Ambivalence is a state of having simultaneous, conflicting feelings toward a person or thing. Stated another way, ambivalence is the experience of having both positive and negative thoughts and emotions toward someone or something. A common example of ambivalence is the feeling of both love and hate for a person. The term also refers to situations where “mixed feelings” of a more general sort are experienced, or where a person experiences uncertainty or indecisiveness concerning something. The expressions “cold feet” and “sitting on the fence” are often used to describe the feeling of ambivalence.
In response to my last blog about quitting my job, one friend sent me a message asking me if I”m having a mid-life crisis or am I just being “Hazel”. She’s known me for a long time – like since high school – so I know what she means. I’ve always been a little bit just past normal; my mom once asked me if “just once, couldn’t I do things the easy way” and what she meant was the normal way. Because it is easier. But for better or for worse, the answer was usually no. So I’m hoping that the answer is I’m just being me, or to be more precise, that after a long period of me being lost, I’m finding me again. I’m fairly sure I”m not going through a mid-life (or any other life) crisis, though there are some troubling signs . . . .
Take my house – I really love the way it’s decorated (although that word is probably a bit of a stretch) because everything on the walls and shelves and all the memorabilia scattered around reminds me of the people who mean the most to me and of the fun times I’ve had with them. My walls are, quite literally, plastered with framed photos of family and friends on the fun trips and adventures I’ve had with them. I’ve got shelves crammed with my favourite books, my art work is for the most part original pieces I have picked up at the East Van Art Walk or on my travels (ok I have one IKEA print – who doesn’t?). Oh yeah, and then there are all the concert posters . . .
I’m always struck when I visit my friends homes by how . . .grown up the homes seem. Good furniture, decent art, careful decorating. It looks like mature adults live there. By contrast, I have to admit, my place is a bit more . . eclectic I think is a good word. The concert posters I like to hijack from particularly memorable shows, especially the out-of-town ones in clubs that are (in)famous on the live music circuit. And if they are signed, so much the better. And I don’t see the point of keeping them in a box – I frame them and put them on the walls and every time I walk by (or say I’m doing something hideously domestic like vacuuming) I can look at them and they make me smile. What’s not to love about that. And I happen to think that tasselled scarves are an excellent decorating option – it’s the gypsy in me.
I was looking at the mirror in my bedroom, which I only put up a few months ago. It’s now draped with the sparkly mask from the Masquerade Ball, a black rose I cut off a favourite cocktail dress (it was covering too much!), strings of Mardi Gras beads (Vegas – nuff said) and my favourite top hat with feather and silver scarf. The top hat started out as part of a Halloween costume, but I’ve decided I like it so much that I wear it out quite often now – well at least to the punk/metal concerts where wearing a top hat would be one of the least strange get ups there. What I really love is that I have the sort of life that allows me to collect this memorabilia and that it’s the tangible proof of how much I’ve changed and how far I’ve come and just how damn much FUN my life is now. Life is short, we should all have more fun.
I”m also pretty sure that a lot of people think I go to see way too many concerts, because I’m out listening to live music at least once or twice a week and think nothing of driving to Seattle or Portland, or flying to San Francisco or Vegas, to see a band I really like. Not that long ago someone asked my wingman in many of these escapades “why do you go so many times to see bands you’ve seen before” and in reply she asked them what it was that was so special they were doing that night. Answer = watching the Biggest Loser on TV. The irony was not lost on her. Oh, and the person who asked the question was 24. I sure know what I’d rather be doing.
So are these signs of a full-blown crisis, or have I just made a choice to do things my way. I’d like to hope it’s the latter, but I’m sure some people will think it’s the former. Ambivalence.
Play it safe or take risks = ambivalence
Take a lover into your life or stay safely single = ambivalence
Work – do what you love or do what pays = ambivalence
But one thing I’m not ambivalent about at all is that life should be fun and that you should surround yourself with positive, upbeat people. Create the happiness you want in your own life.
In Heavy Rotation: The only band that works with this blog has to be The Growlers.
We were in San Francisco to see a concert and were staying at the Phoenix Hotel , the coolest hotel anywhere – well unless you happen to actually like Holiday Inns – and if Anthony Kiedis thinks it’s cool, I’m not arguing. We had an extra night there, just because it’s San Francisco, and the front desk staff recommended we go see this band at the Hemlock Tavern – a classic venue. It was an epic night. Truly. Almost didn’t make the flight to Seattle the next morning. When The Growlers came on we were sure they were way too high to play anything at all, but once they started, they were just amazing. Brooks Nielsen, the singer, channels Freddie Mercury in a sort of psychedelic SoCal punk rock way. Even bar bands in San Francisco are amazing. We really should fly down for New Years Eve, they are playing there again. And I’m not ambivalent about that, at all.