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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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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

Combat baby
Come back baby
Fight off the lethargy
Don't go quietly
Combat baby

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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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.

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Realistic music
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.

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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...

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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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All the socializing
Friday, January 27, 2017
I hung out with my new friend B. four days this week. o.o It's enjoyable, and I feel energized when we hang out, but then afterwards I feel so tired and drained. I'm not exactly sure what this is. An introversion thing? My energy levels don't seem depleted at all until after I leave.

In any case, it's been fun. He took me to the Museum of Pop Culture today because he has a membership and could get me in for free, so we looked through that a bit, and then got some food from Whole Foods and went back to his apartment and watched Dirk Gently. It was the first time watching the series for both of us, and we got through three episodes. It's a good show! Gonna hang out again on Sunday and maybe watch more of it. :)

Also going to hang out with new friend A. tomorrow afternoon. This will be our second time hanging out, but we've been texting a fair amount. Looking forward to that!

I have therapy again tomorrow, for the second real time, I think. We're still kind of in the "getting to know each other" stage, so I don't feel like I can just talk about whatever comes up for me. I feel sort of obligated to give context and background information about myself and my history before I can really dive into a lot of stuff. But... I think I want to talk about the Ex. Not just any ex, but the one who was a big deal and impacted my life in ways no others did. When I really think about it, I wonder to some extent if this is really one of the biggest unresolved issues for me. It feels like a lot of things go back to that. I've cautiously been exploring my feelings about things, but I think it could be helpful to do it in therapy and have someone to talk to about it. So... yeah... that's the plan for tomorrow, I suppose!

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Two types of guilt
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
From A Psychology of Nothingness.

Sadly, I don't have the full book that this is from. I only have a few pages of PDF which were emailed out by one of my professors.

Still, I thought it was interesting. Maybe someday I'll get myself a copy and read the whole thing. Haha... ha... yeah... probably not going to happen. It's so hard to read these days.


Yesterday I hung out with my new friend for a few hours, which was fun. We fed the crows in front of his favorite cafe, then went to an adult storytime at the library. Also went to his apartment and looked at the concept art for a TV show he's working on, which was really cool. He also has a fancy smart scale, so I got to try it out. My bodyfat percentage is apparently 21%... According to this chart I looked up on Google, that's not horrible, but from looking at those pictures, I feel like I'd rather be in the 15-17% range. Too bad I'm not very motivated to lose weight.

Was going to get lunch with the new friend today (which would have made three days of hanging out in a row! Wow!) but then I realized that I had an appointment at 1pm, so we moved it to tomorrow instead. It's nice to hang out with someone who doesn't cut it off after an hour or two, like the other people I've met up here. I think we're going to the MoPOP this weekend, too, which I'm excited about. He has a membership, so I can get in for free, which is awesome.

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Reflecting on sad stories
Sunday, January 22, 2017
"Living The Life ABA Therapy Version" by Art Department.

Design the future, design the past
Design the letters, make it last
Design the kind and we will see
Divinity, it's out of you, and it's out of me

I am digging this song so much right now. And a few other Art Department songs in general.

My meetup today went really well. We're hanging out again tomorrow! I should probably go to bed pretty soon, because we're getting together for breakfast, and it's like midnight now...


I had a dream that Levinas was living in a cross section of a large concrete pipe in the woods, which he had converted into a shelter. Teenage runaways brought him food in exchange for his philosophical teachings. After their exchange, they would climb up to the top of his dwelling and sleep, using big pom pom-shaped mossy plants for blankets. I went there when nobody was around and touched the mosses, marveling at how soft and warm they were.


After talking to my new friend today, and someone else online, I have a deep sense of sadness about the general tragedies that take place in the world. The painful injustices people are struggling with, through no fault of their own. These two people were both given terrible circumstances to deal with and are doing the best they can to improve their lives and attain a better standard of life. There is something very sobering about it all, and also very... mm... I don't know a word that means "causing one to reflect upon one's own circumstances and feel a sadness over the disparity between one's life and others', but also feel a quiet sense of appreciation for one's luck relative to other people." It is a mixed feeling.

I think one of the things that impacts me about the stories I heard today was that the people who told them to me did not minimize their situations, they acknowledged the horrible realities they'd lived through (or are living through) and discussed how that contributed to who they are as people, and what, specifically, they've learned from their experiences. They haven't let their unusual histories isolate them from others, and have... for lack of a better term, kept open hearts, I suppose. It's a hard thing to do, and I respect it. I get the sense that they might have a deeper appreciation for the "normal" life that so many people take for granted.

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