And they’re off!

As the urologist said when he broke the vasectomy speed record.

Read that, then the subject line, if it doesn’t make sense to you.

So,. How the hell are ya? Me, I’m doing okay,. Had therapy, got my meds refilled. Hung out with Felicity, Garth, and Amos.

So, a typical Thursday.

Therapy went okay. My therapist was ten minutes late starting the appointment and I let him know how frustrated that made me.

So my next appoibntment will be at 12:45 pm instead of 1 pm. Must rememeber to tell Joe that, preferably soon so he has time to get used to the idea.

We Taurus types need adjustment periods.

The other day, I was thinking about my tendency to reach a poinjt where I want to start over fresh instead of dealing with how complicated things have gotten or in general how I am not enjoying something any more.

And the analogy that popped into my metaphor filled head was that it was easier to start a new house of cards than to change a card in the existing one to correct a mistake, especially a mistake you made way earlier in the process.

For all you know, that could be a load bearing card.

And that’s how it is with my mind a lot of the time. It’s why I can’t handle sudden changes in plan a lot of the time. To my. my expectations of how the day was going to go are that house of cards and sudden changes yank a bunch of cards out and I am left desperately trying to fix the damage and keep things from collapsing.

That’s why I react like someone just punched me in the gut and my first instinct will be to say no.

What I really want to say in that momen is “fuck no, fuck off, go away and leave me alone, everything was fine until you showed up. ”

But that would be extremely wrong on many levels. For one thing, most people do not react like that. Most people handle sudden change better. So to get upset about it is to expect people to somehow know that what works for others doesn’t work for you.

And that is fundamentally unfair.

Even if the change is positive – turning a boring day into one where I will be doing something super fun that I will totally enjoy, say – there will still be a period of disorientation and dislocation and part of me will still want to go back to the appeallingly safe seeming time before the change came along and “ruined everything”.

Even when I am enjoying myself, part of me is still counting down the hours and minutes before I can crawl back into my cave again and hide from the world. isolated and alone and safe.

Which is, of course, the very condition I lament, loathe, and long to leave. I am more than willing to rail against the bars of my cage.

But only from inside the cage.

When I am out, I can’t wait to get back in.

Just today, I realized that despite my never having taken disappointment well, if a friend canceled plans to meet, a shameful part of me would be giddy from the relief.

And that really does fill me with shame. I feel like I am being disloyal to the person on a deep and terrible level, like I violated the connection between us, even though all I did was feel an emotion.

And emotions are never wrong. Only actions can be wrong.

And yet, I would be ashamed. Neurosis.

I have been thinking about my tendency to cling to where I am like a barnacle lately, so that each transition, no matter how small, leaves me with tendrils reaching back longingly towards the suddenly sacred socket I just left.

It’s quite unhealthy. I would be far better off if I just accepted change and thus was able to confidently put one thing down and pick up another, safe in the knowledge that whatever it was will be there for me when I have time for it again.

Instead, I have a life full of bruising dislocations, never all in one place, nevr fully in the moment, with parts of me left behind in everything I have done and the wounded animal in me just wanting to go back into hiding from everything forever.

I am serious. Everything. Forever. Infinite fear stretching to every horizon. That is what my anxiety feels like sometimes. Like the only real relief would be to stop existing.

Would if I could.

After all, that’s the message I got all through my childhood. Pretend you don’t exist. Be quiet and fade into the background. You are not and never will be welcome. You will always be an intruder to us. So don’t remind us that you are here. Be as small as possible. And don’t ever ask for anything because you deserve nothing.  Absolutely nothing. Not time, not energy, not money, not space. You don’t even deserve to be alive. The sum total of our love for you is expressed by us letting you stay,

But make no mistake. We do not want you here. Everything was better before you showed up. You don’t belong.

No wonder I learned to retreat into my own little world of media consumption. After all, like Robin Williams said, “I used to think the worst thing of all was to be alone. But it’s not. It’s to be with people who make you feel alone.”

I’d argued that it’s even worse to be with people who make you feel worse than alone, they make you feel alone and unqworthy and unwelcomne and useless and worthless.

I’ve carried that feeling of utter incompetence and total worthlessness with me for a long time. It’s buried deep in my code because it was installed when I was very young.

And it’s got to go. I am a good person. I have a lot of talent and intellect and personal awesomeness and I am a really sweet guy.

I have nothing to be ashamed of. (Repeat one million times. )

Somehow, I have to get to that place where I feel like I am okay.

It’s a long steep climb.

But I will NEVER stop trying.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

Push back, conservatives!

Forgive me if I am repeating myself, but…

Only conservatives can save the world.

Forget whose fault it is that the world is so messed up or which side “wins” or what some politician says you “srand for”.

Think instead about what  you truly believe in and how different that is from what the media thinks you believe.

Think about how you have been lied to and misled by the politiciqans you put in power and how none of them – none  – have done what they said they were going to do and treated you like a sucker instead.

Think about all of these coastal ilites who act like conservatives don’t even have any morals and are just mindless sheep following their big orange shepherd.

Think about how all that makes you feel. Then stand up for yourselves and push back as hard as you can.

I am not asking tyou to become a liberal. I am not asking you to abandon everything you have ever believed in. I am not even asking you to switch parties. \

All I am asking you to do is to push back against these smiling lying sons of bitches who think standing in front of a tractor with a cowboy hat on makes them an average citizen just like you.

The hell it does. Those bastards are not what you voted for. The guy or gal you voted for never showed up for work. Instead, you got some lunatic who knows about as much about doing their job as a squirrel knows about heart surgery and who could not wait to sell you out to big government and big corporations so they could get rich while you and yours get by on less and less every day.

And then these jackasses think they have the right to say what you believe? To act like you’re okay with everything they do to you and the country just because you voted for them? To drag your name through the mud and bring shame to you and your family just because you voted for that fake version of themselves they pretended to be?

Aren’t you sick and tired of it? Aren’t you mad? Doesn’t it make you want to do something about it?

Well you can. You can push back.

I am not saying it will be easy. Like all decent folks, you value loyalty and dedication and love your country without reservation.

But the goddamned politicians don’t.  They aren’t loyal to anyone but their own greed, their own dedicated to their own pride, and they are perfectly willing to treat the flag like toilet paper if it makes them a little richer, or even just for the hell of it.

So why should you be any more loyal to them than they are to you?

Push back. You’re the only ones who can do it.

I mean, the nerve of these bozos, acting like they could say Christ was Satan and Satan was Christ and you would believe them.

These people don’t represent you, your people, or your faith. They are Pharisees and their only god is Mammon.

And that’s not good enough, because, goddamit, there’s such a thing as standards, and standards only exist when they are enforced, and right now, nobody is enforcing them.

And that’s really all I am talking about here. I am not asking you to change anything you believe in, not even a little.

I am just asking you to enforce them. Hold your politicians to a higher standard and if they fail it, let them know, right away and in no uncertain terms, that this is not acceptable and if they keep it up, there will be consequences.

That’s what I mean when I say I want you to push back.

And yes, this means you might have to break from the pack and go maverick for a while. Your friends and family might act like you are some kind of traitor just for expecting politicians to do what they said they would do and for demanding the right to speak for yourself instead of letting some Washington jackass speak for you.

You’re going to have to tough it out. And I know you can do it. You’re not the type to give up when the going gets tough. You’re a person of principles and backbone who isn’t afraid to ride into battle in order to stand up foir what believe and save your country from people who betray it in your name.

These people don’t represent you. These people don’t believe what you believe. These people have no right to claim they speak for you and they especially do not have the right to claim to sp4eak for your faith when, with the way they act,. it’s a wonder they don’t burst into flames when they go to church.

If they even go.

And I guarantee that if you start standingup for what you believe – what you truly believe – you will go from villains to heroes in no time flat. You will be the people who brought down the biggest monsters of our age and all you have to do is fight for what you believe and refuse to let anyone tell you what that is.

Not even big shot Holloywood TV stars who live in mansions and make millions by selling books and telling everyone what they say people you you think.

Push back. Let them – all of them – know that they don’t speak for you. They lost that right when they turned against you and started doing every single thing they told you they were against. They lost that right when they stood in front of the flag knowing that they planned to betray it. They lost that right when they dare to claim to be Christian and then went against every single word Christ ever said – and then claimed that you had the exact same attitude.

Tell them that they are wrong. Punish them for acting like they think you have no mind of your own and they can forcfe their garbage down your throat and you’ll swallow it all up and ask for more. Make them feel your anger and disappointment at how they have failed and betrayed you.

Make them pay for what they have done.

Push back., my conservative friends.

And you just might save the world.

 

 

 

 

Be careful what you wish for

Befoire I get into the serious stuff, he’s a taste of Xmas fuzzy style.

Yrs, I know, the dragon isn't fuzzy, he's scaly. And aren't you proud of yourself for pointing that out and accomplishing......?

Give something fuzzy a hug today.

Now let’s talk politics.

(Audience groan and rolls their eyes)

Before today, I had tho0ught that I would like nothing more than to have something I said spark off a lively discussion amongst those who read me.

Well I got that today and I hate it.

And I should have seen this coming, because on Facebook, the people involved aren’t just “people”, they are “friends and loved ones”, and for my entire life, I have hated it when people I cared about fought.

To me, it’s torture. Absolute torture. The pain involved is hard to describe.

Thesource of the tension is not, however. The tension comes from having my adrenalin pumping due to the angry atmosphere but being unable to give it vent because you love and care about both these people and they are both the aggessor and the victim.

When I was a yoiunger and more hotheaded person, I vented the anger at the conflict itself, and turned two angry people yelling at each other into one angry person yelling at two highly bewildered people.

Not really an improvement. But I was in a lot of pain.

The worst was if two friends asked me to choose between them. I will not do that, I cannot do that. They were basically asking me to tear my soul in half and then pick a half, and I absolutely flatly refuse to do that.

That hasn’t changed. That is still my position

But note that the abovementioned case, there is no moral context. It’s a pure hypothetical and presumes that this is a straivght up “who do you like more?” kind of scenario. I have encountered said situation. And I fucking hated it.

If there is more than that going on, I will definitely choose the side I think is right. That won’t (hopefully) determine who I am friends with in the future and who I am not,  but it does mean that I will render judgment if that proves necessary.

That’s a last resort, though. First I will attempt to mediate. A lot of interpersonal conflict boils down to either two people not meaning the same thing when they use certain words or someone being blind to the emotional consequence of their actions on others.

It’s a skill I picked up both from a “yelling at the dinner table” filled childhood and the lessons I learned from the greatest fictional judge ever. Judge Harold T. Stone.

Seriously. That cute, that handsome, AND wise? *pounce*

God DAMN he was sexy back then. I was just too young to notice at the time.

He taught me that conflict resolution is not about choosing side, it’s about resolving differences between people. With the right mediation, a nasty horrible angry situation can be turned into a happy, peaceful situation in which not only is the conflict resolved, but everyone leaves feeling a little more human, and closer to their fellow humans.

And as far as I am concerned, that is a miracle. Fuck turning lead into gold… turning anger into love is the real Philosopher’s Stone.

And I have pulled it off. And it felt even better than I thought it would. I was floating on a cloud of magnificent karma bliss for hours after that.

They should send me to the Middle East. Seriously. I could get shit done.

It doesn’t always work, though. The times it does are rare and wonderful. But sometimes, it’s not a misunderstanding, it’s abuse, and abusers abuse because that’s how they deal with their emotions and hence are addicted to abusing, and are perfectly capable of creating whatever rationalization they need in order to justify it because that is how addictions work.

Addictions hollow people out by displacing all other mpotivations and making everything in the addict’s life about them, and at a universally overriding priority.

In other (less fancy) words, nothing is more important than the next fix. Not your job, not your friends, not your spouse, not your kids, not your religion, not your morals, and most definitely not your physical wellbeing.

Back one bracket. The abuser needs to abuse, but is also aware that aggression towards the innocent is more or less the human definition of “bad”.

I mean, imagine someone walking up to a total stranger and punching them in the nose. Just because they felt like it.

That’s almost incomprehensively wrong.

Now imagine that instead of a perfect stranger, that was one of the people they loved most in the world.

That’s what abuse is, in the real world.

Now imagine that instead of a sock toi the nose, you substitute a verbal tirade aimed directly at the loved one and being both terrifyingly angry and extremely violent, meant to inflict maximum pain.

That’s what living with a verbakl abuser is like.

Like my Dad.

Two or more brackets back : so no, I am not happy that my friends are arguing politics in one of my Facebook threads.

The fact that several of them are conservatives only worsens things. I live in a media bubble where I never have to be directly exposed to the anti-civilization madness that calls itself conservatism these days.

And they do the exact same thing. Why do we do it? Because we can. Because the internet makes it so easy. Because given the choice, people choose not to be exposed to things that will make them feel bad.

In my case, the frothing trolls of modern conservatism don’t make me angry any more. Just depressed. I am too aware of the forces at play to get truly angry at these people. They, too, are just trying to get through life and make sense of the world.

Andmaybe they are honestly doing the best they can.

But all it takes is one bit of the modern malady of madness to send my mood spiraling downward, like a deflating balloon.

And I have a choice. I could unfriend the conservatives. or block their comments, or just tell them to fuck right off.

But no. I won’t do that. My stubborn intellectual pride won’t let me. That, to me, would be tantamount to surrender. It would mean tacitly admitting I can’t handle what they are saying, and I could never do that.

I am far too stubborn, prideful, and pugilistic for that.

So I know that, eventually, I will have to wade into the debate, say my piece, make some peace if I think things are getting too heated or personal,, and let myself be drawn into the malestorm instead of remaining remote like usual.

And that…. sucks.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

A slow loss of innocence

I have been losing my virginity for a long time.

Not in the sexual sense, obviously. Depending on your definition, I am either a total virgin (by the old Jewish “sex is a penis enterting a vagina” definition), a slightly experienced gay man (had sex with dudes not not enough to get anyh good at it), or a total pervert who will roast in the hottest fires of hell (if you go by the “impure thoughts”sinning in your heart”  definition).

No, the form of innocence of which I speak is the innocence of remaining unaware of and not interested in the general pattern of your life and where you want it to go.

Now let me make this clear. I lost more than a decade to this kind of innocence. I just innocently made it through every day with my usual media mix and actively avoided thinking about the future because  the subject made me very depressed.

When I tried to think about my future, all I could picture was a vast stretch of dark-grey static stretching forward in time. An endless nullity in which no meaning or satisfaction or even contentedness could exist.

I have a lot of void imagery in my head.

So all I could do was make it through the day every day. And for a while, I told myself that this was enough for me.

Just day after day of trying to get through the hours with as little pain as I could manage. From that point of view, anything that made the time pass subjectively faster was good. I needed some way of filling my time.

And my usual cocktail of boomks, video games, and hanging out online fit the bill. Still does. None of them require me to leave my apartment and face the world and all its traumatic stimuli and anxiety.

No, it all takes place in my unhealthty little home here. That means I am fully in control of the situation and stmulation levels do not change unexpectedly.

It’s not good. It is, in fact, killing me. But it’s the only way to cope that I know.

The loss of innocence began when I first got healthy enough, due to therapy and the miracle of modern pharmacology, to be able to look at my future and actually see something. And what I saw was not pretty.

I saw myself living the exact same way until the day I die at age 50 or so. Never becoming part of life, never getting a boyfriend or a job, never really growing up. Just an early grave with the epitaph reading “He read some books and played some video games and talked to some people online”.

That was, and is, unacceptable.

Once I got to that point, the process unfolded unbidden. I would return to this new discontent ovr and over, and for a long time, I felt like there was nothing I could do to fix the situation. My fear simply would not let me out of my box so I could go and play with all the other toys.

Story idea there. Hmmm.

But eventually I had shifted enough of my burden in order to imagine doing something with my life, and that’s when I got the marvelously mad idea of writing one million words in a year.

I did the math. It would mean writing 2,739 words a day, roughly speaking, and I felt like that was something I could do.

To this day, the sheer madcap lunacy of the idea continues to amuse the hell out of me. It’s not the sort of thing a sane person would do : go from writing nothing to writing 2700 words a day.

And it was the sheer lunacy of the idea that made me fall in love with the notion and therefore feel driven to do it.

There’s a lesson in there someone. Maybe what I need to get myself out of my current rut is another lunatic idea that I fall madly in love with.

Yes, I just need a new crazy project for the new year. But it has to be something entirely fresh and new. I would rather die than repeat myself. Once I am done with it, I am done with it, and going back to it feels like putting on dirty underwear.

Ick. No thanx.

Os it would have to be fresh and new and crazy and have lots of potential for engagement on many levels.

Maybe I will make the world’s weirdest news website. Or something like that.

Anyhow, after the million words, I settled into my “one thousand words a day” routine, which after 2700 woirds a day felt like nothing.

And that was enough for a while. It was very good for me to have an outlet for all the words in my head. Word pressure is my biggest source of interior tension.

And I could work things out by writing about them. Kind of like I am doing right now. It turns out that sometimes, the only way for me to find out what I really think is to release the words from my head until the truth pops up.

As with archeology, the secret is to dig down.

Damn I love that song.

This slowl excavation eventually led me to Kwantlen, which led to VFS, which led to this moment in time.

Right now, I feel like it was a clever conspiracy of all my bad voices that convinced me to quit the Uno job without securing something else first.

They knew that all they had to do was inflate my ego so I would quit then keep me distracted by convincing me that I would get around to digging for work on UpWork eventually, and kablam, all my momentum would die and they would have me all to themselves once more.

And I have been in that state for months. Went right back to the media cocktail, made much stronger by my addiction to Skyrim, which can keep me occupied for however much time I give to it.

On good days, it even makes me happy.

Bjut even on the bad days, it keeps me occupied.

And that’s not enouggh any more.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

The benefits of a stupid lifestyle

There are timnes when I think I should start drinking just so I have a reason to feel like used crap all the time.

I mena, I feel hung over right now and all I did was sleep.

At least if I was a drinker, I would have had some fun first. And who knows, the muscle relaxant effect of alcohol might leave me better off in the long run.

But ten there’s the diabetes. There’s always that goddamned diabetes.

I guess I have been doing okay. Getting through the day via Skyrim, as per usual. As usual, it threatens to crowd out all other potential activities.

And as usual, I feel helpless to change things.

I wonder if there are support groups for people like me. SOmeplace I could go where I couid talk about having a video game that you are addicted to.

Skyrim Anonymous, more or less.

I suppose I should be glad that I have tons of free time in which to feed the addiction.  Then again, maybe that’s the problem. If I had more demands on my time, maybe I wouldn’t have played it so much and maybe I would have developed the ability to set reasonable boundaries early on.

In general, I would benefit from having more things to do with my time. Blogging and/or prose keeps me going but it doesn’t make me feel like I have advanced my cause any.further. It doesn’t get me anywhere.

It just  make the time go by easy. And, on a good day, is also a lot of fun.

But the main draw is that it keeps this mighty overmuscled mind of mine busy. When I am deep into Skyrim, I am not thinking about anything else. My monkey mind is bestilled and I feel calm and engaged and alive.

I’d really like to be able to tame those damned monkeys. My mind is always so full of thought processes, most of them subconscious, but all of them loud. I keep hopinjg I will get to a place where I have something that can take all the mental energy I throw at it and that really uses my creative and analytical skills in a productive and hopefully lucrative fashion. Something where I can self-actualize.

Instead, I play a video game all the fucking time.

At least, I keep telling myself, I am happy. Sort of. At least I am happy while I am playing and enough is going on that my growing discontent with my lot in life is kept quiet. So there’s that.

But other times, I feel split in two. Part of me is having fun playing Skyrim but the other half of me is screaming and jumping up and down and pulling its hair out because it’s just not enough. I need more. I need to connect to life.

But it is so easy to just let life slide by as I playh in my private playground of the mind, only emerging to write, eat, and sleep.

Maybe I would be better off if it hurt more.

<——————————————–nap—————————————————————>

I keep telling myself that, any day now, I will log back into UpWork and go looking for more freelance work so I can at least advance my so-called career.

But I keep coming up with excuses to put it off. It’s become a joke of sorts, and the punchline is my wasted life. To do it would be to leave my cozy coffin of a life and go out into the real world, and I am far more comfortable remaining fictional.

Once again, I wonder where all that energy and enthusiasm I had right after I graduated from VFS went, I was so full of ambition and energy and verve back then.

And when I got the Uno gig, it felt like I was getting somewhere. My life was a lot better back then when I had a genuinely productive thing to do every day.

But I ended all that for reasons that now seem quite suspect. At the time, I told myself I was going to go rustle up another gig pronto.

That was months ago, and in tha time I have logged into UpWork twice. And even then, I did not stick with it for long. After all, joib hunting on UpWork was boring and stressful and involves dealing with myriad possibilities which challenge my sense of my own competence and capacities.

Why subject myself to that, says my depression, when I can just play Skyrim?

And so I once more lapsed into hiding from reality into the world of the mind where I feel the most comfortable.

When I quit the Uno job and failed to keep the momentum going by immediately hunting up another job, even a dumb scutwork job like that insane data entry.rephrasing job, I was doing my depression’s bidding and listening to the wrong voice in my head.

And I always know when I am listening to that wrong voice, that one I call The Jagoff, who always has the right words to convince me to give up on myself. To take it easy, relax, not stress mysel out over things, and just keep letgting things slide.

It even makesme feel good about it, like I am being smart and wise because I can elude the forces of “hassle” and remain in my self-indulgent hog wallow instead of doing something crazy like making my life amount to something.

Sometimes I fele like I don’t even exist because I leave so little of a mark on the world. My friends, both offline and on, would surely tell me that I do make a mark by being their friend and that they are glad to have me in their lives.

But people have a need to contribute to the community and be rewarded for it. It is not healthy for a human being to live without productive labour.

In fact, it is downright depressing.

Good thing I have Skyrim to treat the symptoms, right?

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

Inmsert topic here

Had a million great blog topic ideas earlier, can’t remember any of them now, so you nice people get treated to what happens when I freestyle is by directing my train of thought right onto the page and leaving you, the reader, awash in my stream of consciousness. up to your knees.

Hope youi brought your waders.

So let’s talk Trump. Specifically, how to deal with him.

Trump is a spoiled brat. And I know the cure for bratty children, and that is to ignore them when they are behaving badly and only pay attention to them when they are being good little boys and girls.

The basic brat modus operandi says “I can make you pay attention to me and make everything revolve around me by being bad!”

That is Trump’s formula and it’s working flawlessly. Like any brat, he knows exactly what to say to get him the attention he craves and that is practically his sole motivation for saying them : to make everything about him.

And lo and behold, he’s all people talk about. He dominates the news. The entire media pipeline is flooded with people talking about him. And he loves it.

Any brat would.

The cure, were this possible, would be for everyone to ignore him unless he is being good. People would have to break their Trump addiction and give up being constantly dazed and outraged by the brat’s latest outrage. That would risk actually waking up from your Trumped out state and realizing that you are part of the problem and doing your part to be part of the solution.

I do not know how one goes about convincing billions of people to kick a socially acceptable addiction, though.

After all, it’s fun. There is a reason that nothing goes viral like outrage and that’s because getting good and mad about stuff is very cathartic. You get to vent all your latent frustration and rage at a deserving target and there is no risk of there being any direct consequences in your personal life.

Surfely that’s worth letting a toddler have the nuclear codes, right?

I first noticed this phenomenon a long time ago, when Reader’s Digest added a feature called “That’s An Outrage!”.

This feature’s content was entirely made up of new stories that will piss you off.

And I had to ask myself why on Earth would someone want to read such a thing. In general, people do not actively seek out things that will make them angry. Anger is a response to danger, and inherent in that idea is the idea that danger is bad and to be avoided.

So for people to actively seek out anger is rather counterintuitive, to say the least.

Obviously people were getting something they wanted out of it. But what?

Thne I thought about my theories about where rage addiction comes from and I had my answer. People feel good when they are angry. The adrenaline makes you feel more alive and opens up your senses. you have a feeling of power and (potentially false) clarity, and the world seems crystal clear and easy to understand as a battle between us and the enemy.

This is, by the way, why right wing news outlets are constantly pushing the outrage button. Whether someone is stupid from age, upbringing, or genetics, the need for as many of those world-simplifying moments as possible in order to ease your fears about a world you fear and do not truly understand any more becomes an overwhelming necessity. To give it up would be to risk getting  lost in the complex world of nuanced thought, a world which the person has absolutely no faith in their ability to navigate, and having to admit to themselves that they are adults who have no idea what is really going on. And that thought, of course. is unacceptable.

There is no room for such an admission in modern democratic individualist societies. TO admit this would be to admit one has, in a sense, failed to reach adulthood. Inherent in democracy is the idea that everyone gets a say on what happens and therefore everyone’s opinion is treated equally.

This comes with it the obligation to make sense of the world in order to have some idea of what is going on and how the world works in order to make your opinion matter.

But what if you are simply not up to the task? What if, in any real and objective assessment, you are not capable of handling the complexities of modern life?

You certainly can’t admit it to yourself or anyone else. Nobody is ever going to say “I’m sorry, but I am too stupid to have an opinion on that” when a reporter talks to them on the street. That’s an unthinkable thought. The only people who might do that are people with cognitive handicaps who know they are stupid and deal with it all the time.

Otherwise, there is simply no way to birdge the gap. We liberals need to give up a small but vital piece of our well-intentioned egalitarianism and admit that some people are smarter than others and that one cannot create a world in which everyone is “enlightened” by our standards.

The idea that mean so much to us might well be too complex and uncertain for people who are not part of the naturally occurring intelligentsia. It might well be our obligation to simplify things for people in a way that we personally would find incredibly insulting.

And we have to do it without coming off as patronizing or lecturing or condemning.

And that involves doing what we find hardest : treating people who do not have out gifts as equals. Not just political or philosophical equals either.

We have to treat them like they are just as good as us. And that means getting rid of a whole lot of prejudices and assumptions about “that kind of person”.

Only then will we be able to connect with them and understand them and talk tp them on their level, in their language, addressing their concerns, and actually getting through to them for once.

Otherwise, we will remain villains in their eyes because they can sense liberal disdain for them and people naturally hate those who hate them.

To them, we represent every middle class person who has ever looked at them like they are a lower form of life they can barely tolerate and who acted like the world belonged to them and working class people should be glad we keep them around as cattle.

We nbeed to change that image in their minds.

We need to make friends with them. Go to their events. Soak up their culture. Become part of their communities, without judgment and without disdain.

Only then will they be willing to listen to us.

And I bet we will find out we’re not that different after all, and the divisions are made up bullshit that politicians use to keep us from uniting against our oppressors.

And only then can the healing truly begin.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

Why they do it

These are my thoughts on the particularly grotesque pattern of (mostly) male misbehaviour that is making the news lately.

What on Earth prompts a man to expose himself to an underling or otherwise make crude sexual overtures to someone over whom he has power?

What are these men thinking?

I don’t have a single answer for these questions but I have some of the factors, like :

Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.  Civilization only goes so far, and we have a number of instincts we do not acknoledge and ergo have no power over. One  of the strongest is the association of power with sex. There is some fundamental hardwired message in our brains that says “when you are the alpha, the people around you are your harem, to do with as you please”.

That’s the factor that lowers the barrier between horniness and this kind of behaviour. In the context of modern society, it seems insane that anyone would whip it out and give it a wiggle, and it is insane if you are not cognizant of this factor.

We are only a semi-monogamous species. We have pair bonding instincts that are very strong, but we also have the old primate-style hareming instincts waiting to kick in given the right circumstances.

And one of those circumstances is being the local alpha and having people of your preferred gender under you in the hierarchy plus time alone with them.

Familiarity breeds attempt. Another factor is that to the predator, these victims bypass all the usual meeting and social grooming anxiety that one experiences “out in the wild” in the world of dating and romance.

That makes this kind of thing especially attractive to insecure males who, in the world at large, have a lot of trouble approaching and meeting people. The dating world is a harsh jungle and a lot of thje time the insecure man feells like he is outcompeted before he even shows up to the party.

So to have someone you are attracted to so close at hand and not only super familiar to you but, due to the power difference, completely nonthreatening to you is just too much of a temptation for some people.

They like me! They really like me!.  This leads to one of the aspects of this phenomenon I find particularly disturbing : the clear duality in the minds of the predator as to what is going on.

To me, it is clear that in the predator’s mind, this is a normal dating situation in which they happen to be doing really, really well. On some level, they also know that it’s a power relationship as well. But they are clearly willing to suppress that thought in order to get their needs met.

And this is about far more than sex. It’s about ego, and fantasy fulfillment, and social damage repair, and confirmation of high status, and a million other needs.

Thus, the phenomenon tends to turn into a nightmarish parody of normal human dating and courtship behaviours. Gifts are bought, social grooming language is exchanged, intimacy is established through the exchange of personal histories.

It’s like this :

A is pointing a gun at B’s head.

A: TELL ME YOU LOVE ME OR I WILL BLOW YOUR FUCKING BRAINS OUT!
B : I… love you?
A believes them.

Or something like that.

Look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an out of context penis! There is clearly some kind of genital display urge in males. Whether it’s an unsolicited dick pic or a “dropping the towel” type incident or even the sex crime known as “flashing”, there is clearly some part of the male brain that makes some men feel the need to show their penis to people they find sexy as if this was a normal part of sexual behaviour.

One feminists author I read a long, long time ago suggested that this was because men expect other people to be as impressed by their penises as they are.

I won’t deny, that’s a factor.

But we must always remember that these men are under the influence of horniness, and hence probably not thinking things through that far.

I think the dominant factor is simply that in modern society, nudity is seen as sexual, and so, in a bizarre way, the out of context penis is a sexual overture.

One that cuts to the chase, as it were. To put it mildly.

To me, this kind of thinking is emblematic of how badly broken down the usual social limits are in the predator. There is no context in which this behaviour would actually result in sex.

Nobody in history has ever been presented with an out of context penis and said “Well when you put it THAT way, let’s fuck!”.

I mean, I am a very “lonely” gay man, and I still do not want some guy suddenly dropping trou and showing me his pride and joy. Um, no thank you. Put that thing away before you catch a cold.

That kind of thing wouldn’t even work at an orgy.

So clearly, this is a behaviour isolated from any sort of logical anticipation of desired result as well as being divorced from normal social context.

In fact, there is something disturbingly childlike to it.

It’s possible that this bizarre genital displau behaviour is also tied into the exertion of power and dominence. Forcing someone to tolerate behaviour that makes them uncomfortable or even disgusted is an exertion of power over them that some twisted individuals might even find erotic.

Like Jabba slobbering over Leia. It was the power he had over that he was getting off on, not the act itself.

To conclude (sorta), this entire behaviour pattern is a lot more complex than the black and white portrait of it seen in the media these days.

If any of this caused you to be horrified to discover yourself feeling more sympathetic to these predators, that was not my intention.

I merely describe the phenomenon.

Your conclusions are your own.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

If he should ever leave you

I could never leave YOU, Tom.

You’re just too damned sexy.

No idea what to talk about tonight and I only have an hour to put out my 1K of freestyle brain eejections, so get ready to put on your waders and join my stream of consciousness as I type whatever pops into my head.

had therapy today. It went fairly well. Ever since that session around a month or maybe six weeks ago where I let out my anger, bitterness, and frustration and, in doing so, revealed the real me that has always existed behind my world of smoke and mirrors,. I have been experiencing rapid recovery, and the sessions have improved.

I’d done such a bang up job of burying all that dark stuff about how nobody could help me because nobody could handle the real me that I’d forgotten it myself.

Or, if not exactly forgotten, agressively de-indexed. It’s the same thing I did with the memories of being raped when I was three years old. They were never erased, they were just pushes so far into the back of my mind that I couldn’t see them any more.

And when I did “remember”, it was like suddenly realizing that there’s a tiger in the room with you and it’s been there for a really long time.

And it wants to use the remote.

And the only reason you hadn’t noticed it before now was because. on a subconscious level, you trained yourself to never look in that direction.

No wonder it’s a tad peeved.

Anyhow, before I let yet another metaphor run away with me, my point was that when all those feelings of being impossible to help and my feelings that nobody was truly trustworthy or reliable and a lot of other negative Taurus bullshit (ha), it opened up a whole new horizen for me. I suddenly realized that I had been hiding my true self under a great deal of self-expression via performance for a really long time.

Like I built a mask, put it on, then forgot it was a mask and tried to be what it depicted.

And it’s all rooted in the angry and hopeless conclusions about the world I came to when I was an ignored, isolated, intellectual tried. A succession of negative experiences with people who didn’t give a shit about me and just said whatever it took to make me go away demonstrated to me that I was truly alone in the world.

My family didn’t want to hear my problems. They just wanted me to go away.

My fellow students wanted nothing to do with me. They just wanted me to go away.

The school admins and the teachers didn’t want to deal with me. They said go away.

But of course, as a kid, you can’t literally go away. You still need to have a home and a familly and a school and a community to support you. You’re still just a kid, no matter what kind of IQ you have.

So I went away by retreating into my mind so deep that I am still trying to excavate myself after all these years. I buried myself in books and TV and video games, which were nicely cerebral (in the sense of being experiences of the mind) and thus safe, and to this day, I have not come out again.

I try to dig upwards. It’s the best I can do. And I dream of standing in the light without shame or fear or the feeling of exposure.

But it’s slow going.

And in the meantime, I feel so very alone.

I know that’s the depression talking, but that makes no difference. I’m the Barnacled Hermit, a lonely robot with a busted antenna who thinks that nobody cares about him when many people do, he’s just not receiving the signals.

I have the advantage of knowing that the signals are there and not getting through, at least. And that gives me the faith I need to keep believing that there is something worth tunneling towards. I know people love me and value me and think I am something special and worthy and precious.

I just can’t feel it through all this goddamned ice.

And isolation eats away at you over time. I was talking with my therapist about this today. How isolation leads to social stimulation intolerance which leads to further isolation., Social stimuli that would seem mild or even nonexistant to healthy people turn into enormous stressful anxious situations.

Your mind then records that experience as a negative one and reinforces your aversion and you want nothing more than to make sure that never, ever happens again.

And you are willing to do whatever it takes – no matter how shortsightedly self-destrutive – in order to convince yourself that it never will happen again and thus calm yourself down from all the terror.

And as always, when I say “you”, I really mean “me”. I’m talking to myself.

When you are isolated from your fellow Earthlings… I mean, human beings.. .it’s easy to imagine that it is because of how awful you are. That’s the only way your social matrix can interpret the total lack of social reinforcement. That must mean we are bad people, otherwise why would our tribe reject us?

And down and down and down the spiral goes, till you have been in the dark for so long that you stop believing in light as something that can ever happen to you.

And you look at the real people living in the real world and wonder what

it’s like to be poart of a warm and engaged and vital world where people are interconnected via relationships and where they care for one another and look out for one another instead of leaving each other out in the cold, alone.

And I go around anf around trying to figure out how much of what I perceive is just the mirror image of my tainted soul and how much is real is that waggy thing a part of me?

I’ll bite it to see.

Nothing… guess I am not real after all.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow,.

 

 

 

 

The next round’s on me

It’s going to be a social day.

Tonight, I will be going to a Stand Up For Mental Health graduation show in support of Felicity, who will be performing as an alumni.

Or is that alumnus?

And I am looking forward to it. I have been to these events before and I have always enjoyed them. Watching people with mental health issues stands in front of an audience, bold as brass, and tell us the jokes they have been working on for six months always makes me smile and there is a very positive vibe to the whole thing.

Plus, they are, in general, quite funny.

So I am really looking forward to the show.

And I am also dreading it.

Can’t be helped. It’s like this whenever I am going to leave the apartment and be social. It doesn’t matter that I know that I will enjoy myself once I am out there. It doesn’t matter that I know it will be good for me and I will feel better about myself afterwards. It doesn’t matter that I will be with my friends, who are the people I trust the most in the world.

I will experience panic and dread nevertheless, and will have to overcome myself multiple times in order to go out and have fun.

And let me tell you, you really get a feeling for your own insanity when you are struggling to convince yourself to do something you know you will enjoy.

It’s my depression that I am really wrestling with. The unhealthy part of my mind. It reacts to the prospect of a radical increase in social stimulation like someone was going to burst in the door and drag it into the cold harsh world, and all it wants to do is cling to its tiny comfort zone like a barnacle until the bad thing goes away.

And were I to succeed in evading the nightmarish horror of social exposure,  I would be “rewarded” for it with a massive sense of relief that would, in a “baby wallowing in it’s own filth” way, reinforce the behaviour.

That’s how it works, folks, and it ain’t pretty.

So each time I am going to go do something social, I have to pry that baby barnacle out of its comfy crevice and push it out into the harsh light of the sun. Even though I know for a fact I will enjoy myself, part of me will always feel like it’s being violated.

And let me tell you THIS, folks. You really, REALLY get a feeling of your own insanity when you feel and believe things you know are not true.

I still feel like nobody ever wants me around. It’s almost impossible for me to imagine someone actually wanting my company. I live with a constant fear and shame that is in no sense backed up by facts, but nevertheless persists. Even when I am having a lovely time out there in the world, the fear and shame is there, whispering thoughts of escape and concealment into my ear.

Go home!” it says. “Run away and go home. Home is wonderful. Home is safe. Home is the best place in the world because home is the only place where you do not feel this fear and anxiety. Home is the only good place in the world. It would feel so good to have that feeling go away. So go! Go! GO!

That’s the struggle I face every day. It’s the force that forces me to isolate myself most of the time. It’s the gravity well I must generate the thrust to climb out of every single time I step out of this bedroom of mine.

Because I am ashamed to admit it, but there are times when even the prospect of encountering Joe and/or Julian fills me with irrational dread. Not because of anything to do with them whatsoever. They are, like I said, two of the three people I trust the most in this world. This has nothing to do with them.

And everything to do with me. My issues, my damage, my broken and spastic insufficiently elastic Mr. Fantastic brain.

That is the millstone around my neck that makes life hard for me. It is my burden, my baggage, my cross to bear.

And over the years, that millstone has gotten a whole lot lighter. I’ve let go of a lot of that god damned baggage and left large pieces of that cross by the wayside.

SO it no longer crushes me like it used to do. When my depression was at its worst, it was so heavy that it rendered me nearly immobile.

If it hadn’t been for the need to cash my welfare check and buy groceries, I would never have left my bachelor suite at all.

Even going to the communal bathroom was hard.

So I have come a long way since then. But my journey isn’t over yet.

In fact. in many ways I have been in decline since I graduated from VFS. I feel into a deep dark hole where I pushed the world away again now that there was no external force pushing me up again.

The Daily Uno gig at least preserved my self-worth by proving to me that my skills were worth something. But then that ended and I have had a hard time convincing myself to go onto UpWork and job hunt again.

It’s just so much easier to do my words every day and spend literally the rest of my waking hours playing Skyrim.

Skyrim makes the time pass smoothly and easily and allows me to escape the problem of what to do with myself as the hours stretch out to the distant horizon.

I know that I am addicted. I know this because I increasingly feel like my life is measured in Time Spent Feeling Safe Playing Skyrim, and Everything Else.

And the Everything Else could be 72 hours away and I would still be dreading it because that’s when I will have to stop playing Skyrim and go back into the real world where I have to work and function and cope.

Once I am there, it’s not so bad. It’s not as good as my Skyrim time, at least as my depression measures it, but it’s not so bad,

It’s the transition that really kills me.

It’s the transition that makes me hungry for more.

It’s the transition that lingers in my mind and makes me long to rush back into Skyrim’s warm and comforting embrace.

It’s the transition that is killing me.

It’s the transition that makes me a junkie.

It’s the transition that makes me want to die.

(I’m not suicidal, folks, just expressing a feeling. -Ed. )

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

Of mice and men

I had such ambitious plans.

I planned to take all of this quiet Saturday night to eat pizza, drink diet cola, and write stuff for my System universe. I was basically going to write till I dropped. No word limit, just writing and writing until I couldn’t write another word because I had used up all my brain calories and was running entirely off the backup battery supply.

We’ve all been there.

But life threw a monkey wrench into my plans by tking out my Internet connection.

And boom, just like that, I am cut off at the knees.

“But Fruvous…” you say in that cute sexy voice of yours. “You’re writing right now. Why couldn’t you have done the exact same thing but in OfficeLibre instead of a WordPress window?”
Good point, rhetorical device. Why not?

To understand why is to understand a lot about me.

The primary operating principle here is that I do not handle surprise well. This is a life long problem. When something totally unexpected like suddenly having no Internet (or is it internet now) happens, it throws me for a loop.

And it throws it HARD.

Not that I am helpless in the situation. Not like I used to be. When I was a sicker, weaker, less firmly bolted together person, I would not have been able to even think about the problem for hours. I would have buries myself in my distractions and when I finally could face the problem, I would do so in a very timid way, ready to leap back into my hole at the slightest sign of trouble.

That, to put it mildly, is no recipe for success.

These days, I am much stronger. These things still cut me off at the knees, metaphorically speaking, but I retain the ability to deal carefully and rationally with the situation by more or less taking my own hand and talking myself through it.

And I mean that. I talk to myself, in my head, in a calm and soothing and somewhat maternal voice that uses the third (?) person to engender intimacy.

“OK, well we can see that the Internet is out, but there’s no need to panic. Let’s see if…. “

It’s sort of a hybrid of how my mother talked to me when I was a preschooler and the sort of Robert Picardo as the EMH in full bedside manner mode I imagine Reg having.

Somewhat prim and precise, but also warm and caring, so I get a combination of the soothing nature of personal warmth and care, and the firm competence that reassures me that someone who knows what they are doing is now in charge.

But make no mistake… the time bomb of panic had been primed and is ready to explode.

I just have a much longer fuse, which stands a better chance of burning for long enough for me to get the problem solved in time.
To, in my signature style, over-extend the metaphor, the bomb still goes off. That can’t be stopped.

But hopefully, by then, it’s been handled by the bomb squad and is safely encased in concrete and steel and goes off harmlessly with a soft thud.

Not so tonight.

The panic set in almost immediately after I discovered that our Internet connection was deader than disco. I kept calm as I tried various things to see if I could solve the problem or, barring that, at least get some kind of precise diagnosis of the issue in order to soothe myself with information.

I’m the sort of person who would rather have a solid and precise but unpleasant fact than preserve hope by maintaining a tenuous and nebulous sense of hope.

Fuck fuzzy hope. I want hard data.

Adding to the disruption to my routine was the fact that I couldn’t order pizza like I usually do on Saturday because, like any social anxiety suffer, I order my Pizza Hut pizza online.

But then I remembered that we have a flier from Fresh Slice tacked to our notice board. So I retrived it, looked it over, decided I wanted an extra large Garlic Lovers Chicken Feast pizza, and braced myself for talking to a stranger before picking up the phone to make my order.

Only to find that the phone was dead.

Completely dead. No dial tone. No click sound when I toggled the receiver. Pressing the buttons did not produce any tones.

And my mind immediately leaps to those scenes in TV and movies where the person picks up the phone to call the cops on the killer and finds that the phone line has been cut.

Clearly, someone was hell bent on isolating me before going in for the kill.

Well OK, not really. But you have to admit, that was a crushing thing to happen to someone who was already upset about another disruption.

After all that, there was no way I could calm down and focus enough to write prose. So I blog instead.

At least I can still play Skyrim. If that was somehow cut off as well, I would really be at a loss as to what the fuck to do with myself.

I wouldn’t even have been able to go watch television because the reason (I eventually found out) I don’t have Internet right now is that we don’t have cable right now, and we get our Internet via our cable television provider.

Not that it would matter if we got it through Telus, because the phone is dead too.

So my plan now is to take a nap then play Skyrim all night Admittedly, that was the plan before the outage as well. The only difference is the wear and tear on my nerves and a loss of productivity.

I can’t let this writing energy fade away. I can’t slump back into formlessness and drift through life with my head in the sand again. The writing has made me feel more alive than I have in a very long time, and I can’t afford to let that go.

I want to shine, shine, shine for the world.

And you can’t do that and stay invisible at the same time.

Sooner or later, you have to uncloak.

Fire on that explosion!

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.