Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Back to the Best Coast

Well work starts again in Oregon in just a few weeks now, which means that in a week or so I need to start heading west.

I don't know what to say.


You still suck.  But I'm glad I'm from you, because most places I go are lovely in comparison.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Hypersensitivity - Behavior and Experience

One of the things that can happen when you grow up in an environment that can at the drop of a hat become explosively hostile (my father was both bi-polar and a sociopath, 'nuff said) is that you can become a highly sensitive person (not to be confused with bi-polar, though there are some vague similarities).  In the unending march across egg-shells you are constantly looking for signs that one is about to crack, or that your actions might crack one.  And you become 'better' at noticing the most subtle of factors.  You pick up more information, by far out of any given scenario than your average person.

Over time this becomes a deeply, deeply ingrained part of who you are.  Not just in terms of psychology, but even on an apparently physiological nature.  And it manifests in very strange ways.  Some are good ways, for example I have a nearly photographic memory.  And as a friend I'll almost certainly know when something is bothering you, and probably specifically what as well.  But...  there is so much to ...deal with... too.

I've been thinking recently about a trip I took to New York, a very alien environment for me, and a place in particular filled with people and creatures and sounds and scents and social risks and numerous physical and psychological stimuli that were new and intense to me.  Coupled with the recent stressors of the political conflict with that Control Freak in Southern Illinois, being frisked and stuffed in a cruiser by the Ohio State Police on the way up, and the natural stress of 15 hours of driving to get there, plus concerns about finances and employment for the coming year, and a veritable mountain of bureaucratic bullshit to sift through regarding taxes and health insurance etc. my overstimulated mind and body was throwing up red flags.  Get out.  Get out.  Get out.  Wrong.  Wrong.  Wrong.  Too much.

An affectionate touch to the face by a cute cat or beautiful woman wasn't welcomed it was a matter of endurance.  The stimulation threshold had been reached.  The smells of manure on the fields wasn't just, oh, that's just some fresh shit on the fields, it was ...good God!, this is intolerable.   The slightest hint of lunch on a person's breath became repulsive.  A small tuft of down floating through the air and brushing across my nose became an egregious sensory experience.

People literally become ugly and repulsive to me when I start to become overstimulated, or at least I see their darkness with extreme enhancement and even gentle insignificant lies become flashing beacons of warning.  And all I want to do is escape into the wilds.

But that too can be overstimulating.  Sun in my eyes, wind in my nose.  I can start sneezing and being aggravated even without a particle of dust or pollen.  Annoying flies or mosquitoes can push me into allergy attacks, irrespective of their bites.

It sucks.  And for all the lessons I've learned and good habits I've learned and all the consciousness I've developed about treating people with minimal judgment and maximal respect and careful determined kindness, I think I may after-all be un-dateable on account of it.

How do you manage to spend an afternoon in bed with someone when a kiss on the cheek can sometimes become the sensory equivalent of having your face shoved in a bucket of sand?  Or when someone blowing on your ear makes you feel like you're being hit in the face with a pressure washer?  Or when you would literally, and I can't emphasize the truth and magnitude of it enough, literally prefer to be burned than to be tickled?

Who the hell is going to understand and accept that?  And how do you reconcile the need for meaningful human contact, with the need to not feel trapped and claustrophobically overloaded on days when sensory and emotional load is high?  Particularly in this equality obsessed society?  Women expect everything to be equal.  But I don't experience things the same way as most people.  And direct one-to-one equality is not possible.

All I can seem to do is confuse and ruin relationships one sensory overload at a time.  For example: Maybe I need some space on a day while I'm stressed about work and having an allergy attack while busy trying to cook dinner.  I tell them I'm a little claustrophobic right now and need some space.  What they take away is.... "oh, another fucking rule, I can't bother him while he's cooking dinner now, --fucking control freak."  or alternatively they try to force this rule on me, "well you can't ever bother me while I'm cooking then." when it wasn't a rule, just a transient situation of being overstimulated, like a cat you rile up playing with it too much and it starts to bite...  But people don't get this if they don't experience it themselves.  Most people are too numb from TV and the other opiates we consume en masse to understand it in the least.  And eventually I end up creating my own field of eggshells that they feel like they're walking on...  But it doesn't exist.  Because it's not a blanket of rules to be followed, it's just an occasional situation of over-stimulation that can be irritated by any of many, many things.  The point is not to memorize a million rules of things never to do, that's just creating an imaginary and irrelevant field of eggshells in your own mind that limits and hinders and ultimately ruins the relationship... The point is just to see and respect a condition of over-stimulation and stop riling up the cat, so to speak.  Or at least to not get mad at the cat when it walks out of the room to decompress.

I guess that's asking a lot.  But it is who I am.  I didn't ask for it.  But it is the cost of being a highly sensitive person.  It's the other side of the coin.  You want a sensitive person, this is the cost.  No one is sensitive just in the good ways.  You either are or you aren't.

So, reader of this, you may never know me, but you may know someone like me and you should know that you can't project the same rules for behavior on a highly sensitive person as you can for anyone else.  Things are much more situationally dependent.  And they experience the world very differently from you.  Behavior is a response to experience, and in order for you to understand if a person's behavior is reasonable you also need to understand the experience that they are having and consider that it might be very, very different from how you might experience the same situation.

Ever meet someone who had a "crazy" intense NO! reaction to being tickled?  Think about it.

And if you think that this sort of different person, my sort, ought to be labeled as someone with a "disorder" I respect your right to think that way, but would also suggest that you take every album you own, every novel, every painting, every poem and throw it in the trash, right now.  Because it is all a product of this "disorder" (or drugs).  All of it.  And our culture would immediately begin to terminally stagnate without it.  Terminally.  ...disorder...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Come on Spring!

Since I've last posted a great deal has happened, at least within the relatively dull frame of reference of my life.

Namely I ended up leaving my Southern Illinois job prematurely.  In short my reason for doing so was that I was put in a position where I was intended to be the crew leader in fact, while another, highly inexperienced guy had the official title.  They were forced to hire him into the position because he is a veteran.  I did not apply for or particularly want the responsibility, but the fact that he was told he would not actually be the leader, combined with territorial, entitled narcissism and a clear, potent and violent untreated case of PTSD, not to mention being a complete fuckhead and asshat, set him to slandering me and threatening me on completely phony grounds in order to "put me in my place" or whatever fucktards like this guy think they are doing.  Eventually he erred and threatened me with physical violence in front of witnesses and so I used that opportunity to expose him for the unhinged P.O.S. he is.  Unfortunately, my witnesses, for whatever reason, fear of the psycho they would have to work for perhaps, threw me under the bus in the investigation process with weak statements and I was called a liar by the District Ranger who is clearly of the fraternity that worships military veterans as infallible pillars of society...  Fuck the South.

Anyway, I decided that it would be best to duck out to avoid any additional political risk, with the God, Guns and 'Murica, crowd that had turned against me, as the cost of being terminated as a result of additional slander, or whatever would be steep leaving a stigma that would affect future job applications severely, whereas I could simply skip 3 paychecks and be outside of the risk altogether.  So I did.  And now I'm missing out on Southern Illinois Morel Mushroom season, which is heartbreaking, but I am also missing out on tick season, which is not.  And the control-freak asshat has been exposed, at least.  They will believe the next person who comes forward about his shit, and he will be done.  Integrity is expensive... uhg...

Anyway, life rolls on.

Ole Bessie rolls on, amazingly.

And it looks more and more each day like the Fates intend for me to return to Crater Lake.

Spring has been reluctant to ...spring.  But that may be on account of my being 400 some miles north of where I declared winter to be over.  It's a dreary transition phase, and as always, the uncertainty of the season with respect to work, and taxes and the annual barrage of bureaucracy has left me more anxious than I would like.  I am continually reminding myself to live in the moment.  To be here, now.  But I am experiencing some strange phenomena, namely a sort of hyper sensitivity to scents.  I'm not sure where that is coming from, a mechanistic cause, a subconscious one or perhaps something more mystical.  But never-the-less it is tweaking my experience of reality in a way that is confusing and difficult to navigate.  Particularly while dating.  Weird.

I am also heavily pondering my vehicle situation.  With well over a quarter million miles on Bessie the time is coming, although I have been saying that for the last 120,000 miles.  But a recent accosting by the Ohio State Police, when I was obeying traffic laws to the letter, and was very polite and forthcoming and respectful still landed me in the back of a cruiser with a drug dog sniffing my truck and me being questioned about drugs and other shit that is none of their damned business.  So I am weighing the pros and cons of acquiring a vehicle that makes it looks more like I am a regular dull wage slave to the debt society.  Depending upon Bessie's cooperation, of course, this will likely have to wait until this fall, but it is something weighing heavily on my mind.  My thoughts on strategy for this change often and right now I'm thinking a Les-mobile, aka Subaru Forester (33 mpg highway), which can be had new for a quite reasonable amount, and just going very minimalist with my tools and equipment and whatnot.  But perhaps Toyota will finally have gotten their shit together with the 2016 model year and made some reasonable fuel economy improvements in the Tacoma.  I'm really pretty damned sick of dealing with old car issues and would like to for a few years at least have a zero worries vehicle.  So as much as the economics of a new car are not always the best, it might just make sense for me.  Stress kills you, literally, and if you're not factoring it into the economics of life, you're making serious miscalculations.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Fall of Winter

Winter ends now.


It has exhausted itself, and I have outlasted it.

My sap is flowing.

And the snow is melting.

I felt The Death Card right itself as the Moon rose on a new lunar year.  And out spilled the last of my loose emotions.

Then a new beginning perhaps.  With the prophesied Warm and Buxom Mystery-ess in the North.   ...and if not, I suppose that is OK too.  But it was a very nice weekend in New York.  And I aim to return when the mud is thick and air is fresh with the first green of Spring.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Marching to the sea.

Not much new to report lately.  I've just been enjoying my work.  I've been rounding out my skills learning some advanced tree-felling techniques, fancy bore-cuts and all and have had the opportunity to set fire to hundreds of acres of the South.  hehe  Setting fire to a swamp is an interesting experience to say the least, running from your own fire while trying not to drown.  Fun stuff.

I've also been saving up bits of interesting hardwoods for craft projects lately and come march when my chisels and spokeshave arrive I plan to be very busy indeed.  Spring is almost here!  Morel season is almost here!  Making extra money in the heart of burn season overtime is almost here!  Winter hasn't been bad at all.  Being on my own has been pretty damned good really.  But man!  Am I ever ready for spring and all its busy richness and long day-light hours and campfires and fried mushrooms and sauteed mushrooms with shallots and heavy cream.  And the smell of sassafras leaves green on the trees.  And then lilacs and wisteria and all the scents of spring.

But it's snowing right now.  And that's alright too.  Just a few more weeks.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

In Defense of the Selfie

Not many people have been more critical of the narcissism that the smart phone era has enabled than I have, but it seems the rest of the world is catching up to me.  And now the term selfie, tied directly to that narcissism has arisen to ubiquity, thanks to Australia for the diminutive term... The word itself deeply implies shallowness and vanity.  And frankly that bothers me a bit, and only to a very limited extent because I take offense as a partial narcissist.

It bothers me because, really what the hell is wrong with taking a picture of yourself?  Sometimes we do it out of vanity, and I can see why culture might want to bring that down.  Hell I want to bring that down.  But I'm concerned we might be throwing the baby out with the bath-water.  No one takes pictures of me.  I guess I come off as too imposing, too stoic, as though it might upset me... I guess.  I have a gaze that takes a certain amount of courage to meet and hold if you haven't known me for long enough to appreciate my odd and dark sense of humor that is indeed always present, if maybe very well masked.  hehe  The result is that I don't end up in people's photos very often, and that people don't often share the photos back with me when I do.  And I am often alone.  Why can't I document myself?  What is wrong with capturing a moment of joy or a moment of struggle or a moment of contemplation or of comfort or a feeling of strength?

So many people speak of the value of having a mirror, a friend that can point out to you how you really are.  Well, you can be that friend to yourself if you are critical enough.  And taking photos helps.  I'm thinking of the Chariot.  Without having taken that selfie I don't know if I would have remembered my sense of victory that came upon the draw of it.  And thus I don't think that today I would be able to see the full depth of my situation in life at that time quite so clearly.  I would not be able to remember my trajectory as precisely.  The old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words is, IMO, an understatement.  It's worth far more, even a selfie.

The thing is, a picture can't lie.  The person taking the selfie may be trying to deceive you into believing they are beautiful or they are happy or they are... possessing whatever quality that they believe will improve your image of them.  But the motives of the photographer seem so transparent to me in the composition.  Why then should it bother us if it is so clear?  I don't have the answer.

But if loving ourselves is an integral part of being a loving person to others we shouldn't have any compunctions about sharing a photo of ourselves absent shame or even perhaps with a gentle pride.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Putrefaction Time - The Death Card

My favorite word in the German language is Verwesung; it means putrefaction.  Until today I haven't really thought about why that word appeals to me.  I suppose it is so direct and matter of fact and doesn't invoke in me the sort of emotional revilement at a natural and essential process that the musically precise Latin-French-English equivalent does.  It is a philosopher's word.

Now, I do not draw from the Tarot often.  I think maintaining limitations in its use sustain its magic.  But, on the morning of the Winter Solstice, I did draw a simple past present future spread in which The Devil featured prominently, and with the other two cards painted a picture of my aching discontent and promised good things in just a short while, ...patience was the message.  "Soon" was the message.

Today, after yesterday's post about stepping off the Chariot, a card linked to Cancer, my sun sign, and about that hardened time of self protection and plowing through the onslaughts of life protected, I saw a need to draw another card.

As I sat shuffling the cards I thought about The Devil card and the story of patience and "soon" that I witnessed on the Solstice.  But I kept calling it The Death Card in my head, even though I knew very consciously that that was not correct.  I was visualizing The Devil but saying Death.  And at that moment I flipped out a card, with the question, "What now?" in mind.

Death reversed.

The card of Verwesung.  The card of Scorpio, my moon sign.  The 13th card, the number of the moons.  And the card of the final stage before a new beginning.  But the reversal indicates to me that a kick in the ass is required and required like right the fuck now! to fully decay, to finish my putrefaction, my Verwesung so that I can proceed without carrying forward the filth of that which is long dead and useless into a new beginning.

This card is why I have come to this Monk's Retreat.  This card is why I have chosen this isolated place and why it has been chosen for me-- to do this.  Not to clean house exactly, but to decay the filth of my heart into the "thick warm humus" of which I spoke in November such that when the cotyledon unfurls it's promise of springtime flowers that promise might be fulfilled.