26th birthday

Dreampepper

n: vb: the spice of imagination

like being slapped
26th birthday
porphyre

Courtesy of Ursula Vernon of Digger.


You know what's painful and awkward in the in-box? When you sweetly purchase a surprise Valentine for someone special right before they dump you, then the nice little Etsy shop you bought from sends you an adorable follow-up email the day after the holiday (which was difficult enough to get through without howling at the moon in the first place) which really nails home that, oh right, that happened, and also, ouch, because the recipient wasn't even polite enough to let me know if anything arrived, let alone give me information enough for feedback or a review.

Hooray the future.

Related Reading: All My Exes Live in Texts: Why the Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up.

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Make Peace: A Standard Operating Procedure
26th birthday
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"I asked Julian Corrie to compose and perform a piece of bespoke music for antiquated hardware that I had turned into instruments then rigged together via MIDI."
Polybius from James Houston. See also his Radiohead cover with hard-drives: Big Ideas (don't get any).



I spend my work days writing processes. Instructions. Do this, then this. I write manuals and craft standard operating procedures. How to manage tasks, when to escalate issues, how to solve difficulties. Troubleshooting. I carry these skills within me. When I look at a problem, I see where the fault lines lie. I know where to gently lay on hands and where to sink my thumbs down to the bone. I am constantly being called upon to break enigmas open and rewire and disentangle where their threads went wrong. Communication as communion. Problems as Pietà.

Meanwhile, people are terrible. They lash out at their dearest ones when they're angry, hurt or scared, which is as close to the opposite of ideal as is possible. And no one seems to know how to manage those emotional outbreaks. Even the smart, kind, and compassionate people end up in relationships with untenable conflicts and undeservedly crappy break-ups that leave wrecked humans and pools of misery in their wake. There are no handbooks or manuals. The best we have is The Golden Rule, do unto others how you would have them do unto you, which is fundamentally broken. It should be do unto others as they would have you do.

So here is how to put a relationship down.

-::-


Explain Where It Hurts.

Remember the template. "When you do X, it makes me feel Y." Keep it reasonable. Be specific. This is not a chance for accusations or recrimination, keep it fact based. Remember to stop to breathe if you find yourself using unfair, irrational, or hyperbolic words like "always" or "never". Review what you need to convey. Do not be passive aggressive or otherwise allergic to confrontation. You are showing where it hurts in order that those pains may be assuaged. You are not showing where it hurts in order to point blame.

You're going to be emotionally vulnerable, which is scary, but that's the point. If you feel like an upset, quivering mess, accept it and move forward. Nothing is too petty if you're carrying it as pain. Cry if you have to or crack a joke, give yourself that, safety valves are important, but try to stay on topic. You are being responsible. You are explaining with a purpose. You don't hide a physical injury and expect it to heal, you treat it, and this is the same.

(If you are dealing with someone who would be perfect if, put that down. That also counts as irrational. Give up the dream that they will one day be the person you wish they would be and accept that you are dealing with what is, not what could be if.)

Listen.

Remember the template: Comprehend, Retain, Respond. Being an active listener does not mean being silent. You both need to have it clear that you are being understood. Repeat things back in your own words to make certain that you are both on the same page. Language, especially emotional language, is tricky. There is zero guarantee that you use vocabulary the same way, even when you feel an incredible rapport with someone, and you do not want your words to dry up. Whoever is speaking must know they are being heard. Paraphrasing their message is necessary as it both refines it and functions as a filter finder. When your interpretation does not match up to their message, that helps show where an assumption may have been clouding your communication and allows you to correct for it. It also leaves little doubt as to what is meant by what has been said.

Accept what is being said. You're going to feel defensive. Someone you care about has just laid out how they feel you have contributed to their unhappiness. That sucks, but be aware of your knee-jerk defensive responses and swallow them. (If they get out, immediately follow with, "I'm sorry, that was unfair. I'm feeling vulnerable/threatened/whatever.") They are not rational, the same way "always" and "never" are irrational. Be honest and open up to what the other person is saying.

You may feel that a lot of what they are saying isn't your fault. You might even be right, but that is not enough reason to interrupt them. A lot of this stuff is subjective and if you want to be understood, you have to be understanding of others, too. Suspend your judgement. Someone you care about is showing you they hurt, your first response should be to assist them.

Own What You're Responsible For.

Engage with the results of your actions. Do so with courage. Even when well meaning, no one is perfect. There is not an adult alive who has not hurt someone. Accept that your actions have had consequences. We have all wounded, disappointed or neglected someone we care for, even if by accident. Claiming responsibility does not necessarily imply that you must apologize, though you may wish to, even for things they may not have mentioned, but accepting and declaring awareness of the results of your actions.

The key is to accept accountability where you see their observations have been accurate. Acknowledging both your mistakes and your rights are equally important. If you are not honest with yourself about what you need to say, you are effectively putting a band-aid on a broken bone. Do not accept blame you did not earn. Do not offer platitudes. Offer sincerity. Be loyal to yourself. Remember that you are working to seek atonement, to repair distress and make a new normal, one with less damage, not trying to "make it all better" in an effort to go back to "how it was". That was then, this is now. Show compassion. Allow yourself to be emotional, give yourself space for grief and fear, but own up. Accept your radiation and fall-out. Bite the sun.

Validate.

Appreciate and acknowledge how difficult this process is. Appreciate and acknowledge each other. Appreciate and acknowledge that you are both worth the effort. You are both valuable. Ratify your worth. Be present, avoid distance. Sit and hold each other, even if only in words. Take a two person shower, then go for dinner together somewhere nice. Show team work. Offer comfort. Allow sadness with care and compassion. Act as shelter.

You liked each other, it didn't work out, that sucks, but it's okay, too, because you're leaving each other as unharmed as possible. You're following Campground Rules: leaving everything better than you found it. You are choosing a better future.

This will be difficult, but so is cleaning the grime off a bathtub. Some chores suck, but they make your prospects better. Without a clean tub, a sweet, relaxing evening of candle-lit bubbles can't exist. This process is precisely the same. You are cleaning your past, the better to open your future options wider.

Acknowledge The Good.

Remember why you were together in the first place, confess that it was good. It's normal at the end of a relationship to focus on what didn't work, to look at it through a lens of pain or regret and devalue what happiness existed, but then you're rejecting the essential along with the inessential. You were together for a reason. You rocked, there was joy. Who you were together is going to be different than who you are apart, but that time helped create you. You care about what you're losing, so recognize it, don't invalidate the pleasure you shared. To discard that happiness robs you both of it.

Share what you're going to miss. Share what you valued. There was a time, that distant memory, you sang together while making dinner, do you remember? (How did you get to painful here from charming and sweet there? Irrelevant.) It was glorious. You're a better person for it. So bask. Acknowledge the sex on the kitchen table. Acknowledge the surprise flowers at your desk at work. Remember when you believed the other wanted what was best for you. Concede that you are going to miss each other. Concede that the future is unknown, but the time you spent together mattered and that joy was yours.

-::-


And that's it. The important part is that you do it, that you invest in the end as much as you invested in any other part of the relationship, no matter its length or importance. That you grieve, give and receive respect, and go with grace.




EDIT: This has gone mildly viral since I wrote it and thank you letters have been coming in from people from all over the world. Thank you so much, in return, for taking this to heart. Every one of you has given me hope.

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no, even louder than that
misery
porphyre



If you turn this up loud enough to shake the world, this is what it feels like to miss you.

Cutting your nose off to spite your face
misery
porphyre


  • Love, Actuarially: How Mathematician Chris McKinlay hacked OKCupid to find the girl of his dreams.

    How typical. As soon as I begin to believe, it's over. I am a fool. My lover abandoned me the day before we were to go to Vegas together for a captivating weekend of circus and adventure.

    I asked for him to come anyway. If he needs to put this relationship down, I respect that need, but please respect mine, too. Let us do it together and with grace, with sympathy and care. End it with a whisper, I begged him, so that everything that came before could remain valid, so that the joy we found in our hearts in each other could stay alive, so that he would not have left a terrifying gulf of pain between us. My heart could remain connected to the world. We could stay open. We would still have undamaged space. He refused.

    Now there is nothing that does not hurt. I have been running through my entire catalogue of cognitive reprogramming devices to try and repair as rapidly as possible, but it is impossible to remove this much pain on pure "I said so" alone. And it hurts that I know that he isn't going to help me and it hurts to know that it is possible that his life never offered the compassion tools that teach a person how.

    (I imagine he might be the only person more sorry about this than I am. And making a decision one will regret for reasons that will pass will probably only make for more sorry over time.)

    Meanwhile, I try to stay distracted, the same way it's better to talk about anything but an injury when you have to walk on it. No downtime. No interstitial moments that aren't filled with something. Songs on repeat with lyrics or chord progressions I want to learn, playing Tetris-like repetition games while I mentally recite lists of scientific facts, "In order for nucleotides to..", or practice foreign languages, "Estoy desconsolada."

    There is only so much strength to this sort of knowledge. For such tricks to work, there need to be new associations, better associations, you need to have happier threads, spark your neurons with joy like forcing a new path through a forest. And I haven't had such a thing for a very long time, actual years, nothing could get in until I discovered our connection. Now that my only well has been poisoned, I am left without comfort. (Appalling, dire, it almost feels like life has reset back to quotidian norm.)

    So I called out to my social media networks, asking if there was anyone who could come with me. It felt unnatural, but it was all I could think to do. Everything had been paid for, I had been saving for a year and I couldn't afford to pay for it twice, and there were only a few things I had warning enough to cancel, (some surprise reservations, something on Friday night, a flower delivery on Sunday). And it would be something different. New pathways, new experiences. But even so I knew I couldn't do it alone. There would be nothing except in relation to that void and his absence would overwhelm the world.

    It took hours, until almost midnight, but eventually the internet shivered, shook, and delivered. People had been looking at air miles, at school schedules, at spontaneous adventure savings accounts, had been reaching, but failing. Until there was a shift. The gears caught together. Esme offered to drive me to the Bellingham airport, That 1 Mike wouldn't be leaving for his tour until Saturday morning, Joshua was back from Africa, and a woman named Cypris had recently moved to Nevada, CJ said, and you two would get on like a house on fire. Then Cypris showed up in the thread, summoned by his tag, and promised a visit with the tigers, panthers, and the lion that live on the property she's moved to with her love. It was the tipping point. I would not be alone in the most artificial city strip on earth while my heart was breaking. There would be company, authentic company. And that would be enough to go on, enough to carry my through.

    So thanks to you, my internet, I went to Vegas anyway. I cried a lot. (The universe had a lot of extra fuck you saved up for me, too, like being denied entry onto Friday's flights and the only empty seat on the Saturday morning plane being right next to mine, where he would have been.) I melted down a lot. But I also social hacked a $350 plan ticket with a chocolate bar, visited my favourite bronzes and the mantis art car with Joshua and went to the sexy Cirque Du Soleil show with a circus person who was pulled on stage and gave an incredible performance and we rode the roller coaster on top of New York New York twice, once in the very front, once in the very back, and Cypris and I made faces together for the coaster camera and I got to sleep on a couch in a pretty little house in the desert instead of the soulless hotel room and I woke to savannah-style roaring and I walked on a new kind of stilts and I pet big cats and was licked by tigers and scruffled a gigantic lion and held paws with a panther and fed a different panther and climbed all over Red Rock canyon. And it was magical.

    I wished the entire time, a rolling dull thunder, that he was there to share it with. I wanted to be the person who brought him to lion scruffling. To introduce him to these beautiful people. To kiss him in the art gallery. To pick him up and spin him in the line for the roller coaster. To coax him to laugh in the two-person sized bath I sat in alone. Of course I did. I still do. (I had semi-promised him a red rose in a love letter, so I carried one with me from the circus for him anyway and left scarlet he-loves-me he-loves-me-not petals in all the important places. I shook the last of them from the stem as confetti over my new friends and I at the airport. I told you I was a fool.) He would have loved it, we would have blazed with light, we could have had a record breaking excellent goodbye. But we didn't. But I didn't miss out because of him. That was important. Now I have these moments. They are shaded with loss, but still beautiful. Thank you.


    TLDR: Mourning. Loss. Suffering. Friends. But you know what else is important? Majestic one-on-one interaction with fucking gigantic cats.

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    • Wed, 22:17: RT @marcuschown: The Sun. Taken at night. Not looking up at the sky but down through 8000 miles of rock. Not with light but neutrinos. http…
    • Thu, 04:02: Photoset: queercosmonaut: geniusbee: There’s been a lot of talk of tattooed Hermann these days. Obviously I... http://t.co/2mBOVQ7oco




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    Life is short. Do stuff that matters. - Siqi Chen
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    Postcard from the Party

    You have to be invited, and there's nothing
    you can do to be asked. Headlines and bloodlines
    don't help. It's a long way from home but I'm
    here, the view much better than I'm used to.
    How did this happen? Dumb but good luck,
    right place and time, the planets aligned.
    No contract, no deadline, no risk. And what
    did I do to deserve this? Slept with all
    the wrong people, gambled too much on friends
    of friends with light bulbs over their heads.
    Wrote every day no matter what.

    by Wyn Cooper
    from Postcards from the Interior



    We mostly do not exist except in small windows. Welcome to my apt-for-any-century, turn-based text-based slow-budding relationship. It isn't enough. It is just right. It's perfect. It's frustrating. I worry. I care too much. I don't care enough. I am honored. I am afraid. Sometimes I fade into sleep with my phone on my pillow and wake with it sweetly cradled to my chest, a voice on the wire device warmed by my skin.

    Approximately fourty-eight hours from now, give or take a handful, a radiant man (not a boy, though I often call him a boy with the same precision used when I often call myself a girl) will begin to travel North. He will drive a large metal beast across his country's border to find me, following a road that I have traveled a thousand times, and he will succeed.

    stage three
    26th birthday
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    I have clipped my nails and taped my hands to prevent touching the wounds I have picked open along my arms. Their eyes watch me as I struggle to type, as I try not to look too closely at their adorable little faces. It's a trap, a trick. Anthropomorphous reactions are a symptom of the RHD infection, I know it. But the cilia of their fur is soft, so soft. The ears came first, and then the noses, and now, heavens, there is the illusion of paws. Sweet, dear tiny paws with sweet, dear tiny claws that prick around the edges of the scratches like pins and needles. The fungal spores extrude farther from my skin every hour like curious, exploring rabbits, tentative yet stubborn. I can feel them growing, moving. I tried ice to numb the feeling, but that only made it worse. The fungal tips make a screeching sound when the cold forces them to contract, it's horrifying, and the pain was more intense than the pleasure of the brief respite was worth. My roommate may have already succumbed. He doesn't answer his door when I call and there is a heavy weight leaning against the far side which is too much for me to shove aside in my weakened, near desperate state. I have already eaten all of the pills I got from the clinic. Maybe I should fetch more, but I fear it may be too late.

    second stage
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    The doctor at the walk-in clinic has confirmed that it's RHD and not allergies, a flu, or delusional parasitosis. My eyes are already shinier. My nose has begun twitching. I was instructed to keep away from public places, so I walked home instead of taking the bus. The lapidae fungus fluffs transfer easier if I scratch at them, but I can't not. The tips of the fine "ears" have started sprouting from my pores and they itch!!

    Guess I'm not going in to work tonight.

    where it begins
    26th birthday
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    I seem to have the first symptoms of RHD. Up and down my inner arms; itching. A rough cough from deep in my lungs, like there's a hair in my throat. I feel cold, but I dare not wear anything with sleeves. I need to know, I need to see if it starts. Maybe this is just a flu? A flu where I itch, itch and scratch like a nervous animal.

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    Rabbit Hole Day: the best fictional holiday!
    oh?
    porphyre

    Golden Age of Insect Aviation: The Great Grasshoppers from Wayne Unten, an animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios. (His tumblr).




    Tomorrow is Rabbit Hole Day.

    Plan accordingly!



    Previously: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005.

    the kinds of things I now refuse to keep
    misery
    porphyre
    I took apart a small cardboard box covered in shiny blue foil today. I made it out of scraps when I was a teenager, glued the dark foil onto the cardboard with navy nail polish, used a broken earring I found in a burned out house as a clasp. It went with the waterproof dead-drop that I put in the messy rose bush outside my bedroom window, my pre-internet solution for letters or presents to or from the people connected to my house.

    The dead drop worked. Well, sort of worked. The blue box filled, but mostly with terrible things. So today I decided that it is time to let it go. I am finally loved enough to read through them and empty enough to throw them away. These bad memories are a country that I am going to burn down. By which I mean recycle.

    Going through them, I discovered the letters inside the blue box are long folded and strange to read. Some of them have probably only been read once, while some are so creased and worn their paper feels like fabric. Either way, none of them are recognizable. Who were these people? My life! Such a terrible place. The majority seem from 1999, the year of the dead drop, but they range from '95 to '01. Most of the names are completely unfamiliar.

    The first letter I read was a warning from someone I went to high-school with, "I saw your bruises. I'm worried. p.s. Don't show him this letter." Bruises? Him? I have no idea. Maybe it refers to the unstable teenager who sent me the barely legible poem I found next, "A thousand pardons / Won't forgive / What I put you through / But do not worry / This shadows time has come / The crack of dawn / Unerring call / Alight upon my soul." Yay. How tremendous. Discard pile.

    "Spiritual doors just keep opening. After being locked into a three dimensional material world for so long, knowing there is more, occasionally expressing more... I felt a timelessness of spirit, I felt the point all souls meet when you spoke to me today, where a ray of light becomes part of the light itself..". Signed, "the busker who saw you through the window". Metaphor? Probably not. It's the sort of thing that would happen when I had a dead-drop, so it fits the history, but I have no idea who it's from.

    The next I pulled was six pages long, describing some sort of unspecified accident that ended someone's martial arts career. It's signed with a scribble I cannot understand, but seems to begin with a D. Going further into the box, it turns out that this is where this task gets dark.

    Whoever "D" was, they were prolific. They wrote profoundly dull letters and insisted on referring to me by pet names that border on insulting - Angelface, Sweet Stuff, Honeybear, Doll, Bombshell. (Almost all of them are written on stationary branded with the name of a collections agency. Maybe where "D" worked?) They read like an imaginary film noir relationship where I star front and center. "I apologize for getting up in that guy's face last night, I just don't like people who threaten my happiness, and you and I are so happy together. It was so good to kiss you after I bashed that guy's face." Given the content, I suspect that they wrote me without my knowledge, the letters like a journal, then delivered them in a anonymous batch. I remember we shut the mail-drop down because someone was exceptionally creepy. I can't remember specifics, but I'm guessing "D" was the reason.

    No wonder I hate this place. Special mentions to the note threatening to skin my cat, the note that accuses me of being involved in an acquaintance's murder, the come-back-to-me letters signed in blood from the aforementioned teenager who used to leave vials of blood in my house, and the note that reads only, "I don't care what the teacher made me say - I'm not sorry I set you on fire."

    what love sculpts from us
    plumhat
    porphyre
    If They Come In The Night
    by Marge Piercy

    Long ago on a night of danger and vigil
    a friend said, why are you happy?
    He explained (we lay together
    on a cold hard floor) what prison
    meant because he had done
    time, and I talked of the death
    of friends. Why are you happy
    then, he asked, close to
    angry.

    I said, I like my life. If I
    have to give it back, if they
    take it from me, let me
    not feel I wasted any, let me
    not feel I forgot to love anyone
    I meant to love, that I forgot
    to give what I held in my hands,
    that I forgot to do some little
    piece of the work that wanted
    to come through.

    Sun and moonshine, starshine,
    the muted light off the waters
    of the bay at night, the white
    light of the fog stealing in,
    the first spears of morning
    touching a face
    I love. We all lose
    everything. We lose
    ourselves. We are lost.

    Only what we manage to do
    lasts, what love sculpts from us;
    but what I count, my rubies, my
    children, are those moments
    wide open when I know clearly
    who I am, who you are, what we
    do, a marigold, an oakleaf, a meteor,
    with all my senses hungry and filled
    at once like a pitcher with light.
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    Living the Social Event Horizon.
    ferret
    porphyre
    Before I offer the rather wildly satisfying anecdote that I want to write about, I need this caveat: there's a persistent rumour-myth that claims "Jhayne knows everybody" that is patently untrue. There are thousands upon thousands of dazzling people I have never met and will never and, though I find this sad in the same abstract way that birthdays are, that's just the way it is.

    My relationship to this rumour is complicated, as it affects my identity, community, and influence, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. While I appreciate that it allows me to play with social capital in a way that not everyone does, it also flies in the face of my self interest, beating black wings of denial that chase opportunities away. ("Oh, I'm sure she already knows that fascinating person. Spoiler: No, I don't! But you're right, I should. Introduce us!). I treat it much like fire, warm and attractive, but requiring a respectful distance. There's a lot of layers there. Reality - only a vague relative to myth. So it endures, even as I persist in my role as a philosopher-assassin, refuting it to death. And honestly, it persists like most myths because, underneath the hyperblown twaddle, it contains a seditionist seed of truth.

    There, now that my denial is out of the way, I'm going to blast it completely with indisputable evidence to the contrary. Probably with a sound like "quash."

    (It's a terrible thing to share after I've just spent a paragraph tearing down the splashy premise this anecdote supports, namely that no one is out of reach of my network, but too bad, I'm new back to this writing thing and I'm going to be a dreadful player until my vibrato returns. There are going to be far too many commas, oblique and post-modern applications to punctuation, unruly mazes of brackets, harrowing mixed tenses everywhere, and wandering, unhelpful, and contradictory mixed metaphors. And you, dear reader, and future me, will just have to suck it up, because this little tangle of connections is just too baroque and delightful not to share.)

    So! Livejournal. Bringing it back. Way back. Eight years, maybe. Possibly nine. Somehow I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of a scathingly clever Jewish woman who lived (and lives) in Wisconsin. I don't remember how I found her, probably Warren, same as everyone else, but I fell in friend-love with her immediately. Here in the present, we're still friends. We didn't meet until 2012, but our connection was enough for her to hand-pick me to attend her intimate wedding anniversary party in Madison last year and it was enough for me to put my life aside to better scrimp so I could attend. I probably would have stolen a car to go if the plane thing hadn't worked out, actually. Stolen a car because it would have been less work than hijacking a bus. This is a lady I'll hide some bodies for, is what I'm saying. For her or her beautiful husband or their beautiful child because that is how I roll.

    She and I, we chat sometimes. We discuss disabilities, recovery, life, bravery, creativity, where to get good chocolate, all the usual things. And boys. Oh my, have we ever. She has hers all nailed shut, she's set for life, but my history? We once sat in a chinese restaurant in Minneapolis and looked at my shoddy relationships and threw our hands up and despaired for at least an hour. Deservingly so. More recently, though, we've been talking about family. Bailing my brother out of jail, my dying parental figure, the trials and tribulations attached to both. (I don't have many local people to discuss topics thickly smeared with emotion). Except our last conversation, which took an even more unexpected turn than usual. I think I had maybe been catching her up on the latest episode of The Lame MisAdventures of My Autistic Brother when I dropped an unusual name into the mix. (We will, for the time being, name him M, which is the most transparent sort of obfuscation possible. Sometimes I'm not entirely sure why I bother. See: paragraph 4.)

    "M!" she exclaimed, "His name is M? Where do I know that name?" I am completely taken aback. That was a lot of excitement. Yes, I replied, jotting in a few background notes. He's in Seattle; I met him though the people I camped with at Burning Man; we're in the midst of a surprising flirtationship. She shook her head, dark hair flying everywhere, trying to remember. "There was some drama there, oh hell, what was it? I know that name, I know who that is! This is going to drive me crazy." My curiosity blazed. There was no feasible way it was the same person. None. But the name!

    I stopped what I was doing, nearly holding my breath, fluttering panic hanging in balance with mad delight, waiting in paused dread for the revelation that would either justify or cause everything we had been building to tumble and fall. (Running through me like dark water, in which way had I been gullible this time?) I felt weakened the way rust melts iron. How could these two people, from such wildly different backgrounds, wildly different everything, be connected? I love the impossible, but drama is hardly ever a positive word. They would get along, but how would they have met? I couldn't think of a way. And she was right there with me, overcome by the absurdity of this strange potential connection.

    A few frantic minutes later, it surfaced. I laughed in incredible relief. When I had first met her on-line, years before I ever went to Burning Man or started visiting Seattle, her best friend was S, a woman from New York. S was smart and sassy and fun and completely in love with a boy.

    A boy named M.

    Two degrees apart, a decade away.

    Isn't the world splendid?

    I love it.

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    my first online password was asl4n
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    Created from nearly 4,000 hand-cut and hammered pieces of metal, Aslan (Turkish for Lion), is a recent sculpture
    by Istanbul-based artist Selçuk Yılmaz.
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    heterogeneity
    oh?
    porphyre

    Boggie - NOUVEAU PARFUM (official music video) from THE SOUP .



    B E A U T Y - dir. Rino Stefano Tagliafierro from Rino Stefano Tagliafierro.

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    Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share.
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    "The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment."


    Andrew Solomon is a poetic, eloquent writer on politics, culture and psychology. Does anyone have his book The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression? I would very much like to read a copy. It seems like it would help.

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    Let's Throw A Riot (Because They're Romantic)
    26th birthday
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    It seems a number of us have all independently decided that This Is The Year We Bring Blogging Back, (More Specifically Livejournal). And I could not approve more.

    I'm not sure why other people are trickling back into the fold, but for me my recent trip was a stunning reminder of what we had all built here. Just about everything positive in my life is somehow built on the foundation we created. My happiness is due to you and this place and what we made. It goes way back; I wouldn't have found this apartment, wouldn't have known about the concert I went to when I met my flatmate David, wouldn't have connected so deeply with so many people. I wouldn't have been able to make it to California if it weren't for Jedidiah, who I met through Karen, who I met here nearly a decade ago, but only met face to face last year. I wouldn't have had the chops to write about my godmother's house in Santa Fe, I wouldn't have had such fantastic company in San Francisco, trying new things and feeling loved and inspired, I wouldn't have felt so at welcome in Seattle or know how to deal with my people there, I wouldn't have felt so safe running away with a complete stranger to Napa Valley. This was my very first community, the place where I started to begin.

    Our network spread across the entire world, an empire upon which the sun could not set. Tel Aviv, Madison, New York, London, Santiago, these are all homes to people that have shaped me, many of whom I have never met, but carry always in my thoughts. (There's a woman I know through Livejournal that I haven't heard from in five years, but every year on her birthday I post to her last entry, letting her know that I still love her and probably always will.) And I want that back. I want all of you back.

    I want myself back.

    Somewhere in the mire of crappy relationships and scraping to get by in one of the most expensive cities in the world, I lost myself. I withered and I burned out. I was isolated and torn down and I let the bastards win. Radio silence took over. So this year is the year I push back, the year I clamber out of the rubble and get back into business. I'm going to write, I'm going to take pictures, and I'm going to badger you to do the same. Be my pen-pal, be my friend. I'm going to demand that you share and want you to demand it from me in return. I want a life worth fighting for again.

    -::-


    So who am I, anyways? Given that my audience has grown considerably smaller than the thousand-plus regulars who used to read my journal, but spread to more people that I've actually met, it's probably time for an update. Another member of the Great Coincidental LJ Revival posted a massive introduction and I'm going to shamelessly swipe it because she used to write speeches for Jack Layton and who am I to paraphrase greatness? So here you are, a paragraph by Audra, "I was thinking that I should do a little intro, for all of the new folks. And then I realized that probably a lot of the LJ friends I've had for a decade could also benefit from an update about my life now. It's easy, especially if you are connected by Facebook, to feel like everyone knows what is up with you always. I know that's not actually how it works, though. More than once I'll see someone post about a new baby or something, and not have even known they are pregnant. Facebook does a lousy job of helping us keep up with each other, really, since it only ever shows us content from people we have recently interacted with. Kind of defeating the whole keep-in-touch purpose of Facebook?"

    So here I am: I'm a creative 31 year old Cascadian woman who writes, takes pictures, and is commonly understood as being "from the internet", where my name is either Foxtongue or rarely, Dreampepper. I don't know everybody, but I seem to live two degrees away from everybody, so if I don't know you, it's highly likely I already know your friends. (No, it's not creepy, it's hilarious. Just accept it, it hurts less when you don't struggle.) I cohabitate with a vegetarian, contrarian flatmate, David, who is studying to be a primatologist; two black cats, Tanith and Tanaquil; and two ferrets, Selenium and Pepper. (Selenium is cuter, but Pepper makes up for it by being the biggest ferret I have ever seen). We share a two bedroom apartment in the Commercial Drive neighborhood of Vancouver, BC, that I have painted fuchsia, scarlet, orange, white, and gold, and we have filled with books, art, and houseplants. David likes clutter, I do not, but somehow it still works.

    I used to have cool jobs, like "special effects pyrotechnician" and "co-founder of an after-hours nightclub", but right now I'm on a more pedestrian path as the HR and Culture & Process person for a small IT support company based out of White Rock by the US/Canada border, so I spend my a lot of work-related time commuting as well as being paid to sift through applicants and write corporate documents like Standard Operating Procedures or Job Description Templates. Even so, I am lucky that my employers understand that culture creation is needful and doubly-so that I have nearly free rein to write whatever I believe will get the job done. This means I regularly put sentences like "Don't take it personally, someone will probably have candy for you" in procedure manuals. (Given half an opening, I will also put goofy lines from the original Maxis SIM:Earth manual in, too, but I haven't had the chance yet. SOON.1)

    I also volunteer as a facilitator at CanSecWest, a security conference here in Vancouver that's held annually every March. I love it there, I basically move into a hotel with a bunch of my favourite people and help make piles of awesome. There's very little sleep, too many black t-shirts, but there's also catering, a lot of love, and I'm always super happy to be part of it. (Even as it sometimes makes me seem paranoid to those outside of the security sector).

    Aside from work, I have a couple of small projects, but nothing like I used to. It used to be that I was elbow deep in massive works all the time, but that went away when my interiority died, so now I only have a couple of small things: gamelan practice, a coding class, a language class, and my FB Portrait series, an endeavor to take a proper portrait of every single one of the 1000+ Facebook friends I've been lucky enough to collect. I would like to take more on, but there's only so much creativity on tap right now and I have to be careful not to overwhelm what fuel I've managed to rekindle. I'm already three years behind on my photo processing! I've never even SEEN any of the pictures I've taken at Burning Man. Ever. Right this minute, I still have to deliver three weddings, two birthdays, a maternity shoot, about 30 Facebook portraits, and my Daily Photos from two years ago. (Which is why, if you say, "I want you to come up with my portrait!", you're going to get something boring, just like the last ten people who told me the exact same thing. Suck it up.)

    Recently I've been lucky enough to travel a lot more than I have before: Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Madison, Montreal, Minneapolis, Mountain View, Napa, NYC, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, and Vegas. Beautiful things and moments and people and discoveries at each, but it still doesn't feel like enough. There's so much of the world to explore, so many people to meet, so many things to do! In that, at least, I will always be greedy. I only get one chance at this and enough of it has been wasted. My goal is still to leave Vancouver for somewhere bigger, but in the meantime I plan to collect more lunatic adventures like, "that time I had that fling with the astronaut" or "that time I played pink slips for panties in a midnight drag race on the I5 and won" and use those to keep myself alive.

    Anyhow, I want you to talk to me. Introduce yourselves, inform me or remind me who's out there listening. I want this to be a safe place. This used to be our playground and I believe that together we can bring it back to life.










    1. It's been over 20 years, but I still use this joke. One day my network will bring me in contact with the person who wrote it and I will give them the biggest, best of hugs:

    In general, SimEarthlings are as lazy as Earthlings. They never want
    to work, and especially hate physical labour. Whenever there are heavy
    objects to move, they argue over who has to do it.

    "I don't want to carry it--you carry it!"
    "Not me--you carry it."

    And that's how Eukaryotes evolved.

    Of course, the usual solution is to hire a professional to do the work.
    That's what Prokaryotes do for a living.

    Authenticity / Nourishment
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  • On November 20th, 1998, the first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, was launched.
  • On November 21st, 1905, Albert Einstein's paper, "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", is published in the journal Annalen der Physik. This paper reveals the relationship between energy and mass, which leads to the mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc².

    "I don't want to write about you," I said. Adding you to the narrative would make you real in a way I'm not prepared to risk or handle. This is a place that defines me, that nails my history down to the page, that makes things legitimate, that allows my future self to remember. We were wrapped together as completely as two people might be, but I was not so sure I would survive bringing you back with me, I was not sure I would survive binding you to my story. I do not want to lose myself to a fire again.

    Yet here I am, three in the morning, and the edges of my heart are dripping words onto a page two hundred kilometers from where I just saw you fall asleep. You wear my name on your tongue. I am your voice on the wire. You are terrified, but you remain. I am terrified, but I fight for you. You wear a ring that belonged to my dead. I wear your care as a protective halo. I am tearing down my walls even as you held on to me so tightly an imprint of your hand lived like a welcome shadow on my skin for days.

    We have saddled ourselves with a thin leather of responsibility, but somehow it will be okay. We don't know where we're going, but we know we're discovering it together.

    I wrote this for you in a letter, but want to keep it here in my tender on-line cottage, a decade old and counting: "In the meantime, we don't have to go alone into the dark night of the future. We can loiter together in the parking lot awhile, get extra batteries for our flashlights, talk about music, look at the stars, make out, ask each other questions, both teach and learn. "

    So here it is, you're real now. Welcome to the story. You're going to like it here.

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    the home group of one of my mothers
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    I have just returned from a long and involved trip South - first to Santa Fe to visit family, then to the Bay Area for New Year's Eve and dear friends and small adventures, then to Seattle to build family, then back to the Bay for a further adventure, this time with a stranger. It was a clean narrative, completely without disaster, and I safely arrived from where I left, at the Vancouver airport, without either serious physical or emotional injury and having only lost one item of clothing. (May not be remarkable for other people, but it may actually be the first time in my life such a thing might be said.)

    There is not a lot to say about my time in New Mexico, except that I have finally experienced that classic North American thing that people experience when they visit family in an isolated area in an isolating culture, minus the bits about disagreeable politics. For example, I was told there was a Solstice party happening the evening I arrived, so I dressed up shiny and put on my warpaint and arrived in style, only to find it was an entirely different thing. A coven of women (who might be the type to spell it womyn) have been gathering six to eight times a year for thirty-five years to have a pot-luck, create a "Circle" of good intentions, light candles, welcome spirits, tell stories, and sing old songs. I was the only heterosexual present and the youngest by an easy twenty years.

    To give you a clearer picture, they meet on dates that are significant to the moon and on at least two occasions, without any irony, someone present referred to the United States government as The Man. It was like time travel. I kept expecting someone to laugh and the entire gathering shatter, but I looked around the room and realized that I have read about these people in books on first wave feminism. It didn't occur to me while I was delving into that history, but apparently some of those people are still riding that wave, passing talking sticks around in circles and singing droning hymns to The Goddess that they wrote while stoned in a yurt on the side of a mountain in a woman's enclave somewhere in 1978. If I had gone outside and stood on something, I would even have been able to see the mountain the yurt had been located.

    As experiences go, it was an echo of a hundred different moments I've witnessed (and tried to escape), so not new, exactly, but distilled down to an ultimate essence. I slowly became fiercely uncomfortable. I felt hammered by the singing, by the tone of it all, by the waiting. I was a fish out of water with a bicycle and I wished, with increasing desperation, that I could switch bodies with someone who would love to be there, like my friend Pam, or simply teleport her there. I am disagreeable when confronted with rituals or religion. I feel that the invisible things that weave the world's narrative are things like atoms or quarks, neither of which will ever care or be capable of caring about rattling sticks or human interaction. You can do whatever voodoo you like on your own time, (pray to invisible super dragons, consult random chance oracles, LARP, read horoscopes, or whatever), and I won't care, but I am not ever going to be a complacent participant. Even so, it was interesting. Interesting in an I-wish-I-were-writing-about-this-instead-of-in-the-middle-of-it kind of way. I wanted to document the living history as it unrolled before me. So here I am, writing about it, still wishing, nearly a month later, that someone who would have appreciated the evening had taken my place.

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