31 July, 2011

Google, how I love thee.

Hi Google. I totally love being your product. Everything you try to show me? I'd say it's priceless but I'm not actually paying that close attention. Slap a picture of a cupcake on that stuff, and I'll be looking, at least for a second. But I know you knew that about me already. It's not a secret.

Everything you give me to use for free that I have tried? I LOVE. Let me count the ways.

Email. Thank you google!

Google Search. Thank you, google.

Blogger. Obviously. Thanks.

After all this, is it hard to believe that I totally want more free stuff? Who cares--I'm going to let you know whether it's hard to believe or not.

I passed a few suggestions to my friend who works at google already. I'll let those marinate, even though I totally want those things. Right now, And they are truly for the good of all mankind. As far as I can remember anyway.

What I want now is something that's for me, and I don't care about how the rest of mankind feels about it. I would like a "share this" widget to click. And then you send whatever it is out on an actual piece of paper to whoever I ask you to. Charge me for it, if you feel you must. If it's worth it to me, I totally will. I'd prefer if you slapped an ad on the bottom of that, and you're good at that already. But whatever.

Because I am going to have to do it myself if you don't step up. I need to share stuff with people I love who, horror of horrors, don't have ready access to email. Or the internet. (Or sanity, some of the time.)

Add it as a feature of Gmail. I've already got some addresses in my contacts there. Shit, I better change my password again so no one hacks me now!

But go ahead. Help a girl out. You know you want to. Tell my friend when it's ready, he'll know how to find me. (And not because it might be a little creepy how much you know about me, google.)

My blog's title

I have been mulling over the name of this blog for 4 or five days, about as long as I’ve been writing it.
I thought of a few things, and as is perfectly obvious to all, I found the thing that feels true and perfect to me, and it is also an homage to an author and book that I love. 

And because I am at least as self-centered as the best of you (and possibly far-far-far more narcissistic than most of you), I will share this process with you.

So first, I shared my own initial ideas with a group of close friends, friends, and women I don’t know too well but absolutely respect and a total jerk. 

(I am absolutely kidding! I am totally laughing my ass off here because of how ridiculous the idea that ANY one of you is total jerk! I PROMISE, it is not you, because it is not true. I just thought it was funny.)

These ideas were:

I came in halfway through
Reach for the sky
tap dancing on jello
other suggestions?

And of the lot I was most fond of the last line, which I liked even though it was a request for comment, and not an idea I conceived of as the name of my blog.

I got some good suggestions, which I ultimately had to reject, because I didn’t feel that moment of resonance, that moment of bliss, that moment that feels like understanding, that moment of perfect. (I was covered in bees before covered in bees was cool.)

For most purposes, and in fact for most of my blog postings, good enough is actually good enough. Perfection might be a good goal. I’m not sure. But I’m not going to bother shooting for perfection 99% of the time. Good enough is what I’m shooting for. That might be an even better blog title than this one, the one I love, but since I don’t love it I’m not picking it. 

But for my title, the name I share these thoughts with you under, I wanted perfection, even if perfection is unattainable. Waiting for years would not be a good idea. But I was writing anyway, and I’ve saved it all, and it hasn’t even been a week, and nobody is really missing out because I waited. 

But I guarantee that I would have waited no longer than a month before picking something without this moment of perfection, because moving on is always more important than the absolute perfect bliss of perfection. But I digress. (That would also be a great name for this blog title. But I don’t love it as much either.)

I must thank Eric Flint, for his book Mother of Demons. I love this book so much. Definitely top shelf. If I could bother to maintain my own personal library of the books I love as well as the books that I am reading (which I can’t do, but don’t regret much).

This book, I love. But is obviously not for everyone because my brother, Darby Grove, recently deceased, and one of my favorite people ever, and one with whom I shared a vast number of interests and tastes, could never get into it. Isn’t that always a bummer? When you try to share the stuff that is obviously great with people who are obviously great, and they just can’t get into it, or worse, don’t get it? But I digress.

In this book, a colonization ship reaches a new planet, and crashes. The humans meet the aliens, the aliens meet the humans, stuff happens. Some aliens have a new religion. They haven’t decided what to call it yet, even. The religion has principles of compassion and practical ideas on how to live together, and good stuff that pretty much every religion has abundantly, but it doesn’t, as far as I remember, really go into many spiritual issues, like life after death and “is there a god?”.

The sage or apostle of the religion was constantly trying to erode the believers’ tendency to commit worship. And remind them that the important thing, the really important thing, was not who did what, or what answers seem best, but the really important thing was The Question.

And when I thought of that this morning, it totally resonated with me. I was ringing from head to toe, metaphorically speaking. Accurately speaking, I got that feeling of perfection, stopped moving and savored it for a moment, and moved on to get through the boring background details of sharing my words with you all, because I am driven to do so.

I must also thank Lois McMaster Bujold, because of something one of her characters shared in one of her novels, I can’t remember which one. The guy was saying that the professor in some engineering class at the military academy never bothered to change the questions on the final exam, because the answers kept changing. Because yes. They totally do.

Also, sorry about the typos and errors. I have more stuff to mull over. I have more stuff to write. I don’t like looking like a fool, and I can edit quickly. My sentences are long and rambling and (I’m sorry) sometimes unclear because of this. I am personally horrified to find that I can no longer use its and it’s without actually thinking about it. I used to do better. But I have more stuff to mull over, and more stuff to write. And sometimes I have to get dressed. and sometimes I have to do laundry. and sometimes I have to cook. 

I actually think it is important that we do things things for ourselves (not that I can afford to have someone else to do them for me). It will cut into my writing time, as will are the other essential things I have to do for myself and others. But I can totally share my thoughts with you, imperfect and somewhat unedited, and let the chips fall where they may. I can do that. I am. And hopefully I will continue to do so, because I love it.

Witch Hunt

Recently another witch hunt was triggered, and a large group of normally compassionate people lost the natural level of compassion they normally extend to strangers who, like all the rest of us, suffer the pains of life and also make mistakes. 

Luckily, they weren’t the ones in charge of practicing justice upon this poor unfortunate, because I am totally willing to believe that they all would have literally burned her at the stake, if it had been left up to them. But we, as a society, don’t actually believe that burning witches (or more specifically women (and men) accused of being witches) at the stake is a good idea any more. If they do commit unspeakable crimes, we say let us submit them to our legal codes in a measured and passionless display of justice. Whatever that means. Amen, is what I say. Thank god for that. At least we avoided another burning, whether or not “justice” was served.

I am a smart woman, but I am not quick. I resented the fact that I have to go through “this” again because it happened again. It’s a normal process, I know this, because it happens all the time. 

Something horrible happens. Horrible! I do not deny this. People don’t like it! It’s unacceptable! They ache with need to do something. They judge for themselves what the best thing to be done, and hang on tenterhooks to find out if the scapegoat is going to “burn”. (I say scapegoat not to imply innocence. oh no. innocence or guilt is irrelevant. The regular scape goat, the animal that leads other animals up the ramp into the pen for slaughter, the scape goat is not without guilt.) 

I’m just saying innocence or guilt is irrelevant, because people have withdrawn their normal level of fellow-feeling for that person. Their natural level of compassion. These are not compassionless jerks I’m talking about. Friends. Family. People who care. Even me, sometimes.

Who care so much, that after waiting on tenterhooks to find out if the mechanism we use to interrupt our impulse for retribution, the legal system, doesn’t deliver, find their need to do something, the perfectly natural inspiration to get involved and fix the horrible things, is triggered, and at water coolers and on buses and on facebook and on mailing lists, every where they might expect to find a compassionate listener, they release some of that pent up frustration in a wail of “It’s not fair!”, And then I find out about it, the whole, miserable, horrible, wretched, heartbreaking affair, is brought to my attention.

The opposite wail, “she got what she deserved” is actually even less attractive than the “it’s not fair!” cry, but it is a much smaller phenomena, because most of the people with pent up frustration have it relieved when “justice” is served, and don’t need to share. A few,. “thank gods”, a sigh of relief. Very slightly less attractive, but much less frequently shared, and that I personally appreciate. Because I can’t handle that shit.

I am not talking about guilt, or innocence, or the muddled versions of same that we discuss in court. I don’t care. I don’t care about the proof, I don’t care about the miscarriage or execution of justice. You cannot convince me that your witch hunt tendencies, whether justified by guilt or not, add anything to my world. Because I can’t handle that shit.

I find the whole guilt or innocence theory of crime and criminals to be a bit philosophical. And I love philosophy! These are feelings we hold in our heart about ourselves, first and foremost. And about others as a close second. These are ideas. They are not fact. 

I’d like to avoid crying over spilt milk. I mean me, personally, crying. CRYING. I don’t read newspapers, because the world, which is NOT filled with compassionless jerks, is filled with people who made mistakes. Mistakes have been made, as they say. Cleaning up the spilt milk is an important (and often woefully under-appreciated) job. Preventing it from spilling ever again is a noble goal, and I deeply appreciate the people who have charged themselves with the duty of doing so.

But I can’t handle that shit. It makes my stomach hurt. It makes my eyes water. It interrupts my attempts to sleep, it gives me nightmares, and I’m pretty sure it poisons my faith in the goodness of all mankind, which I’m pretty sure everyone understands at least, because the same thing happens to them. My faith in the goodness of mankind bounces back pretty quickly, but the rest of me does not. 

I started out in life with a phenomenal memory. Aces. I do not have it anymore, because forgetting is a valuable tool--I tool I personally need to get on in life, and now I lightly pass over the surface of most information so that it will not make much of an impression on me, in case it is THE HORRIBLE.

I wish I had some advice about what the right thing to do with that pent up rage and frustration was. I don’t even know if taking it in conversation with your friends and family is “the wrong thing”. It’s probably the right solution to relieve a person’s rage and frustration. I’m sorry your natural rage and frustration, naturally expressed, is so dangerous to me. I know you didn’t mean it that way.

It’s my problem. I accept that. I just wish I had somewhere to go with this frustration, other than my own head. And now that I think about it, I do.

Consistent Effort

Consistent effort does not yield consistent results, consistently. A lot of the time it does, but  sometimes it yields a bumper crop, and sometimes the harvest suffers from drought. Consistent effort is probably the best way to go though. Consistent, sustainable effort. 

I try to be extremely consistent in my self care, because I suffer from depression. I am fairly vigilant about doling out my effort to match my capacity, because it is extremely embarrassing to sit down and cry. 

As a side note, when I was a kid one of my genetic donors, Tex, told me that he, his sisters, and his own kids never got pneumonia in the winter. They got pneumonia in the summer, on glorious days, the day after they had a great day (maybe the most wonderful day of their lives) and were too tired to eat their dinner before bed. He was trying to sell me on the positive benefits of alcohol at the time, because I have no taste for it. (There are some positive benefits. I believe you. I may be developing a taste for it now, which is a whole other story, or I may still think it tastes bad. Move along, nothing to see here.) 

On those days his kids came home too whipped to eat their dinner, if he forced some alcohol in them, either its germ killing qualities or its caloric boost would protect his kids from the next round of pneumonia. Personally, if you ask me, it was the calories. Milk would probably work just as well, and they’d probably get excited about it if it was chocolate milk and manage to choke that down no matter how tired they were. I’m sure they didn’t have a lot of chocolate milk back then. He didn’t get to try this on me, of course. He was never in the house I came home to. 

I did have pneumonia when I was a kid. I don’t remember what time of year it was. Late summer, I’d guess, because I do remember going to find some sunshine one afternoon when I was finally feeling better. They told me it was double pneumonia (which just means in both lungs, which is twice as bad by the metric of how many lungs, but I never had to go to the hospital like my cousin did. Maybe she had bronchitis?). I have no idea if I had so much fun one day that I was too tired to eat my dinner. I have a tendency to overeat, but it wasn’t pronounced at that time, and if a child has fallen asleep of an evening and looks so tired like she could sleep through the night, well, I totally understand letting her sleep. 

I have always been a little bit wary of overdoing it and getting pneumonia again. Irrationally worried, I feel safe to say. (I have a lot of irrational worries. I try to acknowledge them honestly and make the best of it. I don’t usually advertise them like this, but I’m not sure secrecy or even just obscuurity has done me any favors. But I digress.) And I am always wary of lapsing in some item of my self-care, because inertia is such usually such a terrible sucking force in my life. And this week I have lapsed in my self-care of getting enough sleep. Now this is another area where consistent efforts does not yield consistent results. I’ve had various (small) problems with insomnia at various times in my life. I have a lot of tools in my tool box to ameliorate these problems. But while what I’ve got works well most of the time, some nights I do not sleep well. Like last night. No big deal. But three days ago I didn’t sleep at all, and this is not a good trend. Sleep deprived is not optimal function.

I think I may actually be a touch typist by the end of next week, I’ve been writing so much. I am a woman on a mission, and that mission is to tell the world what I think. I’ve been sitting on it for a long time, telling small parts of it to some of my friends, some of the time. But I haven’t even been really admitting most of it even to myself, and now that I am I have got a huge backlog to share before I am not stuffed to the gills with ideas and observations and just plain sharing that has to get out. 

This backlog is causing me to be excited! This excitement may be pushing me out of my rut of depression, across the happy medium of normal, and over into the limits of high functioning/manic. And my prudent habits of vigilant self-care are perhaps even more valuable on this end of the spectrum, because we do need to sleep, it is important to remember (and bother) to eat, and every day being the best day of my life is no excuse to skimp on these requirements! 

There is a reason I have considered disabling comments on this blog. It is not because I do not enjoy debate--I do. It is because a blog posting feels, to me when I’m reading them, like a letter to me. I, personally, am a terrible correspondent, and feel very little need to respond. I personally, actually do love to read the comments on someone else’s posting. But I don’t like how the discussion unfolds. How it is nourished and neglected and flows. How threads start but have no room to grow because they are started in the barren soil of a blog post and not in a discussion forum. What I really want, is a blog that is also a discussion forum. Each of my blog entries is a post in the topic “Clarica’s Blog” (or whatever I call it, I still haven’t decided). Each of my blog entries are also consecutively released and frozen in time on a blog page. Back in the discussion forum there are other topics, of course. Maybe sometimes I’ll start a post in another topic on my discussion board instead of in the blog topic, and it won’t show up in the blog page. 

I want more from a blog, is all I’m saying, and also less, because I do not want to feel compelled to respond to people who need help. I am not a compassionless jerk, but I have a limited amount of time, and right now I want to write. I am good at helping, and I truly enjoy it, but if I check and see what I can help with before I write, I will never get to write. Sometimes I get so excited by the idea of solving a problem that I’ll create my own, just so there’s something to do! I also love to read, and if I check the responses on my stuff before I write (and they are as hugely popular as I constantly imagine--I know, I know, I’m sorry. I have a rich fantasy life, what can I say?), I may not get a chance to write. Or I may be distracted from what I was planning to write. Or I may write something else. I don’t know. But though the writing comes first, sleep is actually more important, and is the problem I actually have to deal with this week, and not my (imagined) adoring public. I just layed down to try for a nap, and got nowhere, but I’ve got a strategy to try next time, that I forgot to try this week, so I’m not too worried. 

I have digressed from the thought I was having about comments. I get a lot of people telling me not to worry about stuff as it is. I considered disabling comments solely to make sure no new people start telling me not to worry (or to be more careful, whichever way floats their boat).  But after having gone through this in my head I figure I since my first plan is write, and my second plan read, I may be able to deal with not responding to the compassion of strangers. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it (my hypothetical compassionate stranger, oh how I love thee!). It’s just that I am very conservative of my effort. 

This post, besides being what it is, is also a gift to one of my best friends, because 'today' is her birthday. Friend, I am glad you were born!

You're doing it wrong.

I don’t like to criticize much. I personally hate criticism, or at least can’t handle it. I really do care about what people feel about me, but I definitely care more about what they do than what they think. And criticism can harm my relationship with people who genuinely care about me, because I can’t take the heat. So as they say, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out. 

But I’ve got a lot of things that I care passionately about, and there are a lot of things that I like, that I think “you” could do better. I totally am not saying *I* can do it better--in many cases you are already far better at something than I will ever be--because you love it, and you do it, while I just appreciate from afar. 

Maybe I’ve built up a thick enough skin at this point that I’m willing to risk some criticism, because I’m absolutely ready to dish it out. (Disney, can you hear me? you’re number one.) Hopefully my compassion and appreciation for the work that went into creating the efforts that aren’t your best will shine through. But I doubt it. Because you’re doing it wrong. (And because criticism is hard to take.)

Disney, I am calling you out here. I am not the perfect person to call you out on this. But it has been bugging me for a couple of months, and I just have to say, what were you thinking? You created a new Disney Princess--a black one. And yay! Way past due. But oh no! You tinkered with the fairytale. Part of the dream of a disney princess is whether or not she starts out as a princess, she gets her happily ever after, her tiara, and her fancy dress ball. But does the black disney princess get that? Nooooo. She gets to work hard for almost everything she ever gets. Maybe that is where you actually find happily ever after--I would not dispute that. But it is not the formula, and it is not romantic. It isn’t the dream. Happily ever after, as a dream, does not make you wonder if you’d like to work for your happily ever after.

Little girls aren’t particularly racist. They will love a “true” disney princess even if she is fat, and green (and released by another studio). Some parents are racist. Maybe if you had made a black disney princess as true to the dream of a fairy tale princess as most of the others, it would not sell as well as the white (and brown) disney princess movies did. But it would probably sell better than when you mixed your message in this last one. Just saying.

Hand washing is the right thing to do

I liked my last PSA for hand washing that I wrote another, at the suggestion of a friend, that targets men instead of women. It would probably be better if I knew the audience better, of course. Kudos, by the way, to the people who made the swamp-ass PSA starring Nathan Fillion. I’m sure you’re an inspiration to me, even though I didn’t listen to it till after I wrote one or both of these scripts.

1. Dive right in. Some gamers are sitting around chatting. They have whatever they need to game on the table in front of them, showing on-camera. What kind of gamers are we talking? DandD? Video? Larp?

Doofus: I heard it was developed by this unemployed chick from MicroSoft.

Smartypants (annoyed): That doesn’t even make any sense--if you’re from MicroSoft YOU HAVE A JOB.

Doofus: Maybe it was near MicroSoft. Someone really ought to tell Stinky.

Mopey: It doesn’t even work!

Smartypants and Doofus: CAN YOU COUNT?

2. Introduction. Establishing shot: Slow motion handwashing.

VOICEOVER: They say you should wash your hands for twenty or thirty seconds EVERY TIME. Even if your hands don't stink. Try that washing on something that does--join the PIT CLEANSE movement.

3. Back to gamer chat. Maybe they’re picking up the conversation later, at a Con, waiting in line. For William Shatner? Or Nathan Fillion? Poster of Nathan Fillion, with an arrow?

Smartypants: And it’s not like a miracle cure. Seriously? Some guys need backup, and some guys like cologne. You know that professional athletes have been doing it for years. [to Doofus] Seriously, when do you think this was invented?

Mopey: My skin is sensitive, antipersperant gave me a rash and deodorant usually triggers my allergies. Do you think my pits stink? [They Nod Seriously] Dillweeds! Is there any way to get a serious answer to that? [they laugh] But I agree with you, if it works on Stinky, it’s the smart thing to do. Does he even know how bad he smells?

Doofus: Of course, it only works if you’re willing to wash in the first place.
[they all snicker. Maybe Mopey sighs.]

4. Explanation

Establishing shot: sexy woman, soaping and scrubbing the pit area. (from the back) Music: Twinkle twinkle little star, crossed with some boom shaka wow wow. Or is that Boom shicka boom boom?

Voiceover: Try Pit Cleanse. It’s easy. It works. Lather and scrub your armpits for about 30 seconds. That’s it. This woman isn’t even finished yet, and now you know what to do. Enjoy the next 15 seconds. without this annoying voiceover.

5. Conclusion

Establishing shot: Person in a Lab/dr coat, talking directly at the camera?

Person who looks trustworthy and smart: Pit Cleanse is safe, and usually effective, and recommended for those with sensitive skin or allergies! You can hum a few bars of the ABC song, right? What’s stopping you?--we’ll all appreciate the effort, even if it doesn’t remove all the stink.

Establishing shot: sweaty man, running or leaping or fighting with a sword or something.

Voiceover: Pit Cleanse-- because fresh sweat is way better than stank.

Wash your hands

This is a script I wrote for a PSA video promoting handwashing, and it is cracking me up.

I’ve never written a script before, so bear with me.

1. Introduction

Establishing shot: Undecided. Slow motion handwashing?

VOICEOVER: They say you should wash your hands for twenty or thirty seconds EVERY TIME. Even if your hands don't stink. Try that washing on something that does--join the PIT CLEANSE movement.

2. Testimonials, a group of women sitting around in the locker room at the gym (because of the stink, of course). A woman walks by, and the group of women exchange significant glances. J, R, and C are beautiful women.

J: She doesn’t know.

C: It's hard to start a conversation about armpits. I've be sitting on this, so to speak, since January or so, but... "Hey, my pits don't stink like they used to!"? Nope.

R: I was skeptical, till I tried it. Was going to do just the left, but realized the right deserved to be squeaky-clean as well. I am feeling fresh. I tried to explain it to my husband, but for some reason it came out sounding like I never wash my pits.

C: Does it work on men?

R: I don’t know yet. He “forgot”.

J: I got a second exfoliating mitten so I could get my Super Pit Scrub done in half the time.

C: I was just using my hands, but maybe I’ll use my mit next time.

R: Usually by 3pm I've sweated through my clothes and feel gross just sitting at my desk. And I live in Seattle.

J: I road tested pits in 90 degrees in Chelan. It still was markedly better. You still sweat, and if you freebase garlic you still sweat garlic, but a large portion of stinky is just gone.

C and R, together: I know!

R: do you still use “something else”?

C: sometimes, if I’m worried about pit stink

J: I’m so glad you told me about super pit cleanse.

3. Explanation

Establishing shot: sexy man, soaping and scrubbing the pit area. Music: Twinkle twinkle little star, crossed with some boom shaka wow wow. Or is that Boom shicka boom boom?

Voiceover: Try Pit Cleanse. It’s easy. It works. Lather and scrub your armpits for about 30 seconds. That’s it. This guy isn’t even finished yet, and now you know what to do. Enjoy the next 15 seconds. without this annoying voiceover.

4. Conclusion 

Establishing shot: Person in a Lab/dr coat, talking directly at the camera?

Person who looks trustworthy and smart: How long is 30 seconds? If you don’t have a convenient timer, just sing the ABC song, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star all the way through
at a moderate pace. That’s all! What’s stopping you--we’ll all appreciate the effort, even if it doesn’t remove all the stink. 

Establishing shot: a rose or something.

Voiceover: Pit Cleanse--it’s the right thing to do.

We're not ready yet

There are a lot of well meaning people who still do not get what the big deal about the N-Word is. They acknowledge it is a big deal, they do not use it, but sometimes they think it’s silly to always be saying “The N Word” as if the real word is magic that will catch anybody who hears it on fire. 

It’s not. It’s magic that will catch some of the people who hear it on fire. 

When there is no person, man, woman, child, grandma, grandpa, or tri-centarian left who witnessed the abuse of the N-Word, maybe then. When nobody’s mother mother ever saw somebody cry about it, maybe then anybody can talk about it and say it at the same time in public. Until then it should be left to you saying it with some discretion, and only to people you trust. With love and a hope of redemption, and sometimes purely educationally, because they do not know what is in this can of worms.

There are other words this powerful too. I’m not going to list them. I don’t want to make anybody’s mother cry. Please be patient with the pain of others is all I’m saying. Let’s not set anybody else on fire. Maybe you haven’t seen the suffering, the rage, the tears. (Though I’d be surprised if you couldn’t imagine it. Or understand it, you. Stupid. Idiot.) Maybe it’s not a big deal--to you. And I look forward to the time it’s not a big deal to anyone. But this is not that time.

God Causes Cancer

I am an agnostic. I do believe in God. I was a better agnostic for about 35 years--I wasn’t even sure if I believed in God before that time. But one day I decided, this stuff is just so fabulous, that it even has happened, I’m willing to believe in a creator. It was a little more than that, or maybe a little less, but that’s the upshot--I believe in God.

I don’t really think that God cares what I do or think. I don’t even know if I think God is eternal, maybe he finished up and moved onto heaven, the place you go after you die. (I don’t know if I believe in heaven either.) I do not really think he has passed special information about what I should be doing or thinking onto any specific individuals now living or previously deceased. He might have, he might not. So far, I’m not buying it.

So anyway, God’s the creator, cancer exists, God causes cancer. It’s not a big leap, but it’s not what I’m getting at.

My belief in God and my brother being diagnosed with cancer are very closely related in time. It is probably not true, but I feel like once I gave in and believed in God, he decided to kill my brother. Just to see if I really meant it.

I really do. 

I am not a militant agnostic. Sure, I believe, but I don’t know. Neither do you, but I’m not going to get a group of like-minded individuals together to go knocking on doors. There will be no witnessing, no apostles, no prostelyzing. (It’s hard to organize a group of people who agree that they “don’t know about god”, surely, to hang out together in the first place. Maybe if I were doing that we would start evangelizing or whatever you would call it. agnostifying?)

I am an agnostic. I do believe in God. But I don’t know, and neither do you.

Mental Hygiene

I suffer from depression. Is it a condition of my ideas, or a condition of my body? I like to think of it as one of the flesh. I like to think this because I do not tolerate mental suffering well. I like to push it away and think happier thoughts. The condition of my body is fat, strong, healthy, and in many way glorious. But I do not have a lot of endurance with things that I find difficult, and I may have an upper limit on the things I can engage in per day that is VASTLY LOWER than what “you” can handle.

Participation costs usually are more effort that I’ve got to spare. If I go ahead and throw myself into something carelessly, without adding up the effort involved, sometimes I will run out and stop moving and start crying. It’s not really an emotional outburst--I haven’t been hurt by something someone said (though harsh words can be painful). Ten minutes or an hour later, rest alone will have restored me to some level of function, and I can go on, but if I pick up at the same level of effort I will crash again soon. If I take it down a couple of notches, I can party on, if everyone around me will just let it go and forgive and forget me breaking down into tears like a giant baby. (This is not what everyone around me will do.)

Instead of jumping in, these days I like to evaluate the participation costs (steps involved. effort needed. probability of tears.) very carefully. A lot of people, if they have any compassion for me, feel sorry for me. I try not to, because sorry doesn’t help, and instead of just doing the best I can, then I do a little LESS, and feel miserable. 

This is good mental hygiene, but it is not honesty. 

It is not truth. It is putting on a happy face. By capping off the feelings of frustration and despair, It’s not just capping off bad feelings. It is an effective tool for getting a bit more accomplished in a day. And where brushing my teeth and washing my feet with soap are things that have been a lifelong struggle, every little bit fucking matters. But the things that are getting pushed away along with the bad feelings are often wonderful fountains of inspiration and joy and stuff I am sort of really excited about being part of my mental landscape. I just don’t know where I’m going to fit them in if I drop any of my productivity to deal with bad feelings.

Change. Meh.

So what I was intending to get at in my last update was that I think I may have crossed a metabolic threshold this week. Your body uses the energy from food to get things done. The more cells in your body, the more work needs to be done. The more food you eat, the more it has to work with. A body can be on the edge of running out, and it becomes a bit more careful on what it spends that energy on. Sweating, for example. It’s one of the first things to go. (or so I have heard)

A body can be extremely short of it’s usual energy supply for a short period of time, and it’s not a big deal. Enough of this scarcity business and your body cuts services all across the board, trying to keep you alive and ambulatory long enough so that you’ll last long enough to find more food, wherever you have to go. Your body also becomes extremely efficient, in addition to cutting services, so it can feed more cells with it’s limited supply of energy. 

I never really attained that kind of efficiency, because I never really sustained a serious calorie deficit diet. But I did get really fat, and I had a lot more cells that needed work. I think I crossed over a line where my metabolism decided some stuff was going to have to go, despite an excessive energy supply. I don’t know what all changed in me, or exactly when this happened, and who is going to complain about sweating less? But I think on Tuesday night I crossed back. 

Why I think this: I had something going on with me, that’s for sure. Couldn’t sleep. The next day, every time I tried to lay down for rest, I felt a horrible thrumming all through my body. It might have been elevated blood pressure, but I don’t really think so, because I usually feel that in my chest. It might have been a faster heart rate, though it wasn’t just that. It was the sensation of my pulse, magnified about a thousand times, all over my body. You know what it’s like at a concert and the beat from those incredible loud speakers are just pounding into you? It was like that, but without any of the fun. 

I did get a couple of hours of sleep since then, probably 4 or 5, And I did get a good nights sleep last night, so my sufferings from sleep deprivation are receding. And maybe it was a manic episode. The words were just pouring out of me when I decided to get up and write stuff, that’s for sure. But I feel a little sweatier now than I did last week. I feel different. Hopefully better, but seriously. Change. Not my friend.