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Breaking out of brain jail journal


jailbreaker.

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Had a fun time hanging out with a friend and some family today. Good food, good times.

 

Gratitude journal for today:T

Just a few TV shows I'm grateful for:

- Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah

- Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver

- Avatar: The Last Airbender

- Breaking Bad

- The Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

- Bill Nye The Science Guy

- A whole bunch of other shows that I can't think of right now because I'm tired

 

Alright, goooood night.

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Okay, well, today was fine. Spent some time with my stepfamily. Nothing to complain about, really.

 

Gratitude journal time, then!

 

3 pieces of music that I'm grateful for playing in band:

- "Into the Silent Land," by Steve Danyew. Had the solo clarinet part. I'm grateful for playing it because it taught me to truly appreciate the value in grieving together with my community. The piece is trying to communicate the pain and anguish caused by school shootings, and to remember the victims. The composer himself grew up in Sandy Hook, and attended the elementary school as a child. In my own home town, a shooting had occurred in the months prior to that concert, so my band director decided to try to honor and remember the victims by having us play this piece. We had a student from the choir recite the poem that goes along with it. It's hard for me to express how much grief I felt while playing my part. I still feel like crying when I think about what happened. I just hope I helped bring the community a little closer together by expressing our shared grief through my playing.

 

- "This Cruel Moon," by John Mackey. It's wind ensemble adaptation of a movement from his piece, "Wine-Dark Sea." It's based on Homer's "Odyssey." Another sad piece, it's about the maddening loneliness that Kalypso (an immortal nymph) feels after Odysseus (a mortal dude with a family back home) leaves her after 7 years of being together. Kalypso had been exiled to some remote island, completely alone, until Odysseus washed up on shore. After Odysseus leaves, she's basically doomed to be alone for the rest of her immortal existence. I still related to the story of love and loss itself, even if it was more extreme than my own experience.

 

At around the time of playing this piece, I had just broken up with my ex-girlfriend. I felt awful for having to break up with her, but I had to. I didn't have a family and a wife to get back to like Odysseus, but I did have to take back control of my life and put an end to an unhealthy relationship. After the breakup, I had to avoid her all the time, so that I wouldn't be tempted to try to get back together with her. It hurt, but it was necessary for me to focus on school and get into college. It was necessary for her, too, though, I feel. I was trying to do what was best for the both of us. She definitely deserved so much better than "extremely unstable and obsessive high school me." Also, I didn't wanna keep either of us stuck in a relationship that was doomed to fail anyway.

 

(Side note: The tradeoff I saw was: A lot of breakup-pain short-term, in order for us to both have happier lives long-term. She thought we could solve our problems and make it through together, since we loved each other enough. In reality, I loved her a lot, but I could tell she didn't actually love me as much (lots of red flags during the relationship, and during the breakup, as a matter of fact, but I don't need to get into that). Basically, she was just taking a gamble on me, based on her prediction of how stable I might help make our future be together. Good thing I called off the bet. We would have both crashed and burned when my mental health got as bad as it did. Thankfully, it was just me who crashed and burned. I can rest easy knowing I never dragged her down with me. But back to why I'm grateful for playing "This Cruel Moon" in band with her.)

 

Playing the piece somehow helped me cope, since both my ex and I had to play it together in band. We were the same section, and we sat a couple of seats away from each other, even after we broke up. It was tough, to put it lightly. But, both of us figured we shouldn't let our relationship issues get in the way of our commitments to band. We both had too much invested and too many friends in band to just quit.

 

I played the first clarinet part, which is supposed to represent Kalypso's lonely singing. A bit ironic, because I sort of felt like I was Odysseus in this metaphor, but I could feel for Kalypso, too. Anyway, I felt like I was indirectly expressing my pain from the loss of the relationship when I played that piece. I think it helped me deal with the pain in a creative way, without causing any drama past the breakup. Maybe it helped her, too, since after that, we were almost able to be friends again. Mostly, though, we just respectfully worked together like colleagues.

In the times where we had to work together, we were able to. We both pulled through the rest of high school without getting back together. I think that's in large part because of playing this piece together. So, I'm grateful for it.

 

- My first marching band piece. Can't remember the name of it, but it's not that important. The important part was the experience. "Freshman me" originally didn't wanna do marching band, because I felt too anxious; didn't believe in myself. The drum major at the time (the student who conducts the marching band) convinced me. One of my older brothers had also been the drum major at my high school, so his encouragement helped, too.

Doing my first marching band show, despite not thinking I could do it, proved that I could do more than I thought I could. It gave me the confidence I needed in those early years of high school. Made a lot of good friends in marching band. Had a lot of cool experiences that I wouldn't have had otherwise, too. Grateful I took those first steps and had the encouragement to do so.

 

Alrighty then. G'night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Good news! Finally finished Fire Emblem: Three Hopes. The ending was kinda anticlimactic, not gonna lie. Basically, I just defeated one of the main villains of the story, and then it ended right after the battle. Not even an epilogue or anything! And there was still another main villain out there, but they didn't mention anything about him at the end. Plus, there were plot holes regarding a bunch of the main characters. Ugh! At least I can rest easy knowing I finished the game.

Probably a good thing it ended so abruptly, too. Kinda shocked me out of that gaming trance. Like, "Oh! That's it? Huh. Okay, guess I'm done, then." Still, kinda wish my last videogame had a better ending. Eh, whatever. My 90-day gaming detox starts now! And I'll be reading the Respawn e-book as I do this, too.

 

As suggested in the e-book, I'm selling my Switch. This weekend, I'm selling it to my friend.

God, it hurts. Gotta do it, though. Gotta move on with my life. Can't just live in stagnation.

If I never get out of my comfort zone, I'll never be able to grow. 

Need to grow in order to live the life I've envisioned for myself.

Well, still figuring out what kind of life I want, but if I keep moving forward, it'll come to me. Hopefully.

 

Here, lemme try to write out what I've got envisioned so far:

 

Now that I'm quitting gaming for good, I'm going to:

- Implement better eating, sleeping, and other habits.

- Keep working on stabilizing and improving my mental and physical health.

- Maintain healthy relationships with my friends and family, and potential significant other.

- Get a job that furthers my short-term and long-term goals.

- Get back to school, at least part-time, so that I can contribute more in my career, everyday life, and anti-racist action.

- Pursue my interests and hobbies, instead of gaming all of my free time away.

- Find a solid work-life balance.

- Develop my ally, accomplice, and co-conspirator skills/knowledge via consistent anti-racist action and continual self-education.

- Take anti-racist action against the racist systems we have in place, and work within my local white communities to help enact the change that our BIPOC leaders are aiming for.

- Take action against all forms of inequity, not just systemic and institutionalized racism.

 

I owe a lot to the BIPOC and white folks who have educated me/opened my eyes, whether it was indirect (e.g. in an article, in a book, in a video/show/podcast, in a post, etc.) or direct (e.g. at an event/protest, in a class, in a workshop, just talking with me about it, etc.). I can't even begin to name and give direct credit to all of them. I'll thank them by applying what they've taught me, giving direct credit when I can, and continuing to educate myself bout how to act more consciously as a white ally and accomplice.

I'm currently in the ally phase. I was doing more accomplice stuff in high school when I was working alongside the Black Student Union (going to protests, giving speeches/giving my perspective when it was needed, helping with events and fundraisers, etc.). COVID and a lack of funding severely impacted how much we could do, but we did what we could. Along with this accomplice work, I was doing ally work, too (e.g. donating, signing petitions, self-educating, having tough conversations with other white people, etc.). After high school, though, I regressed back into just allyship work, and little to no accomplice work. Now I'm trying to get more active and involved again. I aim to work as a full-on co-conspirator soon, with my local SURJ chapter and maybe other organizations.

 

Alright, let's get this show on the road, then! Time to live my life the way I want.

 

But first, I sleep. Good night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Maybe a career in politics? The dems need you! 

Also, you should check out Current Affairs if you haven't already. I feel like you would enjoy reading their articles. Type any topic up in their search bar and they'll probably have written an article about it. They also have an article archive that you can browse. 

Edited by LordFederickRamsay
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Thanks for pointing me to Current Affairs, @LordFederickRamsay. I do like to indulge in some confirmation bias every now and then.

 

3 good things that happened today:

- played D&D with my oldest sibling and some of their friends. It was a Spelljammer one-off where I played as a chaotic space clown, alongside my party of two plasmoids and an autognome. Had a goofy, zany, fun time.

- signed up for some one-day summer classes through my local community college. Glad I got that sorted out.

- finally decided on where I wanna apply for a job. Gonna work on reshaping my resume and stuff soon, in preparation.

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14 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

Thanks for pointing me to Current Affairs, @LordFederickRamsay. I do like to indulge in some confirmation bias every now and then.

 

3 good things that happened today:

- played D&D with my oldest sibling and some of their friends. It was a Spelljammer one-off where I played as a chaotic space clown, alongside my party of two plasmoids and an autognome. Had a goofy, zany, fun time.

- signed up for some one-day summer classes through my local community college. Glad I got that sorted out.

- finally decided on where I wanna apply for a job. Gonna work on reshaping my resume and stuff soon, in preparation.

Nice work. 

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Day 3 of 90-day gaming detox:

 

3 good things that happened today:

- fixed up my resume and applied for a job nearby! Have to re-format the resume to the company's preferred one, but that's no problem.

It's a food service job at a local theme park. Already worked at my college's dining hall, so this should be nothing too difficult. Also, I'd be getting discounted food and merch! And it's a theme park!! Hope I get the job. Just gotta set up my online account for the company, and do the interview.

 

- rested a lot. Slept through most of the day, but I really needed it. Don't know why, exactly. I was just exhausted when the sun was out today.

 

- filled out my FAFSA and submitted it. Gotta add another school once the application's processed; no big deal.

 

Gooood night.

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Do you think you'd be working with people around your age at the food service job? Could be fun! Good luck with the interview. In my experience, practicing works best. Do role-play with someone (your mum maybe?) That's who I do mine with. Or my brother. And after a few goes with a few breaks in between, you'll be feeling pretty confident I think.

 

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On 5/8/2023 at 12:03 AM, jailbreaker. said:

Playing the piece somehow helped me cope, since both my ex and I had to play it together in band. We were the same section, and we sat a couple of seats away from each other, even after we broke up. It was tough, to put it lightly. But, both of us figured we shouldn't let our relationship issues get in the way of our commitments to band. We both had too much invested and too many friends in band to just quit.

 

I played the first clarinet part, which is supposed to represent Kalypso's lonely singing. A bit ironic, because I sort of felt like I was Odysseus in this metaphor, but I could feel for Kalypso, too. Anyway, I felt like I was indirectly expressing my pain from the loss of the relationship when I played that piece. I think it helped me deal with the pain in a creative way, without causing any drama past the breakup. Maybe it helped her, too, since after that, we were almost able to be friends again. Mostly, though, we just respectfully worked together like colleagues.

This. Is. Incredibly. Beautiful. 

 

I once knew how to play the clarinet in a very elementary fashion. I got melodramatic and threw it into the river so nobody could force me to play it again. hahahaaaa omg. I can actually laugh at that now. Anyway…my mom replaced it to make sure I understood who was really in control. I fought back by not really even trying. Makes me sad now…but! I do still have it and can relearn. The sound of the clarinet is absolutely my favorite instrument.

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@LordFederickRamsay, I'm hoping I'll get to work with people my age! That's one of the main reasons I wanted to work at the theme park, actually. Can potentially meet some new people and make some new friends. Ha, y'know, that's not a bad idea, the role-playing thing. I'll try it.

Oddly enough, my anxiety is considerably less whenever I have to work in a group setting? On the other hand, just hanging out is hard for me. Maybe it's because, when I'm more focused on the task at hand, my anxiety just kinda fades into the background? Not sure. Can you relate to that?

 

@ZoeI'm literally crying imagining you throwing your clarinet into a river 🤣 Yeah, I'll admit, clarinet sucked until like high school, when I actually started getting good at it. Felt like tossing it into a river a few times along the way, too, though. But, somehow got through it, probably just because my band friends (and fellow Squidwards) were struggling alongside me. And, competing with myself to have the best tone, intonation, articulations... that was another motivator. (Pure O moment fr)

I feel that love for the clarinet sound, though. I like to imagine a good clarinet sound as chocolatey and sweet, yet dark, hollow, yet full, yet somewhat lonely. I love the complexity of it, and the flexibility of it.

My favorite piece is this really bipolar-sounding one: Poulenc's Clarinet Sonata. I'd recommend listening to the Robert Frost recording of it. He's got amazing tone. Do you have a favorite song with clarinet in it?

Also, wow, I'm glad I met another clarinet person here. Feels like ages since I've talked to another band person. Nostalgia hours!

 

Thanks for the thoughtful replies, btw! I'll try to reply to you when I can!

 

3 positive things that happened today:

- Reformatted my resume

- Had some delicious grub for dinner (red curry)

- Jammed out on my guitar. Had my earbuds hooked up to my mini amp, so I could rock out without bothering anyone.

I don't really know how to play, aside from tabs, some scales, a little interval stuff, and a few chords, so I wanna get lessons. If I can afford them, that is. I don't really feel like doing the Youtube route because 1) I can't focus that way, and 2) Given my previous experience with clarinet lessons, it's so much better to have a live instructor to help me out. Plus, since I prefer to finger-pick, I'd need some serious guidance with that.

 

Gonna go read and reply to y'all's posts now!

Edited by jailbreaker.
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16 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

My favorite piece is this really bipolar-sounding one: Poulenc's Clarinet Sonata. I'd recommend listening to the Robert Frost recording of it. He's got amazing tone. Do you have a favorite song with clarinet in it?

Listened to the Frost version. Beautiful!

I do have a favorite piece. The Pink Panther Anthem. Laugh all you want.

16 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

feel that love for the clarinet sound, though. I like to imagine a good clarinet sound as chocolatey and sweet, yet dark, hollow, yet full, yet somewhat lonely. I love the complexity of it, and the flexibility of it.

Such a good description….beautiful melancholy.

 

 

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Oh sweet! Glad you liked it, @Zoe. Also, Pink Panther theme's a jam! Yes, I'm laughing as I write this, but it's a classic😂 It's jazzin'.

 

Speaking of jazz, I did jazz band in high school. That brings back some good memories.

Oof, too tired to think back that far, though. Just need a good nap before I sell my Switch later today.

 

Not feeling too much attachment to it, thankfully. I have a feeling I'll have cravings after it's gone, but I can handle it. Got plenty of other things to do now. Job, hangin' out with friends, social justice work, school, hobbies, working out, sleeping and eating normally... Gettin' it together finally. Just gotta follow my plan and it'll all turn out okay.

 

Glad I'm on my way along with all of y'all out there. K takin' a nap now.

 

update: gotta do Monday for selling the Switch instead. My friend's too busy this weekend. Jeez.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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On 5/12/2023 at 4:44 AM, jailbreaker. said:

@LordFederickRamsay, I'm hoping I'll get to work with people my age! That's one of the main reasons I wanted to work at the theme park, actually. Can potentially meet some new people and make some new friends. Ha, y'know, that's not a bad idea, the role-playing thing. I'll try it.

Oddly enough, my anxiety is considerably less whenever I have to work in a group setting? On the other hand, just hanging out is hard for me. Maybe it's because, when I'm more focused on the task at hand, my anxiety just kinda fades into the background? Not sure. Can you relate to that?

100%. I don't really like the pressure that comes with socialising 1 on 1 or even in a group setting. In other words, socialising and working at the same time is great. I do want to get better at the former though. I want to enjoy it more, I mean. 

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On 5/13/2023 at 6:30 PM, jailbreaker. said:

Not feeling too much attachment to it, thankfully. I have a feeling I'll have cravings after it's gone, but I can handle it. Got plenty of other things to do now. Job, hangin' out with friends, social justice work, school, hobbies, working out, sleeping and eating normally... Gettin' it together finally. Just gotta follow my plan and it'll all turn out okay.

@jailbreaker.Good job.  good job.  Keep on being a Social Justice Warrior.  🙂

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8 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

3 good things that happened today:

- Finally sold the Switch!

- Got the job at the theme park!

- Got inspired by @Zoe to play my clarinet more!

 

Congrats! I STILL haven't sold my gaming setup. So you're further ahead than me! Hopefully I can join you soon. Such an achievement imo. All sounds great man. Link some cool Clarinet tunes. I want to be swayed. 

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12 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

3 good things that happened today:

- Finally sold the Switch!

- Got the job at the theme park!

- Got inspired by @Zoe to play my clarinet more!

 

Yay to all of this!

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Gratefulness journal for today:

- I learned that I'll be getting discounted food, free parking, and free rides, etc.!

- I let my friends know that I can give them free access to rides and other stuff too as a part of my job perks. (They're super stoked.)

- Got my uniform, and it's comfy.

- Feeling free to spend time on the important things in my life now.

 

One of those things I find important:

I'll be DM'ing a D&D game with some of my friends, and I'm trying to incorporate some knowledge about my heritage in there. Researching folklore, mainly, 'cause it's fiction, but I'm also trying to learn about the history and geography so I can incorporate that into the setting. It's engrossing! In a good way! Gives me a good kind of obsessive interest in learning stuff, specifically about my identity. Thinking of using a backdrop of the Radiant Citadel so that the characters can visit all sorts of places inspired by where my ancestors are from.

 

I realized this is what I wanna do for this campaign when I was reading through all the multi-cultural aspects of the Radiant Citadel adventures. All of the adventures were written by BIPOC authors, and are pretty darn cool. As a white person, though, I don't wanna appropriate the authors' cultures in my campaign. So, I decided I'll just research my own ancestors' cultures and build something from that, using the Radiant Citadel adventures as guidelines for how it should turn out.

 

I really wanna tackle the idea of "whiteness" and assimilation in this campaign, too. The majority of my friends in this D&D group are white, and I feel a need to connect with them on a level that's deeper than some previous DM's have for me. My oldest sibling is really good at that. They always personalize the setting, including knowledge about our heritage, and it feels more alive, authentic, and real that way. Plus, as a DM it eliminates any guesswork or time wasted trying to conform to whatever someone else made. Makes it easier to improvise something memorable and "based," I guess, too. May take a little more effort on my part, but I like putting effort into learning about my ancestors. I like comparing and contrasting myself to the various descriptions and seeing where I fit in.

 

"White"... I feel like the word lacks some deeper meaning. It just feels very superficial, y'know? It's a shame that it's used to define and "whitewash" such a diverse world. Every white person has their own unique ancestry, tracing back to tons of different places and cultures. That reminds me...

 

When I went to a social justice workshop in 2020, I learned about this great Marcus Garvey quote:

 

"A people without knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots."

 

When I think about a tree without roots, I imagine it losing all its leaves, falling apart, toppling over. Reminds me of what depression is like. I wonder if one of the main reasons so many people are depressed today is because they aren't connected with their culture; their past; their people. Even just some knowledge of my own ancestors' past feels like a support system in itself. I may sound strange when I say this, but I can feel them in my DNA, in my bones.

 

That feeling grows stronger with every new bit of information, every story I learn about them. I can see my face in their faces; my hands in their hands; my eyes in their eyes. It just fills me with a powerful sense of pride. I am alive because all of my ancestors and their communities supported each other and survived through all sorts of adversity. Wow.

 

And we're all made of star-stuff, as Carl Sagan would say.

"The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff."

Here's another one I like from Sagan:

"The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself."

 

Doesn't that make you feel so... awesome? Powerful? Like you've got the power of the Sun and the Earth, and all your ancestors flowing through you? It's just waiting there for you to tap into it...

 

Ha, really makes me feel like a goof for having spent so much time playing video games in the past. I just didn't know, I... no, I knew all that. I just didn't wanna escape from that comfortable little mind prison that I was stuck in. I had forgotten what it was like to have purpose and meaning outside of videogames. Phew, feels good to be outta there, finally.

 

Lookin' up at the stars, just feeling their distant relationship. Like in The Lion King. It's like each star is a little ball of light floating in the sky, representing all those who came before us; drifted up to the heavens when they died or whatever. We all saw the same moon, the same night sky.

Well, mostly. The moon phases appear at different angles from different latitudes (north and south). Also, different stars are visible depending on which hemisphere you're in AND which season it is. Plus, auroras only occur really close to the north and south poles. And, people who lived before the industrial revolution didn't have as much light pollution as we do now. But still!

Alright, enough of my yammering about astronomy and spirituality and whatever else I was going on about.

Good luck on your adventures through the cosmos, my fellow humans. Goin' to bed now.

Gooood night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Quick gratefulness journal and then goin' to sleep:

 

Three moments I'm grateful for having today:

- Meeting my awesome new co-workers at orientation! There were people from Russia and Jamaica and all over the place! And everyone was super chill, too!

- Talkin' with my mom, joking around with her. She and I are two lil' peas in a pod. We reference tons of movies at each other, do crazy impersonations of actors, and always know what the other's thinking. Much love, mom. I'd literally not even be alive without her. Like, she gave birth to me. What a zany world we live in, where our first moments on Earth are all slimy and gross, after having been eating from a weird biological tube for 9-ish months, in a portable mammalian adaptation of an egg, inside of another human. Ha, reminds me of Midnight Gospel. Wild show on Netflix. Very trippy. Anyway, on to the next one so I can sleep.

- Reading through @LordFederickRamsay (George's) and @DanielG's journals tonight. It's nice to know I'm not alone out here in recovery-land. I'll check in with @Zoe's and some other people's journals tomorrow, after I get some rest. Glad Zoe appreciated the clarinet advice, by the way! You've definitely come a long way since wanting to throw it into a river! XD Oh! here's a quick clarinet tune recommendation: "I Got Rhythm" by Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra. Real happy, fast-paced, goofy/fun song. Puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it. Ooh! and since you liked the Pink Panther theme, you'll definitely like "All The Cats Join In" by Benny Goodman!

 

Alright, good night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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5 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

Meeting my awesome new co-workers at orientation! There were people from Russia and Jamaica and all over the place! And everyone was super chill, too!

I love reading your journals. Hearing such joy in writing is infectious. Is that the right word. infectious? Also woohoo for diversity!

 

5 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

What a zany world we live in, where our first moments on Earth are all slimy and gross, after having been eating from a weird biological tube for 9-ish months, in a portable mammalian adaptation of an egg, inside of another human

As Im about to eat my egg sandwich lol….But yeah, the actual process of life being created is really, really amazing. When I think of it this way it makes me not want to waste it. It’s quite precious. 

 

5 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

into a river! XD Oh! here's a quick clarinet tune recommendation: "I Got Rhythm" by Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra. Real happy, fast-paced, goofy/fun song. Puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it. Ooh! and since you liked the Pink Panther theme, you'll definitely like "All The Cats Join In" by Benny Goodman

Lol! gonna check them out right now while I journal. Thanks!

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On 5/16/2023 at 11:03 PM, jailbreaker. said:

Even just some knowledge of my own ancestors' past feels like a support system in itself. I may sound strange when I say this, but I can feel them in my DNA, in my bones.

 

That feeling grows stronger with every new bit of information, every story I learn about them. I can see my face in their faces; my hands in their hands; my eyes in their eyes. It just fills me with a powerful sense of pride. I am alive because all of my ancestors and their communities supported each other and survived through all sorts of adversity. Wow.

 

When I woke up this morning, I thought about this for a bit. I realized I didn't consider the possibility that some of my ancestors may have done some terrible things. I have some ancestors from the South, dating back to the early 1800's, and you know what that means.... Some of my ancestors may have been enslaving people. Maybe not, though. I'll have to look into that more.

 

What I do know is that they were Irish and German immigrants. Irish on one side of the family (my mom's mom), German on the other side (my dad's mom). I wonder... What if they did enslave people? Oh, no.

What am I supposed to do about that, if it's true? Ugh, I feel so awful just thinking that could be the case.

 

I guess that just makes my own anti-racist work even more personal. I should feel bad about what they did. I just can't let that shame and guilt get the better of me. If I only focus on those feelings, I start to slip into a depression state again. I've gotta balance it with pride in all the good things I've done in my lifetime, and continue to do. Right? I feel uncertain for some reason.

 

I'm prone to feel overly ashamed and guilty about things. That's one of my biggest issues. It's the main reason why I have trouble maintaining relationships with my friends. I felt so comfortable playing the "good guy" all the time in videogames, where I'm always on the moral high ground. Real life is more complicated than that, though, so I feel lost in real situations. Just like how I get lost without GPS, I get lost without clear directions on how to "do the right thing." (Part of the reason why Buddhism's teachings have been so helpful for me.)

 

Hm... "Do the right thing." I've treated plenty of people in my life poorly, friends and family and ex-girlfriends alike. I've always apologized afterward (except to my dad, sometimes), and we've almost always made up, but still.

Shame and guilt hang over my head like storm clouds every day. They sneak up on me, usually right after a bipolar "high." I have less control over myself in a "high" state, and I think less before acting. That's why when I finally return to "normal," and start reflecting on what just happened throughout the day, I instantly feel regret, shame, etc. The negative stuff just sticks out in my memory over the positive parts of the day.

 

For instance, I forgot to clock out of orientation yesterday, in all the excitement. It's a little thing, but I still feel stupid for not doing it. Ha, it's kinda funny, though, now that I think of it. I reminded a new colleague of mine to clock out, but I forgot to clock out myself.

Another goofy thing I did at orientation was tell that same colleague that I have an awful sense of direction... When I told the story about how I got lost going in a straight line... the orientation leader was only a few feet away from us! Smh... When I'm in a bipolar "high" state like that, I'll do anything for a laugh, even if I look stupid afterwards. Makes me fun to be around, but a complete idiot, and unreliable sometimes. Clownin' for real🤡

 

Jeez, I could tell you a million face-palm moments that I remember. They just stick to my memory like little pokey things stick to clothes, and get in my shoes somehow. I'll be walking along, everything's fine, and then, "Ow!" I get poked by the shame. Since I (probably) have "Pure O," or some other OCD, that little pokey moment feels more intense, painful, and lasts longer. It sucks.

 

Like with how climate change/pollution is making natural disasters worse and worse. Droughts last longer, floods happen more often, hurricanes are larger, wildfires destroy more and more woods and towns, etc. 

 

That analogy actually works pretty well for describing how my mental illness has developed over my lifetime. Just got worse and worse until it reached a breaking point in college. Droughts, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires in my brain. They give me headaches, all the intrusive thoughts swirling around in there.

 

The overabundance of intrusive thoughts and shame is a reaction, an effect, caused by some specific conditions, just like climate change. Unlike climate change, though, think it's a defense mechanism. Whenever I ask myself why I'm thinking about all of my regrets, and why I feel ashamed, the answer is always, "So that I can prevent this from happening in the future, hopefully. My brain is showing myself these memories and feelings so I can learn from them." In other words, my brain just wants to protect me from doing more stupid stuff. It's nice to have my brain subconsciously watching out for me, but it overwhelms me; smothers me most of the time; very anxiously tries to force the lesson onto me when I'm not ready.

 

I can only really gain the clarity needed to escape from the overwhelm/anxiety after the majority of the "storm" has passed, too. Usually I gotta take a lot of deep breaths, talk to someone (and make some jokes), or listen to music to calm myself down. My new anxiety meds have helped in a pinch, but they can only help so much. What experiences in my life caused this defense mechanism, though?

 

Well, the shame-defense-mechanism, I think, comes from fear. I've always been afraid that I would end up being manipulative and mean like my dad, or reckless like my sibling (they/them) and brother who also have bipolar, or have a substance addiction like some of my cousins (heroine) and my mom (alcohol).

I feel like the main goal of my entire life up to this point has just been to not pick up their worst traits. As the youngest sibling, hearing my dad yelling at my older siblings, the constant arguments, the annoying cycle of "Sibling A did this mainly because they're mentally ill, and now Dad, in denial of their mental illness, treats them like shit..." I just put my earbuds in and escaped to videogame land, most of the time.

I guess my Dad taught me to focus on what not to do? And that's why I feel so much shame all the time: I focus so much on what not to do, I lose sight of what I can be doing instead.

Sheesh. Got a bad case of the "shouldn'ts." Shouldn't do this, I shouldn't do that. I try my best not to let it rub off on other people. Sigh. There it is, right there: "I try my best not to..."

What am I really trying to do instead? Make others more comfortable? Preserve my own sense of self? How can I even...? I've hit a mental roadblock.

Honestly, I have no idea how I've made it this far. Maybe the perfectionism caused by my "shouldn'ts" got me through most of school, but it's so unhealthy. Ugh.

 

Okay, I need to go eat. That's plenty of ranting for one day XD.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Gratefulness journal for today:

- I've reached Day 11 of no videogames! Now that I think of it, that's not a big milestone at all. But, it feels good to know it, at least.

- Had a game night with my friends tonight. Didn't play D&D, because I'm not ready to DM yet, but we did do some improv games and skribl.io. (It's like online Pictionary.)

I pulled the improv games from a book called Truth in Comedy. My oldest sibling gave that to me for my birthday a couple of years ago. They're really good at improv, and they said that book helped them learn the basics. They knew I wanted to DM eventually, so they thought it'd help a bit. It has helped!

One of the games we played was a game I sort of made up using a concept in the book, which I call "Object Subject." It's a roleplay game, where:

1. One person describes any object they want, in great detail.

2. Then, they set the scene in which the object is located.

3. Then, that person can either roleplay as the object, or they can describe what happens around the object, as the other players interact with it. It's like D&D lite!

 

I chose the object, which was a bowl of minestrone. I described the ceramic bowl and the contents of the soup. Then I said it was sitting at the bar. (I'll be paraphrasing what happened after that, so I don't make this entry too long.)

 

Man, my friends got so creative with it XD One of them was like, "Ey, can I buy ya a drink?" to the minestrone, and I said, "The minestrone bubbles affirmatively." 

Eventually the bartender came by with the drink, and another one of my friends asked "if the soup was even old enough to drink." I responded by saying, "An ID card (with a picture of the bowl of minestrone on it) floats up to the surface of the soup, saying that it's 22 years old."

After that, they were like, "Ew, doesn't that mean you're moldy? How many times have you been reheated?" The minestrone bubbled in an offended way, and arranged some penne pasta in the shape of the number "8." It was very moldy.

The bartender tried to defend the minestrone, saying it was his best customer, and they shouldn't be insulting it. "Ey, are ya tryna drive away my best customer? Come on, give the minestrone a break! Ey, minestrone, if these guys are botherin' ya, I can always move ya to another seat. Or I could kick these fools outta here."

The minestrone didn't have time to respond before my friends were like, "Can we microwave you? I mean, look at you, you're all moldy."

The bartender, fed up with them, said, "Ey, didn't ya read the sign? 'No microwaving the other customers!'"

My friends went ahead and did it anyway, and the bartender (I) just let 'em do it, cuz I wanted to see what'd happen. One of my friends put the minestrone in the microwave for three minutes, stirring it every 60 seconds. When I asked, "What are you stirring it with?" He said with his finger.

 

The minestrone died in the microwave, making weird scream-like sounds. It was immobile after that. And the bartender was like, "Ey, I warned ya, but ya still did it anyway. Now look what ya did. Sheesh. My best customer." And then he just shook his head and went back to cleaning the counter.

 

What a weird game. It was really fun, though, just because of the sheer absurdity of it. I hope we have just as much fun when I'm DM-ing our actual campaign.

Definitely gonna reference that little skit in there somewhere. Like, their characters could happen upon a whole memorial service in honor of the bowl of minestrone.

There'd be candles and flowers and photos of the minestrone at the bar XD. The bartender would be giving a eulogy with tears in his eyes. "That bowl of minestrone was my best customer. And I failed to protect it. I... May it rest in peace."

Then he switches gears entirely, as if he wasn't just crying a second ago.

"Alright, now who wants a drink! Open until 2 AM tonight, 25% off everything in remembrance of the bowl of minestrone!" Then, if the players want, they could go to the minestrone's burial, or go to the bar, or whatever they wanna do! Ah, I hope I get to do that.

 

Wow, ended up writing way more than I thought I would. Time flies when I'm remembering something fun. Alright, I got work tomorrow, so I should hit the hay. Goooood night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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4 hours ago, jailbreaker. said:

Gratefulness journal for today:

- I've reached Day 11 of no videogames! Now that I think of it, that's not a big milestone at all. But, it feels good to know it, at least.

- Had a game night with my friends tonight. Didn't play D&D, because I'm not ready to DM yet, but we did do some improv games and skribl.io. (It's like online Pictionary.)

I pulled the improv games from a book called Truth in Comedy. My oldest sibling gave that to me for my birthday a couple of years ago. They're really good at improv, and they said that book helped them learn the basics. They knew I wanted to DM eventually, so they thought it'd help a bit. It has helped!

One of the games we played was a game I sort of made up using a concept in the book, which I call "Object Subject." It's a roleplay game, where:

1. One person describes any object they want, in great detail.

2. Then, they set the scene in which the object is located.

3. Then, that person can either roleplay as the object, or they can describe what happens around the object, as the other players interact with it. It's like D&D lite!

 

I chose the object, which was a bowl of minestrone. I described the ceramic bowl and the contents of the soup. Then I said it was sitting at the bar. (I'll be paraphrasing what happened after that, so I don't make this entry too long.)

 

Man, my friends got so creative with it XD One of them was like, "Ey, can I buy ya a drink?" to the minestrone, and I said, "The minestrone bubbles affirmatively." 

Eventually the bartender came by with the drink, and another one of my friends asked "if the soup was even old enough to drink." I responded by saying, "An ID card (with a picture of the bowl of minestrone on it) floats up to the surface of the soup, saying that it's 22 years old."

After that, they were like, "Ew, doesn't that mean you're moldy? How many times have you been reheated?" The minestrone bubbled in an offended way, and arranged some penne pasta in the shape of the number "8." It was very moldy.

The bartender tried to defend the minestrone, saying it was his best customer, and they shouldn't be insulting it. "Ey, are ya tryna drive away my best customer? Come on, give the minestrone a break! Ey, minestrone, if these guys are botherin' ya, I can always move ya to another seat. Or I could kick these fools outta here."

This was making me lol

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Today, I'm grateful for:

- My first day on the job, actually working, and I had a good time. I mainly did dishes and cleaning, since they haven't fully trained me for my position yet. I'll be doing food prep in the "deli," which is just a big kitchen.

- My colleagues are chill! It was a bit awkward introducing myself to some people, but with others I got along great, I think. One of my supervisors and I talked about how he studied Japanese history, and plays Smash Bros with his girlfriend. He mains Samus, and has Elite Smash ranking for that character. And I was like, alright, well I got Elite Smash Mega Man, so ha. I did also let him know that I stopped playing videogames altogether, though, since I was just playing way too much. He was very understanding about it. Had a good time talkin' with him about other topics, too. Just a cool dude in general.

Oh, I even got one girl's Instagram! Just as friends, not romantically. I was initially trying to be romantic (we were obviously connecting on that level), until she told me she was actually 17. I was super surprised! I was like "Whaaat? You look like you're my age!" We both kinda felt bummed out about it, but as a "mature" 20-year-old dude, I was eventually just like, "Hey, no problem, I'm cool with just being friends!" She agreed with that, and now we're buds! We work in totally different departments, but maybe we'll run into each other every now and then, have a fun little chat or something.

Guess it's back to square one on the dating scene, though. Well, plenty of fish in the sea, right? Someone my age, hopefully? Jeez.

Let's put that on the backburner for now, though. I'd rather focus on making a bunch of great friends first, before starting a relationship, anyway. Wouldn't do me any good to start dating anyone without having friends to back me up and help me out. Been there, done that, in high school. Didn't really have any close friends when I was dating my ex. Just need to have other people to spend time with, y'know? Alright, alright, onto the third thing.

 

- Grateful for the manager who was really helpful and set aside time for me. She even gave me longer hours, which I know may sound bad at first (more work, ugh) but it was a sign of trust, in my opinion.

One little restaurant at the theme park was short on staff, and it was a busy Saturday afternoon, so the supervisors put me on dish duty, like I mentioned earlier. Had a sorta fun time. I like working in the dish room because I can hum and sing to myself, and not really bother anyone. All the clanging from the metal trays and stuff drowns it out for the most part.

 

- One more person to mention: my Uber driver who got me to work this morning. Guy had a lot of wisdom to share. One thing was, he recommended that I do Uber driving gigs once I have my own car. Said the schedule would be completely on my own terms, and wished he had something like that when he was in college. I really appreciated the suggestion. Always good to be able to plan around academics instead of my job. Just makes life easier.

Seems like I always learn something new whenever I talk to an Uber driver. This guy, though, was by far the best Uber driver I've ever had, and had the best sense of humor. Kept it real with me, too. Helped me feel psyched up for the day ahead of me.

 

It's amazing how much of an impact one 15-minute-long conversation can have on my day. I made sure to give him a tip and rate him five stars to show my appreciation.

 

Alright, alright, gotta hit the hay. Got work tomorrow, so goooood night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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