[sticky entry] Sticky: My Journal

Oct. 25th, 2037 01:29 pm
improperlyhuman: (Default)



This journal used to be called The Theory of Everything. It was imported from livejournal because livejournal started getting on my nerves.

Within lies several years of navel-gazing goodness.

Artwork is a painting by Magritte. The acronym ADOAS stands for American descendant(s) of African slaves.

The following is my guide to productive debate and other intellectual discourse:


Extend your mercy... )
Actually, don't even bother. Many, many people can't grasp or construct a logical argument to save their lives, and they operate on pure emotion anyhow. Seek instead to eliminate their power over you and yours, then their ill-formed opinions won't even matter.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
My mom just called me. She made a bunch of apologies for a bunch of stuff, but apologies don't really mean anything to me so most of it kind of went in one ear and out the other. That's a curious way to put it since a large chunk of everything people say to me goes in one ear and out the other...

Anyways, she said she wanted to be back in my life. And I said ok. So she's going to be calling me.

I'm not sure what prompted this. She did say that she's been wanting it for some time, but she also thanked me for taking in my sister, and I wonder if helping my sister made her decide to call.

So this is what's happening with me in the moment: 

I was kind of at a loss to say anything and expect to be so in the future. A long time ago, I subconsciously decided to minimize what I say in conversations with my mom to avoid encouraging interaction, being misunderstood, being pissed off, and getting the tiniest bit attached to talking to her.

This is one of the ways in which I have curbed my spontaneity to live up to my idealized image. I now know that curbed spontaneity has ramifications beyond what I imagined. It's a way to very gradually begin self-destructing from the inside out.

I worried that this would be awkward.

Though it was not difficult, I had to fight off my instinct to withdraw. I hesitated before I consented to increased contact. After I got off the phone, I began to worry about getting too attached. Too attached to my own mother! Wow.

So I've had a headache on and off for like the past three days. My metabolism seemed to suddenly rev up around the same time, so I thought the headache was caused by undereating and/or not eating soon enough. But I ate a ton over the last couple of days, and that barely helped at all. I wonder if the noise/stress is the cause.

I can only wonder. I've hardly ever been able to actually sense noise causing me headaches, even though I'm now sure that noise has so often been the culprit.

My insomnia has rapidly worsened. The fam leaves in about six days. I got a new contract yesterday evening and need to hold myself together.

A couple of days ago, I suddenly had a taste/idea for a double carb dish: potatoes and rice. It's been very satisfying. I think it would be better would white rice, however, but I don't have any and perhaps shouldn't dare eat any. I don't want to repeat that elevated blood sugar episode I 
had with the sushi rice...last year, was it?

I'm gonna go make some right now.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
I woke up gasping in fear in the middle of last night. I don't remember this being caused by a dream, but I remember being worried about my sister. Stress. After putting it off all day, I finally spoke to her about leaving once she got her unemployment check. Of course it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd imagined.

She said that she would have already left if she had the money, and that somehow bothered me even though that's what I would want. Maybe I didn't like being surprised? (I expected her to want to stay a bit longer.) Surprises provoke anxiety, and I was already anxious.

I do remember an unrelated dream, however. I was hanging out at someone's house (a few family members, my mom included, were there), and some stranger brought a baby to the house. As I sat and watched the baby explore the carpet, I became angry and kind of restless. I know exactly what caused those feelings because I've experienced it before.

I was upset that people are not organized into normal, healthy social structures such that the youth can fully benefit from the knowledge of their elders. I felt that the end of my youth would sort of result in my being cast aside despite what I could contribute, that people's ability to contribute was being wasted. I felt sorrow for the youth that would needlessly repeat mistakes for lack of guidance; I felt frustration that the problem would go unsolved. I felt unappreciated.

Today I spent some more time learning bridge with free software from the American Contact Bridge League. The lessons stretched on and on. On breaks from the lessons, I thought about what kind of social environment I wanted and needed, and whether it made sense to tire myself out with people I didn't care to socialize with, whether that was an acceptable way to treat them. I care about understanding bridge more than I care about interacting with them.

On second thought, having gone once was indeed a bit helpful to me. It helped me to realize that I was making a big deal out of nothing, that I'm not turning into a socially rusty clutz. Now that I'm somewhat more at peace with myself, I'm not so worried about that. Going also kind of helped me to see that I'm not missing anything.

Finally I gave up on the lessons. I found an email address and let someone know that I wouldn't be coming to bridge anymore.

I still have negative emotions that drag on forever/never get resolved, so this evening I started reading Emotional Clearing, which has something to do with self-acceptance and neutralizing the intensity of negative emotions by integrating (rather than rejecting) them.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
Today I went into the kitchen and found my sister using my seasonings on a huge pan of dead chicken parts. Disgusting.

She actually listened to me for once and applied for unemployment. Great! She'll have gas money so she can go back to living in her car (which she is supposed to pick up tomorrow).

I can't take it anymore. I was in my room with the door closed trying to do stuff for my course and was continually distracted, mainly my nephew. I won't let them screw up my career. The apartment is too small and I'm too sensitive to noise. The apartment smells nauseating because of the junk food they cook, and they're creating a trash problem.

I'm stressed out over my sister's repeated poor decisions, but I'll be able to forget and relax once she's gone. Out of sight, out of mind. Today I found out how she got behind on car payments: blowing money on motels. Exactly what I told her not to do. I can't keep worrying about someone who doesn't listen; my own mental health is at stake. I'm going to lay it all out for her tomorrow.

I got in a nice long ride this morning, my first long ride breaking in my new saddle. Considerably less groin pain, but my butt was hurting a bit. I hope that's only because I'm not used to it.

I haven't decided whether I'll go to bridge lessons tomorrow. I'm on the verge of getting 1–2 new editing contracts, and the combination of work, school, exercise, psych self-treatment, familial stress, apartment hunting, and insomnia (I'm not sleeping again) is not going to leave me much time or energy. I'm not even interested in bridge.

I'm upset with myself for saying that I'd come this week. Disappointed, I guess. And even though I know it wouldn't be a huge deal, I really don't want to call and say that I won't be coming. The person who taught me last week went on vacation, so I'm not even sure who I'd call. I'd have to look up the other number, and I can't remember whether I was introduced to the other contact person.

Going to bridge wasn't terribly helpful. I went in there and I kinda started faking again. I wanted to skip all the small talk and just get down to the game. Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of going? I went for social contact. The problem is that I don't really want frivolous social contact, but that seems inescapable with most people.

I've come to see the importance of disentangling neurotic issues from neurodivergent/personality type fallout issues. Neurotic issues can be solved by changing myself. Fallout from just being different (which I can't change) has to be dealt with via careful social navigation. That includes being selective about the situations I put myself in.

This evening, I read the chapter about the patient's role in Self-Analysis. According to Horney, my 3 tasks are

free association
recognizing neurotic trends
changing

I think I'm also supposed to fulfill the analyst's role, which is discussed in the next chapter.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Today has been a discouraging day. Right now I'm slowly getting over being pissed at not being able to workout because my sister and nephew went to bed early in my living room (my workout room). Now my lifting schedule is messed up, which is particularly problematic given that I'm still just getting back into it (so missing one day is a biggish deal).

I was talking to my sister about her situation and plans today when something in my abdomen started hurting. It was like I was literally worried sick. I found out that she has some very shaky plans (not going into the shelter, putting off starting her new job and relying on help from social services while spending all her money to get her car back, and waiting to get subsidized housing, which has nothing to do with her housing problem) and has not been applying for apartments.

I was gobsmacked when I found out that she hasn't been rejected for bad credit for years. What the hell has she been doing??? She's been homeless with a stable job and sufficient money, yet she hasn't been applying for apartments? Now that I have specifics, I'm even more worried that she's going to keep screwing up and end up homeless for longer. I'm afraid I'm going to end up housing her for her stupid decisions. She doesn't listen!

I tried explaining things to her today, but I doubt I made much of a difference. What I really want her to understand is that she has been messing up royally. I told her that I was planning to move soon, so she said that she could live in her car again if things don't work out, but where is she going to get gas money if she doesn't go back to work and spends everything she has getting the car back?! It's like she's not thinking.

I thought I was doing well given all the noise they make, but I can see now that it's just slowly and unobtrusively wearing me down, like being near traffic all day wears me down.

Suddenly the drain was clogged. Suddenly a zillion flies are in the apartment. Why?? I don't know what they are doing. It kills me to see her feeding my nephew nothing but trash. He's overweight, he's gonna end up with diabetes like his grandparents or hypoglycemia like me or worse.

I told her she didn't have to cook and to just stop giving him sugary drinks and buy some canned beans and peas. She said she wants him to have something filling before school! What the hell, she thinks junk food is more filling than canned goods/??!!!!!!!> Who is this person?? He eats Doritos every day, and they are getting smashed into my goddamned carpet. Doritos are filling? Cookies are filling? This is poor ppl shit right here.

This is insanity. I don't need this stress right before my course starts.

Although I'm not dwelling as much as before, I find myself coming back to  negative emotions caused by ugly situations with other people. I decided to keep posting on this forum as an exercise in not withdrawing, but I'm not enjoying myself too much. I'm not even posting on the main forum anymore, just trolling the spam section. It's good for lulz but when I get irritated with someone, it seems like it's just not worth it.

Someone who has posted dumb racist-sounding shit was talking to some other idiot in the chat section, and I was just so...frustrated. I've been trying to find some kind of enjoyment in other people, and it's not working.

They say to avoid talking about stuff like politics and religion, but why would I bother with someone I couldn't talk to openly about important topics? I don't understand how people get anything out of that. I'd always have in the back of my mind the knowledge that I have to sensor myself to avoid an argument. I kind of do that now, in fact; that's why I keep the trolling informal and discourage people from getting closer (denying their friend requests helps).

I have little compassion for others' limitations. I thought, maybe I'm just externalizing my lack of compassion for my own limitations, and if I can be nicer to myself, I can extend that to others and like people more. I don't know if that's true, but I guess I have to try it. The alternative is too bleak to turn to without trying something else.

So that's what I'm supposed to be working on now: self-compassion. I dislike the very word "compassion." I don't know how to do it; I still don't know how to deliberately change the way I feel. Other stuff I've "worked on" seems to just be changing by itself, without any conscious effort. 

Oh! Speaking of. Today I was thinking about kissing this oh-so-attractive person I found on OkC yesterday. And this is a new thing and a big deal because I used to not be able to do that, or rather, I used to unconsciously prevent myself from doing that, supposedly to reinforce social distance.

So I'm doing ok when it comes to being kinder to myself in terms of accepting my want (need) of an intimate relationship. (I kind of don't have a choice because the need has been nagging at me for some time and won't go away.) But I'm still not nice to myself when I make mistakes or get carried away emotionally. That's what I have to work on. If I can "accept" (I hate that word now) this in myself, I can "accept" it in others. That's the hypothesis anyway.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Found a gorgeous specimen on OkC this evening. Badass mullet and everything.

She lives in Australia. Australia!

This is just cruel.

Most of my good matches are in other countries. I think I figured out why tonight as I was browsing pictures (which OkC forces you to do to find someone). Most of my U.S. matches who at first glance appear to be gender non-conforming turn out to be anything but lesbians: queer, agender, non-binary, etc. All the gender non-conforming lesbians on OkC are outside of the U.S.!

The really interesting thing is that match percentages are not based on self-identification or pictures; they're based on questions. So not only are the people whose looks/self-identification I'm most attracted to in Europe, the people who have the most compatible personalities are also in Europe. The question-based compatibility and physical attraction coordinate!

My bike has been making a clicking noise in all but the highest gear for some time now. I haven't been able to figure out exactly what is causing it. I tried to look up the problem and couldn't even understand what I found due to lack of familiarity with part names, so I ordered a book on bike maintenance. It's about time I learn the names of the bike parts. I want to be a *serious cyclist*.

I've been looking for more work to help me afford a new road bike. New road bikes cost so much, that may well never happen. In the meantime, one or two new parts would suffice.

Shits not going well with my sister. I hope they take her into the shelter in 3 weeks because I'm ready to move. I'll do a temporary move; I'm tired of this crap.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
I just got back from bridge lessons about half an hour ago. Turns out bridge is the most complicated game EVAR. I thought I wouldn't want to go back because of the social aspect, but it's the time and effort I'll have to put in that bother me.

I got one-on-one lessons. With someone who uses some kind of electronic voice box thing to talk. Match made in hell. I felt that I couldn't deal with her disappointment if I said that I wouldn't come back, so I said that I would return next week even though I wasn't sure. Gotta stop doing that.

I'm going to try to learn this game online.

I told them I was 37 (I keep forgetting that I'm only 36) and they said they thought I was a high school student. Wat. I don't look that young.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Photobucket has stopped hosting the main image I use on my blog, the Magritte painting, so that's gone. Too much effort to re-upload it. No, it isn't too much effort; it's that I feel stupid being so involved as to bother re-uploading it. Even healthy levels of involvement make me feel stupid sometimes. Involvement presents vulnerability to disappointment. Disappointment is not even relevant to re-uploading an image, but withdrawing from involvement has become compulsive; that's why it's a problem.

Focus on the positive. I finally ordered a new saddle for my bike today. I've been having pain in my groin and backside while riding. Dammit, I tried, I tried so hard to find a saddle that's manufactured in the U.S. or at least a non-sweatshop country. I was really impressed with Sqlab, so I finally ordered from them. The company is German; I don't know where their saddles are manufactured. No one answered my email.

One hundred and sixty-nine dollars. This saddle better be like sitting on air.

Tomorrow is bridge night and I'm excited!

I lifted yesterday evening, first time in a week or so. I hardly lifted anything, only squatted up to 75 lbs., yet my thighs are sore today. Maybe its the reps that made me sore. I squatted the empty barbell for 30 reps, only 3 reps on the 75 lbs. Goin' for endurance.

I feel so freakin weak. I miss lifting heavy. I miss knowing that I can pick up damn near anything a person would ever need to pick up. This is the price I pay to have the body I want. I saw a female cyclist while I was searching for saddles and she had the body I want. I was inspired. Maybe that's not the right word. Heartened. People who lift do not have the body I want. And I'm thinner now and find dieting easier. So my path is clear.

I guess I still am strong enough to pick up damn near anything a person would ever need to pick up. People don't usually need to lift more than sixty or so pounds at a time. I just wanna Hulk out.

I don't enjoy squatting for endurance. When I squat I hold my breath to brace my abs. Combined with the many reps, this quickly puts me out of breath.

I'm discouraged about being a clarinetist. I haven't been motivated to pick up the instrument for the past few days. My guests have thrown me off what passed for my schedule.

Discouraged about finding housing and worried that I'll have to put it off because my sister may not be able to move with me and keep her job. I made sure she got on the waiting list for a nearby shelter. She can't stay with me. My nephew's elocution is grating.

I need work on handling emotions, mine but especially others'. I would rather do without than ask for something that may upset someone even a little. I don't want to ask my neighbor to move her stuff so that my sister can use my half of the storage space. My dislike of talking comes into play as well.

I've also noticed that I tend to expect people to not give me what I want, thereby killing my own motivation to ask. And if they say no or even seem hesitant to grant my wish, I feel stupid and berate myself for my involvement no matter how much I needed what I asked for. I even feel kind of off even if they say yes. Madness.

I'm starting my first course in about five days. It's called Grammar and Mechanics or something like that. I'm irritated that one of the mandatory textbooks is A Writer's Guide, which was a required textbook for my freshman English class in college! It seems too basic to waste thirty dollars on. Well. It's been through several editions since then; maybe it offers more now. And a little refresher won't hurt.

Another required text is this hokey Grammar for Dummies type book called Woe is I. Bestselling non-fiction is bound to be geared towards idiots. It has cutesy section titles to amuse readers who have the learning style of a child. All this extra bullshit is actually a barrier to learning for me. I'm flipping through it now and the contents look pretty damn basic. This book at least was only seven dollars on ebay.

I have to get out of here! so that I at least have the chance to go on dates. The cold is coming and still no heater. I'm getting desperate and considering moving to Sacramento. Being surrounded by concrete will be depressing, but I'll be able to cycle round the river and stuff at least. I hate being at the mercy of other people in my choice of a home. Hate it beyond words.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
My sister lost her car. She lost her car. And the friend she was staying with kicked her out. So now she's staying with me instead of on the streets. In my tiny apartment.

Not only did she lose her car, she didn't tell me about about it for days, so now getting the car out of the pound will cost "thousands" of dollars. In other words, she may never get it back. I don't know what happened, why it got towed away. I told her to prioritize the car. It was her home.

All this started cuz our good-for-nothing mother burned down an apartment and destroyed my sister's rental history. Permanently, it seems. How many major mistakes can a person rack up in a single lifetime? My sister is a hardworker and has had a stable job with decent pay for years now, yet no one will rent her an apartment because of our leech of a mother.

She was leeching off my sister at the time, living in an apartment she paid not a cent for, she leeched off my sister after the fire, and now I hear she may be leeching off our other sister. She can't support herself. She knows almost nothing about the job market, has hardly any work history (all minimum-wage jobs), and has a felony on her record! Moron. She wouldn't even go get help with her resumé when she lived three blocks from the employment department.

What kind of person is this? She probably couldn't work anyhow because of what she's done to her health. And I'm sure she will act completely helpless when it comes to applying for social security benefits.

Small Mouth

Sep. 9th, 2017 09:36 pm
improperlyhuman: (Default)
It seems that my mouth is too small to play clarinet. Or my tongue is too short. I can scarcely reach the reed with my tongue, so I can't tongue. Tonguing is a super important technique.

When I put the mouthpiece further into my mouth to bridge the distance between tongue and reed, I cannot seal my lips around the wider part of the mouthpiece; air escapes.

Maybe I need to switch to a non-wind instrument. I was never a very good wind player anyhow.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
I guess I underate today. Or maybe I over-exerted myself. I did a lot of chores plus fasted cardio this morning.

Stupid weak body. I was supposed to lift this evening. Why don't I have more energy? I bet I convert calories inefficiently.

I overspent on groceries and ended up with only twenty-five dollars left over for produce. Terrible.

So now I gotta go sleep off this headache.

Things have become a little easier for me. When I look at my neurotic solutions, I'm not cringing quite so hard. I guess I am developing "compassion" for myself. But I'm still scared that I'm gonna act like an ass and ruin something with somebody. I have a bad habit of making fun of sentimental things. I'm not comfortable with sentimental things. I guess I have to learn to be.

I keep developing scabs on my aureolae. If I peel the scabs, they will have grown back enough to peel some more by the next day. There are no wounds on my breasts, so I don't understand why the skin is scabbing over. I have awful skin. I missed OCM for a few days and now I have new wounds on my face. Lovely.

Sick Day :(

Sep. 7th, 2017 11:10 pm
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Was tired from grocery day yesterday (and the day before) and have menstrual cramps today, so I didn't make it to bridge lessons :(

One of the organizers texted me though; that was nice. It'll have to wait until next week.

Also the city is working on the pipes and I couldn't shower for a while/didn't want to go to bridge smelly.

I almost did my forum disappearing act again. I switched my account to invisible and considered deleting everything in my profile. I was gonna either not return for a very long time or just lurk (not post).

The part of me that is still human was not happy about this, but, well, I started participating as a social experiment and the outcome has been unfavorable. I got pissed off, didn't have any satisfying conversations, and some crazy lesbian was apparently creeping on the personal information I shared (against my inclination). I still have fun in the spam sub-forum, but I wanted to bar myself from that even. That's me being cruel to myself again.

So I thought about neuroticism and saw the pattern. I felt like I was giving in, but I went back. The more sensible plan is to stick with spamming, stop trying to have enjoyable or constructive conversations on main forums, stop sharing personal info, stop opining on people's dumb opinions, and remain open to one-on-one connections.

Felt down, lonely and hopeless today (hormones involved?); surprising coming down off that peacefulness I mentioned last post.

The cold is coming, I still live here, and still no heater. My rent got increased to six dollars per month. How am I going to pay that? I'm not going to buy a six-dollar money order every month.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
I  prefer to post before midnight.

I tried to have a small snack instead of a whole meal before bedtime (bought some rice crackers today). I couldn't sleep, so I guess it didn't work, and here I am awake and about to eat more.

To cycle further, I need a more comfortable saddle for my bike. I went to a cycle shop today and had something measured...something called sit-width I think. I sat on like some little vinyl miniseat that was attached to a piece of wood. Once I'd sat long enough to leave indentations in the seat, the shop owner had me get up, then measured the distance between the indentations. He said I need a seat between 155 and 168 mm.

Today I finished reading A Field Guide to Earthlings. A lot of the book painted an ugly picture (the part about gender role indoctrination of children was particularly heartbreaking), but it ended on a particularly dismal (albeit realistic) note. Basically the author said there is no way to win at NT games. That includes the "dating game." I feel at peace after reading this book. Too bad I waited so long to buy it. But would I have  understood it so well if I hadn't first racked up half a lifetime of confusing and frustrating experiences?

The book helped me a lot (assuming the author is correct). I now understand what people are saying when they talk about the "deeper meaning" of experiences or ask what a word "means" to individual people (not the literal meaning/definition, it turns out). I had a flashback to an online conversation in which a guy asked what his childhood experiences "meant" and I asked him why he thought they should "mean" anything in particular. The flashback made me feel kind of embarrassed.

I also think I now understand what people mean when they talk about having their feelings and experiences "invalidated." Their reality is so completely constructed by what other people think that having their feelings and experiences misunderstood, disbelieved, or unknown seems akin to the feelings and experiences never having existed at all. lol. It's kind of sad, actually.

The author "validated" my experience/suspicion that therapy generally doesn't work because therapists treat their patients like NTs. He suggested some other types of therapy (including personality typology!). "You may have been given misleading and confusing information about your emotions..." Spot on, goddamned therapist trying to tell me how I felt and suggesting seemingly random motivations.

Not gonna waste my time and energy asking a general audience for advice anymore either. Their "advice" usually has nothing to do with me. I think I also got the 411 on all the "change your thinking" pop psych advice (applies to CBT as well, I think). If a huge portion of one's reality is clogged up with socially constructed bullshit, then coming to understand that the social constructions aren't "real" (something of which I tend to be implicitly aware, if I'm encumbered by a given social construction at all) may very well eliminate the related negative emotions. On the other hand, someone who is genuinely socially isolated or who has some other concrete problem can't just think it away. And if one is used to acting, the act happy -> feel happy thing is probably more likely to work.

Anyways, the author also said to know oneself, be oneself, and trust oneself. That's what I'm doing, and it seems to be working. I care about what people think less. How could I care, knowing that people's thinking processes are so warped? ha

I didn't want the book to end. It was like finally having a constructive and satisfying conversation.

I think I won't be able to sleep again tonight. And I feel uncomfortably full.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
I haven't slept properly for at least 2 or 3 days now. Even when I decide to go to sleep, I unconsciously wake myself up just as I'm dozing off (not via intrusive thoughts anymore, at least).

I don't wanna go to sleep!!! There aren't enough hours in the day. Especially since workout recovery seems to take forever.

I read some non-authoritative Internet article that said mesomorphs should focus on endurance in resistance workouts to avoid bulking up. So I started that yesterday. I set out to do fifty squats with the empty bar on my back followed by the other 2/3 thirds of my old lifting workout. I made it through 45 squats and 3 out of my 5 bench press sets. After a while I felt dizzy and nauseous. That's never happened to me before.

You know what it reminded me of? Crossfit shit. Except I'm not stupid enough to do cardio endurance shit with heavy ass weights. Stupid crossfags. This one guy dropped a loaded barbell on his own spine. The hell? It's like when toddlers try to throw something and somehow manage to throw it behind themselves. I'm guessing that kind of accident doesn't happen very often in weightlifting. Crossfit injuries (and deaths) are a whole 'nother universe.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
It's almost 2 AM and it's STILL too hot to sleep. Lovely town. Only place on Earth that's hot in the middle of the night and sitting next to a body of water.

So I was working instead of sleeping when intrusive thoughts started interrupting my flow. Then something hit me, something about intellectualization. I'd previously considered that I must have some over-intellectualization tendencies because that is a trait of average/unhealthy Enneagram type 5s.

Now that I'm reading Horney, however, I begin to see how extensive over-intellectualization can be. I must have been unconsciously processing what she wrote about mistreated kids beginning to shut off the whole feeling apparatus, the precursor to neurosis. What if I did that?

I have memories going back to the age of about 4. I recall shutting off concern for my mother at a young age because I couldn't help her and she wouldn't help herself. I don't ever remember going to anyone for comfort, like the idea never even occurred to me. I remember that my 3-year-old half-sister came to sit on my lap one day when I was 15 or 16, and I pushed her off in disgust because it seemed so inappropriate to indulge in tenderness when our household was "at war." That's how I thought of us and our dysfunctional family life.

If feeling towards/with others is shut off in this way, what remains of subjectivity but the intellect and the instincts? I have also in large measure inhibited my instinctual behavior, in which case the intellect must dominate, perhaps largely unconsciously. My almost complete disinterest in direct emotional support (both giving and getting). Many times I have wondered how people can stand other people, wondered what binds them so despite their (in my eyes) shortcomings. Surely it is primarily emotions that bind them! 

And it is not just love, appreciation for others' qualities; that at least I can understand (if perhaps not feel). The things I did not/do not understand could be called receptive emotion: I never understood how anyone but children got comfort from another person when upset. All I can remember is wanting to be left alone when upset. I felt annoyed and disgusted when people tried to comfort me; at best, I felt confused about how comforting was supposed to work and why people assumed it would work on me, for surely, I thought, not everyone derives immediate comfort from others. I can derive a diffuse sense of indirect comfort from a person over a period of time by getting used to having that person around, but my in-the-moment negative emotions seem largely immune to comforting. The few times I deliberately tried to be receptive to others' comforting, I didn't feel comforted much, and I felt foolish for trying.

And these "shortcomings" I mentioned are all things that fail to appeal to the intellect: it bothers me intensely when people have the "wrong" beliefs or ideas, even if the beliefs and ideas do not lead to any concrete harm. Part of the intensity (maybe all of it) derives from the sense, the fear that there can be no social unity (in my personal life, the neighborhood, the country) if people do not agree sufficiently on ideas. I pay hardly any attention to the feeling atmosphere.

I know, for example, that kindness is important, but I've tended to think of it as a means to an end. I have little understanding and even less compassion about the little social acts that make people feel comfortable, and I have been baffled by people who will write others off for omitting such acts, especially on a single occasion. I've wanted people to operate entirely on intellect, as I do, to be open-minded about every little idiosyncrasy, to imagine that there are legitimate reasons why others don't act as expected, to prefer individuality to custom. I hate culture and am repulsed by others' attachment to it. I don't understand how people get so attached to things that are arbitrary. I don't understand why they put themselves through so much for even shitty social connections. I suppose my attachment apparatus is broken.

It's difficult even to state unequivocally that it is broken, and that being broken is a negative thing. Intellectually I can see good reason to believe it is broken: I've knowledge of normal human behavior, and I know that humans normally need and seek out strong social attachments and are attached to their culture. But such attachment seems such a small part of my personality that it hardly seems appropriate to say that it is broken. It seems akin to calling someone broken over a neutral personality trait such as a favorite color or food preference. There is a long-standing "that's just who I am" narrative that will not easily be supplanted by an "disordered attachment" narrative.

Clearly I still have social urges. But the feeling apparatus is dulled, and the urges feel completely instinctual, meaning that there is little conscious awareness of what I would get from interaction other than physical intimacy. I would feel relieved that I'm not entirely socially inept and glad to have a sounding board to make sure I'm not insane, but those seem like intellectual desires. Indeed, fear of "insanity" is one of my strongest motivators to develop myself socially. So alienated from my "real self" that emotionally-based social urges are unconscious? Or even absent? Is that possible.

Now perhaps I begin to understand how people get things like self-esteem from other people, why people say they would not have "made it" through tribulations without their loved ones, why they fall to pieces when someone dies or leaves them. And I am all but horrified. It is alright in theory, in a psychology book, to admit the normality and importance of a certain dependence on others, but in the real world people are unreliable, temporary biological entities, and even destructive to others. I have to figure out how to bridge "theory" and practice. That's not the right metaphor. I have to figure out how to bridge the ideal and the practical: decide whom to trust and try not to be too much of a robot.

I don't have the whole picture yet; I can't fully devote myself. The part of me that is afraid of the consequences of attachment is loudly warning me to tread carefully, particularly given that I have done things to myself that make me more or less "unlovable" (all these quoted words are Horney's terms). I have quashed my spontaneous behavior, withheld smiles and kind words, deliberately used the less sensitive choice of words, overriden my own sense of social decorum and subsequent anxiety to argue a point, harbored unrealistic expectations of "reasonableness" and equanimity (of both myself and others), and even scolded myself for normal emotional reactions. I've been insensitive to myself and externalized that insensitivity, erupting in impotent and futile frustration when others fail to fit into the suffocating mold I've broken bones to force myself into. And now the monster wants to be normal.
improperlyhuman: screenshot of Apocalypse from X-Men: The Animated Series (apocalypse)
Been in a badish mood. After making subtly nasty remarks to me for a month or two, some creepy, irritable lesbian randomly decided that I'm not a lesbian. Then some annoying weirdo...I don't even know, maybe English isn't his native language or he has a communication problem. Time to get off the Internet. Trying to like human beings is self-cruelty. Why did I ever try to do this??

The irritation du jour is people making up random little traits that they then decide are human traits (which of course they can't back up). Especially when they say that human beings are "hard-wired" to do something. You just know someone has swallowed too much pop science when they use this phrase. It isn't even a good metaphor; there is generally more than one way to wire a circuit to produce the same functionality, so the "wiring" isn't exactly responsible for the behavior.

On top of dealing with those people, I've also become worried that I'll scare people away by seeming mean. Teasing people is one of the easier, more automatic ways I interact.

So today I decided to look for something, anything in town I could do involving other people. Lo and behold, free bridge lessons downtown. So that's gonna be my Thursday nights until I move away from here. I'm committing myself to it in words here because I tend to drift away from all things social, even if they aren't unpleasant.

This gets worse before it gets better? Or is the "worse" actually just my feelings of frustration and overwhelmedness at how much it seems I need to work on?

Somehow I ended up watching Youtube clips from the movie What's Eating Gilbert Grape? And I looked at slim, teenaged Leonardo DiCaprio and I thought, "I want slim thighs." And then I felt bad. I've been eating like a horse since I re-started exercising  and I'm concerned that I'll just get bulky again. I don't want to be bulky and I don't want chubby thighs.

I hate my goddamned parents. I know that the way my body is is partially their fault. When I was a baby, I refused to drink cow's milk, so they gave me orange juice. I bet that's why I'm hypoglycemic, at least in part. And the hypoglycemia forces me to eat a whole nother meal each day to avoid waking up with night sweats. Then they proceeded to feed me junk throughout my childhood, very few vegetables or fruit. 18 years of stress surely didn't help. I tried to lose weight in grammar school, received no support, had no idea what I was doing, tried to live on 700 calories per day, and no one even noticed until I was too weak to stand up for a month. I was allowed to leave the house for school and band functions only, so I never got exercise. I tried to do things right in junior high, but my dad wouldn't get me the gym membership I asked for. I tried to get them to buy healthier foods; that failed. My dad would buy one or two separate microwaveable junk food meals for me; goddess knows why. Idiot. And my mom did no parenting whatsoever at that point.

Anyways. There is a fitness center two blocks from here. Now that I have some money, perhaps I'll go there and get a consultation. I don't know how much I need to eat when I exercise regularly, so maybe I could get help with that.

Or maybe I'll have thighs like this forever and I should just get used to it. I mean but the endurance athletes are slim, so why couldn't I be? I just need to put enough miles on the bike.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Because I'm now using my music stand to hold clarinet music, my laptop, which used to rest on the former, is now sitting on the floor. And I sit on the floor to use the laptop. This has been causing pain in my right arm. Yet I continue to spend tons of time using the laptop. I need to pay more attention to health stuff.

I really get caught up in doing things with the computer. I spent hours in the trenches yesterday trying to get my user stylesheet to work on Amazon. And I was content to spend that time. Since I happily spend so much time on stuff like this (yet don't much care for editing), maybe I should just bite the bullet and learn some type of development. I don't want to have to worry about keeping up with new technologies, but that's probably less painful than what I do now. I often find learning syntax details tedious, but it's probably less tedious than paying attention to the details of copyediting and managing client's who need editorial services. I imagine that job requirements must be less ambiguous as well. 

I don't think I'd like web development, though. Maybe server-side stuff only. Shit, I don't know. I just don't want to work. Not on others' terms. Getting paid for the hours I spent learning and testing CSS yesterday would be a perfect setup. If I could focus on just doing CSS stylesheets or just HTML for clients, I'd be ok with that. Web developers have to know too many different things. I'm motivated on the job and in classes, but I'd have to learn this stuff on my own to even get a job, and I'm much less motivated to do that.

I think I could make a good hardware programmer, but I'd need access to hardware and I can't afford that.

Tech careers really aren't for lazy people. Stuff changes too much and too often. I'm having a tough time finding a suitable career. Technical Writer would be good for me except it too often requires  communication with SMEs. I could maybe hack it if the communication was 100% text-based. But of course it isn't. Ever. People take the glorious text-based nature of the Internet and destroy it. They want you to Skype with half the people in their company.

I ate a ton today. It was that weird hunger without hunger pangs; the hunger that signifies lack of nutrients rather than lack of calories. I think I need to increase my protein intake. Again. I thought I could get away with a low-protein diet by focusing on cycling (cardio), but apparently not.

I have more emotions now and I'm not sure whether it's normal.

So I was awarded that contract I posted about yesterday and proceeded to spend the whole day procrastinating. I tried starting tonight but the files are like user guide pages, and I don't have it in me to edit stuff that isn't even in complete sentences. Fortunately, I know my work style well enough to suggest padded turnarounds to my clients. The files make up less than a thousand words altogether, but I said it'd be done in two days, so I have all of tomorrow and the morning of the next day.
improperlyhuman: truck tipping over on the highway (tipping truck)
I started to buy a book-based anxiety self-treatment course this evening, but it's based on CBT, which, I learned, is about treating symptoms and not their causes. That seems to be the exact opposite of what I need. Neurotic anxiety is different than non-neurotic anxiety; it is not based on unrealistic fears so much as it is based on the inability to reconcile competing drives.

I kept quite busy today (with things I wanted to do and was quite engaged with), but still found myself being interrupted by anxious thoughts and a few intrusive thoughts. I suppose keeping busy isn't enough even short-term.

A client I've worked with two or three times contacted me about a small job yesterday and I groaned from the core of my being once I saw the message. I procrastinated for hours before even fully reading the message. I act as if new work projects are cages; I'm loathe to enter them. The feeling of responsibility weighs on me excessively, particularly given how little I work. It's type 5 shit. Postponement of action, and, in particular, avarice with my inner resources. Work can deplete just like any other activity. I've built up a good reputation, and even that weighs on me; I'm obliged to continually live up to that reputation if I want to continue to earn money.

This is part of the reason why I think about having a very simple, low-responsibility job like stocker. The huge pay cut would be cushioned by my needing so little money (and getting more regular hours), and the ability to coast through work without putting much thought into what I'm doing would decrease my occupational stress significantly. Part of my stress owing to not really being a professional, however, this certificate program should help calm me. On the other hand, the actual work is the easier part, and I'm least skilled in client management.

Anyways, I just keep working. I may sometimes take a few hours more than I need to respond to clients, but I eventually respond (although there was one time I played sick and the client just gave up). I do the things that make me anxious, but the anxiety doesn't let up. This is another reason why I suspect that mainstream approaches to anxiety management won't help me much.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
Still trying to recover energy for another bike ride! The heat must be wearing me down. It's been too hot to do much these past few days.

I'm seriously considering purchasing a subscription to the online version of Rosetta Stone (Russian). The price is much nicer than the CD-ROM version, and I've qualified for a military discount on top of that.

I'm terrible at this feminazi thing. I picked up some meds for this elderly guy outside the grocery story today.

Yesterday's Horney chapter was Self-Hate and Self-Contempt. I've often consoled myself that, no matter how crazy I am, I at least don't hate myself. Well, don't I? There's that thing called the unconscious. And I certainly relate to several of the supposed manifestations of neurotic self-hatred: downright cruel shit like trying to crush my own hopes and limiting things I enjoy for dumb reasons.

The one that really hit home, however, was

...he may wear a rigid mask so that nobody will guess from his facial expressions, his tone of voice, or his gestures what is going on within him.

I thought I did that because I was tired of people guessing and misinterpreting how I feel. What if they were correctly interpreting, but I didn't recognize the interpretation as correct because I was so out of touch with my own feelings, so used to feeling bad that it had become my normal? What if my facial expression and tone of voice have been giving away my half-conscious misery for years?

That's a sobering possibility because it throws a monkey wrench in my plan to fake it 'til I make it. No one wants to date someone who is miserable. But must I get rid of 100% of the misery all by my lonesome? As newly conscious problems start to pile up, I'm beginning to feel discouraged. I thought that I maybe shouldn't expose people to myself until I change a bit.

I don't know how I'm going to fix all this, but the step I'm on now is internalizing more realistic beliefs. I feel stupid and weak whenever I make any social attempts. I know there is nothing stupid and weak about that; I know that it's normal. Yet I can't shake those feelings, so I clearly haven't internalized what I "know." The only information I've found about internalizing ideas is repeating them to oneself. Sounds kind of silly, but that's what I'm going to do.

I also have an unbelievably difficult time internalizing the fact that people are just jerks or in a bad mood sometimes. I think I get so angry about it in part because I'm angry at myself for failing to live up to that idealized self who never lets a social situation go sour. It's incredible how something can be so clear in the rational mind but so broken in the emotional mind.

This is a lot to have on my plate all at once. I'm also taking a software testing MOOC to explore this career option. Filling up my days, on the other hand, seems like a good way to avoid harmful thoughts. My first certificate course starts in a couple of weeks, I'm lifting two days a week, I'm dieting, I'm reading Horney, studying Russian, playing clarinet, and periodically working for my current client.

I was in the past very much against having a full day because lack of reflection time made me feel unalive. Now it seems like a good option (at least temporarily) to help me out of this neuroticism and the resultant discouragement.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
One of the cashiers at the local grocery store is attractive. I saw her today on a quick trip for some soy sauce. She has new glasses. I don't know what it is about her. She just exudes something. Maybe I like her facial expressions. She made me smile. And it felt good.

I think the episode made me think about attraction. After I got home, it occurred to me that I have for years avoided being around womyn because I wanted to avoid attraction. Going to lesbian events in particular seemed "dangerous." Attraction is another feeling that can be overwhelming, or so I feared. At some point in my twenties, I convinced myself that there was something distasteful and possibly even "wrong" about sexually fantasizing about real people (which certainly didn't help the pr0n problem), and I wonder if that is related to my fear of attraction. Maybe my disinclination to look at people's OkC photos is somewhat related as well.

Perhaps scarier than feelings of attraction is their probable result: the urge for companionship. Becoming notably dissatisfied with isolation, developing drive to enter the Wild West of the social realm. Becoming not only more vulnerable to undesirable social outcomes but vulnerable to the feelings of foolishness and self-blame that result from the former: knowing that "I did it to myself." The "idealized self" I created was a loner, emotionally self-sufficient and internally tranquil, and  I was determined to try to live up to that image, even at the expense of my real wants. Self-alienation. "The energies driving toward self-realization are shifted to the aim of actualizing the idealized self." So true.

Like all such withdrawal, avoidance increased my vulnerability to actually feeling overwhelmed. Engagement with life is like a vaccine; immunizing us against threats via exposure to those same threats.
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