Monthly Archives: June 2012

20 . . . Er, 11 Questions, No, I Mean 22, Or Perhaps 33

The Quiet Borderline and Hello Sailor have chosen me in a game of tag! Here are the rules:

1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post.
3. Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
4. Tag (eleven) people with a link to your post.
5. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

Here are the The Quiet Borderline’s questions with my answers:

1. Do you collect anything? When I was a kid, I collected teddy bears. I don’t think I collect anything now, unless you count my ever growing piles of books. Oh, and I have hundreds of movies in both my instant and DVD Netflix queues.

2. How did you meet your best friend? I met her when I was a freshman in college. We lived on the same floor in the dorms.

3. What do you do when you do not blog? I’m a writing tutor and adjunct instructor at a local community college. I read a lot and watch all sorts of movies. Sometimes I write fiction, too.

4. Have you ever been to Mexico? No.

5. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money? Jump up and down with joy. Buy myself a house. Indulge myself in my lifelong dream to write full-time. Give some to other family members. Save a lot of it, and probably give some to charity.

6. What is on your bucket list (i.e. what do you still need/want to do before you die)? There are a lot of books I’d like to read first. I think there’ll always be more than I can actually read, though. I’d like to finish my novels and have them published (and hopefully read).

7. What is your favorite drink? Diet Dr. Pepper. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you guys this. 😉

8. Do you have a bad habit? If yes, what is it? I have a lot of bad habits. I’m never completely still. Sometimes I feel compelled to grind my teeth. I tend to put things in my mouth and chew on them when I’m thinking. Mostly pens, but I’ve done it with other stuff, too. The other day, I found myself chewing on the end of my flash drive.

9. What was your favorite class in school? English.

10. Why is the place where you live perfect for you? I don’t think it is, really. I live in conservative-ville, and I’m a bleeding liberal. I like my job, and I guess the people I meet are nice. I do like that my parents live a few hours a way. It’s not too long of a way to go to visit for holidays, but it is long enough so that I don’t have to run into family members all the time.

11. Do you have a swimming pool? (If yes, can I come visit?) No.

Here are my answers to Hello Sailor’s questions:

1. Do you think you could survive a zombie apocalypse and if so what would be your weapon of choice? Probably not. The only way I’d be able to survive would be by flying under the radar. My weapon would be my brain. Although I think it would be fun to use a crossbow.

2. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? I think that would make me feel kind of sick. I’d have to choose something not overly flavorful yet nourishing. Bread, perhaps?

3. Do you think Noah had woodpeckers on the ark? If he did, where did he keep them? The woodpeckers didn’t need to be on the ark; they were able to fly. They landed on top of other animals once in a while when they needed to rest their wings.

4. If space flight was affordable, would you go, just because you could? Perhaps. It would make me a bit nervous, but sounds fun and interesting.

5. Would you very kindly draw me a picture of a bird and post it on your blog so I can add to my collection? I drew a picture of a bird. You’ll find it in this post. You might not want it in your collection, though. As Dotty might say, my drawing skills are shite.

6. Do you think unicorns exist? No. They didn’t make it on to the ark. As this T-shirt I own will show you.

7. Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard? Were there razors in the jungle? Maybe Tarzan isn’t really a man. He’s a woman. Or an extraterrestrial.

8. How old do you think you would be if you didn’t know how old you are? I would be the same age as I am now, obviously. Just because I don’t know how old I am doesn’t change the amount of time I’ve been on this earth.

9. Will you be joining me on my boat when I win the lottery? Of course! What better way to live than to be on the MFF cruise?

10. What makes you, you? I make me me. Maybe God does, too. And I wouldn’t exist without my parents.

11. Did you like my questions? Yes, they were interesting to think about and amusing.

Here are the 11 I tag:

The Quiet Borderline

Hello Sailor

As the Pendulum Swings

Through My Eye: Adventures in Borderline Land

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Mm172001

Seasons Change, and So Have I

Voices of Glass

Melancholically Manic Mouse

Nothinginmynoggin

Magicallymad

I know some of you have been tagged before, but I’m curious about your answers to my questions. I’m not asking you to do the entire challenge again, lol.

Here are my questions:

1) What is the one insect you absolutely can’t stand?

2) Which fictional world(s) do you wish were real?

3) Who is your favorite President/Prime Minister/Monarch/Whoever Has Been in Charge of Your Country in history?

4) If you were forced to be on a reality show, which one would you go on, and why?

5) What is the one feature that your dream house must possess?

6) What is your guilty musical pleasure?

7) What do you think is the most disgusting food?

8) Do you smile with or without showing your teeth?

9) Do you believe that there are aliens in the universe?

10) Choose your own adventure books–yay or nay?

(Guess what gave me my wonderful idea.)

11) What is the funniest thing that has happened to you today?

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I Just Had a Wonderful Idea!

I was working on my questions for the tagging game, and one of my questions spawned an interesting idea. (You’ll see which one when I post that entry a bit later tonight.) It’s . . . wait for it . . . a choose your own adventure blog!

I did a cursory Google search to see how many other ones exist. I found a couple that had stories with links you click around on, like choose-your-own adventure books. My concept, however, is a bit different.

Here’s how it might work:

I’ll write a story in installments. I’ll include a poll at the end of the story with several options for what comes next. Either in the poll or the comments themselves, people can suggest other alternatives for where the story goes. If I do the former, then I’ll choose one of the options if I like it best. If the latter, then people can click thumbs up for ideas they like. The problem is I’d like people to vote without being influenced by what others seem to be voting for . . .

I’ll update the story every four days or so. There’ll be a time period set. I might even have people suggest characters in the beginning or vote on which characters they’d like to see.

Another issue is I think such a story will need to be light-hearted/comedic, and those are not my forte. So maybe it’s a crappy idea.

I’d also need readers, obviously, for this to work. So I’m testing the waters. I leave you with a poll for the moment.

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Asperger’s-ish

This morning, I had a therapist appointment. Unfortunately, I was too tired to articulate what I wanted to talk about, which was namely, what I’ve been lately writing about here. I think I was too sleepy to get much benefit.

Toward the end of our session, the therapist got on her computer and looked at some of my records. She mentioned that latest pdoc had written that I had never had a formal evaluation at the facility. Then the therapist asked about 2nd pdoc, and I replied that all I did was talk to him for ten seconds and get prescriptions. After that, she said, “I talked to 2nd pdoc about you a couple of times; I know he was trying to help you.” I replied, “I don’t doubt that, but that still doesn’t change that I met with him for only about ten seconds.”

The therapist then scrolled up to the beginning of my records and stated that 1st pdoc had given me an evaluation. My records listed some of my issues and social history. She asked me about that, and I said I didn’t think I could have had a thorough evaluation in ten seconds. She responded that it had to be more than ten seconds for him to get all that information. Well, okay, I said, but I still don’t think I had a thorough evaluation. I didn’t mention that latest pdoc had commented that 1st pdoc doesn’t really  do effective evaluations. Latest pdoc had said it in a nice and tactful way, but that’s what she’d expressed. I didn’t want my therapist to think that latest pdoc was badmouthing 1st pdoc, so I stuck to remarking that I was dissatisfied with 1st pdoc.

She then shrugged and commented, essentially, “Well, okay; I don’t know what you’re expecting for there to be in an evaluation.”

I said nothing about this; I had become so annoyed at my therapist at that point that I’d tuned out and begun behaving apathetically.  I really had zero interest in what she was talking about, and I had no idea why she’d suddenly decided to scan my records and ask me about them. This was not what I wanted to be talking about, not at all.

Her final comment, however, offended me. I am pretty sure that my evaluation with first pdoc was subpar. During the initial appointment, I’d even brought up diagnoses and asked when we would talk about them. He’d just brushed me off. How does my therapist know what my evaluation with 1st pdoc was like?! She wasn’t there!

I knew that I was overreacting, but I still felt like I’d been attacked. Like she doubted the validity of my experiences and opinions. I may have little self-esteem, but I still trust my intelligence. I’m still stubborn.

One interesting thing she told me, though, was that latest pdoc had written that I seemed Asperger’s-ish. This makes me even more confident in latest pdoc. AN has told me that she thinks I have may Asperger’s. Internet tests are usually on the fence about the possibility of me having Asperger’s. I know Internet tests aren’t the most reliable sources, but they can be informational. None of my past pdocs has ever mentioned Asperger’s. Thus, I think that latest pdoc is quite perceptive.

Reasons why I’ve occasionally suspected Asperger’s:

The biggest one is that I’m unable to look anyone in the eye. No matter how hard I try, I can’t.

I’m physically clumsy. I have poor spatial skills. I’d bring the latter up to my parents when I was younger, but they’d say I was making a big deal out of things. I was afraid to learn how to drive because I couldn’t estimate how much space a car would take up. I still don’t think I could drive a car that was a different size than mine.

I have what’s termed “flat affect.” I have a monotonous voice. My face rarely displays my emotions.

I’m startled by certain sounds, so much so that I visibly react.

I find it hard to visualize things, and maps and diagrams often bewilder me.

I am socially awkward.

I constantly fidget.

The therapist said that my social phobia would be categorized as stemming from Asperger’s if I received such a diagnosis. I don’t think social phobia is a quality of Asperger’s, however. I think the social awkwardness might make people seem like they’re socially anxious, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate that it’s present. There is a guy at work who has Asperger’s, and one time I talked to him about social phobia and asked him if he felt it. He said that he didn’t feel social anxiety; he wasn’t that nervous around people, just awkward.

Reasons I doubt Asperger’s:

I read somewhere that people with Asperger’s prefer nonfiction over fiction and that they don’t like to make up stories. That’s definitely not me.

I think I have more empathy than the average person, not less.

I am more sensitive than the average person. Just because I don’t display my emotions doesn’t mean I don’t have them.

I don’t have extremely narrow interests. I have some seemingly odd interests like classic films, but they’re not as narrow as the examples I’ve seen for Asperger’s. Plus, my interests are usually in a discipline as a whole.

I think I comprehend social rules and cues. I’m just awkward at fulfilling them.

I understand humor and don’t interpret words literally (at least not for purposes other than amusement).

I am more interested in abstract ideas than matters related to technology, engineering, or the like.

As I discussed in my response to Canvas‘s June topic, if I do have Asperger’s, I am glad I wasn’t diagnosed with it when I was young. It might’ve saved me some grief, but I think that I might’ve received accommodations that wouldn’t have allowed me to independently adapt as well as I have.

So perhaps I might be diagnosed with Asperger’s. I am a little afraid of having that as a label, though. I’m afraid it’ll color how people perceive me like, say, on this blog. Yes, I am awkward, but I don’t feel that I’m as awkward as what the label may connote.

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The Voice of the Character

Ugh, my mood just did another 180.

Over the past couple of days, I had started to feel a bit better. Daring, even. Clever. As I’m sure regular readers know, I’m quite self-conscious. I’d been delaying writing the post for the 24th Day of Truth because I’m nervous that people will criticize my music tastes. Often I will not listen to music in the presence of others (unless they turn it on) because I’m afraid of what they’ll think about what I like. Also, another embarrassing matter was that I had no one to write the playlist for.

Earlier today, I finally had the guts to post it. In fact, I started this blog in one of my gutsier moods. I have since carried on with it because if I start something, I commit to it. Sometimes I tell myself I’ll never quit this blog. But then I remember the depression forum I used to visit, that I stopped going to (not because of any of the drama I’ve mentioned before–rather, it was sort of like I drifted away from it), and that I swore I’d always stay on it, to help others if nothing else.

When I write on here, I often feel like I’m doing something wrong.

I feel guilty for it, yet even so, I will post this, too.

Why? Because this is my only outlet. Yet it’s selfish of me to want to have an outlet. And I whine about the same things all the time. What’s the point of having a blog?

These thoughts started, believe it or not, because I was thinking about my weight. It opened the floodgates to my other insecurities.

And let’s face it. I’m damn fat.

If any of you saw me in real life, you wouldn’t believe how hideous I am. How egregiously fat.

I do not say that lightly. I’m 5’1″, and yet I weight a very large sum, much larger than many guys who are taller than me. I can’t even bring myself to mention the total because it’s so disgusting.

I know I should stop whining about it and exercise and eat better, etc.

It’s just sort of an accumulation of what I’ve noticed the past couple of days. When I’m in public, I don’t see many overweight people. They all have much better bodies than I do. I know that not every single one of those people exercises and eats healthily.

So why am I cursed with this fucking easily fat body?

I used to think guys were never interested in me because I’m ugly and fat. Well, there have been a couple of guys who’ve flirted with me, once, but they were people I found annoying.

Now I know it’s more than that; there’s also my timidity and standoffishness to reckon with. But being ugly and fat certainly doesn’t help. If I were more attractive, people would be more likely to approach me.

Not that I’m looking for tons of guys to do that, mind you. Or even a relationship necessarily, at this time. But I want one some day, and I’m afraid that’s something I’ll never have. Never ever. 😦

Let’s say I decided not to be anonymous here anymore. I still couldn’t post a picture of myself because everyone would throw up at how hideous I am. It would make people like me less. I know people don’t base their entire judgments on appearances, but they do factor in.

Another thing is that I’m too damn serious. All of my attempts at being funny fail. The only amusing thing about me is my unintentional awkwardness.

We come full circle, to something I realized a few weeks ago. Any time I talk, I have a voice, I’m self-conscious. Not only that, but I just feel like I’m doing something wrong. I don’t know why.

As I mentioned in one of my recent posts, I’ve found that don’t feel like this blog belongs to me when I read it. I read it more objectively, as someone who doesn’t know me in real life might, and I think it gives a portrait of me that is better than reality.

Now I feel dissociated with it yet not at the same time. I feel like I’m playing a character, not being myself. I’m not consciously doing so. But what if my representations of myself are warped? What if they don’t actually show me as I am?

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30 Days of Truth: Day 24–A Playlist of Artistic Inspiration

Make a Playlist for Someone, and Explain Why You Chose All the Songs

I don’t really make playlists, especially for others. I’m afraid they’ll laugh at my music taste. But more than that, I pathetically know few people. I can’t very well make a list for someone if I don’t know them. I don’t know if I’d make one for a family member, either. Still, it is a little fun to make a playlist.

This one is for you, readers. It’s a list of 20 songs I find artistically inspirational. It doesn’t have repeating artists, nor do I know a lot about all of the musicians behind these songs.

1) Sinnerman–Nina Simone: The full-length version is epic. I like to write stories in which people seek redemption . . . and this song sets the vibe.

2) Down In It–Nine Inch Nails: I’ve only recently realized that I like Nine Inch Nails. The whole album Pretty Hate Machine has the dark vibe of moral messiness.

3) So He Won’t Break–The Black Keys: I already discussed my love of the Black Keys on the 13th Day of Truth. After much deliberation, I’m putting this song on the list. Because it reminds me of the need for connections, connections to keep us from shattering.

4) Gospel Song–Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: I once wrote a short post about a couple of this band’s songs. The mood, the totality of the sound, is magical.

5) Mohammed–The Dandy Warhols: I love the mood of the whole album Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia. This song makes me think of the introspective quest for truth.

6) Skeleton Swoon–Esben and the Witch: Entrancing. Hypnotic. It makes me think of unexplained supernatural happenings. Plus, it teaches you the etymology of the word “X-Ray.” 😉

7) House of the Rising Son–The Animals: The emotion. The dejectedness of taint and a sorrowful sordid background that endures.

8) Cornflake Girl–Tori Amos: I haven’t heard much Tori Amos, but I like this song a lot. I couldn’t find a good standard version, so here’s a live version. It makes me think of isolation and the need to express oneself.

9) Infinity–the XX: Irresistible attraction, stronger than any force.

10) My Secret Friend–IAMX featuring Imogen Heap: The androgyny in the video matches the song’s mood of the forbidden and almost unhealthy nature of losing oneself in another, the other being somewhat unspeakable.

11) December–Collective Soul: This has long been one of my favorite songs. I especially like the harmony of the last half or so. The song’s sound, the mood it evokes . . . a slightly upbeat melancholy.

12) Risingson–Massive Attack: A dark sexy vibe.

13) Never Let Me Down Again–Depeche Mode: When I was in college, I went through a phase during which I loved Depeche Mode. This song triggered it. It makes me think of loneliness while with another one cares about.

14) Heart-Shaped Box–Nirvana: The passionate sound, the conflict.

15) Riders of the Freeway–Kira: I heard this song during the end credits of a Danish movie called Terribly Happy. It resonated so much with me that I spent a while looking on the Internet for the song’s identity when Shazam couldn’t identify it. It makes me think of the need to reinvent oneself. But even as one does so, one is drawn into a flawed world, sucked in. That’s probably partially because of what happens in the film.

16) Anenome–The Brian Jonestown Massacre: It’s the psychedelic sound, really.

17) The Truth–Handsome Boy Modeling School: “The truth hurts because the truth is all there is.” “You can’t hide from the truth because the truth is all there is.” Plus, there’s a nice rap verse in the middle.

18) Wicked Child–Radiohead: The feeling of guilt and uncleanness, the desire to please a higher power.

19) Brother Louie: Either version, the cover by Stories or the original by Hot Chocolate. The former’s mood is more haunting for me, but they’re both plaintive.

20) I Against I–Mos Def and Massive Attack: This one is slightly cheating because I said I wouldn’t include any repeat artists. But the idea of self-conflict and of the enemy being an extension of oneself informs a lot of what I write. “My images reflect in the enemy’s eye and his images reflect in mine the same time.”

I spent lots of time looking for links to those songs, so some of you better take a look. Also, I’m always afraid people will laugh at my musical taste, so please don’t. And it’s possible I got the intentions or meanings of these songs wrong.

I haven’t really effectively explained what makes any of these songs artistically inspiring; that’s an intangible, indescribable, instinctive quality.

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Inexpressible

Some things are just inexpressible.

Nothing will work. I can’t bring myself to self-harm, at least not effectively. Blood but no pain. I can’t bring myself to reach the level of pain.

I have no one I can talk to. Not just because I know few people . . . I don’t even know how to talk to someone if I tried.

This is different. It’s probably one of the least worst episodes I’ve had. I don’t feel emotional, but mildly melancholy with a hint of blase.

I still can’t cry.

Writing doesn’t help.

The only act that I have left, self-extinguishment. It is the only thing that can express whatever this . . . is.

Wouldn’t that be ironic? Just as it seems I’m doing my best, I feel something, not necessarily depression, but much deeper, much darker, but also much less present.

But that’s not really an option, either, is it? I may finally express it, but then I would also be annihilated.

That is not winning. That’s losing. It is not a triumph of expression. It is submission.

So I’m left with no outlet. Just eternal distraction.

I have no way to get rid of it.

**********

Some things are inexpressible,

The emptiness, the pain,

That is not truly pain,

The knowledge that you’re deceiving the world,

That your empathy is a lie,

That you really care not for anything or anyone but yourself

Selfish . . . what you are is unspeakable

Perhaps I seem cruel

But I know, at the bottom of me, that it’s kinder than I deserve.

That even here, even this, is a lie

Your eyes are tearless, your soul empty

My self bleeds,

Without sensation,

You feel no pain,

It’s not present, but also not gone,

Eyeless,

Featureless,

The void that is you,

Close your eyes,

Hope tomorrow is better.

In vain.

***********

You really shouldn’t worry about me. It’s a selfish act for me to post this. In this moment, I could write a post with a different tone. I could write something wryly sardonic, even optimistic. No one would be the wiser. People would just think that my despair had dissipated.

But no. It never really goes away, does it?

I must be a poseur. I’m about to turn in for the night, but if I weren’t, I swear I could write something happy-go-lucky right after I post this.

Please don’t be alarmed. Most likely, I will return to the 30 Days of Truth within the next couple of days.

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A CFS for a fellow blogger’s book project about mental health!

...But She's Crazy

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

“I am tired of hiding, tired of misspent and knotted energies, tired of the hypocrisy, and tired of acting as though I have something to hide.”

-Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together.”

-Margaret Atwood

With May and Mental Health Awareness month just behind us (at least for US residents), the question that may be on many a mind is what we, as individuals who live with mood or personality disorders, can truly do to raise awareness and understanding about this often-underrepresented and marginalized segment of society and the issues it faces. How can we go about undoing the enduring stigmas surrounding mental health struggles? How can we put a familiar, human face on an issue so laden…

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