Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Walking through the scene

Something from A House Like a Lotus that sounds like my life:
our conversations were limited....It wasn't that I was actively unpopular.  I just didn't have anyone special to talk to.  Mostly I felt I was walking through the scene, saying my lines reasonably well, but not being really in the show.  At school I tried to play the role that was expected of me, as best I could.  With Max, I was myself.
This is about Polly, a brainy teenager attending a school which is free of brainy people. There have been times in my life that were like that, and times that were not like that.  I tend to blame myself for the way I'm not myself, for the way I live walking through the scene.  But I have to bear in mind, I'm not in an environment which suits me.  I've thrived in other environments.  I will thrive again.

In the past year, I've met some interesting people.  I will get to know them better.  I will meet more interesting people.  Maybe I can once again find a place where I can thrive.

Follow up to Darkness

In my post Darkness, I wrote about how so many people I know have some darkness or weakness, such as a chronic illness, and how I don't think any less of them for having it.  I was thinking about that to remind myself not to think any less of myself.

Today's thought builds on that: There are some people who, like me, look upon people who have some darkness, and think no less of them for it.  They see intelligence, humor, wisdom, and kindness. There are other people who don't see that way.  There are people who are seeking people who are shining with health, happiness, and well-adjustedness.  They look upon the rest of us as lesser -- less fun to be with, less brave, whatever.  They are nice to us out of charity, not because they like us.

I need to discard such people.  I need to seek the company of people who truly see my strengths.  I deserve better than to be around people who think of me as lesser.

The glimmers

In fiction, it seems so simple.  Sure, doing good and fighting evil is a struggle, and yet it's clear what must be done.  In my life, there are no dragons to be slain.  In my life, there are groceries to buy, food to prepare, dishes to wash, laundry to do, a job to go to, bills to pay, humans to try to get along with, questions to ponder about what to do with myself.  These things are hard.  For me it is hard at times to go to the kitchen, get food, and heat it up in the microwave.  To do the basic simple tasks of survival is like walking through clay.  How do I find may way when there are no heroic tasks beckoning?

I think though, that I can seek the path.  I see glimmers now and then.  Glimmers that say, "This is the way" or "This is not the way."  It's clear to me that staying home by myself trying to figure it all out is not the way.  It's clear to me there's something in going out amongst people, being part of a community, listening to others, trying to understand others, trying to be kind to others.

It's clear to me that there are two things which look alike, but one is bad and one is good.  They both look like being accommodating to other people.  It's bad when it bends me.  It's bad when I feel under the yoke, carrying out what I don't believe in.  It's good when it grows me.  When I stretch my senses to see through the eyes of others.  When I stretch my courage to help others.  Sometimes it's a fine line between the good and the bad, but I can see it, I can see the color of the glimmers.  I don't know where the path is taking me, but I know which glimmers to follow.

Social science and beyond

A story in the news of late is that Yahoo has a new policy against working from home.  People have opinions based on personal experience.  They say working from home works, and it's foolish of Yahoo to abolish it.  Or they say there is something valuable about interacting with people in-person, and working from home just isn't as good.

But to say it does or does not work is overly simplistic.  It depends on the type of work that needs to be done.  It depends on quality of supervision.  It depends  on the disposition of the employee -- some people work best alone while others work best with others.

It's the kind of thing social scientists may measure.  They may look at one group that works from home, and another group that works in an office, and compare the productivity of the two groups.  And they may get into the complexities -- when does it work, and when doesn't it work.

When I was in college, I thought social science held the answers.  Now I think there's more to life than social science.  Social science can give me information, but it doesn't have all the answers.  If I were a manager of employees working at home, I could look at social science to see what type of supervision tends to be most successful for employees working at home.  But it would only tell me what tends to be successful.  If you know social science, you know it doesn't tell you one thing works in every case.  It may say that supervisory technique A works well for 45% of employees, while supervisory technique B works well for 80% of employees.  Based on what social science tells you, you use technique B.  But that still leaves 20% of employees for whom it does not work.  Maybe for some of them, technique A will work.  For others, technique C will work.  In deciding which technique to use, you use your personal knowledge of the individuals involved.  And when one thing does not work, you try something else.

That's the thing to do.  To use research results to inform, to use research results as a tool, but to do our best to integrate all sources of knowledge and wisdom we can find.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What I need is to be useful to my community

What's been going around in my head is that I need help, but I have 3 doctors, a counselor, a good family, and at least one friend, and it doesn't touch me.  Whatever I need, it's not what they have.  Today, I have a new theory: what I need is to be useful to my community.

A few things lead me to that idea:
  1. I read of someone going to a retreat, coming back feeling inspired, but then regular life resumes and nothing has changed.  That's what I find.  Any time I go away to something inspiring, then I come back and I have the same old life.  The article went on to say that what people need is not a retreat, but a community to provide ongoing support.
  2. Someone sent an email out asking for someone to watch her kid for two hours.  Someone else replied right away volunteering, so I don't have a chance this time.  That's probably just as well, since I'm kind of sick, and wouldn't want to contaminate the kid.  But I realized how much I wanted to do it, and I told her I would do it next time.  
  3. When I am able to do some small thing that is useful to someone, it means a lot to me. Actually I find I can be overly needy about wanting to do things for people.  That's not to say I just want to work hard on onerous tasks for anyone.  It has to be someone I actually want to do things for, and a task I want to do.  
Some people do useful things for their community as part of their job.  My job used to be like that.  It's not any more.  So now there's this hole in me, that comes from not being useful to my community.  That's what I need to work on, to get involved in things with people, where I can be useful.  And hopefully some day, I can find a job that meets that need, because it's inefficient to have to both do a job and also do something else that's useful to my community.  

Sunday, February 24, 2013


A lot of the people I like have something -- chronic illness, chronic pain, unemployment, underemployment, a tendency to burst into tears at inopportune moments, strange phobias, a wounded heart from an abusive childhood.  What I see in these people is that such things do not detract in any way from who they are, from their intelligence, humor, wisdom, and kindness.

That's an inspiration to me, because it says maybe I can be an okay person too, even with my stuff.

But the difference is, these people are open about their darknesses.  I think that in keeping my darkness in tight reserve, I also clamp down on joy, playfulness, and kindness.

It would be nice to open myself up.  But, I think it's dangerous.  I would be undiplomatic.

Rock and roll

Sometimes you just need some rock and roll to lift your spirits.


I know the patterns, but I'm stuck on what to do about them.  The patterns:

  • A busy weekend of having fun.  I usually don't do that much.  I fear I will be sick from it.  I schedule a day of rest afterwards.  On the day of rest, I am tired and I do want to rest, but I feel okay.  I think maybe I can do fun stuff after all.  Maybe I don't even need all these days of rest.  But then the following weekend, I get my punishment, I get sick.
  • First comes the depression.  I feel needy.  I long for people to be kind for me.  I feel as if nobody likes me.  Then comes the sick. Sore throat and aches.  When the physical sick comes, the emotional sick lifts.  I welcome the physical sick, because it's a relief from the emotional sick.
  • I get sick on weekends and holidays.  I get sick on days when I don't have a commitment to be a certain place at a certain time.  If I do have a commitment to be somewhere, I make myself go, and a lot of times I feel okay.  

So, do I need to make sure I have a commitment every weekend, so that I never get sick? Or do I need to make sure I don't have any fun, so that I don't get sick the weekend after the fun?  Perhaps I need to make commitments to small funs.  There are smaller things I do that don't make me sick.


I used to like organizing things.  At my job, I organize events.  Like pizza parties.  I used to like it.  And besides the ones that I did for  my job, I did more.  I organized things outside of my work, but invited all the work people to them.  I had parties at my house.  I got people together for outings, like apple picking.  I took people sledding and rollerblading.

Now I hate organizing stuff.

The reason I liked it was because I had co-conspirators.  There were people who wanted to help me with the organizing, and who wanted to attend the things I organized.

My friend was good at teaching people to rollerblade, and I was good at finding people and drawing them in.  It was perfect.  I would find the people who wanted to learn to skate, and he would teach them.

It's all gone now.  I still have to organize things for my job, but I don't have co-conspirators any more.  It's just twisting people's arms, trying to get them to do stuff.

That's what I hate about my life.  Everything is arm twisting.  No one just wants to do stuff.  No one cares enough to make an effort.

Last spring, I met someone who does nature walks and I hoped it could be like it used to be with my rollerblading friend, where I could bring people to him and he could teach them about nature.  I told him that I wanted to organize a nature walk with him, but he went off and organized it single-handedly.

Last summer, I organized an outing.  But I organized it by myself.  I didn't have any co-conspirators.

I don't like either one -- I don't like outings organized by someone else, and I don't like outings organized singlehandedly by me.  I like outings organized by me along with co-conspirators.

In the fall, I organized an outing with other people.  But it wasn't like that.  It wasn't like co-conspirators. Other people wanted to do it one way and I wanted to do it a different way.  It was like I ended up with responsibility with something, but I wasn't able to make it the way I wanted it to be.

That's kind of like like what I do in my job.  It's having to be the one to implement something, even though I don't get to be in control of what I'm implementing.  It's implementing something that I think is wrong.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Small kindnesses

It hits me sometimes.  I don't know if it's depression or fatigue or both.  All I know is sometimes I'm not in my right mind.  I know that the things I'm feeling about how hopeless it all is, about how nobody likes me, aren't really true.  But knowing that doesn't stop it from hurting.  I try to stay out of trouble when it is upon me.  And kindness comes to mean so much to me.  The people who reach out to me.  Someone from an internet forum I used to be on wrote to me and said "really missing your loving and peaceful, altruistic input."  At times like this, when I feel so fragile, such small kindnesses are my lifelines.

You never know when some small kindness you do to someone will mean a lot to them.


Sometimes when different things are swirling around, I can make sense of them by writing about them.

Other times, sense just is not available to me.  


My house is full of clutter.  If I'm not making good use of something, I should throw it out.

Is my brain the same as my house? Things just sitting around there, neither thrown out nor used?

I threw one yesterday.  It was sitting on the shelf in my brain so long that it was dusty, unrecognizable.    It's not fair, to throw things at people, to throw things that are so old that the person on the receiving end doesn't even know what they are.

Friday, February 22, 2013


All week, I go to work.
All week they come at me.
The humans.
They want this, they want that.
I have to tread carefully.
I have to accommodate.

Weekend comes.
I close the door.
I dreamed of skiing.
Dreamed of dancing.
But right now, all I want to do is close the door.
Silence the demands of others.
Find quiet.

They want this, they want that.
I listen to their pain.
I figure out.
I figure out how to explain things to them.
I figure out what they need.
I figure out how to be thoughtful.

Who will be thoughtful to me?
Who will figure me out?

My father sent me an email.
Something that I gave him a few years ago was useful to him today.
It was thoughtful of him to tell me.

My friend called me.
Usually he calls me every day.
He called just to tell me that he did not feel up to talking today.
He called so I wouldn't be waiting,
Wouldn't be wondering if he would call.
It was thoughtful of him.

That is what I am grateful for.
For thoughtfulness.

In weariness, I curl up in a ball.
I savor the thoughtfulness.
I go to sleep.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dancing and time banking: Inspiration and practicality

When I was thinking the thoughts that led to my post The Magic of Music and Dance, I was thinking about the song "Tannery Pond Reel" by Dan Berggren.  I recalled it as being about the power of dance to bring together everyone in a community, despite differences of class and politics.  I went back and listened to it, and my reaction was, "That's not about dance, that's about time banking!"

It's not really about time banking.  But it is about people in a community pitching in to help each other.  And it occurred to me that music and dance complement time banking.  Music and dance provide the inspiration.  They make us feel connected to others.  They make us want to help others.  Time banking provides the practical implementation.  Now that we have this feeling of wanting to contribute to our community, what do we do? How do we find people who can use what we have to offer?  Time banks give us a way to do that.  They identify needs and resources, and connect those needs and resources to each other.

The problem in my community is that they aren't connected with each other.  Music and dance inspire us to help the people with whom we are dancing and making music.  My time bank is based in the town I live in, but in order to sing and dance with people, I usually have to go out of my town and sing and dance with people who don't live in my town and aren't part of my time bank.

Helping people for free

I don't like thinking about money. It would nice if people just did the work they wanted to do, and in exchange, got the things they needed. In a way, it feels like that now. I mean, I have a job, and as long as I continue to have a job, there is money there in my account, so if there is something I need, I get it. So I go to my job, and I get the things I need, and the connection to those two things is not always noticeable, even though it is having the job that allows me to get the things I want.

I don't like money, so it would seem that time banking would be nice, because it would help me to get out of the money system. But time banking has the same mentality of you do some work, and you get things you want in return.

That mentality just doesn't come naturally to me. I want to do the work I want to do. I work hard at things because I want to. I work hard on things like writing blogs, compiling photos, compiling playlists, and learning to dance. I don't really want to get paid for doing things. I help the people I want to help, because I want to. I don't want to get paid for it. I don't want to get paid for doing these things, but I want to be able to tap into resources, to be able to get the things I need and want.

A friend told me that her neighborhood had been evacuated during a flood. She stayed at a community center until a friend from her job took her in. I didn't know her then. But if there was a flood in her neighborhood again, I'd want to take her in.

If there was a flood in her neighborhood again, there would be time bank members in her neighborhood in need of shelter. She is not a time bank member. If I took in a time bank member, I could earn time bank credits for it. I don't want to take in some random time bank member. I want to take in the people I like. I want to take in the people I want to help. I want to do it because I want to do it. I don't want money for it. I don't want time bank credits for it.

I want to help the people I like, and I want there to exist people who feel the same way about me. I don't know if there are any people who want to help me, other than my relatives who don't live near me.

That's one reason why I joined the time bank. Because there's not much help that people want to give me for free. I joined the time bank because if I need a friend and don't have one, I can pay someone time bank credits to be my friend.

Idealistic unamplified music

I have a friend who is concerned about amplified music. I do see the merits of having a sound system. I've been at a concert with a sound system that sounded good, and then because it was a small folk concert, the performer did one song unamplified. It did not sound good when the sound system was turned off. But it is true that unamplified is more druidly. For one thing, druids care for the earth. Using electricity uses up the earth's resources. For another thing, druids value creating things with our own hands. Morris dancers dance to unamplified live music. But Morris dance is a performance by six or eight people. For me, the most idealistic thing would be participatory music and dance, in which people of the community come together and everyone dances, sings, or plays a musical instrument.

The magic of music and dance

Of course I love music and dance just for the sheer pleasure of them, and that alone would probably be enough, but philosophically, it's also incredible the way they can knit people together.

I have felt for much of my life, that my purpose (like God's purpose for me, but without the God part) is:

  • To knit people together into communities.
  • To shine a light on people's strengths, and in so doing, to help those strengths to grow.
  • To sow positive feelings in a way that will have a ripple effect -- like my being kind to others will inspire them to be kind to everyone they encounter.
And music and dance have the power to do that stuff.  They are magic.

Bruce Jackson did a good job of describing Pete Seeger's magic.  You can read the longer version at The Great Conspirator Turns 85, or the shorter version at Bruce Jackson on Pete Seeger.  I recommend the shorter version.  Or just read my quote from it, which is:
Maybe that’s Pete’s great gift to us: his ability to join a group of people who might not only be strangers to him but to one another as well and to leave them, however many hours later, with some feeling, some knowledge, that transcends the moment entirely, a feeling and knowledge about the things that bond rather than the things that rend, about what it means to be human rather than what it means to be brutal, about how we must and can get on together by conspiring in the best and most basic sense of that word: breathing together.
It's true. I have experienced it.  I have seen Pete Seeger live quite a few times, and each time, it gives me the feeling that I love everyone present, and that I want to go out and make the world a better place.  That's the power of  music and dance.  They may seem like frivolous, unnecessary activities, but humans living harmoniously together  is a pretty big deal, and not easily achieved.  

Following your nose, and giving your nose a push

A group was trying to organize itself.  Lists were made of all the tasks to be done.  Related tasks were grouped together, and committees were formulated to achieve all the tasks that were related to each other.

Nothing ever came of it.  The committees never had people on them.  Everybody wanted to do a bit of this in one committee's domain, and a bit of that in another committee's domain.  People just volunteered for the tasks that fit them.  It worked better that way, rather than forcing things into artificially defined categories.

Sometimes it's better to follow your nose, rather than to plan something beginning to end.  Because before the journey begins, you don't know what twists you'll meet along the way.

My friend went on a date with a woman.  He wasn't sure if he liked her enough to continue to date her.  He gave it a shot and went on another date with her.  Now they are married.

Maybe he was following his nose, maybe he had some instinct telling him it was worthwhile to give it a shot and go on another date with her.  But maybe he was giving his nose a little push, pushing himself to do something he wasn't sure about.

Sometimes noses need a little push.  Usually when I'm home and thinking about going out to do an activity, I don't want to go.  If I followed my nose, I would just stay home all the time.  But my brain also comes into play.  If it's an activity I have done before and enjoyed, my brain reminds me that every time I think about doing it, I don't want to do it, but when I actually do it, I enjoy it.  So I give my nose a push, and get myself out there.  If it's an activity I've  never done before, it's harder, because I don't have the memory of enjoying it in the past, but sometimes I can still give my nose a push.

These days, the things I know I love are dance, music, rollerblading, skate skiing, boats, and rocky ocean shores.  These days, I know that I'm not happy with my job.  I know I'll never earn a living as a dancer.  So in a way, it doesn't make sense to be spending time dancing when I should be looking for a job.  But following my nose leads me to dancing.  What do I do? I think I know the answer.  I do two things.

First, I trust my instinct that doing things I love, such as dancing, are important for me.  I can't see into the future what they will lead me to, but I do see ways that it's plausible they would help me with finding a job.  I've been bearing such weight, feeling that no one values me and that there is nothing I like to do.  No one wants to hire someone who has such an attitude.  When I live my passions, I become a person filled with joy and confidence, and that makes me more likely to be hired.  Also, jobs are often obtained by networking.  By spending time with people I like, I expand my network.

Second, I push my nose to expand my passions.  There's a reason I'm excited about music and dance right now.  I joined a group that was welcoming.  I  joined them for Morris dancing, but their interests include singing, playing musical instruments, contra dancing, and English country dancing.  Their welcoming attitude has shown me that all these other things they are interested in are open to me as well.  Music and dance are my passion now because I have some momentum there already.  But if I dip some toes into other things, I'll develop other momentums, just as my friend had to go on a few dates with a woman before deciding he liked her.  I know some areas in which it's plausible I would enjoy earning a living.  I don't have a passion for those things right now.  But I should dabble in them, give them a try, and see if trying them awakens a passion for them.  If I remain unexcited after trying them, then I can move on.

Another point to the story

I wrote in my previous post about my friend asking women to dance.  My post used the anecdote as part of making certain points.  But my friend telling the story, he had a different point to make.  He said if you sit there thinking about asking them to dance, that makes it worse than if you just ask them.  That's a good point too.  I wrote in my previous post about things that sap your soul vs. things that fuel your soul.  Sitting there thinking about how much you don't want to do something, but feeling you should do it saps your soul.  Just do it.  Or decide you aren't going to do it, and go do something that fuels your soul.

Living through the bad to get to the good

According to my friend, if you go to a swing dance and ask all the women to dance, half the time it's awful because the woman says yes to be polite, but she clearly does not enjoy dancing with you, and the other half the time, she enjoys herself, and you have a babe in your arms.

If you never asked anyone to dance, you could avoid the awful, but you'd never have a babe in your arms.  If you don't reach out and accept the bad things that come as a consequence, you'll never have the good things that come as a consequence.

Sometimes when I try to talk to people about the things I'm struggling with, they say things that make me feel worse. So, I just stopped talking to people about what I'm going through.  But in so doing, I cut myself off from support.

I find it supportive is when people say, "Yes, that's a difficult situation."   I find it un-supportive is when people say, "You should not worry about that.  It's not that bad."  Another supportive thing is when people say that I've worked hard already.  Conversely, it's un-supportive when they tell me that I haven't done enough, when they give me lots of suggestions for things I should do.

I talked to one person about my job.  She said that we can't all have fulfilling jobs, that a job is just earning a living, and we can get our fulfillment outside our jobs.  She said I shouldn't expect so much from my job.  I talked to her about efforts I've made so far to explore other areas.  She said she was impressed with how much I have done.  So I got the more-harm-than-good response on the first half, but the support I wanted on the second half.

I talked to another person about my job.  He said I'm clearly not happy with my job, and I shouldn't have to be so miserable.  But when I said how hopeless I feel about getting another job, he said I have no right to feel hopeless, because I have not yet done enough work on jobhunting to warrant it.  So, in that case, I got the support I wanted on the first half, but the more-harm-than-good response on the second half.

So, between the two of them, I got the support I wanted on both halves.  So it works.  If you put yourself out there and live with the negative responses you get, then you can get the positive thing you are looking for.

But it's not always the case that you get equal amounts positive and negative.  In some situations, you get mostly negative, while in others, you get mostly positive.  Every negative bit you get saps your soul.  Every positive bit you get fuels your soul.  If you are at a strong point in your life, the sapping of the soul may have little impact, but if you are already worn thin, you can't tolerate much sapping.

It's up to you to choose.  How much sapping and how much fueling is this situation giving you? How badly is the sapping affecting you? How much benefit will you get from the fueling?  If it's worth it, go for it.  If you can't take the sapping, it's okay to sit this out.  I have this attitude from my culture saying you just have to work hard and you can achieve anything.  But you know, sometimes it's okay to choose not to work hard at something, if working hard at it will suck your soul.

The courage to step into the unknown

When my life is going well, I don't hesitate to boldly step into the unknown.  I remember feeling that way when I was 19.  It was the end of a summer spent as a camp counselor.  Being a camp counselor was very challenging, but I rose to the challenge.  It was one of the most confident times of my life.

When my life is not going well, I cling to the few good things that I have.  The world seems a hostile place, so I hesitate to go into it.  I remember feeling that way when I was 26.  I was leaving a job I did not like and moving to a different state to go to graduate school.  I was sorry to leave behind the folk music radio show and the farmer's market.  But once I moved, I found my new home had an amazing health food store and an amazing amount of folk music on the radio.

It's backwards.  The better my life is, the more willing I am to walk away from it.  The worse my life is, the more tightly I cling to it.  I cling to the few good things I have, because there seem to be so few good things in the world.  I shrink from the unknown, because so often the unknown is not what I want.

Health and happiness

I have health today.  Therefore, I am happy.  Yes, I have to pay my due by doing my job, but when it is done, I am free.  And when I have health, whether at my job or not, fatigue no longer weighs on me.  There is a spring in my step.

When I am tired, I really enjoy free time to indulge in reading and writing.   There were a lot of thoughts swirling in my head.  I was going to sort them out, make them coherent, put them into blog posts.

But when I have health, I need not do it.  Let thoughts swirl.  Let me swirl.  Let me go out with people to dance, sing, and ski.  Let joy reign.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I spent my 20's in a romantic relationship, and trying to figure out how to earn a living -- I did  a job I did not like for four years.  During that time, I was applying for other jobs, looking into different career fields, and looking at graduate schools.   Then I was earning a master's degree for two years, then I was unemployed, temping, and jobhunting for two years.

In my 30's, I had a job I loved.  My romantic relationship ended, and I think that created more room in my life for friends.  In my 30s, because I loved my job, I didn't have to devote my energy outside my job to trying to find some other way to earn a living, so when I wasn't at my job, I could just enjoy my life.  I had friends.  I went hiking.  I had always loved cross country skiing, but now I learned downhill skiing.  I learned rollerblading.  I went to contra dances.  I took dance classess -- ballroom, swing, modern, jazz.  I volunteered at concerts pretty much every week.  I went sledding.  I threw snowballs at my friends.  My friends and I dressed up in Halloween costumes.  We read children's books aloud to each other.  We did the limbo.  We drove around aimlessly singing along to the car radio.

As my 30's came to an end, so did that phase of my life.  The friends disappeared.  I ceased liking my job.  I got sick.  When I lost my health, I had already lost my friends and my love for my job, so when I lost my health, there was little left.  (I do have a good family, though I don't live near them.)

The first half of my 40s was spent struggling to rebuild my life.  I went back to constantly looking for a better way to earn a living, as I had in my 20s -- both applying for jobs and exploring career fields. Longing to hike, dance, and ski but not having as much strength as I used to, I tried to fill in the emptiness with mellower activities -- tai chi, Nia, yoga, gardening, nature walks.  I did activities that engaged my mind but didn't require being in a particular place at a particular time, so that I could adjust my activity in accordance with my energy level -- compiling photos, compiling playlists, taking online classes.  I was introspective, pursuing pantheism, druidry, meditation, blogging.  I made one new friend -- someone I talk to on the phone all the time, but don't see much outside of the phone.  I wasn't really up to having friends who expected me to go out and do things.

In the second half of my 40s, I've been struggling to emerge, struggling to go back to a life like the one in my 30s.  I joined one group in fall 2010, which ended up going defunct, but it led me to meet some good people, and led me to another group that I joined in December 2011.  Then I joined another activity in spring 2012, one which I got involved in through a contact with someone I knew in my 30's, and which has led me back to many of the people and activities from my 30s, while at the same time opening a whole new world of people and activities.

In this phase of struggling to emerge, sometimes struggle seems to be the operative word, while other times, emerging seems to be the operative word.  On the emerging side, there are so many things I love to do, and so many people I'd like to get to know better.  On the struggle side, I'm tired, I still have to keep going to the job I hate, and although I've met some really cool people, I haven't entirely connected with them and been able to be myself with them.

Still I struggle.  I hope I can find my way out of the cocoon and into the world of joy.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Welcoming diversity, maintaining identity

In her Friends Journal article Diversity and Unity in the Religious Society of Friends, Lynn Fitz-Hugh writes, " I do not feel that being welcome means that one gets to change the nature of Quakerism. I do not expect that a welcome guest in my home may move the furniture around. Even though I do not identify as Christian, I do not get to change Quakerism from being a Christian religion."

I agree with that.

As different cultures meet, they will change each other.  As individuals meet, they change each other.  That is the nature of things, it's inevitable.  But it's also the nature of things they were are not all one uniform blob.  That cultures and individuals have differences from each other. I think sometimes people take it too far, promoting diversity in a way that implies it's not okay to maintain your own identity.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Inflated language

A company advertising job openings says:
We are seeking analysts to join our dynamic operations team and become experts in the diverse business challenges of a global hedge fund. Successful candidates are creative problem-solvers and self-starters who have the proven ability to produce results.
Another describes itself as
a management consultancy that specializes in improving and transforming operations through business process and analytic transformation, leveraging innovative techniques and technologies. 
This is not Quakerly.  Corporations, politicians, they are all about making themselves sound impressive.  Quakers emphasis truth and simplicity in their communications.  I don't want to be a part of this world where it's all about image and profit.  I want to find some enclave where I can live among people who share my values.   People who seek truth, wisdom, joy, and beauty.   People who strive to treat others with kindness and respect.  Yes, sometimes truth and kindness seem to be in conflict, but conscientious people can often find a path which embraces both. 

Drunk on singing

One autumn evening, we took a hay ride through field and forest to a bonfire.  We gathered round the bonfire singing.  Then the bonfire was over, the singing was over, and we were riding back on the hay wagon to get to the parked cars.  But my friend and I were still singing.  Drunk on singing, we forgot to worry that the time for singing was over.  We forgot to worry that neither of us had any particular ability to carry a tune.   

It was a moment that enriched my life.  A moment I still remember 15 years later.  I don't regret it.

He always called me up, wanting to go places with me.  It wasn't for me, it was for my car.  He got a car, and he got a girlfriend, both around the same time.  Then he had no further use for me, so he wanted nothing to do with me.  You could say he was wrong, to use me.  But, I got something out of it.  There was singing, there was doing the cha-cha, there was hiking, there was skiing, there was going to the ocean.  I knew he was just passing through my life until something better came along.  I made my choice.  I chose to sing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Saving the world from plastic bottles

I don't believe in bottled water.  We have tap water readily available.  Bottled water means manufacturing plastic bottles, transporting plastic bottles, and disposing of plastic bottles.

I don't believe in soda.  It's just caramel colored carbonated high fructose corn syrup.  Why put that in your body?

But in between soda and bottled water lies seltzer.  I have been drinking seltzer the past few months.  I'm ambivalent about it.  Water comes into the house through the plumbing, but other foods and beverages do not, so it's not like I am package-free.  I do consume things that come in packages, including plastic bottles.  And it's healthy to drink water.  I drink seltzer more than plain water, because I like it better.  So maybe it's good to have seltzer, so that I drink more water.

I used to make iced mint tea.  Then I stopped drinking it.  It was after I stopped drinking it that I turned to seltzer as an alternative.

Still, in order to reduce use of plastic bottles, I try to drink tap water rather than seltzer unless it's a time when I just really don't feel like drinking water.  One thing that seems to really help is filling my cup in the bathroom.  Just over a year ago, the landlord changed my kitchen faucet.  Ever since then, I don't like the taste of the water that goes through that faucet.  One reason I started drinking water less was because I was drinking it from the kitchen faucet.  So, to reduce my consumption of seltzer, the key is to get my water from the bathroom faucet.


I was so tired and discouraged last night.  Discouraged because I don't get to do fun things like skiing and dancing because I'm always tired.  I was so tired, that I was like, "I can't take this any more. I'm going to bed."  I hadn't had dinner yet, but I was just too tired to deal with anything else.  I went to bed at 9pm.  I woke up around 2:20am, ate some food, and went back to sleep.

I think I feel a bit better today.  I really need to work on this going to bed early thing.  I think it would help.  But for weeks, months, years, I've been telling myself I really should get to bed earlier.  But then there's always one more thing to be done before I go to bed.  But I must remember, if I got enough sleep, I might have less time awake, but I'd get more done in the time I do have. 

Why I have clutter and chores

I saw her in the ladies' room, washing out her mug in the sink.  I walked out the door.  Then I heard some crashing and talking.  I figured she must be talking to me, so I poked my head back in.  She had dropped the mug and the handle had broken off.  She promptly dumped the mug into the trash can.

That was mindboggling. It would never occur to me to do that.  If a handle breaks off a mug, then I put the mug in a pile, waiting for me to get around to gluing the handle back on.

That's why I have so much clutter in my house.

That's why I have so many unfinished chores in my house.

My life would be simpler if I just immediately tossed stuff in the trash can.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pauper's grave

According to wikipedia:

On June 28, 1953, Julia de Burgos left the home of a relative in Brooklyn, where she had been residing. She disappeared without leaving a clue as to where she went. It was later discovered that on July 6, 1953, she collapsed on a sidewalk in the Spanish Harlem section of Manhattan, and later died of pneumonia at a hospital in Harlem at the age of 39. Since no one claimed her body and she had no identification on her, the city gave her a pauper's burial on Hart Island, the city's only potter's field. Eventually, some of her friends and relatives were able to trace her, find her grave, and claim her body. A committee was organized in Puerto Rico, presided over by Dr. Margot Arce de Vázquez, to have her remains transferred to the island. Burgos' remains arrived on September 6, 1953 and funeral services for her were held at the Puerto Rican Atheneum. She was given a hero's burial at the Municipal Cemetery of Carolina. A monument was later built at her burial site by the City of Carolina.
This is not a Quakerly story.  It bothers me that they think that she deserves better than a pauper's grave because she is a poet.  Does this mean that paupers who are not poets deserve the pauper's grave?

Imaginary friends

About a month ago, in my post "Contented dreams," I wrote about how I think something that helps me maintain some inner peace is that even if my reality is not meeting my emotional needs, my unconscious mind meets my emotional needs through my dreams.  The dreams are not in my control, and often I don't even remember them.

But it's not only that.  I also impact my state of mind through my conscious thoughts, my daydreams.  When I go to bed at night, I imagine that there is someone in bed beside me.  I lie on my side, and he is behind me, with his arm around me.  In that arrangement, I don't see him, I don't have to imagine what he looks like, who he might be.  All I have to imagine is that someone is there for me.

I think it's good, it's good to be able to stir up feelings of contentedness just by imagining what my life would be like.  We humans need to feel loved in order to function in a healthy manner, yet our environment does not always provide the love we need.  Therefore it's useful to be able to stir up feelings of being loved.

I think that's something people sometimes get out of religion.  They imagine a deity who loves them, and it does them good, to imagine that.

I think people imagine being loved by spouses, lovers, gods, parents, and other family and friends.  It's interesting to think about the different things people might imagine.  It's interesting to realize that what I imagine now might not be the same thing at different times in my life.

My being loved fantasy is nearly always about a husband or boyfriend, not about deities, parents, etc. That is what it has been about as long as I can remember, even when I was a kid I think.  Nowadays it is about a generic man, not about a particular individual, because I don't think there really are any real people I can count on to be there for me.  I think at times in the past, I imagined specific individuals.

I think my being loved fantasy is less varied than my erotic fantasies.  While my being loved fantasy usually takes place in bed with a generic man, my erotic fantasies may take place in bed, on floors, or in forests, and may be with a generic man or a specific individual.  And if it's a generic man, there are several different types of generic men who may be involved in an erotic fantasy, while a being loved fantasy is pretty much always the same type of generic man.

Delusions of skiing

I get mad when I see on Facebook people went cross country skiing and didn't invite me.

In summer, I get mad when I see on Facebook people went boating and didn't invite me.

Yesterday I took a stroll around on some snowshoes.  My first time.  In the past, sometimes I thought I would try snowshoes.  I would think about renting snowshoes, but why rent snowshoes when you could rent skis? I loved cross country skiing.

But February 2006 I got sick.  December 2007 I rented skis for the first time after I got sick.  I realized I couldn't do it any more.

But since then I've gradually been doing more.  I go for walks.  I went for a walk in the snow two years ago and I realized I should get snowshoes.  I bought them a month ago.  We did not have much snow until the past few days.  Yesterday I finally went snowshoeing for the first time.

Most of the time that I was on the snowshoes, I was thinking, "I want to learn skate skiing."  I never tried skate skiing, but in my later years of cross country skiing, I used to see people skate skiing.  It looks like rollerblading.  It looks like a cross between rollerblading and cross country skiing.  It looks like I would love it.

I was snowshoeing yesterday, and while I was snowshoeing I resolved: two weeks from now, I will go to the place where I used to ski, and I will take a skate skiing lesson.

I wandered around on snowshoes for about an hour.  Then I went home.  I was all worn out.

Of course I can't go skate skiing.  What was I thinking? I've got to stop having these delusions that I can actually do fun things.

I told my mom about it.  She said, "When you get to be 50, you won't mind.  You'll want to do the things you can do."

I told her, "When I find a fun husband who will stay home with me, that's when I won't mind."

Then she talked some about family health history.  My brother has been experiencing fatigue lately, so he has been asking about it, getting us thinking about it.  My mom was raised by her stepfather.  Her biological father was not a big part of her life.  But she was realizing as my brother asked about it that her biological father was never very strong.  My mother's mother's mother was also not so strong.  Could my brother and I be experiencing something that runs in the family?

Growing up, we always thought the weak ones were weak.  You know, that it is some character flaw in them, like they have a bad attitude or something.  That they don't like to have fun.  That they are not courageous, not adventurous.

But then I turned into a weak one.  And I realized it takes a lot more courage to be a weak one than it takes to be a strong one.

Bigger and bigger is more and more solitary

In my post Bigger and Bigger, I wrote about how over the history, human institutions seem to increase in size.  But as we congregate in larger and larger cities, we become increasingly alone.  Instead of everyone going to the village well for water, we have water piped into our own homes, so we don't have to go out there.  We travel in cars, with one person in each car, so we don't have to talk to other people.  Instead of going out to dance and make music together, people stay home and watch entertainment on TV screens and computer screens. 

Is it a bad thing? It's such a relief for me after people pecking at me all day, to go home to the peace of solitude.  On the other hand, I often have a feeling that I wish people would help me more, I wish people would listen to me more, and I wish people would do fun things with me more (like reading The Story of Ferdinand). 

I guess my problem is I have too many of people I don't like, and too little of people I do like.

I wish I had the ability to like everyone, because then I would actually enjoy being around all these humans.

Ferdinand and the Little Engine that Could

Public radio station fund drive.  They talk a lot, do a lot of goofy things, play certain songs over and over.  This morning their thing was reading children's books.

First they read The Story of Ferdinand.  I like the book. The way they were reading it, enjoying every word, enjoying the pictures, as adults, reminded me of something.  I used to have friends who would hang out with me at my house, and we used to read Winnie the Pooh to each other. 

It made me sad, that I no longer have friends who enjoy hanging out at my house and reading children's books with me.

Then they read The Little Engine That Could.  That book I didn't like.  It made me mad listening to it.  I don't know the tale well from reading it in the past.  What I see on the internet now indicates that the request for help was refused by big strong engines.  However, when I heard it on the radio this morning, all I heard was that the old rusty train declined to help, saying, "I can't."  Then comes the young little energetic train who agrees to help.  To me, it was saying us tired old people are bad, and young energetic people are to be glorified.

Then there's the whole matter of "I think I can."  The message is you can do anything if you try hard enough.  That is just a horrible message.  It causes feelings of failure in those of us who have not been able to do what we want.  And it also causes us to think that anyone who is poor, ill, disabled, etc., must be so because they aren't trying hard enough. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

They make my world okay

On December 21, I wrote a post of hopelessness and fatigue. Then, later that day, I saw some videos of dancing, and I couldn't help but smile, so I wrote a more cheerful post showing the videos. The same today. Of course actual dancing brings even more joy than watching videos of dancing.

Fiction is an escape. It makes me feel okay, but only while I'm gone from the world. It doesn't make my world okay. Music, dance, and the outdoors, they make my world okay. At least for little glimmers.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Foggy place

The world shines so clear and blue.  So clear.  You can tell by the way it shines if it's true or false, good or evil.

That's the world in the fiction books.

Then I emerge from the fiction books to this other foggy place which I am forced to inhabit when not in fiction.  Nothing is clear here.

In fiction world where I was today, Rosie loves and is loved by family  and friends  -- Narl, Peony, Sigil, Katriona, and Aunt.

In foggy place where I live now, don't know if I love anyone or if anyone loves me.

Rosie loves her simple country life.

I think I would hate it.  No abstract thinkers there, everything so small, no one thinks beyond immediate practicality.  That's why I hated my hometown.

Now in this foggy place the smart people, they have degrees to prove it, they don't talk to me, I'm too dumb.

Now this foggy place, the seed of a tree germinates, tries to grow, but the shadow of the canopy strangles it with darkness, it cannot expand to its size.   Thus they strangle me.  They strangle me with fatigue, with pushy people, stupid people, selfish people, boring tasks.  I live mired in a bog. I can't see anything.

Bigger and bigger

Over time, human endeavors seem to increase in size -- cities, corporations, governments, bureacracies, farms, houses.  Even our bodies are growing bigger, as obesity becomes more widespread.  Whenever there's a problem, we address it by building more bureaucracy.  In my job, things that people used to be able to just do require multiple forms, each of which requires multiple signatures. 

There are some people interested in reversing this trend -- living simply, relying on local businesses rather than huge corporations, increasing the ability of smaller entities to sustain themselves, building smaller houses.  Yet, it seems those involved in this movement are a minority.  Will this ever take hold?

Or will we keep on making everything bigger and more complex until we destroy ourselves?


I suspect that I'm no longer truly capable of working full-time.  I still do it, but I'm not doing a good job of it.  About two hours before it's time to go, my energy is gone, and I lose my productivity.

In my free time weekends and evenings, there are some things that I do, but I also spend a great deal of time resting.  So many wonderful things are going on -- concerts, dances, singalongs -- and it saddens me to miss so many of them.  In addition, I'd like to take all sorts of classes -- academic, dance, and playing musical instruments.  And I'd like to rollerblade, kayak, hike, snowshoe, and ski.  If I got out more, it would be easier to forge friendships.

And yet, life is never perfect.  I think this is something I can live with.  I do like to stay home and read and listen to music and so forth.  I do enjoy what I have. 

History books will record

They said on the radio today that today's snowstorm will be one "that history books will record."  I just imagined a history book reaching out an arm, grabbing a pen, and writing in itself.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Solitude is luxury.  Luxury is curling up in bed with a good book.  Luxury is dancing to the beat of my own drum.  Luxury is music.  Luxury is freedom from the humans pecking at me.  Luxury is following my joy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The demon

The little troll, a demon, with red reptilian skin, horns upon his head, a whip to lash all who come near.  Creatures of all species cower when they come within a mile of him.  They bend, trying to escape the lash.  There is no escape.  The lash punishes all.

Innocent ears

I couldn't make sense of what he was saying.

"What?  Did you say bath birds?"

Turns out he was saying "bastards."

I guess I couldn't make it out because my ears were having a fit of innocence.

Girl Scout cookies and the Economics of Happiness

Someone where I work sent out an email saying his daughters are selling Girl Scout cookies, and that he has the order form in his office, so stop by if we want to order them.  His email contains a link to a web site about the various varieties of cookies.  When I followed that link, this is what I read:

"Each box a girl sells provides her with a lesson in people skills. She's meeting new customers, making eye contact, talking about the cookies, and saying thanks. And that builds her confidence, which she needs for success."

No, if we order by going to the father's office, and never see the girls, none of the above is happening.

When I was a Girl Scout, I always felt like I was inferior because I sold very few cookies. The other girls had parents who sold cookies for them at work.  I did not.

As an adult, still I find myself unable to get help from others.

Last night, some people were talking about a film called The Econocmics of Happiness.  They said that one of the points the film made was that a key ingredient of happiness is feeling that someone has your back.  They said that sometimes people stay in romantic relationships they don't want to be in, just because they want that feeling of someone has your back.

Maybe the real lesson girls learn from selling Girl Scout cookies is that it pays to get people to help you.  Maybe getting people to help me is what I failed to learn as a child.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Not moving forward

In A Holding Pattern, Sherry Boas writes of papayas on the tree, neither ripening nor rotting, just staying there unripe for months.  That's what my life feels like.

I love my life when I'm not at work.  I love wandering about gazing at trees.  I love curling up with a book at home.  I love dancing at home alone.  I love dancing out in the world with others.  I love listening to music.  I love sunshine.  I love interacting with family and friends.

I do all these wonderful things, but it doesn't change anything.  I do all these thing but I still have to go to that wretched job.

When I tell people I feel like I'm not moving forward, they think I want to get ahead in my career.  They think I want a job that makes a difference in the world.  They think I want a job that makes better use of my intellect.

No, I just want to stop having to go to that wretched place.

What's it like? I do some tasks that are moderately enjoyable.  But more often, I do tasks I don't like.  Do you know how if you try to put two magnets together going the wrong way, they bounce away from each other before they are close enough to touch?  That is what my work is like.  Every time I try to put my mind to a task, my mind bounces away from it.

I spend my work day trying to force my mind to focus where it doesn't want to be.

One of the main things that I do is write pleas to an administrator to grant us permission to do things.  We are the ones who know, we are the ones who are in a position to make an informed decision.  But he doesn't trust us to make the right decision.  Also, he won't approve it if he doesn't like the way we word the request.  It's not that he's opposed to allowing it, he just won't allow it until we bend over backwards a few more times.  This is the way it goes: first he explains how he wants us to frame the request.  Next, we make the request in accordance with his instructions.  Then he says we have made the request incorrectly, and that we failed to follow his instructions.  Then we re-write the request in accordance with his new instructions.  Then he rejects it again.  Then we re-write it again.  Then he finally approves it.

It takes a lot of time to keep writing those requests.  It also takes a lot of time between when we make the request and when he decides to tell us that he has rejected it.  So, things are not getting done in a timely manner, and there are people who are negatively affected when we can't back to them in a timely manner.

I can't keep up with my work.  I used to have a job that a person could do in a full-time manner.  But then we started having to do all this begging and pleading for every step we take.  What we used to be able to accomplish in minutes of work now takes days of work.   In the meantime, we lost four staff people -- one was laid off, two quit, and one died.  Only one of the four was replaced.

Usually by mid-afternoon, I'm really tired.  In the last few hours at the office, it's really hard to do anything.

Why is it so hard to do my job? It could be that
  • Since I got chronic fatigue syndrome, I'm no longer really fit to work full-time.
  • With the increased workload and decreased staff, I'm overwhelmed by all the things I have to do, and it makes it hard to focus on any one thing.
  • I hate the tasks I'm trying to do.  
It's probably all of the above.  But if I could tease apart these items, it might help me figure out what to do.  Because if my problem is that I can't work full-time, I shouldn't be trying to find a different full-time job.

This job sucks the life out of me.  Yes I do some fun things in my free time, but my free time is very limited.  A lot of it needs to go to chores.  A lot of it needs to go to rest.  

There are so many things I'd love to be doing.  I want to go to concerts, dances, and singalongs.  I want to take lessons on playing musical instruments, and lessons on dancing.  This time of year I want to go skiing and snowshoeing.  In summer, I want to go kayaking and rollerblading.  I want to be able to have long conversations with people.  There are piles of books I want to read.  

All the time, I have to accept that I can only do a small fraction of the activities I long to be doing.  

I never used to use caffeine.  Now I do.  I used to be punctual.  Now I'm late.  I pay my bills late.  I get to work late.  I get to events late.  I used to be organized, but now everything is falling apart.  I used to clean my house, now I don't.  

Yes, I am grateful to have a job.  I'm grateful that I don't have to worry about money.  I'm grateful to have somewhere to go, because I'm not actually happy when I have too many days of unstructured solitude.  I'm grateful that I'm not harassed at my job.  I'm grateful that it's a laidback environment.  

No, I don't expect my job to be perfect.  No, I don't want to have a prestigious career.  

But there has to be something better than this.  I don't want to spend the remaining decades until retirement stifling my soul like this.  And much as I love the things I do in my free time, I'm not moving forward, because I still have to go to that job.  And what am I supposed to do about it?  It takes a lot of time and energy to find a new job.   Already I'm falling apart because I'm doing too much.  Already it hurts me all the time that I'm so tired, that my house is so messy, that my bills aren't paid, that there are so many concerts and dances I can't attend.   I can't do any more than what I'm doing.  I

Friday, February 1, 2013

Harry Crewe

Last week I re-read The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.  I don't quite like the way McKinley's stories have so much of princesses marry princes (or kings) and living happily ever after, but other than that, it's good.

It's a fantasy novel, but its heroine, a woman named Angharad who goes by the nickname Harry, comes from a more modern world than than the typical fantasy novel.  I'm not a history expert, but I'd say it could be Victorian era.  Harry is from a place referred to as the Homeland, which resembles England.  She is an unmarried young woman, so when her parents die, she must be sent off to live with someone.  Her next of kin, her brother Richard, is in the army in a country colonized by the Homeland.  Richard is posted in a village taken over by Homelanders, bordering the wild area which the Homelanders have been unable to conquer.  Richard finds an older couple in his village to take Harry in -- the ambassador and his wife.

The couple is warm to Harry and she is fond of them, but she is restless there, with nothing to do but to be a burden on her hosts.  Because of her restlessness, she awakens early.  The book says, "she was adapting to her new life as best as her energetic self could.  She might have screamed, and hammered on the walls with her fists...but she was trying her best to be good.  So she was  merely first to the breakfast table."

That is how I feel sometimes.  I could hammer at the walls in frustration, but I'm trying my best to be good, so I merely read novels and write blog posts.

Then Harry comes into contact with Corlath, from the wild area the Homelanders have been unable to conquer.  He and some of his people have a sort of magical power which they call kelar or the Gift.  Corlath's attention is caught by Harry, and eventually he realizes that what he sees in her is the Gift.

"But it wasn't her size or her coloring that held him beyond the first startled flick of notice; nor was it her beauty.  There was too much strength in that face and in the long bones of the body for beauty.  Something about the quietness of her, perhaps? Or her self-contained straightness....like the contained straightness he himself had learned, knowing well what could happen if he relaxed."

"He knew...that she did not know.  She met his eyes too clearly....He wondered if she'd learned by accident not to focus her anger, or whether people she hated had a habit of falling downstairs or choking on fishbones -- or if perhaps she had never hated....she couldn't have ever been in love.  If she had ever turned the full intensity of her kelar-brilliant eyes on any average mortal, they would both have had a shock; and she would never again have had the innocence to meet someone's eyes as she now met his."

In my case, I've been in love, and I've turned full fire on those I love -- full fire of anger, and full fire of love.  But with the rest of the world, I do feel that "contained straightness." I contain myself, because I know they don't want to hear it.  They don't want to know how annoying and stupid I think they are.  Or they don't want to know the depth of the loyalty I feel for them.

I know what I want and what I don't want

They tell me I shouldn't complain, I should be grateful for what I have.  I shouldn't complain about my job, when so many people don't have jobs.

Or else they tell me that I don't complain enough.  They tell me I should be more assertive, I shouldn't put up with the things I put up with.

But all of them are wrong.  Because I'm the only one who can judge what's okay for me and what's not okay for me.  If I complain, it's because it's not okay for me.  If I don't complain, it's because it is okay for me.  There's no rule that says I have to tolerate what you tolerate.  It doesn't bother you, but it bothers me so I'm going to do something about it.  And conversely, just because it bothers you, doesn't mean it bothers me.  If it doesn't bother me, why should I have to do something about it?

They're so into "no means no" when it comes to women refusing sex.  They say you should believe women when they say no to sex.  Well you should believe me just as much when I say yes to sex, when I say I'm happy to do you a favor, when I say I don't like my job.

When I tell you what I want, you don't believe me.  Your loss.  Your ignorance.  You can't hear my voice, but my voice is real.  My voice speaks the truth of what I feel, and your lack of belief does not change that.

Middle aged people don't talk

Remember college? Didn't we used to stay up all night discussing the meaning of life? And one time, there was an acquaintance, someone in my circle, but not someone I was close to, who I was sitting with at breakfast, and we were sitting there talking, and we were still talking when lunch came around.  Then there was another acquaintance, I was walking across campus and passed him and we stopped to chat, and we spent ten hours straight together that day.  It's not like that any more.  People always have more important things to do.  Or when people are there, it's all small talk, how was your day, how was your week, it sure is cold today.  I miss it.  But I have more important things to do too.  I've got that job sucking up my life.  When I get away from the office, I have chores to do.  When I get away from the office, I just want to curl up with a book.  And so many people are dumb and annoying and loud.  But I do miss conversation sometimes.  Not that I can think of anything to say any more.

Celtic warrior princess

I was wearing a jacket.  Not what you wear outside for winter.  The word jacket used more as in what people wear with suits.  Not part of a suit though, more colorful than that.  But it was a garment with buttons that can be worn over a shirt.

"That's nice.  Is it new?" she asked.

I explained that it's not new, but I rarely wear it.  I explained that jackets and shirts and so on that are made with woven cloth, rather than knitted cloth, clothes that are not stretchy, don't fit me.   I do have a button down shirt that is made for men that fits me, but if it's made for women, it doesn't fit me.  It doesn't matter what size it is.  The larger the size, the more cloth there is for the bosom, but still the shoulders are narrow.

That's why I don't often wear the jacket.  Usually anything I wear on my top half is made of stretchy fabric, otherwise it is tight across the shoulders.

"I have the same problem," she said.

She said something derogatory about herself, something about being too big.

Knowing that she is proud of her Irish heritage, I said, "We are Celtic warrior princesses."

Some men think that in order to be attractive, women must be petite, dainty, giggly, cute.

I don't really respect such men.

I am a Celtic warrior princess.  Yes, it's true that I'm a mild-mannered pacifist too, but fundamentally I am hearty, independent, stubborn, and determined.  I am not a frail flower, I am a tree, firmly planted, towering to the sky.  If anyone doesn't appreciate that, it's their loss.