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
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.
On a personal level
Friday, January 20, 2017
Well, today was a terrible day for America, but I personally had a nice day.
I had a career advising appointment, so I went and talked to someone about my resume and cover letter writing strategies. Gonna need this stuff when I apply for internships.
After that, I walked around a bit and got a few groceries, then came back to my room and chatted with a friend while watching a couple episodes of A Series of Unfortunate Events. It's not a great show, and some parts of it have been pretty frustrating, but I keep wanting to see what happens next.
Went and got dinner... mailed out a couple of things to friends... felt pretty energized and went to the gym! I didn't do a whole lot, just ran a mile and did some strength exercises, but it was something, at least. I can definitely feel that I'm not as in shape as I was at this time last year. :(
Lately I've been feeling the urge to talk about how much my friends mean to me and show my appreciation for them. It feels good to do it, and I want them to know that I care about them and that they mean something to me. Have mailed a few things to different people. Just little things, mostly cards. I'm really enjoying it, though!
Around 8-ish, I Skyped with Fro, Becka, and Alex, and Vicky messaged us a few times in the chat. We were on the call for almost two hours, and it was so much fun. It's been awhile since I laughed that hard. Gosh, but I love these people.
Tomorrow, I have therapy in the morning, and I'm meeting up with someone downtown in the afternoon! Curious to see how that turns out.
AND I JUST AGREED TO MEET UP WITH SOMEONE ELSE?? I DON'T EVEN KNOW THIS DUDE AT ALL BUT I AM IN SUCH A GOOD MOOD THAT I DISREGARDED IT AND SAID SURE WHEN HE ASKED. Whoops I hope this wasn't a terrible mistake! If I never come back I might have gotten murdered just FYI.
Potentially risky decision aside, I feel really happy right now! ^__^
Pictures and more on friends
Monday, January 16, 2017
I went for a walk again today. This poem stanza was stuck in my head for part of it.
I felt like it resonated with me.
Here are some pictures from my walks the past few days.
Ice on a fountain.
A seagull on an alley wall.
I don't know what this is, but it's a tiny little thing on the sidewalk that I have passed a number of times on my route from downtown back to my room, and I always imagine that it is a landmine that will blow up my legs if I step on it.
How I feel about the weather here.
I'm hopefully going to be having dinner with my friend after class on Wednesday. He said he was worried that my walking was a sign of something not being okay. I told him that the walking helped make me feel better, though (which is true). I guess that walking alone makes him feel.... well, lonely, or down, maybe, but I don't think it has that effect on me. Walking alone is nice. Being able to do it is a reminder that I'm not as shy as I used to be, and I can be out in public by myself without feeling extremely self-conscious and fearful. At the same time, I sometimes... sort of forget that people can see me, so that probably helps. It's not that I literally think I'm invisible... I'm just so used to going unnoticed that it feels about the same. Especially in cities, it feels easy to be invisible. Maybe that's why I like crowds. Nobody notices the individual in a crowd.
And... my good thing for the day... I'm planning to meet up with what I hope will be a new friend in the near future. We haven't confirmed anything yet.
In all honesty, it is pretty lonely living here, and I miss my friends like crazy. Trying to make new friends is hard when I just want to be near my old friends again. I had the friendships I wanted, and I didn't feel like I needed more than that. I don't just want people in my life, I want those people. During our Skype call on Friday, I related these feelings to Becka, and I felt like she really understood what I meant. She doesn't feel that motivated to make new friends where she is, either, because she misses us. While I'm sad for both of us, it also is a huge relief to not be alone in that feeling. I'm so tired of people talking as if friends are just like... parts in a car's engine or something. Parts that you need to keep things running smoothly, but which are ultimately replaceable. Nobody close to me is replaceable. Maybe I can find new people who will connect to me on some level and with whom I have a good dynamic, but they can't take the place of Kyle, or Fro, or Becka. The loss of a friendship feels exactly like that-- a loss. These people mean so much to me, and I feel offended when my feelings about that are dismissed or trivialized. A lot of people do just have shallow friendships and are not that invested in their friends' lives, but that's not what I want, and that's not how I feel about my friendships. I want to be friends for the rest of our lives.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
I was reading this Brain Pickings article about the intensely loving friendship between Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman.
There have been a number of times when I've wondered if I really need or want a romantic relationship, or if I just want a level of closeness and intimacy that is most readily found in the context of romantic relationships, but is not exclusive to them. I feel like healthy platonic love is easier to achieve (assuming you can find a person who reciprocates) because the expectations are different. The things I want from a friend are much less restrictive than what I want from a romantic partner. Being friends is more about who a person is as a person, and our connection on that level. A romantic relationship has more practical necessities for me. Suddenly, the resources the other person brings to the relationship are of dire importance. Education matters. Career matters. Physical appearance matters. Any opinions that affect the course of a shared future matter. I can be friends with someone who doesn't want kids. I don't think I could date someone like that. I could, in theory (although it's not particularly likely) be friends with someone who had dropped out of high school and was working as a janitor at McDonald's. That would be unacceptable in a dating partner.
I feel that I am being reasonable with these expectations. I'm not obligated to open up my dating preferences to include anybody, regardless of the level of friendship we may have. I think that a flaw in my dating decisions has been to accommodate for things that I am not really okay with, because of this idea that personality should take priority over all else. That's an ideal I don't want to strive for anymore. It conflicts with the other things in life that are important to me. Trying to force myself to disregard other factors for the sake of putting personality first has only caused me to suffer. I have been fighting for the other by fighting myself, and it's not worth it. It's never worth it.
This isn't to say that I don't think compromise and even concession don't have a place in relationships, but there is a limit to what you can compromise, and I need to try harder to enforce my boundaries in that regard.
The past couple days I have been walking around a lot, to take advantage of the weather. It's nice to explore the city. I finally checked out the library downtown, and it's quite a pretty space, although it was also full of what looked like homeless people, judging by the amount of luggage/trash bags they had with them and the smell. I also saw a guy unwrap a block of cheese and just start eating chunks of it.
Yesterday I had my first appointment with a therapist that one of my profs recommended to me. The therapist's office is in this big beautiful historic building downtown, although her actual office is quite small. I'm going to start seeing her weekly. Hopefully it helps with things.
I'm never sure how much of my stuff is resolved and how much I still need to actually work on. Then again, that sort of thing is never static. Things get better and things get worse. Most issues are not items on a checklist that you can be done with and never have to revisit. At best, I think you can get to a level where things are generally manageable, but that's on average. Nobody is ever "cured", which is an uncomfortable thing to hear, but it's true. I've met too many people who insisted they were completely over their problems, but invariably that turned out not to be true. What matters more than being "done" with things is having an open/receptive mindset about your potential problem areas and understanding that you don't know everything and never will, although nobody else does either. We all just have pieces of the world, and I think the most we can do is share those pieces with each other to try to form a more complete (though never fully complete) picture.
I guess my program has been influencing me, though I'm also not sure how different these ideas are from how I already felt. That whole idea that we are always moving towards being more than we are but will never be complete resonates with me, though. It's kind of like how people say it's about the journey, not the destination, except that there isn't ever a destination, only a general direction.
"Knights" by Crystal Castles.
Painted self and interpretation [2P]
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Saturday, January 7, 2017
"Balance" by The Mountain Goats.
Wet your finger, place it toward the wind
Feel disaster in the air
We are far too slow to outrun it now
But not too far gone to care
I got lunch with a new friend today, and had a good time. Hopefully we can hang out again soon. It was nice to do some socializing.
This tiredness thing is not getting better. I'm taking my supplements, sleeping enough (I think? I wake up before my alarm and can't go back to sleep and don't feel tired immediately after waking up), eating, drinking water... I've been walking, though not doing vigorous exercise much. Walked five miles the other day to get to a counseling center downtown and back. Felt sleepy anyway. It makes it hard to do anything. Too sleepy to focus...
Some excerpts from my reading
Thursday, January 5, 2017
From "The Contributions of Dialogical Psychology to Phenomenological Research".
"Brainwash" by Suuns.
Do you know what you're doing?
Do you see?
Oh, see it (?)
What you see is not the same as what I'm seeing
Even in the dark, even in your dream
Crack your soul
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
I had Hermeneutics for the first time today. The prof is very clear and passionate about the subject, and I have a good feeling about the class. He covered a lot in the first session, but wasn't all scatterbrained about it, so it was easy to follow.
Some of the things he mentioned overlapped with past material, but he actually knew how to phrase them in sensible ways. Plain English! I've sorely missed it.
A few of the basic ideas he mentioned in class were that we are never static beings, and we are always moving towards or directed towards the future/our potential in some way. We are never fully who we are, never nouns, so to speak. Because there's no fixed state to our being, we can never completely know ourselves.
In addition, he talked about how Dasein (the decentered self that's engaged in living) discloses itself, which is to say, how it manifests and becomes visible to itself and others. One of the most important themes in E-P psych is that being (or Being, since they just love capitalizing that word...) is not the Cartesian concept of self, the mind housed in a physical shell (essentially isolated consciousness). Context is very important in this philosophical tradition. Being is in relation to others and the world; you are not who you are outside of the context in which you exist. Your existence as yourself depends on how you relate to your world. That seems pretty obvious when I say it, but the point is that it's different from Descartes's idea that mind and body are these separate entities, and the "real" self is just this internal thing that isn't in direct contact with the outside world.
Moving along in that vein, we can't rely on self-reflection to illuminate existence. The prof kept describing that as "Narcissus looking in a mirror." Without drawing on other people/perspectives, we end up distorting existence by filtering it through our biases.
Something that they like to say a lot in my program is "let the things show themselves"-- which is to say, don't orchestrate their showing, but move aside (as best you can) your own biases and preconceptions about things so that the true nature of the things can be seen. I suppose that a very simplistic/reductive way to say it would be "stay open minded and be aware of the automatic judgements you make so that you don't let them overshadow the thing."
Hopefully I've got that right. I think the idea is that you can't really help but judge, because we all have certain ways that we see the world, but what matters is not whether or not you judge, but how seriously you take those judgements. My program emphasizes having a very loose grip on them.
One of the things that I've been a little confused about implementing is maintaining vulnerability while also heeding intuition. As therapists, we are not supposed to let ourselves fall into this mindset of "I am the one who knows"; we don't want to assume the position of authority or mastery, because that only engenders rigidity of thought and habit. We have some tools the clients don't, sure, but the idea is that we are there to help the clients see for themselves what's going on. This doesn't happen because we tell them what we think so much as because we act as a source of... hmm... feedback, maybe?
I'm afraid I could be phrasing all these things in misleading or inaccurate ways, so to some extent I'm hesitant to write too much about it. Another thing that the prof talked about in class today was how explaining and understanding are not the same thing. He used the example of poetry. You don't read poetry to explain things the way a textbook would, you read poetry to understand things. In this case, I feel like I understand it but am at a bit of a loss as to how to explain it sometimes.
But it's also like 1:30 AM and I'm not sure how lucid I am at the moment.
One last thing I want to add: Prof said that the biggest barrier to not understanding others is not understanding ourselves, because we have so many things that get in the way of our understanding others (e.g. biases, preconceived notions, structures of thought), and ignorance of these obstacles within ourselves blinds us to the other.
Okay I think that one came out alright, at least. Phew.
I've been listening to some songs by this band tonight. I like this one a lot, it's... hypnotic.
"Up Past The Nursery" by Suuns.
You can't get quick
You can't commit
You can't control her
But I remember bodies on a Sunday getting colder
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