Monday, March 21, 2016

Growing up in the Fifties

What's wrong with this picture?

I enjoyed Bridge of Spies. It was absorbing and interesting, especially because I was alive at this time but not very conscious in things like the last section of the Berlin Wall falling in place - I was a single mother devastated by a divorce. After I saw the film I cruised around the internet reading the critics. In comments on one site I came across a very angry woman named Mary. She wrote something like this:
This movie made me so mad. It's flat and untrue to its time, some male Hollywoodish view of what life was in the 1950s, husband-wife caricature, family as set decoration, I was ready to throw bricks at the screen by the time it was over.
It struck me that I once was Mary, but hadn't been angry at all watching the film.Why was that? It wasn't untrue to my experience. It showed the world I grew up in.Women existed in support roles in the home and the world of work. We wore slim skirts and sweaters. Men wore overcoats and made important decisions and played important roles in matters of state.
I felt like a real living being then, and all my problems seemed personal, though it turned out they weren't. And I wasn't very adjusted to it all, I just didn't know that. Until I went to college I did not know I lived in a system and people elsewhere lived in different systems. Until the revolutions of the sixties, I did not know I could dislike it. Until feminism I did not know how suppressed we women were as a class, what we could not even desire, which might be to take part in important negotiations in a bad overcoat.
If there are stages of awakening to your position in the culture, the first one is anger at what it's done to you. But anger is a waste of time unless you can calm down and channel it into action. Acceptance of reality may be the last stage of awakening, but it should not keep us from seeing how wrong these social constructs are.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Donald Trump Has It All Wrong


This is a sort of spoof by Jimmy Kimmel that represents Trump's philosophy. Trump seems to like it.

How things work together: this morning my email held a comment on my Christmas day post and this video from a beloved relative. The comment encouraged me.  The video had me thinking, The world isn't divided into winners and losers.

I see that win-win training is still taught, and seen as a set of negotiation skills. It seemed like more when I first heard about it. It seemed revolutionary. It posited that things go best when everyone's needs are met, that aggression is worse than useless. I agree.

The opposite of winning and losing is feeling that you have enough, and being satisfied. If you are reading this, you have access to a computer and leisure time to fool around on it, and probably have adequate shelter and food as well. That's just about enough, really.

There is a basic unsatisfactoriness built-in to human life, and that is that things change and we know they will. We will grow old, sick, and die, and we know that, or at least fear it. To be satisfied we have to realize that cause and effect are complicated and a lot of things are not in our hands, and relax with that. Winning at anything won't change it. And the fact that you're not striving to win doesn't mean you're a loser.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Let go of the battle



You don't have to whip yourself into joy.
You don't have to take a nice bath surrounded by scented candles,
or enjoy a walk in the snow (no snow here)
or dance till you smile
or watch White Christmas.
You don't have to try to feel any other way.
Just be yourself today.
Be with whatever you experience.
It's okay.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

So you think you know what bipolar disorder is

Have a look at this.

Note that bipolar is a dangerous illness, so painful that 30% of us kill ourselves before getting a correct diagnosis and treatment.  This can be hard to believe when someone is manic.  Mania is disturbing, and can read as arrogance and deliberate recklessness.  Families and friends often judge and discard us.

Note that our depression is not like yours. If you are a normie, you've known depression.  You probably managed to function and get through it. Ours is in a different category. Our relatives read it as not trying, whining, laziness. No one wants to be around it. Parker Palmer writes about a friend who came by every day and massaged his feet in silence.  Do you have a friend like that?  I certainly don't.

Note that something is missing here, and that's okay, a fact sheet can't do everything.  What's missing is that it's very difficult to find a comfortable treatment; side effects can be a bitch, like a lot of weight gain, or a sense of removal from life. Almost never does treatment work to restore a person to a mood-free state.  We are treading water all the time.  Worst, treatment can stifle the wonderful creativity that often accompanies bipolar.

Van Gogh is my favorite fellow sufferer.  His religiosity (seen today as "a symptom") gave him a restless drive to paint the essence in nature.  His family found him a trial and a disappointment.  Thank God he had a good brother who kept him supplied with paint and canvas.  Many of us don't have that relative. It's a difficult life.  Note that.


Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder Infographic — Healthline

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Making Do With Less

I first heard the term "paperless kitchen" more than ten years ago. My friend, who was in Simple Living, had committed to that. The thing she did was pick up lots and lots of paper napkins anytime she got fast food.  It intrigued me, how she confused "paperless" with "paying for paper." Kind of like when you quit smoking and then borrow cigarettes from everyone else. It's not about not buying paper; it's about not using it.

Recently it occurred to me out of nowhere that going paperless in my kitchen was a good idea, that my paper towels were made from trees, trees which, if let to live would be forests cleaning the air. My daughter is studying forestry; that makes me think about these things.

I had plenty of rags, so I put them in a pretty bowl by the kitchen sink where the paper towels used to sit.  I was surprised how annoying it was at first. It highlighted the fact that any habit change is difficult, the older the habit, the harder.  I'd been grabbing a paper towel for decades. Now I had to pick the right size rag, and discard the yucky ones and hang the other ones to dry before they go down the chute. Eventually I had to wash them in with the other towels. All this is not work, but it was irritating at first. Change is.

There is a fallacy American advertising pounds on in these end times in which a great many women work and then come home and do everything at home.  The fallacy is that you can buy something that will redeem this life by saving "precious seconds," something like one-swipe mascara (I'm not making this up). Every one of these solutions adds to the landfill. Don't believe them. You don't have a life by saving seconds. What people do with extra seconds is watch more TV.

Like everything else I discover, I'm a late adopter. Lots of people are already into this paperless thing. Here's a nice article, for instance. Obviously, if you work at it, your rags can even be pretty. You can even buy rags (a thought that astonishes me) from a website called, you guessed it, Paperless Kitchen. Their rags are sort of sturdier paper towels made from sustainable plant cellulose and, importantly, are new. It seems to me this is not a very ecological solution.  New rags involve growing and harvesting those plants, manufacturing them, transporting them, which wears down the highways and pollutes the air.  Like that.

As we say in Zen, pay attention.