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  • Category Archives Matters of the Heart
  • Not In Touch With My Emotions

    Proponents of modern psychology are remiss as to why I’m not in touch with my emotions. There are several reasons:

    I’m bipolar 1 and the illness itself as well as the medication stunts emotion. Before I was bipolar I didn’t have as much of a flat affect, I felt things more and was more expressive. People connected with me better because of it.

    I had some scares around losing my vision when I was in college. For a while I was in fear of losing my vision. This eventually caused me to start repressing my fear which impaired emotional function.

    Starting at around age 31 I got tinnitus. My tinnitus is not near as bad as some people but (as you can imagine) someone likely on the autistic spectrum who was born blind I am super sensitive to sound. To deal with this new stream of unwanted input I became more emotionally numb.

    The parade of people (of both genders) cutting me off and ghosting me hasn’t helped either. Most people deal with this but when you have a disability with relationships you have to take what you get because most people won’t touch you with a ten foot pole. A lot of these people are pretty damaged too so it makes for a lot of bad relationship things.

  • Show Values

    Show values permeate our existence to such a degree that it’s easy to start believing they are actually true. Obama comes to mind, persisting to believe in the better angels of our nature even after being given evidence otherwise over and over again. The other side of show values is if you straight up say you don’t believe in one (like the idea that man is basically good) you get shot down really good.

    As an individual with a disability I live at the intersection of show and actual values. Show values say you get the job your merit affords, actual values say you get the job your physical appearance affords. If I had known the only job I could get was a janitor job then why was so much time, treasure, and hope invested in educating me.

    My latest issue involves something I’ve brought up multiple times on this blog. Show values say that a person with a disability will be tolerated by all but the most ignorant of us. Actual values say that for a person with a physical disability every one of their interactions with the abled world is an incursion that must be apologized for. Granted believing this about people is unflattering which is why the show value of tolerance is pointed to. My problem is because I have impaired social skills I need guidance on how to diffuse the “bomb” of my visible physical disability’s presence in a manner that will appease the room.

  • Being Judged

    I honestly can’t think of anything that fans the flame of narcissism more than being judged. When someone judges you they are signaling that there is something about you they didn’t like. Generally they don’t tell you what it was or they say some bullshit thing that isn’t true. The point is you obsess over what part of you it was they didn’t like and if there is any way you could change it so you didn’t get judged in that manner in the future. This whole process is constant thinking about yourself, you are being rejected for something about you so you can’t stop thinking about you!

    Also when you’re judged it means there is generally one less person in your life and the resulting alone time is often spent in your head having narcissistic thoughts.

    Older generations like to judge our generation and declare us consummate narcissists and they can go ahead, this judgement is just fanning the flames of our narcissism. If you want us to stop being so self obsessed and dwell on anything but ourselves then you have to accept us and point us to something outside ourselves that we could think about.

  • Judging as You Are Judged

    Really interesting TED talk about judging your thoughts the way people judge you to quell the like/dislike monster. The book he references Evolving Beyond Thought has you memorizing Sanskrit philosophy to help quell the storm of thoughts in your skull.

    The two questions you need to ask of every thought are “is the thought useful” and “how does the thought behave”. These are basically the two questions people ask of you when they judge you. So it’s turning the whole judgement on its head and holding your thoughts up to the standard others are holding you up to when they judge you.

    I don’t know if this would work for me but I like it.

  • The Isolation of Suffering

    I think one of the best arguments against the existence of a personal god is the fact that suffering is so isolating.

    God’s people dropping out of your life like flies. Me and many others on the bottom experience is that the people who claim to be closest to God are the ones that get the furthest away when things turn permanently worse. They do this all while parroting the romantic notion of suffering that things are going to go according to “God’s plan”. Well they’re not and you are part of the problem. Religious people will trot out their “free will” theodicy trump card when confronted with the problem of evil. But then they put it away when their free will is frustrating God’s supposed “perfect plan”.

    The fact that for a lot of us suffering turns us into much less of an everyman than more of one. One of the things those of privilege selling suffering say is that it will somehow connect you to a greater experience of humanity. While that happens for some lucky people for most of us suffering cuts us off from enriching people and activities we need to actually become what they claim suffering will make us become. I have noticed in my life that I’m not even empathetic to people who have gone through the same things as me (mental illness). This surprised me. I’m just stretched so thin myself I have nothing to give. Plus there is this thing with mental illness called negative symptoms which actually eat your personality away which flies in the face of anything positive coming out of suffering.

    The idea of drawing “meaning” out of suffering helps less people than you would think. Highly principled people may concoct backstories and astroturf the bad things in their life to things make sense in hindsight but that requires an expensive brain that can play good mental gymnastics. I want dignity and relationships, I don’t give a rip about meaning. Suffering actually robs my life of meaning because I found meaning in dignified work and relationships and what I suffer robs me of both.

    Experiences of God going AWOL. The part of your brain synthesizing “experiences of God” is likely to go down if you suffer enough. Part of this is suffering and skills to cope with it make you emotionally numb and religion (or whatever they are calling Christianity these days) largely transpires on the seat of the emotion. Nobody wants to admit this but the way it’s sold (especially in contemporary worship) is all about emotions. Anything that makes you emotionally stunted is going to torpedo your interaction with “God”. This is partially why so many people on the spectrum are non religious because we don’t have the emotional toolbox to interact with a god.

    The fact that a lot of us turn to the internet for refuge. When the world shuns you the internet raises you. Many forms of suffering like disability narrow people who will interact with you beyond reduced functionality mode to a subset of people which you find online. For example with me if someone doesn’t have a disability and/or mental illness the chance of a relationship happening is just about zero. Unfortunately for religion the internet is not a community friendly to religion partly because a lot of the people seeking refuge on it were already rejected by the church so they carry that with them. Also online interaction is not incarnational the same way real life interaction is so it’s less conducive to spreading religion.

  • Money in Your Brain

    I want more money. Money in the real world lets you go on all kinds of fun trips (at least pre-COVID) and gives you all kinds of health and security.

    Money in your brain does something similar, you can spend it to produce beliefs in happy delusions. That’s why religious people refer to faith as a gift. It’s actually not a gift, it’s paid for by money in your brain.

    Just as it is hard to make money in this economy that is going to Hades, it’s hard to get money in your brain. You have to have had a lot of positive experiences or have a brain that is really good at playing cognitive tricks.

    The younger generation is less trusting and religious and more mentally ill so I surmise that they don’t have much money in their brain.

    Some poems:

    learning how to think critically
    can actually deplete your brain of money
    because happy delusions melt away
    (assuming you didn’t have an abusive childhood
    you start out with a lot of money in your brain like monopoly)

    the way to be saved by “grace”
    is to have looks in your heart
    and money in your brain

    if you have money in your brain
    you can buy astroturf, to astroturf the bad things
    so things make sense in hindsight
    you can buy the ability to play cognitive tricks
    so you can make lemonade out of cyenide

  • Material Support for Black Lives

    I can’t advocate to save my life. But luckily that’s not the only way to show we care about black lives. We can offer material support which, when done hand in hand with advocacy, multiplies the help.

    Give to charities that support the poor, especially ones that put money directly in people’s pocket. GiveDirectly and RIP Medical Debt are my two favorite charities for these because they have low overhead and thus can help more people. It’s obvious that donating to charity won’t only help African Americans but since they are disproportionately represented in the poor a lot of it will. Also poverty among whites is one of the things that fans the flames of racism so anything you do to lift up a poor white person is actually helping ease racial tensions.

    Vote blue. There are things in red states that really hurt African Americans like the failure to expand Medicaid which a lot of them rely on for healthcare. Lost in the narrative of Republicans acting racist is their actual policies which in and of themselves severely disadvantage the poor. What’s really sad is poor whites will vote against their interests because they would rather forego free healthcare then let minorities have it.

    Provide a regularly updated resource list for your community. If organizations could become less siloed and share a list for their community with updated information on the latest resources for helping the poor that would really help. For example there is a tool that lets you write and send pictures to people in jail for free. I actually started a list like this on my local food pantry’s website. The list will be different for each locale though some of the items are national.

    Give your time and consideration. Often times you won’t get to know people on the margins until you help them. Give rides. Obviously COVID makes this harder but often the thing someone of color could use is a ride to work or the grocery store or the doctor. Buy a struggling brother an air conditioner window unit. Heat breeds anger and an air conditioner can contain this. If your church is truly into racial reconciliation it is probably already offering you opportunities to materially help minorities. In this way you will build a rapport you couldn’t in any other way. If you find your self reaching a struggling youth stay in their life even if it impacts what you planned your life to be negatively.

  • a dark Holy Saturday

    I miss the open mics. I miss hugs and gentle touch. I miss restaurant ice cubs at the bottom of a diet coke that you can suck on without the middle tasting like chlorine. It seems like the world has been burning so long it’s hard to remember a time where we could just ignore the News and there was no consequence for doing so. Or hear another headline and just be stopped in your tracks. Also whenever I get an alert tone on my phone that used to be for Amber alerts but now is for governor’s alerts I think this is the big one, this is the time the nukes from God knows where are headed for us.

    hard times
    produce soft dicks

    When someone you love cuts you off
    It’s like never getting to finish a good book

    people are the opposite of prisms
    because it’s beams of darkness
    that bring out their true colors

    people for whom life is to be enjoyed
    push this idea for those lower down
    that one is conscripted into life
    and you should just shut the fuck up
    no matter how bad things get

    people who romanticize suffering
    never romanticize its byproducts
    dole, derision, desertion, and death

    evil is like taking a shit
    it feels good to you but no one else

    people tell me “anything can happen”
    as if that is a good thing

    the worse your mental health
    the more your religious expression
    either rounds up to psychosis
    or rounds down to deism


    God didn’t die
    they were STOLEN

    God’s despair is cathartic
    Even as religious people say ours is sin

    I know
    i was poor in all of my past lives
    and whatever ends up happening to me
    i will be poor and with fellow messed up people
    on earth, in heaven, in purgatory, and in hell

    living in the moment is difficult
    when you know the worst is yet to be

    we aren’t begging for a loaf of bread
    we just need a trail of crumbs
    to lead us out of the cave

    we call it daymares
    when your waking moments
    are worse than anything your feeble mind could conjure in sleep
    in the back of our minds we always knew it would end
    but it’s still hard when it’s ending this way in front of our eyes
    when you fire up the news
    looking back on the destruction
    it turns you into a pillar of salt

    i have this convention
    from my journals as a kid
    that the easy times are written about marker
    and the hard ones in pen or pencil
    in 8th grade
    in the recess area that was all cement
    and in the locker room in gym class
    being pushed into a urinal on two different days
    i have always been a poor example for Christians
    because i never learned anything from suffering
    only the light let in sustained me
    like the Krakle and Mr. Goodbar every week
    on the welcome mat for hungry 8th grade paper boy me
    or an acquaintance sticking up for me in the locker room in gymn class
    these small kindnesses
    were the harrowing of hell

    we may melt away
    before coronavirus does
    night is coming when no one can work
    but come to think of it
    we didn’t really appreciate the day
    so its nautical twilight
    to a truly dark Holy Saturday
    the Father was the sun
    the Son was the sunrise
    and the Spirit was the atmosphere
    that held in the warmth and breath
    and spread out the light

    (and this is the one I sometimes read at the open mic when it is Maundy Thursday)

    the thief comes only to kill and destroy
    do not fear those who kill the body and after that have nothing more they can do
    who touched me, i felt the power go out of me
    be clean
    even the hairs on your head are numbered
    she has done what she could. She poured perfume on my body to prepare for my burial

    are you going to leave me too
    how i wanted to gather you in my wing like a chicken gathers her chicks
    my children, i will be with you only a little longer
    where i go you cannot come
    she has done what she could. She poured perfume on my body to prepare for my burial

    i lay down my life for my sheep
    wash my feet with your tears
    Why do you seek the living among the dead?
    i saw the devil fall from the sky like lightening
    how i wanted to gather you in my wing like a chicken gathers her chicks

  • Looking Good

    During some of the worst parts of my life I have had some strange desires, mainly to LOOK BETTER! I know this is shallow but I have been so lonely for so long and looking better was the main way you got a girlfriend (especially in my early 20’s when I felt this the most). I don’t think people appreciate looking good for all it’s worth.

    It sucks that I’m turning 40 and I never had a girlfriend. And a lot of that is due to the fact that I don’t look good. Now in my early 20’s it was directly due to that but now it’s indirect, due to my visible physical disability keeping me from being a vocational success (which keeps me poor and undesirable).

    We are socialized with this myth that “it’s the inside that counts” and that does come into play in keeping a relationship going but to get it started you need to look good and make decent money.