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Monday, March 31, 2014

667

tonight Blue October will play in Sacramento. that's 2 hours and 38 minutes from me. #daydreams4days

~     ~     ~

Brandon congratulated me last night. he was sipping a jack'n'coke, and i was finishing off my second long island, and i had just explained to him what i'm about to explain to you. er... to this blog. i don't actually know who my audience is, at this point. i guess part of me still feels like i'm not alone.

here's what i explained to him: detachment is a two-way street.

blogging had become for me such a natural thing-- and honestly, i liked it that way. i intended that. but it established half of a connection and i completely forgot that it had done so. who in their right mind would try to detach from someone while remaining vulnerable to them? and why did it take so long for me to realize that this blog was keeping me vulnerable? it seems ridiculously obvious in hindsight.

pouring out my heartmind here was a great idea... when vulnerability and intimacy were the goals. but Thursday of last week pushed me over the edge. that hug was the straw that broke my back. #irony

so now i am really alone, and laughing at myself for the mistake of keeping open channels to the people from whom i needed to flee. sooo much irony... or maybe paradox. i sometimes find the two canoodling.



something prompted me to say "it's nothing personal," as i thought back to D's question yesterday morning. "did you block me from reading your blog?" ...but i discarded that response, because the truth is the opposite: it is entirely personal and nothing else. and still so practical at the same time.

i should record my progress in this new attempt at peace.
i still feel remarkably free. and empty. and alone.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

songs

so much has changed in the past several months. but after two long islands i find myself making strong eye contact with your ghost again, singing songs you would love to hear and wishing you were next to me, laughing at the effects of alcohol on half Filipinos and wearing a dazzling smile. 

bitterness and self-indulgent sweet pain aside... i need you here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

coup

this is what it feels like to let go.

over the past year or two, i thought letting go would be like pulling teeth, or amputation, or a stretching of myself until my opacity is debatable. and i kept waiting for it to happen, trying to make it happen. but that was stupid of me. i was trying only on the inside, and most changes require both internal & external efforts.

this works. and it doesn't feel like i thought it would.

un-belonging doesn't feel like i thought it would, either... not now that i'm accepting it, or realizing it fully, or rushing headlong into it rather than scraping at the ground to slow my progress. it feels like a twisting, like i'm purposely contracting a disease, like i'm turning up the heat and the humidity to let the bacteria take over. my spine contorts and my pitiful expression of wasted longing becomes a snarling rictus and i can't decide whether i want to go to nowhere to do and become nothing or not. so instead i privatize my blog.

and despite what i am doing, and what it represents, i feel relief.

~     ~     ~

i feel relief because, if there's really no way to reach me, then i can stop waiting for the reaching. i can give up on everyone rather than waiting for others to give up on me. and it feels. so. fucking. wonderful.

i'll tell you why it feels wonderful. it feels wonderful because now i'm not pretending. no one is pretending. they can't. because they don't have access to this shit anymore ( = my insides, my core, my true heart & mind, my identity). no one is pretending, and that is a feeling i haven't felt in quite some time. no one can act as though they care, speak as though they care, yet do nothing. no one can say "oh i read your blog, i felt like i knew you, i told so and so to read it, i'm worried about you, i'm proud of you," and so on.

no more wishes without wings. and i like it that way. wishes need wings, or else they need to shut the fuck up and die.

they need to die and make room for unpretentious things, like reality.
they need to die and make room for bitterness, a new character trait of mine.
they need to die and make room for an embraced loneliness, and not the whiny kind.
they need to die and make room for the shell of me, scraped barren, without bits of flesh clinging to it, without viscera, without warmth, without regret or self-pity or nostalgia or a desire to belong with anyone.



all my life i've belonged somewhere, with someone[s], even when i believed that i didn't want that. all my life i've had a home, if not with four walls then at least with two chambers [per person]. all my life i've pursued what any human pursues (when capable): affection. the feeling of being wanted.

not anymore. i belong only nowhere now. this is my real home, my origin and my destination and everything in between that matters.

past a certain point, that search for the needwanting of others is foolish and futile. and i passed the point months ago. i couldn't see it then, but now i can, and i'm done crying over it. fuck my whole world, and i don't care whether it burns or not. but i'm definitely gone. fuck everything.

i'm alone now, blissfully, with more acridity than i've ever had.

you can tell by how many times i use the eff word.

autocracy is anarchy

i'm sick of being here. i'm sick of being mired in angst, of eating breathing & sleeping the murk of relational limbo, of being deprived of excitement for the future, of being so weighed down by my own well-chosen values that my strongest motivation is to flee everything i love. i'm sick, nauseated, by the prospect of abandoning that for which i have always wanted to fight endlessly. i'm angry at myself for being on the fence, angry at others for putting me in this position, bitter over perceived mistreatment, and desperate for reprieve from pointless longings.

it was a superlative blessing, to have a higher purpose that overrode everything. serving others will for me always be a little bit self-serving, because i have contemplated so thoroughly the benefits to me personally. the drive to serve others has saved me from virtually countless undesirable situations of awkwardness, confusion, indecision, and other conditions which i abhor. and now i am without it.

God, what is Your desire for me?

"well, what do you desire for yourself?"

You consummate jerk. worst question ever.

"why?"

because i can't have what i want. it is withheld now, where it was not before. i dream of making for myself a better life than that which i have now, but deep down i know that it will not compare to what i might have had, if things had been different.

"you speak of relationships?"

partly. mostly. friendships... freedoms. the satisfaction of participating in ministries that seem to be of the highest value, in my heart and in Yours. the unwavering resolve to continue despite struggles and deprivations, because i knew that it was worth it every time. i no longer know that, and so i drift listlessly or waffle erratically or rage hard, barging forward with the intention of breaking through walls but instead bruising myself. and somehow i enjoy that last one.

~     ~     ~

i want to want something again, purely, with determination, and with the certainty that it is the right thing to want. and i'm tired of choosing for myself, because that has ended badly. no, i take that back-- it's ended disastrously.

for many months now, Estonia has been my dream, and my only worry was for the extreme emotional trough that would certainly follow such an intensely joyful and life-giving experience. but now, the way things are (and i can't yet pin down the reasons why), i feel... desultory.

let down.
abandoned.
left to my own pathetic devices.

this is not who i am supposed to be. some things are missing, and i must find them.

i would rather not do this alone. but life's full of tough non-choices.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

a few can hear me scream

last night i Skyped with Oliver for many hours. i wanted to tell him, "go the eff to sleep," but of course that would have accomplished nothing. i told him how i got out of my debilitating depression, how i needed that first ray of sunshine to inspire that first step toward health, and how that was the reawakening of our friendship. told him i needed a few fundamental things, to start rebuilding my life. also told him we aren't talking much right now.

he asked me why, and i told him i didn't know... that early this month you wrote me a long letter, and that i've read it several times and still don't know what it says. i told him that that makes it hurt extra, but that i have no choice except to trust you. 

it bears a small but eerie similarity to other recent events in my life. and now that i've been through it already, i look at it with foreknowledge of how it will have affected me once it's done. if i continue that train of thought, i'll say something spiteful and probably regret it. but if i don't get it out of my system, maybe the pain will become true bitterness and i'll be poisoning myself.

guess it doesn't matter. that's not the point of this writing anyway. i just need to talk to you-- because i chose that need and i'm not un-choosing it any more than i already have.


~     ~     ~

i'm in the dark. 

normally i love this, but the metaphorical dark of your ghost's shadow is not the most pleasant. i guess you have some thing to accomplish that i would interfere with... but still, i would like it if you didn't leave me here for too much longer. with my visit approaching, the strength of your pull increases, and i am... having difficulties. mostly with the absence of your face and sametpehme hääl.

during that Skype call last night, everything felt off. whose woice is this?? how come the accent is correct but the English isn't nearly as good? eye contact is strong but the forehead is too large. and why isn't he eating anything??

:(  please come back soon

Friday, March 14, 2014

mayday

my heart is heavy again, so that i am bowed low with my face in the dirt, where it came from. i beg You to save me; but more than that, i beg You to spare those around me, even at cost to myself. (this is what i am for. it is what love does.) i beg You to lavish mercy on my friends and families. i beg You to bless them in spite of me, maybe through me if that can be managed. i beg You to be with them and give to them every good thing: comfort, wisdom to act or not act in the way they should, and hope to carry them through pain.

i know i am forgiven, but let me beg forgiveness yet again, because my heart is heavy again, and i need You in order to drive despair and self-loathing away. they are such close neighbors that i'm almost inured to the dangers they present.

i am Yours; save me

Monday, March 10, 2014

eff you, effday

dear friend,

i have a tendency to speak only when i feel someone is truly listening. but exceptions should be made on certain occasions. this is one such. i like the phrase 'one such.' it sounds silly and distinguished at the same time.

of the dozens of topics i would enjoy writing you about, today i've picked the most boring (perhaps because it feels the lightest, yet won't be a thorough waste). i want to tell you about my day. like we used to do.

it started with a headache and parched throat. i did not drink too much craft beer last night-- i just didn't drink enough water. especially when Bertrand Arthur William Russell joined the firepit party. anyway, i got almost six hours of sleep, according to my app. not horrible, but not enough to give me that rested feelin', oh-whoa-oh that, res-ted fee-eelin'...

so, i drank three gallons of water, showered, and contemplated Excedrin, but discarded the idea because i don't like relying on medication unless absolutely necessary. i would have plenty of motivation to reconsider throughout the effday, i figured, and i always carry one dose with me.

something turned around. i think it started with the shower, which is one of the only places my right hemisphere gets to drive unhindered while i'm conscious. i'm dealing with a few very heavy things lately, and mostly i've felt lost throughout the experience, throughout the challenges. but this morning in the shower some of the answers came to me, and the emotional benefits of making a tough decision are incredibly pleasant. stress-relieving. so are showers. man... what a great combo. (it is these decisions which helped me finally decide to write you here... in case you were wondering where this came from.)

so my mood was ramping up, and by the time i arrived at my first work appointment today, i was ready to take on the day (rather than just survive). it went smoothly and easily, which i wasn't expecting, and then i was moving on-- from Coarsegold to Mariposa. the weather that far had been gorgeous: morning light on the Ranchos had turned to a brooding gloom as i climbed into the foothills, and you know how beautiful things become as you head north on 41.

well, Mariposa didn't disappoint, especially when the rain started. second appointment sucked but it wasn't my fault so whatever. i was feeling great on the way back, playing the more vocally challenging tracks in my library (no reception, so no Spotify)... but then, i saw a sign on the side of the road. it advertised fresh coffee, brewn on site, best coffee for miles, etc. 

my spontaneous side comes out only when i'm in a good mood. it took a sudden sharp right off of 49 south, and the coffee shop i walked into was... well, i can't say picturesque, because it needed some work aesthetically. and the smell was a little weird because they were selling flavored as well as unflavored beans. but still, i already knew i'd made a good decision. there were huge glass jars everywhere (two feet tall and one foot in diameter-- seriously!), filled with beans of goodness of varying colors and oily sheeninesses, and i resolved at that very spot (two steps in) to take some home with me.

the proprietor was knowledgeable, polite, and standoffish. he seemed to me like another introvert on his [o/e]ff-day. but he answered my questions, commented on the solar industry, and agreed to brew me something from Indonesia. holy eff it was soooo good... i have to stop typing right now, to sip the last few sippypoos. this guy knows what he's doing, so if he wants to be a little unfriendly, i'll take that, no problem. the hints and notes and other things present in the beans themselves... wow. i made many potentially embarrassing sounds.

i recommend the place. Mariposa Coffee Co. i think they have a website by that name. (i had the Sulawesi, in case you want to try it yourself.)

time for a typing intermission. i'm sitting at a Chevron in Oakhurst; didn't want to wait to get this post started. the guy at the register is staring out the window and giving me weird looks (i already filled up). more on this day, tonight at ten.

~     ~     ~

well, it's closer to 10:47p. i can explain. (it's the point of this post anyway.)

went straight from the brewery to Chateau Franger to hammock nap. i like to spend as little time in the office as possible, especially now that we have sooo many new salesmen walking around in the office. they're slobs. they don't take care of our space. i don't like them. moving on: sweet sleepytime heaven and then back to the office to mostly waste time. sometimes our boss is too stressed out to focus so she comes in to chat and just hang out, which is basically permission to shtoo the shti. perfect way to end the workday.

small lull in between work and Fit Camp (free group workout led by Herbalife trainers). frizzle-frazzle's neck deep in her new circle of friends / selling Herbalife products, which sucks because she's hardly ever around anymore but works for me because i get free motivation to get swole. 

i keep making the mistake of pushing myself too hard, which feels great for five seconds but leaves me huffing and puffing on the ground before the set is over. so next time i'm gonna stick with the beginner's group, take my time, watch my form, and finish each set. i shouldn't be in a rush when i am fully aware of the key to success here: consistency. not quitting. slow, gradual progress. no rush.

Ug & Ag also attend at least once a week, and they've been pretty good about it even when they get sick, which impresses me. makes me happy too because i know the already-Gregarious Ug will be even livelier and happier as he continues down this path. he usually comes home from work in a mildly contentious mood, but tonight after the workout he had turned 180 and it was awesome. also, apparently the next workout will have some kind of superhero theme so on the way back home we stopped at Target and picked up some superhero t-shirts to wear on wednesday. the Wolverine one was lame so i picked Punisher instead. Brittany has a cape. i reminded her it's not nearly as cool as a cloak.

now Ug, Britt & i are 'watching' Last Vegas which really means we're listening to it and watching only our favorite scenes; the rest of the time we're into our electronics. i'm photoshopping (the shoot which is sampled in a recent post), Brittany also happens to be photoshopping (for an Herbalife event; surprise) and Ug is picking new wallpaper and looking at luxurious home remodels.



oh and i'm also blogging. after reading through some old text messages (originally to find our conversation about crappy little towns that you & i have to drive through for work reasons), plus this morning's ablutionary revelations, and because several other reasons mostly having to do with missing you and missing some of last year's best times, i thought & felt this was a good idea. probly sucked as a post if i judge by my usual standards of introspection, interestingness, and self-expression, but to me it is important in other ways.

if you got this far, then, from my heart: thank you for listening. i need that, in general and from you specifically. 

you are inexpressibly valuable to me. thank you (for the hundredth time) for everything.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

touch nothing but the lamp

i don't want to leave. i almost let out some tears on stage after jamming with D and elmadu. i love my musical friends here and the freedom i have to express myself, to vent my stupid strong feelings and relate to people without words. i love feeling like everyone in the room is feeling at the same time, all together, and i'm helping them do that with my voice[s]. i love hearing young JM's guitar riffs and wishing i could already play that well, and i like when he calls me "Patchoulz" like we're buddies.

i love serving the high-schoolers and encouraging them to be more confident in who they are. i love answering their questions about jesusy things (partly because no one could answer mine when i was their age). i love that Sensei and i have similar aesthetic preferences, and that he lets me give my input on how songs are arranged, and how even though i'm not in charge of the vocalists anymore i can still say "wait, stop-- we can do that part better. let's try it again" or ask them to sing certain awesome harmonies.

i love our hangout spots around the church, where T$ will share interesting stories or facts about life, or give practical advice just out of nowhere that everyone can appreciate. Matron Mendel drops by from time to time with dangerous baked goods. e-duff mostly listens, but her attention is palpable (in a good way) and she usually wears at least a small grin, which i think is always genuine, even when the darkness surrounds her life. the rest of the team may not be interacting with the whole group, but we're all together and that matters to us.

i love making coffee and tea for anyone who wants some, and how they usually say nice things about it (probably just to make me feel appreciated, but i do admit my brewing skills have improved with all the practice). 

i love Pastor's focus on helping people become more of who they are, and how he is never judgmental (like Christians are known for) but always understanding, and even excited for people to begin new journeys or make new efforts of some kind. i love that even the people here that i dislike or who bother me a lot, really want to serve each other and be useful parts of the whole.

i love seeing sunrises here, seeing children grow up here, seeing people laugh and shout and cry and play and get broken down & built up again. i love all of the opportunities to show kindness to whoever needs it, the repeating invitation to make more of life. to be more alive.

i love T.C. Lewis and his odd personality, which would make him stand out even if he looked perfectly average & inconspicuous. one interesting thing about him is his consistency: i feel that even though there are multiple sides of him, none of them are opposites to each other... that is, he is always himself (whereas i am tossed about like waves in a storm). i love his officially declared romantic interest, my drinking buddy / war buddy whom i am consistently happy to see, no matter what state i'm in. i wish i could know her better.

i don't like that so many people who know me are strangers to me, and they treat me like we're long-time friends even though i may have only heard their name once or twice and never remember it... but i can tolerate those things because i know that i'm anti-social and it isn't their fault that they don't know how silly it is for them to ask me how i'm doing. (forgive them, Father.)

i love looking back over how this experience has shaped me. i love all of the joyful, meaningful memories i've made here, ever since early high-school. i love thinking about fun times with King Andrew, with Tom Cotter, with Evan Wade, with Keith Griggs and Garrett Stipe. and even though none of those people are here anymore, i love feeling like i'm arriving home when i drive into the parking lot and walk into the building through the back door. 

and i don't feel that i can stay. 



i don't have any clue where i will go at the moment. this is where i belong, yet i feel pushed away from it all. this is where i can continue pursuing some of my favorite things in all the world, yet it costs me more to stay than to leave. here is where i can be myself, yet i feel covered in chains from head to toe, and i don't believe i can carry them for much longer.

there are some others in life who would advise me to do whatever makes me happy. and i would have to reply, "but i don't know what that is, and even if i did, i would surely be devastated at the same time."

i've somehow cut myself loose and also found myself imprisoned. and i cannot see what i should do next, so i brace myself against the pain of phantom limbs, and wonder whether to wait for an exit or make one, whether to try saving relationships or break them, whether to apply a tourniquet or to amputate. and i am weary of it all.



if i had three wishes:
1 - to forget this place and all its memories forever
2 - to be carried somewhere completely unfamiliar
3 - to find a companion, suited to me, who would never leave me

Saturday, March 08, 2014

- thoughts -

so... it turns out, this is the best recipe for more blog posts:

  • beer
  • TGIF
  • plenty of food
  • staying up late
  • lots of open, clean space
  • just the right amount of socializing
  • occasional jogs or silly walks around the house or yard
  • a well-mastered blend of synthesized loops and rich female vocals
  • near-future plans to accomplish good things in fun ways
  • a backlit keyboard for good typing in moody lighting
  • Photoshopping my own work
  • doing dishes
  • solitude


  • silence, even from your ghost
  • access to pictures and drawings and tiny notes and recordings and other sundry trappings of your person, which all together give me that same feeling that i feel whenever i have just newly discovered a potential close friend
  • you, not being here, because i spend all day not talking to you which makes me hold it all in, but eventually i can't contain it, so it all spills out at once, especially if i don't take notes on my iPhone like i used to do in the old days when i sometimes went for HOURS without talking to you because your time zone is wrong.

INFeJer

it just doesn't have the same ring. whatevs. go read stuff. that link leads to a page which, outside of this blog, might be the best textual resource for understanding me. it's crazy how accurate it is.

or, maybe it isn't, and i'm completely mistaken. if so, please write me a comment and tell me more. i don't like to stay wrong about anything.

here is the link to my previous result. it's also a great way to learn about me; but the things you read there are probably already known to you, since you've probably known me longer as T-dominant than as F-dominant.

~     ~     ~

i told someone last week that i no longer tested INTJ. she seemed surprised. her surprise surprised me, but i guess it sort of makes sense. she knew me better before my test results began shifting. my F was always a strong second, but T won every time until about a year and a half ago. hmm.. this was also the time when my entire life began shifting at its foundations. must be coincidence.

-.-

but enough sarcasting. i want to highlight two of the most obvious particular changes that helped to tip the scales away from T toward F. i'll describe them first as two pairs of contrasting elements.


1st up: how personality types react to conflict.

  • T = Thinking
    Accept conflict as a natural, normal part of relationships with people

    F = Feeling
  • Unsettled by conflict; have almost a toxic reaction to disharmony

i was sitting with my family in our cabin. most of us had spent all day snowboarding. Jesse and Mom were sitting at the card table, discussing whether Jesse should help pay for certain things around the house because he preferred them a certain way.

they were discussing. neither voice had been raised, and no hostile words had been spoken. but something about the way they went back and forth over the same rut in the road, something about the repeated lack of progress on the conversation, or maybe something in their tones... i don't fully know. i was so exhausted at the time, not just from snowboarding but from spending so much time with people without a break. (it was the third day of our family vacation.) anyway, i felt the same way i felt when fighting with Valerie.

so i exploded a little bit.

mostly i critiqued the way they were communicating and summed up several potential solutions to their stupid roundabout argument. i remember getting a little personal also, saying something about how they did this so often and it was a real issue. i asked them why they couldn't ever just approach a problem logically instead of playing verbal ping-pong. the issue had nothing to do with me whatsoever, yet i felt i was the ping-pong ball.

safe to say that both my T and my F were showing that night. maybe exhaustion does that to a person.

i understand that ongoing conflicts with Valerie probably conditioned me to have a quasi-fearful reaction to any less-than-ideal communication situation, especially between family members. i understand that past arguments with Mom, with Jesse, and even with both at once probably contributed as well. and, when every dream i have that includes Mom casts her as an oppressive villainess, i tend to think there are underlying issues exacerbating whatever vulnerabilities for which my personality type might be responsible.

but at the same time: i don't usually respond with an outburst like that one. not even such a T outburst. communicate efficiently when you argue, everyone, else face my analytical wrath!

that's just one example. i've also noticed my whole body tense whenever members of my new family talk to each other with frustration in their voices or words. fortunately these Frangerian episodes never last more than 5 minutes, and they are always followed by the status quo: easy laughter and hugs aplenty. i love my new family.

i am not so much enjoying my new vulnerability. it makes me wonder if perhaps this is not just a personality type conversion, but perhaps also a reversion to childhood, when my parents didn't get along.

thinking through all of these things makes me feel small, alone, and deprived. my T is glad i've typed that out; it wants to keep an accurate log, for the purpose of analysis later on.

but it was my F's idea to say it in the first place.


2nd: how personality types make decisions.

  • T = Thinking
    Instinctively search for facts and logic in a decision situation
     
  • F = Feeling
    Instinctively employ personal feelings and impact on people in decision situations
     
this one is crazy. i can clearly recall the way it felt to operate according to the first bullet point. just thinking about thinking that way makes me think, in detail, of myriad situations in which i navigated decisions via cold, objective logic. almost like when you smell evergreen and think of egg nog. i remember the looks people would give me when i responded to a highly emotional situations with a list of reasonable actions or choices, in descending order of efficacy.

things are different now. 

in the workplace, even when problem-solving (you know, in order to avoid or perhaps accomplish various kinds of electrocution) i am always considering the personalities of the people taking part in the conversation. out loud, i'm talking about voltages and national code requirements and local jurisdictions; but in the back of my mind, i'm asking questions like, "which solution will appeal to Jennifer the most? how can i talk about this in such a way that Nico leaves the room less stressed than he was when we started talking? how can i keep Mike focused on the problem at hand instead of rambling about everything he did after work yesterday, but without him knowing that i'm doing that? can anyone tell that i'm really angry this problem wasn't handled days ago? if so, are they responding stressfully?"

at home, when my uncle asks frizzle-frazzle how long she'll be gone, and she replies with hesitation in her voice, i immediately begin brainstorming funny yet applicable things to say, just in case i have to use one of them to diffuse the tension. Ug gets irked far too easily and quickly sometimes; he doesn't throw a tantrum or lose his temper, but he bristles unnecessarily and sometimes it can be hard to hear the love in his heart through the disapproval in his voice. fortunately i've lived here long enough (twice, actually) to have earned a voice in the public forums. so, if i say something relevant but funny, like "i'm sure she'll come home as fast as possible when she realizes what this supposedly attractive guy is really interested in," then i can grease the wheels without getting run over, and without throwing anyone under the bus (except the suspicious guy... but let's be honest, he deserves it).

when i'm out with friends, i look for the shy person, or anyone who is talking less. i watch their face, their movements, their eyes, and rustle through all of my memories to find something useful. a joke they might laugh at. a topic they'd find difficult to keep quiet about. a question about something they're wearing, or doing, or something they might be thinking. even a simple "how are you feeling?" works sometimes, even though it's sort of a shot in the dark. or, sometimes i look for the stressed person, the frustrated one, and think of what might be bothering them, then think of possible ways to fix that, to relieve their stress or solve the underlying problem. "does that beer taste weird? your expression says it's less than awesome." or "work must've done a number on you today." or "you've said only eight words since we arrived. what's on your mind?"

here again, my T and F are showing: the F wants to help people at the heart-level, and the T handles the planning and execution.

speaking of which: i used to think it was my introversion that made me awkward in social situations (I versus E). i have changed my mind. i think i was trying (and failing) to rely on feeling to guide me through interactions with groups, when instead i should've been following my natural inclination to catalog everything that happens for the purpose of learning how to approximate those behaviours during my alone-and-free-to-teach-myself time.

this is something i haven't told very many people: most of my conversations are planned. on both sides. that's right; i make a list of things people might say in response to things i might say, and then plan how to respond to their theoretical responses, and try to guess how they might respond to those things... and so on. after years and years of doing this (and years of being selective and committed in my friendships), i've become pretty good at it. people often say that i'm a quick thinker; sometimes i'll even get those blank faces that tell me the person wasn't ready for me to be ready for whatever they said. well, one of the reasons i process speech so quickly sometimes, is because i was already waiting for that thing to be said.

this might sound kind of cool, the way i just described it. but actually it's kind of pitiful. what most people do intuitively, i have to teach myself how to do in my free time. it's called conversation, and i'll be forever honing it. my T, hard at work, like Data in Star Trek or Tin Man with Dorothy.

or Samantha in Her.



this post represents a small but significant portion of my recent ruminations on my 'personality typeshift.' it's my hope that writing it will make me more aware of these things from now on, and that i'll be able to use this natural curriculum to push myself even closer to my goals of integrating the many disparate and in some cases marginalized or even suppressed facets of my identity. 

i don't feel good about all of these changes... but i feel good about paying attention to them, and making use of what i learn.


~     ~     ~

great success

on Wednesday, i did a shoot for an ex-coworker. (she was fired for no good reason a few months ago, but fortunately found an even better job somewhere else. now she gets to travel a lot.) she had realized after a short time at the new job, that her Linked In display pictures and such were rather old. so we set out to update them.

normally this would not have earned itself a post. but a strange thing happened on this shoot. normally, when i leave home with my gear, i know what i'll be shooting and where, but not much of the why or the how... i mean, i'll be technically prepared of course, but i won't have a clear visual goal in mind. this is in stark contrast with, say, Melody, who clearly has an inspired vision every time she shoots. even when her photos lack technical quality, i see her dreams in them.

this is one of my weakest areas as a tog: vision. imagination. creativity as forethought. dreams. and maybe it doesn't say much for me, that i won a small victory in this area by doing a more professional shoot-- maybe that's just easier because "professional" is such a simple and familiar vision.

but for whatever reason, it worked out. the images i'd searched through in order to get an idea of what i should do with my camera, they all looked so good... and my shots looked like those shots. none of them were particularly excellent photography, but i accomplished my thematic goal.

i'll post a few samply-poos here. don't tell anyone.  ¬_¬







Wednesday, March 05, 2014

make me proud

the truth is that i've never understood what it means to be proud of someone else. i have guesses and hints of the associated feelings, but it's still somewhat of a müsteerium to me. i think maybe, if i'm trying to learn what it is, i should start with how i feel about myself, and then move on to how i feel about others.

so here goes.

~     ~     ~

on Monday, i went to Fit Camp. it's a free thrice-per-week workout led by fitness enthusiasts who encourage people of all levels of fitness to set and pursue physical health goals. there are some components that disinterest me, like the team spirit chantypoos and the super-processed dietary supplements... but i just ignore that nonsense and focus on the fact that i get to benefit from everyone's energy and collective aura of determination. the exercises and stretches are smart and efficient and i have felt challenged in a healthy way, so i plan to continue attending. oh, and brittany, aka frizzle-frazzle, is deeply involved in leadership there, and she sometimes provides the motivational boost i need.

Monday was one such occasion. i started the week exhausted, partly because of bad sleep but also because of this chapter's challenges. i came home from work ready to either crash or vegetate. but frizzle-frazzle, who was sick at the time, was still planning to go. and both her parents as well. and i reeeally want to be as prepared as possible for summer shenanigans & photography, particularly in the physical health department.

so i went. and i pushed myself too far too quickly. sleeplessness will kill your workout every time, and more effectively than other workout-killers. i did great, technically... up until the point of dizziness and sudden headache. so, about 2/3 of the way through the 1-hr workout, i went back to the bleachers and collapsed face-down in the dirt. 

of course the Frangers pressed on, making me look even more pathetic. that's family for you.

anyway: i just lay there trying to come back to my senses, until the end of the evening. the coaches brought everyone off the field, congratulated them for their hard work, and then announced "a little contest." everyone was invited to do a planche for as long as possible-- not a full planche, just the regular kind. maybe it's spelled "plank." whatever. [s]he who held the position the longest would receive a prize. the winner of the previous contest had held it for 4 minutes and 40 seconds.

"come on isaiah, do a plank with me!"

-.-  favorite cousin... why you no let me die in peace??

fine. i've almost caught my breath at this point, having done nothing but rest for 20 minutes, so what the heck. i assumed the position next to brittany and waited for the whistle.

six minutes and twenty-something seconds later, i and one other person won a free box (each) of Lift-Off. i have no idea what that is, nor do i ever intend to collect, but so help me, i won that stuff fair and square. form was pretty effing good, too; no slouchypoo.

still not sure what i felt about myself at that point, with complete strangers high-fiving my numb, tingling hands (everything muscle from the shoulders down was fast asleep) and having beat the previous record by over a minute. but i definitely felt it, and maybe even accepted it.

for the tiny victory of holding my body in a straight line off the ground for the amount of time it takes me to make lunch, i give partial credit to brittany and to bonnie, for their part in encouraging me to pursue my goals. but the truth is that you are to blame, you jerk, for making me happy to be myself. you have helped to make it so that i can take joy in who i am. 

your ghost was already there, riding buggyback all night... but when i won that contest, her smile infected me with that bacterium you mentioned recently. as i go through my day, i think of you; but, as i succeed, i share the experience with my memory of you, and it multiplies because of this. it is ourcane. if you never speak to me again, you will still make me genuinely happy over and over. perhaps as you read this you will resist the urge to take all the credit i can give you... but i hope you can see that the indelible nature of your spirit's effect on mine is undeniable.

that evening, i was happy to be me, and that is something extraordinary. that does not happen to everyone, nor does it happen all the time for anyone. so i consider it a rare and waluable gift, as i consider you also. this is just one of the many reasons i choose to need you.

how marshmallows are made

"you don't need anyone else in order to be happy." - all the idjits of the world

~     ~     ~

by now you're all familiar enough with my semantic preferences that you know what i really mean when i say "need." if you hear the word by itself, remember to ask: what for? so that what? what happens if you don't get it?

this kind of questioning exposes not only the oversimplification of the idea of needing something, but also the human condition and how that affects our thinking (until we start to really think about it). in other words, we can either be mindless lemmings or we can start identifying our decisions. and when we identify our decisions, we can actually make decisions. #novel

this is why, when dangerously obese people say "i need a cheeseburger" we can  respond (in the polite privacy of our own minds) "uhm, what for? to induce a heart attack? you know there are actually several ways to do that; cheeseburger is only one."

i would like to-- wait, no, i need to-- identify a particular decision-making pattern that i'm sensing... in order to vent frustration, to make progress toward my character goals, to satisfy my hunger for introspection, to practice 'good' writing, to pass the time while i wait for my inspector, to prepare for future relationships, and to keep you, the possibly-interested reader, updated regarding my inner life.

(on that note: thank you for taking the time to slog through this shti with me. it makes a difference in my life. the good kind.)

oh man... that tiny gratitudinal parenthetical proved to be the perfect segue. this will be a letter post, by the way. anything tagged letter is addressed to a specific person or sub-group. normally they're completely italicized but this one needed an intro so get over it.

~     ~     ~

i think it was less than one month after your leg surgery that i decided to need you in order to be happy.

it was mostly a subconscious choice, obviously. i had no idea how close we would become. but, if i could go back and do things differently, i'd make the choice in full awareness, and much sooner too. none of that foolish dilly-dallying or lolly-gagging. "man, i really wanna be a lolly-gagger when i grow up!" said no one ever.

enivei, as my decision took hold of me, i leaned on you more and more. i like doing that. i like to find someone i can lean on so heavily. it doesn't happen every day or year... maybe every chapter, but not equally. that is, last chapter's best friend might not be as awesome as next chapter's. and this chapter's has already won several awards. *earned

so the months passed, as expected, and every so often i learned what it feels like to have a missing kidney. this was often necessary for various reasons... (readers, for bonus points & intellectual edification free-of-charge, please note the etymological relationship between 'need' and 'necessity') ...which didn't always quiet the cries of my heart but at least we made acceptable attempts at justification. these hiati also revealed to us by way of new perspective the oftentimes frightening strength of our connection.

this is not the only time this has happened in my life.

i've only recently begun self-debating (masturdebating??) the wisdom of allowing this to happen again in the future, assuming an opportunity arises. oh, alright; take a moment and laugh at my word. go ahead, i'll wait.



alright. so, you know that i've wrestled with the ethical and practical ramifications of my mutant powers... my relational claws, which sink in unbeknownst to both the clawer and the clawee. i've written about it here, and declared that i will no longer let any clawing go on behind my mind's back. this was a very important declaration for me.

but, i have to ask myself (as i sit here waiting for your mysterious quandary to give you back to me, your selfish rightful owner) whether there is any freedom at all in any meaningful relationship of any kind, potentially grey or otherwise. i have to ask, what effect am i having even with claws retracted? is it such a bold line, the separation between what you've written about so far and... well, any friendship that developed complications?

as i wonder these things, i ask myself if greyness is actually as simple as i think it is. perhaps there are still other dangerous in-between places, where things of which we are desperate to remain certain instead twitch and blink like spirits with unfinished business. perhaps Zzyzx has brothers, cousins, iterations, and even permutations. 

perhaps the true danger in any relationship is not any specific creature. perhaps the true danger is openness itself.

~     ~     ~

skin is the body's largest organ. it is the fastest-healing, it is the first line of defense against baddypoos.

it is also one of my greatest weaknesses. i suppose this makes sense if we add "the most sensitive" to its description.

there must be at least ten distinct ways for one to incapacitate me, if one has access to my skin. and i don't just mean physical incapacitation. all of myself's whatevers intermingle freely now (in this chapter): so, we have phrases like "get under my skin" and "i think i might've inhaled you," neither of which is a reference to a literal body. these speak to the circumvention of protective measures, sort of like when i use wifi networks without the permission or knowledge of the owners.

if i were a talented graphic artist, i would build and upload [here] a 3D model of myself, with tiny markings to designate restricted areas. the lips, back & sides of the neck, earlobes, crown of the head, and chest would have that lightning-bolt electrical safety hazard symbol. my eyes would be ringed by caution tape, and "Personal protective equipment may be required for this portion of the zayzays" would marquee across them, Windows XP-style.

my shoulders would have small "Friends & Family Welcome" labels, as would my back, arms, hands, cheeks, and forehead. you get the idea.

my mind & heart, though... warning stickers would not be enough. this is what i'm reluctantly discovering: that as i learn & become who i truly am, nothing about deep relationships is predictable to the point of safety. abandon the illustion of peace and security, all who enter here.

any true friendship will have its share of challenges, but this is different. i'm talking about naïveté, about being unprepared. i'm talking about deciding to need something that may not always be there.

i'm talking about deciding to need someone who may not always be there.

it seems to me that i need a plan for how to deal with that eventuality. it seems to me that i need to have a shut-off switch for overcurrent situations, a way for my tail to detach (and grow back, preferably) when a predator snags it. i need a way to skedaddle when ghosts haunt my favorite living spaces. i need these things so that i don't experience debilitating pain quite as often. it interferes with my other commitments.

not that i want to skedaddle... it's just that the removal of someone i'm leaning on heavily, makes me fall and break things. and, who will help me up?



you know, we've never been closer than 8,000 kilometers apart. but sometimes i wonder if i have any skin at all when we spend time together. it's like i'm one of those illustrations from a medical encyclopedia, except somehow those guys don't spill their guts. but that's how this all (re)started.

after everything we've gone through, i think you still do not know what you are to me. i think you still do not know the weight you carry, the access you have to me. even when you find a locked door, i am hurrying to bar it from the other side because i know you can pick the lock with even a half-assed attempt: an ourcane memory, your own claws, or any of several three-word phrases would probably do the trick. where'd you learn to do this? i must travel there and learn it also.

in the meantime, though, i cannot pick even the simplest of locks, and since you have no words, i will have extra for you. and if i'm honest with myself, that's really the point of this post: not learnings or teachings or journalings, but tiny claw-scratchings at your window.

Monday, March 03, 2014

this chapter and verse

you penned a perfect harmony
then sang it in a different key
a dissonant duet, for me, and through you
but our voices broke, and the lyrics burned
so the only part i ever learned 
was a wretched, disconcerted hallelujah

hallelujah, hallelujah
hallelujah, hallelujah