April 10th, 2004

silly, bunny ears

Things resembling a life:

Woke up, did things, sort of pretended to clean house. Set out for work, minus sunglasses, feeling somewhat odd. The "odd" bloomed into some actual discomfort, and while I was technically on time, ten to fifteen minutes passed with me in the ladies' room feeling utterly wretched -- evidently something had disagreed with me, or I with it.

After an hour or two, though, I felt better. There were nice clouds, and even a hint of rain on break. I was on BTS Panel with dustraven and trystan_laryssa. Musn't pet one's co-workers. Really. My productivity was down the first hour or two, what with the general misery and people departing for church, but it went SPROING! back up as soon as I got my perk back and people were either away at church or back from already. Sadly, my favorite co-workers went back home sick after break. Voice problems are not fun to have when one's got a phone job. I volunteered for a partial shift tomorrow, and may even wind up working on Monday (or even Tuesday) to make up for the hours I won't be getting because of Easter and my schedule swap. I will need to swap out the Sunday schedule for myself as well, on Monday, so I'd best show up early. Yay, me.

I still have honing to do on the utterly soppy love poem that I started writing with Darkside in mind. I expect this one won't be done for some time.
twilight, Fairbanks to Phoenix, two worlds

GLP: "Banditos", The Refreshments

And everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people, so meet me at the mission at midnight, we'll divvy up there; everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people -- I've got the pistol so I get the pesos -- yeah and that seems fair.

That chorus stuck with me that year. It was 1996, if I remember right, and I had the radio on that summer. Someday I want to burn myself a CD with all the songs from that year that tweak my brain, just so I can play it to remember how it felt.

The caffiene's bringing it all back. Sis said this morning that when I was on the caffiene last night, I was doing everything but the tooth-grinding to look like a crack fiend. I didn't notice. When you haven't been using it, it's a strong, perhaps too strong, stimulant...

So put the sugar in the tank of the sherriff's car...

Something tells me that it's time to go back there again. I'll need to own my brain before I can do anything with it. Having my own room that feels like mine, that's decorated just so, is a start. The long lonely nights are another start. I haven't seen my best friend in almost four months, which is a long time for anyone. Another start. This time, though, I've a best friend who isn't in any danger of immediate death, though he still doesn't communicate...

Well, it's you and me baby no one else we can trust -- We'll say nothin' to no one no how or we bust, and never crack a smile or flinch or cry for nobody -- uh-uh

One best friend, check. One sense of isolation, check. One hellishly busy schedule, check. Not enough sleep, check. Are we ready for liftoff? Are those O-rings solid?

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twilight, Fairbanks to Phoenix, two worlds

Addendum: Terrible Tuesday

Eight years ago this July, my best friend nearly died. This is not the same best friend I have now. This was a different time, a different young man. There had been odd things going on all summer, and I was strung up to insane levels. I knew there was something happening, but I had no idea what. I was having difficulty telling reality from fantasy, and all I knew for certain was that there was something going on with the person who had root-level access on my mind, and it wasn't something good.

He survived. Sometimes, afterwards, I wished he hadn't, but on the whole I'm glad he did. He survived, and it'll soon be three years that I haven't stuttered often when I mention suicide, LSD, psychosis.

We were sixteen. We were on different sides of the country -- he, in Colorado with his father, I, his best friend and the only one he was really talking to, and that barely, in Alaska with obligations of my own. I knew there was something wrong, and I knew it was my responsibility to do something about it, but I didn't know what to do. I tried to hold together, I tried to be strong for myself, I tried to be strong for him, I tried to be strong for both of us. Suicide intervention counselors are trained, and don't get woken up out of what should have been a sound sleep when they're sick. They're supposed to talk calmly to complete strangers and have emergency response staff on call, not be left alone to deal with a hallucinating paranoid teenager.

He survived.
I survived.

It still re-visits me. I stopped stuttering and crying when telling the story in March of 2001. Maybe someday I will be able to tell it without the mask that falls over my face and emotions when I recall it now. I remember it at night sometimes. I don't always think of it when I have an ear infection anymore.

I forgave him in 2002, September. I had to. I don't think I've told him that, but I have forgiven him that.
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running, bomb tech


Worked my first shift with Marx. It was a voluntary extra shift for me -- I signed up for it because I needed the hours what with Sunday off and swapping to Wednesday. I had relatively few weird calls. One woman snarled that I looked like a freak for calling people to ask about kids (we do a study where we speak with teens), one person merrily declared that he doesn't do this sort of thing on Saturday (scheduled him to be randomly called again on Monday, as he clearly does do that sort of thing on select other days), and one fellow did not speak English (I determined that he didn't speak Spanish either, he clarified that he spoke Chinese, I marked his number down as the no common language option, said goodbye to him in Chinese, he thanked me in Chinese, we hung up).

Of the three, I'm happiest to have been able to say goodbye to him in his own language, and very thrilled that when he thanked me, I understood it.

It was a nice slow day. I worked, other people worked, and I had not very much distraction. I wrote a bit. Marx was on the same job I was on, though at the opposite side of the very large room. We were therefore on break together, and I pointed out the cow-orker to beware of. Marx confirmed that he already knew about the guy -- they'd been in the break room at the same time while Marx was training, and Mr. Arbitrary Bitterness had been at the center of some sort of drama-laced black hole.

I got off work at 2:30 rather than the usual 4:30 (I'd only volunteered for a six hour shift) so I could run some errands before everything closed. I got to talk to Dawn for a good 40 minutes before we finally both had to run, yay for finally getting time! She's been fiendishly busy.

There was a nice cloudburst. I was outside for most of it, and missed witnessing a taxi/car accident by an accident of angle; I heard the shriek and skid and crunch and watched them bounce off in different directions after colliding.

It's a lovely day out, anyway. Wind and all.
running, bomb tech


I really do owe my parenting skills to the fact that I started writing in my journal at age ten, and I've still got the journal, or a copy of it.

So many people lose identity with themselves, so many presumed-single-personality people go through life, never changing so drastically they can't recognize themselves from one day to the next, from one week to the next, but over the months and years, the tiny changes creep together so that if you told them something they'd said ten years ago, they'd recoil in horror, because that was a different person who said that. But yet, where are the changes?

There are some people who can't remember kid-logic, some people who look back at their childhood and see things inevitably through their adult eyes. It's so hard not to, unless you lovingly preserve those memories, and even then, they can become worn from too much use and re-analysis... What's often needed is some sort of jolt, as from seeing an old toy for the first time in a long time, seeing some childhood sights that have become unfamiliar, something to joggle the old memories.

One of the things that I have found most excellent for this is my journal. I write it, as I am, and more than just the words are preserved. Often, in the word choice, in the handwriting if it's an image as well as text-only, my mental state, my thought process, is saved.

I did this consciously, in my teenage years. Sometimes I wrote in what I fondly believed to be transparently opaque code -- saying what I truly meant in words that only I would understand, that would be taken as something else or complete gibberish by someone who read it. Most of it was layered with Bujold and Heinlein references, with keywords that only someone who's read the books should trigger the right memory cascades. In practice, it was mostly highly angstful gibberish, but when I wrote it, I really was feeling that bad, that panicked, that sheerly dramatic. Was the world really going to end if anyone found out what my paranoia about good ol' Shawn was? No, but I certainly thought it would.

A lot of that good old-fashioned teenage angst was fear of the unknown, I discovered (after the fact). Fear of the Other. And, eventually, I realized that the spear in His heart was the spear in my own.

But back to the parenting thing. You see, because I can remember myself at ten, it's easier for me to look back and remember myself younger. I remember that my logic was not so flexible, that it's been only recently that I've learned to bend and give and acknowledge when someone else was right and admit I was wrong and so forth. I remember being frustrated about stuff that I find really easy now. I remember being in tears because I was so angry, or because I didn't know how to ask a question.

Most of all, though, I remember that I was a person, and I can relate to people. Az Malfoy writes here, warning for the sensitive: entry does discuss porn
How could I forget Summerhill by A.S. Neill??? This book was written in the 50's and was popular in the 60's. One of my gifted-program teachers recommended it to me when I was 8 and I checked it out at once and read it voraciously. My mother wants to burn her at the stake for it still. I wore out 3 copies. Summerhill is the true story of a school, the Summerhill School in England, which was founded on the notion that Children Are People, and that while adults must occasionally interfere in their lives for their safety, they are generally capable of governing themselves and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with their brains. That they are entitled to their likes and dislikes and to choices about how they spend their time.

This book quite potentially DID save my life. Because it let me know that there were other grownups who thought I was a real person, and that my peculiarities were not to be trained out of me. I'm not so fond of Freud as is Neill, and my feelings about homosexuality are not his, but really, this book was radical for its time and its primary thesis, which is that children are people and have the right to think, read, and live as they please and that adults are there to take care of them, not to recreate them, is still radical.

PeTA is full of shite when they say that animals are the last oppressed group in the world. Children, and especially teenagers, are regarded by even the most enlightened societies as a form of property--luxuries for the rich and manpower by the poor. Ageism is prevalent everywhere, even in fandom which is so accepting of racial, sexual, and ability differences. (I know people who will not join lists where teenagers are allowed even if the list is not devoted to erotica, just because they think kids are stupid. It appalls me.

I've got to read that book. That passage is why I'm writing this entry. I remember that I've always been a person, no matter which person I was. I've been so many people at the same time that having been a different person does not bother me. I don't have to reconcile who I was with who I am now, so much, nor make excuses for my past actions that would appall me now. I'm not her. I'm connected to her, see, and those are the events that changed her into me, those are the decision points, the experiences, but I'm not her. We have the same past, the same base memories, but we're different people. And I remember being those people. I have the words that prove I was those people. I can see into their heads, because the words paint the memories again.

I was lying on the cot at Grandma's in the spare room, wearing a pale blue nylon nightie with lace in the front. The lace was starting to come off. The cot was creaky. swallowtayle was doubtless trying to be cool, and doubtless succeeding at being obnoxious. There were all sorts of things in that room, all sorts of clutter. Do you remember the little tan suitcase? That one was mine. I had my plush halibut for a pillow, and my little cat, and my diary with the pink marker that I won in the choir drawing. That was me. Different girl, different personality suite, only Joan and Joanie, then, and Joni, but still me. And I'm not her now.

I've got the experience of being a kid, and the experience of being an adult, and many of the stages in between. I remember the thoughts, because the words are there to help me remember...