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Being The Best Me

February 21, 2017

You’ll hear this phrase or something similar at least once in your life: be the best version of yourself that you can be. There’s a lot of truth in that as we do shape our realities based on how we’ve acted previously. Dick someone over and you’ll probably get dicked over as well. Be a good person…yeah, still might be dicked over but you have support for when it happens. See, we like the idea of being the best person we can be, but yet have no frickin’ clue who the best versions of ourselves are. These things are all subjective anyway because it’s really dependent upon what you consider ‘the best’. If you’re a cocaine addict then chances are your best is going to be loaded on cocaine. Or if you eat a lot then eating less will do.

In my experience I think we should work on just being. I feel like very few people are ever just there mentally, emotionally, and physically–including myself We’re all just worried about things that really do not matter in our lives overall. Having anxiety does give you a better perspective on what’s bullshit and what’s not. For instance: I used to be so anxious about gamma ray bursts. Oh, I know they’re rare, but the anxiety let’s it play out in my head and just fills me with fear; or disease. So much disease fear. Body horror. Shit like that. I very much fall into what Alan Watts said:

“Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.”

That used to, and still does, scare the piss out of me. However, I’m gradually learning to live with that thought. But it has given me a sense of what I value: my girlfriend and my relationship with her, my family, my sense of purpose, and all in-between. I’m learning to let go of the bullshit, though, I have had setbacks recently and I’m learning to overcome those, too. I’m a much stronger person than I once was. But yes, anxiety does give you a different set of values and realizations of what’s important. It’s why, for instance, I could give two shits about my biology class. Not because I don’t want a good grade, but that it’s all bullshit. We made it up, the grades, it’s not a measure of intelligence or how hard you can work, because I worked quite a bit on my exam and still flunked that shit.

I just worry about how my girlfriend is doing in the class because she needs this and I love her and want her to succeed. Where was I? Oh yes, being your best self. Your best self is an illusion and it’s based on  a mountain of subjective personality traits that we’ve concocted into making us think we need to be our best selves. No, we don’t. We just need to be ourselves, without fear, without shame, and to be brave enough to face a world that’s telling you to be otherwise. I’m not saying that if you have problems like being overweight (guilty) or procrastinating (guilty as well) or anxiety (so guilty) that you don’t need to work on them. Just that should you fail to work on them sufficiently today that there’s nothing wrong with that. We all work at our own pace. And that trying to be your ‘best self’ is a bit of bullshit that only adds to our already over-bloated collective anxiety. Be brave. Be who you think you are. Be care-free. Be funny. Be smart. Be confident. But never be your ‘best’ because it’s a losing proposition.

“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”
― Alan Watts

Please Standby

February 16, 2017

I’m not gone. Just lacking inspiration. I will return tomorrow. Hopefully. 

Depleted

October 27, 2016

I just had a moment of clarity, you know, I woke up. It’s like… you know when you have an orgasm on your own?  You know, you’re sort of lying on the sofa watching some porn movie you bought on a drunken lonely night in Soho, and you’re lying there and everything’s going really great, you’re getting totally turned on by these absurdly graphic images, everything seems so right, and suddenly – phht! Bingo! You wake up. And you’re lying there sweating, desperately looking for the tissue which you know is still in your pocket, and the remote control which is somewhere on the floor, and it’s like walking in on yourself, you know? It’s just like “What’re you doing?” That’s how I felt tonight feeling my heart miss a beat every time the door opened. “What the fuck are you doing?” —Tim Beasley, Spaced

 

Hey all! I’ve been busy with class and such, but now that I have a little bit of free time to write freely I think I will. I’ll let you know how the semester is going…IT SUCKS! Okay. Well, certain aspects are great, but others…not so much. Let’s start off with the great: I’m going to class full time to finish off this degree and to flip my anxiety off. Now let’s get into the not-so=great because…hooboy! There’s quite a list.

To start I’m not much of a physical artist or designer. My wheelhouse is in the computer-space so already I’m at a disadvantage because I lack the requisite skill with physical materials to do and a lot of it just stems from not having the best of control over my left hand so I’ve just never tried. Another: it’s my fault for not having the proper materials for the first month due to being broke. So I made do with what I had and bought stuff piecemeal.

Now to the actual classes…they’re fine, I suppose, except I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing more often than I’d like to admit. I didn’t go to one of my drawing classes because I felt like I didn’t know what was expected of me and my anxiety took control and I’m still paying for that stunt. I eventually found my footing with the still life projects and I guess I’ve done okay. But still…feels like it’s never good enough. We had a stippling drawing and I thought it turned out great. I thought, “Finally! On top of things!” Nope! It wasn’t pushed far enough so it was more of a dark ‘gray’ and the objects disappeared. I was pretty fecking proud of that drawing, too.

I think the biggest theme of this semester is thus: Never good enough. And the feeling flows both ways, too. I mean, I feel like what I do is not good enough. That it sucks. That I’m wasting my time. Granted, every creative person on Earth feels that way, but in this case it’s like taking a cold bath with thousands of nails and each time I try to wade out of it I always get jabbed or scraped by a nail because in the end, what I’m doing is never good enough. It’s never enough. I’m taking color theory, drawing, history of art, and digital photography. I know they tell you to get out of your comfort zone, but again: bathing in ice cold water with thousands of nails. I’m not good at drawing, I don’t do color aid paper or painting, and I most certainly am not the best photographer.

And I know they don’t demand perfection since these are lower tier classes in the grand scheme of my degree. But I just don’t feel prepared and when I do feel like I’ve got things under control, I really don’t. Maybe it’s because I’m having a bad week or because my girlfriend is sick, but this week is not my week. I feel terrible about everything and I feel like I’m wasting my time. I feel like a fraud. Yeah, again: everyone gets those, but it’s the discomfort of all of these things at once that make me question myself and my own mental health.  I had an anxiety attack before I left my drawing class and that just put my week on a downward swing.

So I take a lot of motion shots of my girlfriend’s nephews because they can’t stand still and I needed to capture motion with shutter speed control. The pictures really came out well and I was proud of them and managed to do the work necessary, I canvassed them, I selected the good shots and….nope. Didn’t canvas them correctly. I didn’t include the shutter speed value. I think what finally broke my dam from barely restrained melancholy to out and out melancholy was when my professor chastised me for not including the shutter speed value and I flattened all of my pieces and not just the ones for print. So I had to re-do them, but it was the way she put it that just crushed me.  She said it’s like I’m not even paying attention and I’ll admit I do have my lapses where I don’t pay attention and the first time missing the canvassing on the first two projects was my fault.

I didn’t read the project handout fully and as I’m constantly in a…slightly anxious state by the time I get to that class, I just skim them and make sure I have the correct shots. I’m not even mad at her. I’m mad at myself and constantly ask, “What the fuck am I doing here?” I tried to articulate to her why I miss stuff, and while she sees the class as kind of relaxing–I don’t. And it has nothing to do with her or the students or anything else. It’s just that by the time the end of my week rolls around I’ve been through so many anxiety-inducing experiences that I just see this class as the last hurdle I need to go through and then I’m home and safe and my weekend begins where I can relax somewhat and not face those situations that minutiae like putting a shutter speed number on my canvas doesn’t really factor into my equation. I’m just ready for the class to end so I can stop seeing my inadequacies on display that I will do my work but forget details like that.

I hate that I feel this way and I had such high hopes for this semester but each week has felt like sinking a little bit more into the swamp of sadness. So much so that I stress eat to compensate and justify it by saying I walk a lot on campus–which I do, but it doesn’t really justify eating more. It’s sad that the only class I ever feel remotely alive in is my history of art class. The rest I just sort of feel like I’m drifting through and eagerly awaiting them to be over so I can be done with this whole charade of me being creative at all or even good at anything in this field. I feel like a fuck-up and wonder why I was even wanting to be a graphic designer to begin with. Oi..I need a drink.

 

Quick Squirt

September 8, 2016

I’m in class right now so I’ll make this quick: I hate moving. Not…you know…moving from point A to point B, but just moving all of my shit to somewhere else. I’m moving in with my girlfriend (hooray!) except for the fact that I have classes to contend with (booo!). So I’m splitting time between my apartment and the new house and the classes and I’m just feeling exhausted. Also having to contend with my brother’s wedding. I just want this month to be over. ‘Til later. Enjoy.

Friiied

July 19, 2016

Well, after a rough weekend babysitting my girlfriend’s nephews who are pretty awesome generally but were acting kind of…horribly this weekend, I think I’m fried. My anxiety’s also shot up a bit and I’m not proud of that. Yesterday I was combing through my fitbit data and I noticed that on Friday it tracked my heart rate for about 5 minutes (or at least that’s the interval they keep) to 198bpm then it normalized 5 minutes later to 130bpm, and finally to about 85bpm, being the hypochondriac I am and believing the readings thought maybe I had had a mini heart attack or had a heart problem or something.

Thing is I went all weekend on high stress–especially on Sunday and it never even approached that level of beats per minute so I’m going to conclude that it was glitch or error brought on by faulty hardware or because when it happened, I do believe I shot up straight from bed and a sound sleep and walked out into my kitchen for some breakfast. But I hate anxiety because it’s like a goddamn spider web and thoughts just get stuck in there and I cannot have a good time because it’s always in the back of my head, “What if I fall asleep and die? What if I have a heart condition? I don’t wanna die. My life is getting better.”

And it depresses the hell out of me to the point I can’t enjoy anything or any games. I also slept like shit so that just makes the circular thoughts even worse. But yeah, besides being with my girlfriend I did not enjoy this weekend as much as I had hoped because the oldest nephew went Chernobyl on Sunday and I was honestly starting to have a panic attack in her sister’s home. I even felt my legs starting to shake because of it.

It’s not that I don’t like them, I just…don’t do yelling very well. I didn’t handle it well the couple times my mother ever did it and I don’t handle it at all now, either. I always get this sick knot in my stomach that just makes the anxiety worse. Fortunately things did mostly calm down on Sunday night and I did kind of get past my anxiety mostly with a lot of help from my girlfriend. I’m thankful we were together because she’s stressing over some things and I didn’t want to leave her alone with all of that going on. Plus the quiet moments with her were very nice.

Overall I did have a fairly decent weekend all things considered, but definitely one that’s left my nerves frayed. And last night’s heart rate reading from Friday didn’t help at all with today’s current frayed nerves. But as I explained: I walked 3.03mi today, if I had a life threatening heart condition or blockages that would cause a heart attack, they wouldn’t speed my heart up but slow it down. I also had a physical back in March or April and everything was fine then, my lipids were great, my HDL cholesterol was actually normal for once and they didn’t hear anything with my heart that would give them concern.

I seriously doubt that unless I really, really tried that my health would deteriorate that much in a few months. Or at least I would hope so. There’s always going to be that doubt, though, which truly sucks and is pissing all over my parade at present. But I’m sure in a week or sooner I’ll have forgotten all about it. Fortunately I see my therapist on Friday and I actually have something to talk about for once! I haven’t had that in a long, long time. I felt like I was wasting his time for a while there.

Anywhoo…until later.

 

The Rise of Trump

July 15, 2016

This post contains a lot of political talk and opinions and views that may be responsible for irritable bowels, night sweats, plane crashes, the dead rising from the grave, and Yanni winning a Grammy for hottest musical act. If this is not your thing and you hate dissenting opinions that do not follow your personal narrative then turn back now.

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone tries to blame the media for Donald Trump’s rise and while I agree that a lot of his rise is media created–he is a media guy, after all, I would like to posit that he has tapped into the current resentment among white people with the crop of social justice types turning being white into a pejorative for a number of people. I have no facts or figures to back this up and believe me, I’ve tried. Instead it’s article after article decrying the current state of race relations and the ‘rise of white supremacy’

Here

Here

and here

But what I think they fail to acknowledge is that the left-leaning in this country have turned being white into a negative thing or being male or being straight (which is weird). And it’s not like this is a majority opinion, however, it is a pretty loud voice and part of the current zeitgeist. Do you like the opposite sex? Are you male? Okay. Last ticker box…are you white? Oh, well, then your opinion counts as 3/5 of mine because I ticked 5 boxes in the Oppression Olympics and you have none. I truly do think that Trump is a reaction to this attitude where if you don’t meet a special sort of standard that you’re a bane to society that must be eradicated.

The sad part in all of this is that I’m very much left wing. I’m very much a liberal and progressive. However, I’m not one of those progressives that for whatever reason, feels one voice matters more than the others. I could give a shit if you meet some criteria for your voice to be heard. Do you make a compelling claim? Good. No, I don’t want to know about how you come from a broken home and that you had to work hard because you’re a minority. I don’t care. Can you make a compelling argument for your point without mentioning race, ethnicity, how disabled you are, what sex you are? Good. Then that’s all that needs to be said. Because, I’ll let you in on a secret: it just doesn’t matter to me.

If I can work with you, have reasonable discussions without histrionics involved then you could be a green alien from Mars for all I care. And I’m betting a lot of people feel the same way. They don’t care about your status or how oppressed you are; if you’re a good person that’s never done them harm then likely they’ll treat you alright. There’s not some grand conspiracy by white people to keep you down and keep you in your place. I don’t attend a country club where we divide up plots of land and decide policy. Yes, there are groups that do that, but I’m not and have never been a part of them and neither has anyone else I’ve known, either. “But they do consist of all white people!” Is the usual retort to that, but it has less to do with race and more to do with wealth.

You see, whites, blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Latinos, etc. are an oppressed group, they’re just not oppressed because of their race but their class. It’s a lot easier to push around a poor person you think will not fight back than it is to fight a person with power and influence. I’ve mentioned this before on a message board and was responded with, “Rich black people still get pulled over more than rich white people, ” yes, that’s true. However, I would contend that the reason for this is because black people are still seen as ‘poor’ by the police and the police love to bully groups they feel they have power over.

Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Study illustrates just that. The ‘guards’ and ‘inmates’ in this case were both groups of white people. What did the ‘guards’ do when they felt they had power? They abused that power and in extreme ways. This is the case with the police. To them they have power and poor people have no power and are therefore easier to bully and push around and get away with heinous shit. There’s also no accountability at all. But I’m not going to claim that the police are a racist institution because of that. No, they’re reacting the same way that bullies and authoritarians always act: pick on the little guy because it’s easier and they likely have done something because they’re poor. That’s what poor people do. That’s the systemic bias in this country at present. If you’re poor or less well off then you are automatically assumed to be a criminal.

If, however, more minorities were put in a higher class that they would be targeted less, but also would have less crime in their neighborhood as it’s easier to be violent when you’re poor–you’re poor, you have no stake in society and have nothing to lose anyway. And it’s not exactly like prison will give you less than you already have.

 

This isn’t to negate those times when actual racist incidents occur–which they do, this is to give context to shootings and brutalizations when they do happen, because I feel context is always missing whenever a cop is involved in a shooting. Saying that all police are racist or that the police force has ‘institutional racism’ does a disservice to the times when there is actual racism involved and when it does happen. Saying that ‘racism is pervasive in the US’ is a blanket statement that only normalizes the issue and makes cries of real racism seem trivial. It’s much like crying wolf. Sure, there may eventually be a wolf, but you’ve cried about a wolf for so long that nobody cares when you do. It’s like claiming every time a woman doesn’t receive a promotion over a man that it’s ‘misogyny’ and that misogyny is everywhere. I’d like to help you with your problem, but you’ve made it a part of every day life and you also do a disservice to everyone who’s been a victim of any sort of ‘-ism’ who has a legitimate grievance by just throwing out blanket statements that it’s everywhere.

So, no, this isn’t meant to negate those times when a cop does act racist and that I even have to defend the police force in this country shows how badly things have gotten. I don’t like the police. I find deferring to their authority or the military’s authority to be just short of being a brown shirt. But I think labeling them as a ‘racist institution’ harms the cops that try to do a good job and try not to fuck-up and they pay the price for it and feel attacked.

When you make statements like, “white people should just kill themselves,” and, “We want dead cops,” that’s on the public record it’s going to cause resentment and division. More people aren’t going to listen to your message no matter how well thought out it is just because your one statement is so toxic and vile. So, there’s no mystery to me why Trump came to be a thing and why his supporters are predominantly white: they’re tired of being the personal punching bag for everything that goes wrong in society.

And word to the wise: if the best shot against white people is ‘slavery’ and Jim Crow…yeah…you’re really not living in 2016 when those things are long gone and the people that formed them are dead. I’m not saying there aren’t people that wish to go back to that time, but they weren’t the progenitors of those institutions and they’re far from a majority. Most white people just want to go about their day. And saying that those things still matter when talking to the current generation of white people…yeah…no. Most of them never lived under those systems and those that did are pretty old or never believed in them anyway. This isn’t meant to erase or negate their awfulness. They’re black marks against this country and a shame, but someone my age or younger had nothing to do with their implementation, don’t wish them to return, and most white people I know have a disdain for police policy as well. It’s just that the current rhetoric against police drifts over into blaming white people for everything wrong under the sun.

I’m not saying to kiss the feet of white people with this post, but making us out to be your enemy is a surefire way to turn a white person into a Trump supporter. Me, I supported Bernie or Elizabeth Warren. They typically don’t use identity politics to sell their policy ideas like Hillary Clinton currently does. But I can see the appeal of Trump. He can be entertaining to watch and he doesn’t give a shit. He also seems like a person that would stand up for downtrodden white people. Sheesh…can’t believe I just wrote that, but yeah.

Sticking to identity politics as the left currently does is just going to make people like Trump more popular to people of my race and it probably won’t be him that gets elected this election, but continuing on the racially divisive path will just make the next one better able to cloak his rhetoric in language that people will listen to and will probably be worse than what we’re dealing with. This is a warning to my liberal brethren: stop being divisive on the subject of race and gender and work toward unifying everyone as is the goal. Not continuing on this destructive path that progressivism is on right now. Because I truly believe there is something worse waiting in the wings that is just waiting for us to divide ourselves along fault lines long enough to keep people from uniting against it.

Oh, and my friend correctly pointed out that BLM is doing the police officers’ jobs for them by focusing on one type of abuse instead of the systemic abuse that affects everyone regardless of what color their skin is. So there is that as well. Anyway, I’m sure this post will get some flak and maybe some lost followers. But just remember: I’m disabled by cerebral palsy therefore my argument is through the lens of someone disabled and therefore I cannot be questioned because I’m oppressed by all of you ableists…

Remote Voyeurism

July 14, 2016

This is has been building for some time, but my brother rightly pointed out the flaws inherent with staying on facebook: decreased attention span and with it just being an awful site in general. So if you see any updates from my about my web log, I linked the account. I no longer give a shit to keep up with it. Between the next outrage that I should care about and the hate that resides on there…yeah, I think I’m about done. I want to regain my life and doing that necessitates giving up on bullshit fake ‘social’ interaction.

I’m reminded of the line from The Hudsucker Proxy where Amy Archer is trying to get Norval to stand up for himself and the hula hoop

“Finally there would be a thingamajig that would bring everyone together, even if it kept them apart spatially.

She described social media perfectly 23 years ago before social media was a thing. I just see it as a gateway to not having ‘real’ experiences with anyone, but just keeping voyeuristic tabs on them and their life. You’re that friend passing by their house and looking through their window without interacting with them. It took a long time for me to realize it, but I honestly have no reason to keep using it other than as a way of keeping tabs of erstwhile friends and people who still continue to associate with me.

So, if you want to hang out or anything then I’m game. If not…’eh…sorry? I tried. It’s not like I make my phone number or contact information a huge secret. And for those who have tried to hang out with me and I’ve bailed because of my anxiety, I’m sorry I did.

As for the political discussion bits….yeah, bit tired of those as well. I used to love arguing and debating politics. I could do it for hours on end–and have. However, these days it’s just not fun. Most people don’t want to listen to your points and instead insert what they think you said and respond to that and you can’t have a discussion with people that do that. Intractable positions are intractable. At least in the past when I had political debates you had colorful variations and people spouting different thoughts. Now it’s just regurgitated bullshit.

You can’t build bridges and you can’t facilitate understanding. In my opinion I see social media as making a person less empathetic. The internet disinhibition effect singles out anonymity, however, in my experience whether you’re anonymous online or not you can still  act like a shit head given that you can get away with it 99.9% of the time. I also just plain find it boring. The same arguments made a thousand times again that I’ve seen in one permutation or another in the past. I think the only difference now rather than then is that now I feel like I’m being lectured by a priest and not someone that holds their own views.

I also find that news ‘top stories’ to be a bunch of leading manipulative shit as well. No, I don’t think it’s biased in one form or another. I think it just promotes controversy to get clicks. Which is fine, but not something I really enjoy being a party to so I won’t. I’m steadily rebuilding my life. I have a girlfriend that I love, I have a social life that I enjoy immensely, and facebook is really an unnecessary impediment–to everyone, really.

But I’m not here to convince anyone to go the way I am. I just see it as a pointless venture these days and it adds no value to my life that I couldn’t get elsewhere. So, for you facebookers reading this, I’ll still be around on there, just not active on the main page. I have friends I can’t contact anywhere else so I’ll leave it open for them, but otherwise I’d deactivate this shit and never look back.

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