The bottle of now

Let’s choose one
They all flit around my ears and inside my eyes all the time anyway.
I’m told now has power
though these don’t seem like flowers
Plucking a single petal not so easy
when I could uproot every sprout
bright and rotted by moments
Splendorous yellow then crumbling to humus in an instant
Rather peerless in composition
The brilliant hue flourishes with notes of blackberry
a hint of oak
leaves shed onto the peat
cracking underfoot
a bite to the air
as the instant
the now
shifts to a ruin I must accept
those same notes feel wretched to the nose
and sickly to the heart
The now becomes managing
how I did this to myself
yet again

I weep for the future.

(Title is a reference to Ferris Bueller.  But the subject is very real.  I enjoy humor/sadness inappropriate juxtapositions.)

Sometimes being highly empathetic has its pitfalls…as in feeling like you’re falling into an actual pit because you feel your own hurt but also realize that so much of the world is hurting too.

I used to harden my heart a lot more than I do now. In media I see so much hurt, so many people who in my estimation are coming from hurt places…but what they are doing is hardening themselves and attacking others. It is a particularly fearful and angry time for this country, and oftentimes instead of coming together and grieving and feeling the emotions people prey upon others. Some do so very often out of ignorance of their own suffering, and in my opinion the true state of humanity: that we are all interconnected, we all share the human experience.

I see Trump and his massive pathological projection machine. I see the people who follow him. I see the lack of personal awareness. I see fear acted out as violence against anyone who disagrees with them.

This is by no means whatsoever limited to Trump and his following. A while ago I got thrown under the bus by a woman who saw my skin color and apparently automatically viewed me as an enemy. I see Clinton and Sanders supporters who refuse to hear a single word in criticism of them. The same thing for our outgoing president.

I weep for the suffering. I weep for ignorance. I weep for hate. I weep for the mass prevalence of ego. I weep for all the ways humans compensate and act out from places of deep hurt.

And I weep for myself, for I am human too.

Pot vs Rape: Punishment Disproportion

Feeling better today.  The dissociation seems to be almost gone.  I was at least capable enough to write the following a short while ago on Facebook, and I think it’s spot-on:

One of my friends posted the following question: “Why do pot smokers do more time in prison than rapists? Serious question.
Hell, most rapists never see a jail cell.”

I’m going to share my answer here, because I think it’s very important that we realize these things.

My first response: “Reefer Madness. Plus the longstanding stereotype that it’s mostly black people who smoke weed. Combine that with institutionalized racism…”

My second, and more comprehensive response:

“I think it has to do with a combination of things:

Male privilege and misogyny, in so many ways. Women get thought of as “sluts” if they enjoy sex or have multiple partners, and get called “frigid” or “prudes” if they “withhold” sex; meanwhile men who have sex with multiple women are considered to be more manly–there’s a reason the women in these instances have been considered as “conquests”…as though it’s quintessentially a male right to “conquer as much pussy as we can get” (to quote Eddie Murphy).

In short, men have been considered superior for many hundreds of years, with women being relegated to secondary and even expendable status, and that still holds true today, no matter how much advocacy women have done (I like to think that the advocacy has done some good, but then I am saddened and angered when I read about another college football player raping another woman). And women are greatly more often the victims of rape than men. So men, the ruling sex, don’t have to care because it’s not something that happens to them as a rule.

(All this points to men as a whole being insecure with themselves and compensating on a vastly widespread and dangerous scale, and I think men need to be able to experience their emotions safely both at home and in school…with classes in the latter’s case beginning very early on, before the hardening and prejudices and acting out of high school or junior high take hold)

Hell, in the US it wasn’t even a crime for a man to rape his spouse until I think 1978. In Ireland divorce wasn’t legal until 1994 I think.

I think that covers why rape isn’t considered a huge deal legally, with regard to punishment length.

The pot thing on the other hand has to do with what I mentioned, but also the perception of “druggies” and “The War on Drugs” (I feel like there should be a trademark symbol after this). I think the war on drugs is racist (just ask Paul LePage about that one), but is also based on the same thing that mental illness is based on: doing illegal drugs or being mentally ill are considered moral failings, still, to this day. There’s plenty of social work history to back this up. The moral failing argument has been made for at least 150 years. Also, I think weed is considered a non-American crop–it’s considered a crop of non-white people, such as the Vietnamese…American boys got a taste of all that green when they were over there. Meanwhile, tobacco is considered fine because white slave owners owned the plantations and made black people work for them. There’s the children angle as well: pot has always been seen as a gateway drug, and there is this image of dealers enticing kids (which they no doubt do)…preying on America’s children. Making pot legal isn’t popular because of this association, and the gateway association with coke, heroin, etc.

I really do think these mentalities are still alive and well today, even if people aren’t aware of them. Pot smokers go to jail for longer because they are consciously or unconsciously considered more of a threat (and because of historical punishment precedents) than rapists (who are, after all, generally all men who are privileged…and often white. Can’t punish white men for getting some, now can we?)”.

Whoa…dissociation again

I found myself wanting to post about my very recent (past two days) experience with dissociation due to massive stress about my moving in less than two weeks…then I got to my blog and noticed my last post was about dissociation.

Man, I worry waaaaayyy too much :/

Anyway, here’s what’s been going on, as conveyed to a friend (names omitted):

Hey [friend]: do you have dissociative or depersonalization episodes? I don’t feel like I’m watching myself live someone else’s life, but I definitely feel very fuzzy (things seem almost cloudy vision-wise, and I want to do things slowly to compensate; I thought I shouldn’t drive to the store to get food because I thought my reaction times and decisions wouldn’t be good enough..though perhaps having a concrete thing to do might help) and a bit physically imprecise…like I’m not real. I slept so much yesterday, and I thought that would mean I’d not fall asleep quickly last night–I actually fell asleep quickly and slept for 4 hours (until a few minutes ago). Not at all surprised by the lack of a full nights sleep. Another symptom has been being easily affected by sudden noises, and going back n forth between feeling little anxiety to feeling a bit more. Either way I feel fragile.

Does any of this sound familiar to you personally? Or if not does [friend’s husband] or anyone else you know experience this the way I’m experiencing it? I read a bit about dissociative states and anxiety disorders and one person said that dissociation is the brain’s way of protecting itself from more hurt. The blogger suggested breathing exercises and other things that I have in my DBT manual for coping with anxiety, such as keeping a unique-feeling object in my pocket and squeezing it and touching it, concentrating on feeling it.

In any event, I want this feeling to go away because it’s a bit distressing, but I think distress has led me to the dissociation, so I’m doing my best to not think of anything in the future…which is difficult since I’ll be moving in less than 2 weeks. God I can’t wait til that’s done.

Forgot to mention: yesterday I felt like I could experience any emotion at all at the drop of a hat and for no discernible reason. The intensity of certain emotions changed as well. I felt like the future was going to be ok one minute, and suffering-filled the next.

Anybody else ever feel like this? Wanna weigh in?

Feel not real.

Over the weekend I did things to be celebrated.  I celebrated them because they were mastery experiences–things that I was afraid of but did anyway. (People who have read some of my other blog entries will know about my anxiety issues)  I hadn’t been on a bus by myself (a 2+ hour trip to Boston) in over 15 years.  I factually knew there was little danger, and so I spent the time managing anxiety with breathing and strong thoughts.

Between this, staying at my brother’s place, walking everywhere (my elliptically-trained muscles didn’t prepare me for the fatigue I felt a lot of the time), going to see the Red Sox (an amazing game, though the physical seats themselves were and are positively terrible comfort-wise), going out to eat a few times, all in the presence of my brother and my cousin…I was managing a good deal of stress all the time.  I did a good job of it too.  I didn’t panic.

When I got home Sunday, I was so relieved I started crying a little.  Mostly though I was very fatigued but glad I did the weekend.

But right now I feel not real.  Fuzzy.  Like I’m in a cloudy dream.  Anxious, mostly in my tummy (the fact that I strained by back earlier today isn’t helping).  My ability to read at much speed and my comprehension is a bit off. (So much for getting some more work done tonight).  I think all the stress of the weekend is finally affecting me.  I feel like I could either cry all over the place or sleep for 2 days.  Thoughts are coming in of “you did too much this weekend”, but they are secondary to the not-realness.

I’m listening to soothing music and working to do things more slowly tonight, like typing this at a slower speed.  Deeper breathing too.  I have a medication I can take if things get worse, but I’d rather see if I can manage this with skills.

I’m not going to die.  This isn’t a panic attack, but I’m experiencing some of the accompanying unreal-ness.  It could lead to one.  But I’m not going to die.

Closing my eyes and resting between sentences.  Slow.

Money vs Happiness and fear of work.

Saturday’s successful social outing leaves me wanting to do more…and then I realized I don’t really have the money. Being social several times a week is actually a therapy goal of mine, and I want to be happy and feel like I’m not so alone in the world. There may be some small areas I can cut back on budget-wise, but nothing all that substantial.

I’m not making excuses to stay home either. Saturday helped me rediscover after years that people can be interesting to hang out with, and that new places can be interesting to go to.

Money vs Happiness. Should I play the lottery and pray or something?

Full disclosure: I do not have a job.  I subsist through other limited means.  I’m actually terrified of working.  I may have mentioned that before.  Major problems with authority.  I’m not rehirable at most of the jobs I’ve had, because, in the mire of depression and anger that was the rule of my world in my 20’s, I got mad at a supervisor or two and got myself fired.  I also quit a job without giving notice because I had just taken an emergency break from said job in order to put my mental health first (I attended–and bawled my soul out at–a co-dependency workshop), and didn’t think I could go back to my job.  Being ashamed of myself, I never told HR why I suddenly quit.  Never told them that I had so much depression that everything hurt and I wanted to die.  Not sure it would’ve mattered to them all that much.

So I’m scared to work, but I need to self-actualize through social channels.  Theoretically, the best course of action would be to take steps toward working.  I have not worked in probably 9 years.  For reasons I’ve discussed in other blog posts on this site, I often feel broken or like I’m simply not good enough and that people will hate me, regardless of what the facts might actually be.  One very real issue is not having a positive work history…or really much work history at all, given the length of time I’ve been out.

Job applications often say “List your last X number of employers over the last 10 years”.  I really don’t have any.  My last employer doesn’t even exist as a company anymore.  I’d have to write some kind of explanatory letter.  That could be something I could discuss with my therapist…if I were to seriously consider working.  To me, working under any kind of supervisor or corporate entity feels tantamount to being stabbed in the gut and oh my god oh my god get me the fuck out of here.  I last tried to work in 2010, and this happened, and I fled crying from the store.  (I also haven’t worked enough quarters to qualify for SSDI, if that’s how it works)

So I don’t know what to do.  I don’t want to tear my insides out preparing for a job (even serious conversations about it most often lead to self-hate and shame; telling a former supervisor to fuck off comes readily to mind) and then get the job and be terrified and run again.  Or stay and have the resentment build like it always used to.

Perhaps what I need to do is go against what my gut tells me and get a job.  I don’t know how to make myself do it, my need for socialization or no.  Part of me would rather hang myself.

Does anybody else have this issue, or feel this way? Most people have to work because they have to work or else they’re on the street.  I don’t have that issue, but I certainly am not what you’d call “independently wealthy”.  I have a set income.   I could supplement that, if only I could work maybe 2-3 days a week.  And again, the horrible thoughts of emotional upheaval and explosion.


It’s a men’s issue (addendum)

This is a verbatim comment I wrote on the TEDx talk by Jackson Katz (I posted the talk and some thoughts on my previous blog post, similarly-titled):

I wondering: do his clients listen to what he says? Getting men to listen when their minds have been programmed to regard this as garbage has got to be difficult. Some of the comments on this talk seem to represent that kind of blowback. So what if Katz is promoting himself and making money at what he does if he’s good at it? The world could use a lot more male emotional health. It’s only parents from my generation who I’ve personally seen allow their sons to feel emotions in healthy ways and don’t instruct (by word or act) them to bury their emotions. It’s my opinion that the burial of emotions can easily lead to violence, particularly with regard to men. It’s no accident that the sex that commits the most crimes and the most mass shootings and bombings is male. Men are still socialized to suck it up and deal and not be emotional and that, when they are emotional and hugging male friends, they somehow feel the need to write #nohomo. Nationally, globally, the majority of men are insecure about themselves and uncomfortable with emotions. Personally I think it’d be great if men hugged each other regularly and shared personal stories/conflicts as women do, and didn’t feel bad about it.

It’s a men’s issue.

“What about all those boys? What about the young men and boys who have been traumatized by adult men’s violence? You know what? The same system that produces men who abuse women produces men who abuse other men.”
–Jackson Katz, in the TEDx talk posted below

This, obviously, can easily and justly be applied to the mass shootings and bombings all over the earth. And since men are far and away the ones committing these atrocities (as well as the everyday sexist behavior), it greatly behooves us as a nation (as a world, really) to help see that men aren’t abusing other men. Men’s emotional health (or lack thereof) affects everyone, and Mr Katz is correct in that a new culture of normalcy where saying/doing sexist and violent acts is not right. Since men do in fact rule much of the world, their emotional health is extremely important; if we’re still producing men who abuse other men, the cycle will necessarily continue.

Mr Katz helps me feel better about calling out those who engage in sexist (or racist, bigoted, etc) behavior/speech. I do think that if I speak up I might get attacked, but at least I will have spoken up. My own sense of fear is greatly exaggerated in general, but perhaps not in this case. I don’t know.

I have no idea how what Mr Katz is saying will ever come to fruition (particularly on the national level from men in power), but if we don’t speak up it *certainly* won’t come to fruition.

Portmanteau de toilette

I’m discovering the portmanteaus I’m coming up with don’t seem to translate to prose anywhere near as well as to lyrics. Kinda sad.  I’ve got to find a way to integrate great ones like “entropath” and “socioderangement”.

I wonder if I could publish the ton of lyrics/unmetered words I have without doing prose. I’ve done about a page of a novel (but have some great outlines) and am creating a character and setting that is interesting to me, but I’m so unused to writing prose fiction that it feels restrictive.

For example, if I were going to render Burroughs’ “No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted” into a form I more enjoyed, I’d write something like this (sans context; I’m writing what I’d take and extrapolate/embellish from imagination.  It helps that I don’t remember a lot of Fear and Loathing):

so vulgar
so banal
the predation is palpable
Dilapidus and Drudge
the apatheosic assailantry
But a flick of the vein
and blessed ascendant reminders
draw feral landscapes and ambrosial paths
And I follow their alluring torpor
as the deities fade impassively
They know others
shall soon yield in thralldom.

You’re free to hate me now.

Im reminded of George Carlin’s rant about how the rich (or, my take, the government) keep us fighting among ourselves so they can run off with all the money.

Right now, people are fighting among themselves and being extremely territorial and sensitive about it. I’m the first person to admit I’m very sensitive. But a ton of people are hurting. A lot. It is the emotional responses, usually to written words (lack of inflection, eye contact, tone of voice, etc), that can be problematic.

Recently I said I wanted facts about that photo. You all probably know the one. When the photo was first shared, there was no context except that it was taken very recently in Baton Rouge. Other than that, no context. I made the “mistake” of stating that I wanted facts instead of assumptions (the cops could’ve been removing the cuffs? Unlikely, but I wanted more information. Turns out they weren’t, but at the time all I had was a still photo.) I stated that, without context, the photo was essentially worthless. Journalists do this all the time: take quotes out of context to serve themselves.

Now that I have context, it’s not worthless at all. But people jumped all over me nonetheless. Somehow I’m the bad guy for distrusting the media and wanting more information.

Even now as I write this, I’m expecting to get flak. But here’s my overall point: we’re all, still, fighting amongst ourselves. Instead of attempting to understand and communicate.

I’ve lost so many friends due to misinterpretations, and even when I apologize if I offended someone I get silence or insults in return. I now therefore have zero close friends, and it’s a lonely fricking world.

Can people learn when they are in their emotion minds and acting from that instead of “wise” mind? Yes. Will they? I’m losing faith that most people will even try.  A lot of people I see are more interested in winning an argument than the communication and understanding that can come from the argument.  A lot of people see life as a pissing contest.

To take it a little further personally, what’s the point in being myself if people don’t like who I am? I have so much empathy, I love hugs (and desperately need them from someone I feel safe with, whoever that is), I’m very self-aware though I reassess this all the time…but what does it matter? There’s entirely too much sugar-coating running rampant in this country.  Am I blunt sometimes? Yes. Do I go out of my way to try to allay others’ fears at times anyway? Yes.

Do I need to love myself? Yes. Do I know how? I’ve studied it, tried tons of different things, but keep reverting to depression and self-denigration. I trust so little that I think people are going to leave me if I let them in.  I’ve had a few close friends before, and I let them in, only to be told after years “I’m sick of your bullshit” and been written countless passive-aggressive comments (which I’d ask about, via PM, if I’d done something wrong…only to get silence).

So, in short, I’m lonely, hurting, people are leaving/have left me, and the world is hurting so much that we’re fucking ourselves.