Antelopes live around 10 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity

I don’t really feel like writing today, but like every other day I don’t have a choice, so I’ll write.

I haven’t really felt like doing anything today, but that’s how some days are. I dunno, I’m getting used to it. While it doesn’t feel like today was worth waking up for, I got out of the house, I’ve finished my work for the day and I just have to wait it out until I can leave and go home. I don’t want to talk to other people, so I’ll probably just avoid that. I made a big pot of chicken soup last night, so at least that’s waiting for me at home. I realised last night that the final season of Catastrophe had a) started and b) finished. It’s British, so the season is all of six episodes. I was kind enough to leave two for myself to watch tonight. So that’s what’s waiting at home. Small victories.

If this all sounds kind of miserable, don’t worry, it is. At the same time, it’ll pass and maybe in a few days I’ll feel better. I did extra work today so I can have a breezy work from home day tomorrow. Paying it forward. I figure that’s a kindness. I’ve been trying to go out of my way to do tasks ahead of time, take care of chores when they arise, not when they linger. Oddly enough, frontloading this work is as much self-care as I have in the barrel right now. I’ve got a full fridge and freezer. I’m trying to make sure I have healthy food to eat. At the same time, my freezer has gotten so full that it barely stays closed. I think I need to start eating the food instead of saving it for later. That should be easier. Once again, small victories.

The weird thing is, I’m not even low in my lows. I’m hovering somewhere between a 4-5/10 at the moment. I’m surviving. I’ve got enough function to operate and take care of myself, but thriving is still closer to a 7-10 kind of thing. There could be stuff on the horizon, but as ever I’m tempering my expectations. As shitty as it sounds, the last couple of years have taught me that excitement breeds disappointment, so I’m leaving that on the sidelines for the moment. I’ll save excitement for when things happen, and until then I’ll be cautiously tentative. Things could be worse, and that’s a mercy of sorts.

I had a busy weekend, and distractions helped to stave off too much misery. Who knows? Maybe it’s just that during the week I feel like I’m wasting my life, going into the same office to efficiently deliver unremarkable work. That the drudgery and worthlessness of what I do is enough to strip my desire to exist. That I understand how pointless things are right now, but that they’ve been that pointless for too many years. Realistically though, my lack of professional pride is just the straw breaking the camel’s back. I’ve got enough intertwined frustrations, anxieties and issues to keep this going for years. Whatever reason I have to thrive is beyond me, so until I find one, I’ll stick with surviving. I don’t have the energy spare to waste otherwise.

Like writing, I don’t really have a choice about living. So I’ll just keep doing that until I find a good reason to do so. Then I can thrive.

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The LAN before time

Remember how things mattered until they didn’t?

I used to be meticulous with my music curation. Okay, let’s take it down a peg. I used to Care A Lot about my iTunes metadata. I downloaded a ton of music and ripped all my CDs for the digital realm. Just years and years worth of stuff. It was all organised in a way to make hearing exactly what I wanted to hear as simple and efficient as possible. I’m sure this doesn’t make a ton of sense to all y’all, but when we used to torrent stuff or grab it from Napster/Morpheus/Kazaa/IRC or whatever, it often had weird characters, was misnamed, etc. It was a bunch of work. The number of times I’d download the same track, but with different names, was astounding. They even used to sometimes insert weird SFX into tracks as an odd form of copyright protection. Hell, I used to burn albums by downloading each individual track, then arranging them in order on a CD. It was the opposite of sophisticated. So I’d spend the time to get everything in order on my computer before porting it over to my iPod. End of story. Sorta.

I used to go to LAN parties (we’d all bring our desktop computers around to someone’s place, then spend the evening getting loaded up on caffeine, snacks and stay up all night gaming). The unspoken law of LAN parties is that while everyone was up, computers were for gaming. Inevitably we’d crash at some point, usually after sunrise. One of the exciting aspects of LAN parties was getting to leech content from each other. You could load up on anime, games, movies and music. Maybe it was that I got used to having limited space, needing to be conservative, etc. Or perhaps I was just a control freak. I would be discerning as to what I grabbed. When it came to shows, movies and music, I’d go through and only take what I thought I’d use. This wasn’t the case across the board. A bunch of people with massive hard drives would just take everything. They could, they had the luxury of not needing to care.

When it came to music, this always made me feel really uncomfortable. Why would you take everything? What if there was tons of stuff you weren’t into? I took a personal stake in it. I’d spent all this time curating my collection, making sure it was exactly how I wanted it. These people, however, would just absorb it into their own. Most of it would likely never even be heard. For them it was about having more data. For me it was about tailoring specific experiences. After all the work I put into it, I felt almost betrayed. They wouldn’t appreciate it like I did. Did I really want them to have it in that case? I never said anything, but it stewed up inside me something fierce. An unspoken grievance that stayed with me. It was weird.

These days, of course, streaming exists. Music is all free and accessible, with collections that are exponentially larger than mine. None of it matters. What a load of wasted energy.

I wonder if anyone wants to come over for a LAN party…

That’s one hell of a blank canvas

I was at a party last night, chatting to some guy I’d met before. Lovely dude. He mentioned he’d recently come back from Antarctica. Antarctica is one of those beacon subjects for me at a party. I don’t know why. It’s not the first time I’ve talked to someone who travelled there for work, but it never ceases to be a fascinating topic. Maybe it was growing up in NZ, the proximity meant that we heard about Antarctica a bunch. I remember watching all these old school videos of large barges breaking up the ice. Or March of the Penguins style documentaries. I remember being so excited to visit the Antarctic Adventure at Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium when it opened. There was just something otherworldly about such an inhospitable location. It was exotic and outside of the realms of anything I ever imagined experiencing. So when I chatted to this dude I was understandably engaged.

As he talked, I was struck with how subdued life in Antarctica sounded. We’re so overstimulated in our daily lives. Between the infinite sprawl of the internet and the constant bombardment of advertising, Antarctica seemed stark, like the simplicity would bring things into focus. The guy talked about how mundane pleasures really meant something while he was there. The emotional warmth of a luxury item brought from home. Maybe some Baileys he’d stowed away added to a hot chocolate. Being able to send and receive scattered messages from his girlfriend back in Canada. Having to be driven around by someone else until he got his bearings, then having the freedom to explore. Someone else asked him how he passed the time, if he’d brought hard drives full of series’ to watch. He countered that while he’d assumed that’d be the way, he never found himself having the spare time. Antarctica was still so fresh and new. If he wasn’t working, he was sleeping or adventuring out just to see things. That without stimuli constantly vying for his attention, his mind seemed free to run wild. He was processing information in a whole new way. Friendships he built seemed built on a genuine desire to connect and see the best in one another. Supplies were rationed, which took his mind off a lot. He was able to exist in a way that wouldn’t be possible back in normal society. He could kind of just “be”, y’know? He couldn’t wait to go back.

Imagine finding your centre like that. Arriving somewhere that enabled you to find parts of yourself you didn’t know were important to you. I’ve gone on holidays before, obviously. I’ve had a great time exploring, living as the locals do. Losing myself in how it feels to travel, to feel uninhibited. At the same time, it’s always felt temporary and fleeting. I’ve never been somewhere that resonated with me in such a profound way. What does that feel like? I swear I’ve had those passing moments, but it’s never struck me to my core. At the same time, I’m sure there’s somewhere out there. There has to be. How do you find that? Do you just know once you’ve arrived? What if there’s a life out there that would complete me, but I’ll never know it?

Egads, I wasn’t looking for a personal crisis. I just wanted to know about penguins.

Thank you ex, why and thee

It’s a Valentines Day.

I feel like that’s the kind of thing worth presenting as a neutral statement. Look, I like Valentines Day. At least, I do this year. I don’t every year. Some years it makes me want to invest in a pair of concrete boots. Oddly, in The Year Of Our Lord 2019, when my partner is halfway across the world and I’ve spent most of the past three weeks at home, alone, without physical touch, I’m into it. I don’t know how I work, and I don’t expect y’all to either.

Is it ’cause the day’s pretty performative? I’m not sure it’s that. If I was with someone who expected big performative things on V-Day… well I probably wouldn’t be with them for long. I think Valentines Day is a stupid Hallmark holiday that places an everyday occurrence on an unnecessary pedestal. It creates a massive amount of stress and anxiety for a lot of people. It wouldn’t surprise me if Feb 14th was a tentpole suicide day each year. I don’t know what the fuck roses have to do with love. Flowers don’t even fuck. The heart is an unsexy organ, so I don’t fully get why it’s become symbolic of l’amour. At the same time, it helps pump blood to penises and labia alike, so maybe there’s something there. I digress. I like celebrating things for the sake of celebration. That’s about it.

I was thinking yesterday about an ex. Not because I have anything approaching interest in her anymore (of course I’ll Facebook stalk her maybe once annually to check if she’s up to cool stuff), but more that I have this bathrobe that I wear all the fucking time and every once in a while I remember that she gave it to me for Valentines Day. It was a lovely gift. It’s been maybe eight or nine years and I still treasure it. This morning I was thinking about my ex, and thinking of how strong my feelings for her were at the time, and how they’ve dwindled down to the occasional thought. Except, when I really cast my mind back, it makes me realise that I still love her to some extent, even if it’s just affectionate respect for the times we shared and lingering memories. She was a good person, even if our relationship had an expiration point. I’ve been very fortunate to date a bunch of good people. So in true IHMD fashion (and I Have My Doubts that I haven’t done this before), I feel like navel gazing back at some things I took from past relationships.

My first relationship was gentle, but also a total dead bedroom situation. We were friends who became something more, but not a lot more. There was emotional support and companionship, but we just didn’t click in bed. We really didn’t. I was incredibly nervous, and I don’t know how experienced she was either. If she hadn’t pulled the plug and broke up the band, I know I would’ve clung on desperately to any shred of affection. There’s no way I would’ve been brave enough to do it. But she did, and that was mercy incarnate. I guess I’m thankful that she taught me it was okay to end things if they weren’t working. Not every love story ends in a fairytale, and undertanding that takes a certain kind of compassion.

Another ex taught me that I actually liked sex. After the aforementioned nonexistent sex life, I truthfully wasn’t sure. Maybe it was all a sham, and I just thought I wanted to get down and dirty because everyone said it was the bee’s knees. It turns out, I’m actually into it. What a shocker (but not that kind of shocker). Moreso, she was patient and I think we really learned together. I’m sure that all sounds trite, but it really wasn’t. It set me up for most of my adult relationships, which is fucking huge.

Another ex taught me that sometimes you’ve gotta listen to what people are saying between the lines. She was pretty big on “keeping it casual”, but that didn’t mean she didn’t want to go on dates and stuff. What I’d thought was just hanging out wasn’t quite enough for her. I was very interested in more, but thought she didn’t want that. Turns out she did, and I was reading signals incredibly incorrectly. Funnily enough, once we started going on dates it turned out that we weren’t as compatible as we’d thought. Still, lesson learned.

Another ex taught me how to remain friends. That if there was enough to bring you together in the first place, maybe there was enough to keep you together afterwards. We don’t see each other that often anymore, but it’s pretty damn special when we do.

Another ex taught me the beginnings of how to navigate poly. I really liked being able to spend time with her outside of my anchor partnership, to get to know her anchor partner and learn about how much time I have to give. She’s still someone who I hold a ton of affection for, and consider her one of my favourite people.

However, time’s up. Gotta love you and leave you.

Smile because it’s over?

Things that have made me sad today:

Apparently some woman in a Toronto condo threw a chair off her balcony. Like any good internet commentator, I haven’t seen the video, barely read the headline and I’m already outraged. There are so many ways this kind of thing could go wrong. She could kill a person who just happened to be walking by. It could land on a vehicle and cause an accident. The accident could also cause death. What if she straight up killed a kid? Failing anything, not everyone who wants chairs has chairs. That could’ve been someone’s chair.

The Grammys. Firstly, they’re not about old people. Secondly, they’re a farce. Thirdly, this doesn’t matter, and people like them so I shouldn’t give a shit. And mostly I don’t. But then I think about just how many people give a shit and how I don’t and it makes me want them to matter so I’ll give a shit so I won’t feel so alienated for not giving a shit about something that people like. It just feels kinda lonely, even though it has no real reason to and most days I really don’t care, but for some reason today I did. The fact that any of this went on in my head whatsoever made me feel really fucking stupid.

Today I downloaded a new book from the library after not being able to find anything else to check out. I read a bunch of synopses, and picked a book by the author I’d just read. It took a while. Then after going through all of this I read the first page, decided I wasn’t in the mood and maybe I just didn’t really care about reading it at all, it was just something to fill the void between other things I’d care about. Or maybe I’ll read it and it’ll be good, but my indecision is getting to me more than it should be. ’cause what if I really would like the book, but repeatedly put it down ’cause I’m repeatedly not in the mood? Like how I tried to watch the first episode of Dexter about 5 times before finally getting past the first two minutes. And I ended up enjoying that series a bunch. I even dropped it at exactly the right time, after the Trinity Killer arc.

You know how we all do that thing when we go to the movies or Burger King or whatever and they have one of those post-mix soft drink machines? We’ll put a bunch of flavours together to make new weird combinations? I’m straight up just assuming your agreement here, because I’m assuming you don’t all hate fun. Well I saw someone doing that at the supermarket soup counter today. Just mixing and matching soups, irrespective of flavour or viscosity. Beef and root vegetable, cheddar and broccoli, beef chilli, Thai chicken curry. It was a goddamn atrocity and looked like afterbirth. He’s probably gonna have real bad acid reflux, painful shits, or death. I’m gutted because a) it offended me on such an innate level and b) I don’t know what’s going on in his line to make him act out in such a self-harming capacity, but I hope it justifies this truly shameful behaviour. That’s rock bottom kind of shit. Dude should be on a watchlist.

I didn’t really feel like writing today, so I procrastinated and wrote all this on the subway home from the gym. I didn’t even really want to be at the gym and just had a total half-arsed workout, but figured it was better to do a half-arsed workout than a no-arse workout, because butts are great. But specifically BECAUSE butts are great, I would’ve preferred to have a whole-arsed workout in me because that’s twice as much butt. Also when I tried to type “preferred”, autocorrect changed it to “pegged” and I think that’s kinda funny.

I’m done now.

It looks to be, as they say en Francais, “definistration”

The world is a layered place. By age 32, I think I’ve come to terms with that.

It’s mostly good. If things were too simple, they’d get boring. I’m a total lover of multi-faceted, complex things, but I also really dig single use utensils and niche words. We all contain multitudes, right? One of my favourite things about the English language is just how many words there are, while simultaneously, I appreciate other languages’ ability to craft meaningful but convoluted signifiers of an experience. Schadenfreude being a prime example. What I’m proposing, is that English needs more evocative and specific words to really level up. Without further adieu, valid elements of the human condition that could do with their own monikers:

  • The simultaneous tension and excitement of sharing media that resonates deeply with you, with someone you care about. You know, like watching a film that’s always meant something to you with a prospective partner. What if they hate it? What if you realise in retrospect that it’s super flawed and hasn’t aged well? What does that reflexively say about you? Will they feel differently about you if they don’t like it?
  • The joint relief and concern when nobody takes the seat next to you on transit. Hey, it’s awesome that you don’t have to share space. It’s way more relaxing that way. At the same time, is it because you look weird? Or unapproachable? Do you have a gross habit or smell you haven’t yet noticed?
  • When you desperately, desperately wanna get messy and leave the house on a Friday night, but there’s nothing happening that fits your desires.
  • When you have a free night with nothing to do, but you don’t wanna dip into your rainy day activities backlog in case you won’t have any left the next time you have a night with nothing to do.
  • When something during sex sends you over the edge, but you’re not ready to reverse engineer why, because you’re afraid of going down a weeeeird rabbit hole.
  • When you’re given a gift you don’t want from someone with good intentions, and you’re trying to work out how long you need to hold onto it before you can throw it out.
  • When something tastes odd, but you can’t stop yourself from eating more.
  • When you realise that what you’re currently saying won’t land well, but you can’t do the mental gymnastics in time to change your sentence, so you just say it anyway.
  • When you can’t stop listening to a certain song on repeat, then one day you just don’t like it anymore.
  • When you’re dreading doing something, then it turns out better than you’d expected and after it’s over you’re still waiting for the axe to drop.
  • When an actor you despise is great in a film and you don’t know how to process it.
  • When you want something to be better than it is, so you create internal reasons why it was, even though deep down you know it wasn’t.
  • When you spend hours trying to remember something on principle, when you know you could look it up on the internet and figure it out in a matter of minutes.
  • When you stalk your exes online for reassurance that they’re doing well.
  • When you’re on a first date with someone you know from online, and you feel like you have to ask questions you already know the answer to because it would feel weird admitting that you’ve both stalked each other’s profiles.
  • When you connected deeply with someone at a party and talked for hours, but forgot to ask each other’s names.

Hell, I’d settle for an adequate way to describe a partner’s ex who you’re both still very close with.

It was her, it was me

Well, my therapist broke up with me.

Maybe that’s not the best way to phrase it. We’re going to be seeing other people from now on. I mean, we were already seeing other people, so that probably doesn’t fit either. Our time together has come to an end. I swear it was amicable. There’s nothing wrong with either of us, we just weren’t right for each other.

I’m not making it any clearer, am I?

The long and short of it is, we talked through matters and she wasn’t sure that her expertise and particular skills were useful when it came to my particular thinking patterns. That’s not to say that therapy is out the window (and I still have my previous therapist to fall back on, who is very very good). I’m gonna keep at it, but not with my now ex-therapist. It’s in no way because she’s not a great therapist, but as she said, her methods weren’t really conducive to helping with the issues I’ve been facing.

What we were talking about was very interesting. She was saying that there are, of course, a myriad of treatment options for all manner of mental health needs. Whether it’s Eastern or Western medicine, there’s no one thing that always works. It’s tailored to the individual and the context. Within Western medicine, she said, there are a number of different pillars that are commonly addressed. There’s exercise, mindfulness, sleep, therapy and medicine. We addressed each of the different pillars and what I’d been doing to cope. We talked about exercise and whether or not that’s been useful. It very much has helped. It’s boosted my mental fortitude and reserves. If I don’t exercise for a few days, I notice it. I don’t feel as sharp, and it’s harder to work myself out of sticky mental places. Exercise is great. It’s also not a catch-all. It doesn’t always effectively disperse dark moods, but it does often facilitate the process. So exercise is great.

Mindfulness. Mindfulness is thoroughly difficult for me. I’ve tried meditation, to very little success. It’s so hard to slow my thoughts and just let them pass me by. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a worthless exercise, but it is profoundly frustrating. Mindfulness is of course not limited to meditation. She suggested that going on holiday like I did in Montreal was in fact a version of mindfulness. It’s a way to put yourself in a different mental state where you’re paying attention to what’s in front of you, rather than obsessing about frustrating life situations. Still, going on holiday all the time isn’t super accessible fiscally or time-wise. It may help to find a way to access mindfulness that works for me. I get mostly enough sleep, and I’ve made real strides in recent years to regulate how much I’m getting. I used to subsist on 5-7 hours a night. I try these days to get at least 7, but closer to 7.5.

Then we get to therapy. I think therapy is something that works well for me. I did a lot of extremely helpful work with my previous therapist. I mentioned to my now ex-therapist that it’d been really useful looking at the root of thoughts, where they came from, etc. “Oh, that’s not something you’ll get from CBT”, she offered. We looked at how I’d been incorporating CBT style methodology to difficult mental/emotional times. Really, I had been trying. Understanding that they were just thoughts and not concrete realities, letting myself feel what I was going through, offering contrary thoughts and options to what I believed in that time, trying to find helpful behaviours that mitigated my experiences and/or helped move towards more productive thoughts. I’d been doing it and it hadn’t been helping. She wasn’t sure that the methods and structures she offered were giving me tools I didn’t have. Which wasn’t to say that I was beyond reproach, but that she didn’t see herself having much of a potential impact. We agreed, with no malice, that it wasn’t really working.

So she suggested that I could consider medication as a viable option. That maybe it’d be worth talking to my GP and seeing what she thought. She said to keep in mind the options she’d mentioned (exercise, mindfulness, sleep, therapy and medicine, remember?), and see if I could incorporate any of them in ways that helped. As for the two of us, she was happy to keep working with me, but wasn’t sure it was a great use of my time.

I wonder what my other therapist will say about all of this…