Adulthood

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I’m stuck in a loop of never fully convincing myself that I’m an adult and it’s in step to take adult moves towards adult responsibilities, because I’m making adult money. It doesn’t feel like I am making adult money because it’s not being robbed of me by adult expenses, because I haven’t taken the adult moves towards adult responsibilities that incur those expenses.

adult cycle

There is no way to get in unless you already have one of these, and to get one of these you need to have all three.

It’s for this reason that I can’t commit to looking after myself. I’m a grown person, and I’ve lived alone for six years without serious injury from home accident or owing money to the mob. But I rent, and I’ve only ever considered buying a home once. When that fell through I knew I had to get more together before I could try again. I needed to have the adult money to make that adult move. But the money that I have can’t be adult money, because I’m making it without working 60 hours a week or having decades of experience in a high demand industry. Those are responsibilities that can only be earned through demonstrating maturity, and nobody could be seen as mature if they rent an apartment.

Ad nauseum. I don’t go to a podiatrist or physiotherapist to see how I can stop killing my feet with the walking and running that I do (when I do the running – separate issue to come later) because I’m afraid of what the solution will be. If I have to wear a certain brand of shoes or buy expensive custom orthotics, I won’t have the flexibility in style that gets me taken seriously as an adult. I’ll just be that loser in those shoes – pay no attention to that lady in the corner; she knows not what foot fashion is to the essence of a grown human, and thus she is still in that job that doesn’t pay as well as ours.

I know that physically I should keep in shape and that requires investment in time, discipline, money, and overcoming pride around other people. I don’t want to lose a lot of weight, but I want to maintain a level of control over my body and make my arms stop jiggling when I gently wave. I would need to join a gym, which would require facing my fear of being judged, and commitment, which would require an established plan through a trainer, which costs money. But look at me – I’m just a schmuckette with a schmuckette job (with a feminine suffix because the collar’s been dyed pink so it can be cast aside as merely an accessory to Real Business). I don’t have the right story to tell people whom I may meet at the gym. There will be no common ground. Thus, I don’t make the adult move of taking adult responsibility over my adult health and paying for professional advice on proper equipment. When I run, I just go on a 10 minute jog around my neighbourhood. Everybody can see me, so I’m more invisible. I avoid the adult move.

But I’m not even avoiding it properly. I’ve stubbornly stuck through running before – in spite of/because of a sore leg/ankle/foot/head/arm (yes, even arm); in spite of/because it was raining/snowing/extremely cold/extremely hot – and that’s just in the past 20 months since I decided I was going to spite my reluctant participation in bare requirements of high school gym class by running more out of choice. I got to wrap a scarf around my head like a ninja, which made me feel like I was doing this too immaturely. I wasn’t buying proper winter jogging equipment because the way of running I chose wasn’t of adult responsibility. I couldn’t spend adult money on the adult move to take adult responsibility for my fitness.

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So that’s the rut I’ve been stuck in for 31 years.

The Unremarkable Head Rush

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Tomorrow should be important to me, but it’s not. I should’ve planned a thematic celebration, but I didn’t. I couldn’t decide on what that would be. I wasn’t inspired to do anything about it.

It will mark twenty years since my head was cut open by the trusted hands of an old man with diplomas on the walls of his office. So carefully, he drilled into my head and gently cut out tissue that wasn’t supposed to be there, trying his hardest not to touch anything else.

He was successful, mostly. He didn’t get everything, but I didn’t lose any part of my brain. He put my skull back together and stapled the incised skin shut, which was shaven around by a certain radius. It eventually healed over. The hair grew back.

I was an unremarkable case of a health problem nobody wants to have, but also brings no genuine sympathy from other people without a heart wrenching story that tags along. I’m not a very good story teller. I’m not photogenic either. There wasn’t a sob story, because I was too old to be helpless, too young to be promising, and not cute.

So how can I celebrate something that wasn’t an issue at the time?

I didn’t have a formal celebration of this ten years ago, fifteen years ago, or nineteen years ago as conventional anniversaries. Two years ago I took a dive into a major hair transformation that was…a net gain of fun while it lasted, but it didn’t last very long for a reason.

I can’t think of anything that I want to do to mark this occasion but close my eyes and hope I don’t have a headache. I saw my neurologist today and spoke of increased frequency and diversity of headaches, that come from different sources with different symptoms in different spots with different textures. (Headaches have textures. If you didn’t know that, you aren’t very widely experienced in headaches.) I have no idea if this has anything to do with the reasons that 20 years ago I had to walk underground, commando in a hospital gown, from the Children’s Hospital ward to the operation room. (Since my legs worked at the time, they wouldn’t take me there in a wheelchair.) I laid myself on a table in a very sterile grey room, had an anesthetic mask put on, and then spent a few days below the surface of functional reality.

I want to drink, but not as any nostalgic marker because I didn’t drink at the time. I want to drink because I’m frustrated about not having anything planned. I’ll probably walk for an hour to the biggest mall in the city and do shopping I really don’t care to do. I might play video games. I might opt to sleep the whole duration instead, which would actually be the most appropriate option of all. Not just because I spent most of October 25th, 1994 lying down unconscious, but because there’s nothing worth celebrating when the story wasn’t a marketable victory against all odds.

To Not Sleep, Perchance to Create

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I used to have worse sleeping habits. It’s a side effect of other medication that I can fall asleep pretty well now. When I had insomnia I would mostly just lie in bed at best in an absence of anything – no tiredness, no comfort, nothing but awakeness. At worst it would be related to inexplicable pain in my limbs.

Now, I can usually get 7-8 hours in on weekdays, and on weekends I lie in bed as long as I please, coming in and out of sleep for a couple of hours each morning. Rest is important, as scientific studies confirm and confirm again. But through the posting of thoughts and interactions publicly on the internet, I can see how much is passed around by insomniacs. There’s more to contemplate and more to create outside of a daily schedule. I’m not around when the good things happen, all because I’m getting a healthy sleep.

Beyond posting inane dribble on Twitter, there are the chances to interact with others in constructive dialogue. There’s the surge of ideas that can come with sleep deprivation (or can be the cause of it, chicken/egg) that can be put into action by creating something. I’m missing that time and those conditions in my life.

I’m sure if I were still an insomniac I would be thinking along the lines of Hamlet, with much smaller problems mind you, that I hope death, if not just pure nonexistence, is eternal sleep. In the winter months especially, approaching as the sky stays dark into the start of my mornings, I long for hibernation and sleeping for three months in exchange for longer waking hours for the rest of the year. Despite the obvious benefits to my health, I want to reject the standard schedule of balancing sleep and waking time in favour of extremes.

My thinking is clear, but my ideas are worthless when I’m well-rested and functional. If not the creative process itself, a lack of rest at least instills the delusion that my bullshit deserves to be put out there, that my opinions matter, and that my writing is good.

The New Khristopian Vision

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There’s a change of direction here. I’m going to start pointing everything towards me. It’s a narcissistic move, but like most of the constructive things I do in my life it’s a self-eating snake. The more I express self-absorbed opinions, the less I express opinions about other things as if it matters – as if what I have to say isn’t already overrepresented by loud mouths much like me, or as if I can say it better than people who live through more day to day struggles that need to be brought to light.

However, I can write about myself more accurately and with more authority than anyone else.

Someone might dare to prove the contrary and write thousands of words about what I can’t see in myself because I’m self-absorbed, but that person is likely a white man with unaddressed mental health problems. Somebody who’s not a white man would have more important stories to tell from their own experiences that aren’t taken for granted as the baseline for the function of the universe. Somebody who has addressed their mental health problems would know better than to care about me, and somebody who doesn’t have significant mental health problems wouldn’t be bothered enough to write.

But I – a white woman with unaddressed mental health problems – have a load of things to write about myself. My ego has been growing. When I look back at pictures I took of myself, a serious problem that started back in the 90s, I can see the ebb and flow of weight and hair and skin and fashion sense that brings me to the buoyed state I’m in today. I’m in a pretty good place. I’d like to talk about that.

This can’t be a journal of day-to-day life because that’s not what the internet is for anymore. It’s not a safe place to talk about real people and real things without cash reward. I’d rather talk about a surreal person – myself – because I can’t get in trouble for deification nor vitriol. I can lose friends, for sure (which has happened before), but I can stop at whatever point it makes me no longer love myself.

Buzzing with Diversity

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Whatever reservations or disinterest I have in BuzzFeed as a whole, they are growing and changing to intellectual levels beyond the clickbait they’re known for so far. That’s evident from how open they were today about their hiring process, and the principles and goals they have when recruiting for their growing media operation. This is quite similar to how Canada’s federal Employment Equity program – a legislated requirement of government and some industries. This is an issue of much contention for some people who believe that things should remain as they are. Everybody’s equal under the law, so naturally everybody’s position comes by their own merit, right?

AHAHAhahahaHAHHA*coughcoughhack* No. Let me elaborate with a rehash of my lunchtime tweets.

There is a very logical and very capitalist reason, then, to extend a workforce beyond the Old Boys’ Club. It’s a “trend” covered ad nauseum in business/human resources publications that diversity is a business advantage. There is just a lot to make up for, and a lot to reprogram in our heavily biased brains. This means needing to make intentional changes and dedicated efforts to not falling into the habit we’re often too enveloped in to see. Some people might see it as an attack, or think it’s unfair to punish the white men who happen to be entering the workforce now rather than before, but…

October: Doctor Appointment Month

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I have three separate doctor’s appointments this month. One is with a dentist; one is with my general practitioner; one is with a specialist.

I haven’t been to the dentist in six or seven years. The dentist I’m going to isn’t the one I went to last. The reason for both of those is, at least partially, the dentist I’ve gone to all my life is located at the southern edge of the universe, and the transit services to that location are spotty. I’m going to a brand new dentist. I don’t even know the name yet. I just know that it’s in a building very close to where I work, to avoid relying on unreliable bus schedules.

I’m not anxious about dentists, as many people are. I’ve never had a cavity in my life, so if I have one now I guess I’m way overdue. I’m looking forward to the post-cleaning feeling. I’m looking forward to seeing something other than 20-year-old newspaper comics about dentists cut out and taped to the walls. (Yes, it’s been six or seven years since I saw my last dentist, but I have a vivid photographic memory about his office.) What I’m not looking forward to is having to tell a new dentist things. I’m not looking forward to being asked why I waited so long, or being told I wouldn’t have the minor problems that my teeth occasionally cause if I went to the dentist regularly like a responsible person would. I don’t want to say that sometimes my upper left molars hurt, or I can feel the left incisor moving like my orthodontic work from 1998 is being undone. I’m anxious about being told that it’s a more serious problem than it seems. I’m anxious about being told that it’s no big deal and it isn’t worth bringing up. I’m anxious about the lectures on flossing, or a passing condescending comment about the small gap of eroded enamel on my front tooth. I’m anxious about the parts of dentistry that are a judgment of my character – not about discomfort in my mouth or problems with my teeth.

The appointment with my GP is fairly routine. She’s nice. I don’t have much to report on, so I don’t have much to diagnose. I’m going for that ever-pleasant experience that I don’t need to see a gynecologist for, because why should a basic service that a significant chunk of the population has to get routinely rely on the availability of specialists? A general practice should fall under the scope of general practitioners. I normally breeze through that momentary discomfort, but it’s a number of things can go wrong that makes it awkward beyond the undress and equipment used. There is also the potential scorn for not making this appointment sooner, as I should have. There’s always that risk with routine procedures. Everyone with access to a regular doctor should know that feeling.

With the specialist – when problems within the realm of the specialty arise that aren’t part of why I got referred to begin with, is it appropriate to bring these up? I know the answer to that is obvious, and of course the specialist would rather know too much than too little in case seemingly separate problems are indeed related. It’s a basic part of doctor-patient etiquette, and this specialist is very good at that, to be open to hearing other problems. It’s part of the scientific process of medicine and diagnosis. But, surprise surprise, I’m inclined to worry that what I have to say is unwelcome and I will be judged.

The scary part of Doctor Appointment Month is not the fear of new health problems being detected. It’s the fear of judgment – that I’m living my life wrong, and someone by all measures above me in credentials and accomplishment will wag their finger. Either I shouldn’t have waited this long to see these doctors, or I shouldn’t have bothered to see them at all. In either case, at least I’m getting them all within one month.

Ello Ello

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Once – just once – I wanted to be an early adopter. I wanted to beg to join something early. I’ve usually scoffed at “new” “trends” in things as the anti-establishment cynic. But I changed my mind, and signed up for beta testing for Ello.

It’s a minimalist design and function, and I still don’t grasp the differences. I’m not a very good early adopter because I’m not keenly interested in experimenting with its functions. Well, I like fiddling with new functions, but when the right time, place, and mental energy level meet. The weather’s been too nice to do that yet.

There has also been very good criticisms of the conflict between its mission and its origins. The direction seems inevitable. There is really no purpose in appealing to millions without turning them into measurable aggregates. Like the over-cited Stalin quote, a million of anything is a statistic.

Statistics are data. Data is a commodity. We can’t really escape that. I didn’t get a friend to invite me to Ello for its utopian vision of idyllic social media, free of industry. I wanted to see how they implement it. I’m not a prime candidate for any type of social media, since I don’t share or click as much as desired, and in Ello’s case I’m not a crusader for a cause.

Any attempt to shrink the world by connecting all its people will be capitalized on. I’m interested to see how – and how Ello will not fuck it up with connecting the people we don’t want to “network” with. I don’t mind being measured; I don’t want to be measured by whom I know involuntarily, or whom I knew some time in the past.

Ello is even using the “friend” word. Not among my favourites in the f column.