Friday, December 8, 2017

debating myself

What if I go out into the world, still unable to find what I'm looking for?  What am I looking for exactly?  Some nonsense about a soulmate, affinity, or belonging, an elusive concept creeping back into my thoughts as it always does, undermining my resolve.  This is really about loneliness.  Nothing makes me lonelier than being around people.  I'm going to have to wade right into that.  I'm going to have to get used to it.

I've realized that more important than any of that, I can focus on doing better than I have been.  I can try to better live up to my own standards.  It's not always going to be painless or rewarding, but I know it's what I should be doing.

There's this person on my friends list I met during Bernie's run last year. He's got this new Facebook page that he's trying to get going, an integration of politics and science, with a futurism slant to it.  So, no question, right up my alley.  He's asked me to contribute, so I've been trying to think of something suitable.  Stoicism doesn't seem to work as well on creative endeavors.  I can't seem to force myself to have ideas.  This gets discouraging.

I've been practicing creativity in general more.  Writing has always been easier for me than anything else, but only when I'm rambling and aimless about it.  Also considering taking my guitar more seriously, but in the meantime at least playing it a little every day.  Painting.. even thinking about that again, but I don't know.

Sketching things out with pencil should be good exercise for those neurons on the meantime.  Writing this drivel makes for good practice, should I come up with something more interesting to write about.  At some point, I plan to switch from learning Russian to Mandarin.  It doesn't matter which, as long as I keep learning.  Finding the will to meditate has become so much easier. I've been doing that for an hour or so every day.  Not that my mind doesn't wander as much as ever, but I sit every morning no matter how I feel.

For the longest time, I've thought of intelligence as an inherent trait, a matter of potential.  You can do something with it or not, but an attribute of who we are, not what we do.  There's an element of truth to that, but it's a tragic misconception of how these things primarily work.  Our patterns of behavior and lifestyle create who we are.  The more we rally our brain cells to a task, the better suited they become for that task.  Draw every day, and that will make far more difference than any latent ability.  Learn every day, and learning itself becomes easier.

This takes time though.  A lot of time.  It requires consistency and resolve, a simple truth that becomes wholly unintuitive, as weeks and months go by, to negligible benefit.  Go years without reading a single book, and even reading can take some practice to get back into.  We are always up against who we've already been, our whole lives.  In so much as the self is a thing, it's more a process than anything rigid.

I need a sense of direction in much of what I do.  Like in martial arts, I remember what a difference it made when I had a plan to execute on my opponent, instead of just reacting.  I had to know what sort of plan would be realistic, but go for something.  Otherwise you're just waiting to get owned.

In what I want to do with my life, this will be important.  I'll focus on who I want to be, in terms of what I want to learn and pursue.  I won't sit around making excuses anymore.  In creative endeavors, it's much the same.  I've been letting my brain atrophy all my life, but I'm going to try to stop doing that.  In a way, I realize that's been the plan for some time now.  It's just taken a while to start feeling like I've been getting anywhere.

I get all tangled up in how well I should do at anything and everything, when the consequences of doing nothing are substantially worse.  What will I be any good at, if I never do anything?  Why have I been doing this to myself?  I've become oddly disinterested in distractions lately.  That seems to making all sorts of rational thinking easier.

The mind wanders, keep bringing it back.  What matters is the practice.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

is this.. volition?

I know, I'm clearly insane, but maybe something good can still come of it.  Maybe I've finally hacked my way in and accomplished some rewiring.  This seems like another good sign, anyhow.  It's no masterpiece, but I've hardly picked up a pencil in twenty years.  Maybe it's a start.

It turns out I can draw while listening to music instead of just sitting here looking sad.  I.. don't know why I haven't done this until now.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


It feels somewhat like realizing that the motivation for approval that I'm always crying about is really my own.  I don't approve of how I'm living, or the choices I'm making.  That's a whole lot easier to figure out how to do something about, than trying to make sense of what everyone else wants.  My kitchen is finally clean again too, because every time I look at it, I've been wondering what kind of scumbag lives here.

I know I said I'd be building some walls, but this is something else.  Crazy attachment transference shit, the wholesale collapse of my adenosine receptor blockade, or maybe just some brutally well placed criticism.  I don't know, but whatever it is, I'm going with it.

I'm skeptical though.  I know how deceptive a change in perspective can be, circumstances change, and suddenly I'm not feeling like I'm actually at the helm, anymore.  Started having some doubts when I woke up this morning.  Some coffee would have definitely helped in the short term, but I got up.  I meditated, got some exercise.. ok, then I fell back to sleep for a bit, but I think I'm still making progress here.

For now, the one downside seems to be that I'm having trouble writing about anything other than all this.  I'm hoping I can keep this going, but maybe calm down about it a bit.  Mental health intake appointment this Thursday.  I am going to need any help I can get to take this a step further, so I'll go look for help.  My brain doesn't usually work like that.

Monday, December 4, 2017

dropping anchor

I've been vegetarian on and off since I was six.  Essentially, on my own, I've always been a vegetarian, but when I have shared my life with those who are not, I've compromised and in some cases, gave it up entirely for a while.  In some part, due to values instilled in me by my uncle, whose wisdom I always held in high regard.

He taught me not to be rigid, but sensitive to circumstances and the people around, in how I conduct myself, even in matters of ethics.  He'd talk about how so much of it was cultural. Values are memes, we learn them from each other, at least when we're open to it.  That made sense to me for a long time, but I suppose I'm having doubts.  He was vegetarian-sympathetic, but not vegetarian himself.  I also better understand how that plays into a person's views now, and how they can be skewed.  Maybe don't trust a meat eater to tell you when it's ok to eat meat.

Of course, also in part due to my own weakness for the taste of it, I've eaten lots of animals over the years, which I'm not proud of.  I don't know that it's purely a matter of reason, but this feels important to me.  All the ways I've compromised, for myself, for others, how good I am at excuses. What impact this has had on my sense of self, confidence in myself.  Empathy can be volatile, it can go terribly wrong. I seem to have it in spades.  This is probably why I've always compromised so much.  I'm acutely aware that it needs work.  This isn't a matter of berating myself for it, so much as realizing that maybe I can try a better approach to life.

The universe is vast, suffering infinite, the impact of our individual actions of dubious significance amidst it all.  First and foremost, I am a consequentialist but consequences are not always so straight forward or to be found where we're looking for them.  What does it mean to compromise my values?  Values are not just about what we do in the world, but what we're doing to ourselves, in our thoughts, our words, actions and interactions.

When I speak of doing better, this is also what I'm talking about.  I've been relatively vegan ish for almost a year now. I can do better, but should it need to be said, this isn't just about what I eat.  Maybe I can even stop drifting.

seriously, it's good that i'm documenting this, because wtf.

do better

When I moved from Pittsfield to Minneapolis, I didn't have any help for most of it.  It took me weeks to get it cleaned out, and by that, I mean I had to carry everything to dumpsters, because I couldn't bring much with me.  My father did help with the transportation itself, and I commented to him on my frustration, with how difficult it was and how much I had to lose, because I didn't have the means to do it myself.  He laughed, and I don't remember his exact words, but he thought it was funny that I'd expect anyone to be any help ever.

He has been very stoic in some ways.  I'm not sure, but I think when he's had to move, he has done it himself, unless anyone's pushed their way into helping.   I don't think he'd ever ask for it, even if it meant he'd have to throw out everything he owns.   He is the most asocial schizoid type I've ever known.  My sister and I both seem to have inherited some of that.  It's been much more problematic for me, but I think she's had her issues, too.  "I hate people" bumper stickers and the like.

It's not always obvious what matters.  I think it can be important to break it down, not just by ourselves, but in the social exchanges between each other.  Or sometimes with blood work.  We don't need to do any of this, but it seems important to me.  I've come to realize that I have been stuck in this vague unconscious state of waiting for help, attaining self sufficiency, and that these different types of self sufficiency are related.  I've been sabotaging myself my whole life, and this does not make for good company, even my own.

Under better circumstances, I'd have just gotten that sort of help when I was a kid, and this whole process would have gone more smoothly.. but I guess for me, it went sideways.  There were lots of reasons.  I had a therapist in Pittsfield who picked up on some of this, commented that it seemed I was perpetually waiting for something, but that was vague and he had no idea what to do about it.  It would have been a nice bit of help, if I'd had a better therapist.

I'm not sure what I can do, but I'll look into what sort of higher education and financial options I do have.  I'm not entirely confident in my resolve or my competence, or that of the underfunded systems I'll be looking to for assistance.   Could take weeks or even months for appointments, but I've set it in motion.  I have a sense of direction that I will try to make sure that it goes in.  I'm writing about it, so that I can remind myself, should I need to debate myself about any of this, at some point.

I think I'm being realistic here.  It's hard, it hurts, scared, distracted, but here's the full equation.  Now that I see what's going on in my head, do I really want to choose not to do this?  There are always causal factors to it all, but this is less about free will, and more about just being honest with myself.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

learned helplessness

Learning to give my own injections took way too long.  I started when I was maybe fifteen, and had a really hard time of it.  It wasn't until starting again in my forties that I understood how to grow the fuck up about it.  I look back on it though, and I see the tricks my mind played on itself.  I understand how my rationale wasn't even conscious.

If only someone could have explained it to me, in the detail that I understand it now, that would have been all I needed.  Maybe a parental type just being an authoritarian jerk does that trick too, but I'm not sure.  I only remember sitting there by myself for so many hours trying to prove that I was so incompetent that I wouldn't have to do it.  No one will blame me, if I can't do it.

This is learned, I know where I learned it, and yeah, of course it's fucking crazy.  What kind of cowardly bullshit is that?  I needed to understand how to ask myself, is not doing this a serious option?  Maybe I needed some consequences explained, but there was no reason for ambiguity.  Do I seriously want to admit that I chose not to do this?  I needed to understand that yes, I was making a choice - it just wasn't conscious.  I couldn't see it, but now I understand that it was there.

So, if yes, I'm going to do this, there's no reason not to do it right now.  As long as I can think of something to do, and yeah ok.  Of course I can.  Not after weeks of inner struggle to prove that I can't. I've been getting better, I do things eventually, but it shouldn't even be such a long drawn out battle.

It took me a long time to unlearn this nonsense.  I'm still unlearning it.  I still do this, in so many ways.  It is more difficult, with some things more than others, I definitely have some obstacles, but seriously, I know, I need to grow the fuck up.  It occurs to me that I never really try, anymore.  I can't even draw something, without sketching it out quickly, and if that's not good enough, fuck it.  It's not worth it.  What the fuck am I doing?

This is why I've been doing everything I do.  The omnitrope, the running, meditating, giving up coffee and alcohol.  I think maybe all of this has helped, and it's been so gradual in accumulating that it has been hard to tell.  Maybe it's time to admit that I'm doing better.

Either that, or I've come down with some sort of horrible brain disorder, and this is the part right before I try to eat my neighbors.

Friday, December 1, 2017

social asceticism

Just set the appointment process in motion for both counseling and psychiatry.  There's a waiting list, but hopefully I'm at the point where I'm ready to take some real steps towards self sufficiency and maybe even some ambition.  Never seemed to be much point in getting help, just so I might feel better sitting around doing nothing.

In some ways I've spent my entire life fighting not to have to depend on people, with the gigantic caveat being government assistance.  Everything from doing my own therapy, learning to cook my own curries, to cutting my own hair.  I have far more conversations with myself than anyone else.  Emotionally, I'm not accustomed to depending on anyone, but I don't believe that this is ideal.  Honestly, I don't recommend any of this.  Find someone to teach you, if at all possible.

This sort of independence is ironic, because it's forced me to be entirely dependent and trapped wherever I go.  I've always been aware of this, ashamed of it.  I've wanted to do something about it, but it's difficult to honestly look back on my life, and discern whether my excuses for not doing anything about it were any good or not.  In a sense, I've always just needed guidance, to overcome the very real problems I had. Problems no one around me understood.  I've even had to be my own parents.  

Undoubtedly, I've made awful decisions throughout the course of my life, so it's a matter of perspective, but I didn't know better.  It's taken me a long time to learn.  I'm hoping that a professional will be better versed in what my options are, how realistic it would be for me to pursue them.

I've referenced the years I have ahead of me, assuming nothing tragic befalls me in the meantime, but I haven't posted about it's relevance to this.  A major impediment to pursuit of anything ambitious has been that I'm too old.

This is why it matters, how many years I have ahead of me.  If I'll be old and feeble in fifteen years, there's not much point.  I've known people who went back to school at my age, forced to retire for age related health reasons, not all that long after graduating.  If this is going to drag out for another fifty years though, I should really get moving.