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Memores acti prudentes futuri


I caught a piece of the sunshine
burned a little hole in me
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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Reflecting on relational trends [4P]
Sunday, March 12, 2017
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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My mind is wandering
Friday, March 10, 2017
"Hey" by The Blow.

I can see that now
I did this to myself
Your hair blew around
It was trying to tell me something

From its privileged position so close to your brain
It could see all the things that you couldn't explain
It warned me your smile might get carried away
Starting games that your heart didn't know how to play

You leaned over me and the V of your cleavage whispered
"I believe that you can see you won't get what you want from me
"You won't get what you want from me
Hey, could this not be what you want?
I believe that you can see you won't get what you want from me
You won't get what you want from me
Hey, could this not be what you want for me?"

I can see that now
I did this to myself
I threw my love around
I barely noticed if you returned it
And as I leaned ever closer you leaned more away
All that you wouldn't give I thought I could just take
I said, "Baby please show me everything"
"All the parts I don't like I'm just not gonna see"

"I believe that you can see you won't get what you want from me
"You won't get what you want from me
Hey, could this not be what you want?
I believe that you can see you won't get what you want from me
You won't get what you want from me
Hey, could this not be what you want for me?"


I think it's a good thing that I didn't discover this song earlier than I did, or it might have been unbearable to listen to. Now there's just a distant twisting sharpness to it.

Today I'm thankful for the Wayback Machine. In 2010 I found a lot of things that impacted me in ways I don't know if I'll ever forget, and this was one of them:

Only the Lonely

I was looking for something else, and I found this performance artist's site full of grotesque masochistic projects. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before, and I was appalled, disturbed, and fascinated. I couldn't understand or relate to it at all, but the strangeness of it took me out of myself and gave me something of a break from my own troubles at the time. I looked at this specific performance page a number of times, because for one it was one of the more tame performances, and also because there was something weirdly comforting about the song to me at the time. I'm not into art that seems like its primary goal is to shock, but I felt like this project has... a lot of meanings to be unraveled. It's shocking, but that's not its central purpose, that's more of a side effect of it. This seems like the kind of thing I would like discussing with someone who could approach it in a curious and nonjudgemental manner. I wonder if I could talk about that with A.? We're getting ice cream tomorrow, so I guess I could tell him about it.

On Reddit I found a social skills subreddit and from my brief glance around, I gathered that one of the common things people ask for help with is not being boring. I don't really know what it is like to be perceived as a boring person; perhaps erroneously, I've always assumed that boringness stems from holding back things that you might say, in which case you just need to be less inhibited, or having poor theory of mind and not understanding the level of detail that is appropriate to tell other people or how other people perceive what you're saying. I wonder if there's any research on the phenomenon of being boring? Just-- what is it, why does it happen, and so on. Maybe something to look into at another time.

Time keeps slipping away from me somehow, I feel like I blink and it's two, three hours later than I expected. :S I need to go to bed...

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Potential fun plans
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
It's not a happy song, but this makes me smile.

"What's That Perfume You Wear?" by Jens Lekman.

But she's gone forever
And however hard that might feel
At least it was real
If it could hurt like that


I guess just the rhythm and the beat and the energy of it make me feel good, despite the subject matter.

A. and I have been talking about more shows we could potentially go to! There are some things in May that look interesting, but that's kind of far off. There's also a late night movie showing at a theatre near me that I asked if he'd like to go to, and he said it looked fun, so we might do that after I get back from spring break. I like having someone to do fun things with. I guess that it helps that there are fun things to do here, haha. He just introduced me to a new band, and I like a handful of their songs, although apparently they're hated in Canada? I dunno.

I went to a focus group on campus today that was about the admissions experience and general school experiences, but it turned out that it was supposed to be for freshmen and they invited me by accident. I got free pizza out of it though, so no complaints.

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I've missed seeing live music
Sunday, March 5, 2017
The show tonight was awesome! My friend A. went with me, and the show didn't start until like an hour after the doors opened, so we chatted for a bit beforehand. It was quiet enough that we didn't have to yell, so that was cool.

This girl I didn't know played before the main act, and her music was very slow and it was difficult to understand her singing. I felt so sleepy listening to her, and it seemed like it dragged on for so long, though I think she only did four or five songs.

There was a break between her set and the main act, so we chatted a little longer and made a few jokes about how we couldn't understand her singing. The only thing I could really make out was something like "I painted my house" and we speculated that maybe all her songs were just random strings of words.

When the main act started up I felt super excited, although he started off with songs I wasn't that familiar with. The first couple were kind of slow and acoustic and I was worried it was all going to be like that, but it picked up and he started doing songs with more of a beat and had backup musicians to provide more sounds than just acoustic guitar. It wasn't the kind of show where people go all crazy dancing, but there was definitely a lot of head-bobbing and that slight dancing where you alternate moving each of your shoulders back and forth while standing in place. The guy next to me got super into it, though, and was moving a lot within the tight confines of his little space bubble.

I felt really great during the set, the kind of enjoyment where you feel like your whole being is smiling. Really honestly just happy and excited. I kept wondering if my favorite song by this artist would be played, and was a bit disappointed when he ended without playing it... but then we all clapped and cheered and he came on for an encore and he played the song I was waiting for! So that was absolutely lovely. I actually jumped up and down out of glee. I think my friend was amused by it.

It was a fantastic live performance, not like those ones where they take a huge amount of liberty with the song and it sounds nothing close to the album version. I was slightly worried about how my friend would like it, because A. didn't know who the artist was before getting a ticket, and he apparently didn't look him up before coming to the show, haha. A. had a good time though, and he enjoyed the show, so I felt pleased about that.

---

I've been listening to a lot of songs by The Blow recently.

"Invisible" by The Blow.

And if you won't see me
Shouldn't that mean I am invisible?
Oh oh no
The whole world gets to watch as I go poof
Weird mouth and I'm unclothed and I slowly
Decompose

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I felt surprisingly good today
Friday, March 3, 2017
Considering it's been 5+ years since I last talked to her, I had pretty much given up on ever talking to Casey again, but she messaged me on Facebook this morning, to my utter surprise. We caught up for a couple hours, which was nice. I had to leave to go to the comic con I got tickets for from school, though, so I'll have to message her another time. I wonder if I'm going to start having the dreams again...

The comic con was... crowded. It was so crowded. And I spent money I really shouldn't have and got a bunch of socks and some comic books. I don't mean those wispy little single issue ones though, I mean the heavy duty ones that are like dozens to hundreds of pages long. My shoulders hurt so much from the weight of my bags when I finally got back to my room! But I don't regret any of my purchases, at least. It's pretty rare for me to regret buying comics, unless they're single issues that aren't very good. When you're paying $4-5 for just a few pages that aren't even that enjoyable, it feels like so much more of a waste.

I walked through the exhibitor tables on two floors of the con before deciding I'd had enough and leaving. On my way back I bought myself a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream and shredded coconut on top. I really like that combination for some reason. My favorite cupcake in San Jose was that kind, too. I did feel a little bad about buying it after spending so much at the con, especially since I don't like to "treat" myself if I don't feel like I have a good reason. It doesn't feel good to needlessly indulge. But... it was a good cupcake, haha. I was surprised that I actually liked the frosting a lot. Usually I prefer the cake and feel okay at best with the frosting, but there wasn't an overwhelming amount and it actually balanced the not-super-sweet cake pretty well.

Let's see... school was serving one of my favorite dinners they have (grilled swordfish with olive butter, "brothy beans", and roasted green beans) in the cafeteria tonight, so I ate there. The swordfish was kinda fatty, but mostly good, although there wasn't as much olive butter as I would have liked on it. I also had a chocolate cream filled cream puff, which in retrospect was a bad idea since I had a cupcake earlier, but... ah... too late now. I think I should probably exercise more or eat a bit less... I'm almost positive I've gained fat and I'm not happy about it.

---

Last night I had a pretty candid talk with a few of my classmates about some issues we have with one of the professors. That prof has been acting rather unprofessional and making us uncomfortable and we think she needs to take time off to deal with her own problems. I also opened up a little to one of my classmates about how it feels for me to be the only asian person in our cohort and how I am constantly aware of my minority status in relation to just about everyone else. I mentioned taking some time off this quarter and she said "I'll miss you," but later in the conversation she seemed like she had really thought about it and said "you know, I said I would miss you, but I don't even know you" and looked like she felt... troubled by it. This cohort has been pretty weird, everyone immediately acted like we were already close because we have to be together for two years, but I don't feel like we really know each other that well at all. I barely know anything about a lot of my classmates, and I haven't jumped on the "we're all such great buddies!" bandwagon because I don't feel comfortable acting that way when I honestly don't feel close to any of them.

Maybe I'm rationalizing this (since I have a long history of shyness), but I feel like certain formalities just don't fit with my values, so I don't observe them consistently. I do sometimes ask people how they're doing or how their weekend was, but it's often more out of a feeling of obligation than anything else, and if I'm not feeling particularly awkward that day I might just not ask, because well, I don't care how someone's weekend was if I don't know them and don't have a desire to get to know them. I feel like that sounds bad or unfriendly or something, but I just don't want to get to know everyone I come into contact with, and I don't want to spend energy talking to them when I don't care. It feels dishonest. And like, yeah, I know there's that whole "WHOOOAAA, YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT EVERYONE????" thing which for some reason is shocking to acknowledge, but I guess I feel like it's better to just be genuine in my interactions when I can get away with it. And maybe I've always felt this way. Like I didn't see the point in writing thank you notes for gifts I straight up didn't like or didn't want when I was a kid. That one was resolved more by learning to appreciate things and realizing what a difference it made to write someone a thank you card vs. just say thank you to them in person, but still. I know we have these formalities for a reason, and I can understand that there's a value and purpose in phatic communication, but I guess I don't care enough about engaging in the proper social signalling to bother with some things. Or maybe I'm just lazy and rude, who knows.

Really didn't mean to write so much about this, whoops.

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When the silence is for you
Thursday, March 2, 2017
From the article "On the Therapeutic Action of Analytic Love" by Daniel Shaw (2003):
When I first met him, he spoke in a gruff voice, volubly, bitterly, loudly, and without pause for me, even if I did attempt to get a word in edgewise, which I often didn't. He was marvelously articulate about how enraged he felt about everyone and everything in his life. I noticed how often I felt anxious about what I was thinking of saying to him, and realized I feared he would explode with rage and possibly assault me if I said something he didn't like.

Ari spent most of a year splenetically venting, about his wife, his son, his partners, his employees, and so forth. Feeling shut out, I often found myself shuttling between resentment, detachment, and feeling intimidated. Eventually, I understood that I was withdrawing, withholding a necessary confrontation, in retaliation for the narcissistic injury I felt about my perceived lack of effect on him.

(I underlined the last sentence for emphasis)

I think that this is a good description of why I feel like it's important to be honest with people about how I feel about them. I mean, not like "I think you're ugly" or anything like that, but if I honestly think there's something they're doing that is maladaptive or destructive in some way, I feel like it's better to tell them, if I can do it in a sensitive way. Do I always achieve this with 100% success? No, definitely not. DEFINITELY not. You win some, you lose some. Sometimes you lose a lot, haha. And I'm not gonna lie, I'm kind of easily intimidated. But I'm trying. I want to give people a chance to notice what's going on before writing them off.

During a talk with Fro and Becka I think I might have mentioned this. I feel like it's a kind of respect-- that willingness to give people a chance to show that they're capable of something better. I feel like assuming everyone is good is sort of disrespectful in its own way, because well... you have your own ideas of good, and that's not necessarily the idea that everyone subscribes to. Assuming everyone is bad and being a cynic is kind of worse (because you're more likely to withdraw and close yourself off to others), but both of them are hindering in their own ways, because you filter information about other people through them. I'm inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt, certainly, but I guess ideally I prefer to just see how a person reacts to different things before making any lasting judgements of their character.

[I KNOW IT'S 'JUDGMENTS' IN AMERICAN ENGLISH, CHROME SPELLCHECK, I JUST LIKE IT BETTER WITH AN E]

It's hard to confront people about things, but... I do feel like it's important. Lately I've been frustrated because I feel like people aren't listening to me, and when they interrupt me, don't let me finish what I'm saying, and/or talk over me, I end up just going silent. "If they don't want to listen to me, then I won't try to tell them," goes the line of thinking. But it's a withholding out of resentment, and that's ultimately selfish. A conversation is not just about me and how I'm feeling, it's about both of us. I don't want to enable poor listening behavior in someone because I'm irritated or resentful. That's... well, it's childish, isn't it? I'm not saying that what they're doing isn't incredibly rude (bad listeners are by far one of my biggest pet peeves), but... what am I accomplishing by just letting it pass by unmentioned? That silence could come across as tacit approval, and is that really fair to any of the other people who might be interrupted by this person in the future?

I think often of a story that a friend told me a few years ago about his dad. While I don't remember all the details, the basic story was that the dad works as a speech therapist for school kids, and it's a very tough job. The dad said something to the effect of "I hate my job" (I got the impression that it was because of the difficulty of it, not because the work itself is distasteful or tedious etc.), and my friend asked why he did it, then. The response he got was "if not me, then who?"

I've probably related this story here before at some point-- maybe even around when it was told to me, I don't recall-- but it just sticks with me. I guess I've really incorporated it into my value system at this point. It's relevant to a lot of things, you know? For instance, combating the bystander effect. Instead of going "oh, someone else will do it," you just do it. A silly little example is when a bunch of people are waiting around in front of a classroom. Sometimes I've done this with them without trying the door, only to find that the door was actually unlocked the whole time. Mostly now I just check the door first. In the majority of situations where something like this happens, what do I really have to lose by being the one to take action? Maybe I might suffer a bit of embarrassment, but that's no real harm.

In cases where I'm being interrupted, I think I can handle it if it becomes a bit awkward as a result of me bringing it up... Although it's easy to say that when I'm in the comfort and safety of my room by myself, haha. I know there's more anxiety in the moment. I might need to brainstorm some ways to politely point out the interruption... Maybe let them finish talking and then say "I'd like to finish what I was saying, now" to indicate that I wasn't done. I've been quite frustrated recently and have started to interrupt people back and talk over them (not that it works, because my voice is too quiet to talk over people unless I start yelling), but I don't like doing that and it feels icky to engage in the behavior I find so distasteful. And can I really make a point if I'm not modeling the behavior that I think is respectful, and which I would like others to follow?

I don't know why I've been in such a blogging mood these past couple days, but man, I guess I've been thinking a lot now that I'm not constantly stressed over school. I feel a little more like myself, before everything happened in the past couple years. Or well, maybe two and half, now. Back when I was more optimistic and interested in things, motivated to seek out ways to be better. Maybe I'm finally starting to recover from being hollowed out. Because... that's what it really was, I think. Burnout, yes, but... like those trees you see that burned from the inside out, so there's just a hollow trunk remaining, all blackened when you look into it. Back before my world collapsed into one point and I couldn't see anything else anymore. I hope I'm getting better.

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Unexpectedly relevant [4P]
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
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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The limits of self-reflection
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
In Hermeneutics today, the prof talked about understanding (which is a recurrent theme through the whole course).

Understanding includes self-understanding, because we don't exist as disconnected modules in the world that have no relation to other things. If I see a pencil on a table, I understand the pencil to be a writing instrument, and the table as a surface to put things on, because these are things that I have been taught, and they exist to me in the way that they do because of my background and cultural context. Self-understanding involves knowing your pre-judgements and assumptions about things, and the context of your perspective. We are historically-situated, meaning that we come from somewhere and are influenced by things, nobody pops out of thin air with all their personality traits, beliefs, values, etc. already included. Context, context, context.

Self-reflection plays into this because we can, through the process of reflection, come to know things better; however, self-reflection cannot help you understand everything. You need external input too in order to reach the truth. Self-reflection can be deceptive; without checking against other people, you run the risk of creating for yourself a false vision of reality. You can't know everything if you just stay inside your head.

("Truth" is not just facts, by the way; certainly facts are an important part of truth, but ultimately truth is reality, which we can know by more than just facts)

So the way that I imagine this all is, quite literally, a reflection-- looking at yourself in the mirror, let's say. When you're getting up close and personal with a mirror, you can see a lot of things, a lot of details that other people aren't necessarily going to notice about you because they're unlikely to get that close. Regardless, you're still looking at a mirror-image, and your reflection isn't an entirely accurate image of how you appear to others. Especially when you're up so close, you don't always see how the whole package comes together. You can't leave yourself and have some kind of 360 degree view of yourself, you're limited to a certain perspective. In this way, other people will always be able to see something that you can't. This doesn't mean you should just indiscriminately listen to what other people say and take it as the truth, but it helps to aggregate some different external perspectives to check them against your own and see how people stand in relation to each other. The keyword here is different; you're not going to get anywhere if you only pick people who agree with you or think things that are in line with what you already believe.

Gotta be careful not to get trapped in a bubble of self-deception. My prof used the succinct phrase: "To understand, you must be willing to be surprised."

---Edit---

I am excited about music things!! I'm not going to that show this weekend by myself anymore, I told my friend A. about it and he said he'd be down to go with me! Also, Jonathan Coulton put his new album up for preorder! I definitely want to get the CD, but I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to get the CD/book bundle. The comic collector in me wants to, but it's not a necessity, and I don't know anything about the story. I'm usually pretty wary of buying comics when I'm not familiar with the artist and I can't look through the book at all...

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