I think I'm going to have to take a vow of silence regarding any issue involving my personal opinions. My fastest mechanism possible for alienating even the people I love and who love me in return seems to be voicing my viewpoint.

The above statement is characteristic of the reasons why the above statement is true. I am a writer. I am not an orator. When I put down prose, I have the time to edit it in successive iterations, refining and improving my language at every pass. The first draft of most of what I write is, by my own view, poorly written. Speech involving another human being is nothing but first drafts.

The best example of this I can give is, I think, the movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure. This movie is, in my honest opinion, an exceptionally artistic film. It shows us the world as seen by an eight-year-old, and it accomplishes
this exceptionally well. However, it uses the character of Pee-Wee Herman, as portrayed by Paul Reubens, to do this, and Pee-Wee Herman gives me the itch. I don't enjoy watching that character, and yet I can think of no other lead role that would have worked anywhere nearly as well, nor could I imagine anyone else in that role. In addition, my eight-year-old world was a painful and uncomfortable place. Thus, while I think the film is brilliant in its execution, it's one I actively do not enjoy watching and have no desire to ever see again.

All of the above sentiment came out as "That film sucked" when Jessie asked me what I thought of it after I watched it. I could barely sit through the movie, I felt I had been pressured into viewing it, I didn't enjoy being
brought back to my own childhood by proxy, and I had to fight down my own bile at that buzz-cutted, bow-tied buffoon's antics on the screen. My initial response was, I hope, understandably visceral, but my method of conveying what I felt came out horribly oversimplified and heavily misleading. The film does not, in fact, suck in my opinion, but the experience of watching it was such that when questioned on my current state of mind, I gave a purely emotional response.

This did not lead to a positive dialogue afterwards. In fact, it led to an argument which didn't resolve itself for days. In true-to-self fashion, when Jessie responded to my emotional expulsion with frustration and disbelief, I
took it as a sign of invalidation and became defensive, leading me to lash out at my mate, who in turn became cold and isolating. Seeing this, I shut down emotionally realizing I had hurt someone I loved, and only
was I able to say in clear terms how I truly felt about the film, at which point it became evident to all involved that there had been no conflict from the beginning, if only I could've said "this is why I didn't like it" instead of "this sucked."

Unfortunately, as I said above, I am a writer, not an orator. I almost never say what I want to say the first time I open my muzzle, and yet I'm expected consistently to be as good with my words in real-time as I am on the page, and when I fail to live up to the standards my written works have set for me, I confuse and upset those around me. I upset and confuse myself, as well, because often I won't have even been able to sort out what it is that I'm trying to say. I have only an emotion, and I don't understand it; I have no way of explaining it to other people yet, because I don't know what's caused it in myself.

This leads me to my next problem. Not only can I not easily explain what's wrong when I first have to do so, I'm very defensive of my emotions. I've had too often the sense of being told I'm in the wrong for how I think when
I try to voice my specific views on a subject. Much of this, I'm sure, can be blamed on my ex, but that doesn't mean I should do it. Still, there's a part of me that feels that if I break down my dislikes or likes into specifics,
someone will pick them apart or tear them down, but if I present only "I liked it" or "I didn't like it," there's nothing to attack.

All of this, I'm sure, could be forgiven if I didn't feel the need to vent my spleen when I'm upset, as part of the process of working out why I'm upset and getting over things. I bring most of my problems down on my own head, by trying to talk about what bothers me and failing miserably to convey any sort of coherent meaning, leading those around me to look at me in bewilderment because I'm not normally the sort to just go off half-cocked. I have a reason for almost everything I say, but often until I've worked through whatever it is
that's on my mind, I'm incapable of conveying it in a meaningful fashion. 

It's a challenge to myself, sometimes, figuring out what actually bothers me. Often I have to make several iterations through my own head, thinking that one thing is the problem and finding out through analysis that that's not really what it is, but that something is still bothering me. Usually, once I know why I'm upset, I stop being upset about it. It's either the worst case of self-delusion or the best case of self-understanding. Either way, the pain goes away.

In the meantime, though, I inflict my particular brand of insanity on those around me, who either have the option of trying to respond to my neurosis and risk upsetting me further, or trying somehow to ignore me while I spin madly like an out-of-control whirligig until I sputter to a halt. In the meantime, I say the craziest things in an attempt to figure out what my true feelings on an issue are, and may irk any number of people in the process. I'm prone to saying things that I don't truly believe but that at the moment I say them are less painful to accept as true than admitting a mistake. In general, I'm a royal bitch.

This apparently makes me no different from any other woman.

Since I never speak of this sort of thing in the abstract, obviously there must be something that prompted all of this. Of course, there is. One member of my surrogate family made a comment in her LiveJournal about the death of story in modern gaming, which led to a long and involved argument between my mate and I about whether this was a valid statement, whether it was a true statement, and whether it was an important statement. This branched out into what constituted a good game, and ultimately whether or not my view of gaming was meaningful in the scope of the industry as a whole. As I could care less about any "view of the group as a whole" except for how it impacts my own ability to function and enjoy myself, the conversation degenerated rapidly, leading to my state of upset.

I talked with Galen about this lately, but it's something that weighs heavily on my mind. I suffer from a pair of emotional needs that make engaging in any heavy discussion difficult. On the one hand, I actively fear being manipulated or used by those around me. On the other, I fear being isolated or alienated from my friends and family. This leads me at once to try to condemn what the majority of my friends do—even if it's something I want or enjoy—and to do my own thing—and to follow the herd—even if I don't like what they're doing—in turns. I want to be recognized and accepted as part of my social group, but I hate feeling like I'm doing things because the other members of my group are doing them.

This means that in conversation, adding to all of the above, I often try to stake out my position and stick by it, but it means that I feel the incessant need for my view to be validated by those whose opinions are meaningful to me,
even when they don't understand me or when I say things in my muddled way. When I don't get what I need, I get even more frustrated because I feel like I'm being ignored or treated poorly by the people I'm supposed to be able to trust, and that just accelerates the descent into madness.

Some days, it's a wonder that I have any friends at all any more. That makes the ones who are willing to put up with my insanity that much more precious.


I think I finally had the talk with Anji that I needed to have. That we both needed to have. This happened with my friend Mitchell, and I should've seen the signs. People change. It's a fact of life. People grow and mature and evolve throughout their lives, and when you're around people a lot, you see how they change, and you change with them, and you learn over time how to adjust how you deal with those people to accomodate those changes. When you're around someone for a long time, you develop a lot of subtle specialties that key you into how that person feels and thinks, and those too change over time, but you see how they change. Then, if suddenly you're not around that person for a long time, you both keep changing, but you do so in isolation from each other, and those cues change, but you don't see it happening and so when you meet back up with that person, you don't account for the differences and suddenly there's tears and anger and misunderstandings and hurt. We both finally admitted that had happened, and I think we're the better for it.

Mind you, it doesn't explain what to do next, but it tells us where we are and how we got here, and what we'd at least like to see happen from here.

One odd side effect of this talk, however, is that it's left me in this really weird mood, and listening to Bush's "Alien" hasn't helped at all. I feel suffused with this very powerful violence or passion suffused into a fierce protectiveness. It's this sense that I care for someone so much that I would kill to protect that person, without hesitation or regret. Mixed into it is a guilt and fear of this capacity within myself, like I don't quite know or
understand how it got into my head but that I know it won't ever go away. Perhaps I've heavily overanalyzing it, but it's one of the few emotions in my head that, for whatever reason, gets heavily associated with "male," despite the fact that there's no creature so ferocious as a dam bear whose cubs are threatened.

I was catching myself up on my youngest sister's livejournal, and I found where she had referenced me as "den mother," which only adds to the sensation. Is that what I'm feeling? Does it really matter? I know that I get this way from time to time; it's one of the few holdovers from my previous life that I think actively belongs in my head, but I still don't really know where it fits.

I think if I totally understood how I felt, I'd be criminally insane. I think if anyone else ever totally understood how I felt, I'd be forced to kill zim for my own salvation's sake.


Thanksgiving is supposed to be the holiday on which we give thanks—hence its name—to that which makes our lives better. In that sense, I can get a heck of a lot more into Thanksgiving than I can into Christmas, or most any
other holiday. I like the idea of celebrating people's birthdays, as a sign of respect, but that's not really large-scale holiday fodder. The only other days I could see celebrating would be Labor Day and Independence Day, but the former implies "relaxing" which means no working on party-type things, and the latter I can't really
dig, 'cause while I love the ideals upon which my nation were founded, I have a hard time appreciating the current incarnation of those visions. It's a damn sight better than most, to be sure, but I still think we could do a lot better. A grass-is-greener problem, maybe.

Right now, I have a lot for which to be thankful. ObTrannie, I'm thankful that the surgery is now well and truly behind me and that I can enjoy the results. I'm thankful to have such a loving and supporting mate who was willing to keep zir paws to zirself while I was still healing but who is now more than willing to put zir paws all over me. I'm thankful to still be employed after the economic meltdown. I'm thankful to still be in sufficient possession of my faculties as to not need to wear the Happy Coat more than once a week, so long as I take my pills like a good girl. I'm thankful to have family and friends with whom to spend the holidays. All in all, my life's pretty good
right now.

To be sure, there are a few dark clouds. I almost had to work last Friday, which would've sucked because it would've cut into my four-day weekend right down the middle. Fortunately, for some definition of fortunate, I had worked four hours a day over the weekend prior and managed to get everything that had to be done for today finished, so nobody complained when I said I would be back on Monday and not Friday. Most of upper management was out of the office as well, so nothing really happened on Friday anyway.

Thanksgiving itself went off remarkably well. A friend of mine from Virginia visited, and my sister Joanne made it all the way from Ohio for the four-day weekend. Tanya came down from Jersey, and Randy and her girlfriend put in an appearance on Thursday. Thanks to a slight communication goof, Tanya and I both bought turkeys, so we ended up with over thirty pounds of roast bird for the occasion, plus a ham, homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls and egg nog.

Here I must digress briefly and discuss egg nog. I have a great fondness for this concoction, and I have since my youth, but it is horribly unhealthy in its standard form, and with me being on a low-carb diet it's even worse for
me. However, having found a recipe online with which I can work, I did some tweaking and adjustments, and I devised an Atkins-compliant Egg Nog:

  • 1 qt heavy cream
  • 1 qt half-and-half
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 C Splenda
  • 1.25 C brandy
  • 0.5 t nutmeg
  • 0.5 t cinnamon
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine yolks with Splenda, whip until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Add brandy and half-and-half, whip until evenly mixed.
  3. In a blender, combine egg whites with cream, blend on high until well-aerated.
  4. Fold heavy cream mixture into half-and-half mixture, stir well
  5. Blend in spices

The total "bad carb" count is thirty-two grams for over two quarts of egg nog, which is a hell of a lot less than most traditional varieties. There's carbs in the brandy, to be sure, but sugar alcohol doesn't get converted into fat, or so goes the theory, so it's "safe". Next I'm going to replace the half-and-half with more heavy cream, but that may make the result too thick, if such a thing is possible.

Anyway, the gathering itself I think went very well. I make a very poor hostess, in my opinion: I love to have people over, but I have no idea how to keep that many people entertained. I can barely keep myself and my mate
occupied most evenings, unless we've gotten a new video game, so having eight people just magnified the problem. I think most nights passed in front of Metroid Prime or Super Smash Brothers Melee, much to my embarrassment. Still, nobody complained too heavily about anything, so I hope people weren't too bored and just not telling me.

All in all, I think Thanksgiving went well. This means I have a year to plan for how to do it better.

The other major issue on my mind right now is housing. I decided some time ago that I wanted out of the rent trap, and I'm now in an area of the country in which I could easily see myself settling, at least until retirement, and
so I've started the long and arduous task of finding a house. Of course, with the economy in this slump, interest rates are down, and so everyone else is also looking for a house, and most of them have their finances directly in
order to buy the instant they find something.

So far, I've had four houses sniped out from under me. By that, I mean I see some place that looks nice, tell the realtor with whom I've been working that I'd like to schedule a viewing, and then find out that it's not available in
the time that it takes her to get something scheduled. The fifth place at which I wanted to look turned out to be in such poor shape that it didn't have active power or other utilities, so right now I'm kind of bummed. I know I
have some strict requirements, like a second full bathroom, but there can't be that many people looking at the same thing, can there?

At least my down payment is growing nicely. I got my vacation pay from my old job, very unexpectedly, which added to the stocks I sold very nicely and made up about $2500. December is a three-check month, so I'll be able to add another $700 to that in two weeks, and then my 401K from my old job will cash itself out soon, which should be another good chunk of change. Hopefully by the time the bank tells me I can get prequalified, I'll have enough dosh to pass their tests.

After that, I just have to find a house.

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