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Memores acti prudentes futuri

You're unsure if I am a loose end or a strand
that waits for you to mend or understand
A few words
"When we describe the Moon as dead, we are describing the deadness in ourselves. When we find space so hideously void, we are describing our own unbearable emptiness."
~ D.H. Lawrence

"Is the meaning of life defined by its duration? Or does life have a purpose so large that it doesn't have to be prolonged at any cost to preserve its meaning?"

"Living is not good, but living well. The wise man, therefore, lives as well as he should, not as long as he can... He will always think of life in terms of quality not quantity... Dying early or late is of no relevance, dying well or ill is... even if it is true that while there is life there is hope, life is not to be bought at any cost."
~ Seneca

"People will tell you nothing matters, the whole world's about to end soon anyway. Those people are looking at life the wrong way. I mean, things don't need to last forever to be perfect."
~ Daydream Nation

"All Bette's stories have happy endings. That's because she knows where to stop. She's realized the real problem with stories-- if you keep them going long enough, they always end in death."
~ The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes

"The road now stretched across open country, and it occurred to me - not by way of protest, not as a symbol, or anything like that, but merely as a novel experience - that since I had disregarded all laws of humanity, I might as well disregard the rules of traffic. So I crossed to the left side of the highway and checked the feeling, and the feeling was good. It was a pleasant diaphragmal melting, with elements of diffused tactility, all this enhanced by the thought that nothing could be nearer to the elimination of basic physical laws than deliberately driving on the wrong site of the road."
~ Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend."
~ William Blake
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To demand
Sunday, September 17, 2023
From The Unsayable: The Hidden Language of Trauma by Annie G. Rogers:
At first words are babbling streams of sound. And though very young children play with words and sounds in turn-taking rhythms with others, they don't use language with the purpose of communicating. But as a child begins to see that words can make things happen, can call forth specific responses from others, she is able to make what Lacan calls "a demand." This is a request for recognition of what she means and for a response that affirms she is loved. Lacan distinguishes between the physiological needs of our earliest infancy, which of course, must be met for the child to survive, and the ideas of a demand. Provided with food and warmth, yet without recognition or any evidence of love, a child with become lethargic, stop growing, and even die. The capacity to make a demand for something, and make herself understood, is crucial to a child's sense of being loved. But making a demand requires a risk; the other person may not understand, or may understand and say no.

The last line is the crucial one here, I think, although the author doesn't expand on it.

The risk of making a demand that is not met can be terrifying, devastating. For a demand to be repeatedly unmet is annihilating. I am talking about demands as defined in the quote, not a demand like "I demand to speak to your manager," of course.

What does it do to one's sense of self to never have one's meaning recognized? Even the most philosophically-averse people are dependent on meaning. We understand ourselves only through the initial recognition of others that provides an organizational framework for the sensory stimuli we intake. People in psychosis who live in a subjectivity so divorced from that of others that they cannot be understood are trapped in isolation. They suffer tremendously.

To be understood and rejected is similarly painful. As children we need to be told no sometimes, to learn boundaries and how to live harmoniously with others. An unreasonable request that is denied is something one can recover from. There are some things we must accept in life, and acceptance really is the only answer. As an adult, things become more uncertain at times. A demand in one interaction that is denied might not be in another. So how do you determine when to let go and accept that you will not get what you asked for?

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Promises and punishment
Friday, September 8, 2023
"I Lied ft. Allison Ponthier" by Lord Huron.

I bore a flame that burned a thousand suns for you but it died
Told you I could never love somebody else but I lied


I wonder what the value of a promise is. I get the impression that it used to mean more than it does now, but has been watered down by overuse in common language. Giving your word to someone seems closely tied to honor, but that concept too feels almost obsolete and absurd in the modern world. "Honor" in this context is good reputation, but reputations don't seem enduring when the flow of people is endless and communities don't stay static.

In this neoliberal world we live in, there are few types of official punishment, and most revolve around money. The bulk of punishments I can think of are fines, though there is jail time (and then prison, or even execution) for more serious crimes. I guess community service is also occasionally included. All else may fall under the umbrella of "cruel and/or unusual". I think some level of cruelty is inherent to punishment, though. After all, it is meant as a deterrent. It doesn't make sense to punish someone for something they couldn't really avoid, so I understand not wanting to inflict undue cruelty on a person in such a position. For situations outside of that though... I'm unsure. I don't mean to suggest I support cruel physical punishments like cutting off hands for thieving (although it is interesting to speculate about what effect that would have if it extended to embezzlement by, say, Wall Street bankers). I do wonder why public shaming isn't state-sanctioned though. Maybe because shaming will happen anyway, so there's no motivation to make it official? Or is it because it's considered barbaric? Or ineffective? I'm inclined to think that it would be less effective in a world of decreasing communal ties, but community erosion is a relatively recent phenomenon compared to whenever public shaming went out of vogue.


Was feeling pretty crappy earlier, but I got a workout in and that helped a lot. Funny how much that seems to fix my brain up. It doesn't make it 100% better, but the difference is still significant. Maybe I just have to work out every day for the rest of my life.

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Friday, August 25, 2023
I was revisiting this video:

Talking about "coping mechanisms" as a primary goal of treatment implies that the circumstances that necessitate coping in the first place are unchangeable. Sometimes they are unchangeable, yes, but I think that often there is more that we can do than we acknowledge. To speak primarily in terms of coping mechanisms seems like an act of bad faith on some level and carries an air of resignation in the face of adverse conditions.

The point of this is not to blame anyone who can't get past coping. I don't think it's reasonable to expect that most people by themselves are going to be able to shore themselves up enough to actually change their circumstances in a significant enough way that they no longer need to cope. However, the coping mindset can be detrimental to the treatment process if it's manifesting as learned helplessness. It also takes energy to change something, and if all your energy is spent on coping, you have none left for getting out of the situation you need to cope with.

I think that's where getting help (from a therapist or otherwise) is important, and why community in general is so valuable. In a world where so many people are struggling on their own, we can draw some strength from each other and find ways to make the mere act of existing less exhausting. Merely coping when you could be doing something to eliminate the need to cope is not a noble act.

I'm reminded of a comment I saw once online that said something along the lines of "You don't get an award at the end of your life for putting up with someone's bad treatment of you." That was made in the context of abusive relationships, but it arguably applies to life as well. You don't get an award for managing to endure suffering through your life. The people we remember are the ones who did something to change things. Again, I don't mean to put down the people who just live their lives and aren't movers and shakers of society. I think what I want here is just to acknowledge that there is more to life than coping. It feels especially daunting these days with climate change and wars and the increasingly polarized political arena in our country, but I don't want to be backed into a corner where I feel like I have no option but to cope.


On a totally different topic, I was revisiting some quotes I have saved from a book about depersonalization, and this one stood out to me:

"I feel like the 'I,' for lack of a better term, is now somehow situated across many moments. My identity is scattered everywhere; as if I am everyone, and everything, and the spaces between things. And there is a sense of loss, because if this feeling is true, I ought to know everything, feel everything, but I don't. It's like the reflection of the sun being split into shards of light on the sea. I have dissolved, into a kind of 'oneness' with all that exists, but it's a fragmented oneness. It isn't yet complete."

I definitely feel this. It's such a palpable sense of grief at times, to feel untethered to a singular sense of ego and yet disconnected from the ability to experience things from other subjective positions.

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Short thoughts on scale
Tuesday, August 8, 2023
"angeleyes (feat. Lou Roy)" by Scoobert Doobert.

I don't know enough about music composition to be able to describe what I like about this song in technical terms, but it has sort of a looping melody that I like. Something about it reminds me of some other songs that don't really sound all that similar, like "Gloria" by Laura Branigan and "This Time" by Sure Sure.


It's been hard for me to write anything recently. One of my birds died in late June and I've been in a mild funk since then. I love all my birds, but I was especially attached to that one because I'd been taking him to the vet so much for various health issues. He was a very sweet and gentle little guy and it's hard for me not to wonder if I could have done more to help him.


On the other hand, sometimes it feels like nothing matters all that much, good or bad, in the grand scheme of things. I feel like I'm in a constant battle against the awareness that everything I'll ever experience is just a blip in the timeline of the universe. I know that the solution, so to speak, is to zoom in a bit and not think about things on a cosmic scale, but it feels like sometimes that zoom ability gets... stuck. Something being relatively imperceptible against the backdrop of the universe doesn't mean that it has no meaning or impact. I also feel like this sense of scale could be used by some people to justify acting badly, which I disagree with strongly. Of the attitudes I encounter on a regular basis, hedonism is probably one of the most repulsive to me. I'm not entirely against pleasure, of course, but pursuing it at the expense of other moral concerns is off-putting to me.

Not going full on ascetic or anything, although I feel like I might trend in that direction more than the average person I know. I will say, in my episodes of anhedonia, pleasure is a scarce commodity, and perhaps it's attained a sort of sacred quality for that reason. I'm wary of getting into a mode where I become deadened to small pleasures and need to seek out more to feel anything. It's already hard enough without trying to reach for more.

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The elusive koi pond
Monday, June 12, 2023
"Guidance" by Tempers.

I fear I’m fading
I fear I’m fading
I fear I’m fading
I fear I’m fading
That’s when I shut my eyes
Imagine that I’m you

That’s the way I lose my shame
That’s the way I cross the line
That’s the way I lose my shame
That’s the way I cross the line

That’s the way I lose my shame
That’s the way I cross the line
That’s the way I lose my shame
That’s the way I cross the line


I donated blood today and finished in 5:35, which I think is my fastest time yet. Getting good at this!


I'm trying to assess my current balance between flexibility/openness to change and accepting/maintaining my state of self. It feels like I'm less motivated to change things now, but I'm unsure if I should trust that. On the one hand it could be the product of just coming to accept myself more as I am, but on the other hand it could be complacence born of laziness. I'm wary of getting too attached to ways of being that I think I could improve. Accepting differences that make me an individual is one thing, but I don't want to just accept flaws that I could very well do something about. There is no such thing as perfection, no end state, but there is still better than this.

Sometimes I wish I had some kind of role model or mentor, someone to look up to or seek advice from. I'm forging my own path though, and haven't yet found anyone who seems to have pursued the same thing yet. I'm sure I'm not the only one driven to follow this, but I also have no idea where I might find someone else doing this thing that I don't even know how to fully articulate. Instead, I just run into people who tell me they don't know anyone like me, which is baffling and worrisome at some times, and flattering at others. I guess it's supposed to be a good thing to be unique, but the dark side of that of course is that if you're unique, you can't find people like you, haha. I feel like I'm kind of over wanting to be special and alone, and at this point in my life I'd rather be able to relate to more people.

I mean, I do relate to people decently well on a basic level, but I guess the natural consequence of developing niche interests is that you aren't going to find a lot of people who share them. Whoops. Where do I find the people who like ten minute experimental art games and Existential philosophy? I don't imagine either of those things is overly obscure per se, considering the billions of people that exist right now, and even the center of that Venn diagram should have some people in it, right? In absolute numbers it seems like there should be a decent sized group of folks who'd share the interest. In relative numbers maybe not, but well, isn't that what the internet is for? To connect us with those people we might otherwise never meet due to distance or lack of connecting relationships? Where do my people hang out?

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Kindness in formalities
Monday, May 8, 2023
I don't think I mentioned it here before, but one of my budgies died back in March. He was everyone's favorite, and the loss was painful for us. It wasn't a sudden or unexpected passing though, as he had been sick for a long time and had pretty much been in hospice care for months at that point. I was medicating him three times a day and my schedule revolved around taking care of him. It was tough, but I wanted him to have the best quality of life I could give him. He had vet appointments every couple weeks to check on his condition, and sometimes it took hours for them to finish. I spent a lot of time in my car in the parking lot there. The vet was always very kind and talked to me at length about Bill and the treatment options.

Today I received a card from the vet. Everyone in the office had signed it and written a note expressing their condolences about Bill. Reading it was emotional for me, and brought up feelings that I had mostly not been feeling for awhile as life moved on. It's funny though, because I don't think I ever met most of the people who signed the card, and I doubt that they all met Bill or got to know him in a way that showed why he was so special to us. For that matter, I'm sure they send these cards to all their patients who lose a pet, so they probably have default messages that they write. Despite that, it's still a very touching gesture to me. It doesn't matter whether these people knew Bill or actually care that we loved him deeply and are grieving his loss. Somehow it's still impactful that they said something at all.

As I get older I understand more and more the value of this kind of gesture. When I was younger I thought these things were pointless without sincerity of sentiment, or that just expressing the sentiment verbally was more than enough, and a card was superfluous and pointless. I mostly thought these things about thank you cards, but I would have felt the same about sympathy cards if that was a more regular artifact in my life. These days I feel differently about it. I'm still not in the habit of sending thank you cards, but they make sense to me in a way they didn't before. Engaging in this behavior signals to the other person that you care-- not necessarily about whatever you're writing in the card-- but about social conventions and expectations. I know that seems burdensome to a lot of people, but those social conventions provide structure in our lives, which is necessary on some level to feel secure and comfortable. For me, this card is a reassurance, not just that someone cared about my bird, but that they cared about me enough to follow a norm that gives me the structure that serves as a buffer between me and the void formed of ambiguity and uncertainty. Structure is important during grief, when it can otherwise feel like things are falling apart.

Being able to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty is a strength, but it does take energy and causes stress. I am grateful when I have the option to follow a prescribed social norm that eases the burden of having to figure out something entirely on my own. Even if I ultimately decide not to follow it, it's nice to know that there is an established way of doing things sometimes.

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Everything in time [DP]
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Be it extremely emotional, controversial, messed up, or whatever, this entry has been password protected.

If you know it, enter it; or, ask me for it.

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Dang, I missed February
Friday, March 3, 2023
"Kawaikunai" by Kumo 99.

I actually started this post a few days ago so I wouldn't miss February, but then I got distracted and forgot to finish it... and keep forgetting to finish it.

Started doing cardio again. I feel like I've been out of it for too long... So now I'm trying to do cardio days in between my lifting days. Not doing anything too intense, just stairmaster for 15-20 minutes and running a mile or two. Hopefully it helps with lifting as well. I feel like I've gotten stronger and I did 205lbs for barbell glute bridges recently without too much difficulty. I slipped on the floor and injured my ankle though, so I have to take a break from the gym (and specifically cardio) right now... Hopefully it's not for too much longer.

I guess I forgot to mention back in December that I graduated and finished my internship, so now I need to get some application stuff in and I can start accruing hours towards licensure. I'm not sure if it feels much different. Since I finished in December, there wasn't a graduation ceremony or anything; I just had my last class and that was it. Nothing formal to cap off what felt like an endless journey. I could technically walk during the ceremony they hold for the spring semester graduates, but I really don't want to participate in the ceremony at my school. I've had enough of them and I'm ready to never interact with them again if possible.

Things have been a bit slow with getting my stuff together for my next career steps. I have a strong suspicion that my allergy meds are blunting my emotions/negatively affecting my moods. Kind of sucks, because it feels like I have to choose between feeling emotionally bad or physically bad. Maybe I'll switch meds... I don't know what to try that would work without having this effect, though. I used to use Zyrtec, but that has had worse effects on me over time (the grogginess from it was almost disabling), and I've been using Allegra recently, which doesn't make me groggy but does seem to blunt my mood. Talking to my doctor didn't help much, unfortunately.

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