Monthly Archives: May 2012

30 Days of Truth: Day 18–Gay Marriage

Your Views on Gay Marriage

I am going to talk about an issue tangentially related to gay marriage, my views on sexuality. Because, at the core, I think that’s what this topic is really about–how one views sexual identity. People who oppose gay marriage usually do so because they see homosexuality as inherently wrong or sinful. Those who don’t oppose it generally view homosexuality as a natural inclination some people have.

During my senior year of college, I thought a lot about my sexual orientation. I’ve never had a significant other, either boy or girl. Then I wondered if I was straight because I was conditioned to be straight or if I was naturally straight.

I concluded that there are degrees. I don’t think most people are 100% straight or 100% gay. Some people might be because they were conditioned that way. Others are naturally that way. But I think most people are bisexual, but not necessarily in an equal way. For instance, I think I might be 60% straight and 40% gay, or perhaps 70%/30%. (I would never admit this to anyone in real life, as most people I know would be mortified.) I am more attracted to men than I am to women, but occasionally I can be attracted to a woman as well.

For me, though, I don’t think gender is that big of a deal. I would fall in love with someone because of their mind and personality, not because of their appearance. Don’t get me wrong–I would appreciate their appearance. But I find that people seem to become more physically attractive the more attractive their other aspects are. And vice versa–if someone has a repulsive personality, that person becomes physically ugly to me even if they’re objectively good-looking.

This is probably a long way of saying I support gay marriage, just as I support straight marriage. I really don’t care. I grew up in (and continue to live in) conservative country, and some people I know would conclude that no one would support gay marriage unless they were gay themselves. This makes no sense to me. It’s like saying no one would care about racial equality unless they were a member of another race. With many people, that simply is not the case. I don’t have to have the characteristics of a population group to support their rights.

Some people like to use the Bible to argue that homosexuality is a sin. There are many other rules in the Bible, however, that society no longer follows. And people can twist the Bible into making it say what they want. In the past, people used the Bible to support slavery and racism. Some people continue to use it to argue for a more traditional division of gender roles.

I could say more about this subject, but I suppose that would belong in the next day of truth, the one about religion or politics. (Guess which one I’ll be talking about? Ha.)

(P.S. I am going on another one of those visiting my family trips for the next two weeks. If I don’t seem to be on here, that’s why. That and my inability to focus in general.)

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Self-Pity

I don’t know what to say. I haven’t had anything to say for what feels like forever. My mind is a blank. I can’t focus on much of anything for too long. The only activities it seems I can engage in are watching TV and playing mindless Bingo on Facebook. I spend a lot of time just sitting and staring.

So, why am I calling this post “self-pity”? It stems from a thought I had a couple of days ago, one I feel (or felt) I need to express. But now I’m not sure what to say.

I’ve been feeling guilty about everything. Any time I speak, I feel guilty, like I’m bothering people and need to stick with myself. This blog makes me feel guilty. Yet despite the guilt, here I am writing in it.

I’ve been feeling this ominous sensation that I shouldn’t even have this blog. It’s a mistake. It’s wrong for me to talk about such personal matters to people on the Internet. It’s presumptuous of me to even think someone wants to read it. Deep down, I just feel like I’m doing something wrong.

I’ve been wallowing in bouts of self-pity. Especially yesterday. These intrusive thoughts keep coming, disrupting my life, overpowering anything that’s going on in the real world. No one likes you anyway, they say. And even if they do, it’s just barely. No one likes you. If they do, it’s a lukewarm liking. Everyone here at work wishes that someone–anyone–other than you was in your position. They know you’re incompetent. They’re always thinking that someone would do things better than you.

You know what you’re supposed to do. But you’re a coward. You’ve known it for years. The world doesn’t need you. You’ll always be alone. Few if any friends. Certainly no one you can share personal stuff with. No one wants to know about that shit. If you tell them, they’ll find you contemptible. And certainly no one will ever love you, not the way that you crave. You’re too standoffish, and I can’t be anything other than what I am.

You see what a fat-ass you are? Wow, you might’ve lost five pounds! That’s still five over the amount you’d said you’d never let yourself get to. You’ll never lose it. Look at yourself in the mirror. Disgusting. Oh, you want to go make yourself feel better by finding some chocolate or fast food somewhere? No, you idiot. You’ll get those five pounds right back again. It takes dedication, dedication, to lose. But what’s the point? I’ll always be fat. Maybe I prefer to be fat. It’s one more way I can repel people.

No one really cares how you are. Don’t ever answer that question truthfully. Keep everything a secret. One slip-up will be an egregious mistake.

I keep feeling urges to cut. But I don’t think I’ll act on them. For some reason, I feel like cutting, though, would prove something to myself.

An idea occurred to me a few days ago. I realized that I’ve had a propensity to pick at hangnails ever since I can remember. I try to make them bigger. Would that be a more benign form of self-harm? Or am I overthinking it?

Well, I’m going to the doctor soon. Hopefully I’ll be able to settle the thyroid question then.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue having a blank mind that alternates with frantic self-pitying thoughts. At least, that seems to be the status quo at the moment.

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30 Days of Truth: Day 17–Into the Wild

A Book You’ve Read That Has Changed Your Views on Something

It’s hard to explain this one.  Into the Wild was on my summer reading list for my junior year of high school. In our class discussion, two polarized groups formed–those who admired Chris McCandless and those who thought he was dumb. I was part of the former.

Jon Krakauer’s book is nonfiction. In it, Chris McCandless journeys across the USA after he graduates with distinction from Emory University. His road trip is no ordinary one: he gives up all of his money and stops all communication with his family. (Now that I’m older, this latter action sounds a bit cruel. But I understand it. If his family had known what he was doing, they probably would’ve stopped him.) At first he drives, but later he hitchhikes. He depends on others’ kindness and his resourcefulness to survive.

Finally, McCandless decides to venture into the wilderness somewhere in Alaska. He thinks he’s prepared himself for survival, but he doesn’t make it. He struggles with malnutrition and eventually dies from eating something poisonous.

Did this book speak to the idealist in me, or did it spark the development of the idealist in me? I would say that perhaps a bit of both happened. This story is appealing because it shows someone refusing to fit into society’s standards in order to seek self-fulfillment. Many of us probably wish we had the ability to act similarly to McCandless–that is, shirk society and focus on satisfying our heart’s calling.

Back then, I wished I had the audacity to follow in McCandless’s footsteps, to have my own adventures and pursue personal goals. It was not a matter of selfishly doing only what I wanted but of doing what felt right for me. And in doing that, I would impact others’ lives, just as McCandless made an impression on those he met.

Even though I may not disassociate myself from society, I try to find what self-fulfillment I can while I’m in it. That is why, in college, I majored in English rather than a more “practical” discipline. That is why I read and watch films–to appreciate how art speaks to the human condition. Other books as well as some movies have also deeply impacted me. I feel like they speak to a piece of my soul; I feel like they catalyze the growth of a piece of my soul. That is why I write fiction–self-fulfillment. In a way, it’s also present in many of my blog entries. I express aspects of my soul. And just as others’ writings affect me, I like to think that what I write could speak to some individuals, producing an effect on them.

Into the Wild has also influenced the contents of my creative writing itself. I enjoy writing stories in which people meet just once and form a connection with each other. There are other books I’ve read in which such scenarios have happened, so Into the Wild isn’t alone in this regard. When I’ve let people read these sorts of stories I’ve written, they’ve derided them as unrealistic. But I am an idealist, and as an idealist, I like to think that such encounters are possible.

I am a romantic, and that’s what gives me hope.

(Image of the book cover is from here.)

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Belief and Focus

I feel like I’ve hit a wall with my therapist. She’s normally pretty good, but the last few sessions don’t seem to have helped me go anywhere. She sits and waits for me to start talking, but I don’t have anything to say other than wanting to work on my self-esteem. Then the same conversation happens again and again.

I have a problem connecting feeling to knowledge.  I objectively know why I shouldn’t hate myself, but I feel like I should hate myself. I can’t make it stop. I tell my therapist this, and she glibly replies that she’s already given me the key to that. I simply have to make a decision to believe that I’m valuable, and then I will.

No, it doesn’t work like that. I can already abstractly decide that I should believe that. Nope. I still don’t believe it. Maybe it works with her other clients, but not me. Why should I even think I’m that special? It’s not that. It’s just that I can’t operate the way she’s telling me to, and she won’t give me any other solutions.

So I tell her that I can’t believe it unless I feel it, too, and she says that belief and feeling don’t always intersect. I don’t have to feel something to believe it. I don’t know about other people, but I do have to feel something to believe it. I will not believe something unless my feeling corresponds with that belief. It might not always be feeling per se, more like instinct, but the point is there’s an intangible quality besides the rational that plays into it for me.

And as she did before, she says “Really?” in her stupid disbelieving voice. That is not something that’s hard to believe. Even if she’s pretending like it is so that I’ll “change,” it won’t work. I don’t want to be indulged just to get me to where I want to be. And if she doesn’t think that’s possible and that I’m making stuff up, or erroneously describing my mind, I’m offended. I am a very self-aware person. I know what my mind does.

In other news, I’ve been feeling unable to focus for the last two to three weeks. Last time I went to the psychiatrist, she increased my dose of Prozac from 40 mg to 60 mg. I also take Wellbutrin SR (100 mg twice a day) and Seroquel (100 mg at dinnertime). Out of these, I’ve been taking the Wellbutrin the longest, a little over two years. I know I’m on a low dose, but it’s been working for me.

At first I thought my inability to focus was a temporary thing, but it doesn’t seem to be going away. (In fact, the only time I’ve actually been able to fully focus was when I had the oh-so-brilliant idea of pulling a fingernail out of its bed.)

Some context might be needed here. When the big break began, I found myself unable to concentrate on my work. I thought it was probably temporary and subsequently spent two years not being able to focus. I could produce a semblance of work, so my lack of focus wasn’t noticeable, but I could feel it. And the further I got into graduate studies, the more I found myself unable to focus on my tasks. Professors who read my prose could tell that I had good ideas but wasn’t able to express them. Since writing had always been somewhat natural to me (in fact, the only activity that gave me any modicum of self-esteem), this was especially difficult. Plus, I was in the English field, where writing is a necessary skill.

I’ve mentioned this once before, but it bears repeating here. As soon as I started taking Wellbutrin in January of 2010, I found myself able to focus again. I cannot express how overjoyed this made me. It’s probably what gave me the most hope at that time.

Now for the present time, my first thought was that maybe I needed a higher dose of Wellbutrin. Then perhaps I would be able to focus again. I contemplated taking an extra 100 mg pill a day to see what would happen. (Don’t worry, I won’t do that.)

Then I wondered if the increase in Prozac somehow neutralized that aspect of the Wellbutrin.

Or there could be any number of chemical interactions involved.

Does anyone have a theory about why I would be unable to concentrate now? I’m tempted to call the psychiatrist and ask about it and/or make an appointment to talk about it, but calling to make an appointment earlier than my scheduled one makes me feel guilty for some reason. Besides, it’s probably not a big deal.

But I have been spending inordinate amounts of time simply sitting and staring. I can tell my writing isn’t as good as I’m capable of making it. I’m struggling to find the words. I don’t feel connected to them as I usually do when I express myself.

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