The Beauty of Fall

I hear about it all the time. As the summer comes to an end the wind begins to dance with the eldest of the leaves, and donning their finest hues, the leaves in turn descend playfully to the ground below, blanketing the now yellowing grass with their lively colors, and reminding us of the transitory nature of our lives. How not only are we never truly done, but even in the waning of our lives we are still full of the rich experiences that have brought us to where we are, and if we only but take a cue from the leaves that dance with the wind, we can share the beauty of our own personal tapestries with the world around us.

And just as no words can ever truly hope to capture the experience of Fall, I recognize how shallow my own attempt at sharing the poignant emotions stirred when I read a passage written by one of my friends. It’s funny the things that inspire, and stranger still the result of such inspiration. She described a leaf, alone in the slowly fading light, it’s colors ranging from the bright yellows, to the crimson reds, resting at the cross section between stone and grass. With the hard rough concrete of her walk brushing the still vibrant green yard of her neighbors as the backdrop, the leaf inspired in her an awe that she was reluctant to taint by trying to capture it with the rudimentary tools available within her phone.

And while so enthralled by the whispered beauty of the leaf alone, as it shouted it’s colors into the night, she was made aware of the neighbors, coming out from their home to observe the young woman standing at the end of their drive. Here she paints the scene surrounding the island of beauty. You have a young woman holding a long forgotten cigarette, wavering ever so slightly as she stands at the end of the drive. Eyes decorated by a wash of dried tears and old makeup, she is raptly focused on what to them, is merely the ground at the edge of their yard.

I think what struck me the most in this story was not only the obvious blow to the heart such a sight brought her, but the candid manner in which she shared this excerpt from her life. She identifies herself as the ‘Crazy person of the day story’ in the lives of her neighbors, and sets this as a bar of experience to which we should all aspire, a notion I could not agree with more.

Now it wasn’t ‘just’ the feeling I got from that post that I wanted to share. It also got me thinking about… well… life. In particular, I realized ‘why’ I love excerpts like this as much as I do. It’s a glimpse at a world I will never see. I’ve written before about being colourblind, and even suggested way in which it may have affected my life. But when I’m talking to someone about it, and they express their sympathy, I wave it off with an expression along the lines of, “I haven’t ‘lost’ my ability to see color, I never had it, so it’s not like I’m ‘Missing’ something. ;P”. It occurs to me that this is why I’ve never felt the loss.

In much the same way that reading an adventure novel allows one the opportunity to explore dark forests of indeterminable age, with massive trunks that bear the weathering of years, underbrush that catches at the legs, and trips the unwary traveler, vines so long in the growing looping from tree to tree with no identifiable beginning nor end. In the same way you can almost hear the rustle of the wind through the boughs above, and the chatter of creatures that dance just beyond sight. The same influence that allows you to smell the once living husks of trees fallen in unknowable storms mixing with the verdant life of the forest today… This same power allows me to see the beauty of the world, the richness of life’s tapestry as if I truly could see the colors for myself. And is the reason that I’ve never really felt colourblind.

She agreed to allow me to reproduce the original post here attributed to her:

So I was walking back to my house after grabbing some food, kind of lost in thought. I saw a leaf on the sidewalk that was the most perfect fall leaf I think I have ever seen. It was school bus yellow at the tip and faded in blazing oranges and pinks into an almost painfully bright red shade and was nestled into some of the greenest grass in the neighborhood.
I stopped short and just stared at it. I considered taking a picture of it, but realized that this would make me that person who takes pictures of leaves on the sidewalk (hashtag nofilter). It was one of those moments that let me know instantly that to try to capture it would be to diminish it. A moment where making it important enough to try and keep shatters the illusion.
I must have stood there and looked at this leaf for at least 5 minutes, because when I came back to reality my cigarette had smoked most of itself without my assistance. Coming back to reality was done because a lady and her kid had come out of her house to see a vaguely disheveled, mildly hungover woman with smears of last night’s eye make up still clinging around faded tear tracks, standing mute and still just staring intently at the lawn from the end of their very short driveway.
Just not living life if you’re not somebody’s crazy-person-of-the-day story sometimes.
It was a really nice leaf.
It has been a trying couple of days.

Lauren Bartle

And link to the Original for those of you that can see it.

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Random Ramble on the Modern Relationship and the Nature of Love

So a friend of mine recently shared this article (Short enough. Read for Context). And while I thought it was a cute ‘Reversal’ of the Problematic “Friend Zone” argument that men make… As a “Reversal” and not an introspective look at the problems related to it, it’s certainly not meaty enough to be anything more than a cheap laugh. That said, there was some interesting debate that followed it, and I’ll excerpt a few points for context (Names omitted as I didn’t ask permission to share their thoughts wide. 😛 And G is the friend that Originally shared the Article.):

W Says: This is an absolutely valid perspective. 100%. However, as someone who’s been on the other side of this more than once, I can attest that absolutely nothing is more personally devastating humiliating for a guy than being rejected by someone, especially someone they value or who possesses traits they admire and respect. If you meet and build a link to someone who reflects your romantic ideal and they reject you, what does that say about yourself? Lower standards? Build an emotional callus and try again?
Attitudes about what men look for in a romantic relationship have dramatically shifted in recent times. The meek, submissive girl who exists for the hearth and is seen but not heard, does what she’s told and spends her time dolling herself up for The Man to come home from The Job and expect The Dinner on The Table have been exposed for being as silly and backwards as they really are. This shift in paradigm has led to men hunting for values in a partner that reflect them being an actual partner – the SO who’s as much a friend as a girlfriend is considered to be the ideal rather than as “uppity”.

Unfortunately, of course, this winds up stepping on legitimate friendship, and there really isn’t a clear answer to how to solve this problem because emotions aren’t really rational.

X Says:“I start to think that this one might actually care about me as a person. And then he asks me on a date.”

Fun fact! If someone asks you out on a date, it is not because they don’t care about you as a person. In fact, the exact polar opposite is true, they ask you out because they care about you a lot!

If you reject them and they stop talking to you, it still isn’t because they don’t care about you as a person or value your friendship. In fact, the exact polar opposite is true! It’s actually because they care about you a lot more than you care about them, and that hurts them inside and your presence becomes a source of constant emotional pain for them!

But I guess the author doesn’t give two fucks how other people feel. She just wants to do whatever she wants without empathy for others, and if the emotions of someone else inconveniences her wants, that person is an asshole. I mean how dare they have emotions different from what she wants them to have, right?

W Says: The only solution is to clearly turn down a guy and leave no room for a romantic future. If you’re not attracted, you’re not attracted. I’ve been in this situation on the other side and when I was told no, that’s not how this goes, I’ve respected that and steered clear of the romantic entanglement. It only became a mess when either A) I wasn’t mature enough to handle that, which I’ve worked to overcome, or the woman wasn’t mature enough to be clear on her intentions. I will completely cop to A, I’ve been This Guy before and had to develop as a person to respect this and understand this. Conversely, I’ve also dealt with the B scenario – in fact, twice, the girl reciprocated and changed her mind immediately leading to a severe emotional clusterfuck.

We’re changing as a society into a newer (and I would argue far healthier) model of what we look for in romantic partners, and that change is going to come with problems as we adapt to the new model. I would call this an unfortunate symptom of that.

@X: The problem is that women don’t like the fact that they’re thought of as dating prospects first. And guys who try to befriend a girl in hopes of dating them later are creeps.

X Says: Not every guy befriends girls with ulterior motives. I don’t think its exactly far fetched to assume that if a heterosexual man meets a heterosexual woman and they get along well and start spending a lot of time together doing things like [excerpted from the article]:

– going over to each other’s houses and playing video games together
– going to see movies with each other
– going on day hikes together
– finding similar tastes in music and going to see those concerts together
– spend time talking to each other, just finding comfort in sharing their problems and getting support
– having deep intellectual conversations about books they’re reading
– adventurously exploring new restaurants with each other
– going to small weird theatre productions together and having fun mocking them

SOMEONE is going to develop feelings. Those aren’t friendly encounters, those are dates, whether you call them that or not. If you’re spending that much time with someone and you’re getting along THAT well with them, feelings are bound to develop and grow. Interpersonal relationships aren’t binary, it’s not a facebook status that is either on or off. Friendship is a flower. It has many different stages and forms. If you tend to it and continue caring for it and putting work in to it and all the conditions are right, it will continue to grow. it doesn’t just reach a point and then stop arbitrarily.

A guy may not intend to fall for a girl when he first meets her, but if everything fits and you get along that well, the flower’s bound to grow.

G Says:Why are those things dates? I do those with my friends with zero romantic intent. I am out atm but ill write up a proper response when I get home

Also I disagree with the idea that its okay to abandon a friendship because they say no to dating you. If you are that close of a friend to someone, and you abandon them simply because they aren’t interested in a romantic relationship, that is incredibly terrible, on your part, not theirs. Saying you don’t want to be in a relationship does not make you a jerk, not speaking to someone anymore because they don’t do what you want is.

X Says: so you’d rather someone who has reciprocated feelings for someone else just bottle up their emotions and continue to suffer through emotional pain just for that other’ person’s convenience?

G Says:That’s a bit of a hyperbolic question, but yes. If you care about someone, you accept their choice and move on. I have been on both sides of this scenerio myself and I don’t see anything wrong with it. If you care about them, why on earth would you want to throw away your friendship with them? It makes absolutely no sense to me.

I guess I just don’t see how a friendship is some devastating purgatory

Y Says:Because lots of people don’t have the emotional fortitude to continue on like nothing has happened with someone they care greatly about, or the emotional maturity to treat them as just a friend and not make awkward jokes or hit on them constantly.

Not that I don’t sympathize with your position, I’m just clarifying the other side. I’m sure it’s frustrating to make friends with guys who, after they reveal their un-reciprocated feelings, either drop off the face of the earth or continue to awkwardly hit on you until you just come around. I know, because I’ve had this explained to me in detail by a few girls. I think this is one of those situations where understanding both sides doesn’t necessarily make it better, because feelings.

G Says:I guess I just honestly don’t comprehend the logic for the other side. I understand it’s painful, and I by no means wish to dismiss anyone’s feelings as invalid. But in my experience on the rejected side of things, if I care about someone enough to ask for a romantic relationship, the idea of losing that person entirely just seems like it would be a million times worse than the pain involved in crying for a week, eating a tub of ice cream and moving on. I fell for them because they were awesome, and awesome friends are a wonderful thing to have.

H Says: If some people have attachment issues and are turned down for being dated it can often be more painful for them to remain friends with the person that rejected them. Sometimes its just easier to move on and forget the person and close the book on that chapter of your life.

Not saying thats the right thing for everyone but it certainly suits some people.

Now coming into the conversation at this point, I came up with this… which I ‘think’ addresses some of the problems being discussed… (Tis a bit Rambly… but if you’re reading this… you’re probably used to that by me. >.>)

  Okay, so read the article and it’s funny, *Ba Dum Tish* , this is what the “Friend Zone” laments look like from the “Other Side”, but in choosing that particularly charged subject and making light of it in a self-serving fashion, it’s as broken as the “Friend Zone” lament. So taking it for the funny, sure, but taking it for ‘any’ real kind of meat is as futile as taking a ‘Friend Zone’ lament as meat.

  The dynamics between men and women are changing all the time. No longer are men the sole moneymakers, and women the housewife. This impacts far more than just the workplace though. Now men and women both are expected to be sussing out their personal futures, and in doing so planning their partners around this. The problem lies in that while women used to be more prone to socializing and networking around (And ‘sometimes’ as part of) their tasks, men used to be ‘Objective Driven’ (Work, Food, Mate, Relax) with networking as a secondary function, and generally only to accomplish objectives. Now that we’re all (A Process started with our Grandparents Grandparents) being set upon the same stage… we’ve got to relearn the blocking and work on our delivery.

  Unfortunately, we’re still too close to a generation where things weren’t as meshed as they are now, so large chunks of our social education are still rooted in another age, and we’re still likely another generation or two off of children being raised in an environment where women and men are equally expected to both work and socialize without judgment. (How would you think about the guy that sits at home keeping up the house whilst his girlfriend works and they make ‘just enough’ to get by? What about the reverse… ‘Should’ there be a difference?) During this transition, the ‘Dating Scene’ is likely to be a bit strange, and this is only exacerbated by ‘little things’ like difference in confidence and a variety of socially grown mental states that our culture is so good at breeding. ;?

  Touching on a few of the things mentioned so far, it’s silly to think that people interacting on an increasingly personal stage will not develop a stronger connection. As you bring someone into your life, and into the things that you’re passionate about, some of that passion is bound to slop out. One of the problems we have as a culture is in our confusion about the different forms of love (An NO I don’t bloody mean the Gift Giving, and Praising, and Touching, and whatever the bloody ‘ell else those books go on about… the idea that ‘Those’ are the forms of love is part of the problem… :?). Many people associate a strong sense of camaraderie with romantic feelings, and this is only complicated by the fact that we don’t culturally teach about different forms of love. Strong feelings? Not Family? Have Sex. That’s the path people tend to follow. 😕 (And ‘that’ could be an entirely different conversation that I’ll only lightly touch on one aspect of… >.>)

  While I want to like the “Flower” Analogy, I think to use it you have to realize that there are many different types of flowers, and you can’t eat all of them, though many of them may look and smell quite nice. The problem is that we’re working off this model of relationships that doesn’t easily allow for roses and sunflowers, dandelions and flytraps to be a natural part of it. We’ve got plants, we grow plants, we eat plants, and sure there are some hippies that wear flowers in their hair… but they’re a little strange… And while it would be easy to say, “You should realize you’re being silly!” when people don’t grasp that you can love someone without sleeping with them, this is not a universal cultural message yet… and patience is unfortunately required on both sides during the transition.

  Friendship isn’t a ‘Purgatory’, but when people are raised to see love as a single continuum, it’s ‘Upsetting’ when they feel as if they’ve somehow failed to progress, or when they feel that they ‘have’ progressed only to be told that they’re wrong. Unfortunately, until the idea that love between non family can ‘truly’ be a platonic thing as naturally as it can be a physical thing, we’ll continue to deal with this rough spot. There are a lot of related issues that simultaneously need to be addressed (Sex and it’s relation to emotional connections, open ‘Emotional’ communication across both genders, education on these things and more!) before a real transition can happen… but we’re slowing crawling there.

 

So what do You Think?

‘Nothing’ to Stop Me

So, I’ve Finally had the chance to probe a little bit of my psych this week. Specifically whatever it is that keeps me from wanting to get up in the mornings. And I’ve come to an interesting, though unhelpful conclusion. There’s nothing there. Now this might sound like good news. As in, without an obvious obstacle, it’s left up to Willpower alone… but therin lies the problem. Willfully overcoming something requires that something to overcome. And to characterize the Nothing a bit more, it’s not like a “Emptiness”, or a sense that there is a void that needs filled, or even a sense of something missing… but Nothing. What makes it interesting though… is that I could internally sense this Nothing as if it were a concentrated mass… of nothing. Not a Feeling, just a mass… sort of like an internal bundle of… nothing. I know, this is a lousy, almost contradictory description, and it doesn’t assist in contextualizing it… but imagine how I feel trying to deal with it. ;? As an imaginative descriptor… it’s almost like the “Nothing” is the part of my psych that is still asleep, and without that part, I’m not present enough to want to get up.

I do have ideas for how to deal with this though. I’ve known for years that when I have something I Have to do, I have no issues getting myself up in the morning. I still don’t want to but I am able to make myself do what needs done. So if I can somehow commit myself in such a way that I have to have time in the mornings, it should help me get up earlier than, “Exactly” what it takes to get ready and go to work. Also, I’m able to pull myself out from this nothing by showering, or even just washing my face. Following that imaginative descriptor, it’s as if I’m waking up that sleeping part of me. This is a similar thought train to the one that kept me working unreasonable hours to keep myself from having time to think though… So I’m not convinced that it’s the Best option. Another idea is to utilize an alarm clock that is far enough out of reach, or involved enough to turn off, that I’m forced to get out of bed for long enough to maybe dispel the nothing. Something like this or this maybe… My largest concern is that either one of them wouldn’t be loud enough to actually wake me up, as to top off my issue getting up in the morning, I’m a heavy sleeper. ;? (No chance that they’re related eh? ;P)

Either way, I’m glad I was able to have these few opportunities to evaluate some of what’s going on in my head. Of course, this evaluation was done in the grip of this nothing, so it’s certainly not the most reliable observation… but as I was able to make myself poke around multiple mornings… I feel comfortable enough with what I’ve got so far. Perhaps through trying to deal with this, I’ll have more opportunities to evaluate this, we’ll see. I will admit that at least ‘Part’ of my goal is to allow myself the chance to get back to documenting my dreams. Not because the majority of them are  particularly interesting, but because that’s one of the first steps in learning to lucid dream, and I managed a modicum of success that last time I worked on that (I thought I’d blogged about that before… but I can’t find the posts to link to O.o!). We’ll see.

Less ‘Blue’

So yesterday was an interesting experiment. I wasn’t sure if I ‘Should’ write what I did, but it ended up being both cathartic, and allowed me the chance to step back and look at my thoughts from an outside perspective once more. Granted, I’ve already done that countless times in the past, but I enjoyed not only writing it, but this time, sharing it. Also, I realized that while ‘Exposing’ myself so openly ‘feels’ like I’ve revealed myself to the world, being less ridiculous I realize that very few people ever actually see what I write, so it’s less ‘to the world’, and more ‘to my mom’.. and maybe a few other people here and there. ;P As I don’t have anything else ‘interesting’ to write about at the moment, allow me the time to delve back into my head for a bit as I indulge my narcissism.

 

Following the thread that I tenuously touched upon yesterday, it’s interesting to note ‘what’ stimuli tends to resonate the strongest when I’m under the influence of the emptiness that comes. Rationally, one would assume that ‘all’ stimuli resonates equally, and then I get to choose which to pursue. While of course the choice of what to pursue is certainly always mine, it’s ‘easier’ to pursue the colloquially ‘negative’ emotions… and I’m not sure if that’s an associative thing learned through the years, or if there’s some kind of actually connected psychology there. ‘Common’ study insinuates the latter, but I’m not convinced.

 

For one thing, the negative stimuli isn’t ‘spontaneous’. I still need to engage the world as I always do, and it comes as it typically does. So if there were ‘truly’ an association there, I would assume that it would come regardless of the way I interact with the world. What ‘does’ happen though, is that there is an increased awareness of the stimuli when I’m ‘down’ that isn’t there when I’m not. As if it’s suddenly ‘louder’. And conversely, the colloquially ‘positive’ emotions are ‘muted’. So while being depressed doesn’t ‘make’ one negative, for reasons I have yet to nail down, it’s ‘easier’ to be ‘negative’ while depressed.

 

An interesting series of thoughts just occurred to me. “What” ‘actually’ occurs when I’m feeling ’empty’. I’m describing it here as if certain stimuli is ‘enhanced’, while others are ‘muted’… but what if ‘everything’ is muted (And due to the mellow way I always see things, I’m not particularly aware of it), and it’s just those few things that for some reason escape that? ‘Could’ I train myself to not allow the rest to be ‘muted’? And even going along with the idea that certain stimuli is ‘enhanced’, could I then ‘learn’ to use that for all stimuli, and possibly use it while I’m not ‘down’? I’ve certainly learned to modify my reaction, in some cases quite dramatically in ‘other’ ways, so there’s certainly potential… hmmm… I ‘almost’ want to be ‘down’ for a bit so I can observe this now. ;P

 

That’s all I’ve got for the moment. I went and ‘refreshed’ myself on what’s ‘current’ on Depression, and of course did the ‘link diving’ that happens when you just wander into Wikipedia. It’s ‘possible’ that the specific issue I’m dealing with is outlined here. Of course that’s a personal observation, and it carries no medical weight, but it does note a ‘lack of emotions’ for those who suffer from this under the Pathophysiology heading… which would comfortably explain both constructs I’ve outlined. If that’s the case though, I’ve been under this since childhood. O.o! Or I could just be seeing patterns where there are none. ;P

Feeling ‘Blue’

[Warning: This post if full of whining, and rambling of a unproductive nature. ;? It Eventually breaks down into more of a “Ramble” (Pseudo Stream of Consciousness) than a “Post”, but now that I’m finally writing more, I can get these rambles out when they cross my mind. I do not pretend to have fully developed thoughts here. This is my attempt at putting into text ‘first’ how I was ‘Feeling` and then ‘second’ some of my thoughts on it, and tenuously related subjects surrounding that. I am ‘painfully’ aware of how incomplete some of this is, and how illogical, and incompatible with itself even, the majority of it is. ;? ]

Blue? That’s a Romanticized term for a state of being that is anything but. ;? Perhaps Wholly Incapable of Responding Positively to Positive Stimuli (WIoRPtPS) is ‘just’ too much of a mouthful, and we may need to invest some time into coming up with a snappier acronym… but yeah… “Blue” doesn’t quite cut it. I started thinking this up as my “Post” for the day on dA, but quickly realized that this wouldn’t fit not only in scope, but in size for that project, and so it’s getting its own “Real” for real Blog Post. Which is what this is supposed to be. (It’s also an excuse to set up “Live Writer” on my Laptop Finally. ;P) I don’t know how I ‘feel’ about writing about this in such a cavalier fashion, but I’m working on expressing myself better in my writing, so here we go.

Depression sucks. This isn’t a secret. What is a bit surprising, to me at least, is how insidious it can be in even the most externally ‘Okay’ people. I don’t know ‘where’ I fall on the outsider view, but the people close to me seem to think I’m ‘generally’ just fine, and I’ll take that as a fair assessment. The part of this that’s bothersome to me is that I wouldn’t use ‘Generally’ to describe how often I actually ‘feel’ okay. Heck, there are times when I wouldn’t use ‘Okay’ to describe how I feel at all. And in a completely illogical and detrimental fashion, I despise this about myself. Moreso when I’m feeling ‘Blue’. And of course, being who I am, I try to power through regardless, putting on a “Friendly Face” and all the while there is this dragging, all encompassing void that just sucks the theoretical joy out my day.

It’s so damn trite. That’s what kills me about it. I’m not saying anything new. I’m not fighting something ‘unique’ or ‘particularly difficult’. People deal with depression on a constant basis, and manage to operate just fine. So who am I to think that this is anything more than anyone else has to wake up to, and yet the world marches on, so of course so must I. Regardless of what I ‘Feel’. And sometimes, I question even that. Everyone that knows me has commented on how little I respond to life emotionally. My Ex used to call me a “Heartless Bastard” in an affectionate manner. I wasn’t mean, or cruel, the things people typically associate with that concept. I just didn’t resonate on an emotional level. As if I was muted to the sensations I ‘should’ have been feeling.

I don’t want to get out of bed in the mornings. I don’t ever want to engage the world. I’m not ‘afraid’ of anything, there’s nothing I ‘m trying to avoid… I just ‘don’t’ want to. It’s a fight to make myself go. I walk through the day, and if I let myself think about it, I just want to lie down and stop. I want to Eat Everything, but I’m not ever hungry. Maybe I’m deficient in some mineral, and eating it will fill the void. I want to Hit Everything. Not because I’m angry, I’m almost never angry, but maybe I’ll feel differently once I’ve got the energy out. Maybe I’ll get into a fight, and at the least not feel empty. I want to Cry, just sob chest wrenching, heart aching tears, but I almost can’t cry outside of sad movies or books. Even after watching someone die right before my eyes, it took months before I was able to make myself cry about it, and I had to work at it. I want to laugh. Not pretend to laugh because I know it’s socially appropriate, or because I know people respond better to laughter, but because I’m happy, even if just for a few moments. I’ve spent years perfecting my laugh, and no one any more comments on how fake it sounds. But what I would give to experience ‘joy’, as people have described it to me.

Again, I know I’m just rattling out the same old, same old trite exclamations of anyone who’s ever dealt with depression. It’s boring, it’s uninteresting, and there’s nothing new to learn here. And outside of the few goals I’ve yet to accomplish, I do relatively well with myself, so really there’s no reason to complain. But then I have these ‘Dark’ days (I hate the terminology used to describe depression. It’s meant to contextualize a series of sensations that are devoid of rational context… but it’s simpler to use the language we’ve got for now. ;?) and of course I obsessively pour over every one of my character flaws that impedes my success. And even looking at the things in my life that are objectively ‘good’, I see only the negative, and the ways in which these things ‘drag me down’, or keep me from my goals.

There are strategies to deal with this, for me at least. If I have too much time to think, I eat myself up, but  I’ve found that losing myself in my work allows me to forget to think about myself, which keeps me from focusing on the things that wear on me. It’s funny in a sick kind of way, but by working so much that I have no time for myself, I’m ‘Internally’ “Better”, but Externally worse for wear. Having such a pressing schedule wears on the people in my life, and keeps me from accomplishing the things  I want to accomplish,which then feeds into the depression when these things (Personal, and Professional) rear their heads. Damned if I do, Damned if I don’t. And always, just out of reach, is the surety that if I would just ‘Do It’ (The Super It, the things that would make me ‘Successful’ on the arbitrary scale the world has presented, at the cost of the elements in my life I’ve carefully cultivated to ensure I was living a “Healthier” existence.), I’d no longer have to deal with this oppressive sensation.

My “Every Day” isn’t as I’ve described it. This is me talking at my worst. My “Normal” day is just ‘Fine’. I don’t get too low, I don’t get too high, I just kind of meander through my day. I’m colourblind, and one of the ways Melissa and I ended up describing my “Baseline’” was by comparing it to my Colourblindness. To me, all the colors are of the same rough source. So at a distance it becomes difficult to distinguish colors. Comparing that to ‘Normal’ vision, it’s as if my entire world is a drab and muddied vista. Colors don’t “Pop” out at me the way they seem to people who aren’t colourblind, and I ‘Feel’ the same way emotionally. I cannot begin to fathom all encompassing rage, vibrant joy, deep and enduring love, endless sadness, or any of those other colorful descriptors beyond the context of “Fiction”. Conceptually, this is a ‘Good’ thing, as it keeps me ‘level’… but I do wonder at the “Chicken and the Egg” of it. Does ‘this’ cause my depression, or is it because of my depression that I am this way? I ‘think’ that it had to have been different when I was younger… though I know that it was in my youth that I ‘first’ started recognizing that I needed to ‘learn’ to laugh… ;?

Perhaps this is how ‘Everyone’ works. Perhaps I’m just ‘normal’, and it’s a sign of my personal weakness that I even feel the need to comment on it. I’ve tried engaging people in discussion all throughout my life to determine whether or not that was the case, and perhaps those that I engaged were the exception, but I’ve not found this to be true. ‘My’ truth is that I consider Emotions to be no different than any other stimuli, and like you learn from the heat of a burner to keep your hands away, you learn from the ‘Sadness’ you feel when people criticize you to keep your ‘self’ away. But if that’s true, why do people constantly discuss their choices as if they’re permeated by these unbending sensations that direct their actions? What would it be like to experience a Stimuli “So Strong” that you were almost powerless to act against it… I just cannot imagine that.

I’ve read countless psychological research papers delving into the human mind from many different angles, and I constantly encounter resolutions that just don’t seem to apply to a worldview I can relate to. I recognize my faults by now, and I am aware of my positive traits. I am not deluded enough to believe that I completely understand myself, but I do recognize that I am at least reasonably self aware. With all this, it is still a struggle to align the way I view the world with the way it is constantly described to me. To me, you receive data (Accompanied by whatever emotional stimuli may be relevant), process this, and make a decision as to how you should react to it. The way I constantly hear it described, one tends to ‘experience’ an event, flare up with emotional response, and then work to both control that emotional response while trying to react to the experience. That sounds kind of awesome. ;P But maddening at the same time. If ‘that’ is the world as most people experience it, then no wonder people have so much difficulty getting through it.

I used to intentionally ‘make’ myself ‘wallow’ in an emotional stimuli for an extended period of time. They are such little things that I figured perhaps “Prolonging my Exposure” to them would allow me to experience them more naturally. This just ended up with me behaving erratically, and did absolutely nothing for my ability to experience things more ‘naturally’. Long ago I sought “Fullness” by sampling a variety of religions. You hear from people confident in their faith that there’s a ‘Wholeness’ in ‘Faith’, but I found no stronger stimuli in a church, den, circle, than I found at the grocery store, or in my bathroom. I don’t know what I’m ‘missing’, and I don’t know where to find it either.

Then there’s the ‘funny’ exception that makes me question the ‘Reality’ of my entire worldview. The exception that lends credence to my Roommate’s occasional angry outburst that I am merely deluding myself (A viewpoint he ‘only’ shares when he’s angry at me, so I have reason to question it). Movies, Games, and Books. I can somewhat fully immerse myself in a work of Fiction like I cannot find a way to immerse myself in the world. A sad work of fiction will leave me bawling like the entire world has collapsed around me. It doesn’t even have to be a particularly ‘good’ sad work. A particularly happy/beautiful work of fiction can have a similar effect. But the oddity there is, it’s ‘only’ in the confine of the work of fiction. Somehow, the stories have the power to elicit the extremes of my stimuli… And I have ‘yet’ to figure out why.

A working theory that was presented to me is that perhaps I’m not ‘actually’ very ‘light’ in my emotional responses. Perhaps I actually experience things “Far Too Strongly”, and I’ve taught myself to clamp down on my responses, and it’s in a “Work of Fiction” that I feel ‘Safe’ enough to loosen the reins. If that’s truly the case, then why can I not ‘Make’ myself loosen up at other times, even with conscious effort. Another theory, is that I ‘force’ myself to over evaluate everything (Long since passed into habit, but originally personally motivated), and that when presented with an incomplete picture, an ‘unrealistic’ story, I turn that off, an ‘allow’ myself to respond more ‘naturally’. I just don’t know.

There’s a peek into my head. This writing began from a low point, and finished up during my baseline. I’m not sure what benefit it is for me to post this. Perhaps it may alienate people, or cause alarm where there is no reason for alarm. This is not a “Cry for Help”, I am not looking for answers by posting this (Though I ‘love’ discussion, so I’m certainly open to talking about some of what I’ve written, or really ‘anything’). A side effect of my constant self evaluation and delving into the thought processes of others is that I’m particularly good at ‘listening’ when others wish to share their personal strife (As I do not ‘judge’. It’s fruitless, and only serves to obfuscate whatever is being shared), and if I’m not being misled, I actually give good advice. So here are my words, and I welcome yours.

If you don’t fail at least 90 percent of the time, you’re Not Aiming High Enough. –Alan Curtis Kay

    Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not one to walk around spewing quotes.  That’s because I keep them in. Sort of like a core set of “Rules” that shape my actions. I may not memorize the quote word for word, nor may I be able to tell you who said it, but they have a profound impact on my modus operandi nonetheless.

  I’ve equated it to programming code when trying to describe this to my friends. You can try and write code all day long, but if you don’t use the right functions (Disclaimer: The last thing I coded was in QBasic, so I may be butchering my analogy here. ;P ) you won’t get results. Typing “Make a Window with two panes.” won’t get you anywhere. As such hearing someone say, “Don’t be afraid to fail” doesn’t really cut it. For me that comes with an assumption that one’s reluctance to try harder/extend oneself is based one an internal concern over failure. That being untrue, I immediately discard the valid portion of the statement, “that you should extend yourself” (Subconsciously. What I really need is a “Code” to open “that” guy up… 😛 ) and in turn get nothing from it.

  Now this cute little quote though is something else altogether. It not only removes failure as an obstacle in it’s “Advice”, but actually includes it as a requirement in one’s actions. And that’s what I need. It’s kind of odd acknowledging a "Weakness" in being primarily successful at most of what you do… but think about it this way.

  If you’re constantly successful, that means that either you’re not working with stakes that balance your skillset well enough, or you’re some kind of luck master. Some people will tell you that "Careful Planning and Execution" is all it takes to be successful. Some people will also tell you that they can talk to your dead relatives and tell you things from beyond this life. What you choose to believe is entirely up to you. I don’t think my great grandparents can communicate with me any more than I think that "Careful Planning and Execution" is "All it takes". I feel that I’m living proof of that. I’ve always carefully planned, and executed with precision, and while I’ve not failed at the things I set out to do, I’ve not achieved something I’d call "Success" either.

  There you have the real root of it. What would you consider "Success"? That’s a personal question really. For some, success might be paying the bills, and raising a happy child. While other may not consider themselves successful until they’ve carved a place for themselves out of this world that will outlast them. My personal definition of success involves creation, be it written work, games, or something else. Thus far, I achieved what I’ve set out to achieve, but I’ve not really "Created" anything. At least not at a level that I would consider successful. I know that the main reason for this is my getting side tracked by "Conventional" definitions of success, but now it’s time to let go of that, and start failing.

NOTE: There are several threads that I’ve only lightly touched upon here, but this is more a rambling response piece upon hearing that quote. I could take several of these subjects out for a jaunt  in their own blog posts, and who knows, I might. ;P