Thursday, March 20, 2014

Letting go.

(This is a copy and paste of a blog post I just did on Passing Notes and Conversations. Since it's all about me lately.. It belongs here, too.)

There are very few things in life that I don't want to talk about on my (or this) blog. There are very few things that I won't put in to words because I like honesty and I like expressing pain and happiness when it comes. I seldom care if it's humiliating for others to read and what they will think because it's already out there, off my chest, out of this tight cage where I keep all things hidden. However, there are still a few things that I just can't talk about.

The worst of all about this is that it's the one thing I want to talk about the most, but I know it would cause too much harm to anyone it is about (including myself). Thus, I have to be as vague as possible.

My biggest pet peeve in the entire universe of pet peeves is people who are given ample opportunity to fix or have a solution to a conflict they complain about, yet they don't take it. It bugs me to no end when the universe is working in such a way that all they have to do is to take a step forward, but they continue to stay in the past.

I don't know why this is my biggest pet peeve. I don't know if this is some allusion to myself and hating myself because I am just like them, or if it's because they are truly the most annoying and difficult people in the world because their step could be the next big thing. If they would just take that step, it could influence the world so much around them, and the world wouldn't be such a shitty place to them or others... But alas.. They won't take it.

I find myself hoping they will take it every time. I build up expectations and standards for everyone who ever needs to take that step, and I get so pissed off when they don't do it. Genuine anger. That's my anger, my problem. And I have to learn to let... that.. go.

That's what's holding me back. I literally have to

let it go.. 

And I don't know how. It is the hardest thing in the world for me right now. I have been in a depressed rut for over a week. I literally wake up and struggle to get out of bed even though I've slept already for 12 hours. I have skipped Tuesday -  Thursday classes just this week because I can't decide if it's worth it in the grand scheme of things. It won't change the person I love, and it won't make them be proud of me.. And if disappointment is what I get from them the most, it's still an emotion, right? It's still something?

I am trying desperately not to eat because I feel like it's only counter-productive with what I want to do with my weightless. Yet, after not eating, I end up binge-ing out...which is counter-productive to my weightless. Dum dum dum. And everything around me just seems so dull.. even though I have reason to celebrate. Up until this week, I was doing fantastic in school. I have a new job opportunity at work which is actually fantastic. It will provide full-time hours and benefits. I've never had either (officially). Oh, and vacation time. Health insurance. (Also never had before). I am at a gym that is just about costing us nothing every month. They just announced in April that they will be expanding - which includes child care. I will pay $10 a month for a 24-Hr gym with child care. There are a lot of good things going on lately, but because I can't let this one thing go.. Even if I realize that I have to let it go.. I can't enjoy any of it.

I sit here in a pool of depression because letting go of this one thing, means letting go of the people I've cared most about, the people I've hoped the most about would change so that things could be easier between us. I hope that it wouldn't have to be so hard anymore. I have to let it go because I've become that person that all I have to do is take one step and it's fixed. But because I refuse to take that step, I have expectations and standards of them, the people I care so much for, but they will never meet them because my expectations are not their own... And they may never be. And thus, I've become the problem.

I'm causing the problem between us. I want too much, and when I get disappointed - no, when my world gets shattered... That's it. Why live anymore? I don't want to hide the fact that last week, I almost did it. I almost left the world, but... Something in me told me to call someone. Message someone. Do anything. There are people who care about you right at this very second who are available to take your plea of help. They love you, and won't see it as a burden. They just want you safe and alive and to hear that you'll be okay.

It is the hardest thing and most depressing thing in the world to be the very thing you cannot stand. I'm also taking a group-therapy session that is going to cut me open a lot more and make me realize my denials and hopefully in the end, recover from it. After the first week of answering questions, that's when I made this realization. I also realized if I continued with this study, I am going to be opening every wound that I've tried so hard to hide in order to be a normal functioning member of society. I am going to get back on medication, even though I've hid from it because I want so much to be just like everyone else and to not be over emotional in the negative ways that I am.. But even when I did hide everything, I still had outbursts of anger, manic depression, and fits of rage that almost split me in to another persona that I began to call Her. I would watch Her do all of these awful things because I didn't want to admit that I was making myself worse, and that it was me that I could no longer stop in it's path... I think Her is gone, now, though. I admitted that it was me who was the monster, and not she. I think that destroyed her.. But it also destroyed me. I was not getting better, and I was not hiding it very well. And everyone close to me was beginning to notice.

So I guess I've been lying so much that now I realize I'm going to need to take the medication again, and just like you, I know it's the biggest pain in the ass to find a doctor under your insurance, to make sure you can pay the ungodly amounts for the psychiatrist, the prescriptions, AND the expensive counseling. And you have to try all the damn medications, and the one that works best for you, and to do that you have to be on them for a couple of damn months and possible feel WORSE than you were before, and then when you change you have to wait another few damn months to get off the effects of whatever it used to be, in order to feel what might come.

And then you have to find time in the middle of everything else in your life to go to the damn things, to sit in the appointment rooms waiting for your appointment which started two hours ago to finally call you in so you can be in and out -- and late for work, or class, or picking up your kid. Thank God school will be done in May 15th. My only goal is to reach it.

I feel you Catie. I really do. The line that scared me the most of your last blog post was that you were going to fight this if it kills you, and I don't want to end on that note because lately that thought has been way too close for comfort and all I want to do is get help. I know it will be a pain in the dick to get there, but if I hadn't buried it so much, I might be there by now and that much closer to being as 'normal' as I can be while drugged. I've been trying to take the cowardice and easy way out for so long, and it's caught up. I can't anymore. I can't. I've got to go and take it... Otherwise, I may never be able to truly let go. Really let go.

So... Good luck to both of us.

Monday, March 17, 2014

QOTD: Friends vs Family

QOTD: What is most important to you, family or friends (or close/best friends)? Why?

"Family, because family isn't blood. Family is love and those that are there for me and that I would stick with through everything. You and M. B. and your whole family is a prime example of that. I consider all of you family, but we don't share a drop of blood. So definitely family, because my definition of family is not rooted in biology but in my heart and in my past."

"Trick question. My friends are as much my family as my blood relatives and in some cases more so. My fellow students in my coven, my guild mates, my best friend, my close friends, friends I haven't seen in years but still think about. I would go to bat for all of them. They are all brothers and sisters. It doesn't matter if it's through blood or circumstance, not one of them is more important to me than the others with the exception of J. L."
-J. L.

"I actually agree fully with K. G.. Family isn't blood. Family is love. We typically put up with family members who are related by blood, but... Well, to quote my great and late Grandma Ginny, "You have to earn trust." Trust is something infinitely important and precious in love and family. Without it, relationships crumble- whether or not you had the blood trump card to begin with. I've learned... and am still learning, that in this life it's best to surround yourself with the people you care most about and who care most about you. So... family, blood or not."
-H. Z.

" "Family, because family isn't blood." YES! I agree with K. G."
-A. M.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

QOTD: What is a friend? Acquaintance? Best friend?

QOTD: What is a friend? What is the difference between a best friend and a friend? What distinguishes a friend from an acquaintance?

"This is a difficult question for me to answer. I guess what a friend is to me, is someone who you know loves and cares for you and has your back. A best friend might be someone who has been with you forever through thick or thin, or someone who you may have only known for awhile, but you immediately connect on a deeper level, and continue to grow closer. A best friend to me, is probably something akin to a non-intimate significant other. They know you. They love you. They accept you for who you are, even if they don't always agree, and even if you fight sometimes. I think the difference between a friend and acquaintance is the level of connection. It's not to say that you don't enjoy the company of an acquaintance, but there just might not have been a deeper connection to bridge that gap yet."
-H. Z.

"I think history might be the difference."
-A. L.

"Ugh. I'm so bad at defining these. I love the heck out of people the minute I meet them and declare my love for them right then and there. Is that weird?"
-A. M.

Friday, March 14, 2014

QOTD: Last words with a loved one.

QOTD: If someone you care about is on their death bed.. what do you say to them? Do you say anything? How? Why? What do you do with the knowledge that in a short amount of time, they will be gone?

"My Dad passed away without warning when I was a freshman in college. I've had a lot of discussions with people since then about what is harder to handle -- something like that, or watching a slow deterioration like cancer. I still think it might be kinda selfish, but I think you're lucky if you have the chance to say goodbye that I didn't have. 

My Father and I weren't on good terms. I never forgave him for a lot of things from my childhood years. The last few years of his life, he was a really great man. He showed me that people can change. But I never got to tell him that. That has been unbearably hard to deal with for a lot of years now. 

So what I would tell anyone, faced with this situation: Say the hard things. This is your only chance to. I don't know how you say it, or even what to say. But I can speak for the why. Say the hard things and try with all your being to resolve all those things that in the following years will cease to be important. Say the hard things, because even having the chance to is a blessing."
-P. D.

"I think that the best thing to do is talk about it, maybe not in length, but it certainly isn't something that can be ignored. It is better to make sure that everyone understands what is happening. Then I think once that is taken care of, the best thing is to just talk and love and be there and try and be happy for the person so that they aren't surrounded in gloom for the last part of their life. We talked to my grandpa about old times and rehashed old stories a lot because at the end people tend to reflect back. That's what I think."
-K. G.

"I don't really know how to answer that only because my grandma died and I didn't get to say goodbye to her I don't even know what I would have said if I got to say good bye to be honest. great question. (: "
-B. S.

"I think that I would try to fit in how much that I love them, how wonderful I thought they were, and if there were any regrets or wrongs, I would apologize to them. I kind of got to do this for my dad... but he wasn't conscious... I deeply, deeply wish that he was."
-H. Z.

This one was close to home. A fear friend of mine who I used to work with has leukemia for the last time. They were the type who didn't want to sit at home all day waiting for the 'four years' they had left to go by, so they worked. Well, on this day, they came up to work to say goodbye to everyone. I stared at him speechless. Seriously. No words came to my mind, though I had thousands to say.

And now, I will never have another opportunity.

QOTD: Opinions on Operation Smoke

So this happened.

In summary, a new operation in Tennessee is going down in which you can be ticketed for not paying full attention to the road when driving. (Putting on making up, eating, talking on phone, etc..) 

QOTD: In your opinion, is this a good idea? Should we do it in every state? Why or why not? Is it too controlling? Is safety worth it? Is it not worth it? Gimme your answers!

"I think that it's good to try getting drivers to practice safer driving habits... and safety would DEFINITELY be worth it-- But I don't agree with this. It feels too intrusive to me. Like some over-controlling sci-fi metropolis with drones hovering above you, waiting for you to mess up. But who knows? Maybe this will be like airport security now. Less privacy in the name of security... on this will be saving us from ourselves and other drivers on the road? Nah, still seems messed up, to me."
-H. Z.

I'm actually kind of disappointed that this one didn't get more responses. I would have loved to hear anyone who thought this was a good idea - not for ridicule or anything, but because I desperately wanted to see the 'bright side' or beneficial side of this operation. 

Oh well.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

QOTD: Super Powers.

QOTD: If you had the opportunity to habe a gift or super power, would you say yes? What would you choose as your power? Why? (Or if you chose not to take one, why not?)

"I don't know if I would choose a superpower. 

I thought about this for a while, but the truth is that superpowers are a massive responsibility. With great power always comes great responsibility, and I know for one, I don't have a good track record handling power. 

I wouldn't pick one, because power is hard to handle, and no matter what kind of power it is, it would always give you power over other people. It would make things too easy. If I could turn invisible, wouldn't I just go rob a bank? If I could read thoughts, would I cheat a test? Blackmail someone? It's horrifying to think about."

"I would choose the superpower of never needing to sleep, because I could get so much done and be super productive."

"I'd take the power to fly, or force push things away from me in a heartbeat. My favorite lucid dreams are of flying (or swimming, is more like it) in the air when I notice things are going wrong and that I'm dreaming... Usually coupled with Force Push. But if I had to choose one... Flight."
-H. Z.

"Yes! I would absolutely take one. Hmmmm. I think I would want to be an empath. The ability to feel and manipulate emotions. I know that sounds bad, but I don't manipulate in a bad way. But I would love to be able to calm people down, clear their minds, and let them make decisions without the heat of the moment."

-A. M.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

QOTD: News from Social Networking sites? Good thing or a bad thing?

This is a quote from Procons.

" Social networking sites are a top news source for 27.8% of Americans, ranking below newspapers (28.8%) and above radio (18.8%) and print publications (6%). "

QOTD: In your opinion, is it a good thing almost the same amount of people who use newspapers for their news source use social networking sites? Is it a bad thing? Explain.

"Hrmm... I guess I've never really been one to think of Facebook or Twitter or other social networking sites as a place where I'd get accurate news that isn't completely driven by the giver's opinion... 

But then again... when you really think about it, even traditional news sources will spin the truth by an opinion to try making the public feel a certain way about the topic. So perhaps I shouldn't think it too strange." 
- H. Z.

"This is a fascinating topic. Historically, as societies evolve and develop, news is disseminated in various different ways. For most of human history, it has been the oral tradition that dominated. In the middle ages, and for much of antiquity, a town crier would stand in the town square (usually upon a pedestal) and introduce the important news to the people. These could be anything from advertising for a certain shop in town (Yes, they had commercials even back then!) to various decrees by the kings and emperors of the time. 

Oral communication was important for a number of reasons. The printing press was only invented by Gutenburg in 1439- although there were cruder 'block presses' before which attempting to mass produce writing. Before the invention of the printing press, every book was written by hand. This made them a considerable time investment, which meant that the written word was extremely expensive in terms of cost. Thus, newspapers were just too expensive to be efficient. Since writing was expensive, reading became a thing of the elite. Those who had wealth and power, learned to read. The common person would not. 

This is why oral news was extremely important. It was very easy to shout, and everyone would understand you. Now, after industrialization, you had the invention of the printing press which made it extremely easy to create the written word. This spurred people to learn to read, as knowledge became disseminated easily throughout the known world. 

The first modern newspaper is actually traced to germany, in the year 1605 by Johann Carolus called "Account of all distinguished and commemorable news." But even back then, news was not just news. This is why this question is so interesting. News has always been about opinions, and from the very beginning it was news with a bit of opinion. As media developed, especially in the United States, you had an element of opinion and what the news world calls "Spinning" where you angle the facts to portray a certain viewpoint. This reached its peak in the 20th century with the rise of "Yello Journalism" in New York City, which was news that attempted to sensationalize and entertain, rather than tell news, in an attempt to sell money. 

With the rise of the internet in the 21st century, we're seeing now a shift away from traditional news in the form of writing on paper, to news written digitally. This has had interesting consequences. Information on an international scale is now tightly knit, and I can find news about everything going on globally in a matter of seconds. Also, unlike traditional news, anyone can write on the internet. This has created a democratic outlet where literally hundreds of opinions can be viewed online, from the crazy to the moderate, with absolutely no accountability. 

Do you see why this is such a fascinating question? 

What you're really asking is if it's a good thing that suddenly, instead of the opinions of ten important news agencies, I get the opinions of over a million different people. Which can seem good, but it's also terrible. 

I mean, now there's so much information, that the truth has been covered. The truth is distracted by a million different opinions, that it takes actual effort to uncover it. Alternatively, now the truth is accessible to anyone. Anyone can write, express, and disgest information online. 

With all that said, I think it's a good thing. I think even though it has caused, and will cause, problems with over-saturation of opinion and even more yellow journalism, writing online is cheap and takes the power out of the hands of several main news outlets. That is the beauty of progress. It increases freedom, thought, and opinion. 

So yes, it's a good thing."
-A. Z.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Questions of the Day have been successful, I think! (QOTD: Significance of belief?)

Not that it is over, but it has been steady with a reply on all but a few questions. (These are usually questions in which I reply to said question with a bonus question, but then it doesn't get replied to. Boo.)

Anyhow, let's recap them in order.

QOTD: What is the significance of having a belief? By this, I mean, if you are religious, why? What is the significance of having your religion? (This is not a debate. This is not a "I am a Muslim instead of Christian because. .." This is a "I am religious, whatever religion that may be, because of 'this' significance. " or a "In general, religion is or is not significant because of this...") I would like to state a rule for this post only. In order to keep this from a debate, you must only post ONCE to this comment. If you feel more comfortable messaging me privately with your views, please do! Do not post in response to any comment but this original question. Thank you!

"I guess my short answer to this is: "I believe, because I've been through too much to do otherwise. I desperately want to be with those I have lost again someday when it's my time, and when you get right down to it, the world is too dark and empty of a place to go it "alone" or without it."" 
-H. Z.

"This is a deceptively complex question. Let me start by saying I'm going to be answering this to the best of my knowledge, but I am a Historian, not a theologian. So please take all of this with a grain of salt. 

That said, let's consider for a moment that there is a very definite different between religion and belief. A religion is the final evolution of a belief, but people have beliefs all the time, about things as simple as luck to as complex as Christianity. 

Historically, as others have mentioned, religion was a mechanism which society relied on to explain the unexplainable world. This includes things such as the nature of water and air, to why do bad things happen. Religion also ordered society, because it allowed a ruling class (Priests and Kings) to maintain their rule through divine blessing. 

Now, this is all here nor there, because I haven't actually answered your question yet. Again, bear with me. This is a very complicated topic! 

History has shown us that religion can be the crafter of some of the most beautiful things (Sistine Chapel) and is also the reason some of the worst wars have been fought (The Crusades), which really makes this a hard question. 

Now, finally, after laying the foundations and keeping all of the previous statements in mind, I will say this: 
It is my belief that belief is very important in life, and extremely significant. It can be religious or not, but having one is what keeps humanity grounded. Without beliefs, civilization historically would've never existed. If belief in the form of religion had not dictated laws for people to work together, humanity would've remained a hunter gathered society. Belief is extremely important because it separates humanity from the animals. It answers questions such as, "What is my purpose? Do I have a soul?" 

Belief is the mark of sentience. It is what allows us to be grounded that the world is not going to fall out from under us. It is belief that drives reason and rational thought, and in turn, civilizations."
-A. Z.

"This is a question that I feel is a lot more implicating than most people would think at first. It's obviously tough, and know one will argue that. But what is implied to me in the wording, is that it is possible to not have a belief. I would challenge that this isn't so. 

I'd like to propose, that the soundest Atheist and Agnostic do themselves have a belief in something. They would like to challenge me on this, and they often do. But let me first make the case that it is wholly illogical to say: "I do not believe what I feel is correct." We all believe that our conclusions are correct. And we all make conclusions. Even if they are: "I conclude that the question is unanswerable and no one can know." By claiming this, you conclude that no fellow human should be able to answer the question either, thus making your stance the right one. You believe you're right. 

Now to address the question in more of the direct way that you intended it to be. I am religious, because I am a scientist. 

*Everyone derp faces* 

Contrary to belief, I don't think these two things are at war. Quite the opposite. I would reference to those that counter me the theory of Occam's razor: "The simplest solution is most often the correct one." This is a governing rule in the scientific process, and one I feel makes my point. Divine intervention in the process of the universe is my argued simplest solution. One that brings me -- and the majority of the human race -- the most peaceful sleep at night. 

This leads to my second and final point: if you -- and mind you I say this in full objectiveness, and without meaningful condemnation -- if you consider yourself to be nonreligious, you are in the vast minority of the human existence. This is simply a fact. But one I feel holding many implications itself. You can make the poor argument that herd mentality alone propagates religious beliefs. But I do not feel comfortable myself discrediting the genius and logic of millions of our greatest forefathers. 

I simply challenge anyone to consider what concrete basis you are placing your beliefs on, if the overwhelming whole of civilizations past and present have utterly missed the mark by disagreeing with. 

I am religious, because it is the conclusion I have made to make the most sense of my existence. It is logical, comforting, sensible, and overwhelmingly satisfying at this stage in my life discovery process."
-P. D.

"The significance that religion has, or rather, why it came to be, was because humans wanted answers to the world around us. Long before we had science and technology to gain the answers we have now, humans made up beautiful, tragic, brutal, and creative stories about divine beings who were in charge of the elements, who acted as guardians, and lived above humans as a superior race. In fact, I think religion was mankind's greatest literary work. 

Religions have evolved and taken from each other over thousands of years and the significance of it now is that some people find comfort in thinking that there is a god/gods who take an interest in our personal welfare and want only the best for us. 

But I think the ultimate significance, is that religion serves as a way for humans to be immortal. To be eternal. Many people are too scared that after this, there is nothing. Religion provides an afterlife with loved ones and I honestly think that is the reason so many people still cling to religion. 

As she said this was not a debate, but I would be more than willing to talk more on this subject in a private message as well. I am always interested in why people involve themselves in religion."
-A. M.

I should mention in the case of any confusion that I myself recognize there are people who believe in any type of religion and those who do not. I am merely asking why you do or do not. (Just in case anyone felt I was trying to attack anyone who is religious. This is not the case. Anyhow, with that in mind, thank you for the posts so far. May they continue to be as insightful. )

Monday, March 10, 2014

QOTD - What is success?

QOTD1 - 3/10/2014: "What is success? What does it mean to be accomplished/successful? When you look at someone and think, 'man, they sure look successful,' why do you think that? Can you measure success?"

'To me, success is anything in the form of an accomplishment that you've worked hard to attain and are proud of. It could be finishing home improvement projects, finally finding the right job, or starting / raising your own family. I think success can be measured in happiness. If you're happy, you're successful... right?'  - H. Z.

'I think it depends on your personal view of success  For one who is an entrepreneur, they may look at anyone from Donald Trump to a local small business owner as being 'successful.' For others, they may see it when they observe someone raising a family. Personally, I tend to attribute 'success' to goals set and reached. That's probably the most generic (maybe still incorrect) way to put it. Lol. Also, I do also participate in the knee-jerk reaction of seeing someone with nice things/lots of money and assume they are successful. A lot of times, it couldn't be further from the truth, but I think it's the perception a lot of us tend to have.' -A. L.

Myself, I agree with the authors above. I had a few PMs that would like to remain anonymous, but two of them in particular listed almost a response to A. L., "Why DO we knee-jerk at someone who spends a lot of cash and call them successful?"

One person said, "Perhaps it is because everyone craves money. We don't think we do, but we do. If you want to be in a successful band? You need money to get it started, and then you're chasing it ever since. If you want to start a business? You need money. If you want to become an actress or actor? You need money, you make money, and then you want more of it because it defines your worth. Parents want money - it allows them to spend some extra cash on their children and save some for themselves. Bottom line is, money makes the world go around, and thus, if we see someone spending it like it's pocket change to them, we automatically think, "Damn, they are so successful they can walk out of Victoria's Secret with five bras like they were shopping at Ross Dress-for-Less." We either get jealous, or curious. We want to know their secret. We want to have that money. Why? Because it's a measurement of success."

The other person, "Everyone has had a dream, and if you haven't, you may not have discovered it yet. I want to have enough financial security that I will never have to eat sandwiches for every meal. In my childhood, that's all we could afford. I don't fault my parents at all. They were doing what they could, but medical bills are difficult and cancer isn't a 'one-night-stay-and-go-home-next-day.' I lost one of my parents to it, and that was hard enough, but to see my other parent go through every bill in their wake and try to feed me and my little brother.. Well. Things got tough. I would love to be financially stable enough to have variety in my diet, and maybe even to help my dad out of debt. I think seeing him without the debt would make both of us successful. We have been climbing this hill for so long."

Thank you everyone for your answers. I really appreciate the responses, and I hope we continue to get more and more.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Questions of the Day.

Hi guys. I'm about to start a series called, 'Questions of the Day!' and I even made a new facebook page in order to more easily facilitate all he responses (and to not spam people who don't care to read or answer them. No hate, just means they won't be a part of the process of my book!)

If you're interested, as I'm sure you are if you're still reading this, here's a C&P of my facebook advertisement.

"I have a question for everyone interested.

I am about to embark on an experiment in which I will ask a series of "Questions of the Day". They will be similarly controversial as my former ones except that I will be recording what you say for my own research. I want your opinions and responses!

However, I have readers that are not my facebook friends. They've found me either from blogspot's next blog feature, twitter, tumblr, enjin, or other anonymous means and I want them to be able to participate.

On twitter, tumblr, and this new facebook page (Thank you Ashley McElyea for the idea), I will ask the questions of the day. If you would like to participate, I ask that you join me on twitter @AtkeissonN, tumblr is, and my facebook page (if you prefer to keep it all right here on facebook where you see all the things every day!) is (or click below).

Why like this page? I will be posting every blog post I do to this page, but in addition to that, you can like this page in order to participate with the 'Question of the Day' experiment I am conducting. All you have to do is 'Like' the page, and when I post on here the questions of each day, you can choose to answer them by comment or message me if you prefer, either here or on the page itself.

I really need answers to these questions because it will assist me in my book. This page will ONLY post in your newsfeed whenever a question is up or when a post has been made to the blog. It's your decision to participate! There is already a question up for today.

If you do, you have my sincerest of thanks which I will express to you soon.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Opinions, Feelings, & Me

Opinions, Feelings, & Me
This post will be entirely (or mostly, I mean, I do have attention issues and could go off on a rabbit trail here or there) about one of the most controversial topics I think people don't even realize is a controversial topic.
Opinions, Feelings, & Me
Why should you care?
Well, you always have the option not to care. However, if you will be participating in any way shape or form in social interactions with myself, have me friend-ed or followed on any social media, or would like to converse with me in any sort of discussion or debate, you should care.
How am I a credible source on this topic?
I would like to think that I am a pretty credible source on the way I feel, the opinions I have, and generally a good sense of all things me and How-To interact with me. I dunno, it's just a hunch.
Sit back, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Have you ever heard the phrase, "Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink?" If you haven't, you have now. I like the phrase because it's almost absolutely true. Let's evaluate this. What are the similarities of opinions and assholes?
The first accusation is that everyone has an asshole, and an opinion.
I find this to be true. At least it is with me. Gotta let the food out someplace.
The next accusation is that they stink. Well, let me break this one down a bit:
  • Sometimes, they stink so bad that someone can't help but let you know.
  • Sometimes, they stink but the person next to you is too polite to bring it up or say so.
  • Sometimes, they think but the other person takes it as a challenge to fart a bit louder/stinkier.
  • Sometimes, they may stink but someone doesn't think the smell is really that bad.
  • Sometimes, they are the loud ones that don't stink at all, but people will tell you to contain yourself!
  • Sometimes, they are silent but deadly. (I think any opinion that is silent is deadly, because it never gets heard.)
Did you notice that almost always, a fart is noticed and reacted to in some way or another? I think that's pretty agreeable. I think it's important to think of it this way because people (myself included) forget that opinions are our own, and someone will always react a different way to a different opinion (or fart). But always, always, always.. Someone will smell it and not like it. It will happen. It's important to face this fact first thing when you think about voicing an opinion because you don't start off in the illusion that everyone will agree all the time, or always agree with you (or your smell).
If you would like me to elaborate a bit more on opinions, comment or message me and I will reply to this post in more detail. However, I think for now that covers that topic.
Feelings are both alike opinions and unlike them. Allow me to explain:
Opinions. Assholes. We all have one. We also all have feelings. I am in firm belief that even the most 'hardcore' individual who has successfully evaded all things emotional still has feelings somewhere deep inside. Some of us have them, but keep them fairly guarded. The rest of us hold them for all the world to see. (With or without our consent. I can't not cry at movies and special moments. Okay? Okay.)
Feelings don't smell, unlike Opinions and Farts. There is a wide variety of wonderful feelings that can be described by numerous adjectives and it would take me all day and night and then some to describe them. There are also very negative feelings. These feelings don't so much smell as they do inflict pain.
When you mix an opinion and feelings together, it's dangerous business. Very risky.
But, Atkeisson, how can you not have feelings about your opinions? Are they not the same thing?
I see what you're saying. I do. However, for this explanation (and since I lack better scientific words), we are going to say 'No.' Example!
I have a strong opinion that a child should be able to dress in whatever colors and play with whatever sort of toy they desire. (This means barbies can be for boys, and legos can be for girls!) All the kids get all the things!
This opinion is based off a multitude of reasons, but mostly because I want my child to experience the same motor skills development, puzzle-solving development, etc as all the other kids can, regardless of their gender. I think it's a big deal for all children to have this opportunity, and that demanding a child cannot play with a non-gender-appropriate toy is bad. I cannot logically think of a reason why you would deny a girl to play with action figures and legos, nor a boy the right to play with baby dolls or tea sets.
Feeling is saying that all people who deny children this make me angry and cause me great pain and grief for all the children in the world suffering from this (or ignorant to what they could be experiencing).
When I use feelings instead of opinions, I am allowing someone who will undoubtedly be out there, somewhere, with a difference of opinion on it. And rather register that they have a different opinion on the matter based on their own reasons, if I am focusing on my feelings, then I will become insulted, angered, frustrated, impatient, and illogical.
This explanation isn't as clean as I anticipated. I may perhaps come back and clarify more if someone desires it (or I find the time).
As a young adult, I am learning to place myself aside from the views of my parents, parental figures, idols, and guardians from my childhood and make my own opinions about things. It's both nerve-wrecking and adrenaline surging. I feel that much closer to becoming who I am and identifying that person when I do this and form my own opinions. I find that by doing this, I can share them with others and face altering opinions or disagreeing opinions with a good head on my shoulders, knowing that not everyone agrees and I can learn more of others, and possibly learn new things and change my opinion if the occasion calls for it.
As a writer, I will always be writing my opinions out. Thanks to social medias, I can not only speak my opinions in person to my friends and family, but I can express them on social medias and this blog. I will be doing so, and have done so, and the reactions have been an experience to learn from.
Recently, I expressed my opinions in multiple locations. I learned a few 'What to Do's' and 'What Not to Do's' while doing so. Allow me to share them with you.
When reading someone's facebook status that is of an opinion different from my own, and they have involved heavy feelings in to why they chose to have this opinion, it is NOT in my nor their best interest for me to place my two cents. By their status, I can tell that it is not safe, they are emotionally invested, and whatever I say that may differ from their view may cause harm to them, insult them, and deteriorate our relationship. Oops. Lesson learned. Foolish move on my part.
I have learned that when I post an opinion on my facebook status, I must expect a discussion. Especially if the topic is controversial. My friends (a wide variety of liberals, conservatives, green, and otherwise people) will most likely debate and have many opinions as well. Some will agree, some will not, and the discussion is healthy. This is fantastic and I was delighted to see it when I woke up from a nap which left my status unsupervised by myself only to find that while opinions were severely on different sides of the spectrum, no one was being impolite in explaining their sides and it was very much tame. Success!
I learned from a few weeks ago that if I post an opinion and the discussion amongst my friends turns hostile and impolite, I should probably step in and remind them (or remember myself, for I am not perfect) that we are all friends, this is a discussion, and feelings need to be guarded here. We can opinions, and facts. No one wants to insult someone else.
Something I struggle with (or feel I do) is explaining myself to others what I see in my head clearly. Sometimes that fuse between my brain and mouth (or fingertips) is lagging or fuzzy and it ends up with me, no matter how much thought goes in to it, making an ass out of myself. I won't see it until hindsight, and as a human, it will happen to me. I predict it will happen often.
So, when this happens I have a request of you. Should you accept, I shall extend the same courtesy to you. My opinion is that this should be the basics of social interaction, but we lost that somewhere. Here goes:
Assume that I have not said anything with the intent to cause you harm, to insult you, to belittle you, or to humiliate you in any way. Give me the benefit of the doubt, especially if we are family or friends. Remember that I care about you immensely, whoever you are, because if you have access to this we are either friends, family, or soon-to-be-friends and I don't take them lightly. So, why would I want to come out and hurt you?
This comes up a lot for people who communicate primarily through text. Reading it on a blog, a social media status, or a text message.. It's impossible to assume someone's tone, and a lot of the time when we are disagreeing, we assume that the other person has a malicious tone. We hear this tone when we read their words and things get heated.
Stop! It's not what you think! Stop! In the name of love! Before you break my heart.
Let me be the first to say, though, that if you truly feel insulted, do not come at me with your own malice. Do not right the wrong you feel with another wrong. Come to me and tell me, explain what it is that has hurt you and we can work through it. Maybe I was being an ass unintentionally (not unheard of, again, human). Maybe something I said sounded awful in text, but was nothing of the sort and it's a matter of perceived tone. Either way, I value our relationship enough to want to work with you, whatever the problem may be, to keep you around. Or, if you'd rather write me off, maybe its for the best. I hope you find the happiness you seek.
An important thing to remember, that I learned from lots of counseling, is that I am in control of my emotions. No one can cause me to feel anything I do not give consent to. Now, I'm still working on not feeling pain when someone steps on my toe. Don't ask for the cure on that one yet, but let me tell you a short story.
At one point, I had convinced myself that someone was angry with me. I didn't speak to them about it, and they didn't know I thought this of them, but I was pretty damn sure they hated me and wanted to ruin my life. (Selfish, right? I know. I grew up later.) Any thing this person would make as their status that had any negative connotation, I would think to myself, "THEY MUST BE TALKING ABOUT ME. How rude. They think they're being so sly, that I wouldn't know they're talking about me. Rude."
They would post things like quotes such as: "Life is what you make it."
Naturally, I thought they meant: "Atkeisson, you should stop being sad about your life and grow up. I'm so tired of you right now. I am judging you."
They would post something like: "Keep a positive attitude. Things can always get better."
To me, I thought they said: "You're too negative, Atkeisson. Get over yourself and think positive! I am judging you."
How rude, right? Or... how selfish. I was making whatever they would post become about myself. Doing so, I had created this awful persona of a person who had absolutely no idea. One day, they found out how I felt and confronted me. HELLO THAT IS PRETTY SCARY. I'm already convinced they're out to get me, and now they want to confront me about it? Who do they think they are?!
But.. They didn't come to me angry. They came to me confused. They didn't say mean things to me. They asked me why I was angry and thought mean things of them. I.. I had no answer for them. I slowly realized I had no proof other than my speculation that their life revolved around me, and I felt like the dumbest ass alive. Can you say 'Award for Most Selfish' ?
Once I realized I treated not only this person, but many people like this... I vowed to change it. I vowed to give the benefit of the doubt. This philosophy was only strengthened once I found God in my life, and learned it is also something he wants me to do.. So I couldn't be far off for making this change in myself.
Anyway, the moral of that short story is.. Give the benefit of the doubt to me. Assume I am not trying to be a dick and insult you, but perhaps, I am trying to make a point about something. If I post a status of encouragement, or happiness.. Assume I am happy, or encouraged, or wishing to encourage others!
In return, I will also give the benefit of the doubt to you.
One last thing about me having opinions... I will have them, and they are mine. I will post the ones I want to post. If I have posted it on the internet, assume (again, give me the benefit of the doubt) that I have given it a long, hard thought before I've done so. Assume that I have phrased things carefully as to express my opinion without insulting any one or shaming any one for not sharing it. If you find offense due to my opinion being different, and you confront me to tell me that, for example, my opinion on children's toys is insulting you.. I am going to politely ask you if you read my entire post (opinion) about them. If you say yes, I am going to ask you to point out where I've insulted you, personally, in particular. I will also ask how what I have said has affected you so deeply.
There is no wrong answer as long as you give me one, and I will do my best to understand it and help you to understand it and feel better. But know this.. My counselor has suggested to me, as someone who used to apologize for every ridiculous and little thing, that I only apologize for things I regret. This has caused me to think about things in a light of, "Will I regret saying this? Do I regret saying this?" If the answer is 'No', then I will not apologize for it. If you found offense in it, again, as I said, I will try and work it out with you so that you can better understand the intent (which is almost never malicious towards anyone, because if it is, I would name you specifically and we'd have words aside) of my statements.
Phew! We made it to the end of the post. What a long one. Last question:
Why did you pick the picture 'I will be good' with a kid in a dunce hat to be the picture of this post?
Because all my life, I thought being good was agreeing with everyone, and agreeing with things because it was less conflicting than having my own opinion. It's how I've felt until I learned to have my own thoughts and opinions and discovered a little more of myself. Now, being good to me means being true to myself and others. If I can accomplish that, even if a few toes are stepped on, I will not regret it, nor accept punishment for it.
Have a wonderful Friday everyone. Christmas is around the corner, and families will be getting together. I hope this post has helped you prepare for what everyone thinks are inevitable 'holiday dramas'. Remember, your family loves you (as dysfunctional as it might or might not be), and they mean no harm.
Good morning!

Hyperbole & a Half - Depression Part Two

This is not my blog. This is Hyperbole and a Half's blog (or, Allie Brosh's).
However, this particular post that she's done explains depression in a way that I have never thought imaginable, for even having it myself I could not find better words to describe it in such a way that people without it can understand, and then validate it when they meet people who are depressed without thinking the person needs to 'get the hell over it already'.
Please, please read it. It is long, but illustrated, and well worth your time. I would pay people to read this particular post of hers. Please, please.