Reality-based caring

My friend, after research on the internet, concluded that the coronavirus could not have evolved naturally in bats or some link species, but had to have been genetically engineered. The thought made her miserable. Its release had to have been an accident, she thought, she could not see any reason why anyone would do that.

I don’t believe SARS-CoV 2 was genetically engineered. I believe it would be generally known if it were. I believe academia would ferret such things out, and publications I trust, such as the Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Atlantic or New Statesman would have publicised it. I have a high school education in physics and chemistry, and a lay interest in such writers and broadcasters as Jim Al-Khalili or Marnie Chesterton, so I have to take it on trust. I believe academia would debate that, and if it were true it could not be suppressed. I have read that the genome sequence shows that it was clearly not engineered, and can’t remember where.

And, the way human culture has evolved has caused the pandemic. It arose because of human encroachment into wild habitat, and exploitation of bush meat. It got a toe-hold because of the corrupt, terrified lower-ranking Chinese officials who threatened prosecution of Li Wenliang, the doctor who raised the alarm. I have no more reason to trust the Chinese investigators who, after Li’s death, recommended punishment for the officials who made Li withdraw his comments. The rule there seems to be “Don’t make us look bad- even in retrospect”. It rampaged through the US because their corrupt President knew it spread pre-symptomatically through exhaled aerosol droplets, and did not care. However there is not one person to blame, like a careless technician in a virology lab- we are all guilty, as Heinz Kiosk said.

Whether we react with sadness, anger or acceptance, there is huge communal and individual loss from CoViD- uncountable deaths, loss of jobs and businesses, economic depression. Possibly the thought of that terrible mistake lets my friend mourn it. Possibly I have not faced this great Fact of 2020 fully. My social life has improved, as people take to Zoom.

I wondered what Donald Trump meant by “radical left”, but he appears to attach the term to anything I would call “Reality based”. The Atlantic magazine prints conservatives such as David Frum, always introduced as George W. Bush’s speechwriter, and Anne Applebaum, who remains a small-state, low tax, respect for property rights conservative but a truthful one. The concept of “Reality-based” goes back to 2004, though the quote then seems to be about creating facts by concrete achievement- conquest, in that case.

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Now, “creating reality” means pumping up QAnon.

Instagram’s QAnon Moms care deeply about children abused by Democrat paedophiles, and if I believed with them I would care too, enough to work very hard for Q+’s re-election as President. Now, Republicans seem completely mired in fantasy, but it was a long time developing, through their climate change denial, or use of the Laffer Curve to cut taxes on the wealthiest indiscriminately. Perhaps politics is a grim fight for group advantage, and those who pretend to idealism in the interests of the whole community are hypocrites or trapped in cognitive dissonance.

Do people care about their fellows? Most people think caring about others is an admirable trait. However we may see ourselves as caring, on evidence which is too easy. Does tweeting about Black Lives mean you care, or must you do something in real life?

I understand the logic of my radical feminist friend’s position on trans rights, just not its value. Trans women are men, therefore trans women in women’s space is as inappropriate as a forty year old in a children’s centre. She and her fellow campaigners don’t want to reduce the rights of the trans woman any more than the notional forty year old, but they should not be there. I don’t agree. If Sara Ahmed can be a feminist activist supporting trans rights, why can’t she? Could she step back from logic, and consider the advantages of trans inclusion? However she can campaign for the expulsion of trans women from the women’s spaces where we are, and claim not to be uncaring.

I last posted a week ago. I’ve been thinking of writing projects which are too ambitious to actually write, and writing for somewhere else. I can’t draw this post together, but it’s stuff I’ve been thinking about. Does caring do any good? Does it need to be Reality-based to do good? I think so, but not everything here argues for that.

Affirming trans sexuality

“I want to open up like a flower,” I said. The three women agreed. I felt affirmed. My sexuality felt fitting, possibly for the first time.

The exercise, on this day Zoom workshop, with people I might never see again, was to make three requests of men, what we would want them to know and understand that we wanted. We discussed what opening up might mean, and while there was some agreement, this is my interpretation. Ideally, it is like the flower opening up to the sun- warmed, caressed, fulfilling itself, the flower opens. I want to be caressed. I want to be wooed, courted. I want foreplay.

I want to be able to trust. I am hurt, and I need my hurt held; and that enables me to be vulnerable. I want to be my full primate, animal nature, which might seem like darkness and chaos. I need to be enabled to trust. I want to feel safe, nurtured and protected.

When I said that after, a man said that is the most beautiful invitation he had ever heard from a woman.

A woman said, she wasn’t keen on “wooed and courted”- should we not be escaping traditional roles and meeting as equals? Of course! I do not want to define womanhood for any other woman. Possibly, not all men will fit all women. Though my gay friend said he could be a bottom or a top, when he changed from one to the other he felt the erogenous zones on his body changing. Some people might adjust to meet a wider variety of possible partners.

And for me, the winning of trust is more necessary because I have been hurt, and hurt can make me freeze, make me numb, make me unable to open up, state my needs or even know them myself. We all have baggage. When I trusted, and opened, and was cared for, I opened fully. More experience like that, more exploration, more acceptance and understanding, I might need less to set me alight.

This is sexuality for mature people. We want an authentic, truthful, journey to complete bodily connection. I want us to help each other to maintain conscious awareness and see when we are triggered, when we are back in old patterns or old pain, when we are numb. Welcome, rather than resisting the pattern: what need does it express? Possibly, when one is triggered they will trigger the other. I was briefly triggered during the workshop. Taking responsibility for myself being conscious and aware- of my feelings, the other and our surroundings, and undertaking to help them to be aware too, we may escape the triggers. Notice the feeling without blame or judgment.

It’s about being conscious of feeling without needing to express the feeling in order to be conscious of it; and responding to the stimulus in freedom and strength rather than reacting like a machine- when that button is pressed I can only react like that. So, recognise and disconnect the buttons.

People recognise the difficulties, too. Freezing and becoming numb, that “courting” is just the time to develop trust.

In the patriarchy with rape culture, men and women are hurting, not just trans people. Jamie Catto planned this as a truth and reconciliation exercise between the sexes, telling each other what we wanted, defusing male privilege, maintaining our positivity and lightness among some heavy stuff. Seeing myself as a “man” attracted to women, I wanted to open like a flower to a woman. I have seen these relationships working. I have also approached a woman in that way and while that was what we both wanted, we just triggered each other. And I have seen a man with a similar sexuality to mine try to “man up” for a woman, and become so much more relaxed after they split.

We recognise masculine energy in women, feminine energy in men. It does not matter whether this comes from nature or nurture- my problems come from resisting who I am now, whether that comes from nature or nurture. Some is unchangeable.

Men can be strongly affected by women’s radiance. Women cannot be held solely responsible for that. I tend to feel no-one should dim her light to avoid hurting another. A man should appreciate the beauty without needing to take her, or resenting that she is not available to him. There are the stereotypes of the modest maid and the bad girl, and men should not assume the whole applies to a woman because she shows one alleged characteristic of one.

I loved the description of the tango. A man and a woman catch eyes across the dancefloor, and agree wordlessly to dance. In the first dance the man assesses his partner’s expertise, and does not push too far. The man is leading, but the woman’s assent is needed at all times. They dance together, both giving and receiving, with balance and reciprocity.

Let us be kind to each other, heal and forgive each other, explore together and enable each other. We inherit so much pain. I am not going to pass on the pain.

I felt like a woman, as if transgender is real. I think it is.

Sharing personal experience. Trust. Disappointment.

-How do you feel? What do you want?

My friend is not unsympathetic, yet still I cannot speak. I cannot find words, cannot squeeze words out, cannot even think of what I might say. I have shared personal experience here, experience of being suicidal, of female embodiment fantasies, and now I am reliving a personal experience I cannot describe myself. Under the protective cover my feelings are boiling, but I cannot name even to myself what they are.

When a friend heard you speak she was unimpressed. She, and I, disagree with you. She wondered why you spoke in abstractions rather than talking of personal experience; and I know, because you have shared some of your personal experience with me. Some personal experience is too traumatic to share- certainly publicly. From what you have shared I imagine you feeling chronically powerlessness in the face of deadly threat. Chad Sanders says why he does not want to talk about his feelings right now, in a way that might fit you: When you tell me I can share my feelings with you, it is an act of forced intimacy and prods at the detachment I’ve purposefully built up over time. You force me to excavate deeply painful feelings I’ve buried for my sanity.

How could either of us persuade others? I share personal experience. Thereby I awaken empathy in my audience. They may relate better to me as a human being. They see I am harmless and hurting, and they want to help. Though even this sharing makes me a supplicant, makes my acceptance conditional on being winsome, rather than taken as a right. How much worse to share personal experience and for it to be a reason to doubt you. Well, you are hurt, and so you are lashing out. No, you do not need protection, instead others need protection from you.

Just as I am, you are standing up for your rights and the rights of vulnerable people. My personal experience chimes with the views of this audience, can be used as evidence that what they thought was right. Your failure to share yours is held up as reason to dismiss you, even though if you shared it, it would be dismissed as not enough.

Then there is the abstract reasoning, which does not persuade them either. Well, you are wrong, and while you will gain passionate adherents, and others are moving to use you for their own purposes, all the good, nice decent people will agree with me. That’s because you ask for something which will do you no good and harm others including me, but it’s still your decision.

I was frustrated because, as usual, there was difficulty connecting to zoom, and the way I thought I would get round that difficulty didn’t work. And then I was wordless. I could say nothing to her.

I am sure this is an echo of the past. It does not relate to the current situation. In the past my desperate desire meets incomprehension, and there is no chance I will get what I want. So whether it is impotent rage, frustration or misery, the feeling is too painful to admit, and I neither want to say “Yes, you’re right” to the Powerful one, nor express pain which will not be heard. If I swallow the desire, and say nothing I have minimal dignity. I don’t think just one disappointment could have the effect this seems to have on me.

And it echoes now. I cannot speak. I can swallow. I can suppress. I can’t say what I want, or how I feel, I can’t trust myself or the other to find a way forward (emotionally. Trusting myself and the other intellectually, which I do, is not enough.)

This is part of my desire to hide away. This lack of trust, this fear, protects me from disappointment at the cost of- everything, really. And the disappointment in the past has hurt so much that I appear willing to pay that price. Could I find a way to trust?

Physical spirituality

I sat in my back yard in the sunshine, in my t-shirt, unusual in England in December. As the cobweb shivered in a breath of wind, the long anchoring strand vibrated, and for a fraction of a second would reflect light then not. The light flickering along the strand was beautiful, and I paid it my attention. There is my body, warm, breathing, apparently still yet with so much going on, and a particular experience of a strand of spider-silk and of sunlight which I have spontaneously decided to give my attention, a physical process of sensory organs and brain processing.

Cartesian dualism, the idea of a soul, and the Enlightenment concept of the rational human mind for which the body is hardly more than a life-support system have split us in two, distorting and reducing our experience. I am not a spirit in a material world, a soul having a physical experience, but an animal, honed by half a billion years of evolution into more than is contained in the concept “mind”.

I am an animal, and part of my ongoing process of maturing is escaping the constraints of the mind I have been taught to value into the experience of my whole self and its whole capacity. Because of my particular experience, I call this learning “spiritual”, and yet so much of my “spirituality” relates to inhabiting my physical being, nerve cells, receptors, senses, processes. More broadly, I consider maturing is the process of learning what it means to be human, escaping constraints on ones humanness imposed by society or circumstance, and learning to use full human capacity- including “spiritual experiences” which do not make sense to the rational mind.

I could not see what I had not been taught to value. Then I saw it and because was terrified of it, I saw it distorted. Now I see it face to face. Finding it seems a spiritual experience and much of what I find is related to being an evolved animal in a physical space- of course, because that is what I am, rather than a soul or a mind. What I experience as mind is part of the animal.

It is good for us to spend time outside. It makes us feel better. This may be the skin using sunshine to create vitamin D, or being away from work for a moment (for those of us who work indoors) but for me it is the unpredictability of outside, the increased sensory stimulation, with more things moving and alive. We leave our most controlled environment and become animals in a habitat. If after at least eleven years of education, mostly sitting at desks listening speaking and writing “sensibly”, we have learned to value our minds this helps us value our bodies. Others may have had a more physical childhood than I, and still value their minds more. I walked over hills with my dog and with the Scouts, and leapt from a pile of bales of hay into a pile of sawdust at the nearby farm with the farm worker’s children, and am still doing this “spiritual” work.

I was thinking that my belief in God is different from my belief in Ediacarans, but it is not, not really. I believe in God, Father and Mother, Almighty Creator, in a way which cannot be expressed as a logical sequence of propositions, but is emotional, is a matter of trust. And I believe in pre-Cambrian fauna, but I could not evaluate the logical sequence of propositions used to say what they are: I could not date the rocks, or assess evidence whether they are multi-cellular eukaryotes or colonies of bacteria. Again it is finding trust, emotionally, in something greater than myself, in the truthfulness and co-operation of my culture.

In praise of self-love

If self-loathing no longer works as motivation, self-love is all that is left.

I should have gone into the office, but did not as I had a request for 850 words which I particularly wanted to write. I polished it, and have sent it off a day later. I don’t know if they will like it. Possibly it is too dark, possibly it gives needed shade to other contributions.

It was complete motivation. I could do nothing else. It was me being me.

The day before I was out canvassing for Labour. How should I call how I was? Over-excited, like a child without proper emotional regulation? High? Possibly just excited. I enjoyed it. Several women wanted strong female MPs, a good sign when we have a female candidate. Again, this was what I most wanted to do.

In both cases, I am doing something I feel may have a result I want. I give it my energy. It gives me instant joy, though also involving work. My motivation is instant and strong, excluding other activity.

What of reading? Here I see two motivations, not easily teased apart. I read to learn, to sample others’ understanding, to see clearly; or I read a book which fits the person I was told I ought to be, for the illusory safety of being what I am not. The latter inspires me from self-loathing. The former may be difficult and challenging. When hurt I withdraw and may not want such challenge.

I spend a lot of time licking my wounds. I have a lot of wounds to heal. This too is self-love; but I may not see that, and try to whip myself into action.

Then, may I take action for my growth? Could I go to the office seeing it is the best way I have at the moment to develop in a way which might let me support myself. I might heat my house- I can cuddle a hot water bottle for warmth, and I want to breathe warm air!

That is self-love looking at a long term project, uncertain of success. Yet only self-love will get me to the office, and not self-loathing, because only self-love can trust myself enough to believe the project has a chance of working.

I have whipped myself in fear for too long. Come on, you useless fuckwit! Do this, it is simple, even the most lazy useless worthless imbecile should have no difficulty! Then I don’t achieve perfection, and despair.

So I collapse in a heap and despise myself more. Yet, in these years withdrawn from the world I sometimes see good in myself, or wise others see it and communicate it to me.

Or I see myself and suddenly see it as good. I am soft. Self-loathing sees that as worthless, at best pitiable, self-love sees its beauty.

If I love myself I might see good qualities in myself, see myself as worthy of success and capable of achieving it. Like that writing. I have written something worthwhile.

In a spiritual exercise Richard Rohr writes, bring to mind a time when you were generous with someone, a time when you did something nice for someone else. When have I ever been generous, asks self-loathing. I spend myself, for my own self interest, seeking safety in the most stupid way.

In the CAB I wanted each person to feel better and be safer, with more money. Self-love sees my sympathy and my effort. It’s not absolutely pure altruism- I valued doing my job well, and getting them to trust me made them more willing to answer my questions, and I was paid for it, but rather than doing the minimum to get by I would seek to improve and do more.

The self-loathing and seeking illusory safety was part of that, and if I can see their value I might kiss them, see they have done their work, and let them go.

If I pause to consider, I have enough self-love and self-respect to take their place, and with practice may grow to trust.

The two slits experiment

“Light is a wave and a particle”, I say glibly, to show that the world is too complex for people to understand, especially using language. So I was disappointed to learn that an electron is a particle, and not a wave as I had thought.

I started in The Guardian, which recommends various youtube channels for science and maths. I went to the Looking Glass Universe, where a woman who in 2018 was doing a PhD on quantum computing explains quantum mechanics. Why can an electron be in two places at once but not, say, an apple? Because the apple is continually located by light and other particles hitting it, but an electron is small enough not to be located like that. So the point where superposition ceases to be true of an object is where it becomes large enough to be located by light or by particles, and as I have heard that the nucleus’s ratio to the atom is like an orange to a football stadium, I am unsurprised, now, that classical mechanics does not apply to the electron. That just fascinated me. I can grasp it.

I learn from her that I had completely misunderstood Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle, which might be better understood if the German unschärfe was translated as “fuzziness”. I thought it was her second suggested explanation: To find the particle’s position, you bombard it with light… which has high momentum so it gives some to the particle, and now we’re uncertain about the particle’s new momentum. But no, it is not that at all. Rather, the particle has lots of positions and momentums, but if it is “mostly” in a small range of positions then it mostly in a large range of momenta.

It has a “superposition” of momenta and locations- apparently more than one possibility for each- but “what that word actually means is the biggest open question in the field”. I had not understood. The idea I had made sense to me, and was completely wrong; it’s probably from some populariser, years ago. Once you measure the particle’s location, it will just be in one place, a random selection from the range of possibilities. So if you have a two slit experiment with an electron detector at the slits, it will only go through one. And then you can measure the particle’s speed, but again will find one particular speed, which is randomly one of the possible speeds. You don’t know from the measurement what the range had been before the measurement.

Two slit experiment? I remember around 1981 at school seeing interference patterns with waves in a water tank, and have seen explanations on the TV regularly since. So, I hope you have the general idea, like me; and since 1981 researchers and theorists have had different explanations of what particles are doing. The electron is

not a wave!

At least, according to this PhD student, whose animation is charming and whose enthusiasm is infectious. As a commenter says, her voice sounds as if she is smiling all the time. The range where the particle is likely to be is expressed as Δx, and if the range Δx of location is small, the range Δp of momentum is large.

Quantum mechanics can tell us what happens, but not why. And there is a joke about what theoretical physicists understand about experimental physics. Well, they could just do the beautiful maths (which I don’t have a clue about) but at some point some observations might be helpful. It’s not a wave, creating interference patterns, because one electron fired at a detector with a barrier with two slits in it gives one crisp dot. So again my understanding of quantum mechanics was wrong.

This video goes into the maths more deeply, then goes back to the double slit experiment. Why do physicists talk about the wave/particle duality? Possibly because it makes quantum mechanics sound mystical and difficult. She says it annoys me because it makes the world sound so paradoxical that we couldn’t possibly hope to comprehend it. Well, that was what pleased me about it- not because I wanted to sow confusion where understanding was possible, but because I wanted not to pretend to understand anything I really didn’t.

Youtube is not an ideal place to see these things. If I see them on BBC4, I trust that they are a good explanation of current understanding, and if they are not they will be criticised. Youtube has anti-vaxxers sounding as plausible as anti-vaxxers can sound, and even flat-earthers (I read somewhere).

The meandering route to recovery

I spend a lot of time with those who come under that “shirkers and scroungers” banner, and I often help them claim benefits. They nearly all have reasonable physical health – but quite severe mental health problems. What I see in them is not laziness and a desire to have others run around and support them – but rather that they are so damaged by life’s circumstances that they have endured that they have no capacity to help themselves. If they get sanctioned (i.e. benefits completely stopped) then they just lie down and take it – like a dog that’s been beaten one too many times…

People who are loved – and they may need that love for many years – can slowly start to believe in themselves again. With patient encouragement to take one step at a time, and constant support – lives can be rebuilt. And personal responsibility will then develop too.

-From a facebook thread.

Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that … allows us to bear witness to … suffering, whether in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion … is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.

– Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness:
The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

I need to know my limitations, and they are hard to accept. I used to work with people after heart attacks claiming benefits, who would often say that sitting down, they felt completely normal, like before, so they went to get up and felt shocking breathlessness and pain. One imagines the default, the normal, often even after repeated proof of the lesser ability. Denial is just one of my blind spots.

I find my energy levels varying, and here am I even now thinking, “I can do that this afternoon!” When it comes to this afternoon, I won’t feel the energy.

Of course I want to see how to improve and build abilities. I am doing my best, all the time, because people just do. And, rather than writing this blog post about limitations or going out leafleting for Labour I am whiling away my time on heated facebook threads, about whether a Quaker can be a Conservative. Some who are both resented the challenge. I was going to write, “I went into my why can’t we all just get along? mode,” but really I sought to bridge the gap. I put my energy, care and expressiveness into explaining each to the other and finding common ground. Not all I wrote was perfect.

Whiling, or practising, or even engaging in a medium where feelings are strong, though transitory?

Menis said to me, Have mercy on yourself.

One Conservative voter messaged me, Thank you for coming to my aid on fb. You are a kind Friend indeed! When we got to 😇😇😇 I said It is extremely important to me to see myself as a good person! which provoked her XD XD .

So, there. Self-nurturing, as well as thinking things through with words, and practicing writing. Not a waste of time at all!

I recognise myself in those first two paragraphs above. I knew I have to write about what my difficulties are, because without that, plans can never work. Plans which do not take account of difficulties will founder on those difficulties.

Everything I do is for my good; and not everything I do forwards those conscious plans. Some ways forward proceed unconsciously. Of course I know I must write of my difficulties. I must get to know them from patient observation of what I do, rather than imagining I know myself, or that I really am that normal default- because I am sitting in the chair, and not exerting myself to rise from it. And I get to know them, consciously and unconsciously. After hours on that facebook thread, thinking, writing, reading and re-reading, I showered at 1pm, and in the shower my Assertion surfaced, and I said, emphatically, insistently,

I am
I am writing it

I am writing my account of my difficulties. I was working on it then. Just, not consciously.


The road to recovery lies through a full and complete understanding of limitations. I know that I am loveable. I love myself. I like myself. This is great progress. And, I have no trust in myself or others. I have experiences of my failure and others’ angry or hostile reactions to me, which matter to me, which affect my conduct, thought, anticipation and planning, and however much I think of my success and others’ favourable or supportive reactions to me, however many examples I retrieve from memory, they are insignificant beside the weight of bad experiences. I think,

It was ghastly!
It will be ghastly again!

If I can win my own trust, I need to develop trust of others. I might delve into why the bad experiences have so much weight- perhaps they are from early childhood, where it really was as black and white as it seems now.

So I retreat, and I fiddle, and I don’t do what I obviously must do to improve my lot

even while I work to improve it, in unimaginable or ridiculous ways

I follow my heart, however much my head knows it is right.

Winging it

Presenter on Radio 4 said how he looked at Melvyn Bragg, say, or Stephen Fry, and they seemed effortless; and he always felt he was “winging it”. So this programme is about “winging it”, how he wants to be in control but is not, never is quite sure what he is doing, works at the pitch of his ability wondering when he will be “found out”. Many people feel like that, perhaps even Melvyn Bragg!

I hated him. I did not want to listen. I want to be in control too, which I have achieved, in a sense, in my living room, and I so envy him, an entertainer on the radio, doing that shtick. I would go back to ithe programme, not as a challenge, to correct my error, but to reassure myself. It is alright, really. (Most of) my fears are phantoms. The actual threats, I might not fear or perceive at all.

The phantoms are great in my mind, terrifying, making me cry-
I epilated this morning, and thought of the psychiatrist: “How did you feel when you started to grow body hair?”
I felt relieved: I might appear normal-

Sense and effort may work on the piano. I have not played it this year, and found that I had to play the C major scale hands separately to get the fingering right. But I saw the film Byzantium on the telly- the protagonists two ethical female vampires hunted through a seaside town- and the younger plays the Adagio from Beethoven’s sonata op.2 no.3, which fits the film perfectly. It is a bit twisted, and the harmony ramps up the emotional tension while the slow, measured regular demisemiquavers refuse to release it. I had never played it. I thought it a Bach prelude at first, perhaps “smeared when wet”, and when the credits rolled I got it out. I am in love with it. It is so beautiful.

Anyway. There is only one right note, and it must be hit squarely. You play a single bar over and over again, hands separately then together, and when you string the bars together if you hit a wrong note you go back over that bar and get it right. You practise, I read, until you cannot hit a wrong note. Then, you can play the piece, speak feeling with and through it. That fits the pedantic testing of each foothold before placing weight on it.

So much has gone wrong! Blithe trust in the ability of the air to support my wings when it has not-

Cezanne, rocks


I did not see the psychotherapist last week, and still have not heard why not. One question I thought of was, why is my flat so untidy? Because I like it that way? No, not really: it is either self-punishing, or because I do not see that I can make it any better. Because I do not trust myself even to decide what to do with the paper strewn round my living room, even the obvious rubbish such as the wrapper and advertising inserts of Prospect magazine from three weeks ago.

Or low energy. But I don’t think it is that- my energy is not that low.

Lack of self-respect? I am worth being looked after. I had that feeling of being beautiful and Loved

What I decided this morning (Friday) was that it was lack of trust in the world, and in my own decisions, even though the work is objectively not difficult. I do not trust myself to act or to plan. I fear the absolute worst. And something about: I have rules for acting, rules for understanding, and those seem illusory to me: it is not my judgment, but ideas I have taken into myself, which do not fit reality or me. I want to decide for myself rather than follow rules.

Stop making sense!

I have been in the state where I could not trust my own perceptions before: that something appears to me to be true is not evidence for its truth or falsehood. Then the bottom falls out of my world and I panic. It felt like that. I did not want to clerk on Sunday. Do I want to go to the story-telling? Yes, actually.

And the mood passed, the radical lack of trust in myself. I don’t know how I can realise it when I feel that way, but it does end. I cycled off to that confrontation, where I feel I played it fairly cool. I still have not tidied away the papers, even the £500 loan at 104% apr leaflet.


I saw this video on facebook, with a note explaining that the babies did not realise they were born and this technique was to ease them gently into the world. The article does not quite say that, and I note the cord is cut- but I understand they don’t pick you up by the ankles and spank you to start you breathing, any more. A friend who worked in child care and spoke with experts tells me that tantrums are no necessary part of the toddler experience. Toddlers parented with patience and acceptance may not be driven to such rages.

The actress Johanna Sacco just looks petulant as Medea, in Joseph Hickel’s portrayal. Her knife is bloody, and the thing on her mind is “That’ll show him!” as if she does not realise she has lost anything for herself.

Joseph Hickel, Johanna Sacco as Medea

Trust V

This is a strange mood.

I might think it despair, exhaustion, inanition.
It might be Acceptance:
seeing the real, and accepting it
though if I thought that would be a pleasant feeling I was mistaken.
Where ignorant armies clash by night,
I am like a weanèd child.


By the river I saw two women from the Outdoor centre, lifting kayaks, wearing T shirts marked “Who do you trust?”
-That’s a good question.
-Who do you trust? she asked.
-I trust in the general benevolence of the Universe, I said. Who do you trust?
-I trust in God, she said definitely: I thought she would, as the business is overtly Christian.

Did we disagree- or rather, since we were announcing what we trust in, do we trust in substantially different things?

If so, does it matter?


I was delighted to receive your email. My immediate response might be considered servile-

but it was the response my heart wished to make.


I communicated with a snake once. It had its coil round the back of my neck, so it had a firm grip but avoided things like my carotid artery which I do not want squeezed. I felt it could hold on to slightly more of my neck, and somehow it understood, shifted slightly, and held on to slightly more of my neck. I was still safe, with this tame snake.

With R, I have such a sweet negotiation. I am concerned to communicate what I want, but more concerned that he will be comfortable with the outcome. I feel that he has a complementary feeling.