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Memores acti prudentes futuri

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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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Uh... I don't know, I can't think of a title
Thursday, July 27, 2017
"Osaka Loop Line" by Discovery.

And I tried to catch your eye and then
Walk past you as the train came in
But I missed you there and lost my mind
The morning crowd pushed me behind

I've been listening to this song on repeat for a couple days. It feels, appropriately, like falling further and further behind a train that's rushing by. It's weird, I've been listening to this album in pieces over a period of several years. I think I like three songs from it, and I haven't even heard any of the others. Just every few months or years, a different song from the album comes up somehow, and I listen to it, and I feel iffy about it at first, but it grows on me and then I want to binge on it. The weird thing is that I never have a desire to explore the rest of the album on my own.

Think I might have posted this one before, but it's the other song I really like by this band.

"So Insane" by Discovery.

Ooh baby, you've got me going
So insane, and I just don't know what's
Going down
Ooh I try to get off my knees
Try to fight f-f-fight this feeling
But I can't

This song makes me want to dance. Sometimes I kind of want to go to clubs just to dance to loud music in a dark room, but they always play the music too loud, and every time I've gone clubbing (which was like... I dunno... twice? Thrice at most?) I left feeling partially deaf. Plus people are drinking, so it's not really my scene.

I kind of miss being 18 and being in New York and having a little two person dance party in Casey's dorm room, with just the blacklight bulb in her desk lamp on. Even though I was sort of having an emotional breakdown for a lot of my freshman year of college, there were some really fun moments, and they make me miss New York. I wish my last trip there hadn't been so bad. I'd like to go there again and have a better time, someday. When I can afford it... Or maybe if someone takes me again, haha. Pretty much all of my traveling has been on someone else's dime, except for the recent trip to Australia.

Fro was encouraging me to look into county jobs, because she thinks all my volunteer experience would be a big plus, but I feel nervous about it. I think if I wasn't looking into going back to grad school in the next few months, I'd feel a little less hesitant, but I don't feel like I can take any jobs that would be full time... Gotta have something I can fit around a school schedule...

On the plus side, I had an online info session for the school I'm looking at, which was basically a conference call, and I felt really enthusiastic about the school afterwards. I've been feeling kind meh about it for awhile, just kinda feeling like this was what I should do more than anything else, but... the program really does sound appealing to me. I was silently wondering if it was going to have the things I found lacking in my last grad program, but they answered that question before I could even ask it. I feel encouraged.

I'm trying to just take one thing at a time and focus on school matters in the immediate future, but interpersonal stuff is always on my mind, and I guess it always has been. Try as I might, I can't seem to prioritize anything above that. Always thinking about my friendships and other relationships... Everything else feels kind of secondary. It doesn't feel like this is a socially acceptable way to be, though. So much talk about "putting yourself first" and such... Figuring out your career, your dreams, whatever else... But my world revolves around people, and it feels forced, trying to dream of something that's just about me. I feel uncomfortable with individualism in this way, though I know that collectivism isn't some perfect ideal alternative. Maybe I'm just trying to find balance for myself between the two.

Sometimes I get tired of people telling me that I should live for myself more and I should disregard others and not make sacrifices. I don't like feeling like self-sacrifice is some kind of tumor people are trying to cut out of me. It's something I want to do, and something I value, and it feels meaningful to me. And anyway, it doesn't feel like sacrifice when you're eager to give it. If I'm being excessively vague about what I'm sacrificing, I mainly mean time and energy, and sometimes sleep. It feels good to give. Not that I don't have my breaking point... Goodness knows, I hit that last year.

Nobody's really been saying these things to me lately, but it comes up in therapy when I have a therapist, which can be frustrating. It makes me feel like they don't understand. If I care about someone then it doesn't feel like sacrifice to give up some sleep, to spend hours listening to them, to forgo other things I might have done. When Fro calls me on the phone, she pretty much always starts off by asking if I'm doing anything [important] and if I can talk, and there are almost no situations in my daily life that seem particularly important in that moment. If I'm watching something, I can just finish it later. If I'm playing a game, I can pause it or put it away for another time. If I'm reading, well, there are bookmarks for a reason. She also has a tendency to ask in the middle of conversation, "Am I boring you?" and it shocks me every time. I always say "no," but it's accompanied by this feeling of "What else could I even want to do right now?"

It feels like I'm drifting a bit in subject. These things don't feel like sacrifice to me, but I think they come off as sacrifice to other people who value their time and energy differently than I do. Maybe other people have a ton of other things they want to be doing, I don't know... I do get immersed in other activities from time to time, but they all get kind of boring after awhile. Hard to maintain hobbies because of that. My feelings about that are another matter, though...

I never start these posts with any sort of outline, I kind of just ramble and hope that it has some kind of thesis that can be followed. No idea if that happened in this one, but it's almost 5 AM and I can't be bothered to read back and see.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Sometimes I annoy people by pursuing what they view as unnecessarily complicated definitions of things. I've heard "you know what I mean" so many times from different people, and it all blends together. When I insist that I don't, in fact, know what they mean, they think I'm just being difficult.

I know some people appreciate this habit of mine, but they're rarer than the people who find it obnoxious. And well, I won't deny that it can be annoying when someone is asking you to define things at ever increasing levels of detail. I guess it probably seems like a pointless exercise when you live in a world of certainty (which I don't).

I'm lucky to have developed in contexts in which I haven't been completely shut down when I try to define things. In certain ways it's even been encouraged. I do have some friends who appreciate the extent to which I think about things.

I've been reading Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker at an extremely leisurely pace, but the bit I just read earlier today was about the differential susceptibility hypothesis, which is sort of an alternative to the diathesis stress model in psychology. If you don't want to read the Wikipedia article I linked, basically it's just the idea that people might have certain susceptibilities to their environment that can be developed in different ways. So, traits that we might consider pretty negative (e.g. ADHD) could, in another context, actually be positive.

Taking this in relation to my susceptibility to depression, I wonder if I've just happened to have a life that helped me develop in certain positive ways. Like maybe if I'd had a different upbringing, I would have the kind of depression where you just lie in bed unable to get up, and you flake on your commitments and you're awful to other people (like in that movie Melancholia, which I wanted to like but didn't at all). I don't think my life has necessarily included the absolute ideal conditions to develop that susceptibility positively, but... I'm... more on the positive side of things, I think? Instead of circling around with endless rumination, I do put that heavy need to think through things to use and try to be constructive with it. When I do have the energy to actually act on stuff, all the thinking gives me a direction to go in.

Even though I like going to the gym, it did feel like I was kind of... stagnating a bit, character-wise, when I was going all the time. Keeping the worst of the depression at bay also seems to decrease the amount I think about things. One of my most productive periods of self-development was, I suspect, when I was sad and anxious a lot of the time because my 4th relationship constantly seemed at risk of crumbling. Wasn't all great change, though.

I've been moving away from labeling aspects of myself in black and white negative/positive terms. For a long time now I've been trying pretty hard to avoid anything that I think is arrogant or vain, but that has also resulted in me having difficulty with confidence and being able to take credit for things. I still value modesty a lot, of course, but I think it's more... socially reasonable to allow myself a bit more leeway with what I've tended to think of as vanity.

Though I don't know if I would have phrased it this way previously, I think I have been trying to perfect myself by eliminating my flaws to the extent that it's possible. I'm realizing though that this sometimes separates me from other people. Not in the sense that I'm better than them or anything, but... everybody has flaws, and people relate to each other's flaws, and I think maybe some people like me less when it seems like I'm trying too hard to be good. Like I'll judge them or something... It's easy to write that off and say "well they're just insecure" etc., but that doesn't really solve anything. I want to connect with people, I don't want them to feel like I'm too "good" (in the sense of morality, not superior/inferior) to relate to things...

I dunno why I'm talking about this. It hasn't been a problem for awhile, mostly because I eased up on that relentless pursuit of improvement. I used to frame things for myself in terms of improving, as if it were so straightforward, but I think now I like "self-development" better as a term. There are some generally agreed upon positive qualities, but everything has some downside to it, and I feel that "development' reflects that better.

I'm trying to be the kind of person I want to see more of in the world, and I'm having to constantly redefine what that means to me, but I'm hopeful that my efforts have been effective. It does feel like things have, on average, gotten better for me since I started trying to do this. At times I feel like I'm struggling though, because I used to have much more clear-cut ideas about what I wanted, and as I've refined them, it seems like they were very crude and oversimplified in the beginning. I've redefined so much so many times, and I'm not always sure what I'm doing or whether I'm moving towards what I want anymore.

But... I think things are going the way I want them to be, in the longer term. Not in all the small moments, maybe, but as a trend.


My legs are kind of tired and maybe a little sore from going to the gym again today. I did the Stairmaster for something like 15 minutes (skipped steps this time-- it's harder and yet somehow less tiring than doing all the steps; I kinda cheated though by holding onto the rails), then did a couple sets each on the triceps extension, bicep curl, chest press, and lat pulldown machines before getting on the treadmill. Walked for 0.15 miles, then ran half a mile at a slow 9:13 minute mile pace (legs were tired from yesterday), walked 0.35 miles, ran another half mile at an 8:20 minute mile pace. That second half was easier, surprisingly. I guess I just needed to warm up. Had the treadmill set to level 1 incline as usual, though it probably makes barely any difference. Given how my legs feel at the moment, maybe I shouldn't go to the gym again tomorrow. Even though I really want to, I have to remind myself to take it slow and not try to jump into what I used to do at the gym...

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It's been a good day
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
I restarted my gym membership! They sent me an email for a promotion where former members could get the enrollment fee waived, and I just called the gym and they set me up. Did most of it over the phone, but I also went over to sign the agreement and even worked out a little. I didn't do very much though, just ran 1.25 miles (6.9mph/8:41 minute mile pace) and did the Stairmaster for ~13 minutes. I'm thinking it might be more effective to skip steps on the Stairmaster, because I felt it way more when I started doing that. Maybe I can wear my wrist weights too while I'm doing it. I wish I could have done more, but I need to build back up to working out. For a test run this went okay.

Going back there felt really great, and I was super happy. It looks mostly the same, with a few layout differences. Comfortable and familiar. Sadly they don't offer all the same classes I used to take, which is a bummer since I really liked some of them, but it's okay. I don't expect to be taking so many classes a week again anyway.

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It happened
Monday, July 24, 2017
Ehhh, so, to my distaste, I got a smartphone today. My mom's phone stopped working, so she wanted to go to the AT&T store, and she took me with her and pushed me to get a new phone. I just got the cheapest one they had, the ZTE Maven 2. It's... alright. Annoyingly large and won't fit in my pants. Also the battery life is hilariously pitiful compared to my feature phone.

I guess I couldn't escape it forever. :(

Well, let's see how long it takes me to drop this thing and break it.

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Off shoulder cuts [2P]
Saturday, July 22, 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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Late night incoherence
Friday, July 21, 2017
"Lost Souls/Eelings" by TR/ST.

Back home in California, although Hawaii is also home... just... a different home.

I'm in a poetry mood. Not writing, this time, but reading. It's been quite awhile since I actively sought out any. Here's an excerpt from Baudelaire's "Confession" that I like:
Que bâtir sur les coeurs est une chose sotte;
Que tout craque, amour et beauté,
Jusqu'à ce que l'Oubli les jette dans sa hotte
Pour les rendre à l'Eternité!

Translated by William Aggeler:
That to build on hearts is a foolish thing,
That all things break, love, and beauty,
Till Oblivion tosses them into his dosser
To give them back to Eternity!

I also like "Horreur sympathetique" (just going to link it instead of posting the whole poem and its translations).


I'm awake unnecessarily late, and it's that time of night when my mood is low and I'm thinking a lot about the past and the future and everything that has been, is, or could be bad. And some other things too, but mostly negative stuff.

Even though I hated having to read Levinas and Heidegger (well, Heidegger was much better than Levinas) for school, I find myself thinking a lot about their philosophy and how they would describe things. There are so many ways to describe the same concepts... Heidegger talked a lot about life covering itself over, of just slipping into the flow of things and losing that focus and awareness of the present moment. You can't live in constant acknowledgement of your authentic being, it's just... not possible in any practical way. I think that most of the time, my life covers over itself and I don't have to face the anxiety of being (or being-in-the-world comme on dit*). Something about nighttime uncovers it though, and I feel face to face with existence and myself and I can't slip into that forgetfulness that enables everyday living. I'm going to die someday, inevitably. It could be in 60 years or it could be tonight in my sleep. Dying itself doesn't scare me too much-- which is good, because meat from scared animals tastes worse hahaha okay sorry I'm done.

For real though, I wonder a lot about how to live more authentically, in accordance with my values (which I would like to be able to back up with some solid reasoning). I've been listing out some values and ways I want to be in a little document for myself, just trying to sort things out and check on myself. As I don't have any consistent occupations at the moment, it's hard for me to tell whether I'm embodying my chosen values. Gotta have some kind of situation where I can practice. Muscles atrophy when you don't use them. It's no different for thought patterns and behaviors... Every time you repeat a thought or behavior, you're reinforcing a pathway in your brain. Neuroplasticity! I always imagine that like adding a thin layer of concrete to a canal for some reason. Channeling a river in a certain direction... But you know, Nature always wins against us if we don't keep fighting, and all our cities and grand monuments are eventually worn down to nothing without continual maintenance. I'm really just stream-of-consciousness-ing all this, so if the flow is weird, that's why. Nature always has the upper hand because we don't live forever. I'm trying to stop reinforcing certain pathways in my brain, and without my perpetual thinking about the same things, that canal is becoming a little less concrete, a little less deep, slowly but surely.

People are all "you have no filter" but they don't know how much I have to filter just to be coherent when my thoughts are jumping around like this. I have like... 20? years of school and all the reading I've done on my own just bouncing around in my head and making patterns and I don't always know where everything comes from or how to explain why it all fits together. It doesn't frustrate me like it used to that I can't explain things that make perfect sense to me very well to other people, if at all, at least. I remember desperately wishing that I could just have some kind of unrestricted connection with someone else, the way Parameter and Equinox have in John Varley's short story, "Equinoctial", but it doesn't bother me so much anymore that it's impossible. That (currently?) impassable barrier, the physical/mental separation between us all that isolates us and forces us to live in lonely ambiguity, is kind of a blessing and a curse. Levinas would describe that separation as atheism, I think. He had this whole thing about God being present in the Face of the Other and blah blah Ethics blah blah Infinity blah blah Capitalizing Words to Make Them Extra Fancy.

I keep flashing back to my recent therapist saying "you're a little philosopher, aren't you?" with a wry smile on her face. I don't think she actually said "little" but for some reason I remember it that way.

*Lookit me, bein' all pretentious and USING FRENCH. lulz. I dunno, I think in tiny French phrases sometimes. It makes me feel less bad about basically forgetting everything I learned from three years of French in high school.

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Wayyyyy back
Thursday, July 20, 2017
I've had this video in my iTunes library for years, since before I knew Youtube existed, I think? Only JUST found out the artist right now.

"Here Come the Clones" by Avi Paul Weinstein.

I downloaded it from Google Video... I guess that was before they merged that with Youtube. Man, that was a long time ago.

Anyway, now I'm listening to some of the guy's other music. Here's "The Face of Jesus in My Soup":

Hawaii is nice, but I'm looking forward to seeing my friends at home. I felt much better today, definitely recharged. Got to talk to Fro for a bit on Skype, which was great as always, although sadly we couldn't chat for long because I had to leave for dinner.

Wondering when I can visit Kyle... I don't really have anything officially on my schedule until early/mid August, but trying to fly down and visit him before then seems like it could be a bit rushed? I dunno. Need to talk to him more about it, I think. At the very least I want to see him before the year is over, so we should have a fairly large time frame to figure out details in.

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Home-ish again
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
I'm back from Australia (by which I mean, I'm in Hawaii again). I actually missed my flight on Friday morning, which was briefly pretty stressful. Got the time zones mixed up because of Google Calendar... Rebooked for the next day for $75. I had to call my uncle to pick me up from the airport, and we ran a couple errands before going home. My uncle was very understanding about it and told me not to feel bad, but my mom started lecturing me on how I needed to be more careful and that my mistakes were affecting everyone around me. She has a knack for bad timing, so she basically started lecturing me as soon as I got home, which wasn't that long after everything happened at the airport. I already felt bad about it, and she just made it worse. It was whatever though... I told her I didn't need a lecture, and she was like "I'm not lecturing you"... as she proceeded to lecture me. -__- She's done this more times than I can count, and I knew it was only going to escalate if I stayed, so I just went to my room and stayed in there for most of the rest of the day to avoid her. Didn't need things to turn into a heated discussion of how selfish and careless she thinks I am.

Honestly, I don't really have much to say about Australia. I feel like I should, but I just... don't. It was cool seeing how it differed from the US in various ways, but I felt a bit nervous the whole time I was there. Good ol' anxiety at work. For most of my stay, Becka and Joel bought/provided food for me, which was a relief, since I kept feeling anxious about trying to pay for myself and whether there would be any complications around that. I guess it's actually pretty straightforward and you can just use your credit card like normal, but I think the unfamiliarity of it was stressful for me. I'm not sure what it is about foreign money that's so... anxiety-provoking for me, but I bought almost nothing while I was there.

It feels like my anxiety levels have been increasing over the past few years. In a way, it feels like being in high school again? Although back then I just thought of it as shyness, not anxiety. It's been feeling harder to do new things than it used to, which seems... counterintuitive? I mean, it's easier to do certain things, like meet new people, but it's harder to do new-new things, I guess? Flying internationally for the first time by myself was stressful, though I got through it without too much trouble.

Feeling kind of unsteady, unsettled about things. Too much uncertainty about the future. There's always going to be some amount of uncertainty and ambiguity about life, yeah, but at the moment I feel there's too much, and I wish things were more defined.


Spotify suggested this to me. Getting pretty annoyed with hearing the same three ads on Spotify over and over again, but sometimes it does an alright job recommending new music to me.

"Who Loves the Sun" by The Velvet Underground.

I'm feeling really socially drained. I haven't had a solid chunk of alone time in awhile and the effects are noticeable. Sometimes when I'm feeling pretty social and enjoying the company of others, I forget that this can happen, and I wonder why I ever think I need to be alone, but... yeah. Still looking forward to seeing the guy I like soon though, before he... leaves... for months... At least we'll get some time together, I guess. Talking to him isn't draining, which is really nice.

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