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Something is wrong with Gravatar or perhaps WordPress.  I don’t use this blog much anymore, but for some reason when I comment on blogs and then people click on “weaving reality” it is bringing them here.  I can’t figure out what it going on, but I am trying too.  This needs to not happen. 😦

So if you want to read what I am writing about now go to:

http://weavingreality.wordpress.com/

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I have a few physical health issues.  I have a few mental health issues.

I don’t like to talk about either.  And yes I do realize that is directly related to one of my mental health issues.  I realize that I don’t like to connect with other people and that talking about my issues could lead to getting support, advice, sympathy and that would lead to more connection.

I get a little annoyed when other people talk about their issues, and their friends are like “awwww….I feel your pain…blah…blah…blah”  I am not 100% sure why I get annoyed.  Some possible reasons are:

I don’t talk about my stuff because it leads to attention so therefore other people must be talking about their stuff to get attention.

I try to deal with my problems alone, because they are my problems, and having help would be weak.  Therefore people who talk about their issues are weak.

Jealousy.  These people have friends who care about them and their issues.  Friends who want to spend time with them even if they are crazy or sick.  People don’t know my issues but most people don’t like me.  (again, I know this is related to my issues, I don’t want people to like me most of the time, but sometimes I do)

A while back I used some chemicals for recreation that seemed to sort of cure one of my issues.  Yesterday I had an incident with that issue.  I realize that using those chemicals also increased my empathy and urge to connect to people, and over time that has decreased.    I am not planning on using chemicals to try to fix this again, because right this second I don’t think it needs fixing.  Who I am now is who I am, and the changes were short term and unnatural.

There was a bit more to this, but it was mostly whiney pointless drivel, so I am not posting it.

Chronic Case of Human

Something has been getting on my nerves recently, and it took a little while for me to work through it.

I don’t want people telling me being human is an illness.

Our species is about 200,000 years old.  It is hard for me to even imagine that length of time.   For most of that we were hunter/gatherers.  To make it simple, we walked around in a group, we hung out with our friends and family most of the time, and strangers sort of creeped us out.  We tried to go to the same sorts of places if we could, following our favorite hairy snack.  We took everything we owned with us every time we moved.  We did not move every day.  Sometimes we would set up a camp, and if we did, someone stayed and guarded it while others went to hunt and gather.   We touched each other a lot.  We had our kids without a hospital, and we used some strange primitive magic to make milk come out of our breasts.  We walked a lot.  When not walking we sat on the ground in some way (Jesus had not invented the chair yet).  In an average day, there was a whole lot of walking and lying down;  very little sitting in the upright position and staring at a computer.  In fact, I would say that might be a fundamental trait of the hunter/gatherer: they were not very computer savvy.  So we did this in some way or another for about 195,000 years or so.  There is lots of variation but I don’t want to get into it.  So 97% of our life as a species we did this.

Then for the next 3% or so, we keep this general idea but our camp stopped moving at all if we could help it.  We stayed with our group in one place and told the animals not to wander off, because we would rather not chase them.  There were contracts and agreements with the cows and chickens, but it all worked out.  We tried to protect them and keep them fed and they didn’t run around like fools when we decided to kill them.   We grew our own food in the ground, it was revolutionary.  We learned cool skills like baking bread, making beer, and writing.  We built stuff, developed complex and dangerous ideas.  We would travel around and kill our neighbors for sport if things got dull.  Overall it was a nice life.
About 300 years ago we changed a whole bunch again.  We stopped growing our own food, we got inside jobs, and we started sitting on our asses a lot.   Today I sit at least 13 hours on a weekday and sleep about 7.  So I stand or walk less than 4 hours a day.  This includes trips to the fridge and bathroom.   I leave my home early in the morning and get home in the late afternoon.

Think about these changes in a single person instead of as a species.  Let’s say we take a 50 year old man.  For the first 48.5 years of his life, he runs free in the woods with his friends.  He eats when he wants, sleeps when he wants.  He plays stupid games with a rock and stick.  He has a pet dog who he loves so much.  At 48.5 we catch him and put him in a nice sized pen with his friends and dog.  We tell him not to wander off, and teach him how to garden and shear sheep or something like that. About 4 days before his 50th birthday we go catch him again. We take him away from his friends and dog and strap him to a chair and make him stare at a screen all day.   We bring him weird food that he has never had before with all kinds of chemicals in it.  We don’t let him see daylight at all if it is winter.  We make him ride in a car 2 hours a day.  What do you think would happen to this poor man?  If he does not kill himself, I am surprised.

We all are sort of like this.   We eat strange things. We sit all day. We very seldom see our friends. There is little touching.  We are fat, angry and sad.  We have super high rates of depression and anxiety.  We have trouble relating to other people.   We have trouble sleeping.

Recently I have had a few people tell me things like “It is weird that you can’t get used to going to work every day” or “you should get on an anti-anxiety or depression drug”.  I am being told over and over again that the way I feel is not normal and that I need our modern science to “fix” me.  Sure. I will grant you that these drugs might make me calmer.  I sure hope they gave some to the man we just talked about.   So what is my point?   Our last 4 days as a species is what has been making me and everyone else sick.  Our culture is the bad guy, not my brain.   My brain is just fine.    How can I put this any other way that makes sense?  I am human.   I was born that way and I want to stay that way.  If I get sick, I will get help, but being human is not an illness.

If leaving my house all day freaks me out it is because for 99% of my species’ life we never left our homes. We either took them with us or we stayed put.   If sitting all day makes me nervous, hurts my legs and back, and makes my muscles tense, it is because we are not made to sit like this.   If driving scares me it is because your strange metal horses are scary.   If my tummy hurts all the time it is because of the stress and the crappy food.   If I cry in the mornings and whine at night, it is because I am a scared animal, and to be honest part of my brain has no idea what is going on.  If I feel lonely and yet afraid to reach out to people, it is because I don’t have a tribe and I likely never will.  We now know Hobbes was wrong about the life of ancient man.

In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

– Leviathan XIII “Chapter XIII.: Of the Natural Condition of Mankind As Concerning Their Felicity, and Misery.”Leviathan

 

It is in fact our lives that this quote best fits.  In such condition, we are not connected to the product of our labor and get no benefit from it. Our culture is eroding away to be replaced by fascist dogma, we reached ourhigh pointa long time ago.  Our only travel is generally to and from work or shopping.  We have no power to change our lots in life.  We are slaves to a society that we have no power to influence. The days of our lives blur together with few points of freedom.  We live in continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and long.

I work for two reasons:  To support myself and my home now, and to save money to someday buy a piece of land big enough to support the life of myself and my family.   My biggest fantasy is to not have to leave my home in six months.  I don’t work because I like it. I don’t get any sense of self-worth from it, it is neither fun or satisfying.  I work because I have to. So that I can someday buy my freedom.

The Line

Over the last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about protests and social change.  There have been protests all over the world, in Egypt, Libya, and Wisconsin to name just a few. These three are very different, running the spectrum from completely nonviolent to armed rebellion.

Nonviolence has always been THE method of protest.  Even though I knew about successful violent protests and uprisings (American Revolution ring a bell?), in my lifetime the idea of violent protest is repugnant.  I completely bought into that.  I don’t think I ever even gave it much thought before the last few weeks.   Martin Luther King Jr. = Good guy. (He is, hands down. I am not saying otherwise. He is one of my personal inspirations). But George Jackson of the Black Panthers = Bad Guy.   Why did I feel that way?  Had I ever researched him? No.  Do I know any people who consider themselves part of the Black Panther movement? I don’t think so.  Did I agree with Jackson’s eventual goal?  Yes, quite likely. And yet when it comes to the Civil Rights movement, Jackson is the villain of the piece.

The concept of nonviolence is a false ideal. It presupposes the existence of compassion and a sense of justice on the part of one’s adversary.  When this  adversary has everything to lose and nothing to gain by exercising justice and compassion, his reaction can only be negative.

– George Jackson, from his prison letters

Do I agree with that? Yes.

I know from experience that people don’t give up power unless they have to.  Let’s say the people being oppressed have a firm stance of nonviolence. They make it very clear that they will not resort to violence and that they will not associate with anyone who does.  Let’s say that the oppressors are willing to use violence anytime they want.  Then what is the motivation of those in power to give up power?   Think about this.   Nonviolence has worked in the past, but the threat of violence was always in the minds of the oppressor.

Have you heard about the recent protests in the UK?  Some estimate that half a million people came to London to protest budget and social service cuts.   That is a huge amount of people; I can’t even wrap my mind around that many people.  But every article I read mentioned the about 200 people who became violent (mostly property damage to start with, like graffiti; police and civilians were hurt, but I don’t know all the specifics).  Everyone is focused on these horrible people using violence. As if in our society violence is so out of place.

We live in violence everyday.   EVERYDAY!!!!!!!    We need to understand this before we can actually even began to think about this issue.  You pay taxes (more than GE anyway).  You vote.  The fantasy I have been led to believe tells me that I (as one of the people) run this country, and pay government and military salaries. So I am bankrolling violence every day.   My employees are out there in some strange land that I might have wanted to visit someday killing people.  Not just violent evil people, but people like me.  Out there somewhere today a 30-something woman is dying because I did nothing to stop it. She is dying because I paid for the means to kill her and because at least by my inaction I condone it.

We can somehow calmly ignore the people who die because of our “necessary” wars, but 200 mostly young people who feel powerless and angry engaging in violence is sinful, evil.

You know what this sort of makes me think of?  Picture you are in Wal-Mart and there is some woman spanking and cussing at her kid, and you realize it is because the kid slapped his sister.  An adult who was abused can stop the cycle of violence, but beating the crap out of your kid is not a good way to teach them not to hit people.   We are the kid who is now crying and scared to death of their mother. The world’s governments are the mother.   If that little kid never hits his sister again do you think that means his mother will never hit him again and will start treating him with human dignity?

We as Americans live in the age of the Prison/Industrial complex.  Putting people in prison is big business.  We have silly laws that apply to some races and social strata more than others.  We trap people with these laws, put them in jail, and laugh all the way to the bank.  In Georgia the prison statistics are disgusting.  We don’t even try to hide our racism, (I can’t find the report I read last week; if I find it I will post the stats) A crazy percentage of prisoners in Georgia are young black men.  I don’t mean 30% (which is still more than the percentage of African Americans to total population), I mean like over 80%.  Do you think these men just somehow happen to be born with the urge to commit crimes?  Is it just chance that most of them come from poor neighborhoods, broken families (often broken by prison) and are targeted by these silly laws I mentioned?  More importantly, do you think they want to go to prison?  Or do we (yes we, don’t think you are not part of this) use violence to put and keep them there?  But violence is bad. It is them being violent in many cases that makes us want to put them in prison using violence.

“When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also declare that the white man does not abide by law in the ghettos. Day in and day out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions of civil services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them, but they do not make them, any more than a prisoner makes a prison.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Trumpet of Conscience, 1967.

During the civil rights movement lots of black people gathered in a common cause.  Most of them were peaceable.  But some were not, and at any moment something could have gone wrong and a flashpoint could have been reached and they could have become violent.  Do you think white people said things like, “Oh, look how polite and orderly these Negroes are? They are just like real people. We should give them the same rights we enjoy.  So well behaved I would not mind eating at the same restaurant as them.”  If you think that you are rather stupid.  What the middle class white Americans were thinking was “Wow, look how many of them there are.  What would happen if they got really pissed off?” Groups like the Black Panthers increased that fear.  A few violent actions of the Black Panthers made everyone look a little more scary.  This fear led to some pretty horrible things, like Reagan becoming president, but that is another post.

Yay! Nonviolence worked and African Americans got all the same rights and privileges as white people. Right?  What about all those nice young men acting as slaves and livestock in our prison systems? Or all those kids who go to the worst schools because their neighborhood is mostly black (I live in Stone Mountain, the schools suck, take my word for it).  What about the strange polarization that turns the African American community against itself?  What about the extremely high unemployment?  Oh, look a black President!   Racism is over! Huzzah!!

If you are black and reading this, I want you to know that you have been tricked; it was slow, and very well done.  Your life is likely not much better and may in fact be much worse than that of your parents or grandparents. But at least in those few minutes between crappy jobs you can eat horrible, unhealthy, fast food in the same Burger King as me.

” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.”

– Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech

Before I get too far off topic, is nonviolent protest the only correct option for a civilized people?  Or is it just the option that those who have power have somehow convinced us that we should use?

Let’s take a trip to the anti-war movement of the 1960s.  For the most part they were nonviolent, and they also for the most part were ignored by those in power and accomplished little to actually stop the war. However, both Johnson and Nixon thought about dropping a nuclear bomb in Vietnam.  Johnson decided not to do it. He pointed out the window of the White House and said something along the lines of “How long would it take 50,000 people to climb that fence and kill the President?”

There is so much to think about there.  1) He could care less how long the war went on; how many people died on both sides; but he cared about if he died.   2)  It was the threat of violence that stopped him. He knew that the hippies had a line, and he did not know for sure exactly where that line was, but he was pretty damn sure that a nuke would cross it.

I agree with Johnson. Had he dropped the bomb, the American people against the war would have become violent.

Am I saying that we should only protest with signs and chants?  Or am I saying that violence is the answer?   I don’t know.   I know that nonviolence only works because the threat of violence is always hiding underneath it, and I also know that nonviolence only works in the short term.    I know that King was right, that you can’t defeat hate with hate; you can’t end violence with violence.   But I also know that Jackson was right; that no one gives up power or wealth unless they have to.  While it is true that beating your kid will not teach them to be less violent, it is also true that a small child can’t stop the cycle of abuse by just being very well behaved. Only the adult can chose to not abuse.

I know that things are getting bad here.  I know that we are running out of energy, that our land, water and food are contaminated.  I know that we are pawns to the big corporations to make them money, while we slip into a poverty that it would take decades of good government (which we don’t have) to get out of.  I know that we spend an insane amount of money to kill strangers, while we cut social services to children, the poor and the elderly.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? 1967

I know that I feel sort of trapped everyday. That I feel angry to the point of where I wish I could hurt those who make it hard for me to make a decent living. (Keep in mind that I am firmly “middle class;” can you image how those poorer than me must feel?).  I know collective bargaining is a thing of the past, and workers’ right are melting away.  I know that we as a people are getting less educated, less self sufficient, and more indebted to the company store (Wal-mart, GE, the entire country of China).  I know that I feel sadness and grief when I see the destruction that my military brings to those in other places.  I know that I am a part of this system of violence, and no matter how peaceable I am, I can’t get out of it.

I know that I have line, but I don’t know where it is.

Weekend and Writing Plans

Puck is out of town again. This time until Monday.   I have a pretty busy weekend, so I should be ok.  Tomorrow I am going to be at an all day choir practice at church and Sunday we sing.  Monday I start back to bootcamp.  I decided not to buy the whole six weeks (money is crazy tight), but to instead buy a number of days.  Hopeful I can start learning to exercise by myself again.   I love days when I exercise.  I am happier and more productive.

I applied for a part time job yesterday that is exactly what I am looking for.  It is in the right part of town,  it is for a company who’s business I can agree with, it is part time and exactly the hours I would want.  Stacy who runs the bootcamp referred me.  I am trying not to get my hopes up.  I keep checking my email compulsively.  I really want this.  Speaking of things I want.

I have been writing fiction off and on since I was about 9.  I have submitted one fiction piece to someone paying, and got $50 for it.  So I have a 100% acceptance rate. 🙂 (White Wolf, in case you are wondering who bought it)    I have several mostly finished short stories, and a few flash pieces.  In fact I wrote a cute one today.  But I want to send things in and get published.  I would love to get paid someday, but now I  just want to have people read what I write.

I am not sure how one gets published, but here is my plan. Here is the plan.  Find places that accept submissions.  For each place make a folder in my writing folder on my computer.  Title the folder with the theme of the call and the date for submission.   Then everyday write for one or more of the folders.  Before the deadline pick my favorite story in each folder, moving all the others to someplace else.  Edit the story and send it off.  I feel like having a system will keep me more focused.

Happy vs. Meaningful

This goes back to what I posted a few days ago, about being happy in the moment but unhappy when I think beyond the moment.

I heard a quote a few days ago, strangely on Heroes,  I don’t remember it word for word but it was something like “you can have a happy life, or a meaningful life, but not both”   And what they meant by that was that you can strive for success, wealth or a place in history, and in the striving you might achieve that goal, and your struggle will bring meaning to the accomplishment.   But that in being that driven and focused it is very hard to just be happy, your mind is always focused on that next step in the process.

I have goal, they are mostly pretty simple goals the biggest of which are to have a farm and at some point be a mother.   The farm has been a goal for a lot longer (started drawing pictures of the farm house and crop lay outs at 17) so it is the one I think about most.   I want this farm so bad sometimes.  I don’t need it now, but I always feel like I want to be working towards it.

Yesterday was a bad day for me money wise.   Being told there is pretty much no way I am going to get an accounting job, and then talking to the evil person at Wells Fargo.  While on the phone with him I started to cry.  And when I cry because of money stuff, there are three things on my mind.

1.  I will never get the farm.  It feels like little pieces of it fade away every time something like this happens.  I want to gather up all my mother earth news and homesteading books and burn them.  Sometimes I wish the thought of a farm never came to me.  I wonder if I ever get it, will the joy of it make up for the pain a feel now.

2.  I am not special.   One of the things that has pushed me so much in life is this idea that I am special.  I finished high school when my siblings could not, because I keep telling myself I was special.  I went to college and worked so hard and made such good grades because I had to prove I was special.  I think of myself as important.   I was so convinced of my specialness, I was like a fucking super hero or something.  Smarter, stronger, funnier whatever.   But I can’t get a job, I am nearly always last at boot camp, even my garden is doing badly this year, being around people freaks me out, and I never want to leave my house.   I seldom write, and what I do write is pretty much crap, I will never get published if I can’t write anything worth publishing.  I am common.

3.  I am letting everyone down, and I am not good enough for the people around me.    Because of me Puck is really struggling with money.  He is smart, has a great education and a great job.  I feel like me as his stay a home wife is an embarrassment, but at least he can play it off like it was his choice, but if I get a coffee shop or Wal-mart sort of job then he can’t ever tell people what I do.  He will have to make something up, because people will judge him, Dr. Puckett can’t have a wife in food service.  I feel the same way about my friends.  They have better education, better jobs, they are artists or do important things.  They live their dreams.

So, Happy vs. Meaningful?   If I gave up all my dreams and illusions of specialness I could be very happy in the now, but I would always be less than those around me.   I would never be able to respect myself and I think over time I would lose all those people I care about.

Yes, it seems very dramatic. But it is what is in my head right now.  Do I give up all expectations?  And if yes, how to I learn to live with myself.

Enforcing Mindfulness

If I think about just the present I am happy, super happy in fact.  If I think no farther than what I am going to make for dinner or my next household chore then my life feels safe and orderly, I feel productive and like a useful person.   I feel a sense of worth and joy.   Each morning I make a list, I do the tasks in order and listen to podcasts (today it will be podcastle). The only thing that matters is the story I am hearing and that I keep moving.

But if I think just a little farther ahead, then my mind fills with pain and confusion.  If I think about jobs that I have applied for or should apply for. If I think about paying bills, having kids, having a farm someday then I start crying.  Sometimes even thinking about tomorrow, or plans for the weekend is enough to put me into almost a state of panic.  I feel like a have no control over the future, so much so, that making plans seems like a waste of time, in fact making plans feels wrong, bad somehow.

I understand the cause of this mostly.  I am afraid, and hiding from that fear just feels better.  But it is starting to get pretty extreme.  I don’t want to read my email, I don’t want to see my friends.  I don’t want to leave the house except for bootcamp (happens on the same days, same place, same time, someone else tells me what to do).   I don’t want to come into contact with anyone or anything that reminds me that I am connected to the future.  If I talk to someone they might say “How is the job hunt?” or “What are your plans for Alchemy”  or “Would you like to hang out on this day or that?” and I can’t deal with those sorts of questions.

To give an analogy:

Life is a river, constantly moving forward.  The terrain on the bottom of the river changes,  the scenery changes.  I have chosen to lay on a raft with my eyes closed.

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