Spirograph

If all lives really mattered, wouldn’t we all be a lot less douchey about those not our own?

So much reacting without thinking.

Whereas, some days, thinking is pretty much all I do. I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. Not, like, the dating kind. Obviously I am far too angry to date. Not specifically those, anyway. Just the ways in which I relate to others, and how they relate to me. Friendships, mostly, though some family and date-ish-like relationships, too.

Tomorrow I get to spend a large part of the day with one of my longest, closest friends, and I can not freaking wait! I can’t even remember the last time we got to hang out together like this…unless you count the day we spent in a clinic while I took my first dose of Gilenya, but I’m sure both of us would have rather been hanging out somewhere else. Somewhere we could talk and laugh and be ourselves more completely. Maybe somewhere with alcohol. Haha

Tomorrow will be much more “us”. Outside of eating chips in our pj’s while watching old episodes of “V” on VHS, of course.

Anyway, I am ridiculously excited about it – about just having the plan, let alone how much fun and cathartic it’ll be to actually do it all!

Another of my longest closest friends is in town this week with his wife, whom I haven’t met yet but feel like we’re going to get along splendidly together. We haven’t created an actual plan to hang out yet, but we will…it’s just a matter of finding mutual gaps in our schedules. But since I am also off tomorrow through Sunday, I think we should be able to figure something out!

I am ridiculously excited about that, too – I don’t even care what we do, so long as we’re together for a time!

I’m not sure if I feel so close to those two people because I rarely see them, but when I do, it’s like no time has passed, or if it’s because I’ve lived with both of them before. In the same house, just not at the same time. Maybe it was the house that cemented our friendships. Maybe it was the time period – I was fully out and feeling pretty cocky about my awesomeness; I thought at the time that I was pretty open about who I was, or at least as much as I had discovered so far. So I wonder if my frustration now is in feeling like I am less open than I was? Or the same but wanting to be more? Am I just more aware of feeling like I don’t know how to be the kind of friend to certain others that I want to have for myself? I definitely feel more guarded with new people now. I hadn’t been devastated yet when I met those friends from my 20’s.

Maybe some people just better at seeing through my crap and calling me on it and moving both of us past it. Maybe my newer friends just haven’t been given the chance to get there yet.

The interesting thing to me is that – regardless of the when or the how long – none of my closest friends ever consider me to be their closest friend. Or rather, they’ve always had people in their lives who are closer to them than I am. Just as I always have people closer to me than anyone who’s considered me one of their closest friends. It’s like some weird spirograph of connections; always fluid and changing and growing and shrinking and yet somehow still working somehow.

For the most part. There are times I still long for a more balanced mutual connection – to the point where I find myself even trying to force it sometimes – but for the most part, the spirograph works, and everybody gets what they need, more or less. Trying to force something to be what it’s not just because we want it to be something else…really doesn’t work for anyone. Which I of course know, but that doesn’t stop me from trying sometimes, even though I know it’s not going to turn out the way I want it to. Sometimes I just can’t help myself, I guess. Maybe I haven’t figured out the difference between reaching for what I want versus fighting a losing battle.

Maybe I still haven’t been able to even tell the two apart.

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I Don’t Know

I don’t know, guys.

I don’t know what to say.

I can’t keep doing all your thinking for you.

And America – you need to be put on a time-out. Immediately. The whole lot of you, except for your President and his fam jam, because I am sure they could use a break from your shit.

I know I could.

Frustrated by more ongoing stuff I can’t talk about.

Mostly I am just PMS-y, though. Sad, angry, defeated, hungry, tired, grumpy, whiny…the best of the seven dwarfs, really. That’s where the idea for my fractured fairy-tale, Ebon Black and the Seven Dryads, came from, anyway.

Why weren’t they called ‘dwarves’? Is it like the Toronto Maple Leafs? Or is English just weird?

Know what else are weird? Feet. Especially toes.

I paid bills this morning and I’m going to pick up shiny new litter boxes tonight. I’m pretty much having a banner day.

There will, of course, be beer.

My Opinion…On Opinions

Opinions.

Everybody’s got them. Everyone is entitled to them.

Lately it feels as though more and more people are voicing them and/or sharing them on the internet, too. About everything. Even if someone doesn’t know a single fact about the subject upon which they are speaking, they are allowed – we all are allowed – to go ahead and spew forth whatever opinion we have on said matter. It’s pretty much our God-given right, and we’re going to exercise it every chance we get, dammit.

The thing is – and this is just my opinion (see what I did there?) – I’m not certain that a) any of our opinions actually matter to anyone but us, especially the uninformed ones, because b) we’re so busy screaming our opinions from the rooftops that we’re not bothering to listen to nor consider the opinion of another, but rather how to respond to them so that they’ll know they are wrong, and c) we’re basically all contributing to the rapid decline of intelligence and critical thinking in our own species.

You know…that thing that sets us apart from and above all the lowly non-human beasts of the planet.

Like, can opinions even be wrong? They can be formed upon misinformation, but can the actual opinion itself be incorrect? By definition, isn’t it really just how we feel about something based on what we believe we know about it? Wouldn’t something more concrete be more like a fact? Opinions can even change (on the rare occasion anyone bothers to inform theirs on something of a continuous basis), so can something so fluid really be considered wrong? Why are we all so eager to prove ourselves and those who agree with us to be correct in something we only feel rather than know?

If I say I feel light-headed one day, can someone else tell me that’s not how I feel? I would think that we should at least be able to agree to disagree, and yet, in most cases, the vast majority of what I see in the world – the public world – is that people can’t even do that.

I think this.”

You’re wrong, because I think this!”

We can both be right, from a certain point of view, and we can both be wrong. So sayeth Obi-Wan, kinda.

But I’m not sure opinion can be measured in a pissing contest, which is basically all we’re doing now. We’re all just peeing and then arguing about who’s pee is correct.

The funny thing is, none of our opinions even matter anymore, if they ever did. Instead of opening a discourse, all we are doing is peeing our pee, and letting others judge our pee – usually while they are also peeing and we are judging theirs – and no one is listening. I’m not listening to you, you’re not listening to me, no one else is listening to either of us.

Unless we already agree. Then we both pee and pat one another on the back for a job well done.

I was actually just thinking about this the other day. I was wondering if I should try to pass on to whoever will listen some of the things that I have learned in life thus far? Or should I focus on continued learning? Because I am fairly certain that I can not do both, at least not with any degree of success. I feel like I can focus on finding the right words to convey bits of knowledge-like gems gleaned over the past almost 44 years, or I can focus on paying attention to the world around me, and struggling to understand it better; to perhaps even understand another being’s experience with this planet, if only a tiny morsel of it.

In the latter pursuit, someone’s well-expressed opinion can help in learning a great deal, though probably the best teacher is experience – paired with mistakes – and finished off with a healthy dose of connections made in between. But it is imperative to good learning for a person to remain focused; to pay attention. To watch in silence more than speaking.

In the former quest, it’s vital to express thoughts and opinions well, and to re-frame words in different ways, in order to not only get them across, but to also confirm that you are doing so. Questions need to be asked to make sure the listener is on the same page before moving on, lest you leave them behind and with nothing to take away from the conversation at all.

Don’t be so busy talking that you forget to check in. If no one is listening at all, then you’ve failed on both counts – learning and sharing.

Neither are easy, but both are – or should be – necessary to some degree. I just feel like I personally need to focus more on one or the other for a little while. I keep thinking about trying to teach and share, but in the end, it’s my own somewhat selfish thirst for understanding that pushes me to keep watching.

And judging the rest of you. I mean, let’s be real – nobody’s perfect. At least I can admit it, though. Sometimes to my detriment, but still. I understand that I have much more to learn than I have already learned, and that even my perceived knowledge or understanding is deeply flawed, so that there is always room to grow. I am also really not good at confrontation. I find I can’t express myself very well when I am upset or passionate about whatever subject is being “discussed”. You know what, though? I don’t think the rest of you are, either. I don’t think anyone is. I’m not sure it’s even possible to have a personal, emotional stake in something and yet remain removed enough for logic and reason to overcome emotion. It’s just that most of you don’t care to give voice to your opinions so that others may come to understand them. You just think that peeing louder makes your pee more right.

And the thing is, for the most part, you don’t really know. You feel like you do, but you don’t. None of us do. But we say it, anyway, because it’s our opinion and we are entitled to it.

Maybe that’s why I prefer to just stay home with the dog and cats who live with me. I don’t have to remind myself to not read their comments.

The word ‘opinion’ looks like ‘onion’ when you type it enough.

Expect Less

Still grumpy today, so feel free to not read on.

Definitely nothing interesting or important to report. Just general misplaced anger, as usual.

Anxiety is making sure I don’t sleep much, too, of course, so I imagine that adds to my overall grumpy nature. Annoying.

I spent a good deal of the weekend thinking about cancelling…pretty much everything. Or some things. I still haven’t really decided. It’s frustrating to think about and frustrating not to at the same time. Definitely have some decisions to make, but none of them look to have positive outcomes, no matter what I decide. So that’s frustrating, as well.

The fairies are telling me to travel so I can learn and grow and meet someone significant or perhaps even move. I’m to ask them for financial help and planning assistance. I don’t know how to do that, but it’d be cool if I did. I also have zero idea where I would go. I mean, there are tons of places I want to check out, of course, but learning and growing and meeting and moving is a lot of pressure to put on a simple little trip. I don’t know that anything at the top of my list would have the potential to be particularly life altering, even if I was granted a way to make it happen. Of course, I’ve taken other trips that turned out to be much more than what I’d expected, so I guess there’s potential in pretty much anything.

In my experience, though, it usually happens when you least expect it, so trying to plan an epic trip without expecting it to be epic is the key.

My horoscope for the day is telling me to think about ways I can trim the mental and physical excess baggage from my life, so that I can better embrace the “less is more” philosophy. Not sure what I think about that. Maybe thinking is part of the excess baggage.

So many roadblocks lately. Every step I try to take is met with resistance; even what should have been small, simple ones. I don’t understand. I’m even trying to be more brief in my communications, yet get shut down just as quickly, if not more so. I don’t know. I really, really don’t.

The term “spotting” seems far more pleasant than anything that’s actually happening.

My neurologist this morning noticed my hair is longer than it was when we last saw one another. Cute! Now, of course, I won’t see him until December (barring any unforeseen issues in the meantime), which means it’s almost winter already.

I’ve also been told there’s a note on my health card file to contact the ministry. I suspect I’ll be separated from my red and white card very soon now.

I suddenly feel a bit feverish, or something. I am well overdue for my next cold, though, so can’t say as I’d be surprised to be sick again by the end of the day! Haha

I feel like I don’t get to hang out with my friends much anymore. But I also feel like I’m not always sure who they are – or what friendship is, I guess is more the issue. I know it’s always been fluid and, if not temporary, then at least not always constant. It always changes, like everything. I guess I just wanted something more…I don’t know what the word is. Something more something. I just didn’t realize it. Or maybe it’s just an effect of the grumpiness skewing things in that realm, too. Making me feel like I still don’t know how to friendship. Haha

It was once suggested, in high school, that I was having a nervous breakdown. I don’t buy it, though. I think it would be more of a thing.

A guy on the subway this morning had two plastic bags full of lettuce, and on one a tiny caterpillar was trying to work its way somewhere, but was having trouble navigating the outside of the bag. I watched it for the whole ride, thinking about how it was going to die soon, all alone and far from home. Also saw what looked like a raccoon hand on the sidewalk. Tough to be sure, given that it was so flat and all, but it was definitely someone’s hand. Or foot.

The things we leave behind.

I feel like everything is coming together even as it all falls apart, while remaining enough the same that it’s driving me nuts. Can’t sleep. But can definitely eat, and drink, so there’s that.

This blog is one of the things I’m thinking about cancelling, since I can’t even remember the point of writing it, anymore, and I’m pretty sure it’s not working the way I’d hoped, anyway. It’s more likely, though, that I’ll finish out the year (due to stubbornness), and then delete it all. Maybe I’ll even get super open and honest right near the end, and then destroy all evidence so that it can’t be held against me in the future.

Not sure what to do. About anything, it seems. Each step hits a wall, no matter which direction I go.

For now, all I can think to do is just sit in the silence and hope something shifts my way, but that feels really lazy. My horoscope does say to apply mental restraint on my actions, so at least that matches somewhat.

Still seems lazy and needy, though. And those are things I hate about myself. Do or not do. Just equals more walls, as far as I’m concerned.

So be it. Another day’s post done.

Seeing Differences

When I was accepted to teacher’s college, I found I’d been placed in a rather unique section of the program called Urban Diversity. I was in the 10th group of cohorts for that particular program, and it was kind of interesting to see all the different people who were in my class, as well as who, for the most part, would become my friend by the end of the school year.

The Urban Diversity section of the Education program focused more on teaching children in classrooms and schools which are more reflective of the city’s diverse population. I remember someone once commented on how “white” my Grade 6 class was, and I countered with the fact that about 80% of them didn’t speak English as their first language, which would obviously contain a different set of struggles from those who were being taught by someone of a different skin tone.

Anyway, it was cool to look at the notion of teaching each child, as opposed to teaching a classroom of children. Seeing difference, and teaching to it, was the opposite of everything I thought society had taught me thus far, but as soon as it was discussed on, like, Day One, it all suddenly made sense to me. The whole “everyone is equal” model doesn’t really work. Everyone is not equal, and punishing those who are ahead by forcing them to slow down, or leaving behind anyone who can’t keep up, is just silly, and counter-productive.

So I learned about teaching from a different perspective, compared to the other sections within the Education program, and it stressed me out. I was painfully aware of not being able to fully teach to each child, and of how things I said or did could be received by one child far differently from how it was interpreted by another. I hurt one of my best Grade 8 kid’s feelings because I stopped calling on her for a time. She thought I hated her; I thought I was trying to give other quieter kids a chance to speak. We got it sorted out, but I’ll never forget how flabbergasted I was that she could think I didn’t like her. She was my go-to kid if things ever became too frustrating because I knew she always got it. That was an important lesson to learn, and to keep learning. Because everyone is different, after all.

But it didn’t help with my non-existent teaching career, in that I never really got my feet under me and felt the confidence I would need in my abilities to run a classroom.

I can’t run a classroom. Haha

Anyway, in the Education classroom, on non-teaching days, I sat at the Table of Misfit Toys with my regulars. My friends, the other oddballs who didn’t quite fit in. We were often the most fun, and sometimes other teacher candidates would join us just because we were that awesome. I still liked almost everyone else in the room, of course. I just didn’t have much in common with them, and felt like I didn’t fit in as well as I did with my eclectic mix.

What’s interesting is what I was told later from my main guy, Marc. I haven’t seen him in well over a decade, but at the time, we were quite close, and went through a lot together, even after the school year ended. He’s a brilliant young guy, whose brain never stops working things out, and has one of the best, warmest smiles ever. It goes right to his eyes. I actually hate that we lost touch, and keep hoping we’ll just bump into one another again someday.

So anyway, Marc got into grad school, and did his Masters of Education, as well. He was, therefore, still in touch with the man who had created the Urban Diversity division, Dr. Patrick Solomon. Dr. Solomon sadly passed away some time ago from stupid cancer, but he left quite a legacy in his wake. He was the first person I met when I got to campus on Day One (he walked me to class), and hugged me on stage during our graduation ceremonies. According to Marc, Dr. Solomon confided in him once that our table of misfits, for the most part, all started off the program in the mindset/headspace of where he wanted everyone to end up. That was not only an enormous compliment, but also explained why we’d gotten so frustrated so often when we were doing the learning instead of the teaching. I was of the understanding that there was something we just weren’t getting (there was even an extra IEP for me at one point – , whereas the reality was that we’d already gotten it, but had to sit through the rest of the year not progressing while we waited for the rest of the class to catch up.

That’s not necessarily meant to come across as bragging, though I suppose it kind of is, but more to explain the fish-out-of-water sensation that I’d felt for so long, and that I knew I was capable of passing on to kids in my classes. Classes I’d never have, as it turned out, but at the time, it was a hefty weight on my mind.

It’s occurred to me in recent days that I’m feeling much that same way again now, sometimes. I think that’s why I can’t express myself in a way that anyone else quite understands. Partly because I am just not articulate, and partly because I’ve already gone through all the stuff they’re saying and trying to progress further, but I have to keep going back to the last save point, so to speak, to see if I can catch everyone else up; get us all on the same page, before I can turn the page. We just rarely seem to get there, which means I rarely go any further myself, even just in my own head.

Maybe this is part of how the internet is making us dumber. We’re exposed to more people, so we spend even more time trying to find common ground and get on the same page that we actually never get through the first chapter, let alone past it. We spend more time feeling and reacting than we do thinking, because it’s instant. Or, as fast as we can type. The fact that so much conversation is done online instead of in person means that more is misunderstood due to lack of vocal inflection, body language, and eye contact. Everything looks black and white on the page, so we’re all starting to think that’s what the world is. One or the other; all or nothing; left or right (haha CToT xo).

But it’s not. There are more shades of grey than we can even sense, and it’s exciting and invigorating to explore them, but we never do. There’s just no time, which is funny, considering how quick and automated things are now compared to life prior to the Industrial Revolution, say.

Not that I am old enough to remember that.

I do remember the 80’s, though, and parts of the 70’s…I remember life before the world was opened up to us via the World Wide Web. I remember phones with rotary dials and cords that got tangled up and stretched to shit. I remember no cable and only 3 channels via antenna. I remember going outside to play, riding my bike around town, going home when the streetlights came on, handwriting letters, and book reports and essays. I remember when computer mainframes took up entire rooms, and cordless phones were new and enormous.

I remember when everything was slower, and yet there was more time to think.

Harambe

Harambe.jpg

Ugh I’m so torn!

Do I join the rest of the uneducated masses spewing forth ignorant, empty of thought opinions online about the whole gorilla thing? Or do I continue to bite my tongue and hope my simmering rage will subside on its own before it boils over and spews out on its own? Haha

Such a quandary!

I mean, on the one hand, my opinion is no more or less valid than anyone else’s, even though I’m pretty sure most people are just wrong. Haha

But what would be gained from my babbling rant being added to the rest of what’s already out there? Nothing. It likely wouldn’t even change anyone’s attitude nor opinion, and would instead preach to the choir, just like everyone else. And you know how much I hate being like everyone else.

So given that what I think isn’t more valid than what anyone else thinks, what about the benefit of remaining silent and moving on about my daily life? Surely there are many good reasons to do that. Except my opinion isn’t less valid, either, and with so many voices out there loudly decrying the opposite of mine, it’s hard to believe that I should be the one remaining silent when so many others are selfishly putting theirs out there. And you know how much I hate being like everyone else if no one else notices how delightfully different I am.

I guess the deciding factor is really in the notion that I’m sure some people think they know what I think, and as that is not necessarily the case, it’s probably best to do my own talking on the subject, rather than let anyone else do it for me. I don’t really have time to put my thoughts into any coherent order, or articulate them very well, so this is pretty much all reaction to the public reactions I’ve been seeing all over the internet since the incident occurred. There is, as always, a boatload of judgement flying about, and should-haves and accusations and finger-pointing at where blame ought to be laid. Many are using it as proof that their soap-boxing ideas are correct, and most seem to see it as a black and white issue; a blanket for all animals, or parents, or children, or zoos, or zoo staff, or whatever. I don’t even know. What I don’t see is much discussion about a) this particular incident with this particular animal, and b) alternate viable solutions other than the occurring result.

So, let’s see…couple of quick things, I guess.

  • To those who say Harambe (he had a name, and a personality, which is weird considering he wasn’t a person by definition) and all animals should not be in zoos, he was captive-born, so what you are really saying is that he should never have been born at all. And if that’s what you think, then you have no right to be upset that he has now died. If you think he had no right to live in the first place, then how he lived and how he died are none of your concern. Move on and find another argument to waste everyone’s time with.
  • To those who say zoos are terrible, unnatural places for animals, I can counter your blanket statement by pointing out that they are better, healthier and allow for more natural behaviours that nursing homes, seniors residences, group homes, orphanages, foster homes and any institution which house our physically and mentally challenged citizens. Those statements are both true in some cases, but in many are also false. Each scenario should be judged on its merit alone, and not all lumped in together into one general assumption. Inform your opinions. Seriously.
  • Human lives matter more than any other species. To humans. Pretty much every other species would say the same. As always, there are exceptions to every rule, but even for me, while logic dictates that the member of the NON-endangered species should have been killed instead, my biological instinct, or whatever, is to save the child, even though there are a billion more just like him on the planet already.
  • I get why tranquilizers weren’t used. They don’t take effect immediately, and would instead agitate Harambe further, along with all the screaming and crying from the hairless apes around him. What I wonder is, given that things like this happen ALL THE TIME (not just in zoos, either), why no one has worked on finding other quicker alternatives to outright killing. There is a good ten minutes of middle ground in there. Why aren’t we looking for methods which would fit in between tranquilize and kill? Is it because killing is so often our first option that we don’t bother to look further?
  • What did the wee tyke learn from his trip to the zoo that day? A healthy respect for non-human animals? Doubtful. A greater awareness that rules are in place for a reason, and that they actually apply to him? Also doubtful, considering the number of grown-ass adults who also climb over fences at zoos these days. I suspect that all that will be retained in that kid’s still soft skull of his day at the zoo will be whatever other people tell him. For sure he wasn’t punished for going somewhere that’s supposed to be off-limits to him, so he won’t even have learned that, either. Those are the kinds of things that are supposed to be taught before going places – following rules, being a member of society, that sort of thing. Of course, most of us grown-ass adults also don’t abide by such general rules, either, so it’s really no wonder that kids don’t ever learn.
  • More and more, we have to protect animals from ourselves and from other people, not the other way around. Your dog should not have to be muzzled so he doesn’t bite some kid who hits him with a stick. But he is, because it’s easier than teaching the kid not to hit. People expect that zoos are there to entertain (they’re not), or to teach children to respect wildlife (if only their parents would learn that respect as well and pass it on themselves, instead of expecting zoos to do it for them), but the way I see it, they are there, for the most part, to protect wildlife from human beings. We poach, we destroy habitat, we trophy hunt – it’s our fault that so many species are on the brink of extinction, while we spread across the Earth like a cancer, consuming everything in our path. And yet, even in captivity, or sanctuaries, or reserves of any sort, we just can’t seem to keep them safe from us. Maybe because we can’t all agree on the best way to go about saving them. Maybe because we can’t even agree to disagree on the best way and try a bunch of different ways in the hopes of attaining the best results. We’re too busy arguing with one another to bother thinking about the animal in front of us; the one we put there with our own greed and ignorance.

There’s more, but I am out of time for today.

Rest in peace, sweet Harambe. Thanks for saving that kid’s life, even at the expense of your own. I’m sorry some people think you should not have been born; I’m not one of them. I’m glad you were here, and that your final moments highlighted one of many ugly truths about the human race.

We’re still making it all about us.