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.

On Practice and Preach

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What do you do to make a real difference aside from posting your opinions on Twitter?

Uhh, well I write longer pieces here, sometimes, even though nobody reads them…

I, um, am nice to people, or at least try to be when I’m not pretending they can’t see me.

I speak up in conversations with family and friends with an assertive voice on controversial topics, although they mostly just pat my head and carry on ignoring me.

I am the co-chair of the board of directors for a community organization that intersects with many other social problems and underrepresented voices, and advocates for sustainable and inclusive solutions.

I choose active modes of transportation that remove another car from the roads, and try to decline offers for rides from people to shorten their own time on the road. I’ve designed my lifestyle around being car-free.

I genuinely try to reduce my consumption of disposable products and use of water and electricity, although I haven’t turned over all of my habits yet, and I have room for substantial improvement.

I try to be a conscious consumer, shopping online when it benefits independent creators, but going to retail establishments in person when I have an interest in maintaining the presence of the business.

I try to not get defensive when I’m called on for my biases and marginalizing behaviour. I try to change myself to have an open mind, and listen to oft-ignored voices that I can so easily hide from in a comfortable shell of race, class, and cishet priivlege.

I put a genuine effort into making everyday life choices that reflect opinions I spew like I’m a living model of them. I’m not; I’m very much imperfect and deserve to be called upon for it. I deserve to be reminded of my hypocrisies and imperfections. Keep the criticism coming. And live up to it yourself.

Getting Away from the Micro-Blog

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I took a weekend off Twitter – or rather, off tweeting. I still skimmed my Twitter feed, but I didn’t feel like my own self-expression was welcome.

When I returned, I tweeted a long stream of thoughts, replying to myself to keep the flow in context, instead of writing long-form in a place like here. I’m completely aware that virtually nobody reads me here. Not many people read me on Twitter, as much as I’d like to become one of those regular people who somehow amasses thousands of followers who enjoy reading my sociological insight and scatological wit. Either way I’m shouting into a void.

It’s much easier to write out a thought and publish it as it happens than to let it expand into the paragraphs of a reasonable-length blog post. I’ve lost many well-constructed sentences in my head because I’m walking while thinking of them, and the perfect wording never comes back when I get to the resources that let me solidify it into written words.

Younger people are criticized for stopping mid-conversation to post something on social media, as if that is an impairment in emotional intelligence. I mean, in many cases it is, and it’s obnoxious when there’s little actual purpose to it. But it would likely be lost otherwise. Not everybody has the memory to transcribe a conversation as well as it was spoken. That’s not a basic human skill lost to the convenience of communication that them darn kids take for granted these days. The general population has always been distributed along a range of memory skills; there are just more channels to complain about it in public discussion.

I’m trying to put more of my private stress factors into paragraphs as self-administered therapy. Publicly stated thoughts can start out in point form (or at least tweet form) and be elaborated on in places like here. I have a lot more to say than I get around to saying. It may not be taken in by many readers, but a coherent thought should also be comprehensive. It’s for my benefit to get back to paragraphs.