Truth again

What point does truth have? It’s like a badge of courage I wear these days but ultimately alienating and fruitless. It serves no end, except allowing me to feel “I dare” and know the deal of myself and life.

I’ve come to the conclusion, after speculating on this before, that indeed most people are prone to greater delusion than myself. And when you stand amongst them, daring to speak the truth of yourself and your life, they pity you. They think your life is particularly bad because you speak of things as they are, fair and square. Even though the only difference is that you don’t spin yourself the yarn of “I never wanted those things anyway”, “These bad personality traits I got are quite great actually” or “Me and my partner are very happy” (when you feel like walking on tightrope every day for fear of provoking an argument or losing the person, for example). I recently witnessed a fellow truth-speaker among a crowd of delusionists. I recognised the wisdom of this person’s words, but most people saw fit to pity and teach the person the error of having an unideal life. No doubt majority of them having unideal lives themselves, but pretending they don’t not to lose in social status.  It takes courage to make yourself vulnerable, first to your own judgement and then to the loss in social status that comes with saying your life ain’t no joyride. My badge of courage says “I recognise the yarns I tell myself. I quench them with the truth” but what is the purpose of it all?

The other side of this is that when you look at things in their full depressing darks, it also diminishes hope and crushes the spirit. It becomes harder to get out and change things. I feel that sometimes one needs brazen hope and outright fantasy to make a change. It’s easier to summon the will power for chanage when you manage to fantasize the present into something more palatable.

As a teenager, I remember walking across a wet and slushy piece of land between the houses and fantasizing this was the Dead Marshes in Lord of the Rings, while I was a brave adventurer. Wet and slushy became much more bearable.

So what point would truth have in enduring an unpleasant walk? Is it going to make it easier that I can truthfully list all its unpleasantnesses? No, the opposite. Is it likely to encourage a faster step? Yes, if you got the will power. No, if you don’t. And it certainly won’t uplift the mood.

In life context, I see no use in truthfulness.

And, to turn evolutionary psychologist for a second, if it has no use, it is going to be a rare quality among the population. That is also why I’ve found it an alienating experience. Pulling the wool over one’s eyes is much more useful in helping to cope with life and manage to get on as well. It doesn’t diminish will power and hope the same way. So maybe I should use the medicine nature intended us to use and become, once again, the master of pulling wool.

 

January

Things I enjoyed in January 2020

  • Father Ted
  • Harry Potter
  • Doing a successful presentation
  • Getting good grades
  • My new point system
  • Finishing a handicraft project
  • Walking home from an exam and throwing my study materials in a trash bin by the hillside
  • Not getting ill

 

People I found relatable / Enjoyed copying

  • Hermione Granger
  • Father Jack

 

Melancholia

Maybe the reason I’ve been making progress with my social anxiety is partly due to the fact that I simply have nothing to lose any more. And when you don’t care, it makes you stronger. It’s one possible cause. I don’t think it’s the only one.

But while realising how I’ve progressed was an uplifting event, tonight is melancholy, the counting of losses and unhappinesses night.

The thing I want most right now, more than any other thing in the world, would be a fun, imaginative, positive and playful friend.

I am so terribly bored with the unimaginativeness of adults and so alone with my sense of play. Even my particular brand of loving nature sets me apart.

If I ever saw another person wondering in the woods like I do, a girl, with her eyes up towards the treetops to catch sight of an elusive bird and her step slow, if I saw a girl like that, god, I think I’d stepped into a world of fiction where life-changing encounters happen right in the middle of the forest.

Okay, let’s not exaggerate, but it’d be very special.

Anyway, it’s not so important.

Imagination and spirit is what I want most. Another wild soul who’d go on a picnic with me on a starry and snowy winter night. And no, I don’t mean the people who’d find the thought charming and would gladly humour me. I mean those whose soul would be in it, too. It doesn’t have to be this idyllic or eccentric, of course. For the past few days I’ve had this image in my head, of lying in our respective beds with my friend on a sleepover, and laughing about lots of things. Laughing like you do when you are 7 or 10 or 14. To have that merriment to share with someone. But people, they want to do adult things, not laugh with me.

Interpretation errors

A few weeks ago, I was summing up (in my mind) the progress I’ve made within the three years I’ve consciously tried to tackle my social anxiety.

The report looked bleak. I felt bleak.

Consistent improvement:

1. being able to step into a store, look towards the sales person and say hello in 90% of cases.

Starting situation: stepping into the store, trying hard to be unnoticed, looking down and never making eye contact, thus usually avoiding the hellos too.

If that’s the only thing one has achieved after 3 years of efforts, it’s a failure, isn’t it? It’s not worth it and one might as well conclude the entire thing a hopeless and deluded quest.

But then – yes, it’s coming – I had the following conversation with a friend about courage and bravery. I don’t remember the exact topic, but I called my friend brave for something that I didn’t dare to do myself. He rejected it, saying he doesn’t feel brave, that bravery is when you are scared of something but do it anyway. Like Frodo going to Mordor.

I felt “But that’s the story of my life!” I must be one of the bravest people then, because most of my life I do things I’m terrified of. It felt empowering somehow to realise you are not the hopelessly cowardly person you think you are, but have a lot of bravery too. These don’t seem so strongly linked, but I’m certain this was the turning point and led me to re-evaluate my progress in social anxiety reduction.

It is true, there was no consistent improvement, but in no other year than the years since I started on my SAD reduction, have I experienced so many social successes, so many unexpected, out of the blue socially normative and brave behaviours. And when I looked at it like that, the overall level must have improved because what else could explain so many successful outcomes. I write down some:

1. I walked into the post office and said hello in a loud voice. I was stunned by this. I hadn’t planned it. It just happened that I said hello in a loud voice. Normal situation: talking very quietly.

2. I was at a party with lots of people I had never met before and acted comfortable and socially acceptable. Normal situation: sit quietly and not say a word throughout unless specificially asked or just talk to the one person you know and feel safe with.

3. I felt like dancing and hopping around in front of the stage during several concerts. If I had the right people with me, I’d have just gone and done it, but these people kept me back. Normal situation: not feel this, being much too self-concious.

4. I managed what was probably the best presentation of my life at school. I talked well, did not get mixed up, stumble on words or lose track. I even managed spontaneity well. It was the first time I felt a glimpse of a possible other world, a world in which I could perform in front of people. Normal situation: stumble on words, lose track, speak very quietly, get stuck on anything spontaneous, IQ drop of one standard deviation, great distress.

5. I was rude to a sales person on the phone. Rudeness in my case being defined as telling them directly “I’m not interested. Bye” instead of trying to phrase it as softly as I could. Yes, it matters.

6. I posted on the school forum several times. Normal situation: say something, even if online, voluntarily in front of a large group of people? No way. Only when I absolutely have to.

7. I wrote to teachers asking questions. Normal situation: not do this.

8. I do not interpret my social failures as negatively as I used to and don’t dwell on them, feeling embarrassment and wishing the ground could open up and undo it. I often just think “Well, whatever, I’m sure they’ve encountered greater eccentrics than me” or “This person said a lot of stupid things in class today too, it’s not just me”. During the presentation, for example, I did have problems with not knowing where to put my hands, but it feels trivial and you can’t have everything at once.

9. I have come to notice a lot more how other people also have social anxiety. It makes me feel less alone, less abnormal. A few of our lecturers show signs of awkwardness in front of the class as well: one doesn’t know where to put his hands and gesticulates strangely, the other talks very fast and gets mixed up at times. I’ve always felt I was the worst. There was no one as bad as me. Maybe it is true, given the life I’ve had because of it, but other people also have social anxiety. I’m not alone.

10. In connection to point 9, I finally feel able to talk about it without feeling the stigma. I’ve always felt I had to hide it away and try to be as socially normal as I could, pretend it wasn’t there, pretend I had a normal social life. Truly, writing about it here in the extent I’ve done, delineating how deep its roots and the things I find hard to do, it is not something I’d have done two years ago. Writing about it in my native language or admitting it to course mates is not something I’d have done a year ago.

After such a list, it may seem confusing how I interpreted all this as “no improvement”, but it’s all about consistency. Most of my successes have been random and sporadic. They don’t suggest daily improvement in SA levels. They’ve just unexplainably happened. I did experience similar things prior to my SAD management as well. The odd day or event when I wasn’t acting painfully awkward by my standards, so the fact that such things happen, is not novel in itself. It’s the amount and type of them that is new. And this I missed because there was no consistent improvement. I still find calling hairdressers or ordering a taxi as hard as I did three years ago, but something good seems to be going on to account for the number and type of successes I’ve had.

And lastly, the strange thing is, not just concerning this facet of life but others too (like finances), when you got nothing, nothing is given to you by the world, but when you already have a little something, more of it gets given. As pleasant as it is to have fought my way up to this position when I already have a tiny something, the way it works before is disheartening.

Notice

I’m going to start reading Harry Potter now, so I ain’t got time for this (the year’s summary), but I just wanted to write that the second half of the year turned out to be the happiest I’ve had the mercy to experience in very many years.

More soon. Maybe. BYEEEEE.

Jean Valjean

Les Miserables is my second favourite book at the moment. And I had my first experience as a fan of a book seeing something I dearly love being put on screen and that something failing completely to measure up. I’ve watched countless adaptations of classics, usually enjoying both the books and the TV/movie versions. I even liked the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice, so come on, I’m not picky! But this. This failed me. I think it missed something vital to Hugo’s art of storytelling and altered my beloved Jean Valjean.

I’m talking of the BBC miniseries. The obvious distractors of illogical casting choices aside (I was much more disturbed by the black Thernadier children than by the black Javert. I could imagine some rare circumstance under which a black man could become a police inspector in 19th century France, but two white people having black children flies in the face of basic biology), those aside, I didn’t feel the story. The book makes you feel the story, it’s all about dragging you through the sewers of misery, but the TV series…. The emotion isn’t there.  Jean Valjean isn’t the magnificient figure he is in the book. For example, I couldn’t feel his doubt and torment in the court scene, while in the book it was one of the most intense chapters.

They’ve also made him worse than he was, which misses the main point of Hugo’s story. It is also strange to me that Fantine is the centre of the poster. To sell the story better you need a pretty girl, but come on. Les Miserables is the story of Jean Valjean and all others are supporting characters.

In conclusion, disappointed. I hope they make a new one. The musical I’m not going to watch because I don’t like musicals, having too much an autist’s brain for them.

Small rant over.

Nostalgia

I won’t say what I’ve been doing. I will instead fill in this quiz from my teenage years once more. It’s supposed to be done at new year but what the.

 

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?
Wanted to dance in a public place. Put putty on a wall and did a shoddy job of it. Ate foie gras and got a trauma for days. Felt a lot of things I have never felt before.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, will you make more for next year?
Obviously not to both.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Luckily not.

5. What countries did you visit?
Latvia.

6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?
Clarity of vision about what I want to do with myself and how.

7. What date from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, why?
I don’t remember the dates, but my diary could refresh my memory on them as they ended up having an entry.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Writing a poem that wasn’t terrible.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Continuing indecisiveness.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I injured my back. And then there is the usual anxiety and mood slumps.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My laptop, albeit practical, is pretty good after all.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Definitely not mine.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled, depressed?
Mine.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Household stuff.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Who can remember all such things? I suppose the times when I felt past could be shed and there is hope and magic ahead still. The times I forgot and lived in the present. The time I wanted to dance and went from one concert venue to the next, hoping to find a crowd I could dive into, but everyone was so passive. I was hyper though.

16. What song will always remind you of 2019?
I’d rather not say. It’s not a very good song.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier
ii. thinner or fatter? fatter
iii. richer or poorer? richer

I’m doing the classic middle-class man’s curve of life here, lol.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Written. Socialised.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Lying in bed in apathy or just lazying around doing nothing.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With my family.

22. Did you fall in love in 2019?
Who knows.

23. How many one-night stands?
None.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
What I actually watched on TV? Hm. Lark Rise to Candleford. I was skeptical about it but it grew on me.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No, but I like and appreciate some people who I didn’t last year

26. What was the best book you read?
Les Miserables.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
That Pina Colada song was rather fun. I also liked one pretty classical piece but never found out what it was.

28. What did you want & get?
Um. Can such things happen too? Okay, realm of trivialities: I bought a new laptop. I realized I hated it. Then it broke down within a month. I handed it in to be fixed and hoped it was quite irrevocably damaged so I get to pick a different model. Yes. Yes I did.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Did I watch the King Ludwig movie this year? If so, that.

31. What did you do on your birthday, & how old were you?
It hasn’t happened yet.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Possibly: being asked by one person to do something.  Winning the lottery, of course. 10 000 would do.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019? Tru bohemian. I have never had a style and wear what I like, from dainty and girlish to messy and ill-fitting.

34. What kept you sane?
I did.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Charlton Heston. I’ve been faithful to him for many years now.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Elections, I guess.

37. Who did you miss?
J.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
With new it is too early to say. No one stands out particularly.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019.
That personality is fate and in combination with the environment one is in, there is very little one can do to turn the tables, precious, precious little. I also learnt that my English has improved massively in 10 years, so keeping at it pays off.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“I’m in love with a fairy tale even though it hurts. I don’t care if I lose my mind, I’m already cursed”

 

 

Dejection

I want to be Jeff Buckley, but I’m Rodney Trotter.

I have lost motivation, lost faith in my will power, in my ability to turn things around. Sometimes, the old feeling returns in little flashes, like glimpses of a past mind and a more hopeful spirit. Sometimes, something makes me aware that I do have a fine mind and a lot of potential. But there is nothing to sustain it and I lose faith quickly. Lose motivation to try. Even though I know I could at this point turn the tables around, instead of drowning in my swamp of nothingness. But I drown.

I have also lost interest in writing on this blog.

This. This.

The psychological reason why some people are so hard on themselves isn’t necessarily a matter of low self-esteem. It’s more likely a product of the need for affect, which is the intensity at which people want to feel anything. Positive disintegration is often correlated with a higher degree of over-excitability, which is another way to say that people who develop themselves thoroughly often feel they are in a state of crisis, whereas other people would not perceive those circumstances to be as dire, or in need of a similar response.

(could relate to this)

Gratitude

My mind has a bit of a mystical turn if I allow it such leeway. When undergoing a great personality shift, in hindsight it often seems the entire universe has conspired to facilitate this shift. The right books happened my way. The right people and experiences.

I owe a lot of who I am – though currently I am so displeased with myself that who I am is largely an embarrassment to me – so let’s say, who I was and hope to become, to the people and books that were in my life at those junctions. To people who altered my views of self and widened those of the world, to books that strengthened it. And vice versa. It has been vice versa, too.