why she doesn’t want to understand why I like certain subjects. Why so narrow-minded? Why so set in her ways? If she plays a song, I listen. When I play a song, her mind wanders off.

Does she know the name of my fave football team? My favorite TV show? My favorite city? Why I love aviation so much?

I don’t know.

I just don’t understand. She can get to know me and my interests in so many ways, and it’s like she chooses not to. Why?

Days gone by

I am in the process of making a digital copy of every photo of myself since I was born. Through my childhood years and up until digital photos became the norm.

It is a sombering process full of reflections. I study the photos at hand, and I realize that time moves on no matter what. My mother being in her 30s, my dad at my age sitting in front of the living room table with a Nintendo joystick in his hand playing a very primitive combat simulator game. I realize I am now their age when the photo was taken. 1990 suddenly feels so close, but yet so extremely far away. A long time ago. That was then. I remember it well. What the world looked like to me. How it all felt. I expected it stay like that forever, but now almost 30 years on since those days I realize that nothing is constant. People I thought to be a constant – is not. I am not. I am older now. It was just 11 years between 1990 and 2001 – the year that changed a lot. From 2001 to now is almost twice the amount of time. It is a frightening tought. I can’t really get my head around it. When did my mom grow so old? She used to be a young mother with three children. That’s how I remember her, not someone close to retirement age like today.

With age comes this sudden realization that nothing lasts forever. Whenever my dad said of someone he had met after a long period of not seeing each other; «well, he grew old too» I suddenly understand what he means. I think this is about coming to terms with your own immortality. Because, suddenly you see people get frail. Some have already died. Like my aunt. Not even 60 years old, she just suddenly died. And then I see her face on a photograph, like I remember her. I hear her voice in my head and I try to understand that she is not actually here any more. She is not part of time any longer, and never will be again. Just like all those other people that came before us. And so will I. I am no different to them. I’m here at this moment in time – and in 150 years, this time will just be like all other times. A decade, a century gone by with historians trying to define it. So what if someone in my family lived in the 1700s? That person is no different from me.  He just lived a bit before me. And now he’s gone, forgotten and buried. His remains returned to nature a long time ago. But somehow I suddenly feel a lot closer to him. I understand this now; the concept of time. Life is short. And then I will be gone too, just like everyone else. My daughter will be there to remember me, and then she will grow old and pass on as well. No different than anyone else.

And so I return to scanning old photograps. Yes, I guess they can be defined as old now. The good old days of the 80s and 90s. When I grew up. I am scanning all of this to save myself. My family. Days gone by. To show my daughter what it was like. Not much different – but a little. This is how my mom looked. This is what we did. This is me when I was 8. In front of a WWII fighter aircraft I get to fly in 30 years later. Days gone by. Days yet to come.

A place in England

There is a place in England that I am in love with. A love affair now almost spanning over three decades. It is a place of wonder and amazement. Where legends live and history awakens from the deepest, darkest depths. It all comes to life with a thundering roar. Pay attention, and you will see the ghosts of young, gallant and brave men screaming past you where you stand in awe. You will become one with history. Live it, breath it. Even smell it. In some ways, we all gather in this place; those of us fortunate to live in todays free world, but also all of those that has gone before us. The ghosts. Those souls that sacrificed their lives for us. We all meet in this wonderful place where everything is alive, the past and the present. The living and the dead. This is where the clouds are vanishing as some by invisible force the moment everything is about to start. This is where the fog is thick in the morning, but clears when showtime lingers only an hour away. It is like a strong invisible force embrace it and protects it.

This is where I meet my heroes. My idols. The legend of man and machine fighting for freedom and liberty. The only place where I can reach out to my forgotten heroes and welcome them back into our modern world – if only for a few hours each year. Together we’re there, looking up at the sky in gratitude of what once was.

The effect this place has made on me has been second to none. Years and years of inspiration culminated in seven books over the years. This is place is where it all began. Like a jolt of lightning going through my body –  everything was clear to me once I had set foot in this place. This is what I would dedicate the next fourteen years on. This is where I belonged. It is still where I belong. This is where I took to the skies like my heroes and experienced it first hand. I will never forget it.

No one can and will take this place away from me. Ever.

Once my daughter grows older I will take her to this sacred place. I will point to these beatiful flying machines, and talk about the legends that once sat in them and fought for us. Fought for me. Fought for her.

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A bag of cheap Christmas ornaments

We bought them together. It was back in 2010. She had just arrived to this cold and sparsely populated country, and everything was new to her. Especially Christmas. Our apartment was relatively small, so we got a plastic tree at the same place we got the ornaments. It wasn’t expensive ornaments. They just came from one of these budget stores we have in this country. But, she was pleased. I was pleased too. We had just bought ourselves our first Christmas ornaments. We were slowly building common ground, a common life even – always intertwining our lives with possessions, interests and traditions.

I taught her my way of doing Christmas. My familys way of doing Christmas. When to do what – like decorating a Christmas tree – or what to eat. Perhaps we came too much of an indoor couple nursing our interests. Her academia and my growing in-depth history research. We decorated our tree on the 23rd of December. She seemed pleased. Actually, more fascinated than pleased. And so those cheap ornaments became one of our first common tradition with Christmas. They became rooted in our little family of two (later two and a dog – then another dog). Whenever Christmas came, I would bring out our small tree and those dark red coloured ornaments and decorate it. It was almost our first family heirlooms! As an added bonus, my mom hand made several ornaments herself, and gave to us as gifts.

Briging someone into a Christmas holiday is tricky. Everything I connected with this holiday didn’t mean anything to her. The TV shows I used to watch as a child did not ring any bell with her. The outdoors activities on skis were out of reach to her. And so large part of Christmas sort of obliturated without me noticing.

I kept decorating our tree with the same ornaments for seven years. Until I moved out. She asked me if I wanted the ornaments and handed me a plastic bag. Yes, I wanted them. One of the very few things that actually reminded me of Christmas. Of course I wanted to decorate my tree as always the coming Christmas.

In the end, I didn’t. I didn’t bother decorating anything that Christmas. Maybe it was because I was too lazy. Maybe it was because I didn’t feel like decorating anything to no one. Maybe it was because the ornaments reminded me of her. But, everything stayed in it’s plastic bag in a closet. It was the same the coming year, but that year I was barely home and celebrated a good Christmas with other people.

I brought the ornaments with me when I moved house once more. I had no specific plan with them. I didn’t reflect about what would happen if I decorated a new tree with my new family with the ornaments. Of everything that had been going on the past two years, the ornaments were at the bottom of that list. But I brought them down from the attic anyway just to og through them all. Maybe my girlfriend wanted to use some of it. Perhaps some of my mothers hand made ornaments would come in handy.

Of course she didn’t like them. She had our own tradition. Her own ornaments. Her own way of looking at Christmas and how everything should be. And so we decorated the tree I bought (where did that plastic tree actually end up?) with her ornaments. Nothing of mine. In fact, bringing it all down from the attic seemed to raise her level of panic to a certain degree as it suddenly became «too much Christmas stuff».

A colleague came to me a few days before Christmas and asked if I had some old ornaments I didn’t use. She wanted to use them in a prank at the office. I thought about it, and remembered my ornaments now firmly placed back into the attic. Sure, I had ornaments. I went back up to the freezing attic, grabbed my bag of ornaments and gave it to her. She used them in her prank. I’m not sure what happened next, but they most likely ended up in the garbage after that.

And so that’s where our Christmas ended up in the end. As a prank. A joke. The ornaments we bought together and decorated our tree with for so many years. I just gave them away. Anything else would have been silly. They will never have been used again. And, I can always just get some new ones in the future. It’s not like they cost anything.

A plastic bag full of ornaments is just one more object from my former life that is now gone. Parts of me and my past slowly but always continuously wethering away. Things that meant something to me.

There’s almost nothing left of them now.

A letter to my two dogs

To the first one,

You know, I can’t believe it’s been six years since we got you. I was never too keen on having a dog, but when she asked me if we could bring you into our household, I immediately said yes. And from then on and for two years it was just us three. I felt so sorry for many switches in owners, and put you into bed at night to make you feel wanted. It’s a horrible mix and misunderstand of human and dog emotions, but I wanted to tell you that from here on out we would take care of you. You were always so kind to me. You showed me trust and love. You had no hesitations in accepting me as your new owner. I remember walking you around town, and I snapped a photo of you. Boy, did you look happy! For us, you were our little baby. Our common ground. When we went to bed at night, I always said “another day tomorrow little dog” and I often wondered when I would ever stop saying those words to you. I know you didn’t really like it when we got Shelly. You enjoy the quiet and comfortness of a home. Not to be attacked by a puppy interested in playing all the time. You were my first little girl. I find myself mixing the names of you and my daughter all the time. And do you know why I do that? Because you and my daughter awakens the same emotions in me. Parenthood, care, and love. And this is how much you mean to me, dear dog.

I am sorry I am not around like I used to. I am sorry you do not fit into my new household. I am sorry my girlfriend misundersands you, and think you’re angry. You’re not. You’re just an aging dog, and you don’t like children. Maybe some misbehaved kid did something to you when you were young. It’s not your fault. I understand.

I hope you can forgive me for disappearing like that. I didn’t mean to. I just can’t find a way to make it work. I really want to spend time with you. Give you cuddles, treats and nice walks. I wish I could lift you up into my bed at night and fall alseep next to you like I used to do.

I had to sacrifice something, and I am sorry it turned out to be you. It’s not your fault. I love you just the same, my aging dog. I just think you have a better life if you stay with people who understand you the most, and can give you the treatment you deserve. And she does. She loves you to bits, and your life is with her.

To the second one,

My best friend, my confidant, my little happy, playful dog. Can you believe I wasn’t too keen on getting you? I didn’t even say yes! Suddenly we just picked you up, and that was that. I am so happy that we did that in 2014.

You give me a feeling of unrequited love I have never felt before. From day one you trusted me, and chose me to be your leader and daddy. Between us there is a bond I have trouble explaining in words. I miss you when you’re not here with me. You let my step-daughter do anything she wants with you, and maybe you do it because of me. Because that is required if you are to be with me now. You welcome them with open arms.

Do you remember those long walks we did a year or so ago? Going out exploring. Just you and me. Best friends. Do you remember those sad, lonely nights when you stayed with me? When everything was shit, and you were the shining star in a dark night? That’s what you are to me, my dear little dog. I will never forget the moment when I looked into your eyes and I swear, it was like you spoke to me in my mind; I give you my unconditional love. Never before or since have I experienced something like that when I’m around dogs.

You scream of joy when I pick you up. Do you do it because we can be together? Because when you are with me, fun things will happen? When you’re with me, you refuse to leave my side. If I go to the bathroom, you want to come. You stay beside me. No matter what.

I am so sorry we can’t be together more than we are. I wish we could. Your place is with me. We have a special connection you and I. I feel like I let you down. How I push you away because others don’t want you around.

I am so sorry I have let you down. I can’t repay your trust and confidence in me. I failed you. My sweet and lovely dog. I am sorry.

To both,

Merry Christmas to you both. I miss you terribly. You are one of the few connections to my old life. One that is fading by the day. My two, lovely dogs. Know that I miss you with all my heart. I have let you down, and I am sorry for it. Know that I will see you again soon.

Daddy

Like heavy, polluted air

I visited my old neighbourhood lately. I’ve been driving around there a few times before, but this time I was walking with my daughter in a baby trolley. It literally gave me the chills.

I can best explain it like this; do you know when you’re in the bathroom and putting on your deoderant, then leave the bathroom but only to come back a few minutes later. The deoderant you put on are still lingering in the room, and you can smell it. That’s what it was like.

It’s like I have been walking around the neighbourhood in late 2016 and early 2017 leaving a scent of some sort. A scent that is sadness, frustration, anger, loneliness, and desperation even. It has filled the air around there like a perfume. I walked around with my daughter as a different person. Just two years later I am walking around my old neighbourhood as a completely different person. I could almost feel everything that I had been through when I walked there. Like some sort of heavy, polluted air. It was like a mix of two worlds that shouldn’t really mix at all. It was eerie as hell.

I expressed my gratitude out loud. Everything went okay after all.

However, the battle is never really won. Around the corner waits new battles to be fought.

Is this karma?

I am two months into my new life of being a father. I’ve done lots of thinking about this subject and my current life status, and I have come to some surprising conclusions.

I’ve asked myself; what is the most challenging aspect of my current life? What is most different from before? From my past life?

I think if I asked people, they would quickly point to my daughter. I could ask my girlfriend, and she would quickly say that the most challenging and changing aspect of my life IS indeed my daughter. I can agree to some point because this is a challenge that won’t go away any time soon. However, right now it is not my daughter that is mentally my biggest challenge. That is a surprise.

It’s my new living arrangements. Social life. Privacy, and lack of privacy. The erosion of what I am. The challenge of holding on to my interest and hobbies while transcending into this new way of life. And, it’s often those things you do not see coming that is the most challenging. This new way of living in someone elses house and amongst all her things caught me so much off guard I rate that above my daughter. Nothing has surprised me with her – I was prepared for it. I’m in control of it.

The house I live in now is my girlfriends house. It came fully equipped. I sold my house, and I gave away many of my possessions in order to seal the deal; my TV, my sofa, my bed, my comfy chair and so on. When I moved to my girlfriends house I did not bring even one large item. Just clothes, books, magazines, beer glasses and a few items that’s been in my family for a long time. Plenty of it are still in boxes. If I tried to bring some of my things at least out of these boxes, I will be told there’s no space for them – and perhaps rightly so – there really is no available space in this house. I fought to even get one photograph that meant something to me up on the wall. And so I live in an enviroment where nothing is mine. And because it’s not my house, I am not in charge of anything. Not even the internet connection and the TV tuner. This is a complete turn-around from my past life where I was in charge of basically everything. Everything from the TV to what went on the walls to the speed of the internet. In my past life, we agreed upon wall decoration together, and I got to put up what meant something to me in my office room. It was more of a mutual agreement and cooperation. Here, there’s no room. No office. No room for me. I feel like I live in someone elses house, and rightly so; I am.

Possessions are one thing. Social aspects another. I am not used to having so many people come by all the time. Mostly her family. While they are all lovely people, I can’t relax around them. They are not my family. Her father works on the house constantly, and we’re all grateful for his efforts. His investment in the house and care for his daughter is wonderful. However, as an example, last week he would suddenly spend all Friday with us doing work on the house. His wife was away in Oslo and so he was with us between 10am and 10pm. I dreaded that Friday for days. After a long week at work, I am often beat on Friday afternoon/evening and would prefer to not do much or even be social. Yes, I might be old and I might be introvert. I just couldn’t look forward to an whole evening like that. I dreaded it, and I feel bad for it as I like him and appreciate all his work. It’s just that I am on the alert when there’s people around and I can’t relax. If her mother shows up for a visit, she stays until minimum 11pm. Often, by that time, I am freaking out because I will not get enough sleep. And, I wasn’t really told about that Friday. She didn’t ask me; “hey, can my father come by for twelve hours this Friday?”. No, I heard about it when he spoke to his granddaughter and told her. If I think about that Friday, I can still feel a bit of panic in my gut.

I wonder; would she accept that my father would spend 12 hours with us on a Friday? Or my mother showing up at 6pm and stay until 11:30pm? Would she accept all of this? Is it because I am a man it seems to be ok to control wall art and decor? When I spoke to my sister about it, she said he had refused her boyfriend to hang photographs of his RC helicopters up in the living room and he accepted. I can understand that to some point, but is it culturally expected of males to just let shit go and just adapt in a household? I doubt she would have accepted this if she had moved in with me. She, like most females, would have taken control of the household and expected the male to just accept it.

And so, it feels to me I have lost control of my life to a certain degree. I live in a house that is not mine, and doesn’t contain anything (except a small book shelf and a photograph) that is mine. My life seems to have either been sold, scrapped or is somewhat ignored.

Maybe this is karma. Maybe this is how my ex wife felt when she moved in with me. Even if we bought everything together. I wonder. I do wonder.

But there’s one thing that is rightly mine. She even looks like me. My daughter.

 

A former life

My life has changed so abruptly that I desperately seek experiences or things that comes from what once was. Almost like a person involved in the paranormal, trying to find feelings, items or places that can be connected to a former life. Because that’s what it feels like. And, the joy and happiness if I am to find something that reminds me of the person I was once – and still are.

A few days ago I hung a photo on the wall in our home. Wait, let me correct that; her home. It’s really her home. I put the photo up and I stared at it with wonder. Like an artefact from days long gone. Like a rope that connects two lifelines together. I was happy.

Yesterday I went to soccer practice. It’s my team. I created this so many years ago. Together with a friend I’ve managed this club for nine years. Nine years. I haven’t been there playing with them for over a month. They greeted me back with open arms. It felt like I just stepped back into a previous life. Like meeting old friends, long gone and forgotten. And, suddenly they were all there. I was myself again. This is what I was – and still is. It felt like coming home.

I have so few things intact from my previous life. Just fractions. Sometimes not even my interests are intact. One of them, in all seriousness, have to be hushed up because she doesn’t want to know about it. She doesn’t know shit about it, but she doesn’t want to know. And so, as I usually does, I go on the offensive and dig into this forbidden subject even more than normal. Who knows, it might just end up being a book just to spite her.

My dogs. Another lifeline back into to the old days almost torn to pieces. I’ve lost most of my relationship to my eldest dog. She doesn’t fit in. The younger dog, my confidante above all. My lovely dog. I talk about her and my eyes swell up. I wasn’t that moved even when my daughter was born. I held my own then. But for my little dog I feel I have left behind. I have disappointed her in my vanishing. The little dog who gave me all this unconditional love, and I return her love by disappearing – only to appear from time to time. She screams of joy when I come see her. I feel so guilty of leaving her behind.

I fight for what I am. What I used to be. To bring my old self into my new self. Photos, football, dogs… To make people understand. The feeling of sadness when I’m surrounded by people who don’t really know me. Don’t know my story. The new me. My new life. Like I was just born.