Tag Archives: psychology

Succumb

Sheep

Sometimes it’s hard not to succumb to mainstream groupthink, even for me, but I try to remember I’ve always been a quiet rebel, from early on. I don’t look like a rebel, and I appear to fit in, but I don’t agree with many things the majority does. Still, I also don’t feel a need to make a big deal about it either. It’s easier these days with more people not following traditional paths. I’m lucky to be around now, in southern California, and not have pesky relatives bugging me. My friends tend to be a little quirky as well.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Succumb

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In Which I Force Myself to Pay Attention

Some days I get down in the grumps and wonder why X keeps happening. Depending on the day/month/year, X could be any number of things. Which is why we’re using X…

I remember once thinking that I was really unlucky with tires and got way more flats than other people. Maybe there was something weird about the way I drove, like I was a nail magnet or something? When I mentioned that to the tire guy, he said, oh, everyone thinks they’re unluckier than normal about their tires. That was pretty funny. I haven’t had a flat since (now I will since I wrote this).

There are days I think I’m in horrible pain all the time, like this morning (when I was in horrible pain from a migraine with stabby neck throbs and nausea), but that’s not true. It just seems true when I’m suffering… and then when I’m not, I forget to notice. Why? Because though I have chronic pain, it’s actually normal for me not to be in horrible pain ~ there’s a difference, and it’s important to acknowledge this. I need to notice the times I feel OK, like now, and remember them.

I’ve said I’m a magnet for certain types of people, but I’ve noticed others saying the same thing. You know the types we mean ~ the drama royals, the narcissists, the nutcases. If you’re not one of these, and even if you are, you’ve surely encountered them. After a few instances, we announce, “I must be a magnet for them!” Well, no. But our interactions with the “types” are so much more vivid than our interactions with ordinary folks that we focus our attention on the types. Hence we decide we’re a magnet. If I force myself to recall more interactions, it turns out that I’ve had many more with ordinary people than with the types. They just aren’t as memorable.

At the risk of sounding a little bit woo, I need to focus my attention more on things that bring me pleasure (writing, good health, organizing plans, etc.) and less on things that make me unhappy (flat tires, horrible pain, the “types,” etc.) It’s just common sense.

Next up: crystals and aromatherapy.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Magnet

Regarding Yelling

I’ve become very spoiled lately, living alone and leading such a quiet life, despite having a very vocal kitteh. The more time passes, the more I find I can’t tolerate any loudness. Perhaps it has something to do with the tinnitus (as discussed); or perhaps it’s just that I’m in the habit of indulging my own preferences only… and they run to the white noise varieties. During my childhood, my parents argued frequently and were in the habit of yelling at each other to the point where it seemed that violence was imminent (though it rarely ever came to that), and this was often scary for a little kid, though one does get used to things. However, one also gets used to the absence of such.

Nothing gets me in a bad mood faster than sustained bursts of noise. I find I’m unable to focus on anything else. Raised, angry voices literally make me cringe in fear, even if they have nothing to do with me. Saturday afternoon a group of young men appeared to be having an argument in the parking lot of my apartment complex, and I was scared to go out to my car. It was silly, but I began to worry they’d start physically fighting, even though there was no sign of this. I thought it could happen. They were nowhere near my car, but even so, I stayed inside for a while until they quieted down, and I was slightly late for my meeting ~ because I was afraid of nothing really.

Ironically, my meeting was in a public place, and it was loud there too, which eventually put me in a grumpy mood for a while until the crowd thinned out and the noise volume lowered. Geez, I’m such a crabby old lady now. Guess what? IDGAF about that. I like what I like… and more importantly, I dislike what I dislike.

Crabby-Single-Female

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Cringe

Stuck in the Meddle with You

I don’t like to meddle, or even give advice really. I don’t know anything! But most people lurve to give advice… omg how they will tell you what you should do if you give them half a chance. Even if you don’t ask, they’ll tell you. Even if you obviously have it way more together than they do, they won’t hesitate to explain how you could do better. That’s just the way people are, or at least the ones I’ve encountered. I guess that’s a topic for another poast ~ the kinds of people who gravitate toward me. Yes.

But we’re here today to discuss meddling, since that’s the WOTD.

I’ve tried so hard to stay out of other people’s stuffs and yet… and yet… I know so much about other people’s stuffs. How did this happen? Why do people confide in me so often? It’s one of the biggest ironies of my life. Probably because I don’t meddle or even judge really. Why would I judge anyone, since I’ve made so many mistakes? I just sit there and listen, wondering why I’m so trusted, which is probably why. Weird!

It’s hard not to feel like you’ve meddled, even when you’ve only listened and agreed with what the person wanted to do all along. My standard “advice” is just hey don’t do what I’ve done, which is silly really since I’m not that bad off, I suppose. Sort of. Depending on your definitions. Whatever!

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Meddle

On Being Wrong

I recently experienced a revelation: the relief of being wrong.

How so, you ask?

Sometimes it’s a burden to continually reestablish a position I’ve staked out. I like to believe I’m a unique snowflake (no, not *that* kind of snowflake) and come up with my very own unique ideas. Naturally I will have supporting arguments, however oddball. Since I present my case logically, I will get supporters; or perhaps peeps were already inclined to agree. In any case, as time passes, doubt creeps in… what if the majority had it right all along? Oh drat. Boring!

At that point, holding on to my position becomes stressful, since it becomes a game of cognitive dissonance. I’m telling myself I’m right because I’ve invested in the idea; yet my current data is coming in opposite to that, which I must ignore. Suddenly, boom! I decide not to ignore the new data and abandon the position instead.

What follows? Relief! A feeling of peacefulness.

Nope, it doesn’t matter what the idea was, though you are free to guess. You’ll probably be wrong however. 🙂

(This in no way concedes that all my weird ideas are wrong, just one. Or possibly two.)

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Revelation

4AM

I watch from my window
While your tail lights vanish in the rain.
The streets smearstain
Into a red and green fingerpainting,
Flickering with the traffic signals,
As fickle as your interest in me.
Blurred and tearstreaked,
The wet masterpiece
Stays illuminated
By a cold lemondrop moon.

I know I’ll never see you again.

All the frothy promises
And cottoncandy plans
Dissolve in the morning mist.
My lips still hum from your kiss,
But I feel your vague disappointment,
Your perpetual darkness
Guarded by barbedwire.

I wander outside to feed the ferals—
Two slinky shadows, silhouettes cut from coal;
Crunchy nuggets clink into the cats’ dish.
How I wish I could make a wish,
But there are no do-overs here.
I always fail with a complicated man;
I don’t respond well to the tortured genius soul
Who needs the perfect femme fatale,
A Marilyn to his Al.

I fail with the uncomplicated too.

You told me I was nothing like her,
The ex who depressed you—
I thought that was a good thing;
But now I imagine you search
For her likeness,
In hopes of recreating some sick
Woody Allen type lobster scene,
To find catharsis
And absolution.
And though I sneer and snark,
I want to play a part
In this execution.

I gaze up at that judgy stone face,
Unflinchingly—
In my disordered state:
Jammie pants, damp coat,
Tangled mass of bedhead.
“Is it something I said?”
Yes.
I ponder this relationship chess;
I might just be on the precipice
Of finally understanding
Something,
Anything,
A small piece of this
Jagged, glassy, bloody puzzle.

“Is it something I didn’t say?”
Also yes.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Precipice

Anatomy of an Apology

I wish I had pulled the wings
Off your poisoned apology
When it came fluttering in
So unexpectedly,
Soft as butter in a boiled sun.
But it was so lovely,
Spun in delicate glory,
With colorful backstory;
I held out my hands,
Everything forgiven.

Apologies from men
Have been rare as Monarchs,
And I breathed in that golden dust
From your I’m sorry like a drug,
More potent than the heady bliss
Of your up against the brick wall kiss.
As bruised clouds slid past
The last light of that languorous day,
I’m sorry, I’m sorry
You whispered in sticky magnificence,
Sucking me into a sugar net seduction
I should have shot down.

I wish I had heard how hollow
Your sham regrets rang,
How they held no tomorrow,
Instead of feeling hypnotized
By the Blue Morpho
Of your eyes.
But it had been so long…
And you’re a charismatic guy;
That apology trapped me tight
In the crystal jar of your lies.

But only once:
When the glass breaks,
It shatters.
No molten gold
Can hold
Your broken soul together.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Unexpected

Since You’ve Been Gone

Stephen King has a short story in Bazaar of Bad Dreams called “Ur,” which is centered around the notion of an experimental Kindle with an extra menu feature that gives access to alternative literary realities. Forex, say you type in a random number… in this world of words Shakespeare lives five more years and writes a couple more plays. You get to buy, download, and read these plays on the new Kindle. It’s addictive, as you might imagine, for you could spend day after day checking random numbers and writers to see if your favorites appear in parallel universes with new works to read.

But it’s also comforting to know that the authors we love will continue writing in their familiar styles in the alternate realities. If we search for Ray Carver, we don’t want to find vampire romances. We want what we expect. Most of us anyway. That’s why when I go to a vegan restaurant and order a lush looking dish of macaroni & cheese I’m invariably disappointed ~ it appears so beautiful and cheesy, but it never tastes as expected. I’m always better off with a salad where the veggies taste the way they’re supposed to.

*

I dream about my mother frequently. This month is nine years since she was diagnosed; next April nine years since she’s been gone. In my dreams, she just goes on as she ever was ~ present, helpful, sometimes annoying. Nothing super dramatic. In the last one, we were at a table with a bunch of other people (I don’t remember who) discussing an arts & crafts project. At one point, I turned to my mother and complained that my pantyhose kept getting runs in them the first time I wore them, sometimes right out of the package. She commiserated. I don’t remember if she had any advice, but it’s almost certain she would have. Because Mom.

This was a comforting dream. Mom was being Mom.

*

In the King story, the protag next discovers that the experimental Kindle feature also has alternative reality newspapers. Some of these are funny, especially King’s election ideas. And then our protag finds his local future newspaper. ~ doo doo doo doo ~

I am highly enjoying Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

Skimming the Surface

I like working. I like jumping into an all-consuming project where the hours just fly by and I forget about lunch, forget to check my phone for messages, and 5:30 comes before I even realize it. I’m not one of those Monday haters. In fact, work saved me, not just financially, but emotionally when I went through all my crises of the past 15 years. It’s been my rock. But I didn’t realize I missed working full-time until I began again. When I stayed home with the kids and la-la’d around, skimming the surface of the days, I thought I liked my life that way. But I prefer working, having a place to go every day, and a reason to get up and get ready in the mornings. Several years ago, when I was first divorced, I met a man online who lived far away. For whatever reason, he fell for me and offered the possibility of a future where I could be with him and no longer had to work. That held no appeal. It seemed a regression to a superficial life, where I sit at the table and see what’s on the surface, but am not allowed to look beneath… and who knows what lurks under there. Despite everything, I’m happy now. That may seem a surprise, since I complain a lot, but that’s what bloggery is for. I can’t very well go on and on about hey it’s a nice day and nothing went wrong, the sky’s blue, and I don’t have a headache. I’d lose my 12 fans!

This isn’t what I meant to write. I was thinking to say something about how I’ve been skimming the surface of a lot of books lately and not finishing them, which is why new ones aren’t appearing as fast on the sidebar there (unless I get halfway I don’t think it’s fair to say I read it/star it). I have no idea what happened, but I guess we’ll go with this. My 15 year workaversary is coming up at the end of the month, so it feels appropriate.

~*~

Via The Daily Prompt: Surface

Worlds Collide [Dating Story]

[Names and some other specifics changed to protect identities.]

Some time ago I met a man on a dating site. Let’s call him Walter. He was a teacher. We chatted on the phone, made a plan to meet at a local cafe, yada. I was pleasantly surprised to discover in person that he was a nice-looking guy who seemed smart, funny, etc. Then he looked out the window and said, “Hey, there’s my roommate!”

I saw an elderly lady walking slowly down the sidewalk. “Her?”

“Yeah, the old lady!” Walter laughed. “A couple years ago I answered her ad for a roomie because I didn’t have much money after my divorce. We hit it off and have been together ever since. This is our second apartment together.”

“Oo-kay.” The woman was probably around 80; Walter was my age, around 50. “Doesn’t that interfere with your social life?”

“Nah. We have our own rooms and bathrooms. Sometimes when I have a date we all watch TV together in the living room. It’s totally cool.”

Walter and I hung out for a while longer and I asked him why he broke up with his last girlfriend. “Skyler was a wealthy divorcee,” he told me. “Traveled a lot and played golf all day, but I had to work. Eventually she got really clingy and wanted me to move into her house.”

“But that seems ideal,” I said. “Or… didn’t you want to leave your roommate?”

He shrugged. “I like my life the way it is.”

Walter asked me out again, but his sitch with the roomie was just too weird and I declined. I didn’t understand what was going on there, plus Walter didn’t seem like he wanted any kind of serious relationship in the near future. I don’t like to date just to date. End of.

Around six months later I met a new man on a different dating site. Let’s call him Hank. I really liked this dude. We chatted, made plans, yada. In person, he was even better. Very smart, very funny. I had high hopes for this. We went to a nice sushi place for our first meeting, not a boring coffee date. It was all going really well, I thought. Then I asked him one of my standard questions: what happened with your last girlfriend.

“She was a wealthy divorcee,” Hank said. “Traveled a lot and played golf all day. That’s not really my lifestyle. We were together only a couple months.”

“That’s funny,” I said. “A guy I met a while back said the exact same thing. And she asked him to move in.”

“So did Skyler.”

“Oh, my God! It’s the same person!”

Hank stared at me. “The teacher who was living with the old lady?”

“She told you about him?”

“Yup. He was really weird.”

“Haha, I thought he was too. I only met him the once.” The conversation was so odd. Hank had dated, for a couple months, the woman that Walter had been with for a while. It was so bizarre that I’d picked both of them out of dating sites. Did they have a common quality that attracted Skyler and me, or was it all a logistical coincidence of ages and locations? I felt very awkward and uncomfortable for a few minutes, pondering this while keeping up normal chitchat.

But the rest of our date went fine, I thought. No problems. I had a good time. Hank seemed to as well. We hugged and said we’d stay in touch. And we did, a little. But he never asked me out again.

Time passed. Finally I emailed Hank and said hello bla bla and hey why hadn’t we gotten together again?

Hank said that was a good question and it deserved a thoughtful answer.

But I never received one. Or any answer at all.

The end.