Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friday Random Ten: A Capella Edition

Shower singing and car cd player dying singing made this list, as noted. Yes, I know it's Saturday night. I have trouble keeping track of what day it is.

  1. Rush - Closer to the Heart (stereo died)
  2. Jesus Christ Superstar - Everything's All Right (in the shower)
  3. They Might Be Giants - Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
  4. Seekers - Love Potion #9
  5. Chi-Lites - Are You My Woman
  6. Joe Walsh - Life's Been Good
  7. Rob Paravonian - Pachelbel
  8. Peter, Paul, and Mary - If I Had A Hammer
  9. Yes - Your Move/I've Seen All Good People
  10. and this time it's actually relevant instead of a running joke - Don Quixote - Man of La Mancha (not Scott Bakula this time; I just got 'Don Quixote' as an e-book from Project Gutenberg, and though I haven't started it yet, the song got stuck in my head)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I am a lightswitch.

It's an inelegant metaphor, but I just figured out something that I'd been struggling with in attempts to understand myself. Where the ideal functioning of the mind is kind of like a dimmer switch, mine's a plain up-and-down. Now, this isn't so much the part that's new - my ex always told me that I saw everything in black and white, that I took everything to extremes, and in some sense he was right. I always hated it when he said that, and really wished I could deny it, though, because the way he said it always carried this implication of, you don't see the shades of gray, therefore you don't understand nuances, mature minds can deal with complexity and nuance, therefore, you're immature. It always felt like a veiled insult, whether he meant all of that or not, but I knew that the surface description was accurate. So it hurt. A lot. It was just one more way in which he thought I wasn't grown-up enough to take care of myself.

But, to pun on my metaphor, a lightbulb went off for me today - a train of thought I'd been teasing out since I last talked to my counselor about not being a good enough person (I promise the connection will be explained further in) finally reached the key step - I remembered that I tend to go to extremes, but suddenly realized that this was not, in fact, indicative of an inability to understand complex nuanced ideas, but a reaction based on seeing too many shades of gray and not knowing how to process them. The more I learn about ADD, the more I hear that our issue isn't, for many, a true deficit of attention; though it appears that we aren't taking in information around us, the real problem, at least the way it looks from inside our head, is that we can't process and decide what information to pay attention to and what to discard.

It hasn't solved the problem of what to do about it, but realizing that being a lightswitch doesn't make me immature or stupid made me feel better, and made me more able to understand what's happening in there.

To give an example, I like Revenge of the Nerds. But I feel like a bad person, because I shouldn't, because there's an implied rape-by-deception scene in there that's treated as comedy. I feel like I should condemn the movie, never watch it again, reject the people who made it, and not be friends with anyone who likes it. But I'm not willing to do that, so therefore I am condoning rape. The same thing happened, only worse, when I found out that the guy who makes Girls Gone Wild is a rapist, being that my parents own those stupid things. I wasn't willing to disown my parents, and I should've. My counselor said that that was going too far, and that it was a reasonable decision to choose my longstanding loving relationship with my parents over making a statement (in my case, before people jump on her for not being enough of an activist), but I couldn't accept that, because I felt like I was just making excuses. How could I claim to oppose rape when I can't even be strong enough to cut ties with my family over their having unknowingly given money to a rapist?

Yes, I know it seems silly spelled out like that, and that's why I said it that way. My mind was telling me that the nebulous opinions of people who may not even exist - the people I would hope to prove myself to and hope to help by doing so - were worth more than my love for my family and theirs for me. She says not wanting to never speak to my family again was a good reason, but I felt like it was a weak-willed excuse coming from a person - me - who was deep down a truly hateful person, and that the excuse was just my way of covering my ass.

So since then I'd been thinking about it, especially thinking about what would motivate me to think this way. I thought about how sometimes I feel like I don't actually care, I just care about not being a bad person - kind of how there are people who have racist feelings, but don't voice them not because they care about stopping racism but because they know that saying things like that in polite society gets you ostracized. This got me thinking that maybe I worry so much because I'm afraid that if I don't keep a tight rein on myself, I won't care at all, or that I'm trying to make up for not disowning my family or whatever by CARING SO HARD!!1!1!!

But that doesn't really solve anything, does it? And as she pointed out, what would rejecting my family really do, anyway, other than make us all unhappy? It wouldn't actually make the world a better place, and one could argue that it'd make the world a slightly worse place because we'd all be miserable.

But not everything is that straightforward. And here's where the light switch fits in. Once I start seeing nuances, I see all of them, including ones that may not be there, and I don't trust my own judgment about what's real or not, and what's worth it or not. So in an attempt not to leave anything out, I just go all the way with it, and then hate myself for not being able to live up to a standard that no one's asking me to meet. But I can't tell for myself where the actual bar is, because of the cognitive overload. My default settings are that either everything's a fair reason to continue to do what I do - this is the off position, as I can't consciously not care, it only happens when I'm distracted from myself; or everything's an excuse and I'm just a horrible person. And the more I learn about liberal and feminist politics/philosophy/social work, the bigger the wattage that comes on when something flicks that switch.

I can't live in the dark, but the 3zillion watt bulb is burning my eyes out. I need to learn how to decide for myself where the bar is, and what counts and doesn't (obviously, misogyny is bad, and equality is good, but does that mean I can or cannot watch Law and Order SVU without guilt?). To flog the metaphor one last lame time, I'm hoping that the counseling can teach me how to install a dimmer switch on my brain.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Friday Random Ten: Found my Classic Rock MP3 CD Edition

I thought I'd lost the cd I put all of my classic rock mp3s on. Again. Nicely enough, I found it in my mp3-cd enabled portable, and it was even labeled!

  1. Ohio Players - Love Rollercoaster
  2. Kinks - Lola
  3. Led Zeppelin - Misty Mountain Hop
  4. Billy Joel - A Matter of Trust
  5. Guess Who - No Sugar/Mother Nature
  6. Blood, Sweat, and Tears - Go Down Gamblin'
  7. Mason Williams - Classical Gas
  8. Fifth Dimension - Age of Aquarius
  9. Who - Happy Jack
  10. Wings - Jet
And cat pic:
He's currently taking up my whole lap, napping.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Bet you didn't think I'd actually make a list

After all the fighting between Molly and Jill, I threatened to make a list of all the things that feminists are not allowed to do or like/must hate themselves for doing or liking. I’ve been thinking about this for days, but now I have something to credit it to that’s a little less depressing than “all the ways that being aware of feminism reminds me that I am a terrible person”.

So here we go, kids! (Includes self-indulgent commentary on whether or not I do it, or why it made the list.)

  1. Wearing makeup. I’m not good at it, so I rarely wear it, but I do own a lot of it.
  2. Dyeing your hair. Or fancy styling. I’ve had highlights, dyed my hair over almost black (which since I’m chocolate brown already, didn’t do much), and own cherry-red gloss dye. I also have hair down my back, but I don’t heat-style due to lack of coordination. Which leads us to:
  3. Body hair removal. I go through phases. I also take requests if I think it’s for decent reasons (i.e., my partner dislikes underarm hair on anyone, including himself; he doesn’t like me going out showing hairy legs because he has to deal with the aftermath of me feeling like everyone is looking at me funny. No, the meds don’t stop the paranoid.)
  4. Wearing heels. As long as they’re below a certain point, I like the different sensations of balance. Reminds me of marching band. I think it’s related to how I always wanted to dance in toe shoes – for me, heels require precision of movement, and I like it.
  5. Wearing skirts, especially if they’re short. I don’t wear anything leg-baring very often anymore, because I don’t like having to do the prep work (see #2), but I do like my long skirts.
  6. Liking girly colors.
  7. Getting married, especially if it’s to a man. I’m cutting it close here – I’m not married yet, but I do live with a man.
  8. Any sex with a man, but especially giving head. Bad straight girl, no cookie.
  9. Not opposing porn. I don't want to get into details, but around here some of it's for heckling and some isn't.
  10. Thinking the burqa photoshop (link goes to a critique, not the original post) made a good point. I’m white, so I’m not allowed to have an opinion, because by default, I’m already a racist. (It’s offensive for white people to think they have anything to say about race issues. For the record, I’m not saying they said this – I got this from a message board I used to go to.)
  11. Watching Keith Olberman.
  12. Watching Revenge of the Nerds. Funhouse scene.
  13. Watching Kevin Smith movies.
  14. Liking Star Wars.
  15. Liking Star Trek.
  16. Liking Indiana Jones.
  17. Well shit, I’m not going to name every movie in the world just to beef up my list. You get the point.
  18. Having cats, apparently. Does it help if my cat votes for liberals? (yes, he’s a – wait for it – DemoCat. Blame Jon for that one.)
  19. Having a Citibank credit card, shopping at Walmart, eating meat, and driving a car. Oh, I’m sorry. Those belong on the list of progressive reasons why I hate myself.
  20. Cooking, sewing, or doing any other hobbies that are ‘women’s work’. I knit and crochet, do a little sewing (mostly modifying stuff I have or very basic construction, like making a skirt by turning a piece of fabric into a tube with a drawstring waist), and cook every once in a while.
  21. For a while there, I was convinced I had to disown my parents because they own Girls Gone Wild videos (the guy who makes them raped at least one of the 'stars'). I called my mother a rapist. I love my parents a great deal. This was a hide under the bed day.
Well, I think that gives us a good start. Let me know if you come up with additions, and I’ll put ‘em in.

And just so it’s clear, I’m not defending my doing any of these things. I truly do hate myself for each and every one of them (except the cats), and I’m not being snarky. It puzzles my therapist, even, how someone can hate themselves so much and not self-destruct, but I told her I was just too selfish to die.