Ms. Caggiano makes an interesting comparison between large parties of yesteryear and the Twittersphere. I’m inclined to agree, but it makes me reflect on the notion of how much I dislike large, impersonal parties. No, strike that: I’m ambivalent. I enjoy the anonymity of swirling (or edging) through the tangled weave of a party, but I also find them draining.
I can see how this is reflected in my use of Twitter: I don’t touch it every day– not directly. When I do, I spend a few minutes scanning recent posts and replying here, RRTing there…
I can’t imagine spending a whole day or even an hour on Twitter, but I do find myself surprised and delighted when someone replies to a tweet and a mini conversation ensues.
In honor of being freshly pressed, I would like to share a beloved article with my new followers. If you have not seen it, here is “
Why My Twitter Account Makes Me Old-Fashioned
.” An interesting read about how we can make Twitter into our own party of sorts.
This book was the basis for the popular television show by the same name.
There are themes in the book that describe attitudes that would be considered backward and racist today. It is not the intention to either highlight or censor these, but to let them stand as they are in the book, as a record of historical interest.
I realized yesterday that I always get a bit stressed during February.
It’s after the holidays, and February is a short month. The frenzy of the end of the year has been replaced with a slower pace– but the expectations of life are the same. That is to say: work tends to be lighter but the bills stay the same.
When I realized that this happens to me every year, I also realized that I always end up being okay somehow. Something always comes through. So I made a conscious decision not to worry.
Now there’s a funny thought: how does one actually set aside a feeling? How does one make oneself not feel a particular feeling any more? I wonder if it’s possible or even desirable.
I can see how it’s possible to shift one’s focus away from a thought or feeling, but it persists, doesn’t it? It lurks in the dark corners of your mind, waiting to be fed again. If you maintain focus and don’t “feed” it, it will eventually fall apart and disintegrate, or at the very least become inert.
But to turn it on and off, like a switch? I’m not so sure about that.
If you can recognize that your reactions are coming from an internal stimuli, like a thought or feeling from the past that you’ve nourished, then it’s possible to mediate your present-time actions a bit.
It’s been a while since I’ve written, so I’m going to do a mind-dump here, without any particular structure. Let me start by saying that this has been an interesting year, though quiet in many ways.
I’m sick at the moment, with a cold. I’m sitting in my cozy bed, bundled in blankets, safe and warm. I enjoy this. Not the being sick part, the being bundled safe and warm in bed part.
I’m downloading songs from a different iTunes account that I thought had been lost. I have several iTunes accounts, but I can’t remember why. I think it had something to do with my password getting compromised at various times over the years. I bulked up my music collection from this particular account before not being able to access it for a time and deciding to use iTunes differently. It doesn’t really make much sense in thinking about it now. It seems arbitrary, but I recall that it made sense to me at the time. Much of my life is like this I’ve realized.
I’m an organized person, and I tend to be thorough in what I do. I think this is due to my design training and a few early living situations when I’d moved out on my own. I lived with a particularly sloppy person when I was 18, and I quickly grew tired of always being the one who knew where everything was. I devise a system when I move into a new home– the logic of the layout will tell me what should go where. In the kitchen, for example, I start to open drawers and cabinets and imagine what I should find there. Then I put that (whatever it is) in that place. Therefore, I’m also a very lazy person, since I don’t enjoy having to think about these things.
I keep my spaces tidy because clutter and disorder becomes upsetting to me if I have to live with it for too long. But I’ve noticed that I’m not much of a planner. I don’t enjoy making plans. I don’t enjoy adhering to someone else’s plans. I don’t mean to say I can’t wait for things–I can. I do, all the time. It’s more of a “let’s see what happens” kind of outlook. I like to improvise and wing it as much as possible. To look back on my life, it looks very much like a disorganized mess…because it is. Not a mess, so much as really disorganized. I’m not going anywhere in particular. I have no wish to go anywhere in particular. There are things I’d still like to do or experience at some point, but I no longer feel any passion or desire for any particular outcome. I think to myself, “What should I do? What do I want?” The answer comes back to me: to be happy and have fun. It’s simple.
If I were still that 18 year old, I’d be puzzled by this. The concept of ambition was new to me. It had struck me once or twice, but not powerfully, and I didn’t understand how any person could have utter concentration toward a specific goal or pursuit. Fast forward another ten years and I was whole hog into being a driven sort of person. Achievement or the sense of accomplishment I thought it would bring were all I wanted. But a funny thing happened while I was in this mode of school and career achievement: my body broke down along the way.
I’ve scarcely touched on this in my writings here, but I have fibromyalgia. When I was diagnosed, we understood very little about this malaise. It was often confused with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which at the time of my diagnosis, was still closely associated with the Epstein Barr virus. We were so far behind where we are at this time, that at one point I had to have my blood oxygen tested by having a needle inserted into the base of my thumb and toward my palm, to get to the artery in my hand. It hurt for weeks! Now we have those little blood oxygen sensors that they stick on your finger. It’s simple and painless.
So I was working a lot, and then I started to get headaches. Then I started to get migraines. Then the migraines became intense enough that the pain would make me throw up without stopping. That would involve a trip to the emergency room, where I’d be pumped full of fluids and various drugs to stop the pain or at least the vomiting, only it wouldn’t. After many, many hours, I’d be sent home, usually with a small bin to keep throwing up into while I was wheeled to the car. Once home, I’d pass out from exhaustion. I’d awake the following morning feeling weak and shaky. Something had to change.
In late 2008 I went on disability for three months to get treatment and try to get better. I had physical therapy, electro-stim, injection therapy and acupuncture, none of which did me much good. I was scared, but determined to get back to work and not be seen as a failure. I was working in a very demanding environment where only the best of the best could survive, much less thrive. I took great pride in my place there.
The things that helped me the most were anti-seizure medications, along with massive doses of NSAIDs. Work became more demanding as the financial crisis affected more and more sectors. I’d go into work on a Monday morning to find entire departments had vanished over the weekend: desks empty, a sea of empty cubes, with nary a name plate to show that anyone had ever been there. It was scary and disheartening, and it made me want to work that much harder to prove my worth. Plus, there was that much more work to go around and fewer people to do it.
By 2010 I just couldn’t handle it, and I think it must have showed. My employer and I parted ways. I took a little time to think about what had just happened and spend more time with my beautiful kid. Although I’d had an arrangement to work part of my day from home for several years so that I could be with The Child Person after school and help with homework and the like, the reality was that my attention was divided. I took the time to rectify that. It was summer, and we rested, cuddled, rode bikes, watched movies, and took trips to see family and friends. I’ve got my sense of self back, but it’s taken a lot of time and work, and a good deal of help from said family and friends.
Fast forward to 2013: it’s December, I’m listening to Bar Bhangra (actually it’s now Joni Mitchell, Song to a Seagull) typing into a small laptop, wondering if it’s going to rain again. My home is small and efficient. I’m thinking about what kind of Christmas Tree I should get and where I should put it, and wondering if the Christmas Tree place I go will also have some kind of greens I can get to hang around my house to make it that much more cheerful. I’m in a much better state than I’ve been in years, getting to know myself in a way I never took the time to do in the past, and liking what I see.
I’ve realized that ambition doesn’t suit me, physiologically. I’m a much more laid back person that that, though I often struggle with impatience. These two things might seem to go against each other, but I’m now seeing that this isn’t really the case. I have characteristics that don’t need to harmonize with each other; they are simply there.
I’m also not a “Just Do It”, weekend warrior. These types abound in the Bay Area, but they’re not me. I like a gentle walk in the woods as much as the next person, but regular hikes or mountain biking are not my cup of tea. Those that enjoy them may judge me, but this is me.
Which leads me to the next trait I’ve noticed: I fear judgement. I’m uneasy with what I think are my flaws and in the past few weeks I’ve turned them over in my mind to examine them to see what I truly think. I see that there’s no need for me to feel judged by these things, provided I’m not judging others in the same way. I still struggle, but things are getting clearer.
I tend to get depressed each year when my birthday approaches, usually beginning around mid-October. I don’t start to feel better until after Thanksgiving. For the past few years this feeling stayed with me through the holidays, although I tried to counteract this with festive activities. I tried. I think this year I’ll actually enjoy myself.
Maybe it takes a lifetime to grow up. I feel as though in past generations, people had this stuff figured out by now, but then again, there’s that ‘fear of judgement’ thing cropping up, yes? Maybe people just went through the motions because that was what was expected, and societal norms were such that it was much more difficult to be who you truly were or take the time out of life to figure it out than it is now. I’m going to embrace this time, and I have embraced this time. My spirit is fruitful with realizations for me.
So at the end of this year, I wish you all that your heart may want, in spite of what anyone else may think of this. I send you blessings of love and happiness, even if they be temporary. For the first time in many, many years, I’m looking forward to what the New Year holds for me.
I write this because, at some point in my life, I have mistaken all of these things for love and/or romance. And I think, because these are the kinds of relationships and scenarios we see glamorized (no one wants to watch a movie about a happy couple just being happy in the long-term and not having terrible obstacles to overcome), it’s important to remind ourselves that these are mere mind tricks when compared to the real thing.
1. Getting isolated moments of affection or attention from someone who is otherwise very distant and, because of that, makes you hang on every move they make to see if it’s going to be one that ruins or completely makes your day.
2. Having really incredible sex with someone who proceeds to turn off like a light switch once the physical part of it is over. (This is often followed by an unceremonious…