complain-y post is complain-y

Note to self: If you just want one cocktail and you don’t want to go to a bar, don’t, under any circumstances, buy one of those little ‘single-shot’ plastic bottles that gas stations provide at the counter and pour it in some Coke. Especially, especially remember that those stupid little one-shots have about half the alcohol content they should, and your whiskey’s just gonna taste like caramel soda. And when you add it to Coke, your cocktail’s just gonna taste like caramel soda with a shot of caramel soda.

In short, get the cheap-ass wine next time. Or, better, wait until you have the kind of spending money that’s required to purchase real alcohol before you get the urge to kick back for the evening with a drink and a cigarette.

The type of alcohol my lifestyle affords me screams RAGING ALCOHOLIC or, I don’t know, dumb ass college kid. The type of alcohol I want says, I am in tune with the finer things in life, or, as Jon would say, I AM A PRETENTIOUS HIPSTER.

Speaking of which, I tried a smoked porter the other day. It was wonderful.

Useless post for the win, I guess.

//

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I don’t think there is a big picture…

Search for Gestalt. What a funny title. Funny being peculiar, or strange, or particularly amusing due to a sense that things line up just a little too well, or because I’ve found a particular angle to look at something that causes a twinge in my chest – like bewilderment, like a bemused, blank stare that’s trying not to gaze too deep but unable to comprehend what depth means. It means I’m looking for some unnameable whole made up of all the bits of pieces that make me feel this vague and fathomless confusion.

Perhaps I don’t mean anything by it at all. It was a pretty word I read in a book once, explained as a way of perceiving something as a whole that is greater than just the summation of its parts. Something that takes on a life of its own beyond its component pieces.

Consciousness is a collection of neurons firing and communicating with each other, signals and feedback loops and glitches and energy. A lot of science is about taking these grand, almost incomprehensible ideas – consciousness, repertoires of behavior, odd coincidences, repeating patterns – and parsing them down to their most base forms. An atom is the smallest unit of matter that cannot be broken down by chemical means. But what is an atom made of? A nucleus, containing protons and neutrons, orbited by electrons. But what is a proton? A proton is, by my understanding, a unit of positive electrical charge. An electron, a unit of negative electrical charge. A neutron, a unit with no electrical charge at all.

What the hell do I mean by unit? A bit of matter? A current of energy? What’s smaller than these little electrically-charged bits? Quarks? Little “strings” that somehow bind everything together? Units of energy vibrating so fast and so frequently that they attract and repel, attract and repel, until some form of physicality begins to just… happen?

What the hell do these details even mean? I am no chemist, no physicist. The closest I get to science is being aware that fats cut gluten strands and thus make for more delicate baked goods. But these little details catch a snag in my mind and I keep reeling them back in, long after I’ve decided to live a life where such matters are ultimately unimportant. What are neurons? Why do they buzz? Why do they transfer information on to other neurons? Why do billions and billions of these neurons and the connections they form within my brain cause me to be aware? Are the individual neurons aware? Am I simply the combined perception of every single one of them?

If there are enough people in the world, all communicating with each other and passing information back and forth and reinforcing each others’ perceptions and behaviors with feedback loops, do we create some kind of unified consciousness ourselves? If you really parse down the behavior of the neurons that create our consciousness, don’t you see something somewhat similar to how we ourselves behave?

Why do these questions seem so important to me? What does it matter when I have bills to pay and tests to pass and a job to find? What’s the practicality in such impractical questions?

Why are scientists studying the possibility of physiological components to spirituality? Why is there such a chasm between concepts of the physical and concepts of the mental, emotional, and/or spiritual self? Why is the idea that somebody could look inside of themselves with such rapt attention and focus that they can sense the flow of energy within their bodies and map it so absurd to a culture that believes it can map that same flow by monitoring it from the outside?

Why is that person capable of looking at a flower and then transferring that visual information into lines, shapes, space, and shades, but this person, looking at the same flower, can only see the word flower and map, perhaps, a basic three-petaled representation that means flower but bears little resemblance to the actual plant? Both have in their minds a gestalt idea – a whole idea of flower that is more than ‘rose’ or ‘dandelion’ or ‘stem’ or ‘petal’ or ‘thorn’ – but one of those ideas can reproduce a detailed, accurate drawing and the other idea is… abstract. It has nothing to do with what’s visual, with what’s sensed.

Why?

Why am I neurotic? Paranoid? Spacey? Selfish? Why am I all of these things, but also capable of selfless thoughts and loving actions? Why do I dissociate during harmless social situations but pay full attention to my surroundings when I’m on a long stretch of freeway, capable of thinking clearly and making plans and remembering minute details in the landscape as it flies by at 70 miles an hour? Why am I only at my clearest in thought-processes when I’m alone, away from all potential of sharing? (Even writing takes away some of that clarity. It doesn’t bring on as much fuzziness as interaction with other people, but it still brings some.)

Why do I still, after five years, believe that the answer to all of my doubts and fears and inquiries lies in one simple, yet astoundingly mind-boggling idea:

If you take the perspective of a beam of light, you are everywhere you are ever going to be. There is no time. There is no space. If light were in any way conscious, it would be omniscient… and it would not exist at all.

 

(The cat is simultaneously alive and dead. You are simultaneously full of meaning and absolutely meaningless. You are a good person and a bad person. You are worthy of love and you are not worthy of love. This is the right thing to do and this is the wrong thing to do.

I know you completely and I do not know you at all.)

//

aaaaaaand… the answer is relative.

I am interested in too many things. Starting projects might be one of my greatest talents. Finishing them… well. My dad bought me a shirt that says ‘I never finish anyth’ and it is without a doubt my best self-defining shirt.

 Image
 
This would be the second best.
 
Recently, I’ve been cross-stitching, and reading Anatomy and Physiology for Dummies, and contemplating using beer as the yeast in my next homemade bread. I’ve been thinking about buying a brew kit and learning how to make my own beer. I insisted on making and decorating my own wedding cake and crafting my own centerpieces/favors for the wedding. (My favorite thing about the wedding – the actual wedding, not the after party – was wearing the dress that I watched Jon make me over the course of a couple weeks.) I have an incessant itch to learn how to quilt. I want to start a garden and grow tomatoes, chamomile flowers, lavender, peppers, basil and garlic (and that’s just to start out). I’m obsessed with books about Tai Chi, alternative healing, philosophy, and sociology. I want to learn massage therapy. I’ve already detailed some of my travels into the realm of computer programming and theoretical physics is basically my religion. Fantasy and science fiction created my morals and drive my passion for travel. I’ve crocheted, attempted to knit, obsessively studied abnormal psychology and dreamed of majoring in everything from creative writing to mechanical engineering to equestrianism. I love building things with my hands – one of my proudest achievements is contributing to the construction of a horse shelter. I taught myself how to draw (although I can’t really draw so much as copy black-and-white photographs in graphite) and study shadows and colors and space. Someday, I want to be a yoga instructor. I want to own a bakeshop. I want to pick up my violin and relearn music I haven’t played in well over five years and join a bluegrass/jazz/Celtic metal band. I’m in a technical writing class right now and I truly believe I could make money from the skills I am learning. I hope to become a major part of my dad’s business, which films conferences all over the States (and some of Europe) and posts them online.
 
I fucking want everything.
 
And this is part of the reason why I never finish anything. Because as soon as I’ve started on one thing, I become terrified that that thing is going to prevent me from all of the other things I want to do. So I have to go do something else. Sometimes it’s a matter of consciously giving up what I’m doing in favor of something else. Other times, it’s simply a matter of attempting to juggle too much at once and having bits and pieces fall by the wayside. Sometimes I don’t realize I’ve stopped doing something I love for months or even years, and when I realize it’s gone… I freak out and need to start doing it again. But then something else falls away. My life can often look like it’s in shambles, and the people who know me know not to take me too seriously when I become obsessed with yet another thing. Because it’ll fade out. The more intense the obsession, the quicker it goes away.
 
Some things stick. Some things come back again and again. I have to learn how to manage my time.
 
There’s never enough time.
 
//

Oh goodness.

Oh goodness. I’m that writer. I say I’m going to do something, and then trail away. Fortunately the internet lives on without me. If it didn’t, we’d all be screwed.

This has been a wild time for my household. Jon and I are married now – not that we don’t already have the old-married couple routine down pat, but it’s official. It’s all legalized and stamped. Now I’ve got a million thank-you letters to write because the people we love are the most awesome people ever and deserve to be showered in all the happy.

Today, I want to write about Asperger’s Syndrome. I don’t know how well I’ll be able to collect all of my thoughts, but Asperger’s is something I’ve been reading about and researching a lot in the past few weeks. It’s something I do; it’s something I’ve always done. Special interest. It means you become… obsessed or… entranced. I like the word entranced better. I’ve been madly entranced with psychology on and off since I was fifteen. I’ve done as much reading on anxiety and mood disorders as any undergraduate psych major, at least. And this from a lady who could not handle the four-year university track despite being uber smart and an incredible test-taker. I just could not do it; I wish I had let myself realize that in high school, before I pushed myself in a direction that only caused me misery and doubt. (But it lead me to where I am today, and for that I am thankful. This husband of mine would not be mine if I hadn’t gone through all the misery and doubt, this life of mine would not be mine… so… yeah.)

Also something I’ve done with these special interests is attempt, a million times over, to self-diagnose myself, under the unbearable weight of a feeling that’s plagued me for as long as I can’t remember. I’m different and there is something wrong with me. So when I read about depression, I decided I must have that. When I read about manic-depression, I saw my reflection staring back at me. Obsessive-compulsion disorder, attention deficit disorder, gender identity issues, sexual orientation confusion, anything to make sense of who I am and the mistakes I have made and the weird thoughts that jumble about in my brain.

And I’m still doing it. I read blogs by people with Asperger’s Syndrome and think to myself, yes, of course! I’ve done the same with all of the other “problems” so many times, that at this point I feel lost. If none of these things describe me, then who am I? Because there’s always just something that doesn’t fit. I can see parts of myself reflected in the diagnosis criteria, in the blogs of those who are diagnosed, in the stories and in the very voices of those who speak.

Jon calls it my hypochondriac streak, and will humor my rambling because he knows I need it to cope. But he encourages me not to put too much of myself into seeking a diagnosable label and to put more energy into simply being the most Wendy version of Wendy I can be. Only I really want to find a reflection of myself out there somewhere and I can’t not do this. I try to curb the way I draw connections between what I read and what I think and feel about myself, but it’s impossible. When I read about depression, I became depressed, because at least that meant I could belong to somebody – a group. Only the most debilitating of my so-called “symptoms” are, actually, under my control, if and when I decide to work on them. When I saw that being depressed had actually turned me into a horrid person, I successfully turned it off. I may still get depressed sometimes, but I do the things I need to do and it’s perfectly possible to put my life into perspective and find the energy to do those things. I was never chronically depressed. I just needed to feel like I was to cope.

Cope with what? Perhaps if I knew the answer to that question, this blog post wouldn’t even be a thing.

Anyway, I am still drawn to my study of Asperger’s Syndrome because I see my reflection there so clearly. (Narcissus might be proud, if he’d ever look away from his own reflection.) It is soothing to read stories about just not getting it when it comes to social situations and having the urge to walk around on tip-toe or twirl or jump over things or flap your hands in excitement. But there are other things I don’t quite grasp – the whole “theory of mind” bit, where supposedly people on the spectrum have a very difficult time understanding other peoples’ point of view. That’s not a … huge … problem for me. So the label does not fit like a glove. It’s more like a really beautiful corset that’s just a few inches too big, even at its smallest.

And asking for a diagnosis of any sort seems… wrong. Like I’m avoiding trying to actually work on the behaviors I need to work on in order to be the person I want to be in favor of finding an excuse for all of the reasons I can’t be that person. On the other hand, I feel like if I could just have a label, a label that other people share based on traits and behaviors they also share, then I will be able to find that group of people who can help me, instead of the group of people who, well-intentioned and affectionate as they are and as much as they love me, simply make fun of me for being absent-minded, socially inept, overly anxious, and downright weird. 

How can I be so weird? What did I do that made me so odd and spacey, when really I want to be bright and friendly and on-the-ball?

So. Anyway. I have to go cut my hair, and try not to blanch at how offensive this post may have come off.