Saturday, October 19, 2019

Dad died.

My dad died on his birthday. October 11th. I was lucky to be home. I was home in time to go to the hospital and say goodbye. I was able to hold his hand while he was still lucid. He didn't suffer for a long time. Watching somebody fade away from life isn't easy, but in this case it was as painless as such a thing is ever likely to be. I'm thankful for that. I'm also thankful that my sister stepped up to write the eulogy. She did a great job. A lot of people showed up to the funeral. My dad was a well-loved guy. He made a lot of people laugh. He was always joking, and he passed that down to me.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

My thoughts at the moment.

The feeling of panic won't stop. That's not true. I get little breaks here or there. If I'm talking to a friend, or riding a bicycle, or drinking - I might get a pause. Drinking isn't good though, 'cause now it can also make things worse. So I'm trying to keep that in check. I'm taking that drug, Effexor, which is supposed to kick in after taking it for weeks. But I think the bulk of this panic is situational - breakup combined with being back in Pennsylvania, as unsure about what I am doing as ever before, and now yet another year older.

I want to be a good girl for somebody. I had that. A lot of the other parts of the relationship were a mismatch, but I loved being somebody's girlfriend. I'm told that can happen again. I don't want to look for it. I can't stand this dating stuff. I get way too close way too fast. I am blinded by the positives, and I ignore the feeling in my chest that tells me it isn't a good match. I don't trust myself.

Like a classic complete idiot, I tried to text or email Chance a few times. The way it ended, it seemed like friendship might be possible. I thought we were both sad, but on the same page, acknowledging that we have differences, and it would be best to part ways. Then Chance let me have it. They texted a good solid list of everything I did wrong, and what the DSM would medically diagnose as being wrong with me. I said I would look into it, apologized, and promised not to contact them again. Borderline personality disorder? Sure, some of the symptoms have a ring of truth, but it isn't a fit. I don't torpedo relationships. For the most part, I am healthy in that regard. And I hold hate for nobody. Emotionally abusive? Probably. I don't do well under pressure, and I get defensive. When I speak precisely, I sound like an asshole, while I am only trying to select words carefully. There's no malice. I try to communicate appropriately, but I get frustrated, and I fall short. I was a total dick more than a few times. Always sorry, but still a total dick.

What I need to do is stop replaying all of these thoughts on repeat. I try to practice mindfulness, and it is nearly impossible. The thoughts keep on cycling. I can only get brief moments of peace. At least I am glad that I'm trying. I probably care way too much about what people think of me. I try hard to live by a personal code of ethics. But the fact is, people misunderstand each other, and relationships are difficult. Over the past few years, I haven't had a good track record. Three people who I've become very close with have either cut me out of their lives, or I had to stop talking to them. I don't do well when that happens. I am not doing well right now.

What I'd like to do is approach my situation systematically - focusing on one step at a time. I have the exact same goals and ideas as one year ago before I moved to Austin for the second time. I feel like I have made zero progress. I have nothing to show for it. Maybe I need to make a third attempt to reach the same goals. Maybe it will just take me years rather than months to figure out where my place is, and what my simple sustainable life might look like. I want to find that life and stop moving around so much. I want to feel happy where I am. I almost had that in Austin, and then I got into a relationship. There were some positives about that relationship, but if I'm being honest with myself, I know I should have ended it much sooner. But I let myself fall in love. I completely surrendered. I tried to let myself get swept into somebody else's life and reality at the expense of my own sense of self. I am still coming back to my own personal reality. I hope I learned something.

I know what I want. I want to find a way to make money with sewing in any capacity. I want to stop selling books, and switch to sewing. I want to find a partner who rides bicycles and laughs. I want a partner who has an adventurous spirit. I can compromise a great deal, but for once I want to make sure the fundamentals are in place before I practically get married, and then bail out, leaving massive double heartache in my wake. I'd like to quit packing up my van and running away from shit. I want to belong to community. I want to get my meds sorted out, and have good helpful therapy. I want to continue practicing mindfulness, and feel connected to the earth spiritually on a more regular basis. I want to be satisfied with where I stand in the present.

Everything I want seems simple and possible. I believe I will find my place geographically and in spirit. Above all, I simply want peace. I am a wreck.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Good things that happened since leaving Chicago.

So yeah, shit feels pretty generally fucked up right now. And I like to type all about things that make me feel fucked up, 'cause I think maybe it's relatable, or maybe I just want to write it down, so I can crumble it up into a little ball and flush it down the toilet. So my writing is infused with all sorts of negative thoughts, when in reality I'm living a pretty sweet life. Sure, I am at a particularly low point right now, but good things still happen. Ask anybody who rides a bicycle: everything isn't all bad.

So let me think of some good shit that's been happening since I packed up my van and drove away from Chicago.

Bicycling.
First thing I was able to get myself to do is ride a bicycle. Haven't been doing that nearly enough, that's for sure. I looked up the Bike Kennett schedule on FarceBook, and decided to go on the Monday ride. I texted my friend, Diana, who goes on some of the rides, and she suggested we meet before the ride. The Monday ride is for beginners, which we are not, so we planned to ride some extra miles with hills. I met up with my Hoopty, which is my only current operational bicycle, but fuckit that's the one I love. I wore my first and favorite skirt that I got in Austin. Diana wore some flashy gold sparkle bike shorts. All told, it was pretty hot stuff.

I can't figure out what people think about me. I know some people like me, but are they interested in me? I thought I could sense interest last summer when we went on rides together, but I also couldn't be sure if Diana thought I was gay. I mean... I tried to explain myself a couple times, but I'm not sure my words translate. She knows I had a wife. But on the question of whether I was into guys or girls, I paused. The answer is girls, but it's a little more nuanced than that. And when it comes to pronouns, you can just assume that you're going to confuse people. Maybe I should have simply explained that I am a shy submissive genderqueer anal slut, who also likes traditional values and vanilla sex. Instead I left it vague.

Deciding to put aside for the moment that I can't stand gender norms, especially when it applies to dating, I determined that it would be a good idea to be a little bit more direct and just ask her out on a date. I have absolutely no business dating anybody right now - being that I am crushed inside - but I didn't let that stop me. So a couple days after that ride, I texted in the morning asking if she'd like to go to dinner with me next week. The response? "Of course!"

It's hard to misconstrue what that means. Asking somebody to dinner is a date, right? I still had my doubts. First of all, she started beginning all of her texts with "friend" and further, though polite about it, I don't think she really understands queerness, or at least my specific brand of it. Whatever. I could clarify at dinner. Secondly, and perhaps more important, Diana is way out of my league. Her family has horses, and she hangs out with people whose shirts have buttons up the front. She has a career. I can't compete with that. You'd have to reeeeeeally be into me. Which is technically possible, because I happen to be cool as fuck. But it's still a stretch.

Well, dinner got downgraded to lunch. When she sat about 75 feet away from me, I began feeling more confident that I was correctly reading vibes. That's ok, because I like Diana, and it was beneficial for me simply to get out of the house. Plus, I'd never asked anybody to dinner before, and now I have - so practice. I did still want to be direct, so when it seemed appropriate in the flow of conversation, I admitted that I had attempted to ask her on a date. For some people this might cause an awkwardness, but I am fucking awesome, so it was not a big deal. The answer, which I was already almost sure of, is that she wants to hang out as friends.

I don't want to actually date. I just crave affection. If somebody would hold me, or rub my back, it would work wonders for my emotional pain right now. On the car ride back to the house, I filled Diana in on some of the details of my recently ended relationship, just to confirm that we had absolutely no common ground other than bicycling. And maybe a little bit of mutual attraction, honestly I have no idea. But she didn't know what pegging is, so that's not a very good start.

Hiking.
I went hiking with my friend Rochelle. We met on a platonic friend app years ago, because 1) I was lonely, and 2) We have a lot in common. Rochelle is an important friend. She introduced me to the term genderqueer, which is important, being that it describes me, so I should know about it. We've had some deep conversations and gotten to know each other pretty well on our hikes and over long hours of texting.

There is no need for secrets, so we can really open up about our lives. There are fewer boundaries than with some of my other less open friends. I suppose I push those boundaries, since I have a general tendency toward oversharing, but I think it has been mutually beneficial. I love Rochelle like a sibling. She calls me sibs sometimes, and it makes me feel warm and connected. None of this is to mention that every time we get together, there are going to be some pretty seriously hard laughs.

I'm a failure at planning and organizing. Rochelle knows all the hikes. All I had to do was show up at her house, and she picked a place for us to go. Getting outside is medicine. We went for a long walk in the woods and talked. We got to a riverbank with tons of flat stones, and skipped them across the water. The value of this is hard to overstate. It took a difficult anxiety-ridden day, and made it livable, and even enjoyable. Then she got me pizza and showed me the crafty projects she is working on. What would I have done otherwise? I'd have sat around broken and brain-fucked. Instead, I healed a little bit. I looked up through the trees and saw light filtering down. I am alive, and I will stay that way for awhile.

Saw my ex-wife.
Kristin thinks I should cut my hair. Nobody is going to want to have sex with me if I don't clean up my look. That's what she thinks. I'm dubious. I think my winning personality actually goes a long way. But I'm willing to listen, because our brains work in a similar way, and I trust her insight. Yesterday was rough. I didn't quite manage to leave the house, and in fact I was barely able to get up off the bed. I binge watched Netflix shows, and stared off into space. I finally mustered the courage to begin a profile on FetLife, and I texted her to see if she'd friend me and tell me what I'm doing wrong. She is well equipped to tell you what you are doing wrong. She used to draw a web comic called "This is What's Wrong With You."

Kristin is doing a lot better, I think. She's dating two or three people in some polyamory deal where they all date each other and it's somehow pretty much fine. It was nice to see her again, and her tiny dog Daisy who I absolutely miss and love. We caught up. She had some sound advice about love and sex and anxiety and ADHD medications. She has experience and perspective, and I either trust her judgement, or at least am willing to consider it. When it comes to makeup, she knows her stuff, and she showed me a few ideas that might assist me in feeling and looking more comfortably femme. She also thinks my hair and clothing are an issue - I'll explore what she's talking about, and see how it makes me feel. I self-identify as kind of a bum, and she says that's going to keep me from getting laid. I don't think I have the emotional strength to think about it much right now, but I do have a great fashion ally if and when the time comes.

In conclusion.
Everything doesn't suck. I have a good support network. I'm getting up and getting outside. I'm healing. I hung out with my friends Kat and Drew. They understand kink issues, and they tell me they love me and how happy they are to see me again. Kat made dinner, and we had a good time sitting around a fire. I went to a show in Philly with Shelly, and we got to talk and catch up. It was a good show, and I saw others who I knew. The anxiety was fresh and potent that night, but I managed to wear a pink polkadot skirt on Girard Avenue, and weather the storm with music. I face-timed with Mike until 4am one night. I'm going to a birthday thing for Kyler tomorrow to see Philly bicycle friends, and I'm going to hike for ten days on the Appalachian Trail with Jonas starting on October 1st. In short, yes I am a lucky person, and yes I will survive.

Love,
Chris


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Picking gravel out of my skin.

I tried to hold on for dear life.
Eventually, it was too much, and I slipped.
I fell to the road surface, my body rolled; skidded to a stop.
Covered in cuts and bruises, I laid there for a minute.
Then I stood up and began to walk.
After a few miles, I stuck out my thumb.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Back in Pennsylvania

I still exist. I broke up with my human partner because I felt like I knew it was the right thing to do. I know it was. I am in Pennsylvania because I'm going hiking with Jonas soon, and I needed the safety net of the Harne house to crash land into. I left my person on good terms, but it was one of the saddest challenges I can remember. I was in love, and I never want to put myself through trying to date people again. I want to find my person, and I push real hard to reconcile any differences to make it work. I lost sight of myself, I lost my sense of self. I ignored my needs, my comfort, my reality.

I'm moving my health insurance shit back to Pennsylvania and never changing my official address again in my life. I'll move, but that address change shit is too much. My health insurance doesn't kick in until November 1st (also my birthday) so my wonderful mom is paying out of pocket for me to go to a new doctor and explore the options for anti-anxiety medication, which I am convinced will help, and eventually Adderall, which has helped with motivation and organization in the past. Right now? I can hardly do a single fuckin' thing. I'm broken.

I'm going to get better. The logical part of my brain recognizes the pieces of the puzzle and the path to wellness. The emotional part of my brain is falling apart, and I just keep sobbing. I found a human who knew my pronouns, and called me their girl, and loved me. They were always kind to me, and I felt like I finally had a partner who could take care of me with the things I am not good at. It wasn't enough. The move to Chicago was stressful, and I felt overwhelming panic every day. I began to hurt my partner with my words and actions, and I felt helpless to stop. Everything I said was misinterpreted, or correctly interpreted but infused with unfortunate frustration and panic. Eventually it was too much, and I had to do what I always do: load up my van and drive away.

I have a prescription for Effexor, which is an anti-depressant. I've been taking it for two days, but it's supposed to take 2-6 weeks to have an effect. My self image is not that of a depressed person, but I am at a point where I feel that I need to be open-minded about any help so I can start to feel like I am myself. I want to feel like I am operating my own body. I know that the breakup is a causal factor in how I am feeling, but also that the symptoms have existed at some level forever. I have been suffering. I know that my suffering is simple and lightweight compared to the struggles of others, and frankly I don't know how people live like that. Like this.

I will find my path, and I will soon enough be able to travel again and reach goals. Simple stuff. I am doing everything in my power to make it so. But for right now, I am only trying to hold it together. Keep it together. Mindfulness. Stop replaying every detail of the relationship which caused me discomfort and panic. Pump the brakes on the sobbing. Ride a bicycle. You've got this, Chris. You go, girl. It's going to be better than fine. Soon. Just hang in there.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

I'm moving to Chicago.

A lot has transpired, and a lot is in motion. I am back together with Chance, thank god, and we are moving to Chicago. Right now I am having a fucked up ADHD day, and I want to post an update here, but I can hardly articulate a single thing I want to say. This stuff that I say - writing here - has gone on far longer than makes any sense. I never write about the cool stuff anymore. This is a personal blog where I used to be proud to post every feeling I had. I can't do that the same way I used to. I am the same person, and life simply keeps chugging along. I don't have so many fresh epiphanies or realizations about myself or the nature of existing as a human being on Earth. I am simply doing it, and I don't have so much to say.

I am absolutely confused and overwhelmed. I am exhausted. I fail to have a sense of reality, and I feel I have always been groundless in that regard. I am a fleshy bag of guts and emotions with electrical charges shooting aimlessly through gray water. At my best times, I find this state hilarious.

Everything is as it should be. How it must be. I am not depressed, I am simply out of my mind.

At times on a bicycle, in a place that is unfamiliar, I look for the highest point and ride to it. I find a path or destination, and follow an invisible thread. That is the only thing I do. That is the only thing of which I am capable.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Breaking up with Chance.

I was seeing somebody for four months. We broke up. I broke up with them two days ago, and last night we talked calmly and the breakup really set in. Now I am back on the ocean, adrift. I feel nauseous. I feel hopeful, but mostly horrible. I keep replaying pieces of the last four months in my mind. There is no button for Stop. I am always going to be okay no matter what. There is no button for Fast Forward. (Life is evidently more complex than a VCR.)

When I arrived in Austin, I was full of hope. This is the opportunity which I created to start fresh. It still is. I can't talk about the relationship now. Another person's privacy; I can't right now anyway.

I am fighting to find a new track and stay on it. I am begging the universe.

I stayed at their apartment almost every night. Our lives got massively intertwined almost immediately. Beautifully at times. Now I am in detox. I broke up because logic told me to, not because we couldn't have been together longer. I broke up because my gut told me to find the courage to do what ought to be done. We are different people who need different things.

It feels less like pulling off a band-aid and more like creating a fresh wound.

I hope I am able to find the track. I feel like I am close. I have every single ingredient, I just need to learn how to cook.

Monday, July 1, 2019

The cavalry is coming, but they're going to be slow to arrive.

"Is that... what's happening now?"

I held my hands out; palms up and shook yes. Frustrated to a meltdown. The last crumb of smashed glass in the road, which rain so far has failed to wash away.

I walked into the therapy office in high spirits, sober again for a few days, and having ridden a bicycle like a bird in flight to get there. I changed in the bathroom upon arrival. I put on my one shirt with buttons. Sweat immediately made circles, which spread and met everywhere. Sweat is ok, I said, we all know Texas is hot.

I did a fine job of introducing myself. I was an intelligent boy with a beard - worth helping, worth medicating. An alcoholic - sure, it's in the notes, but I'm picking myself up, you can see. An optimist! A person seeking light! Hell, I went to church this week.

Fifteen minutes into the appointment, I had to admit that I wasn't sure why I was there. It had been explained to me twice at the behavioral intake appointment what the next steps were. I had asked for a slower and simpler recap of what I was supposed to do, and the kind person there went through it again patiently. I felt too embarrassed to ask for a third run-through, and I didn't ask that we write it down so we could review it with written words. I arranged an appointment before leaving - the next step - but couldn't remember what the appointment was for, or how that piece fit into the puzzle of me trying to get access to my meds again.

The therapist explained the process again, and again I felt like I understood. I was there for talk therapy. I would need to wait for a psychiatrist who can prescribe Adderall - if they feel like it. The therapist checked their computer: I had no appointment for a psychiatrist. I was supposed to get a call, but nobody had called in the week since the intake appointment. We walked to the front desk together to sort this out - by now it was becoming clear that I was a lost child and I needed some help. The next available appointment was in two months. Two months until I might get the meds which make an enormous improvement to my life. There was talk of phone calls and what sounded like badgering people, and I began to feel clouded and upset. Sensing this, or maybe responding to loud echoing cues, the therapist asked if I would like to talk about it in private instead of publicly at the front desk. I shook my head yes.

I explained that my partner had helped me move my insurance to Texas, and that they were better at knowing what I was supposed to be doing, but that I couldn't keep having crying meltdowns in front of them.

"Is that... what's happening now?"

Fuck yes that's what is happening. I should have arrived wearing a clown suit so we could cut to the chase. I had already stated as a fact for the record that my shit was all fucked up. Time was up like fifteen minutes ago, but the kindest therapist on the planet said she didn't mind because she didn't have an appointment after mine. We used her computer to sign into my account with my insurance provider. She explained a few things slowly, and wrote the important parts on a piece of pink paper which I lost.

I told myself this later: "The cavalry is coming, but they're going to be slow to arrive." I like that. You can use that if you want.

1) Try not to get drunk
2) Ride a bicycle more
3) Smoke a little weed and work slowly
4) Turn up the volume and bounce with it

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

June 18, 2019

Pro Tip: if you're going to saw up plywood to make shelves, probably do it outside. I know it's hot and there are mosquitoes on the porch now, but if you run the saw inside, you're going to get sawdust all over everything. It will be yuck.

I made some cool shelves for my room. The room is still a shitshow, but now there are some shelves. I can either paint the shelves, or just start putting stuff on them. I don't know. The shelves would look nicer if I had a router and I could bevel the front edges. Also, if I cut the dividers to the correct size, it would look a little bit straighter, but most people probably won't notice.

You know what would be cool? A workshop. I'd love to have an organized shop with a table saw and all that. I'd love to be building stuff like these shelves for a living. I don't have any college degree or anything, so if I'm not able to stay self employed, the available job situation looks kinda grim. I mean... I'd gladly work on a garbage truck if I had to, but I'd like to be in charge of my schedule if I can. I'd also like to make more money when I work harder, and less if I don't.

One step at a time. I'm trying to be accepting of my slow pace. I just don't have a lot of oomph to throw at the day. I have a few productive hours. Maybe.

I got some real progress going on having health insurance, and thus Adderall. I just gotta pay the bill, and I should theoretically then be able to make an appointment with a doctor. I've been holding onto some pills for emergency, and only using them sparingly, and never taking an adequate dosage. 20mg is good.

I took 20mg of Adderall yesterday, and that's how these shelves appeared in my room. The previous day, I took nothing, and it was a considerable struggle just to simply buy the plywood. I've got stupid anxiety coming from any direction these days. So you know what? I drank beer. It was quick and effective. That was a couple weeks ago. Yesterday, after building the shelves, I went to pick up Chance after work, which is a thing I do a lot. I've been staying at their place pretty much constantly, so it has been easy to ignore the state of my own home.

Me and Chance went out to get tacos and beer. I was still feeling the Adderall, but it was wearing off a little bit. I haven't taken a full 20mg pill in a long time, so I wasn't used to it, and I felt uncomfortable. Nothing beer couldn't fix. We had lots of beer, and I had a legitimately enjoyable time. I wish it was always that easy forever.

I took another 20mg today, so I oughta be doing something to get my room - aka sewing studio - set up and operational. Instead, I am typing this shit, 'cause I haven't written anything in a month, so it seemed like a conversational-sounding post was in order. Alright, wish me luck. Like... a lot of luck.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Teamwork.

I'm on track. It can be challenging to remember my goals; short and long-term. Even with an uncomplicated life, it only takes a few items on a list to overwhelm and sink me. Chance, the adult human who I am dating, has been helping me move to Texas officially on paper. A project like that takes every bit of wherewithal I can muster. Doing it alone feels almost impossible.

Usually I feel relief only by remembering that if I do absolutely nothing for long enough, I might one day die in peace, and leave The Man empty-handed.

I got my passport renewed. I'm riding a bicycle to Mexico with a bunch of goofballs in two days, so it's a damn good thing I have a passport. I waited way too long, and still didn't even look up the renewal process. I waited long enough that I had to drive to Houston and pay for expedited service and Express Mail. Chance set up an appointment for me at the Houston passport agency, and texted me that I had to open an email and confirm the appointment. I didn't ask them to do this, but they knew it needed to be done, so they went ahead and did it for me.

I got my passport renewed, and I used my new Texas address. I switched my car insurance to Texas, which is cheap as shit, and got a real authentic Texas licence plate. Next up is a Texas driver's licence, and from there I should be able to finalize the moving of my health insurance to a plan that works in Texas. If I can manage all that, I will have access to Adderall, which feels like the most critical piece in this particular puzzle o' bullshit. Oh: back taxes. Chance is helping with that too.

What am I bringing to the table? I am happy to wash all of the dishes we could ever make dirty. I can try to never get mad. I am utterly relieved to be with somebody who has skills and wants to have a relationship that operates as a team. They said so. I can't imagine more compelling words to say to me. With the opposite powers of our weird brains combined, I think we might become stronger than the sum of our parts. I am excited to find opportunities to contribute, but the team captain has the skills which prove more useful on a daily basis. For now I show appreciation and try to help more than I get in the way.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Doing mostly great. Can't claim 100%, cause minor panic attacks here and there. Other times I'm dancing in the kitchen.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

This masterpiece who I found.

I'm in love. It's happening too quickly, but what a relief. When their kindness came into focus, my defenses crumbled. I wasn't expecting gentle and kind. I was developing feelings and butterflies, but I was holding them at bay. I was protecting myself; preparing for the stoic aftermath of probable rejection. Now I have opened myself fully to see what can happen. They say they feel lucky to be with me. I feel like they have been an underappreciated genius for too long. We're both right.

Best to not type about these things, but I can't help it. I'm not thinking about anything else, and I can't think of anything clever to say. Here is something I haven't felt in a long time. Here is something I have never seen before. I submit myself to the forces of nature. Let me show my friends this masterpiece who I found.

Friday, April 26, 2019

I'm glad I had the gall to change locations. I'm relieved that I was able to stay afloat and mobile long enough to allow such a move. It's hard to imagine that I've already been in Austin for almost four months. But I'm also not good at time.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

I stood eight feet back from a giant blank canvas. I gripped a paintbrush in my fist - the kind of brush you would use to paint a house. Pennsylvania hadn't felt like home for many years. I submerged the brush in a bucket of paint, letting the gray primer cover the bristles, the handle, my hand just past the wrist. I pulled my hand out of the bucket and watched the paint dribble and stream to the floor. Then I pitched the brush forcefully at the canvas.

Monday, April 22, 2019

That's my jam.

Loquats. Nobody has ever heard of them. They are little fruits in Texas, and we've got plenty of ripe ones in the yard. My personal genius and I picked most of a 5-gallon bucket, and proceeded to make jam. I can claim an assist, but that jam probably wasn't getting cooked up too fast if it was left up to me. It was a learning experience. Not only did I learn something about making jam, I witnessed a rational and efficient method of approaching any experimental new project. I recognized areas where I would expect to find hurdles, but was instead guided carefully around these with a certain nonchalance. Move forward with imperfection; make adjustments as needed.

The jam is delicious. There is too much sugar, predictably, because we followed a recipe. People always add way too much sugar. But still, it is delicious, and we've only made two jars. We have a huge bucket of loquats to experiment with, and the preparation is now streamlined. We figured it out. We can try reducing the sugar in subsequent small batches until we arrive at something which at least pretends to respect the flavor of loquat. Or we can let a bucket of fruit go rotten, and have more sex instead.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Tiptoe cautiously through doors.

I recently finished the book "Thinking in Pictures" by Temple Grandin. I read "Animals in Translation" years ago, and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to have more information about Temple's unique way of thinking and interpreting the world. Both books provide insight into the way people with autism think. Like a lot of non-autistic people, I am a verbal thinker, which I didn't know or understand until Temple Grandin explained the way which she organizes her thoughts and ideas like playing back a video. Her explanation of this superpower is fascinating. I had no idea that some brains work in the way that she describes. How could I? I lack a firm grasp on even my own.

Both of Temple's books serve as a reminder that humans process information in vastly different ways. It is important to remember that we can't assume what another person's thoughts or experience might be. Our processes are different, and our interpretation of inputs and variables are different. We can learn an enormous amount from listening to different types of thinkers - but as a whole, I am afraid we do not prioritize this. We value one type of thinking, and we allow one type of personality to gain and hold power over all of the rest of us. It causes suffering. We routinely ignore valuable insight from fringe thinkers because we don't focus on how to communicate better and accept new information and ideas from people who are natural experts on matters which we don't even understand the possible critical importance of. The world baffles me. I feel like I am trying to jog through waist-deep syrup. Did I put the syrup there, or is it institutional? Why do we value a money-based measure of economic health, rather than trying to maximize happiness and access to a sense of community and wellbeing? I'm glad that these questions have been asked, but I am not confident that improvement will be swiftly forthcoming.

Temple Grandin said something that I think about all the time. She describes in Thinking in Pictures how she visualizes a new chapter in life as going through a door. She will visualize a specific door which has significance to a period of her life, and imagine herself walking through this doorway to represent entering a new era, or the completion of a big project. When graduating from college, she pictured a specific door on campus that led to an area which she found peaceful.

Even as a verbal thinker, I am finding utility in using door imagery in my own life. I don't use images of specific doors like Temple does, and for me the image of passing through a door does not represent a major milestone, but rather the simple act of trying anything new. There is a measure of calculation and discomfort every time I try something new. Because of this, I tend to repeat the same activities, and go to the same places which are familiar. In spite of this tendency, I recognize the value of opening new doors - something helpful or wonderful could be behind any new door, and the risk involved to see is usually negligible. I am a horrible organizer. It would be easy for me to get stuck in a loop if I didn't make a conscious effort to force myself to sometimes open new doors. I don't explore - I do a cost-benefit analysis, and conclude that exploration would be in my best interest. I require more time to acclimate. I am a late bloomer and a slow reader.

I have been opening some new doors recently. One door was as simple as finding a new bagel and coffee place which I like. Pretty easy. New doors are not always hard to open, but it helps a lot if there is another person to walk through a door with me, who also has a catalog of tons of fun doors, and they will hold your hand as you tiptoe cautiously through.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wait it out.

Two days ago, I was doing great. That's the date on this post. And oh what a day it was. I don't fuckin' know. Now I'm sitting around sorta bugging out, and it's been awhile. It's not even a real panic attack - it's more like a panic attack you would have if you were a giant stupid baby. I knew it would happen again, and here we are. Typing through waves of discomfort. I'm not feeling very smart. I don't have much business trying to write anything at the moment, except I said something about posting on even days, so fuckit. Puke and cry? No. Wait it out. Wait this shit out. Wait this goddamn shit right the fuck out.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Learning more about birds.

I am floating slowly to the surface of a cool lake the consistency of molten plastic. Every nerve ending is kissed and warmed with a torch. I am exposed and unafraid. My defenses are swept away like dust under an anthropologist's brush. I might be eviscerated where I sit; watching with calm detachment. It would be worth it to learn more about birds.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Posting in repose.

I am posting on even days. We'll see how long that goes. It was a beautiful weekend, spent mostly in repose.

Friday, April 12, 2019

I recommend dropping acid.

I support hallucinogenic drugs. I have experimented and found value. If you are curious, seek them out. You should have water with you, and somebody who you trust. I have a respectful relationship with such drugs - I am ready to learn, or I am equally satisfied realizing that my wisdom is currently adequate and I am simply a 36-year-old person having a flat-out good time.

I was sitting on the porch wrapping up the previous post when Evan stopped by to see if he could use my printer. An hour later we were on acid and wandering around under some bridges. It was the middle of a hot afternoon, and I felt comfortably amused to be hanging out with this dude and making a joke out of absolutely everything.

When I moved to Austin, Evan was one of the first people I met. He was renting a room at the previous house where I lived, a forty-five second walk from the porch on which I now sit. We have a similar world view. We share similar strategies for interacting with people and the world. Evan is intelligent and hilarious. He has no bank account or ID and he keeps a load of his belongings in an unregistered van with broken windows in the back yard of the house where we lived. His stories are borderline alarming, and he operates in a manner considerably more cavalier than my own. One example of that is how he has liquid acid just chilling out in a drawer.

"I'm supposed to just trust you with that?" I joked; sticking out my tongue. "Yes" he replied matter-of-factly as he carefully dropped a small dose from a little squeeze bottle. Of course I did trust him, as strange as that might sound. I make strong connections quickly. When the pieces all fit, I listen. We have a spiritual bond that many people might find hard to understand. We get to choose which humans we associate with as members of our tribe. That is how it works for me. I have a tribe. I trust myself to be guided by vibes.

Should I tell the rest of the story? I had a fundraiser event at a thrift store downtown to raise money for Bikes Across Borders, a group that I am riding to Mexico with in May. When I took the acid I thought my odds of making it to the event were about 50/50. As the trip intensified over the course of a couple hours, I was able to gauge my control and recognize that I was absolutely ready to bike. I was riding to the event with Jaguar, so I filled him in about why my pupils were saucers, and we set out for Treasure City Thrift.

The room was hot and I felt a bit uneasy. I walked into the store and felt the artificial lighting upon me and breathed in the humid air. People were drinking cups and cans of beer. Jaguar kindly helped me confirm that the hibiscus tea contained no alcohol. I put some in my bottle and returned to the safe pavement in front of the store. I sat on the ground with my back to the wall, and I looked up to outer space. As the sun set, it illuminated a long line of clouds from below. Winds at the cloud level stretched the vapor, and it looked like the clouds were being teased with a comb from below. I watched the subtle shifting of light as the sun was tucked underneath the earth where I sat. Once again, I signed life's contract, which I find dubious and had no hand in drafting. I sat on cement, an organism or a conglomeration of objects and concepts, part of an impossibly complex interconnected whole. I sat relaxed in my ignorance, and at peace with what I think I know.

One thing I knew is that I needed food. I felt qualified to obtain fuel, but I sought Jaguar's assistance to make sure the transaction went smoothly. I was experiencing lime green and turquoise, and thought Jaguar might help interpret part of the taco ordering process. He did.

Should I tell the rest of the story? I got Jaguar a couple tacos too, and we sat in front of the thrift store and ate. A bicycle-y looking girl walked over and stood above us. As we all talked about the upcoming bicycle trip, I offered half of my second taco, which brought her down to street level. We soon learned that she knew of Jaguar by his previous name, and they share several friends and acquaintances.

Our new friend said she was planning to meet up with the Thursday night social ride at the mid-point. I had planned to skip the ride, since I'd be at the fundraiser, and I hadn't felt very social on the previous week's ride. I was invited to come along, and I considered this bonus content for an acid trip gone well.

Anybody familiar with the origin story of LSD is aware that it can play well with bicycling. Some people might feel uncomfortable riding a bicycle after dropping acid, but I can report that I am well equipped and uniquely qualified to handle such a circumstance. I cruised with a handful of folks over rolling hills for a few miles, to a large park with a basketball court where hard-partying adults were riding kids bikes in a tiny criterium race. I stood on the sidelines as a friend of mine, Jay, put on a surprisingly adept performance. He later told me he knew about the race in advance and practiced at work. Bicycle mechanic perk.

I felt great. I felt calm and at peace. I floated toward home in a flock of bicycles, listening to music from multiple sound systems - speeding up or slowing down to change stations within the group.

That is the full story.