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Memores acti prudentes futuri


Turn up the music
take me home or take me anywhere
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
TICoSME
Musicalities!
Online Radio
Soma.fm

More Fun Shtuff
Newgrounds Audio Portal
Pandora
SoundClick
Kill that boredom!
Binder Paper Comics

Web Comics and Such
A Distant Soil (Some nudity)
The Adventures of Gyno-Star (Some explicit stuff)
Aquapunk
Axe Cop
Basic Instructions
Bear Nuts
Beeserker

Blue Milk Special
Bobbins
Broodhollow
Bug
Buttersafe
Camp Weedonwantcha
Chainsawsuit
ChannelATE
Cigarro & Cerveja
Conspiracy Friends!
Crunchy Bunches

Curia Regis
Cyanide and Happiness
dead winter (has some explicit stuff)
Devilbear: The Grimoires of Bearalzebub (PG-13?)
Diesel Sweeties
Distillum
DUBBLEBABY
Dumm Comics
Eat That Toast!
Ectopiary (Some nudity)
E-merl.com
The End
Evil Diva
Evil Inc.
Existential Comics
The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon
For Lack of a Better Comic
Forming (Explicit)

Girls with Slingshots (some explicit stuff...?)
Mirror
Hark! A Vagrant
Head Doctor Productions
Hollow Mountain
IDK Comics
Inscribing Ardi
The Intrepid Girlbot
JBabb Comics
The Last Halloween
Last Train to Old Town
L.A.W.L.S.

Legend of Bill
Living With Insanity (some nudity)
Love Me Nice
Married to the Sea
Meaty Yogurt
Medium Large
The Meek
Metacarpolis
Monsterhood
Monsterkind
The Moon Prince
Moon Town
Moth (Some nudity)
Mr. Lovenstein
Muddlers Beat

Natalie Dee
Nedroid
The Non-Adventures of Wonderella
Optipess
Out There
Owen's Uncles
Phuzzy Comics
P.I. Jane
Political Cartoonists Index
Poorly Drawn Lines
Powernap
The Property of Hate
Red Meat
Rice Boy
Robbie and Bobby
Rosscott, Inc.
Safely Endangered
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Savage Chickens
Scenes from a Multiverse
The Secret Knots
Serenity Rose
Stand Still. Stay Silent
Stinking Hellebore
Strong Female Protagonist
Subnormality
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
Mirror

Witchy
xkcd
Yellow Peril (PG-13)

Infrequently/No Longer Updating Web Comics
The Abominable Charles Christopher
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
The Adventures of Ellie Connelly
American Hell
Bag of Toast
Bear in Mind
Bobwhite
The Book of Biff
Brat-halla
Brightest
Bullfinch
Chain Bear (Some explicit stuff)
Daisy is Dead
Dream Life
Edemia
Edmund Finney's Quest to Find the Meaning of Life
A Fine Example
Finn and Charlie are HITCHED
Floodmud
Freaks!

Green Wake
Gun Show
Hello with Cheese
Helpful Figures
Intragalactic
Kyle & Atticus
The League of Evil Genius
Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space
Letters to a Wild Boar
Lovecraft is Missing

Manta-man
Meat and Plastic
Minimalism Sucks
Mis-
Moe
The Nerds of Paradise
Nimona
No Reason Comics
Odd-Fish
One Swoop Fell
Patches
Pictures for Sad Children
Raymondo Person
A Redtail's Dream

Riotfish
Roy's Boys (PG 13?)
Run Freak Run
Saint's Way
Shortpacked!
Sin Titulo
Snowflakes
Split Lip
Spooky Doofus
SubCulture
Super Buzzkill
The Super Gay Adventures of Ross Boston
Thermohalia
Troubletown
Ugly Girl
YU + ME
2815 Monument

Pure Flash Awesomeness
Aardvardkbutter.com
Angry Alien
Die Anstalt : Toy Psychiatry
The Frown
Hoogerbrugge

Other
Bogleech
Clients from Hell
Brian Despain
Creatures in My Head
Damn You Auto Correct!
Jhonen Vasquez's site
Overheard in New York
Passive Aggressive Notes
Submarinechannel.com
Superdickery
UHpinions
Whirled
Looky here
free counters
Whew, like 13 hours out
Sunday, February 18, 2018
I was out a long time today, although I guess it was actually shorter than a typical Thursday, haha. Just felt like a lot more because I didn't have downtime.

In the morning I had ECS, and I invited that guy I had one date with. He seemed pretty into it, and we stayed through the potluck and the workshop after the main lecture. I didn't really talk to him during any of that, but he talked to various other people there at least.

After the ECS stuff, we went to a park near my house and walked along the creek for awhile. There's not actually a consistent bank or a path or anything, so it involved a lot of strategizing to keep going, but it was fun. Cold though, yeesh. Moving along kept me from getting too chilly, at least, and we never fell into the water.

Walked and got doughnuts after the creek, then walked back to his car and drove to a nearby bowling alley, but it was too loud in there so we walked to a movie theatre instead. On the way there, we got to the crosswalk as the display was counting down from 8, and it's a pretty long crosswalk... So I yelled "WE CAN MAKE IT" and sprinted across. He ran after me and looked like he enjoyed that. There were no good movies... so we just ended up getting dinner, haha. He looked so serious throughout dinner, and I mentioned it a few times jokingly. I think he could stand to laugh more. We talked a fair amount about our views on depression and its place in our lives. We're in very different places with our perspectives and handles on our depression... the major difference being that I haven't been significantly depressed in awhile.

He felt like getting a smoothie after dinner, so we went somewhere he could get one, then wandered around a nearby Target until it closed. That mostly involved me walking around and picking up random items and commenting on them, although he picked up a dumbbell to see how much he could lift. I was surprised by how much heavier 25 lbs felt than 20 lbs. We spent a good chunk of time in the deodorant/body spray aisle because I decided to see how a lot of the men's body sprays smelled. None of them were as good as Tag First Move, but I didn't expect anything to top that anyway. That scent is too good for this world of sinners.

After Target closed, we walked back to his car and sat there listening to the radio. I described the visual impressions I got from the songs that played, mostly, but we talked more about depression as well. Also talked about some silly stuff like what you could wish for if you had a genie. He was saying you could wish to have a bunch more magic lamps, but I said that didn't fit with the spirit of the law of "you can't wish for more wishes." Then he suggested wishing for a map to find other magic lamps, and I said that might be okay, since it doesn't guarantee you'll get other wishes. If it was an evil genie though, it might give you a map that you'd find unreadable or something. (This discussion started because I told him that all my wishes are heavily qualified just in case an evil genie tries to grant them)

I had a decent time hanging out with him, but I'm not really feeling a romantic spark here, so I think it's just gonna be friendship at most. He's got some things going on that I don't really want in my dating life. The search continues, I suppose...

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Surprised I haven't gotten tired of this song yet
Saturday, February 17, 2018
"Don't Worry, You Will" by lovelytheband.

I can make you happy for a while
Smile for a little
Pretending like my heart ain't broke
You think I'm charming for a minute
Funny for a second
Until I turn into a joke

Trying to stay positive
Not an easy way to live
Step inside of my brain
We can take it nice and slow
At the pace you wanna go
Laugh right through the pain

She said "I can't find a thing I don't like about you"
And I'm like "don't worry, you will"
"I don't wanna find a reason to doubt you"
And I'm like "don't worry, you will"
I'm a freak, I'm a fraud
I'm a child, I'm flawed
She said "I can't find a thing I don't like about you"
And I'm like "don't worry, you will"

Oh you'll say you really love me
Right up until you leave
There's nothing I can do to help
The conversation will get ugly
A dream into a chore
You'll say you need to find yourself

Trying to stay positive
Not an easy way to live
Laugh right through the pain


I really like this song.

Supposed to see that guy I had the nice first date with again tomorrow. Guess we'll see how that goes.

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Revisiting choice
Saturday, February 17, 2018
From How People Change by Allen Wheelis (pg. 30):
The more we are strong and daring the more we will diminish necessity in favor of an expanding freedom. "We are responsible," we say, "for what we are. We create ourselves. We have done as we have chosen to do, and by so doing have become what we are. If we don't like it, tomorrow is another day, and we may do differently."

Each speaks truly for himself, the one is just so determined, the other is just so free; but each overstates his truth in ascribing his constraint or his liberty to life at large. These truths are partial, do not contend with each other. Each expresses a quality of experience. Which view one chooses to express, to the exclusion of the other, better describes the speaker than the human condition.


I last read this book over two years ago, and I'm currently rereading it for my book club. I remember now why I found it so vitalizing and inspiring. Wheelis is so good at explaining Existential viewpoints simply and relatably. Moving past dichotomous conceptions without any fluffy language.

There is no switch between freedom and necessity that you can turn on and off; trying to talk to people about their responsibility for themselves does not have to be shaming or blaming. It is a mindset that can be cultivated, but people aren't living a lie if they aren't seeing their own freedom. It's like any skill... having the potential to be good at something doesn't mean you should be blamed for not already being good at it. These things take time, energy, effort, motivation, patience. I wish that people would more readily accept responsibility as a good thing, as an empowering thing. I am responsible for my pain but I am also responsible for my enjoyment, for my growth, for my peace and happiness. External factors do contribute, of course, but there's so much possibility within the self to change and expand.

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Habitual thoughts, good things, acceptance
Friday, February 16, 2018
Thinking about some of the background mental processes that run behind my more pressing thoughts. Things that don't necessarily have much bearing on what I do or think, but are still just... there.

One of the ones that used to be a main insecurity for me, but has faded to a whisper, is "___ if you were thinner." Examples of this include:
"They'd be nicer to you if you were thinner."
"He would still love you if you were thinner."
"You'd be prettier if you were thinner."

I'm well aware that those don't stand up well to reality testing, but it's sort of an automatic thought that comes up. Generally I just let it pass, but it drops in to say hello sometimes, mostly if I'm feeling down.

They'd want to be friends with you if you were thinner.

---

Have been feeling conflicted about a friendship recently. Not feeling like that person understands me. Ironically, other people have been going to that person for information about me, which is... unfortunate. It's something I've been processing for a couple weeks, trying to figure out how to bring up. I don't like to let feelings of unease fester. Stuff just eats away at you if you do that, and I would like to work this out if possible. I'm tired of feeling misunderstood and unheard.

---

Yesterday was quite long. On Thursdays I'm usually out of the house for about 14 hours, but I was out 16 hours on 5 hours of sleep yesterday. Surprisingly awake the entire day though! I woke up at 5 AM and stayed awake until past midnight, and I didn't even nap.

My normal schedule on Thursdays is roughly as follows:
5 AM: Wake up
6:30 AM: Leave for train station
8:30 -11:30 AM: Class
11:30 AM - 3 PM: Long break
3 - 6 PM: Class
6:20 PM: Walk to train station
8:30 PM: Finally get home

I didn't get home until more like 10:30 PM yesterday because some of my classmates wanted to go to a bar after school and I wanted to get to know them better. Going to a bar will never be my first choice for a social setting, but I accept that that's an accommodation I have to make in this culture. It wasn't like I hated it or anything, it was just kind of loud and harder to have a conversation. Also the entire place smelled like beer, which was pretty disgusting. I got to talk to one of the girls I've been feeling... hesitant... about, though, which was cool. She said that she was also glad to get to know me better. I think we're both making efforts to be open to learning about each other rather than avoiding contact because we're wary of each other.

There were a few things I felt pretty good about yesterday. During my 3.5 hour break, I had lunch with one of my classmates who I think is becoming my friend, but then he wanted to work on a paper, so I was wandering around on my own. I decided to walk around the city and ended up at a plaza that had some interactive exhibits. One of the exhibits was a gravel pit that had some sensors in it to measure how quietly you could walk. I was looking at it, and the guy who was manning it invited me to try it. He pushed a button to reset the score and I walked across. Got a 2.5, and I wasn't sure if that was good or bad, but he said it was good and encouraged me to try again and see how much lower I could get my score (higher = more noisy, so a low score was better). I did it several times, mostly getting lower scores, and he was very encouraging and friendly. My final score was 0.1 out of a possible 100. Felt pretty pleased with myself. He told me he knew I could do better than my first score and that confidence was key, haha. I'd been feeling kind of lonely before then because I wanted to hang out more with people, but I felt better after that interaction.

When I was walking back to school, I saw some bright distorted reflections on the side of the school building, and they were quite beautiful. Rippling ovals with luminous outlines scattered across the wall. I wish I could have taken a picture.

In my second class, we did dyads, which are just activities where one person is the therapist/listener and the other is the client/talker and you're in each role for 15-20 minutes, and you get feedback about how you did as the therapist/listener. The girl I partnered up with was someone I hadn't really talked to before, but I liked her and I felt like there was some camaraderie over a shared feeling about our program. It was nice to feel like someone got what I was saying. She laughed in that way that people laugh when you're speaking bluntly about something they relate to but have felt shy about admitting. The laughter of relief, and amusement, and the tiniest amount of guilt about how good it feels to finally be open. It was laughter I could connect with.

I've been feeling like it's hard to really connect with people in my program because there's so much seriousness and not enough playfulness. In my T-group, I've made a few jokes now that just did not land, and it was really awkward to say something that got taken literally. Feeling happy and playful and wanting to laugh are parts of my authentic experience, but I feel restricted in sharing that in the group because of the somber atmosphere. The seriousness makes me want to be extra silly during the break between classes. Yesterday I was wondering when the last time I'd skipped was, and I had no idea, so I skipped down the hall, and it was pretty fun. It's fun AND it's faster than walking, and if I weren't weighed down by a backpack and my lunch bag, I might skip around San Francisco more, haha.

---

I'm still greatly enjoying my new speakers. When certain songs come on and I'm hit with the richness of their sound, I can't help but break out in smiles. I love feeling the bass pulsing through my body.

---

Even though I've generally been feeling pretty good lately, I've also been missing some people and wishing I could talk to them. Mostly people I was close to once, but am not in contact with for one reason or another. One of them is someone I haven't talked to for years, and things did not end on good terms between us, but I still miss talking to him and I think about what he'd say about various things sometimes. I didn't want to miss him for a long time, but as I've been feeling more settled in myself, I've become more accepting of "what is" rather than "what should be." Missing him doesn't have to mean I necessarily want him back. I'm just being honest with myself about how I feel and letting myself sit with that feeling. It doesn't feel like I'm dwelling on it or like I'm "not over it" necessarily. I think part of my avoidance before was related to not wanting to feel shamed over having any feelings whatsoever around him, but when it comes down to it, maybe that's just how I operate. I carry everyone I've ever loved with me in some way, because people are significant to me. I'm learning to be at peace with that. It doesn't actively cause me distress generally, so I don't think it's unhealthy. I think it is genuinely okay.

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Radiance
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Today was a really good day. I went up to the city to meet with one of my professors, and we spent a couple hours talking about what happened in class with my controversial classmate on Wednesday, and about the broader social implications of it. She said that she thought it was impossible to bridge the gap and get through to people sometimes, and I said I didn't think it was. My reaction surprised her, but she said that it was heartening and that I'd given her hope. She also said I seemed very balanced and healthy and asked if I had any idea why I am the way I am now. I couldn't really give her a clear answer on that one, as I've been pondering it for awhile myself. Obviously I have my bad days, but overall, I've definitely been trending up for awhile in terms of my mental health and general centeredness as a person. My last year of school was hard on me, but I'm doing much better now.

After leaving the meeting, I felt radiant.

My prof said I seem to be on the right track with my aims, and that she had the urge to be a cheerleader to me, but she didn't want to pressure me to follow her ideas. I told her that I am doing what I want, and it's not about what other people think I should do. I make my own goals, based on my own values. Other people are useful sources of information, and on rare occasions, inspiration, but I'm not trying to win the approval of any particular person.

The conversation was heartening for me too, although I haven't been feeling like I'm stuck or headed in an unclear direction recently. It just felt nice to have the self-work I've done acknowledged.

I picked up some stuff I needed from The Body Shop (tea tree face wash-- I think it's been helping keep my skin clear since I started using it religiously again) and took the train back home. My dad picked me up and asked if I'd ordered something, because a very large package had arrived for me... I couldn't think of anything I'd ordered, so I was confused. When I got home, there was a big box addressed to me, and I opened it and found out that Kyle had sent me some speakers for my computer!

Here's one of them:

So, for a long time I had a super ghetto speaker setup. For a number of years I just had some old iPod speaker dock plugged into my headphone jack, but that kinda stopped working, so I was just using this other dinky little speaker that my mom gave me for free. It's like... some portable bluetooth speaker that also has an aux port. As much as I love music, I just haven't cared to invest in good audio equipment, I guess. Didn't seem super important to me to have high quality sound, haha. Kyle got tired of me having such a terrible setup though, so he sent me this super nice gift. BESTTTT FRAAAAAANDDDD. <3

WOW though, what a difference it makes! I've never had nice speakers before, so it's been like listening to all my music for the first time... I'm really enjoying it. :) Love feeling all the rumbles from the bass, and experiencing a new depth in the songs. I kind of want to just stay in my room and listen to music for days, but alas, I have class tomorrow...

So yeah, a bunch of good things today! Someone I used to be friends with also messaged me on OKC and told me to text him so we could catch up, and that was cool. I shot him a text, but he hasn't responded yet, so I'll see if we end up hanging out or anything I guess. All his profile pictures on OKC look like he was doing some kind of bodybuilding modeling, haha. I'll have to ask what that was about...

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YMPTYB
Saturday, February 10, 2018
"Hammock" by Millionyoung.

Oh there once was an island, lost in the sea
Once were two lovers, just my love and me
While we laid in our hammock, the sun in our eyes
I told her I loved her, and that we'd survive


This song is lush and delirious with a touch of darkness, like spinning around in a humid jungle, all the colors of everything blurring together in your vision. Looking for someone you can't find.

I socialized with people today, but it left me feeling exhausted, just totally emotionally drained. Sadness is seeping in a little because of the tiredness. I think I'll probably feel more energized in the morning though.

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Fresh start...
Friday, February 9, 2018
I had a really fun date tonight! It's weird to knowingly declare that I went on a date, but well, that's what it was, I suppose. Feels alien, this concept of going on dates, but apparently that's a thing I do now.

We met up around 6 PM and got dinner at an Indian restaurant, and both of us got dosas that were suuuuuper spicy. Like, so-hot-it-makes-you-cry spicy. My eyes were watering that entire meal, and I kept having to wipe them so I could see. It was enjoyable though, and we were both laughing a lot about it. I think it was a great way to get comfortable with each other! We talked for awhile at the restaurant about a lot of things, and he disclosed some stuff about himself and his history that he thought I should know. I really appreciated his honesty. I don't think anything was necessarily a dealbreaker, but we'll see how things look as we get to know each other better.

After dinner, he drove us to mini golf. Both of us were bad, but I was clearly worse, haha. We just stopped trying to keep score eventually, because it took so many tries to get the ball into the hole that we lost count. I joked that my ball wouldn't stop coming back to me because it loved me. He thought that was a sweet way to look at it. It felt very easy to talk to him, and the conversation flowed well. I'm sure it helped that we had an activity to take up some of our attention, though.

He asked if I'd be down to go to a park afterwards, and I said yeah. It was a bit cold outside at that point, so he gave me his jacket to wear. We walked to a nearby grocery store first and got a couple things to drink and a pack of gum. I told him I liked folding things out of gum wrappers, and he gave me his to fold, so I folded into a heart (the only thing I really ever make). He put it in the front pocket of his shirt. I'm guessing he won't remember it's there, haha. After looking up nearby parks on his phone, we decided to walk to one that was about 20 minutes away. He seemed happy that I said I'd rather walk there than drive.

The park was pretty well-lit, though the lights themselves were that soft sodium yellow that lets the night retain some mystery. I saw a big fake rock on the playground and went straight for it, climbing up to sit on top, and he followed me. We sat there for a good chunk of time just chatting about stuff-- past experiences, the value of suffering, growth, philosophy-- and I felt like we'd thought about a number of things in similar ways, but had reached different conclusions. It was very interesting. At some point he said he'd like to sit against a tree to have some back support, so we got down off the rock and went to a tree. He asked if I was okay sitting on the ground, and I said no, because you can't see what's on the ground and there could be bugs. I was semi-kidding, but I was like "what if I get bugs in my pants? I don't want bugs in my pants!" and he laughed and asked why not. Funnily enough, after we'd been sitting there for a bit, he was like "...I think we're on an ant hill or something, because I'm pretty sure that there are ants on me right now. It feels like they're in my pants." I felt so vindicated. We ended up moving to a different tree, and he put his arm around me and pulled me closer to him. :3

I don't think I've ever cuddled on a first date before. I felt really comfortable with him though, so I didn't mind. It was nice. The cuddling was also somewhat motivated by the cold on his part, haha. I had his jacket on, so I wasn't too cold, but he was, and he was holding onto me because I was warm. XD I ended up sitting on his lap because my feet were falling asleep from the position I was in (kind of crouching but leaning against the tree), and I mentioned that and he pulled me onto his lap so that I could actually sit down. I'm surprised by how relaxed I was about it. It didn't feel weird or anything, even though I haven't known him that long.

Even though I enjoyed the cuddling, eventually I wanted to get up and go back to the playground, and we ended up sitting on the swings briefly. He said he had to go to the bathroom though, so he got up and tried the door of the park restroom, which was, predictably given the time of night, closed. I was like "I TOLD YOU IT WOULD BE LOCKED" and he said he'd have to go find a tree to go behind, and asked if I would be weirded out by that. I said I wouldn't be, so he went off somewhere to do it, and I climbed around on the playground equipment. I love being on playgrounds, and I wish it didn't feel taboo to do it as an adult.

I was jumping on the bridge when he got back. It was made of some kind of flexible suspended material, so I invited him to jump on it with me, and we bounced each other up a few times by jumping on it. He said it felt silly but he was clearly enjoying it from the way he was smiling. I ran around on the equipment some more, then asked what time it was, and he pulled out his phone and said it was around 1 AM. That was pretty surprising to me, as I thought it'd be closer to 10 PM. It felt like the evening had gone by so quickly. We hung around the park a little longer, then walked back to the mini golf course and took his car back to the restaurant, where my car was. Chatted a bit in the car, and I told him about how energy drinks can affect me. Illustrated my point by mimicking some of my hyper behaviors in the past, which he thought was cute. Around 2 AM though, it was time to part ways, because neither of us wanted to be too tired to drive home safely. We briefly discussed when we might be able to hang out next, but didn't make concrete plans.

Hanging out with him was really nice and I feel excited about doing it again. The stuff we talked about made me feel connected to him, and I'm very keen on exploring that connection.

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Embracing risk
Thursday, February 8, 2018
There is a person in my cohort who is a figure of some controversy, for various reasons. He doesn't speak the language of therapy school and has, somewhat inadvertently I think, rubbed a number of people the wrong way. As a result, some people feel less than friendly towards him, and I suspect he's having trouble making connections with our other classmates. I've talked to him a couple times now and he seems pretty sad about his life at the moment, and disappointed in how school is going. He had different expectations for what things would be like, and I think he feels pulled to continue his button-pushing behavior despite not wanting to be outcast.

Today in my T-group, this person became a topic of discussion. He's not in my group, but there are some people in my group who feel uncomfortable with his presence, and so they started talking about him in the circle. Yesterday he spoke in the big class (20+ people) most of our cohort is in, and he said some things which came off the wrong way to a few different people. Some of my classmates felt triggered by the event. As they spoke about their experience of him yesterday, I felt tension building in my chest at first, until it seemed to float up into my head as a massive buzzing.

The people who voiced their opinions all seemed to be more or less on the same page about him-- that is to say, they felt put off by him, and didn't want to hear him or be around him. I was afraid that sharing my take of what happened yesterday would put me at risk of being ostracized, but it felt like the right thing to do, so I told them that I had experienced his presence in our other class very differently than what had been shared. I thought he worded what he was trying to convey poorly, but I agreed with the sentiments behind it. What I didn't share was that I thought people's emotional reactions to their stereotyped image of him were blocking them from actually trying to understand what he was saying. That would have been too far, I think.

My group mates' response to me was not quite as negative as I'd feared it would be, but I don't think I inspired compassion in them either. Some of them commented on feeling like they should be able to find empathy for him, but not wanting to or not feeling capable of it.

As a child, I felt drawn to the people who were outcast by everyone else. I wanted to be friends with them, and I tried at first, but withdrew before too long because of a fear of becoming outcast by association. I've thought about this countless times since. It feels unquestionably wrong to me to abandon people, or not speak up for them, when everybody else is against them. I regret that I didn't have the strength or confidence to stay that course when I was younger. I don't want to make those mistakes again if I can help it.

I feel secure enough in myself and my friendships to not go along with what I perceive as the majority opinion now when it seems wrong to me. I don't want to succumb to das Man. I want to be authentic, and part of that means public exposure, however uncomfortable it might be. One of the biggest challenges I've informally set for myself in this program is being open about my dissenting opinions. I'm not interested in playing devil's advocate just for the sake of playing devil's advocate, but I don't want to lie if I disagree or feel differently than the other people expressing themselves. It's scary, because I don't like having a lot of attention on me, but it feels important.

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