Immersive

I like to completely immerse myself in almost everything I do. It helps me connect with the material, get work done. If I’m in the zone, I’m in the zone.

But there’s something dangerous about my predilection for immersion–it threatens to take me away from reality. This is why video-gaming entertainment would never be for me. (That, and the fact that I was never good at video games, nor did I enjoy them all that much.)

But I immerse myself in other things–books. Movies. TV shows. Food.

Anything can become an addiction, so much so that I will live inside that world rather than reality. Not  that I’m unaware of reality or ignoring my real-world responsibilities. Far from it, but my mind is elsewhere. Perhaps it’s not an addiction per se, but it’s something akin to addiction at least.

Blogging used to be one of those immersion activities. That’s one reason I don’t blog as much as I used to. It might not have been noticeable to anyone reading, but blogging had started to consume my life. I suppose there were signs, such as the fact that I occasionally mentioned that my blogging life seemed more real than my “real life.”

Writing is different. My stories, they’re an immersion experience, but they’re much more than that. By “immersion experience,” I mean something that I submerge myself in. While that happens with my stories, there’s also more to them than that. With them, I also take parts of myself and submerge them in the stories.

But with reading, it can be a different story. Sure, I absorb knowledge about writing styles and analyze what I’m reading, but that involves me burying myself in the book’s contents.

TV shows are easier to immerse myself in than movies. There are dozens of episodes, and the result is a TV show’s own intricate universe. It’s easy to get lost in that universe.

We all need a little escapism now and then. That’s why forms of entertainment exist. But I’m afraid, for me, it might go too far. It’s not something anyone would ever notice. I don’t seem to indulge in entertainment any more than a normal person would. (Food, maybe.) But my brain, my mind . . . it halfway lives elsewhere.

Sometimes I wish I could let the fantasy, whatever it is I’m immersing myself in, take over. Then I’d have an excuse for the fact that I’m often drowning in the real world.

I fervently want to live in an alternate reality. I want another life, not my own. Not because my life sucks–it’s not that bad, and there are tons of worse lives out there. But I just–I don’t know.

There’s a hollowness, an emptiness, inside of me that never goes away. There’s a sense of intense guilt that fucking never goes away.

I don’t want it, any of it. The loneliness. The knowledge of how abject I am.

No matter what I do, it never fucking goes away.

That’s why I’m so pathetic that I am compelled to immerse my mind elsewhere.

There’s nothing I can do to express the intensity of it all. I can’t act against myself; I’m too cowardly. I can stuff my face, but at the moment it’s not working as an act of self-destruction, but as an immersion experience. It sounds beyond pathetic, the fact that I will immerse myself in the taste for one split second, for each bite, and let that be all there is for that second.

I need to do something to punish myself, but I can’t. I can do nothing but wallow and cower.

The more the darkness consumes me, the more I immerse myself in other things, other things that my mind buries itself in, other things that can do nothing to counteract the darkness, that can in fact increase the darkness even as they give me one ephemeral moment in which I am free.

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Is It God?

First, I want to post this short clip from Supernatural, from an episode I watched last night. In it, Castiel has just told Sam and Dean that he’s going to try to find God. Dean makes a joke about hearing God was on a tortilla, and Castiel responds that God isn’t on any flatbread. This part makes me laugh so much. Misha Collins, who plays Castiel, has such a straight face, and for a second it’s clear that Castiel’s considering the possibility. The moment is just great.

A couple of thoughts about God did occur to me earlier today. I don’t wish to get into any theological or religious debates, but I want to document this train of thought.

Earlier today, I was thinking, I wish I could feel as if someone loved me unconditionally, that there was an everlasting force of warm love surrounding me. It seems as if that feeling could help me with some of my troubles. Maybe even fill the hollowness that I sometimes feel is engulfing me.

Then I remembered, that’s precisely what I thought when I was fourteen. (Have I really changed so little?) That’s when I went through my religious phase. I firmly believed in God, and for a couple of years, I believed that a feeling of fulfillment was coming. But it never came. That’s one reason I turned away from religion. That, and I’m not much of a fan of organized religion in the first place. I feel like it keeps people from thinking for themselves. Why should I believe something about the Bible just because an “authority figure” tells me that’s the right interpretation? Why can’t I interpret it myself? This is actually how Protestantism formed, the idea that the common person should be able to read the Bible for himself or herself, not have a third party as a medium (i.e., the Catholic church). Plus, some of the most hypocritical people I’ve met have been the most fervently religious. But I’ve known many wonderful religious people, too, and I admire them.

Then of course there’s my whole personal background, what with my parents being of different religions and so not raising us with much of either one. I can’t accept the idea that there is only one true path to God. There are many paths, and the path can be different for everyone. People might believe contradictory things, and that can still be right since God is ineffable.

Well, I mostly believe in God. I say “mostly” because I can’t prove God exists for sure, so I’m slightly agnostic. It’s a character trait of mine; I can’t commit to something unless I’m 100% sure. There are also some principles I believe in, and they go along with my beliefs about God, but I don’t want to go into that topic right now.

Anyway, I was driving, and I was wondering–if I give myself to God, accept the idea that God unconditionally loves me, accept it fully, 100%, would I feel that warm love? Would it help me?

But is that possible, or would I be deluding myself? Would I be thinking something is true merely because I want it to be true? I don’t want to commit myself to a lie. I can’t be 100% sure unless I have tangible proof, and if I can’t be 100% sure, my mind won’t fully commit to an idea. (This aspect of myself is what has frustrated most therapists I’ve seen, but I can’t change it. I’ve tried.)

This might not make any sense, and it’s probably a passing fancy, anyway. At least, this angle is not something I’ve thought about much before.

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Glimpses of the Past Week

This is not going to be cohesive, just a few snippets of things relevant to my past week.

I saw my pdoc Thursday. I told her about my steadily high levels of anxiety. It keeps me from sleeping at night because my jaw is constantly clenched. I have a perpetual urge to grind my teeth, and sometimes I feel a tingling in my teeth because the urge to chew is so strong. No matter what, I can’t see to relax my jaw. She prescribed me guanfacine, explaining to me some basic facts like it used to be a blood pressure medicine but sometimes it’s now prescribed for anxiety and ADHD, etc. We’ll see how that goes.

I haven’t been able to see the therapist in the past two weeks, and I’m a little sad because I thought we were going to talk about Asperger’s next time we saw each other. The first week, she had to cancel, though I don’t know why. She was out for some reason. This past week, I had to cancel because my plumbing needed fixing.

I’ve been thinking about this Asperger’s thing, and my mind has fixated on something the therapist said, that Asperger’s basically means a person is wired differently. I can’t quite articulate the import of this idea yet, but I feel like it could relate to me. Maybe this is why CBT is something that rubs me the wrong way–it assumes people inherently operate similarly, that thought structures/influences feeling. But as I told my last therapist, I can’t just believe something because I think it. I believe things only if I can both feel and comprehend them. She didn’t think that made much sense. It’s sort of like an intuitive method. I don’t believe something if I merely feel it, and I don’t believe something if I merely think it. I believe it somewhat, but not all the way. Skimming through some things on the Internet, I found something written by someone with Asperger’s, and that person said they had a similar way of forming beliefs. I can’t remember where I saw this now, but it gave me pause.

I’ve also discovered something else about Asperger’s that bothers me. There seems to be some content about how people with Asperger’s feel more deeply than others but that they just can’t express it (despite common conceptions). That sounds like me. From most of what I’ve read, though, people with Asperger’s lack empathy. As I’ve mentioned, I think I have more empathy than the average person. And if I have Asperger’s, I’m afraid it would imply that my empathy is somehow false, that my belief that I can easily understand other perspective is somehow false. What would this mean for me as a writer? Because that’s the force I draw on as a writer, and I think it’s something a writer has to possess. If I don’t have it, then there’s something not genuine about my writing. My creative writing, anyway.

I’ve been continuing to watch Supernatural. More slightly spoiler-ish rambling here. The episode “It’s  a Terrible Life” (Season 4, Episode 17) reminded me of myself in a way. The message was that being a hunter is something that’s in Dean’s blood, and he’ll find his way back to it no matter what. That’s how I feel about myself and my creative writing. It’s in my blood, and even when I foreswear it, for months or even years, I find myself coming back to it.

I think “On the Head of a Pin,” Season 4, Episode 16, is my favorite episode of all time. So far, anyway. There’s a lot that happens in it. At one point, Dean is torturing a demon, and the acting is superb. His expression is so cold, as if there’s nothing inside him. And what does it say about me that I thought it was kind of hot? There must be something wrong with me, lol.

I like Castiel a lot. Dean is still my favorite, though. Of course. And I’ve never liked Sam that much. I mean, he’s okay, but I much prefer Dean. I think I might be more like Sam than Dean, so what does that say about me, once again? However, I do think maybe I’m more like Dean than Sam emotionally. Maybe that’s why I find it easier to put myself in his place.

I think Season 2 is still my favorite season so far, but Season 4 is definitely spectacular as well.

Well, I rambled more than I meant to. I guess I just wanted to say these things.

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Anyone Other Than Me

Sometimes I wish I could be anyone other than me. I shouldn’t. My life isn’t so bad. But I am, and my destiny is to be completely alone, always.

I’ve known it ever since high school. I’ve known that, once I got out into the “real world,” I wouldn’t be able to function like an average human being, that I’d never make connections, ever, that my life would be one of neverending failure and isolation.

It is, but it’s because I’ve done it to myself.

But I can’t do otherwise. I can’t be anything other than what I am.

I can’t form connections with others. If anyone engages me in a conversation, my instinct is to flee. How am I ever going to find friends if all I do is run away?

But I can’t do otherwise. I get too nervous. I choke up, have nothing interesting to say. I enter Awkward Annie mode.

Then I’m afraid of the person eventually finding out how pathetic I am, the fact that I really have no friends, that I’ve lived here for over two years now without forming any connections.

If they knew that, then they’d know there’s something deeply wrong with me.

And even if that weren’t a factor, it’s just . . . I can’t form close bonds. I’m incapable of doing so.

I crave them so much, but they’re something I can never have. It’s impossible for me, like it would be impossible for me to magically become six feet tall. It’s not something that’s inside me.

I’m destined for a life of loneliness. All my dreams of making human connections are silly, childish. The idea of finding a “true love.” That’s not only childish, but it’s also something that can never be for me.

I have more empathy than the average person. Lately, on occasion it’s as if emotions radiate off of others and I can feel them. Yet no one will ever know that I have even an ounce of empathy because I can’t express it. I can’t even express my own emotions.

It’s not possible to dig them out of my soul.

I instinctively know it. If I live until I’m, say, sixty, I’ll have lived a life in which I’m always alone. My need for a human connection will never be met. Writing, reading, films, TV shows, all stories, they just serve as a poor substitute for something I will never have.

I’ve been feeling odd all day. Maybe this sounds idiotic, but I feel as if I’m on some predetermined trajectory, like a storyline that is manipulating me, keeping me in motion. And in this storyline, it’s certain that I’m destined for a life of coldness, one in which I receive no (or very little) of affection’s warmth.

Most other people get at least a semblance of that at some point in their lives.

And thus, I wish I could be other than me.

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Are you there, God? It’s Me, Mrs. Dean Winchester.

Again, another Supernatural post that probably won’t appeal to anyone out there who’s reading. But Supernatural has kindled some impressions I’d like to explore. If you haven’t watched Supernatural and plan to some day, you might want to look away now, as what follows will contain spoilers. If you’re someone who regularly watches Supernatural, please don’t leave a comment with spoilers about what happens later in the show; I like discovering it on my own.

I don’t know why I love this show as much as I do. For some reason, it emotionally resonates with me. Big time.

I want to watch the show slowly so I can savor it. At the same time, I want to tear through it madly because I enjoy it so much.

Last night, I watched Episode 2 in Season 4, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean Winchester.” The night before, I watched the Season 4 premiere, “Lazarus Rising.” Those were big mistakes. The Season 4 premiere was so good that I craved more, but luckily I reined myself in from pulling a Supernatural all-nighter. Then last night I couldn‘t sleep because my mind wouldn’t stop thinking about Supernatural.

The biggest bombshell in the first episode is the introduction of the angel Castiel, played by Misha Collins. (For the audience, more male eye candy.) Here’s the scene:

I love Jensen’s body language and facial expressions here. Castiel says, “Good things do happen, Dean.” Dean replies, “Not in my experience.” At the moment, there’s a sort of resigned despair and hopelessness in Jensen’s air. It seems as if he’s feeling anguished, but he’s adopted a stance of tense self-possession to hide the pain inside.

In both this and the next episode, I love how the show is going for an Old Testament interpretation of angels. Their nature is so overwhelming that humans are physically incapable of digesting their true form. When Castiel appears, there are flickering lights, and the way the scene is filmed conveys that idea of sheer power.

What I like about this scene (and Supernatural in general) is that the camera often focuses on the faces of the main characters. It gives you a true glimpse at the leads’ wonderful acting. You can see the emotions flicker across their faces, their eyes, and it’s all very convincing. In the above scene, the close-ups of Misha’s face reveal a steeliness in his eyes, and this greatly enhances the scene’s effect.

Then there’s the second episode. Its title gave me the hope that there’d be more exploration of God and His role in the world, but in hindsight, there are some thought-provoking religious discussions. It’s a gutsy move for a TV show, and I appreciate it very much.

Near the beginning, there’s a moment in which Dean asks why God would save him from hell. Sam says, “Apparently, you’re a regular guy that’s important to the main upstairs.” Dean replies, “Well, that creeps me out. I don’t like getting singled out at birthday parties, much less by God.” I cracked up at the “creeps me out” comment. I’d never thought about God in that light, and it was an interesting way to frame the idea of God caring. I can see the logic in the sentiment, and I liked being exposed to it.

Then later Dean is wondering why God doesn’t do more to help humanity if He exists. Classic argument, right? Castiel tells Dean, “You think the armies of Heaven should just follow you around? There’s a bigger picture here,” and he also mentions that there aren’t an infinite number of angels. That’s another idea I’ve never thought about, and it makes sense to me.

But then that notion raises the question: If there’s only so much God and His angels can do, then can God be omnipotent? Those two concepts conflict. So, maybe God isn’t omnipotent, just really, really powerful, with the ability to create humanity and whatnot. And God, the universe’s arch-good, is waging a war against Lucifer, the universe’s arch-evil.

In the episode, there are also spirits/”witnesses” that are killing hunters. They are the spirits of those the hunters were unable to save. There seems to be a clear parallel between that plot and the discussion about angels not being able to be everywhere all the time. Like angels, hunters work to fight evil, and like them, there are battles they’ll lose, people they can’t save. Dean asks, “Where the hell is He [God] while all these decent people are getting torn to shreds? How does He live with Himself?”

Maybe, as with the hunters, God does experience guilt at what He wasn’t able to stop in time.

Earlier in the series, the show brought other questions to my mind.

There’s the plotline in which it was apparently intended that Sam should lead a demon army, and Sam of course is not up for this plan. This made me wonder, what if the Antichrist refuses to be the Antichrist?

Then there’s Ruby, a demon, who seems to be helping Sam. (I don’t know whether Ruby is “good” or not; I’ll just have to wait and see.) Then I thought about the nature of good and evil. What if a demon does decide to help the “good guys”? Would that redeem the demon? Can people be redeemed even in the afterlife?

I’m not sure if I believe in angels and demons or not, but I do enjoy thinking about these questions. I love that Supernatural is provoking such thoughts for me even as it greatly entertains and amuses me on a surface level.

And yes, obviously I’m in love with Dean Winchester. I did mention that before.

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I’m Back

Sort of.

The next three to four weeks will probably be hella busy. It’s the last few weeks of the semester, and I’ll have tons of assignments to grade. So that means keeping my indulgence in addictions to a minimum: blogging, Supernatural, probably reading, etc. I’m often not good at juggling tasks, and I want to try to get into creative writing again.

I have two short stories to finish and a novel to edit.

Actually, what I kind of want to do, since I’ve apparently become a fangirl addict, is write some Supernatural/Doctor Who crossover fanfiction. I imagine the boys going off to investigate a case, and then there’s the Doctor. Then Dean’s like, “Ghosts are one thing, but aliens?”

I’ve never written fanfiction in my life. Maybe I need help, ha. I confess I have read the occasional A Song of Ice and Fire fanfiction, but not for ages. Once, I went through a phase where I read Horatio Hornblower fanfiction.

Last night, I watched the Supernatural episode “Ghostfacers” and now I can’t get its song out of my head. It’s one of the most hilarious things ever:

(The link won’t embed or post as a straight-up link, so you’ll have to click to go to YouTube after pressing “play.”)

My favorite line: “Stay in the kitchen when the kitchen gets hot!”

Embarrassing admissions aside, I’d like to explain a little of how I reached this point.

If you’ve stopped by here over the past month, you’d know that I haven’t been doing well. I’m still not, really, but I think I’m better. I think I can face returning to blogland again. I can stop being negligent and read a few blogs. But I can’t be as present here as I’ve been in the past. As I mentioned, I’m often not good at time management. I have other things to do like work and creative writing. And of course trying to figure out how to heal. If that’s even possible. I’m such a mess and have been for a very, very long time.

How did I get better? I’m not sure. I can trace it to a couple of instances, but I’m not sure precisely how those instances helped.

First, there was this past Tuesday. My anxiety reached almost sky-high levels, and I was a quivering mess at work. I felt as if I could barely breathe, and my head was pounding. I seriously started to contemplate quitting my job and just lying around by myself, but I knew that wasn’t realistic, obviously. Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone to work that day, but it’s hard for me to know what my limits are. Besides, I somehow made it through, and to me that makes it seem that my anxiety couldn’t have been as bad as I thought it was. I’m just being melodramatic.

These days, my therapist appointments are on Tuesday afternoons. Right after work, I went to therapy. So far, this therapist is pretty great. I find it much easier to talk to her than I did to talk to the other ones I’ve seen; I don’t know why. Every week, I’d brought up my anxiety, but my anxiety just kept building and building. She pointed that out when I mentioned my anxiety once again this week. I told her about how anxious I’d been all day, how shaky I’d felt. We talked about my coping strategies, and the only one I could think of was trying to steady my breathing. That’s what I do, but it’s really only a stalling tactic until I can be alone and have a panic attack. It doesn’t eliminate my anxiety, just help me delay my reaction to it.

After the appointment, though, I felt better for some reason. Maybe because I didn’t have to work to hide my anxiety, yet I hadn’t been hiding it in my past therapy appointments. I didn’t actually have a panic attack while with the therapist, so that didn’t dispel my anxiety. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still there, and it’s still strong, but it’s somehow grown more manageable. (Knock on wood.)

A few days later, the weather started getting sunnier. That made me feel better, too, though I don’t know why. I don’t like warm weather, and I don’t have seasonal affective disorder. In fact, I quite like gloomy weather. For some reason, I’ve always found it adventurous and sometimes even fun.

I’m going to see if I can snap out of my fast food binging, too. We’ll see. Maybe it’ll happen naturally; if I try to force it, the craving only grows stronger.

Well, I don’t know when I’ll get around to reading blogs more regularly. I know it will be this week, just not which day. I’m going to try to make myself write a little every day (or edit); it’s easiest for me to write if I can make myself do a little every day.

And now, I’m going to go outside and try to write. I think I’ve earned it.

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Spending Time with Those Winchester Boys

I’m about halfway through Season Three of Supernatural, and I started watching it a little over a month ago. I think I have become seriously addicted, ha. I think it might be one of my favorite shows ever. (Confession: I don’t watch many TV shows to begin with.) It’s got everything: great humor, emotionally wrenching moments, cool music, fun cultural references, and yes, hot guys.  For those of you who don’t know, the basic premise is that Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) Winchester are brothers who are “hunters,” fighting bad supernatural creatures. This post probably won’t be interesting to anyone but me, but I wanted to lay out some of the moments in the show I’ve found most amusing so far. I actually rewound to watch these moments several times, and I could watch them over and over again without getting tired of them.

“Bad Day at Black Rock”: Dean’s “I’m Batman” is just so random here that it makes me laugh so much.

“Red Sky at Morning”: Dean–“Can I shoot her?” Sam–“Not in public.” Sam’s seriousness in his reply is what gets me.

I love Dean’s awkwardness before he says, “Don’t objectify me.”

“Folsom Prison Blues”: Agent Henriksen–“You think you’re funny.” Dean–“I think I’m adorable.” I just love the way Dean says that line! This whole episode is great fun . . . the boys go to prison.

“Hollywood Babylon”–This whole episode is really great. The boys are on a Hollywood tour and drive by the Gilmore Girls set. Sam’s reaction is priceless. (Jared Padalecki was on several seasons of Gilmore Girls.)

In this episode, not long afterward, there’s this exchange:

Dean–Sam, check it out, it’s Matt Damon.

Sam–Yeah, pretty sure that’s not Matt Damon.

I couldn’t find a clip of this scene, but Dean’s mannerisms here are just so great.

“Croatoan”: The rapid dialogue exchange is what especially gets me. That, and Dean’s reaction to the guy’s neighbor’s name being “Mr. Rogers.”

Another great exchange that I couldn’t find a clip of:

Sam–Did you pay any attention to history class at all?

Dean–Yeah, shot heard round the world, how a bill becomes a law. . .

Sam–That’s not school; that’s Schoolhouse Rock!

I love Sam’s incredulity with that last line.

Another awesome one I couldn’t find the clip for, from “The Usual Suspects”:

Dean: So, Scully, what do you think?

Sam: I’m not Scully, you’re Scully!

Dean: Nah, I’m Mulder . . . You’re a red-haired woman.

And I think I’m in love with Dean Winchester. A fictional character. Should I be worried, lol? I think I just relate to how vulnerable and broken he is even as he tries to put up a front.

I’ve apparently unleashed my inner fangirl. I’ve never watched a show so quickly before.

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