navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • Category Archives Personal
  • Accurate Self Assesment

    In 2004 I was offered a church janitor job.  At the time I thought I was way above it.  But this was because I had incomplete information.  I didn’t know I was dead on arrival in interview situations due to my thick glasses.  Giving me accurate information about myself would have been useful in this situation.  Yes it would have lowered my self-esteem and given me poorer self-image.  But sometimes an accurate assessment of ones self is a necessary thing even if it causes more emotional pain in the short run.



  • my dad says part 2

    One of the things my dad used to say is, “it’s only money”.  Basically we have always been poor (at least for Americans) and so much of what one needs to advance in life requires significant financial outlay.  For example going to school to get another degree or even getting a therapist that specializes with adults on the spectrum.  I was also thinking about this today because there is a great recipe API I could use to make a site for people with food allergies but its cost structure is such that I could never make the site free.

     

    hockey

    The second had to do with actively verses passively failing.  Basically existentially trying and failing feels worse than not trying at all.  People talk about taking “social risks” and such but they don’t often speak of the emotional fallout of repeated failure.  It took me seven years to find friends here and some of those years I just quit trying.  It was just luck, not effort, that brought me the few friends I do have.  Getting back to the point people romanticizing trying often gloss over the fact that some people (especially as you get closer to the bottom) are going to fail so much that for them it would have better if they hadn’t tried at all.  Not something I’d put on a motivation poster but true.



  • Shaming Unworking Men

    NYTimes article on men not working:

    Mr. Eberstadt would also like to intensify social pressure on the cadre of men who have stopped looking for work. “Why haven’t we had the same sort of conversation about stigmatizing or shaming unworking men that we had 20 years ago about mothers on welfare?” he said. “They were not idle; they had little kids.”

    Hahahahahahaha!  As a man without a real job I get shamed all the time.  I’ve been called a charity case by my brother and law and my closest friend from college dropped out of my life because I’m low status.  One of the conservative tropes I do think is relevant is “culture of work”.  My family and friends have a huge culture of work.  If I was in a different situation where few people worked perhaps I wouldn’t feel so bad.



  • ArtPrize Piece

    orphens

    Amazing ArtPrize piece taking up a whole wall of Monroe Community Church on Congolese orphans.

    ArtPrize has had a lot of pleasant surprises this year.  For colorist fiends like me Fifth Third Bank, Park Congregational Church, and The Waters Center were great.  For more introspective stuff Monroe Community Church, Fountain Street Church, the City Water Building, and Western Michigan University (by the bus station) were good.  And I hear there are many more good venues I haven’t visited.



  • Close Call

    Just had a close call with a tornado warning.  A strong system was headed towards us but luckily it didn’t touch down in the city proper.

    We had to go in the basement and the only thing I took from my upstairs room was my medication.  Not my journals, diaries, computers, or letters.  I guess I’m not really attached to anything besides what sustains my sanity.

     



  • Guilt Drowned Out By Shame

    I think I have a poor capacity to process negative emotions.  For example most of my life my radar has been jammed by shame (for looking/being different, not having a job, a place, and SO, etc..).  This has drowned out the guilt I’m supposed to feel that would goad me towards Christianity.  The Christian message, at least in the traditions I’ve been in has gone something like this:

    • You aren’t perfect and should feel guilty about this
    • Luckily our religion will wash away your guilt with Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross
    • Well not really, we were kidding about that.  Guilt is the lever we’ll use to keep you in line (because you’re still not perfect and you still should feel guilty about this fact).

    (Christian traditions vary mainly by how disingenuous they are about the facts above)

    The problem with this whole thing (at least for me and I suspect a lot of people) is that our negative emotion “radio” is not well developed enough.  Shame comes in on the same channel as guilt and drowns the guilt right out (because, at least in my case, the shame is felt much stronger).  I suspect that in earlier times when Christian mores were more prevalent, shame was used a lot more in keeping people away from things like fornication and alcoholism.  However that’s receded, now shame is pegged to mostly consumeristic metrics like money, status, pleasure, etc…



  • distracted

    Though I’m pretty godless I still pray once in a while (because I’ve experienced too much of the spiritual world to be an atheist).  I find now that I’m more distracted with my eyes closed than open (because my mind is in overdrive).  So I pray with my eyes open.



  • the system is no longer just

    Comment I posted on Reddit thread how millennials are checked out of work:

    People are just wising up. In America religion was a catalyst to getting employees to put their nose down and work hard and employers (at their best) would agree to treat their employees justly. But in the last 40 years employers have tried to milk this for all it’s worth without holding up their end of the bargain. It worked for a while but eventually employees wised up and started working like they were disposable. And more recently the younger generation is dropping out of religion like flies because for them there has never been a time where the social contract was more than a piece of paper.

    People seem to forget that you only reap what you sow.

    The system will bend over backwards to get us to believe it is just.  This is because if we believe the system is just then we’ll feel a lot worse when we go up against it.  I was brought up Christian and to believe the system was just.  And it was more just when my parents were growing up, in the early 80’s a church my dad worked at even paid international airfare to get my eyes checked every six months while they were in Honduras.  But my experience after 2000 is the Christian and secular system is no longer just.  But because I was brought up to believe the system was just I feel worse going up against it than I probably should.  I know the upcoming generation won’t and I’m happy for them.



  • Testing

    So I found out today it’s $800-$1,200 to get tested to see whether I’m on the spectrum (they don’t take any of the insurance I have).  I’ve been told I have some traits of people on the spectrum by psychiatrists but never got formal testing done.  Part of the reason I don’t have that kind of money is because of disability based prejudice partially due to things that look an awful lot like autism symptoms.