darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I've been thinking about outrage. Outrage is fun! It must be. Otherwise, why do I engage in it? (I just noticed that I even have a tag for it.)

If you feel strong, check out the search term "political outrage" in Google image search, and note your physical reaction. For me, it's a concentrated dose of what the rest of this post is about.

Outrage vs. paying attention )
darkemeralds: Purple patent leather Doc Martens against a multi-colored carpet with the title True Colors (True Colors)
This is the best scene ever written for television. Was anyone else as bowled over by it as I was?

Elementary 2.09 )

There have been quite a few well-meaning Joan Watsons in my own life over the years who accepted me as I was while rooting for me to become nicer. Some of them had letters after their names and billed my insurance by the hour. And I was fully on board the "cure me of being me" train for years.

What else could I do? I'm not a brilliant detective or an attractive and financially independent white male--things that allow all versions of Sherlock Holmes to withstand the consequences of being fundamentally--what's the word? Attachment-disordered? Spock-like? A wee bit sociopathic? Introverted? Poorly-socially-networked? A natural loner? An edge-dweller?

It's a strange minority position to be in. The scene emphasizes the strong belief among more connected humans that we edge-dwellers could join the majority if we just tried a little harder.

So we try, most of us, most of the time. Often our livelihood depends on it. If I'd been born a couple of generations earlier, the need to conform to a "marriageable" standard of nice-girl behavior would have been nearly a matter of life and death.

None of this is to disregard the advantages I do have in life--I have them, I make use of them, and I'm grateful for them. (As it happens, I think my combination of coldness and competence has just plain scared employers into keeping me on and paying me a salary all these years. And now I get to retire.)

Nor am I advocating for antisocial behavior. I'm not completely separate from the continent, and yes, the bell tolls for me, too. I abide by common please-and-thank-you standards, and what I care about, I care about deeply. I experience enjoyment and pleasure in non-evil things like laughter and food. I'm capable of love, albeit to a limited extent: I let things and people go much more easily than others do. I've tried not to, but I just don't care as much as I "should."

Jason Tracey, who wrote this episode of Elementary, has perfectly captured the tension between the edge-dweller and the more connected among us, and that's no small thing. But the scene goes a bit further by explicitly stating the edge-dweller's acceptance of himself and the consequences of his nature. Sherlock knows--and does not regret--that his nature is what makes him good at the singular thing he's really good at.

That's what made it revolutionary for me.
darkemeralds: Old black and white portrait of DarkEm at the age of three (Little Me)
I only met my paternal grandfather twice. The first time, I was about three. He took me for ice cream. I wanted “green” which, to my West Coast and three-year-old mind was self-evidently lime sherbet. To his East Coast sensibilities, it meant pistachio. I cried all the way home. He said, “Damn kid” and “How the hell am I supposed to know what green ice cream is?” (This is a famous family story, often repeated--I doubt whether I actually remember it directly.)

It was barely a thing. It was a toddler crying over ice cream. Boo-hoo little special snowflake. But it was also a grown man normalizing rage and contempt for a grandchild he would only meet once again in his life. I must have deserved it. I was stupid. I should have known better. People will get mad and say bad things, and maybe shake me a little, if I don’t “learn to like it.” These are the preconscious proto-reactions of a three-year-old child.

Unto the third and the fourth generation )
darkemeralds: Screencap from Life on Mars with caption Welcome To The Team (Welcome to the Team)
It’s lovely, it really is, to have absolutely no further career ambitions (or that nasty sense that I should be more ambitious). Absent those drives, it is VERY EASY not to give a fuck anymore.

When I say I don't give a fuck anymore, I don't mean that my work is bad. I still care very much about quality. It's more about quantity, really. "Do your job, but don't do too much of it," as Jennifer Marlowe once said in WKRP in Cincinnati.

God, it's such a relief to be free of all the authority issues, all the insecurity, all the FUD of the workplace. As the days tick by (159 of ‘em left) and any threat of punitive action recedes further, I become more relaxed. When I walk past the boss’s office with my lunch dishes I no longer really worry whether he’s thinking I spend too much time taking lunch breaks. If someone comes to my desk and catches me on Twitter or something, I sort of shrug inwardly.

("Punitive action?" you inquire. "What kind of place have you been working in?" It's not about the workplace, it's really about my dad. And it's not really about punishment, it's more about rejection. 'Nuff said.)

Mind you, those authority/guilt issues aren’t gone--not from my psyche--and I probably still need to work on them for my own peace of mind. But it is absolutely wonderful not having them foremost in my brain every second of the workday. I had no idea how pervasive they were till they started evaporating.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
While I stand here listening to Coffitivity and more-or-less patiently waiting for the lieutenants of finance to finish closing the damn fiscal year already, I found an ancient approach to mental health, Anxious? Depressed? Try Greek Philosophy, by a guy named Jules Evans.

Jules admits to having wrecked his own mental health with drug use in the 90s. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, with its roots deep in Stocisim, was his road back.

I'm especially impressed by this statement (because I feel like I'm right at this very crossroads in my own mental health journey):

...after 10 years of practising philosophy, I wonder if it leaves something out, if it’s too rational, self-controlled and unemotional... this year I have started researching ecstatic experience, and how people can achieve euphoria through music, dancing, drugs or the passionate love of God. As a friend put it recently: 'Back on ecstasy, eh?'

He has a book, of course. Good advance reviews.
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
The trouble with the Daily Posting commitment is that...well, there are bound to be some posts of virtually no substance.

Ahem! First of all, I bought one of these off NoMoreRack a couple of weeks ago.

A pink USB flash charger

It was on my desk just like that a couple of days ago. Norm walked up and after observing it, asked--very hesitatingly--"Um...what is that?"

LOL. I resisted the obvious crack and said, "It's a USB flash charger." Which it is. Very handy little device. You charge it, it charges your phone. Seems like it might save the day on a long flight.

Second of all, also in technology, my 83-year-old mom just got her first smartphone and is learning how to text. This is a major breakthrough for the I Heart Bell Telephone generation. Personally, I find text messages as heartwarming and welcome as letters in the mail used to be--and I hate talking on the phone; it will be interesting to see whether they make my mom feel more connected or less.

Third of all, as a follow up to the brain-cascade and migraine events of the past couple of weeks, it has taken several days, but I'm feeling "normal" again, whatever that is.

PS: NoMoreRack is the tumblr of bargain-shopping-porn. Don't go there unless you're feeling strong.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
It's probably a coincidence, but following Friday's migraine-aura-neurotransmitter-cascade-hangover-hormonally-induced-brainstorm*, my brain shifted gears.

Detail of bright yellow knitting

This is only sort of a knitting post. I think it's about creativity. )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I'd like to introduce people to The Mental Illness Happy Hour. A wonderful person on my LJ flist pointed me to it the other day (you know who you are! Thank you again) and I'm paying the favor forward.

The Mental Illness Happy Hour )

It's good stuff.
darkemeralds: A man's head in profile with an aluminum foil hat and the caption "Crazy" (Tinfoil hat)
I was gonna title this post "Mental Illness" but I'm no longer sure that there's any such thing as "mind," so the concept of having one, and it being ill, doesn't really mean much to me.

However, I got through the day by repeating "Mental Illness" (and "Relapse") to myself because it was infinitely more comforting than responding to the voices in my head.

For the first time ever, I think I've managed to separate state from cause while I'm in the state. (I still am, by the way, so warning for unreliable narrator here.)

As clear a description of a lifelong recurring state of disorder as I can come up with while I'm still in it )

Now that I've written all this, I'm feeling the sewer-overflow recede. Ten hours, one chocolate bar, eyes not too swollen--not bad! By tomorrow the chemistry will be heading back to normal.

It would be so easy to let it go at that. But I think I need help. I can't survive many of these. They just cost too much.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I don't know what's come over me. I got the urge to watch Dawson's Creek a couple of weeks ago. I have no clear idea why. I resisted for a while, and then bam, I got out my otherwise-completely-useless tablet the other day, logged into my rarely-used Netflix account, and hit Season 1, Episode 1.

I've been binge-watching ever since.

Despite being way too old for it even at when it aired, I loved it. Not in a fannish way--I never felt the least desire to ship anyone or read fic--but I found it engaging, funny, and touching and I never missed an ep. It was like an internal do-over for my own youth. Those kids got to say all the things I wish I'd been able to say when I was that age. It was cathartic.

It's held up rather well over the 15 years since it debuted. I'm amazed at how many specific scenes (with specific songs) I remember vividly, and at how satisfying it is to see them again and find that they're as good as I remembered. And rewatching the early episodes knowing how the story ends is surprisingly moving.

I guess as vices go, a binge rewatch of Dawson's Creek is pretty tame. But I'm having fun.

Oh, and look who guest-starred in one of the first episodes:
screenshot of Ian Bohen from a 1998 episode of Dawson's Creek
Can you say "Uncle Peter before he became a psychopath"?

EDITED ON JUNE 11 TO ADD A NOTE TO SELF: The binge-watching was a clue that I'd already been triggered for the big breakdown of June 9.


May. 3rd, 2013 07:09 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
In my research into attachment "disorders" I came across this article about cold people in Psychology Today.

If you've gotten into a relationship with a cold person, the article says, "hopefully you walked away." "Avoidant-dismissive attachment disorder" (characterized by aloofness, coldness, lack of affection, self-absorption--the list is long and decidedly not neutral) is caused by faults of "maternal caretaking". One commenter on part 2 of the article calls for finding and sterilizing women with this disorder, presumably to curb the creation of more people the commenter might feel uncomfortable with.

It's just one pop-psych article, written in a comment-baiting style, so I don't take it too seriously. But its strongly biased language and illustrations caused some disparate ideas to coalesce in my mind--ideas about myself, heredity, types of people, and the peculiarly American drive for "self improvement" that has dogged me all my days.

A Tweet from childfreediva with the text I will forever defend my right to be dysfunctional when those are not functions I want anyway and the tags childfree and introvert.

Detached, haughty and stand-offish am I )

To every wonderful person who has dared to be my friend I say thank you, from the bottom of my cold (but deep) heart.

And to the name-calling institutions and individuals who can't get past the fact that I'm not the kind of lady you're comfortable with, I say NOT SORRY. FIND BETTER WORDS, OR STOP TALKING ABOUT ME.


Oct. 24th, 2012 02:34 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
A year ago, my oldest friend called me from her home on the east coast to say that "they" were tapping her phone and intercepting her emails, and that I probably shouldn't email her for a while.

So I didn't email, and she didn't call, and to be honest, I was glad about it. Our conversations had become stranger over the years until they were nothing but one-sided diatribes about the weird stuff people were doing to her, the men who were secretly in love with her, and the unique talents that made her so eminently employable if only people weren't so intimidated by her.

Her email address, when I finally tried it eight months later, no longer existed. I thought about tracking her down but never got around to it. Though I felt strange not knowing what had become of her, those bizarrely boring phone calls had become the whole of our relationship, and I didn't miss them at all.

She called me this afternoon from a number right across the river.

Her persecutors drove her from the east coast and harried her all the way across the United States, causing electrical shorts and flat tires in her car, interfering with her Kindle, tapping her mobile phone, and hacking her laptop whenever she got online. The story involved uranium mining and billionaires, bugs and taps and cameras.

I'm not a psychiatrist and god knows I'm aware of the hazards of labels. But the more I google, the more "delusional disorder" seems to fit her case--at least, it gives me something to pin my frustration on. If your good friend really was the object of persecution (not to mention romantic longings and glamorous corporate recruitment), she would be the most interesting friend in the world. You'd meet secretly and she'd show you some of the evidence--you know, the bug she found in her house, the screenshot of her rapidly-self-wiping hard drive, the recording of the wire-tapped phone call...And she'd probably have that amazing job by now. And a really impressive lover. And probably would have written that book, too--the one about all her amazing experiences.

But other people's delusions are boring, especially if you don't share them. She's back in town and I'm trying to figure out how to tell her that I can't take part in her stories anymore.

Mind you, if she shows me actual proof, this could get really interesting!
darkemeralds: Screencap from Teen Wolf showing Stiles and Derek against a flowery background (Teen Wolf)

I want to do nothing but click through photoshoots, comment on pictures, read fic, watch eps, and work on my story, and I barely know what day it is and I don't give a shit, and any second now my supervisor is gonna come over here and say So did you accomplish ANYTHING while I was on vacation and I'll say, um, 3600 words of Sterek? and then I'll lose my job, then my house, then my internet connection FCS and then I'll die.

The end.


Feb. 7th, 2012 07:24 pm
darkemeralds: A falcon taking flight from a falconer's arm (Freedom)
[personal profile] ranunculus recently posted about the beneficial effects a therapeutic dose of vitamin B12 has had on her overall well-being.

Many of the symptoms of B12 deficiency match those of hormone depletion--notably "brain fog"--and hormone replacement has already given me back my brain. I have no reason to think I'm clinically deficient in B12.

But the body's ability to absorb B12 from food diminishes steadily after 40 or so, and you can become completely depleted before the deficiency will show up in blood tests, so adding B12 to my regimen seemed a reasonable precaution.

Damn, Skippy. )

It's weird to think that all the vicissitudes of my younger years could have been relieved with some vitamins and hormones, and that all that damn talk therapy was probably pretty useless, but you know what? I'm getting used to the notion.


Oct. 20th, 2011 03:02 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Abdicate)
This wanted to be one of those posts where I complain about my job, but the problem isn't my job, it's my brain. I'm losing my ability to act like the kind of person who can do the kind of job I have.

It's not a rant-post obliquely glorifying my unique brilliance compared to the dull plodding minds of my coworkers. Nor, conversely, is it a guilt-post, confessing my secret fear that I'm not smart enough and I Will Be Found Out. Everybody's a Special Snowflake and everybody's flawed.

What it is, I think, is the beginning of an inquiry into either a developing neurological disorder or a basic thinking style which I can no longer cover up. I'm not sure which.

I don't have nearly enough information yet. )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
"You look cute!" Tiffany all but shouted, interrupting her phone call to deliver this opinion to me in the crowded lobby. My friend Todd, escaping with me into an elevator, muttered, "She's trying to hook us up." I just laughed uncomfortably.

Comments on my post about Zumba made me grope a little harder to express why taking a dance[like] class was such a big deal for me. In a nutshell, I don't live in my body very much. I've made other attempts, I've made progress, but "overcoming the straitjacketing of physical shame is the hardest thing about going and practicing and re-trying."

To ground myself more reliably in the physical realm, I've taken extensive Alexander Technique lessons and have undergone a variety of body-based therapies (some of which I've written quite a bit about here). I've been a gym-bunny with 19% body fat, I've done theater and voice training, I've been a dedicated long-distance walker, and as everyone here knows, I've become an avid bike commuter.

But you know what? Sex. That's what. )

So this morning, when Tiffany declared me "cute," and my good friend Todd muttered, "She thinks we should hook up,"4 part of me laughed uncomfortably, and part of me said, "Oh, Universe, you work in such unexpected ways." Because I think I know a sign when I see one. And that sign said that I'm on the track of something significant.

The hip-swiveling of Zumba is just a bead on the scarlet gown of the girl who went to fairy prison five decades ago.

1(I just realized that the "single breath story" I'm supposed to be writing is about this restoration, and that's why I've not been able to finish it: not enough of it was conscious until just now.)
2 Not that I need or want any more money than I've got. I'm fine. Really.
3Too late ho-ho! Ha ha ha ha! Ho ho ho ho!.
4No, we shouldn't. People have thought it for years because we look alike and we're friends and of opposite genders and the same age. It'd be...sibling-ish.
darkemeralds: An old book whose spine reads Signsls and Cyphers, with the text DarkEmeralds (Cyphers)
Some days--not nearly as often now as in my past, thank goodness--I get so ratcheted up with all the things I don't have words for, all the things I've chosen to withhold, all the complexity of what I can and can't say in this or that circumstance, that it drives me to a state of "global high alert". That's the anxious, hyper-vigilant, nauseous, alarmed feeling that would probably be useful if there were a predator at the cave entrance, but which is counterproductive in the modern world.

Some weeks are better than others. )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
...Happy New Year, too.

Actually, there is no darling in my life unless you count this laptop, but that's my favorite pop Christmas song (Karen Carpenter had an amazing voice), and it sprang to mind, ironically, this crack-o-dawn Christmas Eve as I find myself in the unexpected position of juggling the family.

Family. I sweartagod... )

Damn it.

Merry Christmas, darling. Happy New Year too.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)

We have this thing where we do birthdays at my sister's house. Most everyone comes, we sing happy birthday and eat cake and talk and laugh. Usually it's pretty nice.

Tonight--brother-in-law's birthday--it got to me. My oldest niece is noticeably pregnant, so there's one topic of conversation I have absolutely nothing to say about. My younger sister has a new man in her life (must be serious: he was there) whom I was meeting for the first time. Nice guy, but there's another subject I have extremely little to say about.

I had to leave, a bit more abruptly than I'm proud of, when the stress of too many people in the room made me over-react to a careless remark from that all powerful person whose careless remarks can still overthrow my commonsense, i.e., my mother.

It wasn't too terrible--I didn't storm out, I did say goodbye and happy birthday and thank you--but it didn't go unnoticed, either. There was email afterwards of the "did we offend you?" variety. Which means I probably offended them.

Gah! I knew I didn't want to go before I went, but not going would have raised at least as many questions as leaving early did. I'm way past the point of trying to explain my quirks and limitations to my family, but at moments like this I have this hellish feeling that they're coming to their own, very wrong, conclusions about what's wrong with me.

It's frustrating.

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