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flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

When I was young, I was perceived as intelligent, mostly because I was hyperlexic and loved puns which were considered to be beyond my age level. Whatever. But people had expectations about me because of those talents that didn't match up to the rest of me. Sometimes those mismatches were obvious and I would say so, and other times they were not obvious and I would try in vain to meet those expectations, sometimes for years. Sometimes for decades. I knew that I was never going to be an astronaut because I was no good at sports other than fighting (and I wasn't even great at that). I knew that I wasn't going to be a senator, no matter how good with words I was, because we were poor and my family did not look anything like TV families did, and people disapproved of us. But that did not keep people from having those expectations of me.

And maybe if I had been raised to think of talent as something that happens to you, something that comes from the outside and is bestowed on you, I would not have been so hard on myself. Maybe if our culture had that thought, they would have rested gentler expectations on me, and I'd have borne them easier.

But we can never know.
flamingsword: None can take the stars who do not reach. (Take The Stars)
I feel really uninspired and uncommunicative lately. I think I may need to spend more time with my own thoughts and less time on social media to get back to having something to say.

I need to find my enthusiasm again after having had so little energy for so long. I need my opinions and curiosity. I have turned into this person I don't recognize, and some of it is okay, but I miss my other me. I don't feel like myself.

This me survived a hard thing and I am grateful. But now that those hatches don't have to be battened down, it's time for some new growth and some unfolding of previous growth.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
On to the second post today!

I am bisexual, and despite having gay friends of the family growing up, it took me until I was seventeen to figure that out. Because nobody talked about it. Nobody talked about it being valid and normal to like both.

Despite having LIFE-RUINING CHRUSHES on female friends of mine starting at the age of thirteen, it took me four years to figure it out, because there is so little social validation. And that is ridiculous and deeply sad. So I now talk about bisexuality in front of young people and on social media so that maybe I can prevent this from happening to the next generation. And if you wanted to join in on that, we'll, that would be really helpful. Please pitch in to make the world less miserable.

And Don't Forget To Be Awesome.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
So for a while Ghost and I had been having this problem where, since he is on reddit a lot and sees a lot of reportage on Donald Trump which he finds hilarious, and I have this thing where Donald Trump and incompetence in public service makes me annoyed and irritated, he had been telling me several things a day which he thought were funny and I thought were irritating to the point of slowly enraging. And it was slowly sensitizing me until every time I heard Trump's name I wanted to set something on fire. Fortunately I was able to identify this mis-gearing and limit his Trumpism communications down to a point where it no longer automatically makes me grind my teeth in an agony of frustration. Hurray for communication and foresight.

I went to the Dallas Arboretum on the 7th and bought seeds. I bought plants for the front flower pots so now I have an oregano, a chrysanthemum, a lantana, and a salvia in addition to the mint and catnip and aloe. I had the spoons to buy and plant them because I have had a couple more spoons per day since about a week and a half after starting the new vitamin regimen. Which reminds me that I need to get more PQQ. So yay for all of that.

One of my coworkers died over the weekend. She was very young. I don't know if she had a stroke or if she was a suicide or what happened, but it is a tragedy any way you look at it.

Life is, as always, a mixture of good and bad things. Hold tight to what is precious, and lift up your joys.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

I take the aspie quiz every five years or so, just to see how my progress is. My current score isn't as different from the last one as the last one was from the first one, so the rate of change has slowed a bit since I'm not actively studying human social interaction any more. I think since I pass as neurotypical in almost all social interactions now, I don't put as much desperate energy into studying and practicing and honing my skills at socializing. I now have points on both interaction scales, enough to get by. I don't feel hounded any more. I can rest.

In other news, I have been writing poems. I hope to have one done later tonight and posted in a couple of days.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

I used to be poor when I was a kid. Not that I'm not poor now, but there was this whole stint I did in the middle class during high school. Anyway. Once upon a time we lived on food stamps and my mom used to not eat so she could afford to buy us clothes. Some of our neighbors had that hard-bitten look like even getting enough to eat couldn't ease the strain of constant worry from thinning them down to the bone, from working their fingers to the bone, from being made of bones that rattled in fear and anger.

There was a lot of anger, when I was poor. Being wrong is a thing you can afford when there's always enough to eat. When you can't afford it, no one can admit to being wrong because then it's your fault that someone doesn't get to eat, or have gas money to get to work, or ...

Being poor is eating a lot of shame. It's being constantly defensive against any sign of unworthiness, because you have so little respect afforded to you that any loss is a significant blow. Being poor is not being able to afford to take a risk with your own self-respect rather than dismissing someone else's. Being poor is doubling down on being wrong because you can't lose face, when your public face is so much of what you have that can't be stolen or traded or sold off in ever-leaner times.

Being poor is eating a lot of mac 'n cheese, and being eaten by worry. Having all of your free mental time taken up with deciding which of four important things gets the next dollar doesn't leave a lot of room for creative problem solving. Poverty is like that. Shame is like that. It limits the scope of what you can achieve by making every decision perilous. Even long after you are no longer living in poverty, you still live inside the shape of it like a bonsai tree that doesn't understand the field it's been planted in. You have no concept of the world outside of the hand-to-mouth existence that has consumed you.

Poverty teaches you that something is wrong with you. It holds you up to a yardstick and if you're not tall enough, it chops your feet off so that you know that you deserve to never measure up. I knew people who worked sixty hours a week to afford to live in a trailer park. They weren't allowed to be angry at their bosses for underpaying them, so they were angry at their kids for needing things. Angry at their spouses for being disabled. Poverty is seething resentment that you can't measure up, and that nobody you know can measure up either, and looking down on all of you rather than breaking the yardstick you can't reach.

Poverty answers all the big questions in your life with "you can't afford the answer." So you keep being wrong. So you keep blaming yourself, and keep being easy to shame and underpay and control through fear and anger.

And it's fucking disgusting that there are people who believe that poverty is a thing that should exist.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
There are a lot of me in my head, all of the different pieces that make up the larger Heidi network, and they comminucate with each other. Some of them talk in words, and some in pictures, and some in sensory feelings, and some in emotional feelings, and some in triggered memory comparisons. There may be other ways that they talk but I should probably start to keep track of who talks in which language before I am going to be able to figure out more nuances of this.

Fixing Mechanical Things!Heidi talks in visual/spatial language and animated .gif segments to show working parts.

Linguistic!Heidi, Hyper-rational!Heidi, and Careful Negotiator!Heidi all talk verbally; Pun!Heidi, Analyzing!Heidi and Literate!Heidi mostly talk in printed words.

Feelings! Heidi talks in body-feelings and emotion-feelings (which are similar to body-feelings?). Hard to describe. Decision!Heidi talks in body-feelings and proportions.

Math!Heidi talks in proportions, visual/spatial, and body-feelings.

In other news, I stayed home today because I got maybe 3 1/2 hrs of bad sleep and I feel alternately fragile and then hate everything, then like feelings are not a thing that exists, and then drifty and in pain and and clumsy. It's like being in high school all over again.
flamingsword: Graphic that says "Life Is Kinda Goofy." with an unsmiling emoji. (Life is Goofy)
So analyzing the filters through which I have been thinking about how I think my thoughts and all of the Sea of Doubt stuff is churning up my waters, and revealing some interesting landscape at the bottom of this particular stretch of my personal ocean. It's wild. It has been a few years since I have done anything truly outside the realm of rational understanding because of my issues, or had a disagreement with someone that goes beyond the norms of misunderstanding. And for the sake of accuracy, I like to keep my view of myself updated to prevent huge gaps in seeing myself not as others see me. I want to think of myself as not being crazy, and as being reasonably good with people, but it feels wrong.

So I have conflicting impulses. I was crazy and bad with people for the parts of my adolescence that I still remember as well as I remember five years ago, and those memories don't ever seem to recede, so I have identified with "crazy" all these years. Twenty feels so much longer ago than thirteen, and I can't describe why or how. So I can explain why it feels wrong to think of myself as this new thing even though the old identity still feels true, even though I am not desperate anymore, but I also feel like I need to be accurate and valid and rational to upkeep this tradition I now have of getting better. I used to do it because if I didn't someone was going to get dead and chances were only about 50/50 that it would be me. Now I have continued doing it because I like it and it makes the world better and it makes me feel strong. So I want to change, and this sort of identity matrix reassignment used to be a lot easier, but now it's been getting harder the last few times. Is this what getting set in your ways feels like? This barrier to plastic change? I know that it is setting in much later for me than for other people, and that this kind of change is still as easy as it is in other ways is possibly only because I am on the autism spectrum and we get a neuroplasticity bonus. But still. Bleh.

Normally I would think about what kind of thoughts I would have if I were that new person, and model the new behavior, and see if it took off organically just by jump starting the formation of neural pathways. This time I don't know if that will be enough, so if you have any ideas, things you have tried (even if they didn't work), or things you have heard of working for other people, hit me in comments?

[EDIT TO ADD: I asked my friendslist over on Facebook and among the many suggestions, one of my programmer friends helpfully pointed out that I am trying to batch process what would probably yield better results being broken down into discrete problems and processed serially. Which is amazingly accurate, and demonstrates two of my better problem solving skills: keep a diverse group of friends and ask for help when you are confused. Maintaining relationships with more than one type of person might be a lot of work, but it keeps you grounded and human. And people tell you to ask for help when you need it, but they never tell you when you'll need it, so just ask whenever there is a problem that might yield to different perspectives.]
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
I'm gonna clue some folks in to the fact that I have returned to blogging again but moved over here, because a good quarter of the utility of this is having other people to comment on stuff and being able to talk my head out with people who have fucks to give about you. It's a very rewarding feeling. And now that I have been in fandom for several years, I think I am better at posting comments to other people's stuff now, too. No more lingering "am I bothering people?" feels or awkward ""what do they want to hear?" mindreading attempts. So if you guys want to jump back into blogging, I promise to talk to you about your headspace and offer color commentary.

So let's start by transcribing some paper journal notes and thoughts from places, to get back into the swing of things. I'll make sure anonymous commenting is on so if anyone drops by and reads this you can ask me to blog about random questions you have or whatnot.

dated April 2015

After a recent neurology diagnosis and topamax prescription I have a lot more available brainpower and somewhat more energy. This coincided with N--- and S--- encountering some major relationship friction and S--- going to stat with their mother for a weekend to give the relationship space. Since N--- has gone to a psychiatrist for medication but not to a psychologist or talk therapist, I thought this was a good time to introduce therapy journalling as a way of easing him and S--- into a couples-oriented mindfulness experience.

I will be collecting prompts, exercises, and storytelling experiences to begin with and moving on to using my own meditations on our conversational directions to reach into the unexplored venues after the basic territory is covered. Since much of the good of journalling is simply prolonged thought and encouragement to consider a subject from many perspectives, I am studying prompts on the internet and in people's therapy homework to provide a wider, more useful perspective than mine.

flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
Ghost and I had a conversation about TV shows that hit my embarrassment squick and why, and I came to some realizations trying to explain it to him. I can watch Community with no problems, only have passing blushes for Coupling, Big Bang Theory with some serious squirming, can no longer watch It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and can't do even the first episode of Parks and Recreation without feeling like I am going to die of squicky shame.

And here's why: when other characters accept and deal with a socially inept character's quirks and faux pas it reminds me of how my life is now (post-social anxiety) and when they look at the inept character like they're crazy, ostracize or berate the character with no understanding or acceptance, it reminds me of having social anxieties based out of wanting so desperately to not be terrible at relating and connecting to people. And failing. )
I think that's why almost all Aspie females have social anxiety issues. We grow up with this expectation for us to be able to get along, and we're taught to judge ourselves and accept negative judgments from others based on that Procrustean metric. We're not socially inept, we're rude bitches; we're not disabled, there's something wrong with us. If we can't do it right even when we're trying so hard then we must only have the power to hurt, and should never try to have friends. It warps the way we see ourselves until we have a crippled sense of our own agency. That's what an embarrassment squick is for me. My feelings of powerlessness are still there even if I'm not that person anymore.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Archaeology)
I'm taking a look at shame and other bullshit class issues I've given headspace to, trying to understand why I've had them and how that informs my opinion of American class structure and the Occupy movement. The internet does not desegregate the older generations, but maybe there's hope for the current generation growing up in online culture; maybe the internet can cross class lines enough for them to see each other across the gap.

When I was a kid I had the usual horse-madness that descends on so many little girls, but you might not be able to tell beside the larger and more obvious obsession with dolphins )

This is all background to the real point of this essay: if I can't trust a rich member of my own family to buy me an appropriate birthday present for my circumstances, how can I, as an American, trust the rich upper class to know the circumstances of the poor or best judge their welfare?
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Aeon sad)
I have weather veins.
They are especially sensitive
to dust storms and hurricanes.
When I am nervous my teeth chatter
like a wheelbarrow collecting rain.
I am rusty when I talk.
It’s the storm in me.

- - Andrea Gibson - -

* I used to be so afraid to talk, so afraid that I would say the wrong thing, and try to fix it by saying another wrong thing, say all of the wrong things inside me, dams against the words I meant never to say all bursting across the silences that I cultivated between me and everyone who absolutely was not allowed to know how broken and horrible I was. Words breaking in and giving meaning to the silences I walled in around my ability to care about my inability to see myself. Eventually the humidity would get too high, and there was a slow condensation that dripped bits of my truth out to me safely, but I knew that disaster was never far from the first word. I feared the power of words, because its hard for me to lie, and because the act of speaking calls up the truth in me. Erica Jong says, "How can I know what I think until I see what I say?" I feel truthsome tonight; I'd better start talking and let my words out before they backlog. )
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
How much do you write fanfiction in your head? When you're reading a story or watching a movie, does your imagination fill in missing details and add depth to characters? Where does that skill come from?

We don't experience other people the way they are, and we know that. We experience them as characters in the story we're watching unfold. And even though we know that they're more complex than what we can see, we can only construct them in our heads from external signals that we interpret through our understanding of the world. And while our translation might be faithful to the events and reactions we watched, we know there's more to the story than what we're seeing. So we write possible scenarios for our acquaintances until one makes sense. And then we have a richer understanding of that person. Because we write fanfiction about real life.

I have a relationship with books that movies and tv shows can't live up to. My brain is just wired for books, i guess. And in the fanfiction community that's possibly the norm instead of the deviation. Bookworms write because we love the written word. But there are other kinds of fan, and all fanship is valid. So. Which do you prefer: the book or the movie?

Posted via LjBeetle
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
I'm less introspective when I'm busy. And I have been busy for the last two months. But here are the things I've figured out lately: a, I only hyperfocus in response to a condition I'm trying to escape; b, I like books and reading better than movies because my imagination is more entertaining than visually processing the same story and the book TELLS me what people are feeling so the facial guesswork is not so heavy; c, I really like having a smartphone; and d, either my coworkers are easily impressed or my attitude toward fixing things is unusual.

I like to at least take a look at something broken before it becomes someone else's problem. I am not satisfied calling in help until I've ruled out the reasonable expectation of being able to fix it. Is that so very gung ho?

Posted via LjBeetle
flamingsword: None can take the stars who do not reach. (Take The Stars)
When Xenoix left me his trial pack of 10 Lexapro (10 mg each) it was in case I got into an irredeemable funk. Some time before Thanksgiving I decided that since no combination of OTC meds was working for me without accidental glutening, I was going to swallow my pride and formulate a plan to try to get out of the funk as swiftly and safely as possible.

I consulted Crazy Meds (which is a great site BTW) and decided to split the pills into 5mg doses per their recommendation. I decided to not tell most of my friends because it makes y'all worry unnecessarily. (I am a hyper-rational control freak about my brain. Seriously, I'm not letting anything happen to it.)

Halfway through the trial period I set a time to make a decision about going to a doctor and asking for a prescription. I decided to wean off instead, and it took me about 28 days to take those 10 pills. I'm going to go back to the 5HTP and SAM-e as upkeep hoping that, with my brain kicked out of the funk, maintenance doses will be sufficient. And this time I'm staying on them indefinitely. No more thinking, "I'm *better* now, my life will surely never be so stressful that my brain derails like it's riding AMTRAK!" That's what got me into this mess.

PROS: I didn't miss a day of work while I was on it for any reason other than being actually sick. I do feel better, and was even occasionally joyous the last few weeks. I got a lot done and all presents pretty much sorted except one. I had really good mental and emotional clarity by the end of the second week. If that's what feeling normal is like then I am considering enviousness. No weight gain or freaky side effects.

CONS: Headaches from clenching my teeth at night, multiple. Soreness and muscle tension on waking, infrequent. ACNE! Mild insomnia the first few days, and vicious insomnia on withdrawal - hopefully over now.

My brain, you guys: It's not always sharp, but it's never dull.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Dr. Reid)
"Is there any place you know well enough to walk around blindfolded? Someplace that you know the landscape of intimately, the smells and hazards and denizens? That's how well I know self-hatred." -me

I have said before that I perceive my emotional landscape as a literal landscape, that it has geography and space and structure. That it has blind alleys, underwater caves, and the haunted, submerged ruins of the unconscious, full of treasure and danger. But I never told you what that was like because I figured that some other people perceived things in a similar way. A friend pointed out to me this week that he's never heard of that perspective. He just HAS emotions, he knows what they are and they make sense to him; he isn't concerned about where they come from. Never having that instinctive knowledge of myself made me tinker with everything until I had a framework I understood, and what stuff did I really understand? At the time I was good at dream logic, mechanical things, and architecture. So that was how I framed my inner universe. (Yes, the movie Inception does feel achingly familiar to me.)

Everything begins at awareness. It is the single point from which all parts of the self flow and it is the point that flows along all parts of the self. When we think that everything is relative, what we mean is that our attention and awareness are what everything is relative to.

So I'm paying attention to myself, and mapping pathways out in the streets of confusion and subway tubes of anger and space stations of curiosity. I'm laying out my internal life on post-it notes, and when I'm done you'll be able to rummage around in my headspace. Don't I just have the most cheerful projects?
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Dr. Reid)
It wasn't the first energy trade that Doug and I did (I looked it up- the timing's wrong) but maybe it was one of the secondary ones when we were doing reiki training. Trading large chunks of energy with other people can cause odd behavior pattern shifts, out-of-character thoughts and feelings, as you experience some of that person's pattern. Doug and I used to do that to understand each other better.

I was having a frustrating and difficult day at work. I walked into the break room between clients, and Yvonne was there counting out her tip money to log it before she left. She had a lot more in tips than I had been making that day and I felt this odd sensation of anger and something I'm not familiar with. It felt a little like helplessness and the kind of wanting that makes your chest ache and a lot like I was going to be sick. I think it was jealousy. From how it's been described, it sounds a lot like it. And I was in a defensive, insecure place professionally where someone who had better social skills but worse therapeutic skills was doing better than I was, so the situation was right for it to be jealousy. I'm not sure what else it could be, so I'm just going to label it jealousy even though it's a singular experience with no referent. It really sucked.

I am glad I am not fully human. From an emotional standpoint, I have a lot less invested in the feelings I do have and I have fewer emotions than you do in most situations. Unless I am actively engaged in liking or objecting to something, I probably have no emotional reaction to it. In contrast to what I perceive your existence to be like, it is very easy for me to be logical under circumstances where other people think that logic does not apply. If that was jealousy and most of you experience that on any kind of regular basis, then I understand a lot more of the completely irrational things people do to stop feeling that way. I have empathy for it now, or sympathy, or something like one of those where I have the memory of a feeling I can't even explain. I have made bad decisions when I was in pain before, and that would be a difficult pain to get used to.


Apr. 26th, 2010 08:23 pm
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (awkward)
Over on her journal, [livejournal.com profile] cluegirl has been talking about bullying, and the need for speaking the controversy.

Bullying is a system of subtly interlocking actions and beliefs that people have about the world which influence their perceptions about power and control. Bullies all have parents who use pain or the threat of force to control them. Always. Spanking and physical/emotional intimidation mean power to them from the time that they're toddlers, and that makes pain the natural way for them to seek control in later situations. They don't turn to bribery and social maneuvering the way normal children do, so they don't develop those skills 'til much later. As humans, we identify with our tools, even the emotional ones. Making deals with someone means that we are the kind of person who makes deals, we own that and identify with that sense of agency and the problem-solving that it implies. Hitting someone makes us someone who hits, and we identify with violence. If our development has arrested at that earlier point, before social bargaining, we do not develop the tools that others identify with until much later, so we spend our formative years identifying with using force to get what we want.

As we develop moral reasoning, we develop justifications for the things that we do. I never had the will to power, so I had no reason to build up the layers of moral justification and the necessary ethos to carry on hurting people once I had other ways to do things. Others were not lucky enough to be my kind of broken. I only had ethical problems with fighting once I got scared of myself and what I might do, and that wasn't until junior high. Before then fighting had no moral component for me. It had nothing to do with being mean, and in fact sometimes those were mutually exclusive. People who wanted to beat me up were sometimes not actually mean to me and vice versa. And some of the meanest bullies never tried to hit me at all. The worst of them just belittled me for being white trash, a clumsy loser, and a freak.
(Dominica McCarthy: I remember you. I have no more shame to paralyze me, and I'm no longer afraid of harsh words. Dread my return.)

Starting when I was 4, I used to pick fights with bullies. )

That's my perception of the bullying that had happened to me. What I think should be done about it is going to be a whole other post.
flamingsword: None can take the stars who do not reach. (Take The Stars)
... wherein I have bruised my shins on the hidden coffee table that is my judgments about myself.

The black body behavior of my emotions and desires seems to be that I can only tell what's going on when the system is in a high stress/high energy state. Since under normal circumstances I have no clear vision of my wants or feelings, I have to repeatedly subject myself to periods of high excitation in order to keep any kind of self-knowledge going on. I feel like I need to do drugs again. :(

To create new goals and stress-test my system, I've been working on THE LIST by reading whatt I wrote down in last year's day-planner + notebook + yellow legal pad that went along with the end of last year. It's fucking with my head. The number of things I forget in a month's time is appalling to me for a number of reasons. Let me enumerate them. )

I base a lot of my feelings of value in my use of my mind. This is terrifying to me.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen to you.

Just got back from the memorial service for Albert, saw many faces that I remember the beta version of. There were recitations of poems and a song, and a couple of laptops with a picture slideshow. I talked a little at a podium about what Al had meant to me, listened to others talk about him, too. Last entry there were the stories, but this time there is how Albert made me feel. )

Carolyn spent the night at my place last night, crashed out on the futon. We had port and told crazy stories and caught up. I got more in touch with the good-feelings side of the loss, but that just made the loss sharper today. I'll take the win for feeling my feelings, though.


flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

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