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.
 
//

Daily Prompt:Flawed

Alright, I’ll bite. ‘Cause I’m a sucker for self-analysis.

My worst flaw is that I care too much, work too hard, and give too much of myself for others. No, really.

(And that earns a gigantic snort of derision. Please, drop the tomatoes. I’ll try to be honest now.)

In an effort to answer this prompt with something resembling the truth, allow me to share with you a recent conversation I had with Jon. This transpired after a bantering session in the car. Later that night, after the bantering ended with both of us being mildly amused and the conversation dropping, the night toned down into one of those nights where I’m on the computer and Jon is hobby-ing it up with the paints downstairs. After reading for awhile, something he said in the car takes a hold of my brain. I start picking over it and analyzing it and getting incredibly angry that he would say such a thing. How he said it is gone. The context in which he said it is gone. All that’s left is anger that he said it at all.

So I traipse downstairs, grab the tobacco, and bring it back upstairs, knowing that he will be up eventually to take it back. That’s right, ladies and gents. This lady went agro, and then she went passive aggressive agro, and then she fumed for another half hour while waiting impatiently for her loving, wonderful boyfriend to fall into her trap. And when he did, here’s what happened:

Agro Grilfriend: Why would you say something like that?

Jon: What?

Agro Girlfriend: Seriously, who the fuck says that shit?

Jon: What the…

Agro Girlfriend: (Using my, ‘This is what you should be saying’ voice) Oh, I’m sorry Wendy, I didn’t realize I hurt your feelings.

Jon: Um… Can I have the tobacco?

Agro Girlfriend: I mean, that is a seriously fucked up thing to say! I know you were joking, but please, just acknowledge that was going a bit far?

Jon: Anything else you want to script out for me tonight?

Agro Girlfriend: I just wish you cared about my feelings, damn it!

Jon goes back downstairs, shaking his head, wondering when his sane girlfriend will come back to replace the paranoid nutso currently sitting in his bedroom.

So my worst flaw is the fact that I literally go insane with paranoia, hatred, and fear at inexplicably random moments.

I honestly don’t know what else there is to say about that. That I’m working on it? It took me so long to realize that I did it at all, and even longer to realize that I am rarely, if ever, justified in these moments of rage. On the whole, I’ve got other flaws, and I’ve got good qualities, too (somewhere). But this one flaw has caused inordinate amounts of damage in my life, and despite recognizing it’s here, it not only continues to cause damage when I indulge in it, but the damaging effects of past outbursts are still rippling throughout most of my relationships.

And the rage is all tangled up with the way I felt upon reading this prompt. I read it, and a loud voice really, really wants to say…

My worst flaw is that I care too much, work too hard, and give too much of myself for others!

I want flaws that aren’t really flaws. Or flaws that make me quirky instead of frightening. But my flaws are exactly the opposite of that. I want too much to be seen as someone who is selfless; it’s its own form of selfishness. I want too much to be seen as completely reasonable; it’s its own form of madness.

Anyway. That’s a bunch of gibberish. My biggest flaw is that I’m always right and nobody can stand it. xD

//

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23k words is nothing to shake a stick at

23,878

I know I said in an earlier post that I was determined to finish NaNo this year. The truth is, I gave up with that story about the 7th of November. Very early. I exchanged NaNo in exchange for my own personal project.

Every morning, since October 29th, I have woken up and followed this routine:

I crawl over Jon, still asleep, in bed, and get dressed. As I am waking up, Hera bounces around the room, all wide-eyed, energetic husky, whoa-bearing (it’s the term we give to her throwing up her paws past her ears and slamming them into the ground – the most adorable thing I have ever seen a dog do) up a storm. I move with deliberate calmness, because it drives her crazy.

Opening the door, she bolts down the stairs with the energy of a seven-year-old on Christmas morning. I am a few minutes behind her, as I have morning-bathroom type stuffs to take care. After I’m brushed and smell a little bit better, I follow Hera down stairs where she’s waiting at the back door. She’ll stand tall and scratch along the door knob, as this is the way we’ve trained her to tell us she needs to go outside. I tell her to chill. She sits, wagging her tail, staring impatiently at the portal between her and her favorite place in the world. I open the door and rarely manage to avoid being knocked in the legs as she bounds outside.

So I set about making coffee while she enjoys herself in the yard. When the coffee is done, I pour myself a mug and whistle for Hera to come back inside. Then I head back upstairs, open Microsoft word, and write for as long as I am able to pay attention to the screen.

Some mornings I only write, ‘God I can’t think of anything to write!’ Some mornings I complain about the previous day, about being poor, or, originally enough, not having anything to write. There are lists of gratitude and lists of dreams, and even the occasional poem or piece of flash fiction.

Every morning.

This is the most consistently I have ever written. And somehow, in the midst of all of that, letting go of NaNo, which often has me completely sick of writing by December 1, doesn’t feel like a failure. I simply don’t care. I have established my own patterns. For the sake of framing my accomplishment under the terms of NaNo, the figure above is the amount that I wrote between November 1st and November 30th. But that’s 23 thousand words with no artificial deadline. It’s 23 thousand words I wrote with my own will-power, and through my own intention to become, truly, a writer.

I plan to continue this pattern until December 31st, at which point, I will commence with a two to three month activity called the floating half-hour, in which I pick a random half-hour period every day and write during that period. It sounds much more difficult than my morning routine, but after building the muscles that this routine has been working out, I believe I will be capable of challenging my muse, of practicing creativity, and of actively coming closer every day to my true and ultimate goal.

(To be a writer… obviously. xD)

That’s all for today.