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.

‘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.

Post PAX Blackout is Officially Over…

  That’s enough of a post in an of itself, as it’s a warning that my Blogs are about to be spammed by me once more… but I’ll go further. ;P

  I simply adored PAX. This isn’t the Blog where I’ll be detailing that Love, you’d have to look over That Way to find that(When I get around to posting them)… but I will say that I’ve not had as much fun working myself to the Core as I had at PAX. This only reinforced my knowledge that Games are my Passion, and not just an interest with me, further reminding me that I should probably work on moving into at least a mildly relevant field… >.>

  I am a dope. I have an account set up at Buxfer (They are really quite awesome. I’d definitely recommend using them if you’ve been looking for some easy streamlined method for tracking your spending and IOU’s. They were great but mildly broken when I first signed up, but they’ve come a good ways, and now continue to impress me. ^.^ ) to track my Bills/Debt(Specifically with my roomies, which it excels in)/Money, and it even has a feature to remind you when you need to dump your Bank Statement so that it can stay up to date… Well I like an idiot ignored the reminder, and had to insert a weeks worth of Transactions manually… That wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t rely solely on my Cards for everything… Though it did give me a chance to play with their newer bulk entries function, and I must say, it made if faaaar less painful.

  Hey look! A paragraph that doesn’t start with I! ;P Remember, the point of my constant Blog/Babble is to improve my writing, so forgive these follies (And Ream me if you wish, though if you’ve got a problem with my Capitalization’s, get in line, as they are an oddity I wish to retain in my Informal Writings. ;P ) and remember, it can only get better from here… Right? O.o

Finally, this weekend promises to be Interesting if nothing else… I’d already scheduled a day on the town with a friend of the Female Persuasion on Sunday, and then last night I got a call from someone I’d not seen in a little over a year, to meet up and have lunch Saturday… I was really looking forward to having this weekend to recoup and get a few things done around the house… well thus do the best laid plans fall to ruins. ;P

  SIDE NOTE: Jeez… it just keeps getting easier to ramble out a few hundred words… If I keep this up, I should actually be able to do NaNoWriMo for real this year! ^.^ (Hehehehe, trust me, you’ll here plenty more on that later. ;P )