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Nice to see the old place.

I was just popping by to check on my friends feed, and I thought, wth, I'll post an entry.

I've started doing pen-and-paper journaling, and this is the closest online equivalent, as far as I'm concerned. Just reading poss hear is so soothing, because people take their time, and use whole words. I really do believe there is a direct correlation between how much I look at FB and how much my mood sucks.

This year is not off to a great start frankly, but I'm not letting it get to me for the most part. At least not yet. I've got upcoming doctors' appointments, and hopefully there won't be any especially bad news from those. As usual, we're trying to make positive changes to improve our health, and our lives in general. Not so usual is that we're being much more thorough about putting in place reinforcements, and back-up plans, and emergency procedures. It can be hard to keep our mood up, but we do our best.

Hope everyone is doing well out there in LJ land.

I Won NaNoWriMo!

There was some self-doubt, but I did it!

omg winner

I would be interested to know

those people I know (and there are some) who think that suicide is the act of a coward... why aren't they sending me messages congratulating me on my courage every day I manage to stay alive?

From "Welcome to Night Vale"

"There’s a man. Imagine him. He’s leaning on a fence, shirtless and weary. He seems wise near the eyes, but his impatient feet suggest insidiousness. He’s marked with dried mud, and maybe some very deep but quickly-healing cuts – from the tree branches, most likely, or perhaps the birds.

OK, I’m not telling you the whole truth. It was definitely the birds.

Imagine these cuts and scratches, dry and brittle now, but tender to the touch. He is certain he did not offend the birds, but he is uncertain whether his complacency was construed as equal to said offense.

Picture this. Picture the man leaning on the criss-crossing metal wires, waiting. The birds are gone, but other things are coming. He doesn’t know specifically what, but he knows it’ll come for him.

You know this, too, because I have told you.

The man says nothing.

There’s never not something that has been displaced, marginalized. There’s never not something that, when feeling pressed to the wall, to a place with no room left to run, gathers its numbers, gathers its forces, and turns, savagely, on its oppressor. Turns viciously, and without inhibition, even on those who merely look like its oppressor.

Do you catch my meaning? Can you imagine the scene I am explaining?

How much of the world makes sense to you?

What does it mean to be a hero? To be a human?

The man thinks about his heart. It beats. It beats normally. Earlier, it did not beat normally.

Think about your own heart. Is it beating normally?

Listen. I’ll give you a long moment.

How is your heart?

Do you remember the man? The one on the fence, shirtless and scarred, with the normally-beating heart? He’s not real. Take him out of the story, but leave the story. Take him out, leave the story.

Do you catch my meaning?

Do you?"

Yes, this again

I’ve been over this before, but it bears repeating, because I see this meme absolutely everywhere. The notion that a person is capable of choosing how to feel. That one can just make the decision to be happy and, ta-da, it will magically be so. It makes some people feel better to say things like this, because it gives them a sense of having control over things… or a sense that they needn’t feel any remorse for the unkind things they do because “no one has the power to hurt you unless you let them.” What it is, actually, is a bunch of blatant victim blaming people pull out when they become uncomfortable with the suffering of others, and want it to just go away and stop bothering them. Human emotions are exceedingly complex, based on environment, stimulus, and above all, neurochemistry, which is a science the surface of which we have barely scratched. I will allow that there are sometimes choice points between a painful stimulus, and our reaction where (if we are fortunate enough to be in a healthy state of mind) we might be able to do damage control, and lessen the pain we will feel as a result. This is some major mind kung fu (call it Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or Rational-Emotive or whatever) that is certainly valuable stuff, but it’s hard as hell to get good at. In the meantime, the terrible depression I am suffering is NOT a FUCKING CHOICE I have made, thank you very much. I do every single damn thing they tell you to do to make it better. I fight it tooth and nail every day. Every time I hear someone say “well, it’s really up to you to decide to feel better” it makes me want to step in front of a bus. Whether you want to admit it or not, words have power, and as humans, we have an obligation to be mindful of what we say to each other.

And for the record, given the hard-wired drives, fears, and desires that our human condition mandates (and also given how predictable and universal so much human behavior seems, if you observe it across time and cultures) I am not even sure how much individual agency we really have in anything we do. I’m not saying that we never make choices, I just think that any given choice before us is drastically limited by countless circumstances that we are mostly not even fully aware of due to our very limited perspective.

Annual Migration Post

Off we go at 0:dark-early on Sunday morning... or tomorrow night, depending how you look at it. The 15 hour drive (each way). The super long, meandering conversations with my beloved as we rush along through the Midwest. The Buddhist teachings on audio book that we listen to, and pause frequently to discuss what we think about them. The cheese sandwiches and trail mix. It's a strange but not entirely unpleasant undertaking.

It's gonna be super cold in Wisconsin while we are there. But it's worth it to get to see my family, whom I only get to see this one time a year. Please take a moment to imagine us having a safe and uneventful trip, if it isn't too much trouble.

Sadness as a "character flaw"

I guess it might make me feel better if I expounded a bit on the topic that set me off earlier today. Someone over on FB made one of those ubiquitous “only you are responsible for your own happiness, no one can ever contribute to your unhappiness, and if you aren’t happy, it’s your fault” type of posts. And of course, everyone was heartily agreeing with it, because that’s the Rugged Individualist’s creed. I made the incredibly stupid mistake of wading in. It went badly.

See, here’s the thing; there are grains of truth in that notion. Certainly, it is NOT possible to be happy unless you make the decision that you want to be. There absolutely ARE choice points where you can make decisions about how to react to the actions of others. But I’ll never understand how that is supposed to translate into the thinking that no outside force can ever contribute to a person’s unhappiness, and failure to be happy is a character flaw.

Clinical depression exists. Also, people can come up to you and do you violence, which may result in your being unhappy. People can come up to you and do you *emotional* violence, and if you are not yet a fucking Bodhisattva, that can sometimes cause you to be unhappy too, especially when the perpetrator is someone you trust. When those choice points come around, you can’t always get into the right head space right away and avoid being thrown off course. At least I can’t, and I know I am not the only person in the world who can’t.

Despite pretty severe, treatment resistant depression, I am generally a pretty happy person. But I have bad days, like anyone. Shantideva said “Putting up with little cares, I'll train myself to bear with great adversity” and I try to live that. It helps a lot. But it isn’t a fast-acting panacea, and… I have bad days.

But I am damned if I’ll let anyone tell me that I’m bad or weak because I suffer, just like all sentient beings do.

Ragging on Facebook again

I owe LiveJournal a sincere apology for forsaking it for Facebook. That horrible place makes me miserable all the time. I seriously can't look at my FB feed without either seeing something I can't un-see, or getting my hackles up because of someone's Tea Party attitude, or ending up inadvertently fighting with someone. But, see, that's where everyone *is*. I can't help that that's where everyone spends all their time these days.

Dammit. I miss this place. I suppose I perpetuate the problem by not spending my social networking time here, but I just despair of the "social" part of it. There's hardly anyone who regularly reads LJ anymore, and it's depressing to feel like you're howling into a void. But at least, I guess, I could use it for the "journal" part. I kept a paper journal for many years, and never minded that nobody else read it.

Anyway. I'm really sorry, LiveJournal. You are infinitely superior to Facebook, for what it's worth.

There's a Traitor Here Beneath My Breast

...and it hurts me more than you've ever guessed.

if my heart could beat, it would break my chest
but I can see you're un-impressed...