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."
"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
Think about it
Kill that boredom!
Binder Paper Comics
Web Comics and Such
A Distant Soil (Some nudity)
The Adventures of Gyno-Star (Some explicit stuff)
Blue Milk Special
Cigarro & Cerveja
Cyanide and Happiness
dead winter (has some explicit stuff)
Devilbear: The Grimoires of Bearalzebub (PG-13?)
Eat That Toast!
Ectopiary (Some nudity)
The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon
For Lack of a Better Comic
Girls with Slingshots (some explicit stuff...?)
The Intrepid Girlbot
The Last Halloween
Last Train to Old Town
The League of Evil Genius
Legend of Bill
Living With Insanity (some nudity)
Love Me Nice
Married to the Sea
The Moon Prince
Moth (Some nudity)
The Non-Adventures of Wonderella
Political Cartoonists Index
Poorly Drawn Lines
The Property of Hate
Robbie and Bobby
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Scenes from a Multiverse
The Secret Knots
Stand Still. Stay Silent
Strong Female Protagonist
The Super Fogeys
Tales of Pylea
Three Word Phrase (some nudity)
Tiny Kitten Teeth
Toothpaste for Dinner
Trying Human (Some nudity)
Two Guys and Guy
Yellow Peril (PG-13)
Infrequently/No Longer Updating Web Comics
The Abominable Charles Christopher
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
The Adventures of Ellie Connelly
Bag of Toast
Bear in Mind
The Book of Biff
Chain Bear (Some explicit stuff)
Daisy is Dead
Edmund Finney's Quest to Find the Meaning of Life
A Fine Example
Finn and Charlie are HITCHED
Hark! A Vagrant
Head Doctor Productions
Hello with Cheese
Kyle & Atticus
Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space
Letters to a Wild Boar
Lovecraft is Missing
Meat and Plastic
The Nerds of Paradise
No Reason Comics
One Swoop Fell
Pictures for Sad Children
A Redtail's Dream
Roy's Boys (PG 13?)
Run Freak Run
The Super Gay Adventures of Ross Boston
YU + ME
Pure Flash Awesomeness
Die Anstalt : Toy Psychiatry
Clients from Hell
Creatures in My Head
Damn You Auto Correct!
Jhonen Vasquez's site
Overheard in New York
Passive Aggressive Notes
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."
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...
An established pattern
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Thinking about a conversation snippet from Saturday when Kyle and I were walking from the train to the airport. I don't remember the exact wording but it went something like this:
Me (jokingly): Maybe I'll go check out that pizza place and I'll be sitting there eating pizza by myself and some handsome, surprisingly compatible rich guy will sit down at my table and start talking to me.
Kyle: That seems kind of bold, not like your type.
Me: What? Why not? What is my type, then?
Kyle: Socially awkward? And abusive?
Me: Yeah well obviously I don't WANT that to be my type.
I mean, he's not wrong, but it still sucks. >_>
In class last week, there was a group presentation that was, supposedly, about culture, but the group defined culture as "an encounter with the foreign" and that just... disgusted me. I felt as if they conceived of culture as some kind of thing that other people have, like culture is what you see in a National Geographic magazine, where all those African tribes are shown in glossy full color in their loin clothes, holding spears. Culture is not "foreign" (wtf???), it's something we're constantly immersed in. You are never outside of culture, you are always a participant in it. I just... I don't know how to express the extent to which I found their presentation meaningless and distasteful. I felt like this incident just amplified my feelings of alienation from the rest of my cohort. I'm just constantly aware that I'm the only person in there who isn't phenotypically white, and I think it definitely impacts my experience in the classroom.
I don't know if all the other people in my cohort identify as American (we do have one guy from Puerto Rico who definitely doesn't, and he's Hispanic but he looks white), but I frequently feel like my core identity isn't American. Obviously I grew up in American culture and I'm not all that tied to my Asian heritage, but I just... am acutely aware that I'm not part of the dominant white American culture. I wouldn't say I really identify as Asian American either, because that comes with its own set of issues, but I don't know that I identify with any group in particular. At the same time, I don't have any issues with group membership-- I think it can be a nice thing to have that sense of relatedness and community with others-- I just don't know what group I fit with. When I'm asked to describe myself, I know the categories that others would put me in (Asian, female, young, educated, etc.), but I don't... think about any of those explicitly, I suppose. When someone asks me to describe myself, what do they want? Individual personality traits? Social roles? Accomplishments? There are so many different selves, defined by so many different things. It's a hard question to answer without knowing what the other person is looking for.
No pictures, just words about hanging out with Kyle mostly
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Kyle had to leave today because he was having some health issues and felt it was better to be safe and go home than risk something bad happening. It was nice to hang out for the couple days we had, so I was a bit sad he left, but I also think it was the right choice.
Today after therapy I walked over to where Kyle was staying, and we walked around downtown together. Partway through the walk we came across a building that was being demolished, so we watched that for awhile. It was oddly fascinating-- they were using some kind of giant claw thing to grab pieces of the building and pull them down. The claw was at the end of a long arm, and a guy was maneuvering it to grab different bits of the building. It seemed like a very slow process, because while the claw was very strong (it was just ripping through the bricks like they were cardboard), it wasn't very big. The guy operating it was quite deft, though, and it was very interesting to watch him tear out bits of building.
We were on our way to get lunch, so we eventually stopped watching and got food, but we both wanted to go back and watch the demolition more once we were done with that. Sadly the construction crew seemed to be on a break when we returned, so we just went to an arcade instead. That was fun too, though, and we played some different rhythm games. There was one game where we had to hit big buttons to the music, and one of the songs we played was this Mario music mix. The first time we did it we failed pretty spectacularly, but we played again and actually did fairly well, so I'm kind of impressed with our progress.
Kyle started getting a headache, so we went across the street to get him a Coke, and I got a pear mint soda (with a bit of vinegar-- it was really good though). Then... I realized that I was missing the cover to one of my earbuds, so we went back to the arcade and I found it on the floor. It never ceases to amaze me that I haven't lost one of those little covers yet, considering how frequently they fall off (literally every time I use them). It's pretty annoying, but the earphones still work, so... I guess I'll just deal with it...
After that, we briefly contemplated trying to watch a movie before realizing that there were none we could make before Kyle had to leave for his flight, so we just went back to his room and watched a few episodes of Louie, which was nice. Around 5ish we walked to the train station and I rode with him to the airport, and we had some extremely mediocre and overpriced "charcuterie" plate (that is to say, cheap salami and cheese with some lame water crackers for $15.40). I would never get it again, but at least I didn't feel hungry after eating the cheese.
I made Kyle take pictures of us together with his phone because I don't have any pictures of us together, and the only one he has is from like 2010, so it's about time we have a picture, considering we are BEST FRIENDS AND ALL. >:C Unfortunately several of the ones he took had a beauty face filter applied to them, which neither of us noticed because I don't care enough to closely examine pictures after they're taken in order to see if I like them or not, at least not when I'm taking pictures with other people. Oh well. The one we got at the airport didn't have that silly filter applied, at least.
Tonight I was listening to music and thinking about the show I'm going to next week, and I imagined being there by myself. Something about that image threw me a distance from myself and I suddenly found it very bizarre that I'm confined to this one physical body and I'll never experience anything from any other perspective. I felt like I was imagining myself as if my body were a miniature in a shoe box, and it was startling to think about how vulnerable and small that body really is. If something bad happened to that body at the show or walking back, then that would be it, that's all of me gone. It was like realizing that knocking a chess piece off the board would end your existence. I don't know why that seems to be a bigger deal right now than it is usually.
Friday, February 24, 2017
"I Can Hardly Make You Mine" by Cults.
I don't think I can make it
Can I owe you one?
Staring into the days
Like a loaded gun
Well I can hardly make you mine
Tell it to you all the time
But you never wanted what
You had to take
So I could never give you up
I guess that this is just a crush
For the end of the long day
And when I wake
Well I know you're not the one and the only
But we both know what it's like to be lonely
Well these fantasies they left us wanting
But just bring all your love back to me
I guess for now it's just how it will be
The feelings aren't as bad as they were for a long time. I keep thinking that I'm doing better and then feeling like I'm falling down again, though, so I'm hesitant to proclaim that I'm getting over it "for sure" or anything.
In happier news, I had a good time hanging out with Kyle today. This is the first time he's visited me since 2010, and we walked around a bunch and went to the aquarium, which was cool. I also found out that Jens Lekman is going to be playing here, so I got tickets, and I'm very excited for that, even though I'll have to go by myself unless I find someone on fairly short notice to go with.
We got unusual (but very nice) ice cream in the early evening (bad timing, because it was before dinner). I got pumpkin, which was not pumpkin spice like I had been expecting, but was this really lovely almost fruity pumpkin flavor, and Kyle got some kind of weird cheese ice cream. I wasn't brave enough to try it, but he said it was really good. The roughness of the waffle cone against my upper lip kind of chafed it, though, and now my lip is sensitive at the edges. :( I forgot that this happens sometimes if I'm not careful about how I eat things.
Some pictures from recently-ish and today:
I feel like I could stick this on 85% of the guys on OKC and it would be honest.
Really amused by the name of this for whatever reason.
Dead pigeon. :(
I said this fish looked kind of dead and lifeless. Kyle said this fish looks like how he feels on the inside.
My landlady still hasn't come back and I'm not sure if I should try to contact her again...
Love stories, and then I went off topic
Thursday, February 23, 2017
I've been reading Love is a Story: A New Theory of Relationships by Robert Sternberg. My first contact with this book was actually five years ago, when I was taking a Marriage Family, and Intimate Relationships class in community college. I'd forgotten about it because I never actually read it; the professor just talked to us about the different types of love stories and their meanings. I have no idea what happened to my notes from that class, but I wish I had kept one of the texts we read for it, because it was really interesting. I emailed the professor just now to ask if he still has the syllabus, so hopefully he'll get back to me...
Regardless, I've been reflecting on what kind of love stories I tend to seek out in my relationships (and perhaps friendships in general?). I think I'm drawn to teacher-student relationships, or have been, in the past. Back when I used to talk to Max in 2009/2010, that was pretty evident. I loved chatting with him because he always had something interesting to share with me, and I absorbed it like a sponge. As I've gotten older, though, I've become a bit less enamored with this relation... Maybe due in part to disillusionment stemming from the realization that I kept running into people who just loved to pontificate, without necessarily having worthwhile knowledge to impart. I mistook arrogance for confidence and competence a lot. These days I do much more questioning.
When I think about long term relationships, I tend to imagine something like a business story:
And this excerpt felt sadly relevant to me:
I wonder how much time I've spent in an ultimately fruitless pursuit of something deeper. One of my high school friends was like the onion in this metaphor-- I always thought there must be something more to her than she was letting on, but nothing ever came out in all the years I knew her. For the most part, I tend to assume that people must have interesting and complex thoughts until they consistently express thoughts that are nothing of the sort, but in the presence of silence, that automatic assumption remains. Thus, quiet and reserved people seem interesting and mysterious. It's hard to know whether there really is something genuinely worthwhile developing in their heads unbeknownst to the rest of us or if there's just a cognitive emptiness.
When I'm not feeling down and depressed, I feel like I'm always thinking about a ton of different things at once, and I guess I tend to think it must be the same way for others. I seem to vacillate between feeling like everyone's experience is totally alien to each other and feeling like people are actually much more similar than I'm inclined to give them credit for. It's hard for me to really grasp the idea that some people just don't have... active minds? Similarly, I tend to give people maybe a little too much benefit of the doubt when it comes to things they might know; I find this comes up a lot when I discuss topics in psychology specifically. I'ts not that I think everyone must know what cognitive heuristics and things like that are, but I guess that I tend to think things along the lines of "well, this person I'm talking to is smart and knowledgeable, and psychology is pretty widespread, so it seems possible that they'd have heard of this concept before." Not that I assume they know... usually I ask if they've heard of it. It's extremely condescending to assume they don't know and start explaining, but assuming they do know and not giving context is pretty bad in its own way.
I don't know where I was going with all that. Something else I did want to mention was that when my mom was here, she asked me if I had ever been in love with one of my exes, and I said yes, then asked her if she had ever been in love with my dad. She took a moment to think about it, but said no. I wouldn't say that was particularly surprising to me, and yet I still felt as if I should be shocked or horrified in some way. A marriage without being in love??? Scandalous! But then, it works for them. And I don't have a problem with it. My parents are very different, but they've managed to come to terms with those differences and have stayed married for over twenty years. They love each other, they just aren't in love (and I guess never have been). And... maybe that's kind of what I want too, in some way? That sort of lifetime roommate situation where you care about each other a lot and you do things together, but it doesn't have to be crazy passionate and romantic. I'm tired of people and their romantic ideals expressing such self-righteous indignation about that. Romantic relationships can be nice and all, but maybe I just want someone I get along with on a reasonable level to make a shared life with, and they don't have to be my best friend (I already have best friends) or a perfect fit. I'm tired of feeling like that's such a bad thing. It's hard enough for me to find people who are tolerable, so maybe I'd be fine with someone acceptable. I think my idea of acceptable is a bit different than my dad's idea (trying to have an intellectual conversation with my mom is like stabbing yourself in the face with a rusty corkscrew), but I mean... generally physically attractive (that's the hard part), reasonably educated, not abusive, self-aware enough to not have seriously undermanaged mental illness or delusional worldviews... Am I asking for too much with that?
Anyway... Kyle is coming to visit me tomorrow, so that's something to look forward to.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Saturday, February 18, 2017
"John Gottman: How to Build Trust"
One of my groupmates from class shared this video with the group as something we could possibly incorporate into our presentation. It was about a week ago, but I've been thinking about it since then.
Trust is built in the little moments. You find it in the consistency of someone's good actions and intentions towards you. This is perhaps why I was able to grow to trust Kyle again, but not some of my other exes. There's no one big thing you can do to gain trust back; it takes a long time and a lot of patience and persistence. And I guess this is why I don't have a specific answer when people ask me how to get me to trust them again-- it's just something where you have to wait and see.
This is very applicable in the therapy setting too, of course; most people don't spill everything in the beginning of therapy, which is why longer term therapy can go deeper into people's lives and feelings about things than short term therapy can (on average at least). Having a consistently open and supportive attitude towards clients will help me gain their trust... It's very obvious in some ways, when you think about it, but I feel like it's one of those things where it's only obvious once you know the answer.
My mom is visiting me this weekend, and she helped me move out of the little place I was staying to a new room in a house. It's not as convenient of a location here, but it's nicer, and now I have a queen bed instead of a twin (not that I need that much space, but it's appreciated). Sadly we got polyester sheets instead of my beloved flannel, but I'll live.
I was listening to this song a lot awhile ago, but I think I didn't post it because it was temporarily unavailable on Youtube:
"Strange Cakes" by Big Black Delta.
Always always on me, always
Half of every rule that we will break
A quarter love, a quarter hate
Half of every lesson, a third of every scene
Never mean that much to me
Oh, I know a fool only knows
He knows enough and nothing more
Just blood and bones, a spark of the heart
Openness, feedback, and growth
Thursday, February 9, 2017
"Combat Baby" by Metric.
I want to be wrong but
No one here wants to fight me like you do
Come back baby
Fight off the lethargy
Don't go quietly
Every time this song comes on in my library I think about the importance of having someone who can challenge you and show you where you're wrong in your thinking. That sweet spot between needless destructive criticism and inattentive support. On the other side, there's the equally important ability to be open and receptive to that challenge and not hole up in an internal bunker, denying and deflecting any criticism while clinging tightly to your beliefs.
Thinking about where a person is coming from with criticism is also important. I try to take a step back and consider what the person's relationship is to me, and what contexts they have observed and interacted with me in. I'm not the same person to everybody, and their comments on me will reflect that. Of course my friends think I'm a good person, they've only seen me in situations where I had the ability to display good traits, for the most part. They can't confirm or deny a complaint about me that someone else who has seen me in a different situation has voiced. And anyway, why would they be my friends if they didn't like me and think I had redeeming qualities? I accept their support and praise, but always with a grain of salt. A lot of people want to make you feel good without regard for your personal development and growth. If I sink into the cushions they put down for me, it's harder to get up and move forward.
When someone does have a comment about something they think I'm doing wrong or could be better, it's easy to want to defend myself and explain why they're mistaken, but that can be a barrier to growth if the comment hasn't been considered thoroughly beforehand. I haven't done a great job of keeping up with this one recently due to stress, which limits my patience and tolerance. Trying to get back on track.
A reminder to myself in hypothetical dialogue:
Person: Hey, I think you were rude in that situation:
Me (non-constructive response): I don't think so. I think my reaction was totally warranted given what happened, and I had no obligation to be polite.
Me (constructive response): I didn't perceive it that way, but I'd like to know why it came off that way to you in case there was something I missed about the situation.
-->And then ACTUALLY listen to what they say and try to understand their perspective instead of just "listening" for show while actually formulating a defense. Critical thinking!
It's blatantly obvious that I have no "obligation" to be polite in any situation; I choose to be polite because I don't want to be the kind of person who has no regard for social norms or basic respect for others. Sometimes I struggle with this one, because it doesn't always mesh well with my desire to be authentic with people, and there are some people whom I really, really do not like.
Always a work in progress. Anyway, I am getting a bit foggy, so I'm going to end here.
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