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
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
Monday, April 16, 2018
I reinitiated contact with someone I used to talk to on OKC. I think it might be the second or perhaps even third time I've done this. He said he had developed a fear of talking to me because he didn't want to talk if he had nothing to show for his absence. He was working on some music last we spoke, and he wanted to be able to share something he was proud of with me. I told him that it was okay and I wouldn't think less of him for being "empty-handed" in his words. It's nice enough just to talk.
It had been roughly six months since our last conversation, and I guess I could have given up on it, but I decided to reach out because I do like talking to him and I also think he could use a friend. He seems very depressed and isolated, and having been in that position before... I just really wanted to have someone who wouldn't give up on me. So maybe it's partially a selfish thing; some kind of vicarious wish fulfillment. But I think it means a lot to him that I restarted our contact after all this time, and I think he could use a bit of a reminder that not everyone will always abandon him if he opens up. He expressed before that he appreciated that I was making the effort to talk to him. I'm glad it means something to him.
I'm still motivated by the desire to fill a lack in the world, I suppose. If not me, then who? It seems hard to find patience, kindness, compassion, and an attitude that isn't oriented primarily around oneself. I understand the "me first" orientation, but I'm also so tired of it. I probably complain about that enough, though.
I am lucky to have had the life I've had, and to be able to focus on things outside myself. I feel purposeful in this regard. I'm also grateful that I've been able to react to my disappointments in life by taking action to improve things, even if it's in a small way, for other people. It would have been easy to just be swallowed up by bitterness and cynicism and write off other people as worthless individuals undeserving of respect and empathy, but I chose not to let that happen. I don't know why I came out this way when plenty of people just become jaded, but I'm glad things worked out like this.
Art and the nightmare of caterpillars
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Well I had a second date with that guy from the last post. We spent all day downtown, going through art museums and talking about the art. It was fairly enjoyable. It was the last day of Joseph Loughborough's exhibition, Notches, at Anno Domini, and I'm so glad that we caught it, because I absolutely loved his art. That might have been the highlight of the day for me. I wish I had the money to buy some of these, but they're hundreds to thousands of dollars each and there aren't cheaper prints available. T_T
It's hard to even describe how much I am in love with these paintings. Not just the two I've shared here, but others... There's so much depth and aliveness to them for me. Date and I had a long conversation about it, which was nice. The paintings are beautiful from an aesthetic perspective, but I also get very strong feelings from looking at them-- this sense of disorientation and pain and intensity and wild, vivid life. I was so sad that there were no more free promotional posters available for the exhibition, but I contacted the gallery asking if I could have the one they have displayed in the window... Hopefully they let me have it!
The other notable part of the day was that we sat in a park and talked for awhile. There were a few caterpillars crawling around, and one appeared on my leg. I was surprised and tried to brush the little guy off, which took some effort. After I had gotten it off though, we resumed talking, and then my date pointed out another caterpillar, much larger, on my bag. That one was intimidatingly large compared to the first one, so I was kind of afraid to touch it. They were the same type of caterpillar, just... the size made it kind of scary. Got that one off too, and then we started realizing that the bench was crawling with caterpillars... we both started frantically checking ourselves to see if there were more on us, then moved away from that bench. I saw a caterpillar hanging from a tree, probably spinning itself a cocoon, and walked over to look at it, and my date put a hand on me and told me I didn't want to walk any further. I asked why, and then noticed that there were a bunch of caterpillars hanging from the tree and I had almost walked into one. Then I looked at the tree and saw that the bark was moving... oh wait, nope, just hundreds of caterpillars. They were swarming the grass, too, and falling from the tree like rain. It just kept escalating, and we both fled the area to look for a caterpillar-free zone, but almost all the benches we found were covered with them.
This was the first caterpillar we saw... we were just walking on the other side of the street some time before going to the park, and I noticed it on the ground. I had never seen one like it before, so was delighted by what I thought was something of a rarity at the time.
Anyway... we spent around 7.5 hours hanging out today, and I'm still not sure how I'm feeling about things, but I think we'll probably hang out again.
It's been a day
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Well, that date was alright. Nothing crazy happened. He thought I was the most adventurous person he'd been out with because I climbed a fence so I could walk along a creek, haha. I didn't think I was doing anything too zany. He was very agreeable. After I got home I described the date to someone else, and they said the guy sounded like a golden retriever. That seems kind of accurate, I guess. He said he had a lot of fun, so assuming he was telling the truth, we'll probably go out again.
The agreeableness is a thing I'm reserving judgement about for now. If he's just like that all the time and never disagrees with me, I think it'll be a problem, but if he was just nervous because it was a first date, I think it'll be fine. I want to see how things go on the second date before I make up my mind about anything.
I haven't been doing very well making progress on this paper I had to get an extension on, but a recent friend has been helping by reminding me a lot and talking to me about the prompt. Even though I'm kind of resistant and don't feel like writing, it is constructive and I appreciate his efforts.
"Crow's Feet" by Gibberish.
This past week and a bit
Saturday, April 7, 2018
I was trying to finish a paper for a class but did not end up finishing it and had to ask for an extension. Part of this was because I got food poisoning (I think?) on Tuesday and have been recovering from that for the past few days. My appetite hasn't come back entirely yet. I realized that I ate one actual meal today, and two mini bundt cakes at a baby shower for my friend's friend, and two bananas, and... some chocolate. And that's it. It felt like a ton of food, but in retrospect it wasn't?
Might be going on a date tomorrow, but we haven't really confirmed plans and it's been a once-a-day type correspondence, so I'm unsure at this point what's going to happen... Wondering if I should just offer my number so we can actually coordinate. :S
Well, anyway, here's a song.
"Halcyon Age" by Vansire.
But no one's really there
Does that mean it's done in vain?
If no one really cares
I'm back to acting strange
Like Daniel Johnston in Texas
At some point in the eighties
Passing out his cassettes with
The j-card that he drew, oh did he ever expect it
I guess it's just what happens when the music's a respite
The world is so appalling and you come to detest it
The crying therapist
Thursday, March 29, 2018
In my Thursday class we do dyads. These are practice exercises where we partner with a classmate and act as client or therapist for fifteen to twenty minutes, then switch roles. After each session, we reflect on the therapist's performance for five minutes. These dyads give us a chance to try out skills we are learning in class and to improve our listening/therapeutic skills by getting feedback and discussing our process.
In my dyad today, my 'client' told me about an experience she's currently going through (really currently-- she had an incident involving it right before class started) that she has a lot of feelings about. She got to a point in her story where her face just fell and she looked so small and crumpled up, and I felt tears coming to my eyes from the immense sadness and aloneness I sensed in her narrative. Feeling my eyes water made me nervous, and I tried to prevent myself from crying, but I couldn't stop the tears. I focused on what she was saying but kept having to wipe tears off my cheeks while she talked.
In our five minutes of reflection on my role as the therapist afterwards, I told her that I had felt self-conscious and somewhat embarrassed about crying, but that her story had made me so sad I couldn't help myself. She said that I had given her an odd look at first when I moved my hand to wipe my eyes, and she had worried that I was judging her in some way, so she was relieved to know that it was just me feeling self-conscious about my emotional reaction to her. She also told me that she liked the expression, because it felt like a genuine display of empathy to her.
I have always hated how easily I seem to cry sometimes. It's not entirely consistent, but it can get really annoying. For some reason I just have strong emotional reactions to certain stimuli, or to seeing other people cry. At times, that made it a little difficult to work in a nursery full of babies. For the most part I wasn't too affected by their crying, but sometimes holding a baby who was crying just after being dropped off would start my eyes watering, and I had to do my best to contain it. I too easy imagine the fear and loss and powerlessness of the baby, who is unable to articulate any of these feelings in a way other than crying. They don't have a well-developed organizational structure for the world yet. They don't have a defined sense of separation between the self and the world. They don't have the capacity to understand that the mother will return soon, or that she even exists when she is away. How terrifying must that be, to a baby who can't understand why its mother is, as far as the baby knows, abandoning it?
Anyway. it's not always something as traumatic as the baby-mother separation that sets me off. Sometimes it's just... random loud music in a movie, or a particular arrangement of words, or a look, or something I'm passing by but which hits me in an unexpected way. I don't think anything is wrong with crying in itself, but it impedes communication and I don't like to cry in front of people, especially not if I'm trying to talk.
I think I would feel awkward if I had a therapist who cried in front of me. I've tended to prefer male therapists, in some part due to a (possibly sexist?) belief that they'd be less likely to be too emotionally expressive. I guess I just don't like seeing strong emotional reactions in general in an environment where I'm supposed to feel safe. I prefer a neutral presence to contain the energy in the room. Similarly, I don't like the idea of myself being a therapist who cries in front of clients. I'm not saying that I want to be emotionally expressionless, but crying feels like is more of a reaction than I want to have in a professional therapeutic environment if I'm trying to hold space for the person I'm supporting.
On the other hand, crying is not discouraged--maybe it's even encouraged--in the general therapeutic orientation I find myself in at school.
From my first experiences with counseling, when I cried for something like eight out of the ten sessions I had with my counselor at St. John's, I always thought that they taught you how not to cry in therapy school. My tears back then weren't contagious to my counselor, and I figured he must have a secret way to prevent himself from crying. When I actually got to therapy school myself, I realized that there were no secret techniques for keeping yourself from crying. I am constantly horrified to remember this.
I find myself conflicted over this issue of crying as a therapist. Crying in front of clients can have different outcomes. Not everybody would see it as a bad thing. In fact, it can be a constructive force in some situations. A client who tells their story flatly, without any visible affect, might be emotionally disconnected from the story, and the therapist's tears could signal to them that hey, this is actually a story with a lot of feeling to it. Crying, even if the client isn't, can show them that the therapist is being genuinely touched by what's being talked about, and that the therapist cares. It might help to dislodge the fear some clients have that their therapist is just someone who's "being paid to care." The therapist's crying, if handled well (without shame, without redirecting attention to the therapist) can also serve as a model for acceptable behavior. It's okay to cry, it's a natural human reaction to emotional situations. You don't have to make excuses for yourself or feel embarrassed or try to hide it. Part of the job of the therapist is to show the client alternative behaviors and reactions that are healthy.
In any case, it's a subject I'm thinking a lot about right now. The pros and cons of it all... I have to find my own style as a therapist, and I'm still feeling out what's right for me.
A little more on the same theme
Monday, March 26, 2018
"Ten-Twenty-Ten" by Generationals.
When I need it so bad, why do you not come to defend?
Is that any way to tell me that you're gonna be a terrible friend?
You remind me of a distant constellation
The way you cover it up, but don't let me touch
So now you wanna know, is that important?
Baby now well it just depends, it just depends
And when you come back uptown remember not to look for me there
I gave you one more chance to make it better but you don't seem to care
You pretend to be accosted by tradition
And now you cover it up, tell me you don't
Well now you wanna know, is nothing sacred?
And I don't wanna have to compare, they don't compare
When I see your friends they say it's in my head
All my friends seem to think you might leave me for dead
I don't remember if it's cost or complication
That keeps leaving it out, cover it up
And if you wanna know, I won't confront you
With all the stupid things that you said
I hung out with Alice last night. We got dinner and caught up a little. I mentioned that she told me once that she didn't think I had a strong personality, and she didn't remember. She seemed to think she had insulted me by saying it, though I didn't receive it that way at the time. I told her that someone else had told me I had a strong personality for the first time, and she said that she thought I'd always been opinionated, and that I just hold back on expressing those opinions. I guess I'd agree with that assessment. I have often preferred not to share my thoughts until I know what other people think first. Lately I've been volunteering more though. I'm not sure if it's a strategy I find advantageous.
First session with the new counselor today. Every time I try to plan what I'll say in a session, I end up deviating from my plan, so I haven't tried too hard to think of what I'll say. Whatever comes up comes up.
Odd comments [2P]
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Necessity, desire, and the bare minimum
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
I think I've probably written about this before. It seems to come up every once in awhile. I get tired of people telling me that I "don't need to" or that it's "not your job to do that," as if obligation is the only reason to do anything.
This tends to come up specifically in the context of being kind or forgiving towards people who have wronged me. I've decided to talk to that guy about what happened so he at least knows that he did something wrong. Some of my friends think that's a bad idea and I shouldn't even try. Stuff like "he doesn't deserve that" and "you don't have to be nice to him" has come up. The only support I've gotten about this is from someone who thinks it could be "cathartic" for me to chew this guy out for what he did. That's not why I want to do it, though. I think it's possible that nobody else will call him out for this kind of behavior, and I want to give him at least a chance to change by providing him with feedback. If he doesn't, then whatever, that's not really on me. I don't think it's my mission to fix this guy, but I want him to have the opportunity to work on himself, whether or not he "deserves" that kindness.
My kindness and forgiveness are not finite resources... I don't feel like I lose something by being this way, by acting this way. I feel like I am adhering to my values rather than caving to the social pressure to be more selfish and stingy with my goodwill.
I get not wanting to put in more than the minimum effort in some ways... that's pretty much how I got through most of school. This isn't an area of my life where I feel like doing the bare minimum that's required of me, though. So, yeah. I am willing to try to communicate with the people who have done hurtful or unpleasant things to me, as a way to point them towards improvement, not because I have to, but because I want to.
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