Tuesday, September 30, 2014


"You have holes in your shoes," observed my friend.

"They're called sandals," I replied.

Yes, they were actual sandals, not just old worn shoes that I was calling sandals because of the holes.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Facing fears

Today I was sick.

Life of dragging myself to work.  Life of dragging myself to chores.  Life of trying to avoid fiction.

Today, none of that.

Today, stayed home and indulged in fiction all day long.

I think it was good for me.

There are times when I push myself to do something I don't feel like doing and I feel better when I do it.  So usually I try to push myself.

That's always the problem, knowing when to push and when not to.

Today I went with the not to.

I finished off a novel I started yesterday.

Then I spent most of the day in Buffy.  Over the past few years, I've been re-watching from beginning to end.  Saturday I started season 7.  Today I did a lot more of season 7.

From "Bring on the Night"
I'm beyond tired. I'm beyond scared. I'm standing on the mouth of hell, and it is gonna swallow me whole. And it'll choke on me... I'm done waiting....From now on, we won't just face our worst fears, we will seek them out. We will find them, and cut out their hearts one by one.
What are my worst fears? Job interviews.  Phone calls.  Unemployment.  Having no one to help me.  We survive by depending on a combination of money and help from others.  Some rely more heavily on one than the other, but we all depend on both.  And I am afraid of not having them.  My job is going badly.  My family wants to be there for me, but I can't really see myself living with any of them if I became unable to pay rent.

But more than that terrifies me, what terrifies me are the things I have to do to get a new job.  I know deep in my soul that no one wants me, so it is torture to have to keep putting myself out there for rejection.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Trying to understand depression

What happened to me yesterday? It happens regularly.  Not every week.  Maybe a few times a month.  It depends.  Sometimes there are phases when it happens a lot, and sometimes phases when it doesn't happen for a while.  It's getting hit with depression.  I'm always trying to figure out how to prevent or alleviate such incidents, but I haven't really figured it out yet.

Usually it's on a Saturday when I have nothing scheduled.  So I have some sense that I should keep busy, should fill my life with events, to prevent it from happening.

But, I also have a sense that it comes from fatigue, and that I need to rest.  Partly it's physical fatigue.  The other part is fatigue from a life of trying to live up to the demands of others.  So I want rest, and I want to indulge in doing what I want, rather than what I'm supposed to do.

Yesterday I started out the day setting up a spreadsheet for tracking my expenses.  So it started with productivity.  But that was the extent of my productivity.

After having breakfast and getting dressed, I figured I would read nonfiction.  Reading because I want to indulge in something that I wanted to do, that wasn't a chore.  Nonfiction because I try to avoid fiction because I think it makes depression worse.

I took up one book, but was already near the end of it.  I finished that one and sought another.  I saw a number of unappealing books on the shelf.  Then I chose Boldly Live as You've Never Lived Before.  It's about how Star Trek characters are hero archetypes that can inspire you.  I read a little bit, but what struck me was that I'd rather be inspired by Buffy characters.  So, I went to watch Buffy DVDs.

I don't think it  made me depressed.  I was already depressed.  Watching them left me the same or slightly better.

Today was fairly similar.  I started off thinking I would be productive today.  I had breakfast.  Then I took a nap.  I did a little ironing, and thought I'd get a lot done today.  But somehow I ended up reading fiction.

I am indeed tired.

But I don't think that's all.  I think there are things looming that I don't want to face.  I think fiction is an escape.

If I didn't have anything looming, would I instead spend my time going for a walk, rather than escaping into fiction?

What if I decided reading fiction is how I want to spend my time? Instead of trying to resist it.


In my dream just before I woke up this morning, my friends were in a band and sat down to play.  I sat down to watch them, because I was the only one in the group of friends without musical ability.  But it turned out there was another person.  I did not know him before, but he was in the same circle of friends. He too was watching, sitting next to me.  There was a cat on my lap.  I was petting the cat.  After a while, I gave the cat to him.  And we touched each other and fell in love. I put my hand out and he took it and held my hand.  I felt enveloped in warmth and love.

It's something that is missing from my life, and maybe creating it in my imagination can help give me a centeredness that will help me get through.  It's not romance necessarily that I need.  It's being accepted, valued, loved, and secure.

I got up, used the computer, had breakfeast (including caffeine tea), and then fell asleep.  Weekends I often fall asleep right after caffeine, as well as right after breakfast.

This time I slept in the living room.  The living room windows are on the east side and it was morning, so I slept in a patch of warm sun.  Groggily, I thought, "It's late enough in the day that when I wake up, I can put on my pajamas."  Then I woke up enough to realize that 1) it was morning, and 2) I was still wearing pajamas.

What my sister likes to do

My sister was ironing iron-on letters onto clothes.

Contentedly, she said, "This is what I like to do! People should pay me to do this more often!"

Surprised, I blurted out, "Ironing?"

"No," she said.  "Creating things."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Standing up for what is right

Tonight I listened to This American Life.  The episode was 536: The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra. The story is also available at ProPublica.   What struck me is that the people she worked for her told her that she was wrong, but she stuck to it.  She had confidence in her own perceptions, analysis, and conclusions.  I admire that.

It seems to me that I spend a great deal of my life telling myself that things are okay just because other people insisted they are okay.  It started in 2006, when I told my doctor I did not feel well and she said I was fine.  I have been feeling okay the past few years.  Now it is about other things.

I tell people I don't like my job and they tell me I am lucky to have my job.

At my job, I say that the stuff we have to put up with is wrong, and my boss acknowledges some of the wrong aspects of it, but basically we still have to conform to it.  The person in power gets to decide what the rules are, even if his interpretation is different from the actual written rules.

And then the things I'm involved in outside my job -- the time bank, the radio station, and Morris dance -- are poorly run, but I just bend over backwards trying to work with people.

And in general, the world is not right.  Poverty, the criminal justice system, education -- they are not right.  But I can't fix them.  So I just try to find a way to live with the non-rightness.

Carment Segarra did not try to live with the not-rightness.

She lost her job as a result.

I admire her.

Head in the sand

The past few months,
The past few weeks,
I feel like something's bothering me

It didn't used to be like this.
I used to know.
I used to know what was in my heart, my mind.
If something bothered me
The thing that was bothering me was on my mind.

Now there's this feeling in the background
Something bothering me.
Even when my mind doesn't remember what it is.

When I think about it, usually I remember.

Never could I imagine
In those days
I could  not see
How anyone could not know what was bothering them
How anyone could miss it
But now there it is

I used to be calm
I used to be perceptive
I used to be a deep thinker
I used to live a healthy life
Physically, emotionally

Now I know those things are not innate
If you stop doing them
Then you don't remain

I walk through doing what I have to do
Then I go home and get lost on Facebook

Don't want to think of it
It's terrifying if I think of it
I can't live with my job
I can't live without my job
No one else wants to hire me
There's no way out of this mess

I wish this world had sabbatical
A way to have some space to find a way
But we can't stop
Can't stop running in the wheel
Because the only way out
Is to dive into unemployment and homelessness

I can't live like this
So escape
Read a book, watch a movie, play a computer game
Numb my soul

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Need to be rooted

Past two years I've been thinking about quitting my activities.  Maybe it's not about what to quit.  Maybe it's about how to be present in what I do, how to choose rather than be buffeted about.

Two woman I know come across as whiny.  They are overwhelmed.  So much pressure on them.
Three men I know are the opposite.  They say okay, this is the problem, this is what we're going to do about it.  In particular, today I saw one of them approaching the bureaucracy at my job that way.  I get frustrated about it.  But they are just like okay, what do I have to do, and they do it.

I was like that Monday.  Not at my job.  Not about  my life.  But when I needed to help someone else, I didn't agonize and fret. I just went forward, finding out what I needed to do and doing it.  Patiently facing each step of bureaucracy.

On Saturday, I was part of an event that was not well organized.  The woman who organized it was overwhelmed, not enough time to do everything that should have been done.  I know what that's like.  That's what I'm always like.  But she should not have held the event if she couldn't pull it off.  People invested time and money into participating.  They counted on the organizer to pull it off, and she failed.  We wasted time and money as a result.

A man I work with is constantly frustrated with another man we work with, someone who says he will do things and then does not do them because he has too many things to do.

So we need to just say okay, this is what I can do, and this is what I can't do, so I'm not going to do it.

And Morris dancing.  I am often frustrated about how my group is run.  I'm frustrated that the teacher does not teach in a way that I can learn from.  I am frustrated that the organizer does not welcome input from new people.  I am frustrated that we are not a good team, that we are just stagnant, we're not learning to be better.

But it is what it is.  I say okay, this is the Morris team that exists in the area where I live.  I'll deal with it, just like the guy I talked to today deals with bureaucracy.

I can't control anything but myself.  The world is what it is.  I make choices about how I'm going to deal with it.  I can decide I want to do Morris dancing, and I can be assertive about trying to get what I want out of it, trying to shift the team more toward what I want, but there's only so far that can take me.  Beyond that, I just have to live with what is.

In any sort of dance or exercise class out in the world, I am klutzy.  I am not rooted in my body.  I try to put my body into the positions demanded by the instructor, even though it is not the way my body wants to go.

When I am home alone, I feel at home inside my skin.

And I think that's what I'm looking for.  Not just the physical, but just to be rooted in myself.  Instead, I go through life trying to conform to the demands of the world around me.  Instead of trying to fit the world, and being frustrated that the world is not what I want it to be, I need to walk calmly through the world, saying this is what I am, and this is what the world is, so what do we do next/