Um…what? Oblivious family.

Today we did meet with extended family for the first time since coming back from — I guess I will likely have to say it eventually — Hawaii. I’m hoping they don’t decide to follow us there.

There’s a veil of confidentiality that I’ve been hesitant to break as regards myself and my family here, because — well, I’ve been fairly open with what is happening with me personally on this blog. I’ve said quite a lot here that no one in my extended family ever suspected was part of my experience. I’ve also said a lot here that no one outside of the Art program at my last community college, and outside of the Psych professionals I see, knows that I have experienced (it’s extremely difficult to make art while at the same time, not revealing anything about oneself).

Even my closest relatives (outside of M and D, and I am sure you can guess what that means) don’t know the whole story of what I’ve been through. That’s not to say that you all do — but I communicate more easily and more readily through text than I do through voice. There’s something to be said about being able to consider and think about what one wants to say (or write) before one says it (or writes it). And then there is the decision to be made about whether or not to actually make that writing public, which is separate.

I am just kind of ticked off right now. You see, my family tends to attract, and support, “clingers,” for lack of a better term. And because one member of my family has decided to co-dependently compensate for another person’s laziness (it is questionable as to whether he actually experiences what his (lying) ex said he experiences (he lies too, by the way): therefore we don’t know if he’s simply a bum or is chemically lacking motivation), I’m now finding others comparing me to the clingers.

Excuse me, I just spent three years in grad school so that I can become an Information Professional. Grad school. Three years. Like I would have put myself through that if I had plans to be a leech for the rest of my life on my family. (The context seemed to imply that I didn’t deserve to go to Hawaii, because I hadn’t earned the money to do so, myself; and not only that, but I would never be a productive member of society unless my parents stopped supporting me. From the guy who has no children. Sorry my parents care about me, brah.)

I also have to compensate for a legitimate, documented, legally protected, serious, stigmatizing disability. The choice to work was mine. The choice to go through a program to eventually obtain lifelong gainful employment so that I wouldn’t have to depend on Disability payments and Section 8 housing and live the rest of my life in poverty, was mine. The choice to treat my disability with medication and therapy and recover from a lack of basic functionality, was mine. The choice not to have children when I couldn’t even take care of myself, was mine.

If my uncle thinks that I’m not really employed because he’s all about money and has no experience with life difficulties or human relations and I’m too slow for him, that’s on him. It’s not my problem. I am doing the best I can, and right now honestly I want to slap him for implying that I don’t have a job because it doesn’t pay enough.

Or maybe he thinks that my “job” was to find a man and have children, which just disgusts me. It’s simply disgusting. Especially when you consider that I’m not even attracted to most men, which means that he would expect me to be a whore and sell out my uterus to survive.

But wait, maybe he doesn’t know that I have no interest whatsoever in being a wife or mother, and that I want to punch men who ignore that. (Plenty of men ignore that.)

EDIT: I have been bothered by the previous paragraph for a couple of days. Please see my next post for an elucidation on the actual situation.

Since ninth grade, when I realized that I was more attracted to girls than to boys (though that was a comparison of few:slight, and the boys I liked were either years older than me or not attracted to girls), that hasn’t been part of the program.

I assumed that I would need to make a living on my own. I also assumed that, given the amount of attention other girls were giving to their education, I might also have to support them in addition to myself. Because the high-school girls I knew were more interested in finding boyfriends than in being self-sufficient.

The major issue is that one of my family members passed away, a little longer than a year ago. He had a tendency to, as D says, “take in strays.” However, if you take a broad look at that generation of my family, everyone except D has also had a tendency to, “take in strays.” Whom…they then complain about, “having to,” take care of.

I am going to try not to go into their specific situations, just in case they (or their strays) find this blog in the future. However, I’m finding myself being compared to both my cousins in the same age range, which I find…beyond insulting, bordering on derogatory (you would know what I meant, if you knew their stories). It’s the same thing I had to deal with when growing up when my parents would equate me to my brother. Only now, my brother is not in the vicinity of my other family members, or myself, so the nearest examples they have of my generation are my cousins — and my cousins’ friends.

My cousins (and their friends) are their own mess (my cousins don’t have good taste). None of us in this closer age range are really self-sufficient, but at least I’ve been working on it. No, it doesn’t have immediate results to become more educated, but I have skills now that I didn’t have before. If libraries and the Internet still continue to be “a thing” in the future, I will have more doors open than there were.

Because I didn’t agree to work on the project family presented me (for no pay), doesn’t mean I don’t have skills. I am not worthless. But I am not compromising my own computer’s security to work on someone else’s website. For no pay. That’s like taking on random Graphic Design projects because, “it will look good on your resume!” Which is exactly the line of thought that leads to the devaluation of our skills and the undercutting of our wages…which, by the way, is a gigantic issue in Graphic Design.

For free. Psh.

Advertisements

It’s cold and dark. Lots to do, but not all of it, necessary.

What’s sad is that it’s so cold that the computer warming my lap is welcome. I didn’t get any work done on my paper tonight, so far, and it’s taken an intentional effort for me to write here instead of space out watching the television and waste the time that way. It would take an even larger intentional effort for me to work on art.

In comparison, reading seems fairly…well, passive. Those two books I crammed into one night a couple of weeks ago, I can barely remember, now. It makes me want to re-read them just for the sake of writing up a review, and write the reviews for the sake of my own recall.

I haven’t been on this blog as much, recently. After finishing my ePortfolio, I have basically gone into reading. It’s difficult to have content to put up here without going through the additional process of living. It’s also difficult to live after having gone through as intensive a process of study as I’ve been involved with.

And…a lot of time and energy has been concentrated on obtaining things. Mostly, texts; but also some other stuff, like winter and professional clothes, and stuff for art and writing. But I think I spoke about that in past posts.

My due date for my term paper got extended to the middle of next week (as versus what looked like tomorrow night). At this point, I’ve re-read the applicable chapter, and looked some terms up, prior to doing hardcore research. The major issue I’m having now is not knowing my exact, most productive search terms, but I should be able to find those out in the process of searching.

I just…get anxious about searching. If you knew what kind of anxiety I have to deal with on a daily basis, you would know how much I hate routinely exploring online, on my own machine. Of course, I’m running a system which I’ve tried to make safer, but still.

So…I should probably get a plan together for the next three days. I know I want to have the majority of my research done by Sunday night, and to be writing by Monday. What really threw me off was going to work this last Wednesday; I should probably have held off for two more weeks. I just thought that since I would technically only be working on one class, it would be okay to have fewer available hours to study.

But also — it is a Master’s program.

Huh. It’s also harder to write here, I think, because most of my recent writing has been academic. It has been easier to channel my creativity into academic work, however. I’ve been wondering whether “arts” are just the most recognized outlet of creativity…

Aside from all of this, I still need to help clean the house, do some laundry, and…I think that’s about it. If I get my term paper done, I should be able to work on cleaning the house by Thursday, though I should work on my laundry before then.

And water the plants. And take another shower.

I think I’ll be okay. Today and yesterday were rest days. Tomorrow is work and study. The two days after that should be wholly study, and I can try and get this thing in early if I need to (just to have it over with), though I can also edit on Tuesday, given that I need to use APA format (and writing to a format is not easy).

Overall, I think my energy feels sapped because it’s cold and I haven’t been getting enough light. It is an idea to get out and start my day earlier, or to use the mood light in the morning. It looks like the sun is coming up at about 7:15 these days, so that’s about 9-10 possible hours of natural light.

It’s also possible that my energy feels sapped because I’m recovering from the stress of completing my ePortfolio, but I’m sure the season has something to do with it, too.

As well, I’ve noted tonight that I need to lay off drinking juices, again. For the last three weeks, I’ve been off of tea (camellia tea, I mean) and chocolate, due to heart flutter; and I think drinking sugar (and stress) has caused me to gain 2-3 pounds. Not too happy about that, but most of my clothes should still fit, as I got them recently.

I know I should still be able to drink kombucha, kefir, coconut water, and limited vegetable juices, in addition to barley tea and caffeine-free herbal tea (mint, chamomile, rooibos, elderflower, hibiscus, ginger, etc.).

That does make me feel better…

Conversations with myself #1

So yeah, I…tried to do homework tonight, until I was no longer able to function, with regard to studying. That is, I started researching why my tomato plant smells funny, and eventually came here.

I am thinking there must generally be some limit on the amount of writing to a format that can be done before one’s brain quits.

At the time I’m beginning this post, it’s near 1:25 AM. I’ve just taken medication, so I should have until about 3 AM before I become entirely useless.

Yes, I am playing with the color settings on the new editor. Why?

Anyhow…what I’m working on now, is a collaborative project. Since I got my ePortfolio turned in, I’m trying to stay motivated. I did need to use one of the projects for this class within the ePort (I actually used two), but I really should have taken this class…before. At a different time.

So right now I have what I’m working on, due early this week…and three more weeks to go of this class. I can make it. The issue is feeling “done” with the whole thing, when I’m not. I have three more weeks to go. But only three more weeks.

Right now, I’m just wondering about resuming my artwork.

newly washed rondelle beads
This is a test photo. I could use this editor for comics, couldn’t I? I mean, if I really wanted to.

I’m thinking about getting back into painting. I have two more weeks before I go back to my regular schedule at my job, unless I pick up more hours, in the meantime.

I should have the opportunity at the end of this week, but it means working through Black Friday — and I have things I want to do, on that day. Like get a paintbrush. But then again, if I go to work, I can afford to pay full price.

Right now, I’m looking at the different way the new Editor on WordPress encourages me to break up my text. It’s much more suited to Web-optimized writing; as versus longform nonfiction, as was my working default, before.

I could do something with this, hmm? I’m thinking two or more B&W side-by-side panels in each Block. Maybe with narrative in between? I might want to review my CSS to see if I can adjust the padding or margins here, though.

Even the background colors of the text could symbolize different characters talking (if the colors repeat), though it wouldn’t be entirely accessible. It could also be narrative.

Just have to pick a story to work on…see which pens to use…

(does longevity matter? If so, use the Microns. If not, Sharpies — or anything else — works.)

Yes, I have tried to use Photoshop to create drawings, before. I’m better off working by hand…

…but that was pretty sweet when I could illustrate with the Wacom. I just didn’t have a story.

(Shut up about the Wacom!)

–But I could use a Wacom!

I have a proposed solution. Do some comic art, scan it in, and see what you can do with your current image editor and a mouse, before you jump on the Wacom thing again.

…or just buy a Wacom. Whatever. If you’re willing to pay full price, it doesn’t matter when you get it.

I gotta try this…

Wow. I didn’t know *that* was in there…

Let’s see…tonight I was able to submit another segment of my Culminating Experience requirement. Last night, I submitted my paper for Collection Development, meaning I’m probably not going to have a problem with that class. I only have one more big assignment, there.

Time is ticking down for my remaining essays: I have 2.5 weeks to complete 5 essays, plus one which is mostly-done, and two more which are my Philosophy and Conclusion essays, which I’ve already put serious work into; those two shouldn’t be hard. Right now, I’m pushing myself to give myself a break. Although, maybe I shouldn’t be.

There is still some study to be done to keep up with Collection Development, though it should be fairly straightforward, as compared to the more free-form (but still scaffolded) Culminating Experience stuff.

Luckily, writing isn’t too difficult for me, and I work relatively well under pressure (unless the task is just straight-up too difficult and sheer, due to multiple hidden tasks; then I just freak out and freeze, as started to happen before I got an extension on my last assignment).

If I reach a time in the near future where I want to work but can’t think in words, I can assemble the skeletons and scaffolding of my last six essays — or, the five which need it, I guess. It does take time. That’s the hardest part: trying to estimate how long it will take, and hoping that I’ll have the capacity to do the type of work I’ll need to do at the time I’ll need to do it.

The only way I’ll get into trouble is if I have to do hidden research for one or more essays, but I think I’ll be OK.

Well, there’s that. It’s pretty well-settled. I…am wondering if it is a good idea to go out, soon; or stay in, listen to my lecture, and basically catch up on the Collection Development material (which isn’t really, “catching up,” if I’m not behind, yet). Not to mention that I can look over the voting guides.

I think it would be easier on me to stay home tomorrow, actually, rather than going out when I don’t have to.

What was interesting, was investigating my college, the other day, and realizing that they have a pretty sizable Art budget. That, in turn, gets me thinking about going back to Art classes, or Computer Science classes, and the possibility of an MFA…and if an MFA, whether to do that in Web Design, or Studio Arts…and if Studio Arts, what do I plan to do with that? If Web Design, is that broad enough to do what I want?

I think it is an okay thing, right now, to really…start looking beyond the next two months. I know that December should see a lot of tension being released. January should see me beginning to look for new jobs…and getting back in touch with who I actually am.

I’m looking to be employed for at least 20-30 hours a week in my next job, which may be a Library Assistant or Librarian position, a combination of my current job with an internship, or a non-Library job.

If I don’t get any of this, I may start doing things like pulling prints or otherwise working creatively, and selling the results of that in my spare time (though as I’ve said before, I’m not entirely all that hot on Etsy, at the moment — I might want to find an alternative vending platform).

There is a third route, but I’d rather not do it, at least immediately (take Intro to Computer Science, and a one-unit class). I also need to learn Javascript, especially if I want to work in Technical Services.

And then…there is a story idea that I’ve had, which I’m not sure is related to dystopia or utopia, which goes into what might happen if the state of culture changes so that, in the majority, we decided to avoid irrational thought. A lot of things would go, including much of culture and religion; and I’m not sure what would replace them. I’m…curious about that problem, and kind of want to work it out on my own, to see where it would go. The thing is, even rational thought, based on false premises, leads to statements that aren’t true.

It does seem to be a timely idea, and it’s one I had to turn the TV off to remember, which means it’s good I’m writing it down somewhere, because just telling people about it, barely helped me recollect it.

As for whether I’m good enough at drawing to make it into a graphic novel or series, I’m not sure…but maybe that’s not the point. It doesn’t make sense to make something into a visual form, when there is no need to do so. I’m better at the written word, anyway; and one of the reasons I got into Art was because I was getting to the point with literature, of being able to actually say things that mattered, and I was afraid to do so.

Yeah, and…I’m thinking about another dream I had, which challenged my previous conception of a couple of characters I’ve had, from way back. That dream was seriously adult-themed, though; I mean, it might even set people with trauma, off. (By, “adult,” I mean that you need a moral grounding to be able to comprehend it and not take the situation as acceptable.) I’m not sure if I should write it…but it might help. It might help me get beyond it, that is.

On top of that, we got a new book in at the Library about Critical Thinking, which I want to read, but am somewhat concerned that I’ll have to challenge the book to successfully get through it. I’m not sure if the author is intentionally doing mind-trips to make their readers think, that is, and I won’t have the extra time or energy to try and puzzle it out, before December.

What’s kind of crazy (in the colloquial sense [like “crazy” is ever non-colloquial]) is that if I get back into literature and decide that’s where I want to be, a Public Library setting would feed me, by surrounding me with literature. If I get into Art and want to be an Art Librarian (subject specialist) in a University setting, then I might well need an MA or MFA in an Art-related field.

(The thing is, do I like Art well enough to do that?)

But maybe what I need to get used to, is being okay with expression? Or unafraid to express things, maybe I should say. It’s that which got me into writing, in the first place…I could write things I couldn’t or wouldn’t talk about. (That’s also what got me onto the Web, which relatively freaks out some people.)

And I guess I do, now, have the life experience to kind of know what I’m talking about when I write, which I didn’t, fresh out of undergraduate training.

Yeah… maybe I’ll go back and give writing a shot! It doesn’t cost a lot in anything but time (and maybe, books). On top of that, I know a bit of coding, and can look up the schema used to encode Kindle books, which I could then, self-publish. Or…I could try and publish through a traditional venue, with a BA in Creative Writing and a Master’s in Library and Information Science under my belt…

Hmm. Gotta do the writing, first!

(And I can go back to school for an MFA in Fiction, if I want…it’s a terminal degree, though. But I would be able to teach, then [as well as work in Publishing], and I would be very well-prepared [formally, at least] to be a subject specialist in Fiction writing…)

It makes sense, though, that if I want to really publish, I need to be reading: yesterday, if not sooner. Maybe I could line some stuff up for January?

Life happens when you’re trying to study

Well… well. I’ve been here only on and off recently, because I’ve been focusing my energies elsewhere (on schoolwork), but right now I don’t entirely feel like working. I was up until 2 AM last night, working on this stuff, and into the early morning the day before, as well (1:30 AM). I had to take a nap in the afternoon, today; I just wasn’t motivated to get back to it, so soon.

It is amazing, though, how much more I get done by doing work, rather than warming up first by writing about working. I have also noticed, though, the mental difference between writing by hand and typing. I go back and revise while working, much more when I’m typing. It’s easier to rephrase and rearrange what I’m doing, which I’ve noticed happening a lot, recently.

On a different frequency:

My tomato plant…is fruiting. I raised this one from a seed, so I’m a little sad to see it reach the end of its life. It’s kind of just been in the back of my mind, about how it started off so little, grew to be maybe four feet tall, and is giving me little modest presents before it dies. People talk about the tomatoes that “I” grew, but the plant grew them for me; I didn’t grow them. I kept the plant alive for months; that’s my contribution.

It was easier on me to grow an annual, though. It’s less of a psychological burden, knowing that you only have to take care of it for about six months. And if it dies early, it doesn’t seem that big a deal. But it’s another thing to have your baby that you’ve cared for all its life, giving you little things to eat, and you know it isn’t going to be around much longer. (Which seems a little silly when you had to thin out seven other little plants to give this one all the resources it needs.)

We’ve had to stake it up, actually, because it grew so big that it couldn’t support itself. One day I was even sitting next to it and saw a branch almost fall off! We put stakes in and I tied the branches up, and amazingly, that piece that almost fell off, is still alive. It must have healed somehow, or the sap could flow from the main stem to the branch alright, even though it was broken.

It was part of a little kit my folks got for me from a company called Back to the Roots. The kit contains a planter with what’s called an, “olla pot,” which is a terracotta pot that stores water and gradually dispenses it to the soil when it gets dry. I’ve had to water it much more frequently, since it got big.

It actually has been a bit of a profound experience, to grow this. I kind of feel like I connect really well with plants (and I’m fairly sure it has to do with gender and quietness). I need to ease up on watering the succulents, though.

Let’s see, what else:

There is a bead show coming up in about two weeks. I’m undecided as to whether I’ll go or not; I am leaning towards, “not,” but it will be an opportunity to stock up on Czech seed beads and pressed glass beads, in-person. I haven’t been able to do beadwork at all, since I started working hardcore on my Culminating Experience. Not only that, but I’ve cut my work hours down, so I don’t have as much money to spend, there.

I just consulted with D, who says that if I get ahead on my work by that time, I might consider going to it.

Right now, I know I have a paper to turn in by Monday night. It shouldn’t be too hard, but then again I need to review the prompt. On top of that is my portfolio work, which I can likely say that I’m more than halfway through, at this point.

It’s basically the case that I can get through one essay roughly every two days, give or take. But I don’t want to leave all this work to the last minute, which is why I gave up the extra work hours, and why I’ve been working so hard on my essays.

Today…I visited a fabric shop. M had to get some fabric for a new project; in turn, I was able to see some garments which were made using patterns that the store apparently carries? It actually made me want to try my hand. The thing is that I need more clothes that fit, and will especially need them after I begin to work more days out of the week.

It’s been brought up that instead of the Misses’ pants that I’m currently wearing, most of which tend to fall down without a belt, I might need to move to a smaller-numbered size in Womens’ Petite. Womens’ sizes are cut for larger bodies, and Petite would be shorter and more curvy.

I am very strongly considering wearing more clothes cut for female bodies, basically because of fit considerations. The thing is that I may need a smaller size number in a larger cut. The reality is that I’m now in my mid-thirties, and I’ve, eh, been growing into my body.

While I did lose a good deal of weight recently (about five pounds in three days, if I recall correctly) because of a bout of food poisoning, I’m gaining it back. And I don’t hate it. I’ve known people who have had eating disorders; what I’ve learned from them is that it’s better to be a little heavy than it is to be anorexic or bulimic. Another thing I’ve been learning is that right now, I look fairly…Polynesian, even though most of my genes are a mix of Asian and African.

I’ve also reached a level of security with my body, where I know that what conclusions others draw about who I must be because of what I look like, are generally wrong. It could also be wrong that my doctor assumes I’m overweight because of my height combined with my weight; I have potential tendency to heaviness on both sides of my family, even though (like M) I was very thin, as a youth. My sibling has also filled out as they have aged, though, so that’s another cue that my doctor may be wrong about her supposition that because I’m heavier than average, that this needs correction.

So this knowledge makes me a bit more secure in being okay about my weight. I know that some of it is definitely coming from medication, which is leading me to be more moderate in how much I eat. (Two of my medications tend to delay satiety.)

After graduation, though, I can try again to get off of the medication which is causing most of the weight gain — the problem is, it is rather notorious about being difficult to stop, without causing symptom relapse. But if I can cut down the dosage or get off of it, the slow, incremental weight gain should reverse, and from my last attempt, I know that my abdomen should slim a good bit (abdominal fat is basically the side effect I am most annoyed/concerned about, due to the fact that it can have adverse health effects).

But yeah; if I became a Library Assistant or Librarian (the latter of which, I should be able to very soon), I could wear dresses and skirts without worrying about getting them on the floor. The thing I know about dresses is that the ones I’m more comfortable with, actually don’t show too much of my body. On top of that, I’m more comfortable now with earrings and long hair — I got most of the damage cut off, recently, and the existence of a certain Samoan football player with hair like mine (Troy Polamalu), does make me feel a lot better about having and keeping long hair.

So…I guess things are more alright than they have been, at least where it comes to me and my feelings about my embodiment. I’m not sure whether this is due to age and maturity, or what…I am actually glad, though, that I haven’t so far opted for testosterone or surgery, because in my own eyes, I look really nice right now. I have no ill feelings toward my chest (except for feelings of exposure when too many details show through), and I’ve basically ceased to want to be male…especially since I’ve started settling as gender non-binary. I’m not entirely sure why it’s stopped, except I know now that what I am now is easier for me to live with, than who I was when I was upset that my body wasn’t someone else’s.

It also helps to have birth control. I feel less vulnerable on it, and it makes my body give me less trouble. The thing about it, though–! is that I’m pretty sure it’s making my chest bigger. πŸ™‚ I’m…not totally opposed to this! But especially since I’m growing, I should really start checking more regularly to make sure I don’t have cancer. Not doing self-exams is just one of those things that I got used to when I was ignoring my chest. Now I see it as kinda special (probably helped by the fact that I call them “my dudes”). ;D

Yes, it can be a little difficult to balance this with wanting to use an eyebrow filler to see what I would look like with a beard πŸ™‚ but…it’s OK. Wanting to play around with that is OK, I mean. πŸ™‚ I think maybe it has to do with seeing and getting to know a lot of “normal” people, and realizing that most of them have back stories and inner lives I know nothing about and can’t predict from their appearance. From that, I’ve gotten to kind of realize that I’m lucky. I have my flaws (some of which I’m growing out of), but to myself, I’m still beautiful.

And I realize that everyone is beautiful, to someone.

Recovering.

Right now, I’m just writing so I’m not in bed. For the past four days, I’ve been dealing with food poisoning (and the course of recovering from food poisoning). This morning when I weighed myself, I had lost almost five pounds — though I’m not sure how much of that is due to dehydration and how much is because, until about 24 hours ago, I couldn’t digest food.

I was going back and forth between writing this out by hand, and writing this out online…I guess you can see which won out. I intended to journal last night and ended up dropping off to sleep by accident — twice!

Last night was a little worrisome, too. Because I couldn’t keep anything in, I hadn’t taken my regular medication. So when I realized I had double vision at about 8:30 PM, I didn’t know if it was from dehydration, lack of food, reading things too close for too long, electrolyte imbalance, or withdrawal. I took medication early last night and tried to drink as much water as I could, and it did self-resolve (thankfully).

I also realized that the wedge pillow I got to do computer work in bed, also works really well to allow me to read in bed, and to prevent me from experiencing what might be the beginnings of sleep apnea. (I think I’m snoring, that is, and I think the snoring is leading to anxiety while asleep, about not being able to breathe — though that might better be categorized as a panic attack.)

So basically…Tuesday night I started feeling sick, and Wednesday was just a wash. If I hadn’t taken the time off of work previously, I would have been (seriously) sick at work. Yesterday, I did manage to work on my homework for Collection Development (the Prof finally put up the correct link, and I read through the assigned chapter). Nothing much else has happened, except I realized how much of Intro to Marketing I had forgotten, while reading about Marketing. (I need to rework that section of my ePortfolio.)

Except — I did start reading in this book I got a while ago, called The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read and How We Think, by Eli Pariser. I think it was copyrighted in 2011, and it’s regarding the Web, so I’m kind of surprised it’s still accurate. It’s about how Web search algorithms have been designed to show us what it predicts we’ll want to read, and how that isolates us from ideas outside of that.

Immediately when I was reading it, I started thinking about the widening political rifts going on in my own country, and how much of it may be due to people never being exposed to ideas outside of what they already think. I’m pretty sure Pariser isn’t saying we should stop using the Internet, but rather as with any form of technology, we need to be aware of the hazards inherent in how it works (which are largely hidden from us, and the workings of which, none of us entirely understand).

And yes, I do want to get back to my art, but it looks like I’ll need to be working on completing this degree for about the next month, pretty seriously. I’m just glad I’m not drowning in assignments, yet.

I’m also glad I allocated myself enough time that I could just forget about my work for a day, and it’s probably going to be all right.

For the rest of today…I should get on finishing my other two readings. One of them is 53 pages long, so I doubt I’ll get much else, done. Tomorrow, unless I get sick again, I should be going in to work. Then there is a Discussion Post to do, and the rest of that time — unless I start working on my Collection Development paper early, I should be able to work on my ePortfolio.

Recovering from a cold; starving myself of art

Little by little, I’m getting better from whatever this is. I can sit through computer problems in order to write and upload this — barely. And I realize that what I want to be doing now is art. I don’t know why, though I know doing it as a vocation throws me into a group where “success” is not guaranteed and life gets a lot riskier. As someone with a documented disability requiring lifelong care…that’s not great.

I’ve been wondering about what I’m doing with my time while sick (I’ve got a cold or something). “Isn’t this a perfect opportunity to work on something nonlinear?” I ask myself. But then I’m like, no…art is work. That’s why they call it art work.

Apologies if I misspell anything; I’m touch-typing by hand with my eyes closed, mostly. Even though I’ve been getting better where it comes to my sinuses, my eyes still burn. Ordinarily I can tell when I mistype something…I just know that my fingertips didn’t go where they were supposed to. But, just in case.

And yes, I am writing this prior to working on homework for either of my classes. I hate that, but writing helps me keep my head together.

(I’ve since gotten my glasses, and my eyes have stopped burning. Huh.)

I kind of wonder if life would have been simpler, had I never taken a World Religions course. I think it was while I was there that I started to get a loose idea about castes, running parallel to my idea about genders. Try to hear me out; I misunderstand a lot of this stuff, but in a way that brings light to my own situation. Apologies, too, to anyone who has been hurt by this system and is reading this: I’m an outsider here, and so in this case I’m only commenting on what thoughts my World Religions class set off in my own mind. I’m in no way trying to color anyone else’s beliefs. I’m not an expert.

When I was listening to teachings on Hindu beliefs (I was maybe 24 years old?…I don’t have my unofficial transcript here), I was also in a space relative to gender that wasn’t all that easy to inhabit. What I got from that class was the idea that maybe I did have a, “true,” self: beneath all the conditioning that I had been taught about in undergraduate Sociology classes. They taught, basically, that conditioning shapes everything about who we express ourselves to be, and that in effect there is no, “true self,” under that conditioning. The latter view jives with Buddhism (which…I don’t know what I feel about that, now); the idea of having a personal essence or duty derives from Hindu thought (which is older).

My idea was that maybe I did have a, “true,” gender aside from man or woman, and it just wasn’t what most of the world understood or would like; or that maybe I had a, “true,” calling, even though I wasn’t born into a arts/crafts family. We’ve kind of made it an arts/crafts family over the years, but at inception I think it was M who was the artist.

In my case, I thought I was in spirit a person who made things…creativity was my main focus and drive. It was reflexive and needed to be directed outwardly, or it began to transform me personally, and not always in beneficial ways. Often it worked out so that I would be transformed in some way thatΒ I understood, but others didn’t.

That creative spark and drive is what I had then that was special to me. That’s why I’ve hung with this (the art, the writing, etc.) for so long. I’ve needed it as an outlet for my energy. It’s also a reason I now work in a Library: my interests change so often that it’s hard to stick with one thing. So I’ll stick with all things. πŸ˜‰

While things on medication are more logical, they’re also a bit duller. On the bright side, it’s easier to catch when my mind is not working well. The thing about beliefs is that people generally don’t look at their own beliefs, and call them false. There’s something about the brain that makes it think that what it believes is true, the majority of the time, whether any of its thought is true or applicable or not. While that makes it easy to make positive belief statements…it in no way ensures that those beliefs line up with any form of reality outside of one’s own mind.

The “professional” identity I find myself being pushed into now is an economic move so that I don’t go without treatment (for the same issue that caused me to be creative all the time) for so long that I relapse and get out of control again. I do have serious issues with trauma from having been sexually objectified all my life (which is a reason…but not necessarily a causal one…why I don’t identify as a woman. That is, being not-woman likely led to the objectification, which led to the rage). The rage issues are what I’m majorly guarding against, because…hey. I have a germ phobia. I don’t need to be fighting. It’s gross. πŸ™‚ Also, I’d go to adult jail, now.

Besides, I consider rage a form of pain.

It is…indeed possible for me to drastically reduce one of my medications after graduation. It should help with the side effects (largely, muscle spasms), and if I’m right, it should give me back more of my creative ability than it’s giving back, now.

Right now I can feel it still simmering under the surface, bumping up under some of the floorboards in the back of my mind…as I try and focus on getting my degree so that I can be a, “Librarian,” so that I can get health benefits. (Which, in itself…is beyond idiotic. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE for being a Librarian???)

πŸ˜›

It’s not an easy feeling. Really, not. I mean, just having to push that to the side so that I can deal with finishing grad school so that I’ll have class mobility, and be able to meet my basic needs. Even if I’ve realized that maybe I like working with things more than working with data. But craftspeople and artists don’t make an easy living in this society. And if you asked me now, yeah, that’s a reason why I’m thinking about not staying here for the rest of my life.

But I only have two more months of this, to deal with; unless, I don’t work.

I think I’ll be OK.