Five Years Make a Difference

On October 28th, 2012, Christopher asked me to be his boyfriend officially.

Except he didn’t ask. He said, “I’m going to stop telling people you’re my almost-boyfriend. From now, I’m going to tell people you’re my boyfriend.”

We had stayed overnight in a hotel room, and the next morning, Chris went to Waffle House and brought back breakfast- egg sandwiches and orange juice.

Each year, we celebrate with egg sandwiches and orange juice- not always from Waffle House (I prepared them this year), but we still make it a point to keep the tradition alive.

That November, while staying at what would become my new home, I began reading a book Chris had recently purchased, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This novel has inspired a few movies; I think one has this actual name but tells a different story, while another has a different name but tells Jackson’s story.

The book is written in a style that by today’s standards would be considered dated; moreover, in reading an analysis of it later, I discovered  that there’s a distinction between “terror” and “horror” as literary devices; “terror” refers to the experience prior to encountering the scary thing, and “horror” refers to the experience afterwards. Think of it as hearing the monster coming versus seeing the monster and running.

So when my fellow writer and friend Nonnie posted a Time Hop post from 2013 referencing the author Shirley Jackson, I was inspired to write.

Writing is something I’ve begun to slack on over the years, and that’s not a good thing because I love doing it. Most of my “writing” energy is now put into my handwritten journal that I write in Japanese to improve my ability to think and remember Japanese, and even that’s not exactly working out because what I really want to do is draw pictures and write a little Japanese around it to explain what the picture doesn’t, and unfortunately even then I’m way behind in my development as an artist because I don’t consistently draw each day like I need to.

In fact, I went several years without drawing anything, and then I randomly picked up an old notebook and began sketching in it around 2014, just to get a feel for sketching, and I recalled the words of my friend Kali many years ago, words she took from a video of an artist: “Before you can get to your good drawings, you have to get all your bad drawings out.”

And, my friends, this is what has inspired me because somehow, that translated into my brain in a way that other advice has not. Some things in this world feel obvious, but I’ve been perpetually unable to explain them or have them explained to me until someone, somewhere is able to translate.

Anyway, maybe by the time I’m 50 I’ll be able to draw manga and have something published. That’s a life goal of mine. There’s a LOT of things I’ve got to learn and perfect.

Another thing to add is that drawing is hard. Even for professionals, drawing is hard because everything rests on the foundational principles and the so-called “beginner mistakes” that even professionals are susceptible to making.

My biggest hurdle has been that knowledge of realism is necessary to create the cartoony characters, but there’s also a point where too much realism takes away from the fact that we’re illustrating something.

That’s all for now.

Steve

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Happiness?

Last week, something startled me. The week went on, and the startling feeling turned out to be that I had several good days in a row, and that overall, I was feeling happy.

The natural reaction I have to consistently being in a good mood is that something must be going wrong because this is not terribly normal for me.

I did later on make a “Happiness List” of all the wonderful things about my life. It’s amazing that 2017 can be so terrible in so many ways, yet, as my friend John says of his own life, “My life is literally going in the opposite direction of the country.”

The cautious part of me says to be aware that declaring that one is happy can seem like bragging. That isn’t what I’m doing. Instead, I’m celebrating-  celebrating all the amazing things about my life.

Few humans in the course of history have had the opportunity to live the kind of life that I do, so I want to make the most of it and give back to the society so others can be happy as well.

What’s causing the happiness, though? That’s up for debate.

One thing may be consciously bringing in the unconscious struggle I’ve faced in self-rejection- by beginning to accept myself and realizing that the people who rejected me as a child aren’t people who have any clue what they’re talking about, I’ve made strides toward liking myself.

I mean, if I really consider that, people who obviously have no common sense and are detached from reality and who are just plain stupid aren’t exactly the sort of people who should dictate whether or not I like myself. So out of the basket the idiots tried to place me, and they can burn in their own self-created hell of wallowing stupidity and arrogance.

The good things in my life: I have an amazing husband and child; cute, generally well-behaved pets; a strong social network of approximate-minded people who accept me and even want to be around me; a creative outlet or two for myself; relatively good health; a specific set of spiritual practices and seemingly a particular end-goal for my spirituality that I now am able to enact and work toward daily; a pen-pal from Japan; good computers and fast internet; and a growing sense of self-like and possibly confidence that puts me as the authority on matters regarding who I am as opposed to other people.

I made my decision early on- my happiness, my mental well-being, my meaningful life…these are not and will never be contingent upon the POTUS. They can’t be. That doesn’t mean I’m not aware of the political threats that exist; that doesn’t mean I’m blind or ignorant, it means that life is lived in the moment and context in which we find ourselves, life is lived from within and not from the outside.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Steve

Three Hail Mary’s; No Rosary for You

By now, everyone knows I don’t sleep well.

My husband’s schedule has shifted back to a day routine, so now I’m trying to get my Night Owl hours adjusted. Not an easy thing for me. My circadian rhythm doesn’t believe in changes.

This week started out in a particularly horrific way; Monday was the psychic tidal of the year for me, and it’s now Thursday with me finally beginning to recover.

Last night, I deduced an interest thing to do in light of the number of people who annoy me- each time I get annoyed, I’ll pray for them. Each time I begin to have a bad trip down memory lane, I’ll pray.

Initially, I thought of dedicating an entire rosary to each individual, but that would put me squarely in the category of praying without ceasing in a very literal way. So I compromised and decided on saying three Hail Mary‘s instead.

Then I discovered something amazing- three Hail Mary‘s is about the length of time I need to reorient my mind away from the negative feelings! In other words, the prayers serve a distraction that break up the normal psychological process that would happen at that point and keep my mind from spiraling out of control.

Anyway. Just some thoughts.

Steve

Nightmare

I had this nightmare this morning:

In a version of my childhood home that did not look like it, I had been laying down, trying to go to sleep. I was annoyed because my mother was in the kitchen making too much noise. My brother was also trying to sleep.

At some point, things were mostly back to the way the house actually looks. I walked in the master bedroom; my father was asleep in bed. Perhaps I was headed to the restroom; I can’t recall, but when I walked back out to the living room, my father was also in the living room, on the cream-colored chair. Immediately, I walked back into the bedroom and woke my father to tell him he was also there, that someone was in the house.

My father slowly arose in the bed, and he didn’t seem too concerned or thrilled. I walked back to the living room, and…no one was there.

I looked down the hallway that led to my bedroom, and a figure dresssed in a long cloak was there; the figure wasn’t moving, but just stood. Its robe hung over its face, as did the sleeves over its hands; nothing but a robe, and it does seem like there were some belts or something surrounding it.

Knowing at this point it was a dream, and knowing I had to face the fear, I ran toward it. I “inhaled” the figure, which somehow deflated it. (See the movie Paprika for this trick). I carried it back to my father, who didn’t really respond to it as I showed him.

Then…the house was filled with darkness, dark smokiness and an eerie red light. At the doorway where the kitchen meets the den were two huge glowing red spheres for eyes, just staring at me, infinitely.

I tried to inhale this one, but no such luck.

I began attempting to exorcise it; Father, Son, Holy Spirit; Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit.

This *lessened* the darkness but didn’t purge it. The house was still filled with the red light and black smoke.

And then I awoke.

Needless to say, the dream unnerved me. I have some ideas about the psychological significance but will have to test and verify.

Steve

New Plan: “Home” Vegetarian

The new plan for eating a healthy diet is pretty simple: going mostly vegetarian, specifically while I’m at home.

This is fairly easy to explain: no meat (including seafood) if I’m eating at the house with the exception of something like a holiday.

If we go out to eat or eat at someone’s house, I can have meat.

The same rule will apply to things like desserts- no sugary foods at home, but if we’re eating out or if someone serves us dessert, that’s fine.

This seems like a good plan. Let’s see if I can make it happen.

Steve

Of Nazis and Idiocy

The “Unite the Right” gathering has had the usual Nazi-sympathizers trying to defend them.

I’ve seen people say the guy who ran his car into the crowd and killed a woman was a Bernie Sanders supporter and a liberal and that the profile of him being a registered Republican that voted for Donald Trump and had excessive interest in Nazi Germany is false.

Because you see, with such people, facts don’t matter. They’re not playing a game of data and facts and mind-changing; they’re living in a fantasy world where they, despite having the power in society, claim they’re oppressed. They live in a fantasy world where all they have to do is go to some nutjob rightwing conspiracy theory website and swallow the garbage there.

I’ve also seen (predictably) people blame Barack Obama for all this. Not Trump, who was the figuredhead and empowering symbol who hasn’t condemend white supremacy- only vaguely alluded to tragedy and somehow that “all sides were wrong.”

I’ve seen at least one person try to make an allusion to the Jewish notion of being God’s chosen people being synonymous with the white supremacy movement in the USA.

I’ve seen a person say, “I hope the person who got killed by the car was a liberal.”

People naturally say, “Oh, you call everyone you don’t like ‘Nazi’!” even though we’re now dealing with actual Nazis, and it’s not up for debate.

The thing is, I understand the white supremacists/white nationalists; I know where they’re coming from, what they’re really saying. The trouble is fairly simple: either they don’t understand how they sound (plausible possibility), or they understand that what they’re saying is an attempted sugarcoating and justification of something far more sinister than they’ll openly admit (strong likelihood).

I understand where they’re coming from- and it’s because I understand where they’re coming from and that I’m a reasonable person that I understand exactly how wrong they are. That’s the troublesome part- it’s appalling that people can be so very wrong and so very stupid about being so very wrong.

The thing is, they won this past election. Their figurehead won and empowered them. They’re still angry. They can’t be appeased or satisfied.

This is not on Obama. This is not on liberals or progressives. The responsiblity for the fucked up shit going on in the nation is squarely on the shoulders of Neo-Nazis who cry oppression.

S.

Minimalism: Let’s Go

To suggest that this blog isn’t a blatant nod to my friend, Canova, would be incorrect because it is…well, in part.

My husband and I have been working on going more minimalist in our home- I’ve rid the kitchen cupboards of a number of  pots, pans, and various items that we either don’t use or have only used a few times and have no real plans to use again. (The pasta maker remains because that will get used again in the future.)

Meanwhile, my husband has gone through our closet and gathered tons of clothing for donation.

The goal here is not to remove and replace- the goal here is to remove and keep the clutter cleaned out. Any human being can only use so much; why have more than you will possibly ever use?

One thing that the minimalists enlightened me on is the notion that it isn’t about just having less, it’s about having things that mean something to you and nothing beyond that. A person who frequently will need more items to cook with than someone who rarely cooks;  a person who rarely cooks only needs a pan and a pot and a stirring spoon in case they want to heat something up.

And that’s the reality- it isn ‘t nearly the problem that people seem to think it is. Having more clutter just to feel bountiful is ridiculous, but that seems to be what’s going on. “Oh, but you might need it one day!” BOLLOCKS, 90% of such things, you’ll never need, and you don’t want them anyway.

S.