Monday, January 16, 2017

Women's March on Washington.

If the social media representation of the Women's March on Washington is at all an indication - I hope the march and the subsequent solidarity marches will be as big as they're hinting to be.

I'm really pleased to see the solidarity marches happening everywhere.
The Women’s March in Montreal will take place on Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. at Esplanade de la Place des Arts (175, rue Ste, Catherine Ouest) and will occur simultaneously with the one in Washington, D.C. in solidarity and in the spirit of diversity, equality, and inclusivity.

According to press, the Montreal march is the biggest in Canada so far. It's just really nice to see so many marches being planned in solidarity.

Montrealers plan 'sister demo' to support Women's March on Washington
Women's March on Washington set to be one of America's biggest protests

I just posted the following on my facebook, it lists some of what I'm feeling:
I plan on going to the march on Saturday for many reasons. First, as a show of solidarity with the marginalized groups of the U.S, whose fear and disillusionment I can only imagine, and feel a fraction of. These "groups" are the majority of the country: women, LGBTQ folks, Muslims, POC, those at risk of losing their health care, journalists and all manner of community activists. 
Second, because systems of power are linked and there is a dangerous lean towards fascism, neo-nazism and anti-socialist rhetoric that is dangerous and terrifying and I want to actively wear my politics, and be counted.
Within months, health care could be lost to over 20 million Americans, Planned Parenthood could be defunded, there's still talk of building a wall, of a Muslim registry and of reprimanding the media and journalism in all sorts of fucked up ways.
I understand that as non-Americans, this might feel far from you. I think what's been devastating and unreal to all of us watching these last months unfold. 2016 felt like a nightmare. Until recently, there even being the possibility of a President Trump was beyond absurd. It was insulting. And with every step closer, we became increasingly discouraged and anxious. 
I know I for one have had periods of shut down, because it's been too much and it's been tremendously sad.  
Canada is not perfect. We have our own issues and our own struggles.
By protesting on Saturday, I hope to show my solidarity with those marching on Washington, and I hope to show local government as well as federal powers that I am willing to take to the streets and protest. 
Let this American horror show galvanize all of us to become activists for what is right and what is fair. 
I understand that we all have lives, and we're all busy. It's about priorities.
I urge you to take a look at yours, and to make yourself seen and heard in a way that cannot be ignored.  
I've heard countless times over the last year, "I feel so helpless," and I think this is an opportunity to take everything we're feeling and to walk-it-out.
I plan on going with S - we might do coffee or a meal after. You're welcome to join us.
The ongoing non-sensical-level-of corrupt fuckery going on in the U.S is barely comprehensible. It's as if all of a sudden up is down and nothing matters, it's enough to make you feel like you're hallucinating.

I'm keeping an eye on all the reporting, and I look forward to taking to the streets of Montreal in solidarity with those marching on Washington.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Maria Bamford is indeed hilarious.

Maria Bamford on The Hilarious World of Depression is everything.

Her story matters to me. I can't explain it otherly. I adore her am grateful for her.

She speaks about psychiatric facilities as being a "holding facility" and not a place of healing, as well as her experiences with an eating disorder, OCD, and bi-polar 2.

Both she and Joe talk about how accessing good care is a life-long struggle. Something that is really difficult to accept, and is discouraging, and is just brutal sometimes.

I cannot recommend it enough.

Added little pleasure, when I said this on twitter, she hearted my comment.

∞ ♥ 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Emotional identify and emotional inheritance.

From The Book of Life, on emotional identity:
... Emotional Identity, the characteristic way in which our desires and fears manifest themselves and our personalities respond to the behaviour, negative and positive, of others. There are four main themes around which our Emotional Identities are structured and it is their particular dosage and arrangement within us that decisively shapes who we are. To get to know ourselves is – in large part – a question of coming to understanding the configuration of our Emotional Identity.
Those four main themes are listed as self-love, candour, communication and trust.

For me, reading the self-love section is prickly, since I know how it's a very difficult subject for me. The page includes a simple test - and I clearly have a very high score for "lack of" self-love.

The chapter also discusses what it calls Emotional Inheritance:
What creates Emotional Identity? Why do we have the emotional identity we do and not a different one?
 A big modern response looks to genetics. We’ve got a specific genetic inheritance and (via many complex processes) this inheritance shapes our adult personality. We’re not saying genetics are irrelevant. But we want to focus attention on another kind of inheritance: Emotional Inheritance.
Developed mainly in early childhood, it plays a major role in our most basic character traits:
Psychotherapists have developed a special term to capture what we inherit emotionally from the past: they call it our ‘transference’. In their view, each of us is constantly at risk of ‘transferring’ patterns of behaviour and feeling from the past to a present that doesn’t realistically call for it. We feel a need to punish people who aren’t to blame; we worry about a humiliation which isn’t anywhere on the cards; we’re compelled to betray as we were once, three decades before, betrayed.
So how do we navigate knowing what we're pre-disposed to?
Maturity involves accepting with good grace that we are, of course, involved in multiple transferences, along with a commitment to try rationally to disentangle them. The job of growing up means realising with due humility the exaggerated dynamics we may constantly be bringing to situations and to monitor ourselves more accurately and more critically so as to improve our capacity to judge and act in the here and now with greater fairness and neutrality. We need to see how the people and situations in our past that have given rise to habits of mind that lead us to see current events in particular ways. The idea is to grow a little wiser as to where our troubles are coming from and around what areas of our lives we will therefore need to be especially careful.
Lastly, three benefits are listed as being the result of this type of self-reflection:
Firstly, we become aware of ways in which we are a bit crazy (that is: puzzling to others and inappropriate in our responses). We can catch ourselves before we do too much damage. But we also grasp why we are like this. We don’t have to hate ourselves, we can become more sympathetic to the way we’ve had some awkward legacies – and have learnt a few somewhat counterproductive ways of coping.
Secondly, we can more calmly explain ourselves to others. Even if we can’t entirely change, we can flag up what might be challenging about living around us. If we understand ourselves better we can help others understand us more sympathetically too. 
Thirdly, we begin to see that we have a degree of freedom and opportunity to change (to a limited but useful degree) the difficult parts of who we are. We don’t have to keep on repeating exactly what we’ve been doing. There are other options.
A worthy read, a lot to unpack.

Links on writing.

Like most of my creative pursuits, I'm always scolding myself for not making more time to write. Over the course of the last few months, I've bookmarked various articles and links on writing, so I thought I'd share them here, for my future self, as well as anybody else who might be interested.

I think of all the reading I've done, memoirs have been the most transformational for me. It's let my mind wander into considering my own story. It's helped me open up to the possibility that my own stories are worth telling.

I don't consider myself a writer, but I would like to some day.

The Best Writing Advice of 2016

33 Authors Gave Us Their Best Advice On Writing
Ignore all lists of writing tips. Including this one. And including this tip. Or at least take them with a big pinch of salt. I have never met two writers who work exactly the same way: One of the hardest, but ultimately most rewarding, things about writing is that you have to work out for yourself who and what you are as a writer, and how you yourself work best. When you’re starting out, it’s very easy to see a piece of advice by [insert your favourite author here] and think, If s/he writes like this, I must do it that way too. That can be unhelpful, and instead I think that every time you hear a writing tip, you have to decide whether it means something to you, resonates with you, or whether it sounds like the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard. It’s your book, you need to learn to write it your way. Now please ignore this advice. 
– Marcus Sedgwick
I also have the following lists:

10 Outstanding Short Stories to Read in 2017 

The Most Moving Personal Essays You Needed To Read In 2016


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Hilarious World of Depression.

Currently listening to The Hilarious World of Depression, hosted by John Moe, I'm at the Andy Richter episode.

I listened to Richter's episode of You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes, and he mentioned his depression and his being medicated.

Richter talks about creativity, comedy and depression, as well as whether or not there's a higher representation of mental illness in creative fields.

Richter is also open about therapy, his neurosis, and his childhood. He refers to his depression as "a constant," and thinks of it as something you "manage."

He advocates therapy and for persistence in accessing care.

Great conversation. Highly recommended. I'll no doubt listen to more of the episodes when I can.

I love Andy Richter. I also love his wife Sarah Thyre. I listen to her podcast, Crybabies. I'm jealous that they're married to each other, but only barely. I'm mainly happy for them.

It's not what it isn't.

I get very philosophical at night. As I quiet down my mind wanders and I'm able to think cohesively. Being tired brings with it a type of slow-form lyricism and I think to myself that what I'm thinking is beautiful and I should write it down.

Alas, it's bed time, and I shouldn't be pulling out a computer, or getting out of bed because of a thought I'm barely hanging on to.

When I was a child I would write in my diary every night before bed. Maybe that's what I should return to. It's difficult now, since I don't have my own space, but maybe I could try it out, here and there, and see how it feels.

This past weekend was my birthday. I spent the day with my friend S. We ordered food and watched Swiss Army Man. It was the perfect film for me. Dark and flatulent.

It was probably the most successful of birthdays I've had in recent memory. I usually try and avoid any ceremony. I always end up disappointed. People are broke and tired in early January and I don't get much attention - and isn't that what you're supposed to get on your birthday - attention?

This year my two closest friends are the only two who got me anything. Solid gifts too. S got me tickets to see Amy Schumer and C gave me a 50$ amazon gift card, which was perfect since I had about 400$ of books in my cart when she sent it to me. All of the best of 2016 / what to read in 2017 book lists are out and they make me crazy with book lust.

C also took the time to film her dog in a birthday hat while singing happy birthday to me. That made me happy. I mean, that's all I want, really.

I always feel like a birthday is really a test of who knows you, and who doesn't. And who will take a minute to care, and who won't. Both C and S know me well, and it showed. And I appreciate it.

I'll most likely write them each a note about it. Maybe I'll do that next.

My mother will be heading to Cuba for about 10 days, so I'll have some quiet and some space for a little while. That might be good for me. I like being able to stretch out a little, and the quiet is good for me.

Here's an excerpt from my letter to C:

My birthday brings up a lot. First and foremost, it’s right after the holidays and people are broke, tired and generally annoyed. It’s always been impossible to plan anything and in general a lot of people forget.

I think it’s also that birthdays are generally meant to be a time for socializing and “going out” and stuff and I don’t really do those things. And although I have no desire to go out and do certain things, I do get lonely. And sometimes a part of me thinks that there’s a distinction between “not wanting” to go out, and not being able to, and that really I’m just not part of that world. It’s not that I want to go out. It’s that I want to be someone who is capable of fun.

My birthday being right after new years means it’s an extension of what new year's evokes, culturally speaking: a desire to look over the last year of your life, and to plan for the upcoming year.

2016 was rough for me. I’m tired. I have a lot of worries about my job and working, and my ability to work in general. So looking forward to 2017 means extending that tangle of fears, since I am looking for employment in order to ideally quel some of those anxieties. I try and let it go as much as I can, but sometimes that’s really hard.

I also think that now, for the first time ever, really, I think about what I’m missing by not having a partner. I’m able to live alone, and am nearly resolved to the idea of it, but there are times I miss the comfort of being cared for, and having that favourite person you’re intimate with.

In a lot of ways, as I become more resoundingly myself in a lot of ways, I also question what parts of my character are set in stone and what remains malleable. Over the last year I have worked on my compassion and kindness, and I’ve also taken a step in trying to more actively live my values.

And though the parts of me that always ask questions, and is curious and existential, is a fundamental part of who I am, it’s also alienating, and I grow tired of it.

In terms of how this relates back to my birthday, it leaves me asking myself about what I should and shouldn’t expect from the people around me. What do I expect from my friendships? From my family? I am not owed. I do not deserve. But there are ways people show care, and do these people care about me?

It’s just so ironic. I want things to be light and easy - but I am not light an easy, not really.

My frontal lobe is throbbing. Sometimes I feel like my desire to understand and organize information is infinitely larger than my ability to learn and understand, and so my brain just gets overwhelmed.

I think right now my hang-up is questioning what parts of me keep me lonely, and if I’m willing or able to do the work to live differently.

I’m just so tired these days.

It's 2017. This is the future.