Getting by

Drink is a great anodyne- I had forgotten how boring people are. I’d forgotten how afraid people are. I’d forgotten how boring I am. Richard Burton shows how great self-hatred can be, when we temporarily let go of our safety-valves, or our escapes. Only drink is capable of killing the pain.

On facebook, I asked, Am I too nice? Rather than the journalist’s question “Why is this [person] lying to me?” I meet someone and think, “Seems like a reasonable sort”. And of course a friend came up with the answer: I think you are very nice. I also think it is possible to trust too much. Trust has to be built. Having to rely on untrustworthy primary carers tends to shut down the discernment in this area.

Not too nice, then. I am glad, I am pleased with being nice, and kind, even generous, and would not like to have to be less nice. Too trusting, though. It makes sense, actually. The helpless baby and the unmotivated mother, finding duty and convention not enough to drag her through all the effort, though practicality bridged a lot of the gap. My mother was in no way chaotic.

“Ask Machiavelli” said another. Possibly one can be too suspicious. If others connive as Niccolo advised, perhaps I am not suspicious enough. How could I know?

It seemed to me that I cried when I attempted to suppress awareness of my sadness, and another part of me needed to make my consciousness aware of it. If you break your leg the pain stops you trying to walk, and crying makes you deal with the matter now, or at least aware of it. That baby, not feeling my needs satisfied, tried not to be aware of need, and now sometimes I seem to be a monster of need and desperation.

I need human contact. I need sympathetic conversation, sharing feeling, and touch. I want hugged. Being kissed would be good too. And I have not been out three days of the last four, and on the one when I went out my encounter was only food shopping. It is a human need I bang on here about a great deal, and I get by with minimal contact, as the baby might, never satisfied but bearing the burden of her need, unable to do anything else, lying in the cot or pram.

So my need sits, under the level of consciousness, and I am more or less alright typing here or watching TV. Now, stressed by that ongoing confrontation, I am not doing the washing that I should do, but usually I do enough. Then my need erupts in a giddy feeling of groundlessness- I must talk through that with her, just to speak about it. I want to be told, there, there, it will be alright. I am all at sea, and my feeling of need overwhelms me, and then an hour later it is past. She cannot answer that question for me. Possibly, it will not be alright. The worst I might anticipate is X, the best hope for is Y, something not anticipated might happen. I would like the contact, and do without it. I can’t imagine explaining to anyone why I wanted it. I would sound too silly, too demanding, too much of a bother. I know this as the baby knew it. Yet I want time when my pain is not killed, time when I am conscious of it and not using the anodyne.

giulio-aristide-sartorio-la-gorgone-e-gli-eroi

I had always thought of the gorgon as hideous, and the winged sandals as Perseus’. These heroes do not appear turned to statuary.

Gentleness

I matter. While happiness simply for its own sake may not be the best primary goal, all other things being equal I am better happy. My happiness matters. It is so good for me to be reminded of this today, because it is not my conscious understanding, a lot of the time.

I imagine there are some people who feel the opposite- pebbles rather than clods– for whom it would be salutary to be reminded to take consideration of the feelings of others, from time to time. I know which I am. Knowing I am a clod, and being Blake’s clod is what I wish to be, what I respect, whereas being a pebble I find repellent and hard to imagine, I approach this Dalai Lama quote which I found on Alaina Mabaso’s lovely blog. I don’t know whether the Dalai Lama said it, either, but bestdalailamaquotes alleges he did:

When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.

Perhaps from Buddhism I could learn enlightenment, but not from facebook memes even if they quote the wisest man in the world. Sometimes other people are thoughtless and careless, and put me out. Even Ingres, Venus Anadyomene- rising from the seaif they should not have been so careless, it may be easier just to sort the situation than to persuade that person s/he is wrong and should make amends. This is part of accurately seeing what one can change and having the courage to change it. At the CAB, I dreaded hearing “It’s the principle of the thing” or that it was not for herself the client was concerned, but for all the others who might suffer similar injustice: because in both cases I thought the client was deluding themself. I was never as cynical as my lecturer who said “Principles are to be encouraged, because they make money for lawyers”.

I am not saying Alaina is wrong, merely riffing on the subject because I had nothing else to blog about, thinking as I type. On her second quote,

If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.” ~ Yogi Bhajan

it may just be a semantic point that it is better to respond in conscious awareness rather than to react emotionally, especially in a potential conflict situation. Etty Hillesum- I keep thinking of this story– having no way of responding to the anger of the shouting man, pitied him. Sometimes there are “things we cannot change”, though temperamentally you may be more likely to think that, or more likely to hurl yourself against every immovable object, or chaotically to get it wrong both ways. While “Think it possible you may be mistaken” is good advice, some people do that too much too. Virtue is the golden mean.

And I matter. Oh Christ, thank God for the reminders of it!

Envy

Envy broke over me, terrifying me with its sudden force.  My mood went black, though I struggled against it. I knelt and wept. Perhaps I should avoid facebook-

Her post talked of terrible lows and wonderful highs, so close together, in 2014. Now they are on a journey which gets more and more wonderful. She writes of amazing friendships. “And thank you all for sharing your lives – it makes my life all the richer.”

“They”- two of them- that is something to envy. I love her Yes, her gratitude, her optimism; and they make me wretched. The word “richer” cuts into me. Of course she will have uncertainties and unresolved matters, and they will resolve to blessing.

I am looking for answers. All answers gratefully received.

This envy is my most painful emotion. I cannot see value in it at all. It disparages and disrespects my gifts and blessings. It says I am not good enough. It says my “soft, gentle, peaceful” is cursed weakness, and that is a lie, because “soft, gentle, peaceful” is beautiful, and inescapable for me. Seeing it as weak cuts me off from its strength.

All my fear for the future and pain at the past came out, and overwhelmed me, then got misdirected into resentment at a rose-tinted image of this other person. Something randomly set me off, and I attached the feelings to it, rather than to their real cause. This distances me from others and from reality.

Count your blessings, name them one by one, H would quote ironically.

Someone else wrote, Happy New year. May it be full of peace and love and light and laughter for us all xx and exciting challenges, of course 🙂 That strikes more the right note, for me. There is a certain wariness for the exciting challenges. I don’t want challenged at all.

Wishing all my friends the happiest of New Years – wishing you love, good health and much upward growth ❤ “I’m tall enough already” joked someone. We are wary.

My wariness is resistance. I have avoided rather than facing challenges, because I anticipated more pain. Possibly facing the challenge with all my feminine vulnerability-

More from facebook. When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside of you as fate– C.G. Jung. Then this link on the New Year quotes this poem:

We look with uncertainty
by Anne Hillman

We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
clear-cut answers
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.

After wrestling with this for hours, I posted,
At this moment
I am in the best place I could possibly be.

By this I mean that this is where my responses to my delights and challenges have got me; this is where I can move on from, this is what I need. It is right for me, in a way that no place in which any other finds herself could be. But I get far more likes for it expressed positively.

Added: 36 hours later I have it worked out. Envy distances me, breaks connection, and reduces my understanding and empathy. I start in liking, airbrush out my understanding of certain difficulties this person has, think “It’s alright for you” (which is unfair) compare her apparent facing challenge bravely with my feeling overwhelmed, and turn that negative: I make it a judgment on me, rather than an inspiration.

Through analysis, I turn my feeling back to goodwill and empathy, and separate out what I feel about myself- fear and grief. I separate the feelings from the immediate stimulus which precipitated but did not cause them.

With increased self-respect I find greater self-nurturing in small things, such as more meditation, a more regular cleansing and moisturising regime, and playing the piano.
abseil place

Big data

File:Google’s First Production Server.jpgWhether I should opt out from the NHS health data sharing scheme is an emotional not a rational decision. I opted out.

I see the point of it. GP and hospital records go to the Health and Social Care Information Centre in Leeds, where they may be analysed to see what health provision works best. “Free text”- what the GP notes about symptoms- would not be sent to HSCIC. Diagnoses, test results and prescriptions would be.

I thought the data would be used for research, but the “Clinical Practice Research Datalink” already gives information to researchers.

My email archive gives a complete record of me, in my real name. Someone has a record of all I have bought at the supermarket in the last three years, and is able to sell that information. My data is out there already. Then again, my GP said she wished they could opt out all their patients, rather than have us opt out individually. She has concerns about the data protection. I have concerns about large Government computer systems, which have made a mess of every new benefit for the last twenty years. But, mainly, I don’t trust them, so I opt out.

Mmm. Do Buzzfeed quizzes record your responses for advertising? What about personality tests?

——————–

I am lying in bed feeling powerlessness and terror, after two things on facebook which remind me of two separate-

I went to the GP to ask about counselling, as recommended by the psychiatrist, and my “while I’m here” was about breathlessness cycling. I have no crushing pain in the centre of my chest, I just get out of breath cycling where I had cycled quite happily last year. She said, well, exercise more, you have exercised less in the winter weather.

File:Charles De Wolf Brownell - Tree and Sailboat, Lyme, Connecticut.jpgSo, yesterday, this started a thought in me: my way is to withdraw. Cycling up that hill, get a bit breathless: stop cycling and moan about it. Then I thought, no, my way is to get the bit between my teeth and battle on despite multiple discouragements, to the end. Like then.
-But that was last century.
(Thoughts of reverting go through my mind. Don’t go there.)

One friend is dying of cancer, palliative care only, one will stay in hospital tonight for tests and fears cancer. Life is a slow tragedy with one end. So-

More exercise could do me good, spiritually: that moment minute or hour when I push on though I want to stop.

———————

-Too low for a racer, too high for a tourer, not much use to anyone really, said the man looking at my bicycle gears. In about 1988. I remembered it, and thought, I am the kind of person who remembers small slights for decades, and tortures herself with them. Then I thought, character revealed in one comment- why was he cycling Lands End to John O’Groats alone, again? Perfect memory for a writer. Being positive takes effort.

Am I the only one who sees others posting things like “stay away from drama and negativity” and worries it is all about me?

I have acquired a meditation stool. So I will still be uncomfortable, bored, distracted or confronted by bits of myself I don’t like in meditation, but my feet won’t go to sleep.

The geese form pairs and fly low, circling over the river, honking constantly, for the joys of Spring.

The power of Positive™ Thinking

File:Autumn angel.jpgFbfnd asked, Do you think that just focussing on the positive in life is ok? What about the darkness?

Grist to my mill. I replied It is always worthwhile to focus on the positive in a situation, possibilities rather than what you can’t do because of what you don’t have. But that does not mean you should deny that real problems exist, so you may do something about them. And much positivity “wisdom” is problematic because of semantics, it is just that it is only part of the truth.

Um. Not entirely clear: that write-Post rather than write-read-Post thing. For clarity: you should admit problems exist, so you may do something about them.

But wait. Is that any more than The Serenity Prayer? It is beautifully expressed. Perhaps I am better to express truth allusively and poetically rather than as if in a statute- Niebuhr’s clarity is beyond me.

Barbara Ehrenreich is onto something- indeed, her cancer was not a “gift”. Here is Eve Ensler arguing the opposite, that it gives gifts of empathy and feeling one with other human beings and valuing the life we have and accepting the need to be cared for and accepting the care of others- but I would rather gain those gifts some other way.

Denial may be a gift. If there is a Threat, but I File:Archangel Gabriel Outside Jesus' Tomb after Resurrection.pngcan do nothing about it, I might be better getting on with other things in life rather than stressing about that threat like a rabbit in the headlights. Serenity to accept the things I cannot change may be better, but I would settle for Denial if I can do no better.

On facebook, the argument moved on to the Law of Attraction, with long closely argued paragraphs flashing back and forth: if you look out for and notice what is good in your environment, you learn to be more aware of it, which increases your curiosity and engagement with the world. Seeing the bad reduces self-esteem and self-confidence, and produces a sense of hopelessness. “Quiet desperation is the English way” sang Pink Floyd, not an original observation.

And looking for the bright side in ones situation- even cancer- does no harm. That part of myself which I see as Bad, as Shadow, so flee- there is strength there, and it behoves me to explore my responses and possibilities. Finding the Good in it blesses me.

Going back to Ehrenreich’s example, telling people who have just been dismissed that this is a great opportunity, that all the great entrepreneurs have sat where they are sitting now, is a lie, and victim-blaming: yet we do all have to get on with it. I still don’t get what Jesus meant by “Ask and ye shall receive” and Christians have been wrestling with the meaning and power of prayer ever since- yet some of those fired employees will transcend their situation, just as some struck down with mental health issues will live more productively after learning to deal with their illness. But- not everyone.

The Unexplained

File:Hieronymus Bosch - Mankind Beset by Devils (reverse of Noah panel) - WGA02575.jpgIt begins with a photograph, of an attractive normal family, and a claim which is remarkable yet credible. A man “surfed” down fifteen floors of the North tower of the world trade centre, and survived with only a twisted ankle. I don’t like the source they cite, but believe it on this.

Then my friend’s facebook share makes six pages of A4, moving through less believable claims. Private weapons/defence/security corporations carried out the 9/11 “investigations”, but had a conflict of interest which led them to cover up the real story. Companies may have a conflict of interest, but one likes to believe in a human capacity to tell right from wrong, and that enough people would have enough integrity to bring out the truth.

It warns us to be cautious and sceptical, because the usual run of 9/11 conspiracy theorists are wrong. Of course explosives could not have brought down the WTC in that way. How silly. Instead, directed energy weapons, using the Hutchison Effect, brought down the building. A look at its website shows that in 1979 John Hutchison while attempting to duplicate the experiments of Nicola Tesla found a source of free energy with the effects of shattering metal and cancelling gravity.

File:Hieronymus Bosch - Mankind Beset by Devils (reverse of Rebel Angels panel) - WGA02573.jpgUnfortunately, those bad people at Wikipedia, who seek to exclude such benefactors of humanity as John Hutchison from that website, have removed the article on him. See here and here for comparisons. The only reference to the Hutchison Effect is in an article on a TV programme. I deleted the link to that TV programme from the article on Mayor John Hutchison: no need to give it too much prominence.

Back to facebook. Only one researcher has meticulously analyzed ALL of the easily verifiable physical evidence from 9/11 …[and] has offered a scientific conclusion that explains ALL of this easily verifiable physical evidence from 9/11 but unfortunately she is the victim of a wide spread internet campaign to slander, criticize, marginalize, disrespect, discredit, and censor information about her… Several [Internet discussion] groups claim to be 9/11 “Truth” groups, but if you even mention Dr. Judy Wood or the important evidence she has discovered, they will often censor you, ban you from their group, or ridicule you for discussing her.

Wow. When the conspiracy theorists exclude you for being too nutty, you are in a bad way. The explanation is that they are part of the conspiracy.

Yet my fbfnd shares this stuff. I think it is a conspiracy. If the Big Corporations put out enough refutable conspiracy theories, sensible people like you and me will be jaded, and not spot the real conspiracies.

——————-

I am delighted to have penetrated the Great Firewall of China! I would really like Greenland, but the problem there is population, 56,000. Even in the UK I have not reached 0.01% of the population yet. Onwards and upwards!

page views map

Uses of friendship

File:The Gates of Paradise by William Blake -3.jpgMy beautiful, talented and vibrant friend has emailed twice, and I have not responded. When we met last month, we hugged and I was delighted to see her, as well as reserved. She said, “Call me”, and I have not.

We met two years ago at a weekly drama improvisation. After, we went to the pub, and shared stuff, and said motivational positive-thinking wisdom stuff at each other. She came to see me at my stand-up gig, and we ate afterwards. Then we did not see each other again.

So her email in October was delightful, and yet I did not respond, by email or phone, and it occurred to me that I was ashamed to. I had been talking of performing, and all this wisdom, and I am in a cul-de-sac, not having given birth to a dancing star or whatever.

One gets the impression that Robert de Saint-Loup really cares for Marcel, and Marcel does not entirely reciprocate. Sometimes Marcel uses his friendship: he wants an invitation to the house of a woman; he wants a message conveyed to Albertine after she leaves him, and he wants to micro-manage how that is done, indicating a lack of trust in the messenger. He observes Robert’s love for Rachel as a writer might.

At one point I had two friends I saw weekly, and shared deeply. I have generally had one who would hear my woes, and now I have one 396px-The_Gates_of_Paradise_by_William_Blake_-1 who chunters on boringly about her issues, so that when I talked of my father’s funeral she moved onto another subject quickly, in great detail. Don’t worry, it isn’t you. She is pleasant enough when I have nothing better to do- most of the time.

So it seemed that I had been one particular aspect of myself with the Vivacious one (who is straight, unfortunately) and I would have to ease in to being other aspects of myself.

-How are you?
-Alright. You?

and deep conversation like that.

A friend could reassure me that one particular view of myself is correct. A friend could do many things. Perhaps I should explore.

449px-William_Blake,_painter_and_poet_(page_28a)Having finally got the idea of the Mega-me, I thought I might actually do it. The brain cannot tell the difference between doing something in fantasy and doing it in actuality- our mirror neurons fire off replicating others’ feelings, and if we can create feelings of achievement we can go out and do the thing in reality. So I thought I would ask Quakers to participate in an improvised drama, and imagined friends objecting because it was silly. Useful to have someone to project on.

By horrible coincidence, two people I knew through karate have also lost a parent in the last month. They announced it on facebook. I did not want to- but did, today. I have hardly been posting there for a month. Lots of loving, warming comments from people I rarely see, Likes because I said how wonderful he had been, and I walked in the park feeling Happy, perhaps because of the mild air and beauty of the place, perhaps because of facebook.

Comforting thoughts

File:Illustration to 'Tam O'Shanter', John Faed.jpgWitches are extremely dangerous. Fortunately, one may protect oneself:

For mony a beast to deid she shotFile:Walpurgisnacht.jpg
and perished mony a bonny boat
and shook both meikle corn and bear
and kept the countryside in fear…

Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg
And reach the keystane of the brig
There at them thou thy tail may toss
A runnin stream they darena cross

Witches have the power to blight a farming community completely, destroying crops and animals, but as they cannot cross a river, we can get away. If only that superstition had been used, two centuries before Burns, as proof of innocence! But the witchfinders only sought proof of guilt.

It is striking how much effort I put into retaining beliefs about myself which are not true, or not obviously true. I could, of course, prove them, or decide to prove them- at some unspecified point in the future, which never comes. Procrastination is only a particular type of this thought.

I have false negative beliefs too: at least, I hope they are false. Two Upworthy videos depress me. The dancers in the Amsterdam prostitutes’ windows- I cited it before– shows how awful the World can be; the junkyard orchestra, which should be uplifting, I find a judgment on me: they can overcome their appalling difficulties, why can’t I? Whereas if I use it as a spur to think of the Possible, are my dreams just dreams?

Comment policy II

Something is wrong on the Internet

Vittorio_Reggianini_1858-1938_Music_scene 2Why is blogging addictive? I am desolate to see Violet joining Bloggers Anonymous, but as she says, will I have a shower or rant at this wrong person, will I go for a walk or lurk on this blog, will I have nap or check my reader? Blog wins at every turn – I smell and am very tired

I went from there to put a comment on a blog saying homosexuality is sin. The usual stuff: you quote Leviticus, do you really want us dead; on the Pastoral Epistles, what do you think of Cretans? Golly, it makes the endorphins flow. My righteous indignation rears up at this poor silly woman who mouths the brain-rot she has been fed since childhood. Ha. That’s her told.

It is far more difficult to comment on Freya. She writes worthwhile things here, and I want to reciprocate. How can I say something intelligent to someone I admire? Far easier to mock homophobes.

My colleague nearly got sacked for her compulsive use of facebook, Vittorio_Reggianini_1858-1938_Music_scene 1which I got sniffy at, not using facebook at the time. She was redundant in the next round of funding cuts. Now I use facebook, and see all these videos. This one, for example, shared by two friends: it is moving, it makes a necessary point well, and it gives me a shiver of distaste at the World, without either arming or motivating me to do anything about it. That and the documentary on factories in Bangladesh make me miserable- too strong meat for addiction.

I am sorry that spEak you’re bRanes is defunct. While the comments it mocked were badly expressed, and stated opinions I found repulsive, for the most part, it was mocking what I do: expressing anger into the ether, then excitedly clicking to see if there is a response. I do real human interactions with people I will see again, needing frontal lobe activity, and I do angry or mocking billets aigre to homophobes in Texas, giving instant satisfaction with minimal cost. It is obvious which I prefer, and why,

So, I sit myself down for a serious chat. By all means seek to establish internet relationships with attractive and intelligent people, but stop ranting. If my forefinger is sore from friction burns on the mouse-pad of my lap-top (a moment’s googling taught me a new word- it is a “touchpad”) then I spend too much time with it. For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the Universe- worrying about problems I cannot solve is a seductive distraction from the problems I must address. Yes, recently in one day I got seven times the page views of two days previously for some reason, but checking the stats page several times a day does no good.

I probably won’t work this blog up to a huge circulation by commenting, or liking, and certainly not following. I have no idea how many of my 592 followers get my posts by email.

File:John Martin Le Pandemonium Louvre.JPG

Scunnered

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/Calf%27s_Head_and_Ox_Tongue_by_Gustave_Caillebotte.jpgI started my blog with the words “Last week, I pupated“. That was not true.

What I thought was pupating was realising that being transsexual is a blessing, not a curse. I still think it is a blessing, but sometimes it seems a blessing too bright and hot for me to bear.

Here am I looking at the blue sky through the net curtain-

I started this, the whine hot within me. I would go back to that realisation, and describe how the day before I had been rejected for a job after an interview, and how upset I was about that. And being unemployed, and hating that job, and that job, and the Flourish-contra-mundum with Quakers, and that– writing now, I might put the links in, might not-

I have even thought this morning of- not reverting, exactly, but going genderqueer. Take an androgynous name, Evelyn, Jocelyn, Hilary- Lyndsay, perhaps- dress in jeans and t shirt, leave the wig off, just as an experiment. I mused on that for a moment, and pictured myself talking to someone- anyone- studying their reaction in a panicked anticipation of any bad reaction to me. Any bad reaction, judgment, surprise. Of course getting on the bus outside my front door would be impossible.

Later. I have walked in the sunshine, and feel better. I had been going to go on to say how I have got so upset at not getting jobs after interviews that I have stopped looking, and that I appear to have three options-

  • snap out of ithttps://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9e/Cailebotte_-_Nature_Morte.jpg/881px-Cailebotte_-_Nature_Morte.jpg
  • carry on hiding away
  • find some other way of proceeding

-and none of them seem to work. What do I want? I don’t know. Though in the park I saw a little boy lagging behind his parents and being nagged to keep up- that strange notion of conventional recreational activities, which are not enjoyable.

I am so attached to the thought that I am Growing, Spiritually, and I come to see that instead I am learning discrete lessons and skills, which help. And my aim has always been to stop feeling uncomfortable emotions, and I come to see that it is my fear and anger at feeling fear and anger which makes them so uncomfortable.

A facebook exchange when someone shared this link. Someone commented that lesbian trans women are “filthy perverts” who “masquerade as transgender” and make life harder for the real trans women like her. When I challenged this she wrote “Glad to see your bleeding” so I asked her if she had meant the word “bleeding” as a gerund. Her later use of the word “your” indicated she had probably not.

At first I was angry, and later I found I File:Gustave Caillebotte 'Nature morte au Homard'.jpgcould work myself up into distress at how I had felt about the autogynephilia theory in 2001; but it is only the faintest echo, a ripple caused by a splash a very long way away. How am I now- the next day? A little anger, but I am no longer hurt by what Rachel said. I am not entirely proud that I drove her away by mocking her grammar: “Oh, you poor thing! Consumed by your hatred, you’re lashing out at people who could be friends!”

I have kept the title “scunnered” even though having only heard my father use it I thought it meant “frustrated”, and from googling I see it means “disgusted”. Oh well.