only the fun stuff

This is not a to-do list, thought it might seem like one. It’s actually (mostly) an “I am excited about all these things!” list. Also an “I don’t want to forget any of these things” list:

In the category of work and volunteer projects:

  • work on Immaculate stuff
  • draft generic interview questions for her contacts
  • devise a general communications strategy to share with both
  • reply to Victoria
  • finish application for Kiva volunteer position
  • planning commission tomorrow night – read packet
  • planning commission tomorrow night – go to meeting at 6 PM
  • high school reunion social media posts: yearbook photos, pic with Melissa and maybe Crystal (#tbt stuff), music…what else?
  • ….newsletter…

In the category of fun projects:

  • look into making an internet radio station
  • make a music review blog
  • write for music review blog
  • make a youtube music review channel to accompany the blog
  • make youtube videos to accompany blog posts
  • continue Arrow rewatch
  • finish the Arrow fic I have in the works
  • continue to write fic for the hiatus ficathon
  • also go say hi at the mfmm slack
  • and write at least one mfmm fic before the con!!!!! >_>
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on anxiety

Honestly though, I am grateful every single time that I’m able to think about my responsibilities, projects, and hopes without experiencing an overwhelming surge of anxiety. Those times are rare, but they do happen and god what a feeling. Does it feel that way for other people all the time?

I hate the phrase “bucket list” so that is not the name of this post

But it just occurred to me that I would really really like to see the Aurora Borealis someday. Like, of all the things I really need to experience, that’s high on the list. I wonder what else is on my list…:

  • one of the best memories of my “childhood” was when I was a teenager, camping with a bunch of families (which we did relatively often) and once we were at Joshua Tree National Park, and one night, those of us who were teens climbed some rocks at night and took sleeping bags and blankets with us, and we lay down on some rocks and gazed at the stars (and I have never seen a comparable starry night in my life) and talked for hours. That was a good moment. I’d like to do something like that again. It could even be at Joshua Tree again. But I’d need to find the right friends to experience it with.
  • something I’ve had my heart set on for much of my life is doing a dude ranch vacation. I’d actually really like to have a “City Slickers” (the movie) experience, where we drive cattle. But I’d settle for a few overnights. Camping with horses is my absolute favorite thing. I’ve only done it once in my life, when my horse was 3 or 4 and a group of us camped with our horses at Montana de Oro State Park in California, and that is consistently the thing that I tell people was the best experience in my life. So yeah, I guess I’d like to be in a situation again where I can regularly go camping with people and our horses, and that would be the best thing ever. But I also just want to try a dude ranch vacation.
  • another trip I really want to take is a river cruise up the Mississippi. For a bunch of reasons, I will never ever go on an ocean cruise, but a river cruise I can do. I love the historical aspect of the Mississippi river, and I would love to stop in a bunch of little towns that border it. I have never experienced anything like that. Also, if not for doing a Mississippi river cruise, I’m fairly certain I never would travel to any of those places.
  • I really want to go hiking/trekking through Wales. And Cornwall. We just did a trip to England a few months ago, and London was awesome, I loved York, and obviously there’s much more I’d love to see. But more than anything I want to experience walking the countryside, and small fishing towns, and the rough landscape and craggy mountains and grassy hills of Wales and Cornwall.
  • I want to experience Germany and Austria (especially the countryside of those places) and the Maldives and Australia and New Zealand (the last two are planned for 2019, so that will be awesome).
  • I want to travel alone for an extended length of time. Every time I’ve traveled alone in my life, it’s been a transformative experience, and yet it’s only ever occurred in very brief stretches. But in the past I was more afraid, less confident in myself, and I think I’m really ready for more.
  • I want to be independent to the point that I can have a group of travel friends where we just go off and experience and explore. A real life Adventuress’s Club. And I want the members to be open, loving, accepting, drama-free people. People who won’t try to pigeon-hole each other. People who truly support and celebrate each other.
  • There’s more.

a little bit on tolerance

there’s some fandom stuff happening right now that I don’t really want to get into because it makes me tired and I’ve honestly been through it all so many times and that’s not what I fan for. and yet I find myself always having opinions…I’m going to jot just a few thoughts down here, but MIND YOU: this is not a comprehensive review of my thoughts on the matter. just a couple extraneous thoughts, brought to you by the following combination:

  1. fandom outrage
  2. my lifelong lived experience
  3. this tumblr post, my tags (see them?) and my further thoughts on the post and those tags:

on tolerance

Here’s the thing. People on this post are asking stuff like “yeah, but where’s the line?” And I’ll tell you where I think it is: it has to do with the magnitude of the intolerance combined with how well you know the person. Oooh, this should be a graph. Maybe I’ll make a graph.

[note to self: make a graph and insert it here]

Basically, the better you know a person, the more familiar you are with the context in which they’ll do something insensitive, and the more familiar you are with their history of bias and their history of growth, the better you are able to judge a person’s “growth.”* With this context, you are much better able to tell how a person’s actions indicate their intentions.**

Conversely, the less well you actually know a person personally, the less familiar you are with the context of their actions, and therefore you are much less able to judge their intent by their actions. ***

So here are my rules:

  1. you may (nay, in some cases you must!) call out insensitivity or outright intolerance when you see it.
  2. the degree to which you are allowed to righteously express outrage at the action versus the person making the action must be tempered by the above (the magnitude of intolerance versus how well you know the person).

“Growth” is a subjective, value-laden concept. Each of us has a subjective concept of what constitutes “growth,” and it literally just follows our own experience of self-growth. But we all start from different places and have different growth-related goals, as revealed by our past mistakes, among other things…. WE MUST NEVER ASSUME THAT ANYONE’S GROWTH JOURNEY PARALLELS OUR OWN, and WE MUST NEVER JUDGE ANYONE’S ACTIONS BY WHERE THOSE ACTIONS FALL ON OUR OWN GROWTH JOURNEY. (Also, simplifying things like this assumes that once we Learn A Lesson, we have Grown and we will never make that same mistake again. We will. AND we’ll make similar mistakes that will be perceived by others as the same mistake.)

** Not to mention the fact that the effectiveness that any criticism you level at a person will be directly impacted by how well you know (or do not know) that person. If your best friend gives you a bitter truth, you’re going to receive it much better than if it came from your random co-worker. Or, you know, a complete stranger.

*** Okay I wasn’t actually going to say anything specific to the Stephen Amell debacle here because I really don’t care but to illustrate my point I’m going to give this as an example:

People are generally decrying Stephen Amell’s insensitive post regarding the Hagia Sophia: okay. People are also generally decrying his response for calling a fan “stupid”: also okay. BUT. People are losing their shit over it based on the presumption that they have a more righteous idea of how to be tolerant: NOT OKAY.

That really wasn’t clear, so let me try to explain. The root of all this fury seems to be that Stephen Amell is not appropriately reverent over a religion (Islam).

They are equating this to religious intolerance (intolerance against Muslims).

BUT THOSE ARE NOT THE SAME THINGS PEOPLE, DON’T GET IT TWISTED.

(And honestly, I think this is why Stephen Amell was mad and called people stupid. I also would be mad if someone mistook my lack of reverence for a religion as an attack on people who follow that religion.****)

A person is not required to feel religious reverence on another person’s behalf. And if, as happened in this case, a person feels the need to explain why they think something is insensitive toward practitioners of a religion, they absolutely have that right. But they DO NOT have the right to expect that someone else is going to agree with them. Obviously, the Hagia Sophia is religiously significant to many people. Just as obviously, it’s not to Stephen Amell. Was it insensitive of him to post what he did? Yes. Did people have a right to explain why they felt it was insensitive? Yes. Was it kind of jerkish, and definitely ill-advised, for him to call someone a jerk (especially when the reason for calling that person a jerk is misunderstood)? Yes. BUT WAS IT PROOF THAT STEPHEN AMELL IS AN INTOLERANT ANTI-MUSLIM ASSHOLE DESERVING TO BE SHUNNED AND NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN? No. Absolutely not.

**** I am an anti-religon activist. As I have said elsewhere on this blog, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE REALIZE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING ANTI-RELIGION and BEING ANTI-PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW A RELIGION. And yet hardly anyone seems able to comprehend that difference. The difference is this:

  • Being anti-religion means recognizing that religiosity is not necessary for, nor does it even have anything to do with, being moral, and recognizing therefore that religion’s net impact on the world***** and on humanity****** is negative
    • any good we do in the world in the name of religion can also be done without religion
    • there are a lot of horrible things that can, and have, and continue to be done solely because of religion
    • therefore the absence of religion is not detrimental, but the presence of it is uniquely detrimental
  • Being anti-religion but not anti-people who follow a religion also logically follows from the above because people can do good things in the name of religion; it’s just that religion is not necessary for them to do good.

When I talk about wanting religion to disappear from the world, it should be obvious that I mean I would prefer it if religion simply did not exist. And what I would like to have happen, ideally, is for every single person who ascribes to religious beliefs to examine their own beliefs, and ultimately to come to the above conclusion (that morality and goodness do not require religion. That there is literally nothing you can do in the name of religion that you cannot do without religion except discriminate based on religion).

And of course, anyone who knows me – who actually knows me – would never ever assume that me being anti-religion would mean I was anti-religious people. That absolutely does not jive with who I am, my examined life-stance, my values and ideology and principles, at all. (Not to mention that many people I love do identify as belonging to some religion, including most of my family, or that I was raised to be a devout Catholic and I consciously struggled for at least 10 years to come to my current beliefs).

But, no matter how untrue it would be, I can kind of understand how, on the surface, someone who doesn’t know me well might conflate those two things and assume that because I’m anti-religion, I’m also anti-religious people – simply because the idea is not common. It’s not the sort of thing that most people have thought about (unfortunately).

But I admit that if someone got mad at me based on this assumption, if they went around proclaiming that I was a bad person because of it, I would be pissed. I mean the appropriate thing would be for us to have a conversation about it. For me to have a chance to explain the difference. But, since this hypothetical person doesn’t actually know me, I bet they wouldn’t reach out. They’d just add me to their list of “types of intolerant people!” – they’d be intolerant in the name of intolerance. (And yeah, just so we’re clear, I’m aware of the paradox of tolerance, but, if you see my explanation above, that absolutely does not apply here because I am not intolerant of people, but rather an idea. And to be fair, I’m not even actually intolerant of religion – I just would like it to diminish in importance and eventually disappear because human society and information has evolved beyond the point where it was a force for good). And while that would suck – I don’t like it when people don’t like me, and I really don’t like it when people add to their Sanctimonious Toolbelts – it really wouldn’t make a big difference in the grand scheme of things. I am not famous, and I don’t have a platform for my ideas.

Now, if I were famous and someone got mad at me based on this assumption, I would probably be even more pissed. Because I would assume, being a Well Known Person, that other people would know that I’m a Good Person. And for someone to call me a bad person based on something that, to me, very obviously shouldn’t make me a bad person, would hurt. Would be annoying. Would honestly just fucking ruin my day and probably damage my ego a bit. And while the Right Thing to do in that moment would be to explain why my position doesn’t make me a Bad Person, I might be too irritated to do so. I might be too tired. I might be too lazy. I might just not care to take the time to explain something that should be (according to me) so obvious.

In other words, in this hypothetical scenario, just because I have a platform and I had an opportunity to use it wisely doesn’t mean I’m always going to do so. Because I’m also fucking human.

***** Anthropocentrism being a) a bad thing, and b) absolutely encouraged throughout human history, and into today, by the major monotheistic religions.

****** See Patriarchy, Holy Wars and other horrible things carried out in the name of religion, the continuing battle over reproductive rights (and, by extension, the chokehold that issues has on the American political system), anti-queer attitudes, etc.

Obligations

This is not going to be a complete or coherent discussion of all the things I have going on in my head. But I’m feeling like writing a bit about what’s going on, so I’ll do it here right now until it stops being helpful.

I’ve known for a long time that I’ve been unhappy, but I honestly haven’t known the root of the problem. Lately I’ve gained some clarity there, and though I’d hardly say I have everything figured out, I do know one thing: I’m tired of feeling guilty and obligated. It finally occurred to me that literally every moment of my life, everything I do and do not do for the past who knows how many years, has been completely colored by these two negative feelings. Without getting into all the details or even the whys, it must be obvious how that just sucks the joy out of everything. How that leads to a horrible cycle of avoidance and missed goals, leading to more guilt and more obligation.

For so long (and again, for reasons I don’t want to get into here – or at least not now) literally all of my plans have been driven by this sense of obligation, and my guilt in not living up to it. And so I finally realized that I just can’t live like that. I actually don’t owe anyone anything. That doing so devalues my own life and my own time and my own choices. And since doing so doesn’t actually help anyway – I might as well just really stop and take ownership of my own happiness.

It’s funny, because when I was teaching college I tried to drive that into my students every day: no one cares if you succeed except you; you have to own your own education and make it worth it. That made complete sense to me, but I still wasn’t able to take the lesson and apply it to my own life, not really, until now.

I know I’m being vague. I guess I’ll put the rest under the cut.  First, have a S.T.A.R. Labs selfie, because my obsession with Arrow and the Arrowverse and Olicity has been really the one thing making me happy lately:

star labs selfie

Continue reading “Obligations”

how is it possible that i can still be freezing on may 29?

Today is brought to you by the following message: I really need a hair cut.

That’s really all. I made an Instagram and now I just basically wanted to upload a bunch of selfies  because godfuckingdammit I made that thing to be entirely separate from my “real life” online self and I didn’t want anyone I know in real life to know it even existed so I could just post selfies and other crap without regard for how it look to people who “know me” in “real life” but somehow (and really, wtf) Instagram just went ahead and recommended me to a bunch of people I know in real life though I created a new account and didn’t connect it to my facebook (???) and so now I have all these people following me and they are the exact people I didn’t want following me because godfuckingdammit I already have a facebook for that.

So fuckitall I’m posting today’s selfie here.

There’s actually more I want to say today but I don’t have the mental stamina at the moment so I’ll probably be back later.

i really need a haircut

being okay

So I stopped writing here for a long time because I was finding it wasn’t helping me with my anxiety and depression so much as worsening it.

But I am going to give it a try again, and this time I’m simply going to be more positive.

I’m going to post about all the good things I have going, and not focus on how far I have to go. I am going to spend time on “frivolous” things that make me happy (currently, mainly fandom stuff), because this is a space for me so there!

That is all for now.

I have a tumblr and an Instagram and here’s a sneaky photo I took of me and my friend in London:

 

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