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Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Small Community of Close Friends

Since my post earlier this week on the Chicken Funeral, I've been thinking: Why am I such a whiner? I have wonderful friends and know really good people? Why am I so pissed off that nobody wanted to participate in my chicken funeral. I mean, it sounds like tons of fun, right?

After I performed the solo chicken funeral (in which even the chickens refused to participate), I went to a work meeting. And as I was arriving, a married couple who have a farm were dropping off their 1st official produce delivery EVER. They had two friends with them who were making a documentary about their farm and were taping this milestone in their farming business/life together.

For some reason, this added insult to injury. These people have a whole group of people who care about what they are doing and all support each other in doing it. They are making an official documentary about what they are doing and I am a one woman chicken grave digging idiot who props a camera up on a fence to document the death of my pet because nobody else is there to witness it.

Why am I not simply single, but SOLO is so many of my endeavors? "Wah wah wah! Why am I always alone? Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. I guess I'll go eat chicken."

Well, the pity party ends here. Because after further thought I realized that I do have community. But my community isn't based around one interest. I know a lot of wonderful people all with different lifestyles and callings and professions. There is a backyard chicken keeping organization in my town that I am 100% inactive with although I do check their bulletin board on a regular basis. However, I've never been to an event or contributed. I don't have time and honestly, I'm not THAT interested in having my chickens take over my life. If I were a more active member of the group, I would have a serious chicken community of live chicken lovers and dead chicken mourners.

Then, I received a video from my friend that her sister, sister's partner and their friends had made. The video is funny and slightly like unto the funeral video except that they behead one of their chickens and prepare it for dinner. There are several people active in this video and there is more than one person to hold the camera, and a person to hold the chicken and another person to wield the axe that chops off the chickens head.

They all decided to do this together. This is their life and their friends and this is what they do for fun (make a video about killing and eating their chicken -- not the actual act of killing the chicken).

THAT is what I want (just the vegetarian version).

This seems every obvious to me now.

I've always been pursuing groups of people and volunteering my time and getting involved in community hoping that I'll find a community of my own. But the truth is that all I need are a few good friends with an inclusive attitude and a long-term commitment to our friendship.

I moved far away from my hometown (where the friend with the chicken head chopping sister lives) and in doing so, left behind many of my childhood friends. But I've been in my new city five years and I've put down roots. At the same time, I've been so busy building community for other people (through my meetup or my dog rescue work or through volunteering my ass off for one cause after another) that I haven't really taken the time to build my own individual, long term friendships. My roommates tend to be temporary and so I have quit letting them too much into my life, knowing that in a few months they'll move on. I've quit seeking new friends because so many of my friends disappeared once they got into a relationship. At some point I gave up on friendship.

I'm seeking people (not just one person) to live life with and share in the victories and failures. The community doesn't have to be big and it doesn't have to be centered upon ONE mutual interest. Maybe we enjoy each other's humor or maybe we enjoy the same activities. But we somehow commit to being there for each other as a small group and holding the camera for each other whenever it is needed.

I see how the friendships that I have continued to nurture are not practical ones, mainly because these friends live far away or are married and have children. What I need to allow myself to let into my life are friends with a similar mindset and lifestyle who live where I do and are available to support me as I support them. What I am looking for is not only a partner, but a small community of close friends (of which some may also be lovers).

Instead of welcoming people into the city and helping them get adjusted and saving dogs and film and blah-de-blah. I need to save myself a little space to make a life in. A life filled with friendship and caring and community to which I contribute, but also receive.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Singlutionary Chicken Funeral

I have pet chickens in my backyard.

My least favorite chicken died yesterday. We weren't that close. I have a special bond with my other chickens -- they all have strong personalities and are feisty or stubborn or friendly. They stand out from the crowd but Little Beer was a quiet simple chicken. Maybe she had a deep inner life.

Who knows? She was a chicken. And now she is dead.

Yesterday, Little Beer's sister, Mohawk -- the other silkie chicken that she was brought up with from chickdom -- was bereaved. Mohawk wouldn't talk or eat or move. She just stood there stunned. Last night, instead of making a perch on the toilet in their coop (where she usually sleeps), she curled up on the floor of the coop. I poked her to make sure she was still alive. She looked at me without any recognition. I tried to get her to eat the most delicious chicken feed but she wouldn't budge. I thought this morning I would have another fluffy yellow chicken body to bury.

But this morning Mohawk hopped out of the coop with the other chickens, her period of morning, at least temporarily, ended. I brought her her own food and made the other chickens back off so she could eat, but there was no need: Mohawk was hungry and wasn't going to be bullied. She was back to her better self.

I have great plans for a chicken funeral. I want to dress up in my farmer outfit (where I look very much like my avatar from the formerly addictive facebook game, Farmville) and say some words over Little Beer's grave with the other chickens in attendance. I want to bury her with some good food and a bottle of beer. It would be fun and playful and a genuine celebration of Little Beer's life.

Lately I have taken to obsessively videotaping myself giving monologues while doing various things or going about my life. I do this because I do so many things alone and I want someone to share them with. So, I video them so that I can either edit the videos and share the online or so that I can just feel like there is someone to talk to about my experiences -- even if that "someone" is a credit card sized crappy video camera.

I would like to videotape the chicken funeral. But then I realize, it might be difficult to find someone to hold the camera. And there isn't enough time to train my dog to do it.

Like many single people, I have friends. I have wonderful friends and wonderful roommates. But as Special K commented on my Vday post, my life lacks intimacy. In the past, I have had intimate friendships where we knew everything about each other and talked all the time and we were available to each other for support no matter what. But as my friends coupled off or married, our intimate friendship was crowded out by their intimate partnership with their partner or spouse. And now, all too aware of the energies a romantic relationship demands, I am reluctant to develop new intimate friendships because I know that they are essentially temporary, a stop gap until one of us couples.

Although I take issue with the way our culture works, it is still the way our culture works.

And so, with the death of Little Beer, I also realize that what I would really like is a capable, supportive person in my life who would enjoy participating in a chicken funeral and would gracefully hold the video camera while I perform the necessary invented rites required to lay Little Beer to rest. It is an odd request and one made on a weekday in cloudy weather. If I am going to put the fun back in chicken funeral, I would like another human to share this unique experience with.

There are a few people I could call upon. I could ask one of my roommates, I could ask my best city friend. But people are busy. There are so many other things to do.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

V is for Victorious

Thank you to Onely for their wonderful Valentines Day profile of happy single bloggers (of which Singlutionary is included).

This Valentines Day, I feel victorious. Not because I have a boyfriend to shower me in calories and crap but because I am not angstified over not having one.

I've actually never had a boyfriend or partner or date on Valentines day. I've always celebrated alone, not understanding what all the fuss is about. When I was a teenager I worked in a chocolate shop and had to wait on all the angsty men who came in knowing that whatever they got their woman would somehow not be enough or somehow be wrong. As a result, they would not only NOT get laid, but they would end up sleeping on the couch.

And then there is my friend who's then boyfriend got her a dead plant for V-day. She married him anyways, found out he was a freeloader over the course of the next 7 years and is now engaged to someone else.

If I were in a relationship, I would want to pretend that Valentines Day doesn't exist.

As a matter of fact, I am avoiding one of the men I've been dating this weekend. This particular gentleman -- I'll call him Suburban Sailboater -- seems like he might be a bit into romance. We've only been out twice and I like him but I need to tell him that I like him as a FRIEND. I realized during the second date that I am simply not interested in him romantically -- mainly because I can't see being in a relationship with him due to a lack of conversational chemistry but also due to his making some weird kissing NOISES when he was kissing my neck (like a hissy kissy sound). I don't know why but the hissy kissy sound made my vagina immediately close up shop for the night and drove him straight into friend territory.

I know, I know. I shouldn't be so picky about the hissy kissy from the Suburban Sailboater.

Whatever. If a guy isn't hot on the 2nd date, things are NOT going to get better. And by hot I don't mean tall, dark and handsome (although Suburban Sailboater is definitely tall, dark and geeky) but merely a good sexual match -- someone with whom I share a massive sexual chemistry worthy of sixteen condoms.

But I digress. This Valentines Day I am victorious because I am not TRYING to make something work just because I want something special to happen on V-day. I am not going on a forced date or pining away for Mr. Awesome. I am grateful for Suburban Sailboater and hope that we can develop a friendship sometime NEXT weekend when we are safely out of the V-day zone.

I am comfortable with myself, proud of where I am and satisfied with the work meeting/job interview/audition/homework that I will be doing tomorrow on St. Valentines Day.

Romance is always the best when it is organic and unexpected. The pressures of Valentines Day would best be served somewhere else. With less pomp, less force, less candy, fewer creepy pink bears and less expectation. And, dare I say it: With MORE love.

There are many folks who take the opportunity to celebrate Valentines day by celebrating all the non-romantic love in their lives. While I would prefer and just hide out from the holiday, I think that is a wonderful idea.

So if you want to buy someone a creepy pink bear, buy one for the people who love and support you no matter what -- even when you're in the doghouse, on the sofa and hornier than a rhino because you've been celibate for 3 to 30 years.