jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
I sometimes wish there was some kind of class where young people are taught how to flirt/communicate desire/take a no or a yes positively. I'm not sure if sex ed is the right place for it, but I feel like it's something that the Scandinavian countries probably already do. Who knows.

What's prompting this is a reddit thread of guys who missed hints from gals who were interested in them. It's a little sad because I think that's a lot of missed happiness. In the Reddit thread, someone pointed out that this wouldn't be an issue if women weren't so coy about these things. And of course, they're coy for a damned good reason - being sexually forward carries significant risk. As the saying goes, when asking people out, men risk humiliation and rejection, women risk rape and murder. And of course, slut-shaming is still a thing.

Significantly, for all of life I have hung out among geeks and nerds - a fairly socially awkward bunch. It's not like the men were doing much pursuing either. Looking back on my days in Grey Mountain Holt, it was significant for the amount of relationships that were not happening. This was a group with a common interest that went from a club to basically being a primary social circle for many of the participants, with a roughly 50/50 split gender-wise, and everyone was in their late teens to early twenties. We should have been pairing off left, right, and centre. Relationships weren't nonexistent, but they were rare enough to be noted when they happened.

I certainly wasn't doing any asking. I generally went with the be funny, and hope I don't come off as obnoxious or creepy. Often I failed. Still, a few women expressed interest. Mostly, not women I was interested in. I had no idea how to pursue, what to do if I was pursued, or how to deflect unwanted pursuers in anything other than the most pathetic passive-agressive way. It was a cluster-fuck of suck.

Now most people manage to maneuver through this and learn what skills there are in late adolescence. Still, a lot of people don't, which is why I think it would be a useful topic to teach formally. There's some problems though, and I'm not sure how to address them.

First, the moot point that, if this course existed when I was younger, I would have avoided it, even if it would have done me a world of good. I avoided gym class throughout high school, mostly because there was a dance component and the thought of it left me a quivering anxious wreck. I eventually took a continuing education gyn course over summer so that I could graduate. I kept it secret from my parents. Hell, the idea of asking women out fills me with dread now, though I have worked up the courage to do it on rare occasions, never successfully.

Leaving aside my personal drama, the bigger issue is that such a course has the potential to be a shit show of patriarchy, slut-shaming, and misogyny. Would you trust your high school gym teacher to be able to teach this stuff without dropping into "Boys: get all the pussy you can or you're not a man. Girls: keep your filthy knees together"? Plus, being awkward in the course would be fodder for bullies.

Currently, there is such a hunger for this course, that Pick-up Artist (PUA) culture has begun providing it as a secondary reason for existing. Unfortunately, the few good ideas they have (hygiene, attractive presentation, make your desires known) is completely ruined by their awful philosophy (don't take no for an answer, pester women who are clearly not interested, lie, no such thing as date rape).

Maybe not having the course is a better idea? I like to think it's possible to come up with a decent lesson plan. I hope so, since trial and error isn't that great. Can't we do better than that?

I do know a person who teaches a lechery course in the SCA, which is basically a course in flirting. For a one hour class in how to be more gallant than goofus in an SCA setting, it's pretty good. I think that's as good a proof-of-concept for the idea as any. And as I said at the beginning, this sounds like the sort of thing that would be taught in Scandinavian schools.

I'm going to think on what I would have personally wanted out of such a course. That's a first step towards articulating how it work. Difficulty: That's going to be like trying to figure out what I think would make a good brain surgery class.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
I find I'm not missing SCA events. I'm certainly not missing council or tavern. Council because I found over the last few years that I kept butting heads with someone who's simply not worth the effort. Tavern because about half the time I'd go there, I'd find I wasn't actually talking to anyone, I was standing against the wall wondering what was wrong with me.

That sort of social isolation had a habit of happening to me at the big events too. Especially if they were "foreign" events, and I didn't know many people. I've never been that good at meeting people. I often joke that extroverts get to know more people in six months of the SCA than I got to know in six years.

One astonishing moment came when an SCA old-timer told me I was an old-timer, pointing out that I had been in the Society for (at the time) over 12 years. I couldn't deny his logic, so why did it still feel like I was new.

Lord knows I've got a ton of accomplishments in the SCA: Seneschal, first kingdom archery champ, only person to have the Brass of the Minotaur. I'm happy with all of those. But I know I'm never getting anything else. I no longer really serve, so I'm never going to be a Pelican. I'm not a combat archer, so I'm not going to be OGGS. I'm OK with that, because I'm not willing to go through that extra effort. And that's OK too.

None of this is really about the SCA really. I suspect any large social group would have the same problem. Lord knows there's people who've bent over backwards to include me - problem is those people are social butterflies.

"Hey, James! Come sit down!"
*brightening* "Sure."
"Oh, I just saw someone I need to talk to. I'll be right back."
*doesn't come right back*
Funny thing is, this weekend is the first event since stepping down as archery champ that I actually decided that doing nothing was better than going to the event. I haven't been to any events since stepping down, but all the others I actually had good reasons - visiting friends whom I never get to see, being on vacation, that sort of thing.

Aside: That it's an event requiring camping was another big factor. Just not up to camping this year. It's a recipe for back problems.

Related to all this is a weird thing I've noticed. Events that I don't go to? Social media suggests that those are all really good events. The sort that everyone raves about how they had an epically good time. The ones I go to never seem to have that kind of reaction. This is probably just confirmation bias on my part, but the impression is still there. I've had epically fun events, but not for a long time. I feel like I'm trying to catch lightning in a bottle, and everyone else has the knack but me.

A friend wrote:

"Sometimes we get engaged in certain activities or situations to satisfy a need, or benefit some aspect of ourselves. They become part of our routine, and may feel like they DO help out with whatever they're supposed to help out with. But then other needs arise or needs shift, or not enough spoons, and we realize that that thing we're doing is actually taking a toll."
Lots of wisdom there. For awhile, the SCA filled a need - or at least appeared to. Now, not so much. It's not that I'm having that need filled somewhere else, and I no longer need it. More that after thirteen years, I've come to the conclusion that that need probably isn't getting filled. My goal now is to attend events I want to attend, and not have it seem like a chore. It's been a chore for a long time now.

I am planning on attending some upcoming events. Baronial polling? Sure, I'll give my two cents. Hell, when it comes to my opinion, I'm happy to raise it from two cents to a whole dollar. Harvest Feast? Maybe - on the basis that I've never had a bad time at a Bitter End event. Samhain? Absolutely, if only to see a friend elevated to Laurel. After that, who knows.

And I'm going to keep shooting and supporting archery (I've agreed to run a Target Archery Marshal class next week). In fact, I may have solved my chronic injury issue tonight. That being the case, I'll be back semi-regularly.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
Some statistics:
  • Nights: 17.
  • Beds: 11.
  • Estimated distance: 3847 Km.
  • Actual distance: 4258 Km.
  • Fills: 10.
  • Cost of gas: $297 CAD
  • Peanut M&Ms consumed: 85.
  • Depressive incidents: 0.
Overall, a good trip. It was relaxing and fun. I repeated a lot of components of earlier trips, but that's OK because I really didn't want to deal with any stress. I got to visit quite a few friends, including the ones I don't see despite living in the same goddamn city. There were plenty more I'd have like to have seen, or seen more of, but that's often the way these things go.

But it wasn't all wine and song.

I'm sad that I have to put in the effort to maintain all these relationships. I'd rather they were effortless, or that people would come visit me for a change. Still, that's not the fault of the people, it's simply the scourge of distance and finances. I have the time and wherewithal to make these trips, so it's up to me to go 99% of the way and count on everyone else to handle the last 1%.

Loneliness was a constant irritant. But I've long since accepted that I can't let the lack of a partner stop me from travelling. The alternative is to simply not go on trips. Plus, it's not like I'm any less lonely at home. When depression reared it's ugly head, that was usually why. On the plus side, my mental batteries were at peak charge, so all the anti-depression cognitive tools I've learned were easily wielded. No depression for me this trip. Just the occasional, "go away, demon, I don't have to put up with your shit today". Still, it would be nice to simply not be a depressive. Alas, it's not to be.

Well, I don't want to end this on a sour note. I really did enjoy myself, and I might do it again next year (though my travel plans might involve going somewhere farther - we'll see).

Oh, and I bought a bunch of stuff. Swag pictures ahead... )
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
I hesitate to write this, lest someone use it against me. That's happened to me before. It's happened to me in adulthood.

I have a few phrases that are literally triggering. One of them is when people call me "big guy". There are few things in this world that will fill me with an instant, incandescent rage then when people refer to me that way. Why? Because growing up it was the go to phrase for any bully who was trying to be friendly with me, either as the setup for extra-cruel bullying, or because they wanted something from me. To me "big guy" is exactly synonymous with "I think you're too stupid to realize I'm patronizing you, and if I don't get what I want from you, the next thing I'll call you is big fat loser".

I was 100% accurate with that assessment as of graduating high school, and it happened more times than I can count. If someone called me "big guy" when trying to be friendly, that friendliness was fake, and it would be followed up soon after with real insults about my weight.

I get called that occasionally in adulthood. They're probably just trying to be friendly, and aren't actually bullies. Still, the trigger remains. When it happens, I tell them, flatly, "don't ever call me 'big guy' again". When this happens, I generally get some kind of excuse along the lines of "oh, it's because you're so tall". No it's not. Some really want to argue that they didn't mean anything by it, and should be allowed to keep doing it based on their good intentions. No. I get to decide what I'm called and I have a perfectly good name.

The correct response is "OK, I won't call you that again". I don't need an apology, because (assuming a first offence) this is something the person would have had no reason to know was a problem.

Today, an old acquaintance did it online and I was literally seconds from unfriending/blocking them on social media. They agreed not to do it again when I told them not to, so the triggering event is settled. However, I was still an anxiety-ridden grouch for the rest of the morning because of it. Only getting out of the office for an appointment/nice lunch snapped me out of it. That's when I realized that this was a trigger, and not simply something I don't like. My emotions were out of control. Hell, writing about it now has got me all fucked up emotionally, but I feel I need to write this down as a first step towards it not being a trigger.

In conclusion, don't call me that. If you do, knowing this, we're through. People who do so unwittingly will be told not to (hopefully politely, but it will likely be terse even with all my efforts to not be a jerk about it).

Fat. Again.

Nov. 5th, 2015 11:04 am
jamesq: (Jabba)
I haven't been to Weight Watchers in months - my last weigh-in was on August 20th. Today I finally broke down and went. Mostly this is because I've been journalling off and on due to my 100 days of adulting challenge. Time to go the next step and actually start tracking things, right?

Except I knew that it was going to be bad. I have a scale. Even without a scale I knew things were bad. I feel awful all the time. None of my clothes fit me, so I ended up buying a bunch of new clothes that were all bigger. I'm starting to get medical problems due to my weight - my blood pressure is too high and I'm on anti-cholesterol pills. My joints are at the point where the one exercise I enjoy, I can't actually do, which reinforces the problem. Hell, I can't even suck in my gut anymore.

So I knew it was bad. I figured I was somewhere around 260. 260 is way way too high. Turns out I was wrong. I'm 267.

Here are some reference weights.

  1. Goal Weight according to WW and medical science.
  2. Weight at which women are willing to touch me. I'd be fucking ecstatic to be at 220, even though it's technically still overweight.
  3. Weight at which the BMI tips me from being overweight to obese. Anybody who decides the most helpful thing they can do is be skeptical about the BMI will have their comments removed.
  4. Weight at which I start thinking I'm a fucking monster.
  5. Highest weight I've ever been.
  6. The point where I might as well just eat a bullet.
So let's recap. At 267 I am currently closer to eat a bullet than I am to merely being a fucking monster.

I am so goddamn tired of this. I'm tired of being disgusted every time I look in a mirror. I'm tired of having a body that won't do what I want it to. I'm tired of feeling like I'm trapped on a speeding train to the living hell my father endured his last years. I'm tired of a life defined by crushing loneliness punctuated with momentary distractions that keep me going.

I am so unbelievably angry at myself for this. And I'm frustrated over how helpless I am to do anything about this. About the weight. About the myriad ways my weight has ruined my life. About my utter inability to lose weight, despite having all the tools at hand.

Well, I could double, triple, quadruple the length of this post, simply by outlining everything I hate about being an obese monster, but I think you all get the picture. Guess I'd better get back on that fucking wagon, since writing isn't going to lose me any weight.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
So this all makes me anxious. And I mean that literally in the I just had an anxiety attack way. But still, I will try to explain myself.

Yesterday I was going through photos of this weekend's event. I happened upon one of myself. It was not flattering. Oh, the photo was well composed and shot (the photographer has a keen eye for candid portrait shots), but I wasn't aware of being shot, so I didn't do all the little things I do to make sure the picture is flattering. I didn't smile, or suck in my gut, or push my head forward. I was just standing there having just loosed an arrow. All I could see were my faults.

Coincidentally, I knew which end the shot was taken, and I had missed one of the shots (in the middle, and I got complimented for recovering the remaining arrows. If you're an archer, you know how hard that can be). I mentioned then that having any sort of talent means that you hit a stage where all you can see are your faults. I had several good shots that end, and one failure. All I could see was the failure. Likewise with the photo, all I could see was every feature I hate about myself.

There are photos of myself that I like. The avatar picture attached to this post for example, is the single best photo of me ever taken. I'm relaxed, having a good time, my smile touches my eyes and my hat is at a jaunty angle - what's not to like? Beothuk asked to take it when I was in the perfect mood to have my photo taken (notably, he asked first). There's a few others.

When I was younger, I was one of those folks who would admonish the photographer to not take my photo. Later I relaxed on this stance since it only pissed off a bunch of people who didn't stop taking my photo anyway. Go ahead and take my photo, I thought, so long as I don't have to look at it. I'd also try to avoid being in the shot if I was able. Turning my head, moving so there was an obstacle between me and the camera. Subtle things, I thought, until I realized that I was probably about as subtle as a six-year old's knock knock joke to someone with a telephoto lens aimed at me.

I've been battling depression recently (can't run due to a reoccurring back injury, just got a nasty reminder that a long hard winter is just around the corner), but hadn't quite slipped over the edge. Then I saw a photo of myself that I didn't like. Because I hadn't wished for it to be taken. Because it slapped me in the face with my flaws. Because everybody else this guy took a picture of looked luminous. Because of my demons.

So I though, fuck it, I'm going to go to bed. I'm tired and I recognize that this was going to upset me if I dwelled on it. And had I left it at that, I wouldn't be writing a therapy piece right now. No, instead I made a (what my tired ass thought was funny) quip about it.

God damn. Sometimes I forget how spectacularly ugly I am.
Must avoid cameras at events more.
And then I went to bed.

I woke up to find everyone had dog-piled on me. They had good intentions. They were mostly my friends, with a few acquaintances thrown in for good measure. mostly they admonished me about being hard on myself. There was also threats of violence.

Just a short aside about the threats of violence, then back to the main thread of my self-deprecation and its aftermath: Don't do that. I really hate it when people think saying "If you do that again, I'll kick you in the balls" is helpful. An old ex-friend used to do that all the time. He'd use vague unspecified threats (e.g. "If you do that again, I won't be held responsible for what I do next"), but still he did it. It was a shitty way of trying to deal with interpersonal problems when he should have just used his words instead. I still run into that jackass now and then. I've more or less resolved to call him on his BS if he ever does it again in my presence. Anyway, it reminds me of him is only one aspect. The other is that you're either lying about the threat, or you're not lying about it. Neither of these are things that friends should be doing. And yeah, call me on it if you see me doing it.

Ahem, where was I?

Anyway, I got a lot of "you're not ugly" in return. That more than anything else upset me more. Because deep down, I can't take compliments. I always think it's friendship-pity. And I always want to dig in and argue the point, as if being right is more important than trusting your friends. Still, it's not about being right, it's that the demons are fighting to survive, and their survival depends on me being miserable. Nothing quite like turning around every compliment into an insult.

And it's a surprisingly hard thing to break oneself of - hell, I've been self-deprecating about my being self-deprecating here in this article. How's that for a vicious downward spiral of emo bullshit.

When I was in elementary, I learned early that if people were blowing smoke up your ass, it's because they wanted something. Often that something was to simply make fun of you. When I was the school outcast, I'd occasionally have the cool kids befriend me. They'd pay me compliments and talk about how much they actually liked me. They'd do this long enough for me to help them with something, or share my candy bar, or just until I'd bought it so that they could make fun of me for buying it. "You actually think we liked you? Loser."

Obviously my adult friends aren't like that. I've got friends whom I've been through the wringer with. They've been through thick and thin with me. Still, my inner nine-year old remembers.

On the bright side, when the Alistairs of the world come knocking, I can spot them from a mile away. It's the primary reason I refused to let baby-crazy-girl get closer to me when she was briefly in the SCA.

Another thing I learned as a child? If you insult yourself first, it means the bullies can't. If you want to know the genesis of my self-deprecating sense of humour, that's it.

All of this is unhealthy and I have therapeutic techniques to deal with it. Countering thoughts ("No. You're friends really do think you're average-to-attractive. Don't second guess them") for example. But sometimes I'm too tired to wield them.

A lot of this is a long-winded way of saying, complimenting me when I'm beating myself isn't that helpful. If you want to do so in the future, a simple "I like you", without qualifications is appreciated. If you say "I like you and you're attractive", my computer programmer's brain will go "Hmm, logically that evaluates to false because 1 & 0 == 0".

I appreciate all the concern folks - I just needed to vent. Now that I'm done, I'd rather not dwell on it more. Let's keep it to a single day so that tomorrow will be better.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
Still avoiding my soul-searching post. At least it answered the question "Would you rather do this, or your taxes?". My taxes, I'm happy to say, are now done. This is not that post.

I went to Banff this weekend. I could have gone to the Calgary Comic Expo. I had ample opportunity to buy normal tickets, and even had two offers for a Sunday day pass. Still didn't go. I maintain that there are plenty of people who haven't been to CCE, and there are plenty of bigger geeks in Calgary, but there is no bigger geek in Calgary who hasn't gone to CCE. I've been wrestling with why that is.

I think I would jump at the chance to go if I had a con buddy, or if I had a VIP pass. The best times I've had at SF conventions were when I had someone to spend time with. And the problem with something as big as CCE is that you're going to spend a lot of time in line-ups. Line-ups by themselves are neutral. Being the only person in the line-up by yourself sucks ass. It sort of draws a big square around your alone-ness and pens in a few arrows for good measure. That feeling of being alone in a crowd is the main thing that triggers me when I'm at SCA things, and thinking back it did the same thing at SF conventions. It's a big part of the reason I stopped going years ago (the other was that Calgary's original SF convention, ConVersion, sucks - or at least it did from 1986 until 2001, when I finally gave up on it).

Again, this isn't really about whether a con is good or bad, it's about my reaction to it. A bad (in the SCA or SF Convention context) experience by yourself just sucks. A bad experience shared with someone at least has the possibilities of being an adventure. I have some decent adventures with friends that sprang from an otherwise shitty SF convention.

And that's why it came down to "buddy" or "VIP". If I got a VIP pass, I'd be able to skip a lot of the line-ups. I could glide from one experience to another without having to spend any time in my own head, thinking about how I was alone. And not just alone, but alone in a crowd of socially awkward geeks. Alone in the last group I'd be expected to be alone in. In other circumstances I could at least blame my loneliness on being a socially awkward geek. At an SCA event or SF con, the only reason is that, even by the standards of geeks, I have nothing that attracts and plenty that repulses. When Cat-piss man is hanging out with his friends, and you're by yourself, what does that say about you?

Of course, the alternative to being lonely is not being alone, which is why a con buddy would have been great - even better than a VIP pass. Sadly, I can't ask someone to be my con buddy, because that would ruin the internal sense that that person wanted to be with me. If I have to ask, and they agree, I can always mentally draw some horrible conclusion like "they're only here out of a sense of obligation."

So I didn't go, and once again was inundated with my CCE comments on my assorted social networks. I decided to go have a me-day in Banff. And despite being by myself, I had a good time. Oh, those thoughts were still there - the thoughts that say "here you are in a fancy restaurant - by yourself, loser." but I managed to counter those fairly effectively. No really, despite what you read above, the countering thoughts really did work. I got some exercise, a few rich meals, and the weather was, despite the predictions, really really nice. The drive was relaxing and there was barely any crowds on the road, in Banff, or in the hot springs. That's almost unheard of.

I'll try to grab VIP tickets again next year. That seems the most likely of the two solutions.

Sharp Knees

Oct. 8th, 2012 03:00 pm
jamesq: (No Sex)
I few weeks ago I fell into the orbit of someone else's drama. Thankfully it was brief. It did trigger some of my own drama (hence why I'm still thinking about it weeks later).

We were at a BBQ and I was chatting with some people and the subject of what you look for in a mate came up. I gave my usual generic response of "compatible, healthy, intelligent and funny" when someone outside the conversation interrupted.

"NO, that's NOT your ideal mate", she said.
"Pardon me?"
"I remember you talking to [someone years ago] and you said you're ideal mate had to be a willowy red-head."
"You might be misremembering that conversation."
For the record, I don't remember the conversation. Pretty sure I wouldn't have been that specific in a conversation about mate traits. I might have been asked for something much more specific like "if you could have any physical traits in a mate, what would they be". Like if I was making a request from a djinn or something. Anyway, I attempted to make that point to the lady in question.

"We were probably talking about perfect mates and there are no perfect mates."
"NO, you said she had to be a WILLOWY REDHEAD."
At about that time I realize that I had stepped into her drama and this really wasn't a conversation about me. She's just a person who has a chip on her shoulder about her (perceived lack of) looks and her weight. Which is why I don't bring up the topic of looks or weight with her. I really don't need to hear it since I've got my own issues with both.

As an aside, when I say that weight discussions send her off even in comparison to me that should give you an idea of just how bad it is.

The conversation got under my skin. Not just because of the confrontational nature of it (seriously, you don't have a clue what my hopes and dreams are, so don't claim that you know me better than I know myself), but also because people can change.

Even if I did have a hyper-specific ideal mate in the past, I've changed and what I desired as a younger man is not what I desire now. People change.

So what do I want now? Well red-heads are awfully nice. So are blondes and brunettes. So are women with hair dyed into colours that don't occur in nature. Actually that last one is rather appealing, especially if it's purple. As for looks/weight in general, well I have a few traits I find un-attractive and if you're healthy and lack those traits, I probably think you're good looking.

If I'm really generous, I've had quasi-romantic relationships with five women now. Objectively, none of them were perfect beauties, but when I was with them I was blind to their flaws. When each relationship was over it changed my criteria for subsequent ones and always for the better. I regret none of them though I often wish that some of them were longer.

I'm lucky to never have had a "psycho-ex", though I worry that the rules about cosplay and poker are the reason why. For those who don't know, the cosplay rule is: if you're cosplaying in a group and you can't figure out who the fat cosplayer is, it's you. The poker rule is: If you're playing poker and you can't figure out who the rube at the table is, it's you. Was I the psycho-ex? I can think of twice where I probably was. Thankfully, each was 15+ years ago.

When I'm imaging myself spending my life with a partner, I rarely define what they look like in my mind's eye. Better to focus on feelings and my own actions. I suspect this is partly because I don't want to imagine it in too much detail. I also try not to imagine it too often, because there's always an element of hurt. I can't think of it without also dwelling on how it hasn't happened and likely never will. I don't like thinking about that, but there are times when I can't help it.

One of those times is family holidays, which is why this came bubbling up on Thanksgiving. I've got the holiday-lonelies. I suspect this is going to be a bad winter. I'll need to hone the tools that keep depression away, I'll be using them a lot.
jamesq: (TISM Bunny)
In the last entry I wrote the following:
"I'm still 0.000 for getting a date on those occasions where I've asked"
That's certainly how I remember things, but I did get called out on in in a private message. So here are some edge cases:

  1. If I asked someone to coffee or dinner, and it's clear that I have no romantic intentions, is it a date? My thought is no.
  2. If two people discuss whether dating is a reasonable idea, then proceed to do so, can one be reasonably said to have asked the other one out? I honestly don't know.
  3. I ask someone out on what I intend to be a romantic date, and they say yes. Later it becomes clear that the other person did not understand that this was a date. Does it count.
My 0.000 stat includes each of the above situations. Should it still be 0.000? Should it be a non-zero value? Should it be marked with an asterisk?

This is a rather long-winded way of saying I've been out on dates, just that one method of initiating dates has never worked for me.
jamesq: (Default)
I took down yesterday's emo post. I wrote it when I was emotionally exhausted and don't really want a permanent record of it, even if it was behind a few filters. LJ stats tells me only a few people accessed it. None of them relevant to the narrative.

I am currently depressed. Not as bad as it could be (I'm functional) but it's still frustrating because the sources never go away. Eventually this episode will pass, but there will be others. Why can't mental injuries simply heal and not bother you anymore the way physical injuries do. I don't get "relapses" of my busted shoulder every year. The bullying ended years ago but the trauma and the coping mechanisms that keep me broken-but-functional remain decades later.

A fairly detailed description of what I've recently put together about my emotional stimulus/response mechanisms... )

So when you say "You're not that fat", don't be surprised if I react like you said "your childhood bullying wasn't that bad". Or if your advice for when I complain about not having anyone to ask out is "Just join a computer dating service", don't be surprised if I find that advice as useful as "Just play a concerto or perform surgery".

Anyway, I'm not putting this out there to make anyone change their behavior (though understanding is always appreciated). It's more for me to be able to recognize it when it happens to me and try to react differently. The first step to not falling into a hole is to recognize that one is in your path.
jamesq: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] lihan161051 and TED

It's 20 minutes long, but well worth a look. tl;dr version: You need to allow yourself to be vulnerable to achieve happiness.

I had a big damn post partially written about this, but I find my thoughts are in too much of a jumble to make the post coherent no matter how much I hammer at the edges. So I'll just leave the Powerpoint version:
  • I fail at every item on her checklist for success.
  • While I believe intellectually that she's right, my every instinct screams not to do it.
  • That being said, I have no idea how to begin - even if I could stomp the demons into submission.
Until such a time as I achieve a spine, I'll stick with plan-A: Fix my physical shortcomings and trust that some success in that venue will translate to better romantic success and/or general confidence.

Keeping this from triggering an incident is taking a lot of mental effort. I'll be happy when Valentine's Day is past.
jamesq: (Default)
Another year has come and gone and I think, with hindsight, that it was a good one. Not a great year mind you, but certainly a serviceable one.

What would have made it better was achieving either of my two perennial goals. This didn't happen. However, I did succeed in not worrying about this quite so much. I caught a small amount of shit for this though because it's unacceptable in this culture to have anything but a full out, balls-to-the-walls, positive attitude.

Anyway, I'm over half-way through the Birthday-to-Valentine's-Suicide-Season without any depressive incidents (knock on wood), despite the fact that my physical, emotional and social shortcomings have not gone away.

So I'll continue to work at losing weight and hoping for a relationship to magically appear. Meanwhile I'll continue working on accepting that it's not going to happen. If acceptance means less depressive incidents, it will be well worth it. Doesn't mean I'm going to give up - the journey is the point after all, and what else am I doing with my time between now and death? Do more things to enjoy myself now, instead of waiting for a partner that will never come.

Weight-loss is the part I have control over anyway, and the benefits only go up with age. I've reached a point where my weight is starting to affect my health (I suspect I have obesity-induced high-blood pressure and sleep-apnea). I'm back on the Weight Watchers wagon, but it doesn't seem too onerous - I just have to get in the habit of eating my fruits and veggies.

January was spent preparing for the Estrella road-trip.

Februarywas the trip to Estrella and Las Vegas. The highlight of that was really the road-trip. It's always nice to find that there are people you can spend 60 hours in a car with and not want to throttle them. Plus the big SCA war and Vegas debauchery was fun.

March, April and May were fairly routine. I went to some plays, watched a few movies, hung out with friends. I made an entry that hit over 90 comments, which is a record from my LJ.

June was witness to one of the best and worst SCA events I ever attended - and it was the same event. Coronet was epic and underlined everything I like about the SCA. The Curia meeting that followed underlined everything I dislike about how the SCA operates. It was so bad it made me take a break from service for several months. I feel a little bad about that because I agreed to be on K and [livejournal.com profile] mommaquilter's retinue, but then proceeded to do absolutely SFA. I'm hoping to give them a hand at Estrella this year to make up for it. I still stand by my assertions about the SCA bureaucracy however.

Also in June was AT War, which is fun, but too short to go to unless you do what I do - combine it with a mundane trip to Vancouver!

July was my trip to the East Coast (Halifax and St. John's) for H&B's wedding. The company was good and I got to see lots of cools stuff I'd have had a hard time getting around to without the excuse of a wedding. I ran to the top of Signal Hill, which I feel deserves more recognition. If you've ever walked up Signal Hill, you'll know why. Next time, more days in Halifax and less in St. John's.

August started off with Quad War, which was fun. Later SCA stuff in the month showed that I was still irritated by it.

September involved a lot of introspection and cat shit - thankfully not simultaneously. Also learned what not to do to my brain chemistry.

October had a variety of small events: I ran a half-marathon in Victoria, had Thanksgiving dinner with my Vancouver peeps, Calgary got a new Mayor and [livejournal.com profile] othelianna had her once-a-year party.

November was my birthday trip to Las Vegas - it was so much fun I'm already planning my next trip out (probably a week or two after Victoria Day, in case anyone's interested).

December was mostly about the holidays.

Goals for the New Year:
  • Eat better and exercise more - test this by posting a better time in this year's RV½M.
  • Estrella War.
  • Go to Cancun for [livejournal.com profile] naughtynat07 and [livejournal.com profile] thekillerb69's wedding.
  • Attend [livejournal.com profile] conejita_diabla and [livejournal.com profile] thebrucie's wedding and be as helpful as possible seeing as how I'm in the wedding party.
  • A return trip to Las Vegas.
  • AT war and a summer visit to Vancouver.
  • Other SCA events to include: Anything in Montengarde or Bitter End, Quad War, Whipping Winds. Be generally helpful at them. Avoid Curia at all costs lest it spoil another six months of fun.
  • A half-marathon in Las Vegas?
jamesq: (Default)
Some emo-ish discussion of what the difference between hope, dream and fantasy is, and how they apply to me... )

Now it's possible I've completely misunderstood the point of this exercise. If so, here is what I currently hope for, with a bit of detail:
  • A romantic partner - A woman not too dissimilar to me in age, who is reasonably intelligent, funny and good looking and has some commonality with me.
  • I'd like to get to a point where I have more leisure time to enjoy life. This requires me removing a fair amount of debt so that I can reduce how much I work. Probably not going to happen in the next five years, but it could happen in ten.
  • I'd like to get to a healthy weight.
  • I'd like to get to a point in my life where my mental problems no longer overwhelm me.
jamesq: (Default)
Love does not come easily to me and it has never ended well... )
jamesq: (Default)
My relationship with my belly is dysfunctional. I've stuffed its face with wedding cake and I call it the-old-ball-and-chain. That's certainly evidence that I want out.

Caution: High levels of emo BS detected... )
jamesq: (Jabba)
Today feels like the beginning of a long hard journey. I've got a lot on my mind right now and the urge to just say "fuck it" is high. I won't do this though because quitting is an express train straight into depression. Here's the state of the James Nation:

Got back from a Rhuddglyn event that was a lot of fun. I won an archery tournament and flirted briefly with a cute girl whose name I can't remember. Gah! The food was awesome too. If 12th Night's meal is half as well received, I'll be a happy event steward.

The ride down was good because I got to just talk with [livejournal.com profile] thekillerb69, which I rarely get to do because we're usually in a group. Came back with [livejournal.com profile] minyata and [livejournal.com profile] falashad and got to play sing-along for most of the trip! I love traveling with singers!

Bought Rock Band Beatles and a pair of extra microphones. Now to get a bunch of people over to play through the game. I've already done this once over at [livejournal.com profile] thekillerb69 and [livejournal.com profile] naughtynat07's place, so for me this is all about the socializing and downloadable content.

Went back to Weight Watchers after two weeks of absence. I'm up about five pounds, which sucks big time. My weight is separating me from so much that I want, I really need to buckle down and lose it. It's so hard when the demons are always there to thwart me: "You know you're not going to really lose that weight right? So why not have a candy bar now - it's still better then the sex you're pretending you're going to get in two years time."

Love, sex, confidence, acceptance. Like air, they're not even worth commenting on if you're getting enough. Also like air, it becomes the center of your attention when you're not. I just hope I get some fraction of that if I ever succeed. The only thing that keeps me coming back is the certain knowledge that ignoring the problem isn't going to solve it.

I just lost $17K in a bad investment. Or rather, I lost it about a year ago and only became aware of that fact recently. My finances are still good - it all vanished from long term savings, so it doesn't materially affect me now. It might mean the difference between eating the regular and the premium cat food when I'm elderly though. Meh, it was expected, so I have no one to blame but myself.

There hasn't been any running for two weeks or so (since I got sick). I miss it so and intend to start again tomorrow (it would have been today but I neglected to set my alarm). At this point there is zero chance that I'll be prepared for the Royal Victoria 1/2 Marathon in October - I'll be at a point where I can run non-stop for 10 km and a half-marathon is a little over twice that. This won't stop me from attempting it mind you. My mule-like stubbornness won't let me take a break for anything short of a severe injury or swine flu. I'll look decidedly mule-like when I cross the finish line after running for 130+ minutes. Specifically, I'll look like a rented mule because I'll be beat.

I'm committed to running two events in the next five months. The first is the Baronial confidence polling, which is very important, so I don't want to fuck it up. The second is 12th Night, which is very important and has a large attendance, so I don't want to fuck it up. As 12th Night is also Montengarde's 30th anniversary, we want it to be really special. And already there's drama. Shoot me.

On top of all that, the house is looking worse and worse. I need to:
  1. Clean up the garage so I can start some projects.
  2. Clean out the laundry room so that it's not primarily a "get the junk out of sight by throwing it here" area.
  3. Fix the rotting closet or hire someone to do it for me. I feel like it's something I should be able to do myself, but I've never done anything like it before, so I'm anxious as hell about it.
  4. clean/vacuum my bedroom and the stairwell.
Finally, there's this little thing called work that keeps taking up a bunch of my time. I should focus on that during work hours instead of blogging here. Bye.
jamesq: (Default)
An Tir May Crown was this weekend and we (that is, Montengarde) put it on. We had 1153 540 guests (correction - someone on troll counted each person twice by mistake), made a spectacular profit. The weather, while noteworthy, wasn't bad in a way that clobbered the good time. That is to say, it was stupid windy. Cedric and Elizabeth won the Crown tournament. Everyone I spoke to raved about how good a time they had.

About 80% recap and 20% emo BS... )

I've glossed over a lot of the truly epic things that happened at this event. I'm proud and a little in awe of the amount of work my friends did in getting this event done. We were rewarded far beyond my wildest estimates. I'm so very happy for them all. Also I've saved a wee dram of happiness for myself - the demons made their appearance, but they didn't stick around long enough to ruin everything. Hopefully they'll be even less in evidence next time.
jamesq: (Default)
I've had two Robax and a Barley Wine, so be warned that I'm pretty fucked up.

A trait of my life is that I don't make friends easily. When I do make them though, those friendships tend to be rock solid. The latter part of this trait is something I'm very grateful for.

My friends seem to have a blind spot about this. They tend to forget the fact that sometimes the friendship took a long time to occur. I'm hearing all the time what a great guy I am (and not being in the middle of a depressive episode right now, I'm inclined to believe them).

The end result of this is that I have lots of female friends who are firmly in the just friends category. There's nothing wrong with that, but it does make me wonder what the hell is going on.

I started reading Blink today, it might have an explanation. I suspect my mate-less-ness is a direct result of sending out some kind of subconscious signal that there is something wrong with me. This signal is probably picked up by potential mates near instantly. And there's nothing I can do about it - it's connected to me on a fundamental level - even if I knew what the signal was, I probably can't do anything about it.

RAting someone for potential romance is one of those things that seems to be determined by the subconscious in a short amount of time. Evaluating someone for friendship takes longer. Thus I have two sets of largely separate traits. Ones that say "don't even think about having sex with this person" and ones that say "this is a true and loyal friend". This probably indicates that I'm stuck with the problem. That being the case, I should learn to live with it.

Of course, I'm pretty drunk right now. Does that mean I'm being irrational or does it mean that I'm allowing my subconscious to make correct deductions? As an INTP it offends me that our sub-conscious is such a powerful decision-making tool. However the evidence suggests that it's possible. I want to use the full force of my intellect and think that everyone else should too. Sadly attraction is not something in the control of the rational mind. Stupid brain.
jamesq: (Jabba)
Ok. Time to quit being depressed. Back on the wagon.

If nothing else, I should concentrate on the fact that I'm smart, and should therefore be better at coping with this shit. In fact, I just read that there's tangible benefits. I remember being much lighter. It coincided with being much happier and also with occasional positive attention from discerning ladies.

I want to get to that place again. But wishing won't make it so, only a lot of hard work.

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