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!
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
Ectopiary (Some nudity)
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
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.
Music I Heard
Monday, February 6, 2017
"Music I Heard" by Richard Hageman, sung by Hannah Kim.
Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread.
Now that I am without you, all is desolate,
All that was once so beautiful is dead.
Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved:
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.
For it was in my heart you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes.
And in my heart they will remember always:
They knew you once, O beautiful and wise!
The book I'm reading referenced this song, so I looked it up. I like the first stanza. It feels very... phenomenological.
Friday, February 3, 2017
"The World Moves On" by Jens Lekman.
You don't get over a broken heart
You just learn to carry it gracefully
And that's what it's like when you've had your heart broken
The world just shrugs its shoulders and keeps going
It just moves on in all its sadness and glory
I really like this song. It took a bit of time for it to grow on me, but I love the lyrics. They feel so much more real than most other songs with this theme. There's such a beautiful authenticity to it.
I did so much socializing today, I am exhausted. Hung out with someone for a few hours, then went back to my room and voice chatted with someone else for the first time, and then Skyped with Fro, Becka, and Sean. Phew.
Also got some much-needed errands/chores done today, so that was good. So the like... ~10 hours of almost continuous socializing did not prevent me from doing other productive things. I feel good about that, despite being so tired now.
You don't know
Thursday, February 2, 2017
I had this exchange with a friend awhile ago:
D: You ever ask someone something, and you don't want to hear the answer
D: And they tell you the answer and then some
D: And like, you learn things that kind of immediately burn themselves into you
D: 'Cause I do <_<
Me: [Relevant experience]
Me: I didn't really want to know.
Me: And I felt sick to the core of my soul when he told me.
D: Oh this goes into that same kind of thing and then like ten times more
The response I got to my story really bothered me. He doesn't know what it felt like for me. It seemed very insulting that he would immediately say his feeling was ten times worse than mine. I felt like my experience was trivialized. I really hate it when people tell me they "know exactly" how I feel, because it's never true. You hear a word you relate to, you latch onto it, you jump at the opportunity to tell your story, you don't listen for the nuances in my story that differentiate my experience from yours. I don't know how to characterize this behavior-- maybe an excited disrespect. An impatient self-centeredness in which the other person is treating your personal experience like some of kind of satellite revolving around yours. There's no connection there and no understanding. I'm not saying it's meant with any ill will on the other's part, but it happens too much.
Of course, this was nothing worth fighting over. He is going through a hard time, and he clearly wanted the conversation to be focused on him. This has never been a friendship where we can mutually discuss our problems, and I've always been aware of that. Sometimes it just bothers me more.
I'm starting to get really annoyed with conversations that go like this:
Me: I was eating ice cream one time and it started melting--
Other person: Oh man, I know exactly how that is. I just hate that! Isn't it the worst? I want my ice cream to be frozen, you know? Melted ice cream is just so pointless, like, it's just a dessert soup. I had this one ice cream cone and it got all melted because it was hot that day, and I was so disappointed.
And if the other person had actually given me a chance to finish it would have gone more like:
Me: I was eating ice cream one time and it started melting, and watching bits drip off of it reminded me of a a day when I was sitting inside watching the rain and talking to my friend about how much I loved how it smelled outside after it rained.
Last night I got to Skype briefly with Fro and Becka, and I was reminded of how much I value the fact that they actually let you finish what you're saying instead of cutting you off as soon as they pick up on a word or phrase that they want to talk about. That quality is terribly rare, even (to my great dismay) in this program I'm currently in...
Self in progress
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
I thought it would be a good idea to revisit some of the goals I've set for myself and think about what else I want to work on.
My original aim was to be the kind of person I want to have in my life. This includes:
-Being a good listener
-Being a loyal friend
-Keeping in touch with the people close to me
-Expressing my appreciation for said people
-Being supportive of my friends (in a way that encourages them to be better and doesn't enable them to stagnate)
-Being accessible (open and available) to my friends when they need me/want to talk
-Being charitable and giving people the benefit of the doubt; looking for the intention behind the action instead of just judging what I see based on its consequence
These are all other-oriented; that is to say, they revolve around what I can do for other people and don't relate to me in myself.
So, some self (as separate from others) goals:
-Stay informed about the world/politics on at least a minimal level (need to find more/better news sources)
-Take better care of my body (exercise/diet; not to lose weight but just to stay in reasonable shape and be healthy)
-Take better care of my skin
-Pay attention to the details of the world so I don't get bored with it and subsequently jaded (this is going well so far)
-Look cute (I am slowly developing more of a personal style, and I just feel better when I look good)
-Learn more about investing/finances (I am highly risk-averse and just sold some of my stocks today because the market seems so unstable, but I don't have a good sense of how to strategize)
-Don't be afraid to admit I don't know things (I have been pretty good about this one lately, especially since I basically UNDERSTAND NOTHING in one of my classes)
-Be less self-conscious about my social skills and whether I'll be judged for a faux pas (I guess this could fall under the larger umbrella of having self-confidence)
-Read more books of my own (this one has been hard because I'm so tired of having to read stuff for class, but I am slowly making my way through one of my own books, at least)
-Find the balance between trusting my intuition and being open to other perspectives (right now I think I am too heavily inclined toward the latter)
-Do the right thing even if it's difficult, unpleasant, uncomfortable, etc. (e.g. I really hate my grad program and don't like living here, but I'm trying to stick with it because I feel like this is the right thing to do)
-Be open to constructive criticism, or even just criticism if it has a valid basis
I think these lists are incomplete, as they always will be, just wanted to explicitly lay out some of my thoughts on these matters. I haven't specifically listed things out in awhile, and I didn't want them to get lost.
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