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Intrapersonal Investigations

Explorations into how we interpret actions, communicate intentions and can relate to the world in a healthy, uplifting manner.

What does your interrelational system look like?

As I mentioned previously… I’ve been watching too many space documentaries.

If we consider ourselves as a planet within a wider star system (our interrelational system) that operates within a galaxy (society)… well. Lets give it a go.

I have a complex system. I’m a small planet that experienced a huge cataclysm in it’s native binary star system. One of my suns went supernova and now exists as a shadow of itself consuming everything within reach. The other has avoided being consumed through sheer force of will and I can’t help it. They’re both radiating deadly radiation. The event pushed me far away and for a while I was a dark sunless orphan planet moving through space. It damaged my personal capabilities to solve problems and deal with life… in a sense my world stopped turning. My magnetic sphere, generated from within designed to protect me were failing…Earth Magnetic Field ProtectionThe space metaphor is pretty dire but luckily I’m a human that can hopefully grow my own internal combustions and begin shining like the star I am so that I can exist within my galaxy properly. As I probably should. But let’s continue the metaphor.

Because this is a wibbly wobbly metaphor ramble, we can imagine all of ourselves as a wee little system, the brightest stars in our life might be dwarf stars in someone else’s life. They might occupy your work system which is a relatively contained sphere from which you can only see them… but each person in your life has a system of their own, maybe you know some of it, maybe you don’t.

Right now I’m currently experiencing the gravity of a bright ass awesome star that’s holding me in place within the universe hopefully to give me time to get my shine on so I can start my system. I think this person is amazing and want to always have them on my gravitational radar but this situation is temporary and designed to get me shining with my gravitational field stable.

And then there’s all kinds of wonderful stars that seem so dim from where I am, burning brightly in their own systems. How they used to seem so close, I can’t say. This is the nature of the great cataclysm. When I was flung into space, its like I moved out of range of most of the people I considered friends or family. Once I start shining, I’ll have a gravitational field of my own that will make the distance seem so much less far because my influence will be greater. comet_west

There’s amazing people that act as comets (though they themselves are stars with a system of their own) in my system.

They come around every once in a while burning brightly and leaving a streak of colour and wonder in my life.

I exist as a comet and as a planet and possibly as a star and maybe someday I will be the galaxy itself. Maybe we’re all the galaxy.

l-k

What does your interrelational stellar system look like?

l-k

This is more a personal question for me. Because I’ve been watching space documentaries and I’ve just begun a new relationship and ended a job.

Humans are complex things. I have a *NUMBER* of metaphors through which I view the world… the newest of them is that the fabric of our lives is a strange dance between: how we stay afloat in the universe (our financial situations and what we need to do to maintain or continue those, and the people that operate within and affect that realm), who we were born with (our native family), who we choose to keep in our lives and how they operate within staying in our lives (found family, friends), and the wider social climate that we exist within (neighbouring systems really and places from which random things come).

And that we can abstract out these relationships and understand them as star systems in our galaxy, or if it pleases thee, you can absolutely abstract further and view yourself as an individual star system. I would understand someone who viewed themselves as a star system to have a relatively more stable life than my own. I occupy a weird and complex life and thus this is reflected in how I think about myself.

So for me, I’m a small galaxy that operates within a number of larger galaxies (we’re all interconnected) with a fair number of star systems and some serious problems. There’s a black hole in my galaxy from when my family system used to be. The person in question that now occupies the black hole space has been consuming my younger brother and has been for a long time… after attempting to consume my mother, her star is being held outside the black hole’s force through  sheer will and legislative assistance. The effects of this were felt throughout the system. I was right there when it happened and it consumed me for a long time.

The black hole put me somewhere else… somewhen else. And I am different than I was before. I’ve been finding my way back to my center for a long time. I might be here now. Or perhaps I rejected the notion that I have a center and have embraced the fact that I’m the god damned galaxy and a bit of complexity will never hurt me because I’ve corralled off the family system and they get to deal with the black hole all they want. It could consume them. It isn’t up to me. I won’t be affected like that ever again. I can counterbalance the black hole with the other stabilizing relationships in my life… as long as the gravitational forces in my galaxy remain stable. Which they aren’t. (see below)

I’m not really afloat in the fabric of space time. I’m not financially independent. Yet still a galaxy… its like the actual force of gravity that holds me together is falling apart. There’s a couple of bright stars holding everything together right now. My living situation is stable and the stability of that is affecting everything and keeping things in line… for now. It’a a new star in my system but the effect of them is amazing. My TOP scientists are working on the problem and will hopefully reestablish the gravitational force of fucking dollars in a consistent flow so that I don’t implode.

Perhaps it’s not the gravity of my system that is failing so much as the magnetism that protects the system from harsh intergalactic rays of deadly radiation in the form of disadvantage… I guess in this metaphor I’m also a planet as well as the whole galaxy. It’s not a perfect metaphor yet.

Stigma:

Erving Goffman wrote an excellent wee book called Stigma: notes on the management of spoiled identity. I refer back to it.

Goffman begins explaining stigma: A part that I liked particularly was the fact that stigma is “a special kind of relationship between attribute and stereotype” … that “stigma and its synonyms conceal a double perspective: does the stigmatized individual assume his differentness is known about already or is evident on the spot, or does he assume it is neither known about by those present nor immediately perceivable by them? In the first case one deals with the plight of the discredited, in the second with that of the discreditable. This is an important difference, even though a particular stigmatized individual is likely to have experience with both situations.”

Lets unpack these a bit. A relationship between an attribute and a stereotype: stigma exists in the minds of the larger society exacting the stigma. Perhaps not everyone allows stigma to guide their actions but let me tell you, enough of them do. I am someone that considers themselves party to a NUMBER of discreditable identities… I can tell you from personal experience: It is the most painful thing to interact with someone who has a huge looming stereotype for how and why you are behaving the way you are that may or may not fly with your actual reasons and actual behaviour.

Lets move on to discredited versus discreditable…. I’ve now made a call out on my personal feed for people to help me find the term that describes this and had to wait a few minutes to be rewarded with someone reminding me the terms I was looking for within a context of identity politics is ‘visible minority’ versus ‘invisible minority’ and ‘ascribed statuses’, which are identities other people give you, versus ‘achieved status’ which is something you choose for yourself.

Our society experiences a couple of big problems with the fact that huge numbers of us discredit other huge numbers based on ascribed statuses we give them based on the visibility of their minority. The intersection of privileges and disadvantages conferred to people based on their relative place within this societal spectrum is kyriarchy which is something we all live under. We are all conferred benefits and disadvantages by this system relative to how we place on it.

Goffman identified three different types of stigma and by god I’m not directly quoting anything from this section because it was written in 1963 and the language in it is abominable. I’m just going to paraphrase as loosely as I can while still describing the things.

  • Body stigma: physical disability and difference.
  • Stigma on the character of an individual: ‘weaknesses of will’, dishonesty, treacherous or rigid beliefs, domineering or ‘unnatural’ passions, “all of these things being inferred from a known record of, for example, mental disorder, imprisonment, addiction, alcoholism, homosexuality, unemployment, suicide attempts, and radical political behaviour.”
  • Tribal stigma: of race, nation and religion.

Any of these three types of potentially stigmatizing attributes can be visible or invisible, ascribed or achieved.

I would argue that identity politics has worked to make racism and discrimination and profiteering a stigmatizing attribute on the basis of an individual’s poor character.

But here’s where there’s excess gears in our system. It’s impossible to change the dominant culture of a society without doing so very intentionally. It is COMPLETELY POSSIBLE; however, to fracture a culture by attempting to change the way certain people participate in stigma. We are experiencing it now.

Differing opinions of who should be stigmatized and how and why are what I see most of our cultural arguments boiling down to.

And this leads me back to the original point of this thought process. I saw someone mention that Martin Shkrelli might experience stigma as a result of their profiteering in the pharmaceutical industry.

I argue that while he might experience stigma from the population within America and Canada that views his actions as deplorable. I would argue that he has the power and finances available to him to almost never have to deal with anyone who would stigmatize him. I argue that the dominant overarching culture of capitalism in United States and Canada thinks he’s a clever person for his profiteering and he will never face consequences or stigma from anyone within his circle of people who might conceivably have power over his life.

This is not the case for people who have stigmatized identities and lack his power and prestige. There will always be a group of people with the money and power and prestige associated with their place in society bitching about how much stigma they have received from people who hate that they have done what they have…

But it will never affect their daily lives. That’s not stigma.

I believe that a global understanding of what stigma is and how we want to stigmatize is the key to using this tool that we have developed and evolved over thousands of years of collectively settling together…. for good.

Slowpoke.

You know as a teenager there is something wrong with you.

Everyone thinks there’s something wrong with them as a teen. You are told this.

You reach adulthood and still feel deeply like something is wrong.

You have no idea what a stable situation is. You realize this by routinely finding yourself in unstable situations.

You realize you have no idea what healthy boundaries are as you piece together that the people you had good experiences with had excellent boundaries and the people you did not have good experiences with had boundaries like yours.

You move across from a school yard at the age of 24 and realize that the sounds of happy children are deeply psychologically distressing to you.

You realize almost everything you think is acceptable in an intimate relationship isn’t.

You start trying to figure it all out.

Your life falls apart.

Maybe you die. Having failed to realize what was going on your whole life. Slow poke.

079slowpoke_dream

A cruel joke from the universe.

Vasovagal Syncope: If I pass out just make sure I get horizontal?

Here’s the London Cardiac Institute’s description.

Vasovagal syncope is something I was diagnosed with fairly informally by an emergency room doctor after the twelfth or so time I went in because I passed out or was in distress after passing out.

“This is a very common condition that results in fainting or a blackout in as many as half of people at least once in their life. Three percent of people develop it repeatedly.”

… So in the past ten years I’ve passed out or very narrowly avoided it about thirteen or fourteen times. Thanks body. I appreciate your fight flight shit fuck or die nerve is completely blown out and you think that the blood needs to be in my arms and legs so I can run away or fight but what you really did was take it from my brain and that’s not ok brah.

Serious props the the paramedic who took me to the hospital the last time this happened in too public a place to avoid someone calling an ambulance for me… As it turns out, really no one will let you crawl off the bus and lay on the side of the road till your weird medical event passes… specially if you can’t sit up to see where your stop is.

I can almost always avoid passing out these days. Sometimes I even avoid the massive sweating and overheating and then chilling and total exhaustion that follows. But not always. This time I wasn’t really able to get horizontal because I was on a bus seat and I was also pretty incoherent so I didn’t really have the language skills to convincingly let them know I was totally fine. Because it sure didn’t look or sound like I was fine.

So your fee for passing out on the bus (or in my case having to lay down lest ye pass the fuck out) is that they call an ambulance, you inconvenience a bunch of people and suffer utter humiliation as a bunch of firemen lift you off the ground and ask you if you’ve been taking drugs. Which you totally haven’t. You’ve literally just been doing the MOST WHOLESOME THING EVER which is going to a bar just to dance and drinking only water.

Paramedic immediately knew what Vasovagal Syncope was and we worked out how over the week at work I’d dehydrated to a serious level and then done the stupidest thing of dancing my face off at the blues jam and drinking a bunch of water thus fucking my sodium and other electrolyte levels. It was the dumb.

But let me repeat. Basically anything will make me pass out. If there’s a thing that will make humans pass out, I might well do the thing. From understanding of my own specific triggers, it’s rapid changes with no warm up that bring the Syncope on. So, dehydrated and hung over trying to hydrate back up? BAM Bathroom floor (which was thankfully heated) and I made my way down gracefully. 26

Climbing a steep hill while sledding? BAM. Laying down on the top thinkin’ I be dyin’ for real (this was one of the first, I was a teen, in the grips of a hyperactive thyroid which made my resting heart beat up around 170-180, which should have meant hill climbing was out the window). 14

Randomly for no reason while I was undergoing one of the more stressful things I’d ever endured. 27

Because an earring wasn’t going into the newly pierced cartilage in my ear. 22.

Because of intense abdominal pain. 19.

Because of period cramps. 24.

While intensely working out on a hill climbing function on a stationary bike. 23.

Dehydration and rehydration during and after work. 28.

And so on. And so on. And so on. Stress definitely causes the things that cause it. But hydration has been the thread of consistency between all these crazy weird events.

So part of my health is to seriously be srs about hydration.

ALSO THE LONDON CARDIAC INSTITUTE RECOMMENDS HANDSTANDS.

… So I guess that’s going to be a thing.

Hm. Perhaps falling is just what I get to do. Controlled fall to the next trapeze bar underway.

I lost my job. They let me go.

About a week ago I forgot to lock the door behind me when I came in to open. It’s a more serious mistake than it seems really because we have tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff with us. What I didn’t know is that over the weekend there had been a security issue during the middle of the night that was unexplained and had the security guy coming in. So they took away my key (without telling me about the security thing at all, I pieced this all together after a coworker mentioned it) and I think they decided I was probably not a good fit then. But they knew I’d be upset and also I know that they liked me a lot. So they told themselves they’d give me one more chance and I had better shape up. Effectively they told me that too but I didn’t understand the real gravity of the level of fuck up. So over the next week I had RAMPANT AND UNCHECKED anxiety… I had noticed that they were treating me differently and consequently my anxiety was over 9000 and I kept making the little mistakes that culminated by them taking me into the back room and telling me they were letting me go because I wasn’t getting the job fast enough and I was asking too many questions too often.

A short list of anxiety related things that I have experienced in light of the most stressful ever attempt to be perfect for a not so wonderful job (that should have been wonderful). Literally. I have never stuck with something so hard while it was causing me so much pain.

Stuttt. Stuttr. St. Stuh. Sterre. Stutterring. STUTTERING. Considerably worse while stressed.
Transposing numbers – This was not a cash related thing, just an infuriating thing that I experienced while trying to print tags for things.
Critical failures in problem solving – Being unable to use the same old thing I’d been told for other things when random new things came up. Apparently there’s only ever one answer.
Excessive reassurance required – Asking questions.
Crying.
SO MUCH CRYING.
Dehydration – I was not comfortable enough to ask to get a glass of water and the upstairs was just seemingly deliberately OVERHEATED to the point customers hated it … but not as much as I did. This culminated in me dehydrating over a week at work and then going to a blues jam and dancing my face off and drinking enough water that I had a vasovagal syncopy event on the last god damned bus home on a Sunday. It was THE UNPLEASANT to the n’th degree. I do not advise this thing. Post on what vasovagal syncopy is here.

They knew I was going to be upset but I don’t think they knew HOW upset I would be. I’d never been fired before to that point. I had a panic attack, couldn’t breathe or speak.

To their credit, it was the head manager and the nicest supervisor with me. And both of them talked me through it to get me breathing and sipping a bit of water. They were very concerned. I gather it isn’t exactly  normal, and so they confirmed I live in a safe environment and paid for a taxi to take me home. Which was really really nice of them.

The very next day, welfare called me to ask wtf dude, why u no submit yer stub because you just signed on to the poge and now u dun want?!

To which I replied: Omg I totally need the things I had job. Was supposed to be the best ever but they dun want me and so helllllllppppppppp meeeeeee…

And they will.

So…

Everything’s still coming up Milhouse. Which is surprising and weird. But also the way my life works.

 

Flying not falling: A new experience

Is this flying? It doesn’t feel like falling. Each day is a new bar and I catch it and roll with however it swings me around and then I grab the next one by doing it all over.

Only the bar really just feels like a rope toy in a terrier’s mouth being violently shaken around and I’m just holding on for dear life hoping that the terrier doesn’t start chewing again.

Learning how to do my job might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I have now worked with ten people not including supervisors. Only three of those people still work there including me; and then another one who started yesterday. In this way I feel pretty vindicated that what I’m doing is VERY difficult. I’ve at this point received a fair amount of training but I’m not getting consistent training and at this point I’ve been pretty much left to figure it out on my own. Which is really the only way it’s going to work. I’m going to figure out what questions to ask, how to ask them and the right time to ask them and then ask them.

It’s very self directed and that seems to be the only way it is going to work.

My managers and supervisors are all very nice people but they can be pretty mean. They’ve all got big and busy tasks to do and training falls pretty low on the list of important things. It’s hard to deal with for all involved and it really is best if the trainee is trying to train themselves.

Many people have pointed out that this is not really ok. And though I agree I don’t really see any way in reality that things are going to work for me without this job. They seem to like me. I’m still making mistakes but I’m really interested in not making mistakes and they know it. This job really is perfect for me and I have the freedom in my life right now to be in a stable living situation and learn how to do my job so that when I’ve got to move out of this safe space I will not be expending so so SO much energy simply learning how to continue on at my job.

It’s a highly professional job. A lot of companies have charge accounts and so getting those right is of vital importance. Really getting everything right is of vital importance. It’s a work and safety company and the people we’re supplying are highly professional people. There’s a high degree of procedure.

But life will be ok. Because I have this time to learn my job and when I move I will be in a better place with my work.

I really just hope they don’t fire me. That would be something that would be hard to recover from.

Corporatization and it’s effects on democracy as we know it.

This is a concept heavy post that involves very little real research or external links to get you to other connecting concepts and or more information. (Maybe I lied a little there. Lets find out together.)

This is a feeling that I have. A dream of mine and nightmare all in the same time.

It requires a set of assumptions that I shall state now:

  • North America is a capitalist society in the late stages of capitalism. We have reached a level of commodification and transfer of our labour for the means with which to survive and make a life that it has a long list of harms that are inflicted upon the citizens enduring this toxic societal organization. And it doesn’t need to be that way.
  • Corporations make massive amounts of money in our society. Technically the people that run them don’t, it is the corporation that makes the money but they totally make tons of money in bonuses and other things even if their ‘salary’ is ‘low’. What? You only got paid 360,000 dollars that year? I guess the state will tax you at that rate. Oh. You used a million dollars for ‘work expenses’? Our society creates loopholes that are meant to help small businesses that actually help big businesses. We enshrine the idea that the corporation is accountable to its shareholders and thus somehow actually accountable… We trust corporations with our land, our wildlife and in many cases, our livelihoods which  might be built off the land or our wildlife… and they repeatedly break our trust… because we are not their shareholders. Their shareholders are elsewhere reaping the benefits of the corporation.

It is my position that our political system reflects this in a major way. In Canada, there isn’t a political party where if the party leader doesn’t like you for ANY REASON they can tell their local constituency organization that they chose wrong and to chose again when they nominate their chosen representative. Because our MPs and MLAs-all of them to different degrees- need to toe the party line.

There’s a lot of reasons I hate this but the primary one is that I think it does irreparable damage to the nature of democracy in Canada and moves us away from a system of cooperation despite and though difference towards a more American dissolution of society based on irreconcilable differences.

When a political party leader who is running in my riding who is part of a party I feel is diametrically opposed to my lifestyle gets elected… it’s their DAMNED JOB TO FUCKING REPRESENT ME. If their party line toeing gets in the way of that… I can’t trust them because they aren’t working for me. They’re working for their party.

I feel the opposite must be true when my chosen political leaders get elected for the people who view their message of accepting my lifestyles as an attack on their own. Maybe in a righteous world where justice is real I could trust that their politician would actually advocate for me. But we don’t live in that world.

The citizens are a politicians shareholders. They’re elected to represent all of them… not just the ones that voted for them. But I believe that the thread of corporatization in our society has woven itself into our politics in a way that may not be able to be undone without serious changes to the way we run politics.

We need more local involvement. But our society is organized in such a way that people don’t have the time or energy for it… who benefits? The people who have the time and energy and money to do it within the current system.

How do we move forward? Do we just FIND the time and energy and try anyway?

I don’t know how to do that.

Let’s leave off some Jonathan Coulton to correct the bad feels brought up by excessive thinking.

 

 

You don’t understand the way you think you understand….

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I hear this a lot from Polyamorous people: “I totally understand cancelling if you don’t have the spoons to hang out, but like. Give me a reason and not some sketch bullshit!”

Yeah. That’s paraphrased. But I have directly seen someone looking askance at someone’s presented reasoning for a cancellation while saying they would certainly understand if that person explained it to them using a reference to energy level for chronically ill people that *I* found online years ago and don’t tend to see people who have disabilities talking about (spoons) as much as I see random people who may or may not have a chronic illness talking about.

If someone needs to couch their explanation of what’s going on for them (with their mental health/life issues) PERFECTLY for you to understand them….

That’s not fucking understanding. That’s actually the OPPOSITE of understanding.

And it’s extremely harmful. But I don’t see a good way out of it.

It’s … hard being there for someone when they don’t know what’s going on. The things that make things right for us aren’t necessarily going to be there making it right for someone else if we try to do the same things. Even if we *DO* understand disability or mental illness.

I don’t have a good idea of how to better go about dealing with all these things. But I do know it isn’t to say we understand something we don’t.

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