Sunday, December 15, 2013

We Can't Go All the Way

It's been very entertaining reading this thread on the Ligotti fan forum. It's really a great example of how people  can only go so far in their beliefs and then they just stop without any warning and with barely an explanation. But they can't see that they are doing that and if you try to push them to the follow the evidence all the way to its logical conclusion you will be called all types of names. This is what is happening to Dima on that forum.

People don't want see other humans for the profoundly evil, or at the very least reckless, beings they are. I believe that this true for reasons of mental health.

A good example of this is ethical Veganism. And I use the word ethical to separate this type of Veganism from the one that is primarily associated with avoiding animal products for health reasons.

I remember reading online about a guy who said he stopped being vegan because he didn't want to see his fellow humans as unrelenting murderers (although he didn't use those exact words). Which is where you will end up if you follow the ideology of ethical Veganism to its logical endpoint. If it is wrong to cause harm to any sentient being for any reason and virtually all humans engage in this behavior on a daily basis primarily for reasons of pleasure and tradition, then that paints a very ugly picture of humans.

Dima is being painted as a stubborn, immature person because he is not leaving any room for a positive or neutral view of parents. And parents (as well as future parents) constitute the vast majority of human beings in this planet. We don't want to see the vast majority of the people we interact with as bad, irresponsible beings so we paint the person who calls them that with that same brush. Better that one individual than the rest of humanity.

This is also a way for us to feel like we are in control. We know that there isn't any way for us to stop any of the horrors that happen around us on a daily basis, so we begin to make everything a matter of personal choice. It's okay for people to have children if they want to. The fact that bringing children into this world inevitably puts them in harm's way is ignored and brushed aside even though that was what the argument was about initially. The closest we ever come to including morality in discussions around childbearing are statements like "as long as they can afford them." I find that statement (and attitude) woefully wanting in several ways but that's a post for another day.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Christianity Is of This World

It's kind of funny to me now when I hear Christians talk about not being of this world. And how they are just pilgrims journeying through here on their way to heaven. It's funny because Christianity, at least the conventionally taught doctrines, is VERY of this world. 

For example, we live in world with gross inequality in pretty much every area you can think of. People try to cover it up with simple, "life isn't fair" and "hard work equals success" doctrines but it doesn't change the basic reality of life as we know it. While I am typing this in relative comfort, there are billions of people around the world who will never see this level of material well-being even though they work ten times harder than I do. Such is Christianity. Just by being born into a Christian household I am ridiculously more like to become and stay a Christian than another person, who is not fundamentally different than me, born into a non-Christian family. As such, in accordance with the most popular Christian doctrine, a person like me is much more likely to end up in heaven than my non-Christian peer based on something neither of us have control over. Many Christian apologists try mask this fundamental reality with saying that once we hear about Jesus, we all have a "choice" to accept him into our hearts and if we don't that's our fault, not God's.

Now my response to that is, how often have you looked deeply into another religion? And don't say you know Christianity is the truth because that's what all the non-Christian people believe too. If you aren't willing to look outside your Christian box, why should you expect other humans to look outside their Islamic boxes, Buddhist boxes, etc?

But I am being facetious because I already know the answer. It's just too obvious that God has set up all of the non-Christian people to fail in reaching salvation the same way capitalism (at least as we know it) sets up the vast majority of human beings to fail economically. And of course, both entities blame the recipients for their failures.

Now I will admit that many of the things that Jesus did and said were not of this world, but Christianity is not really based on Jesus. It's telling that in the Bible there are 66 books but only 4 of them are directly about the founder. Jesus told us to not focus on the two things that are the most cherished and respected in this world: family and money. It is telling that many of the controversies in the present-day church: the acceptability of homosexuality, whether or not women should be allowed to preach, acceptable Christian attire, etc. were not discussed by Jesus at all. There is even a distinction between Pauline and non-Pauline Christianity (even though most people definitely fall into the Pauline camp).

It is obvious that Christianity is a as popular as it is because it is of this world. Doctrines and beliefs that are truly not of this world don't last. They are quickly subsumed by doctrines that play more to people's natures (God has a special plan for me, I will live forever unlike the other innumerable organisms on this planet, etc.)

 I don't know a religion that is really 'alien' in that sense. Maybe Jainism? I don't know enough about Jainism to really make that distinction.

Any thoughts on a religion that is not of this world?

P.S. I've also updated the Kindred Sayings tab.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Aren't People Ashamed?

I ran across an article yesterday that discusses the use of surrogates in India by people from more developed countries (U.S., Britain, France, Japan, and Israel). The article discusses why the women do it, the ethics behind it, etc. Many of the India women already have children and become surrogates so that they will be able to send their own children to school.

Of course the comments were generally atrocious with a mix of opinions ranging from 'this is so sad' to 'these women are making the best choice possible for their particular situations' to the infertile people crying 'but you don't know what it's like to be infertile and not be able to have the kids you want!'

As I read the article and the comments, I couldn't help but ponder a phrase from Two Arms and a Head: The Death of a Newly Paraplegic Philosopher. In the book there is a quote that has really stuck with me and sometimes it will just pop into my head when I think about a particularly crappy situation. The quote is: "God loves us? Aren't people ashamed to say such things?" In my head I've reorganized it into "Aren't people ashamed to say God loves us?" That's how I felt in particular as I read the arguments that tried to justify the women doing this in order to survive and care for their children.

Aren't people ashamed to say they live in a world that both allows and produces such grotesque poverty that it puts people in such situations? How can a person not be ashamed to say that?

It's times like these that I really feel that I'm actually a Martian and I wonder how I ended up on this pitiful planet called Earth.

Even based on the assumption that we can't change anything and 'that's just how things are,' I still can't comprehend that people are not utterly ashamed of the world we live in.

But I guess that's just me.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Unceasing problems

I'm not really looking forward to today. Or any other day really. Except maybe my wedding. I just can't escape the feeling that life is really just a series of problems. You fix one and another (or ten!) just take its place. This feeling really hit me this morning when I checked my email and saw my electric bill for June and July. I'm not sure why we're just getting the June one and we didn't even live in the apartment in July so... And they are both about the same amount. Does that mean someone has been living in our old apartment and now we're paying the bill? Or have the apartment people just been leaving the lights on? *sigh* I am jsut too tired to argue with the electric company. I'm starting to believe that there is a psychological aspect to bills apart from the profit-driven one. I believe that they are designed to put you in a low state of terror. You see the bill, it looks higher than usual and then you start to stress out. You call the company and discover that it's either your or the company's error. But either way you've still stressed out and wasted some time of your life. I guess the obvious answer is not to stress but of course that is easier said than done. Especially for a person like me who sees so clearly that the only thing separating me from hunger and homelessness is that thing that people tell you not to stress about.*

*money

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Infallibility of Motherly Love is a Myth

First of all, I got the job. I'm in my third week.

My husband shared a discovery with me a few days ago. He had come across an article about women in the U.S. on death row. What really surprised him was that half of the women were on death row for killing a family member and of those women, many had killed their children. He was trying to reconcile that fact with all the sayings we always hear about a mother's love, how nothing can compare to it, etc.

I told him I believed it was all a myth. Of course some mothers love their children more than anything else and will do anything for them. But there are also plenty of mothers who obviously don't. The proof of this can range from the world-wide phenomena of dumpster babies and infanticide to women who live with their children but literally have no love to give them. It's obvious that there is nothing about giving birth that inherently makes a mother love her child. And yet the myth lives on.

On a related note, I now believe that the worst thing a human being can do is bring a child into the world that they don't plan to take care of. I believe this because unless that child is very, very lucky (another family member decides to become their guardian or they are adopted by a loving family) they will quickly see the absolute worst of human nature. Because the truth is the only people who are even sorta, kinda, almost obligated to care about a person is that person's family. The rest of humanity could not give one-hundredth of a damn about that person. Even if that person is a defenseless child.

Ignore what people say about children being the future or the importance of helping each child reach their potential. Ignore how much they say they love Jesus who was pretty clear about the importance of caring for those in need. There is very little action amongst most people to back up those sayings. And this holds true no matter where you are in the world. From the high rates of abuse of foster children in Western countries (where they are at least usually kept clean, dry and fed) to the complete and utter abandonment of many of these children in non-Western countries where they are usually ignored or used for all kinds of unseemly activities that that I don't even want to mention on this blog. Contrast this with the many people in both Western and non-Western countries who spend unbelieveable amounts of time and  money on their children. Some examples that I know of personally include my friend from this post and my husband. My husband recently told me about his colleague who spends $1100 per month so that his TWO YEAR OLD son can attend a trilingual language (English, Spanish and Chinese) immersion academy which also has a focus on STEM and robotics.

I'm not really sure how to conclude this so I guess I'll just make a list.
1. Don't have kids

2. If you're going to have kids know that it's completely up to you to take care of them and prepare them for the crazy world you have brought them into. No one else will.

3. If you are or become pregnant and fear that you are in any way, shape, or form not ready to become a mother, terminate the pregnancy. Don't listen to the people who call abortion murder. Many of these people will not break a nail to help a child in need. They shamelessly drive around with bumper stickers that say "Proud Soldier" or "Proud Son/Mother/Wife, etc. of a  Marine." These are obviously not people that value human life. As for adoption, know that for the vast majority of people, adoption is the absolute lowest, bottom-of-the-barrel way to create a family. Also, I believe that as IVF becomes more successful and less expensive adoption rates will decrease and eventually cease all together. As it is now, there are plenty of other reproductive technologies for people who can't have biological children but would still prefer to avoid traditional adoption: sperm/egg donation, embryo adoption, etc.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Morals and Guilt

Guilt is a weird thing. Two people can engage in the exact same behavior while one feels intense guilt about the situation and the other feels nothing. And of course other people will have feelings everywhere else along that spectrum.

If I allowed myself, I would feel guilty about everything. It's so easy for me to see the negative effects of my actions. To be honest, I still feel guilty about a lot of things in my life but I just submerge those feelings in order to go on with life. I used to think about living on a farm somewhere and growing all of my own food, making my own clothes, etc in order to avoid buying items made with sweat shop labor. I even used to wonder how I would get metal and other materials I couldn't make myself while still avoiding sweatshop labor and oil. Yes I'm that weird and think that deeply about both practical and moral issues (my life would be so much simpler if I only thought deeply about one or if I used surface level thinking for both).

I asked a friend to be a reference for a job that I'm very close to getting. This job would be the beginning of an actual career for me: benefits, a salary, etc. I asked a friend to basically lie for me. I asked her to pretend to be my current colleague for a place I used to intern at. Once she realized what I was asking for, she told me she couldn't do it and said "my conscious would bother me and drive me crazy." She did offer to be a personal reference.

It's a weird thing. This person is very privileged. She is the friend I mentioned in this post. I will give some numbers that I did not give in the other post. The total COA (cost of attendance) for the university where we met was $50,000 per year. Tuition by itself was $34,000 per year. So total COA (over 4 years) for both my friend and her sister would equal roughly $400,000! Actually it would be a little more because the numbers I have given were from a our freshman year and of course all of these costs increase every year. Her parents paid for all of it out of pocket.

I remember asking her years ago if she ever felt bad about the poor people in her home country. She mumbled something about there being resources available for them. (Needless to say that this was when I still had a rather naive view of the world.) Basically she didn't feel bad for them.

Now her home country is rather poor and even just a small fraction of the money spent on her college education (not to speak of all of her private school education before that) could have made an IMMENSE difference in the lives of many people there. Even in the US it could make a great difference. And with the money left she still could have gone to a top-notch college.

And for this she feels not a drop of guilt (at least as far as I can tell). She also travels back and forth (by air) between her home country and the US fairly often and doesn't think of all the environmental damage she is contributing to and the many lives that have been ruined due to oil exploration. And of course she wears the same sweatshop clothes and eats the same factory farm meat and vegetables produced by exploited workers without a second thought.

And yet her conscience won't allow her to lie to help a friend obtain a job. Now I need to clarify that I'm not saying she has a duty, moral or otherwise, to help me. I just find it so interesting the seemingly random resting points of the average person's moral compass.

I guess she would be considered a deontologist while I'm a utilitarian (I think).

Earlier today I found myself watching a YouTube video of young lady discussing how she dresses modestly for the Lord. She named a bunch of mainstream stores. Not once was the topic of the treatment of the workers brought up. And this for a video that is all about moral issues. Apparently the Lord doesn't care if you wear sweatshop clothes as long as they are modest sweatshop clothes.

People are truly the same everywhere.

The old me would resent my friend for not helping me but the wiser me knows better. There will probably still be some resentment but I will (try to) keep it artfully hidden for when I need her for something else.

More than anything, I just find human beings so tiring.

Thankfully I have other options for references. I'll keep you guys updated on how the job situation turns out.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Transformation

I think I'm experiencing yet another transformation. My social justice period might finally be winding to a close. I'm starting to experience the same change I went through when I transitioned out of Christianity. At first I looked more deeply into Christianity attempting to find something that negated the obvious flaws, hypocrisy, and unfairness of the Bible and those who to adhere to it. Obviously, I didn't. Even from biblical teachers I personally trusted, I received a lot of emotionally-based explanations. The answers outside of those were either of the "you can't understand God's plan/ways/etc". or worse.

After a dip into the pool of militant atheism, I finally realized that people believe in God because they WANT to believe in God (well as much a person can want something when free will doesn't exist; but I will talk about that later). They believe in him past all manner of reason and sense. Their view of God is actually EXTREMELY SELFISH. It still freaks me out how people can go about worshipping a God that not only allows all matter of horrors and evils to happen in this world but (according to the majority of Christian denominations) is going to burn and torture the vast, vast majority of humans FOREVER (although I must add that not all denominations believe in the doctrine of hell. If I recall correctly, Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists both believe that non-believers will simply be annihilated [both body and soul] on Judgment Day. There's also the concept of Christian Universalism). And they are okay with all of this as long as they get to have a personal relationship with God on earth and to live in heaven forever. In total, people are pretty much monsters and their monstrous beliefs lead to the world we have today.

What I am basically trying to say is that I am mistaken in trying to help people. From what I've observed, most people are okay and praise life no matter how bad their particular situation is. I am the one who can't just 'deal' no matter what situation I am in. If most people don't have minimum standards for their life (in terms of what they are willing to put up with) why should I try to force those upon them? I need to work on forming a life that meets my own particularly high standards. I will still probably always feel something for children who are unwanted and not prepared for the crazy and cruel world we live in, but I also need to remember that these poor kids will turn into adults who also have no minimum standards for their lives. They will become the adults who would rather be born into the most unfortunate situation than not be born at all.

Again, why should I try to force my (obviously very abnormal) standards on them?

Also, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that very few people actually care about justice in any real way. They only care when something unjust happens to them. They would be just as happy to ignore if it was happening to someone else and they will surely encourage it if they believe they will benefit in some way. The more I think about it, the more I realize that helping someone just gives them more opportunity to be an exploiter in this world.

And what's the point of that?

As I mentioned before, I don't really believe in the concept of free will so I can't really blame them for wanting to live no matter what. It's not really them wanting to live as much as it is their genes carrying them towards thoughtless reproduction.

I think this transformation will take longer than my social justice transformation but I believe it must occur because a social justice mindset just doesn't make any sense in this world.

I hope this post doesn't sound like I am turning into a hard-core republican. I'm not sure what I'm becoming, I just know I'm changing.

I live amongst zombies

I live amongst zombies. Every and anything is acceptable to them. They even praise God for all of it.

I really don't fit in here.

It's becoming increasingly apparent that I need to find some kind of meaning in my work in order to have some peace.

I must develop self-discipline so I can successfully run my own business. I understand that there's nothing particularly virtuous about things like hard work, networking, gaining skills, or self-discipline but I need these skills to even have a hope of escaping the life of a wage slave. In particular, the life of a low-paid wage slave. Working these types of jobs is killing me. I can't believe that I am paid barely livable wages in order to make another human being INSANELY rich. And the fact that I need a job in order to survive in this current economic set-up still doesn't change the fact that it is exploitation. The fact that this is what all employment (especially low-paid employment) is does not seem to bother most people but then again I'm not most people.

I'm not most people.

I'm not most people.

And that's okay. It doesn't make me better or worse than anyone else. I need to embrace my unique perspective of the world and find a way to thrive while I am here.

I've been saying this forever but I really do need to lead a more active life.

On a completely unrelated note, I recently reactivated my fb in order to invite certain people to my wedding and I was quickly reminded of why I quit. As soon as my wedding is over I'm deactivating again and even before then I am going to do my best to only spend a small amount of time on there. In the small time that I've reactivated, I've started comparing my life to that of others and feeling unpopular. Isn't funny how small a certain website can make you feel?

I'm looking forward to deactivating again and only knowing intimate details of my friends' lives.

Which reminds me that I need to cut down on my blog reading too.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Always Work Hard

I realize that I need to work for myself. I really am not meant to engage in low-paid labor. I would say that none of us are but some of my coworkers are not just content but feel the need to stand up for our bosses at any turn. All jobs feel like exploitation and low-paid ones are the WORST! They try to make up for the lack of financial compensation with a mixture of fake enthusiasm and fear. And these conditions are only going to worsen as the population increases and the number of jobs decrease due to increased mechanization. Also, employers are going to continue to put the jobs of two or three people onto one employee and they will accept it because they know that there are ten other people just waiting to take that job for even less money.

As this wise author put it: "We’ve been all fooling ourselves, while everything has gotten so shitty around us." All of this is going on and yet the general 'common sense' wisdom is still that of 'personal responsibility' even though no amount of personal responsibility is going to change the global people to jobs ratio. 

That being said, I'll dip into my optimism bias and say again that I must start my own business. I'll say this (and try to believe it) even though the majority of businesses fail. And many of the ones that don't fail make just enough to keep going. Way back in the beginning of this blog I wrote a post about starting my own consulting business. I don't know if I want to stick with that idea but I do know that I need to be doing my own thing. This nine to five life (ESPECIALLY for exploitative wages) is not the business.

I also need to develop some personal discipline because while I've never been able to see myself overworking to make someone else rich, I can't have that mentality towards myself.  I'm inspired by a fellow female pessimist to start making money in my own way. 

Although, it's not a money-making venture, I've even started the blog I mentioned in this post. One thing I know is that I need to become more active in this thing we call life. It may be absolutely horrible but I still need to *sigh* make the best of it.

P.S.: the following quote is from the comments section of a Time article. It was a response to a recent college grad saying she was grateful to have a retail job even though she wanted more. This is EXACTLY how I feel about modern day low-paid wage labor (usually with no or prohibitively expensive 'benefits'; seriously though, when will the U.S. jump on the universal healthcare bandwagon?):

"I don't think you are selfish. I think you are ridiculously generous to be grateful that someone is allowing you to make tons of money for them while you barely even get a fraction of the value of your labor."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

no one is coming to save you

I like to think of myself as a rational person but it is becoming increasingly apparent that I am just as irrational and prone to fantasy as the next person. Possibly even more so because I see the harsh reality of life and yet I still yearn and want my own situation to be different. Mine! One being out of over seven billion others. I know emotions mean nothing and yet I have been crying all last night and into this morning  as if that will change anything.

I know I am not the first person to be in this financial quandary. It's basically a commandment of Personal Finance: Don't Co-sign Anything! Or if you do, know that you are now as legally responsible for the debt as the original signer.

I knew this when I signed. I felt the sense of dread as I signed. I did not want to sign. I knew we were crazy over-paying for this car due to Mom's bad credit. (Mom knew it too.)

No more sacrificing for the financial black hole that is my family. I have done it too, too many times.

I should probably stop calling them too. Everything about my family depresses me nowadays. I feel like I come from a family of failures (with a few exceptions) and that they are dragging me down.

To be born into a world with inept genetic companions.

I should not have signed that car note no matter how much pressure I was under.

I can never forget: no one is coming to save you. no one is coming to save you. no one is coming to save you. no one is coming to save you.

Your family has shown you more than once that they don't have your best interest at heart when it comes to money. Stop letting the mirage and fantasy of the type of family you would like to have blind you to the family you actually have.

The one without a father and where 'struggle' is the motto.

It is what it is.

There are people in much, much worse conditions than myself and no one is coming to save them and yet my actions show that I somehow expect my situation to be different.

*sigh*

I fee like I should end this with some type of "I just have to make the best of what I have," but I am tired of doing that. Life always demands more and more from you. It never ends. I am so young and I am already so tired.

Life is an abusive lover.

The successful are just the best exploiters.

And the rest are just happy slaves.

And there are the few like me. People who just don't fit into the regular paradigm and are, for all intents and purposes, trapped.

No matter how much I run from it, the real world always catches up. I don't know how I will be able to live in such a world without finding meaning in work.

Wow. That was kind of long and disjointed. It really represents how I feel right now: depressed and tired with random bursts of frustration at the situation I find myself in.

But it is what it is. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What's So Good About Being Smart?

"When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people."
 - Abraham Joshua Heschel


I didn't even have to become old to figure this out. I almost feel like I'm stepping out of the Matrix when I ask: what's so good about smart people? Seriously. It's just such an assumption in this world that it's good to be smart. People praise smart folks. They praise them basically for their genetics and their environment. (Although to be fair, praising a person for their good looks is basically the same thing.)  

It is treated as a moral failing to be dumb in this world. Dumb people are the group that it is okay for everyone to sh*t on. How many times have you heard an atrocity or misfortune that happened to someone justified or brushed aside because they were dumb? But if being smart is overwhelmingly due to genetics and environment, then the same should be said of being dumb. I also feel the need to do a bit of a sidebar here. A lot of people seem to think, or at least they act as if they think, that environment is something a person can change at will. When I use the word environment I am talking about those early years of a child's life when their personality is most shaped by a caretaker of some sort. I don't mean a 30 year old (or even an 18 year old) jumping up one day and deciding that they are going to turn their life around. Despite what society tells them, it's most likely too late for these people; their most formative environmental experiences have already taken place. All that to say, that for me, environment ≈ genetics. People are who are adopted are a different but minority case. The vast majority of people around the world are raised by their parents or other family members.

Being smart is not an unrivaled good. The same intelligence that created antibiotics also created the atomic bomb and continues to creates drones. Being intelligent is more of a boon for that particular person than a good for humanity in general. It allows one to be more effective exploiter in our rather exploitative world. And I guess that's why people truly worship smart people. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Daily Gratitude 4








Photos from campus

I'm torn in so many different ways. 

I want to be a hippy and yet I want to be disciplined. (or at least I want the results of being disciplined)

I feel drawn towards the happy-go-lucky and the reality and suffering of life.

I regularly daydream about having a wonderful, perfect childhood even though it's an impossibility. 

I am a pessimistic old white man (stuck?) in a young black woman's body. 

I guess I'm just a paradox like much of life.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ideas, ideas and a new job

So as usual, I have a bunch of ideas floating around in my head.

I will be starting another blog soon and just spent the last hour researching good, affordable tripods for tall folks. I plan to do a lot of photography on my new blog. My husband already has a higher-end point and shoot camera that he never uses. It's bigger than the smaller point and shoots so I just assumed it was a DSLR. Shows how much I know about photography, lol. But everyone started somewhere and I'm so inspired by the young women I mentioned here. If they can do it, so can I. I don't want to give too many details about the blog but I expect it to be GOOD.

Also, I have a new job. It's nothing I'm too excited about but I think it's good for me to get out of the house. It's a cold calling, data center job but at least since the company has a tech focus, I am learning a lot about new technology.

This wasn't supposed to be a gratitude post but my few days of on-the-job training have made me grateful that working at a place like this isn't my only option in life and that I have a husband who makes enough to comfortably support both of us.

I've also been wearing makeup on a daily basis. I think I will start recording myself on my webcam just to see my regular mannerisms.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Daily Gratitude 3


It might be just facetious to call this Daily Gratitude at this point. Especially since I haven't posted in over a week. But here are a few things I was grateful for since my last post.


This Oprah magazine. It hasn't been cheering me up as much as it used to but I still appreciate how bright and beautiful the cover is. 






Making Kale chips. They were a bit too salty but otherwise very delicious. I  ate most of them in one sitting. Here's a recipe.


Finally, here's my husband and I taking a walk through our neighborhood together over the weekend. I'm quite happy that Spring is here and that the weather is warming up.

And one more thing, I found a website that is speaking to me on so many levels. It's so nice to know that you are not alone in this world.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Daily Gratitude 2

My last post was meant to be this one but then I had a moment of inspiration and went off-topic. So I will begin again. Today I am grateful for little indulgences like makeup. I bought these yesterday and and am so excited to start working with them. I already own a little makeup but I want to really begin to perfect my makeup skills and have various looks ready for various events (e.g. everyday, going out, etc.). I'm starting off with foundation and blush but eventually I want to be at home in the worlds of concealers, bronzers, and countouring. I already have some lip glosses and eye shadows to play around with.

I am also grateful that CVS will allow you return any makeup as long as you have the receipt! One thing that has made me hesitant about the whole makeup thing is wasting money on trying products that end up not looking good on me.



Here are 2 everday makeup routine videos that have inspired me: 

"No Makeup" Makeup for School/Work/Natural Days


and

MY BASIC FOUNDATION AND MAKE UP ROUTINE


I would also like to perfect my skincare regimen. I have a simple regimen now but I know it could be a lot better.

And my hair, I reallllllly need to figure out  what to do with my hair.



OUT THERE

As part of my new interest in intentional busyness and thinking about what type of image I would like to project to the world, I've began to explore the world of makeup.  A nice chunk of my inspiration is from 2 lovely ladies from across the pond: Shirley B. Eniang and Britpopprincess (aka Patricia Bright). Their youtube channels are full of information on fashion (which is what originally drew me), makeup, and general life.

Although I don't think that's how they would describe themselves, I think they are great examples of what I call intentional busyness (however, the 'intentional' maybe a misnomer because I'm pretty sure they don't do it on purpose, they probably just naturally like to keep busy). Shirley is a  Mathematics student and runs both a popular youtube channel and a blog. Patricia works a full time consulting job with long hours, runs 2 popular youtube channels, is a newlywed AND recently purchased a home. They both started their youtube channels for fun and as a way to connect with other people who were interested in fashion and makeup. Now they earn money from these hobbies and they receive free gifts from companies.

Although I will do my best not to idolize people I don't know, I feel like I have a lot to learn from them. They started something for fun but they did not stop there. Both of them (as well as the lady who runs the ridiculously popular Cupcakes and Cashmere blog) have said that they continuously worked on improving their photography/videography skills. So even though it started as a hobby, that did not stop them from wanting to get better at whatever they put their had in. This is a lesson I've heard over and over again but still need to internalize: always do your best.

Another thing that stood out to me was how willing these women were to put themselves OUT THERE. Out into the big, bad internet. They put their faces, information and general thoughts on the net where anyone could see it and without the ability to take any of it back. And it has paid off for them.

I'm so scared to do that. In fact, I've began to realize that I'm actually too scared to really do anything. I have an inherent fear of life. I watched a video a few days ago that spoke to me. The topic was perfectionism but the woman discussed it from a different angle. I have always thought of perfectionists as the overachievers and as such never thought it possible that I could be one. Even though there are some things that I have done really well, it is usually because it is in a subject that I have a natural knack for; I've never been the person who would stay up 3 extra hours just to make sure something was *just* right. The woman in the video discussed perfectionism as something that could stop a person from doing and trying things that were really important to them because they were afraid that the results wouldn't be 'good enough.' She described herself as a non-perfectionist and said that this attribute is what allows her to come on youtube and speak in English even though she knows that she is not completely fluent (although I must say that I find her English to be wonderful, I've been complimented a lot on my Spanish by native speakers and I know that it is nowhere as good as her English).

This is the mindset I need to have. Always focus on improving myself and my work and don't be so afraid to put myself OUT THERE. With so many people in the world competing for the same jobs, it is now more important than ever to have a recognizable name. With regards to a blog, I think a good compromise for me might be to start off my blog anonymously and then add my real name when it gains a lot of attention (and money).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Daily Gratitude 1

I've decided to use my new iPhone to start taking and posting photos of things I'm grateful for on a daily basis.I fear that claiming that I will take and post said photos everyday is setting myself up for failure so instead my goal is to post at least 5x/week.

I was inspired to do this by Consider Me Lovely's weekly Reasons to Smile posts. They always bring a smile to my face. And with that I think that I get better get started.

My first photo is of the view from my back porch. I am blessed to have a home to live in with a husband who is endlessly supportive of me. I love that the view from my porch is that of a stretch of woods. I might not but the biggest nature lover but just walking by these woods puts me in a better frame of mind.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Intentional Busyness

I have an agenda for this upcoming week.

I'm doing another blog-free week. I was able to complete one the week before last and I don't know if I was technically more productive but I did spend more time away from the computer. At least until towards the end when I spent a lot of time watching TV shows online.

Along with being blog-free I also plan to do the following on a daily basis:

  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Continue to fix up our new apartment
  • Pay a bill
  • Continue applying to and following up with jobs
  • Cook and clean
  • Keep in touch with friends
  • Make time to be outside when the weather allows 
  • Work on a creative project (maybe something like this; I love magazines and have thought about doing a zine for years!)
  • Stop pulling on my hair
  • Etc (I'll think of more stuff later)
The main objective is to keep busy so I don't think too much. I'm definitely a ponderer and while don't know if I will ever fundamentally change, I'll do my best to take steps in another direction. 

Well I will let you know how it goes.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I have no intrinsic motivation

I'm realizing that this is one of my biggest problems. I believe it is why I get tired so easily and find it hard to put forth the great amount of energy that is needed to make it is in this economy.

I'm even finding it very difficult to even finish writing this.

I'm trying to figure out how to obtain or create in myself intrinsic motivation. Back when I had intrinsic motivation I took it for granted. I've talked about what used to motivate me before but I and my views of the world have changed a lot since then and I honestly don't think it's possible to go back to that way of thinking even if I want to (and I'm not sure that I do).

I need to connect my current interests to what I do on a daily basis. Also, I need to connect my future career to something I'm interested in. I'm too realistic to think that my interests will be the direct source of my income but they need to have some kind of connection to said income. I spend a lot of my time online now reading blogs on lifestyle, fashion, and pessimism (it's an interesting mix). So these are obviously the things I have a natural interest in. I remember back in college when a friend brought up that she didn't really think that  I had a true passion for becoming a doctor because I spent almost none of my free time on subjects related to healthcare. At the time I balked at her assertion but looking back I kinda have to agree with her. While she spent a lot of her time on sites like studentdoctor.com, I spent most of my time on sites related to social justice and vegetarianism (I became a vegetarian right before I left home for college and stayed one for about 2 years). The closest I came to reading regularly about health was more related to natural healing methods. Looking back, I've NEVER been intrinsically interested in allopathic medicine. It was just something I said I wanted to do as a kid that was then HEAVILY encouraged by my mother.

My experience in nursing school showed me first hand that any kind of patient clinical practice is just not for me.

I still haven't figured out exactly what I'm going to school for. I know I want it to be in STEM but I also must connect it to something I am interested in or else I KNOW I will not be able to put forth the effort needed to succeed. I don't have strong math and science skills so I will really need that intrinsic motivation to push me through the more difficult aspects of my upcoming time in school. I will also need that motivation to get out there and do all the networking and interning that I should have done my first time in college. And I still need to find a job!

Right now I'm heavily considering majoring in Information Systems. I just purchased an intro book on Information Systems from Amazon. Wish me luck!

I'll leave you with a quote I read on another blog that I would really like to make my mantra:

"I am a driven, passionate and energetic person who loves all things chic. I believe in big dreams, taking action and that everyday is a new opportunity to design your beautiful life."

I must make all of this happen. I WILL make it happen.

Until next time.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Give a little get a little?

My mom just asked me to work overnight for her on Monday since she will (finally!) be taking her certification test on Tuesday. I was silent for a long while as I thought of a way of saying 'no' without looking like an absolutely horrible person. I finally settled on saying that I have never worked overnight. Which is true. She said that it was fine and the person she usually works with could work by herself and the she just offered it to me because "we need the money." Although she then went on to say that I could keep the money for myself. And so that ended. And to be honest, I'm moving in with my husband soon and as yet don't have a job and I have financial obligations that will continue into the foreseeable future. And yet I said no. I'm realizing that at this point in my life I'm just not willing to inconvenience myself for anyone even if it will help me in some way. And I especially feel this way towards my mom.  I am annoyed when she asks me to do anything for her. There is a part of me that wants to feel bad for feeling this way but another part thinks of all of the inconveniences I have had to endure because of her. For example, giving her the small savings I had managed to scrape together in college because she didn't have enough money to support herself and my younger brother. And why didn't she have enough money? Because she quit her job because it was too stressful! And she did this without getting another job first. And she had no savings because even though she's educated, she works in a field that doesn't  have anything to do with her education and doesn't pay sh*t. Eventually she got another job that paid even less and now my brother and I have to help support the family. The vast majority of the little we make goes to help pay family bills. We also had to buy an almost new car on credit because our old one broke down and we didn't even have enough savings to buy a cheap used car.

I'm crying as I write this.

I know my family is not the worst out there. I have never experienced any kind of abuse from any of them (unless you count my father's complete and utter abandonment of my brother and I) and we always had enough to eat, etc.

I just wish I had more. I think what scares me is that I obviously come from a family of LOSERS and I'm afraid that I'm on the path to continuing that tradition. I honestly think the only thing keeping me from it is my husband whose family is on the exact opposite side of the poverty spectrum.

I can't help but think of this article. Here's a quote:

"In a paper published last month, he argues that middle and upper-income black families don’t accumulate wealth as quickly because rather than investing their money, they give more of it to poor friends and relatives."
It's so scary because if I wasn't actively pushing against it, I could see that happening to me. I was still in college when my mom asked for the money. Can you imagine? I was already being impoverished by my mom before I even left school!!! And I have little hope of ever seeing that money again.

 And mom always speaks so fondly of the daughter of one of her friends. This daughter is a little older than me. Many times during her college career she took out extra student loans to help her mom pay the mortgage. All this did, of course, was postpone the inevitable. Because the daughter graduated and her mom still can't pay the mortgage. SMH. What a dead-end reason to take out extra debt. And my mom thinks this is a positive thing! What kind of f*cked up family am I from?

It's not enough that I'm from a family that can't help me pay for school, I'm also from a family that thinks it's a good idea to take money from a kid that's still in school.

I can't help but think of my other recently graduated friends who also have poor, immigrant parents. Their parents don't borrow money from them. Many of them live with their parents now and don't pay rent. While I must contribute to family bills or the whole operation goes under.

Why did I have to come from a deadbeat dad and irrational mother? I honestly would rather have never existed if this was my only option to come into this world.

So much for being positive but I had to get that out.

Until next time.





Friday, February 15, 2013

So I'm changing up this site

NO MORE NEGATIVITY ON HERE.

I can't say that I will only be positive from now on but I will keep my more melancholy reflections in a private journal.

This blog was supposed to be about me becoming a more positive person but instead it is turning into the opposite. I will use this site for its original purpose as a log of my transformation from a rather negative person to a much more positive person. I don't that I will ever be a super positive person but I know that what I am doing now is not working for me or anyone else. My worrying and fretting about all of the pain and suffering in the world does nothing to change those situations and it is only contributing to making me miserable.

Enough.

I've decided I want a 'happy person glow.'  I'm already young and attractive so I'm sure that adding that 'glow' can only bring more opportunities. I have friend with said 'glow' and things always seem to go so well for her. I'm sure it's not the only reason but it certainly can't hurt. This is the same friend I mentioned in this post.

I'm excited about the possibilities for this blog. I started almost a year ago with such high expectations and I don't like where it's going. So, it's up to me to change it.

I really must make a change in my mindset. My current mindset is causing me to be devoid of energy  and I truly can't afford to be that way at this point in my life. As a young person who is not in the best financial position and who doesn't have strong career prospects, my choices and actions right now will set the stage for a lot of my future. In some ways I feel that I'm already falling behind but luckily I am still young and I have an absolutely fantastic and ambitious spouse.

There's still a lot of room for me to do great things in this world. I just need to do them and leave ineffective and unproductive thinking in the dust.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Burning the will

I'm not sure why but for some reason I've been really inspired by the following pic:



This is Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk who self-immolated in 1963 as a protest against Buddhist oppression by the Christian-led Vietnamese government. All of the accounts I have read state that after some of his fellow monks covered him in gasoline, he lit himself on fire with a match. He then sat PERFECTLY STILL while the flames engulfed him for about 10 minutes. After which, his charred corpse toppled over and he was covered in a cloth by his fellow monks and taken away in a coffin. Afterwards he was cremated. His heart survived the cremation and it is now kept as holy relic in Xá Lợi Pagoda in  Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam.

I am usually a person who cannot stand to look at violent videos or pictures so I'm not sure how I am able to look at this so serenely. Maybe because I know that he purposely did this to himself?

Possibly it is because he sits so still in a situation that would cause most people unspeakable agony that my brain can't quite register it as "real."

All I know is that I am inspired by such a person and I'm still not completely sure why. Maybe it's because his actions show a supreme self-discipline and a realistic lack of fear of death. 

His actions somehow mix selfishness and selflessness in a way that make sense to me. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kids and Fairness

piggybacking on my last post. I'm a young, married college graduate in my early 20s who is currently looking for work; I have an interview in a few days. My husband is in his early 30s and is concurrently working on his second graduate degree and looking for work.

We've been talking about kids recently and even though we are not trying to conceive, we already thinking about what schools we should send them to. In particular, STEM schools which will teach them to have strong math and science skills. I used to think STEM focused institutions only started in high school but through a little research I found out that at least one starts in the third grade! I wouldn't be surprised to learn that STEM Pre-Ks exist.

Anyway, I say all of this to bring up the fact of inherit unfairness that exists in the world. And I'm not even going to go into how unequal we are genetically. My husband and I are already planning the lives of children who do not exist. To be honest, children who may never exist. (I've read enough infertility/adoption blogs to know that not everyone gets the family they imagined they would always have.) I know planning for children is the 'right' thing to do but when I do it I can't help but think of all the children in the world who don't have parents who do this. What about them?

I don't know how people can live comfortably in such an unfair jacked up world where some parents will only allow their children to eat organic foods and others treat their children as if they have done some immortal sin.

Perspectives

I just ran across the following blog post: http://www.firstmotherforum.com/2013/01/foreign-adoption-may-save-one-child-but.html

The comments are a battleground between adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees. All are slinging mud at each other trying to make the other "the bad guy." From my position as a complete outsider I can't help but wonder how none can see what the real problem is: we live in a fundamentally f*cked up world. All any one can see is how this fundamentally f*cked up world is negatively affecting them.

Don't people see a problem with the fundamental arguments? Adoption in a completely foreign culture vs. growing up in an inadequate orphanage?

Here are 2 comments which compare domestic foster care to international orphanages:
on orphanages:

  • "Jane, I ask you…Have you ever been to an orphanage? Have you ever spent time there, talking to the children in their native languages? Have you ever had a meal with them? Have you ever had those children beg, promise you everything, offer you their favorite doll or stuffed animal, just so you'd take them with you? Have you ever held a starving child in your arms, watching it labor for breath? Have you ever walked into an orphanage for special needs children and have the stench of rotting flesh greet you? Until you have experienced those things, I respectfully submit that you probably don't know what you're talking about. And I understand that this will probably won't ever get published, but at least you will question yourself. Because, Jane, in your heart of hearts you can't possibly be so cruel as to suggest leaving children in the hellholes we call "orphanages"."
  • "Here's the problem with closing or discontinuing international adoptions: many of the children age-out of the system and become indentured servants ( and are treated badly) or sex trade workers. To me, I would rather see a child be loved and flourish in an adoptive home than living amongst "its people/culture" and be given a minimal education ( if you want to call it that) and becoming a sex trade worker or lowly servant."
on domestic foster care:
  • "Vidyana, For every child taken out of an orphanage, hundreds of thousands are left in orphanages. Meanwhile thousands of American children languish in foster homes. It's a zero sum game.
    Read the articles linked to in my post. You'll see that most of the people who adopt foreign children take healthy infants, many of whom were taken illegally from their families. Older children, disabled children are left behind.
    As for children aging out of the system and entering the sex trade, that happens to American children as well. Prisons and drug treatment programs are filled with former foster children. 
    Bringing children to the US doesn't assure that they will not be forced into the sex trade. Masha, a young girl was adopted from Russia by a pedophile. He not only abused her but used her for pornographic movies. 
    And yes, children are abused by their natural parents but being an adopted child places one more hurdle before the child. 
    I encourage our readers to read Peter Dodds' memoir, "Outer Search/Inner Journey." He was adopted by an American family from a German orphanage when he was three. He is one of the biggest critics of foreign adoption."
Here's a perspective from someone who suffered cultural loss at the hands of his birth parents:
  • "I am full blooded Native American. When I was 2, my "natural" parents left our tribe lands and moved to a small town in suburbia. In order to fit in, they changed my names and their names, forbade me from knowing what tribe we were from, and never allowed me the full rights of being a tribe member. It wasn't until they died that I actually found out my tribe. I suffered horribly at their hands. My mother was distant and cold, my father was abusive. I suffer from PTSD and a myriad of other "typical" adoptee problems. Lay off anonymous, just because your an adoptee doesn't mean that you're the only one who knows about pain and suffering."
And  finally the perspective of a woman who 'did the right thing' and adopted a U.S. foster child only to regret it horribly:

  • "'Meanwhile thousands of American children languish in foster homes. It's a zero sum game."Adopting from foster care is never a good idea. In fact, it's a horrible idea. The system is beyond broken. The social workers lie to you, there is no support, and the children are beyond damaged. How do I know? I adopted from foster care. Worst mistake of my life. My husband and I really wanted to adopt from the foster care system. We took classes, read books, joined the local support group, and spent hours volunteering at the foster care office. We developed connections and had a great relationship with everyone. Finally, after close to two years of waiting, we were matched with our daughter. She was 7 when we met her. After a year transistion, countless "consultations" with various "specialists" (referred by our social worker), she moved in with us full time. Shortly after that, we formally adopted her. It wasn't 6 months before how much we were lied to came to life. Our daughter was a violent sexual predator and had been severely sexually abused by her biological parents and her two former foster fathers (different homes). She was scary to be around. The social workers stopped taking our phone calls, our "support" team refused to meet with us, and even the specialists denied us appointments or canceled at the last minute. That was 4 years ago. We have spent close to 200k getting her help and she now lives in a special home. Her doctors are in awe of how duplicitous and mean she is, almost feral at times. We tried to sue the social workers and the state, but no lawyer would touch the case.We tried to do the right thing, and instead we got punched in the face. Both my husband and I are educated people (both have our master's in scientific fields), but we were conned into taking this little girl. Eighteen months ago, we finalized our adoption of our son from Russia. He was 6 when we met him, and now 8. He's a handful, but nothing compared to the very damaged child that our own state/county dropped on us. If I were you, I wouldn't tout the glories of adoption from foster care, it's not something so easy and wonderful as you make it sound."


I just don't understand how people can't see that there is not perfect answer to any of this and that by blaming others somehow all of the problems will be fixed. 

Here's my personal favorite comment (and by personal favorite I mean the one that makes me the saddest:
  • "Wow. Just Wow. How could anyone, ANYONE oppose adoption? And does it REALLY matter WHERE a child comes from? There are orphans on every continent. And you know what? It is our God given right to be able to freely decide how to build a family. I get to chose how I build my family, whether domestic adoption, international adoption, or having a biological child. And as a proud mama of a Russian born son, I can tell you RIGHT NOW that he was NOT illegally adopted out to me. He was extremely emaciated and hospitalized from the neglect of his birth mother. No other Russian family would adopt him because he was so tiny and developmentally delayed. NOT that it is any of your BUSINESS, but seriously lady, think about how self centered and egotisitcal you sound. I'm with Vidyana-GO to this orphanges, see it first hand, before spouting off rude comments. I adopted because I was led by God to my child. I have NO idea why I chose Russia, I just did because I felt a stong urge that my son was there. Period. End of Story. Mamas know where there babies are. And regardless, if I adopted from Russia, Africa, China, the US, wherever, I still have the right to choose. And you know what? I saved a child... and that child saved me. I literally don't usually comment on these things, but you have just made me furious with your close minded remarks. I am just appaled at your cynicism regarding the lives of these children languishing in orphanges. And don't tell me that I don't know that the orphanages are bad. Excuse me, but I have been in one, and seen first hand the LASTING effects it had on my sweet boy. I will say, that I am praying for you Jane and whatever hurt you have pent up in you that you would pick these battles over something as miraculous as adoption."
So this person has a "god-given right" to have a family and yet children starve and they don't have a "god-given right" to food? It must be nice to live in such a self-absorbed world.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I don't want to be happy

I want the world and life to be different than what they are.

That's what I've realized my last few days in this depressive/existentialist state. In order to be happy, I need to either not see the world for what it is or be okay with it or even champion the world as it is. And I'm supposed to do all of this while working hard to ensure my survival in the global economy.

And I really can't help but think: what's the point? All this struggle so I can survive on this cold, cruel world filled with mostly cold, cruel people. Oh wait, I forgot, it's all worth it because of "the beauty of a sunrise or butterfly." *sigh*

I'm obviously an evolutionary aberration. I shouldn't think about this stuff this much. I'm obviously much more empathetic than the average person and as I sit here typing this I realize that after 2-3 years of trying to escape my basic empathetic nature I have failed, miserably. And yet, with my basic empathetic nature, I'm supposed to live in this world and make myself happy.

I sometimes wonder if I should go back to my original plan for my life: to not worry about money and just go around the world helping people. I used to be super-Christian and liberal and SUCH an idealist. And now that I'm not any of those I don't have much left to live for. And my attempts at trying other philosophies to live for have also failed. I don't much see the value in 'hard work' or even 'family.' I pretty much don't see the value in anything. One of the things that discouraged from my original life plan was seeing how little most people care about social injustices and suffering. I was SO naive! I used to think that people just didn't know about all the suffering and craziness in the world and once they knew they would want to do something about it. I eventually figured out that most people know to varying degrees but they either don't care at all or they only care enough to say "that's so horrible! someone somewhere should/shouldn't do that!" and then they go about their daily lives. The number of people who actually care enough to do something substantial towards creating a more equitable world are  minuscule. This is before we even bring the fact that this minuscule amount of people can't even agree on what is a more equitable world or how to bring it about.

I just imagined myself sacrificing so much to bring about a more equitable world while everyone else continued to live their own lives. Lives that would actively counteract the good I was trying to help bring about. Eventually I just came to a conclusion of 'what's the point'? I don't think I've ever really left that conclusion.

I've spent all morning watching elifist/antinatalist videos. I know those aren't 'good' for my psyche in my current condition but I feel like those are some of the only people that GET the human condition and, this is important, truly SYMPATHIZE with it. Some people 'get it' but their only advice is that you should throw yourself even more strongly into this meaningless game called life. You should 'achieve', become religious, focus on the little moments, etc. By the way, doesn't that tell you that something is fundamentally wrong with life if what we must focus on is, by our own admission, little?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Not meant for this world

I truly don't think I was meant for this world. There is so much craziness and the more I learn about it the more none of it makes sense. I have an in-person interview in  a few weeks and after beginning to prepare starting yesterday, I have no energy to do so today.

I'm just hit by the meaningless and horror of it all. And I think reading the 'how to be happy' books are not helping. They just show me how selectively delusional I would have to become in order to be happy. I don't think I am built for that.

I've been reading two books on happiness: "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin and "Authentic Happiness" by Martin Seligman.

Both books talk about the hows and whys of happiness. Both also take the time to discuss how making the attempt to be happy is not a 'selfish' endeavor (this after going on and on about how happier people are healthier, live longer, etc). One example they use is how happy people are more 'altruistic' and think more about others. I'm curious as  to what they mean by 'altruism.' Is it donating money to a charity? Helping an old lady cross the street? Letting someone cut in front of you in line? What is it?? Because I can't help but look around at all of the craziness and suffering in the world and wonder what all of the 'altruism' of all of these happy people is actually accomplishing? There are so many problems in the world that could easily be solved by a bit of money or attention and yet they are not. But allegedly there are bunch of happy, altruistic people floating around doing....something.

I don't know. I just don't know.

I'll repeat what I said at the beginning: I truly was not meant for this world and it's a cruel joke that someone with my level of empathy is supposed to survive and thrive in such a cruel, cold world. Or maybe I'm not...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happiness, Work, and Ambition

"Perhaps I also [am happy], since I seem to have a sunny disposition despite my nihilism and crushing awareness of the evil of mankind. But neither of us is going to mention it. Anyone who proclaims his or her happiness is most unlikely to be so, because the happy don't use words. Words are used exclusively by those locked into the concept of achievement. This concept is evidence of our hyper-evolution: we want to be what we are not, and we will destroy the whole planet in the attempt to turn our fantasy into grim reality."

-http://www.beyond-the-pale.co.uk/happiness.htm

What an interesting concept. Here I am buying all of these self-help books from people who claim to be happy or try to give happiness tips and maybe they're not really happy either! It almost feels like a "duh!" proclamation but sometimes we need those to get through our heads.

another gem from the same site:


"If money produced happiness, everyone would be giving it away and it would have no value.

Scientists" have just discovered that the receptor-spots for pleasure/happiness, and for desire are in different places in the brain. So desire has nothing to do with happiness - nor has the fulfilment of desire, which is why the successful are no happier than everyone else. This seriously undermines the thinking behind capitalism!

Another reason why the successful are often unhappy (or at least eaten up with desire and ambition) is that they are successful only in climbing greasy poles and doing down their peers and anyone they see as 'competition', and to maintain this success they not only have to (literally) 'sell their souls' but have to work like hell to stay up the greasy pole. Is George W. Bush a happy man ? Is George Rumfeld or Condoleeza Rice ? Is any million- or billion-aire you have ever heard of ? Come to that, is there anyone whose biography you know even just a little, who could be described as 'happy' ? I cannot think of any famous or famously good person whom I could describe as 'happy'. Mother Teresa ? Definitely not: her life was given over to publicitous self-sacrifice. Mark Rothko, creator of some of the most wonderfully 'spiritual' art ever created, was profoundly miserable. Diogenes of Sinope - perhaps the wisest and most authentic human being in recorded history - was not a happy bunny, either. Chögyam Trungpa (the very wise and perceptive Tibetan mentioned above, who founded a prestigious college and publishing housein Colorado) was a predatory womaniser and a drunkard. Osho, the Maharishi, all those who went to Esalen, and the entire tomfoolery of Christian, Muslim and Buddhist saints are not famous for their happiness, but for what they said or wrote, suffered or endured. Certainly the wisest man known to me, who refuses to be a teacher since he rightly teaches that all teachers are bogus by definition, who refuses to have acolytes, followers, groupies, PhD students, publishers or others who can find their own wisdom if they would just adjust their vision and apply themselves, is not a happy man. Who can be merely happy, knowing that this planet of pain is screaming deafeningly - and all but a few of us are deaf."

The bolded part above really speaks to me because the more I read about people who have overcome great odds to "make it" the more tired I feel. I don't envy them I just feel sad thinking about how they will never be able to get back all the time they spent working towards "making it." And, even worse, they'll never get to stop! Once you start get comfortable after a period of success, there are many people willing to work twice as hard to take your place and no one will have any sympathy for you if/once that happens. I really can't help but ask: what's the point of it all? This one of the reasons that corporations behave in such unethical ways, because if they don't, there's another company waiting to take their place who will. 

And what's even scarier is that as the population increases, this competition will only get worse! Here's a gallup article that says as much. The gist is that the most important thing that determines an individuals well-being in the modern world is the possession of a good job. And according to the article, there are only 1.2 billion full-time formal jobs and there are 3 billion adults who want them. 

http://www.gallup.com/poll/146639/worldwide-good-jobs-linked-higher-wellbeing.aspx

Saturday, January 12, 2013

the challenge and gratitude: days 2 and 3

Day 2:
Not a success. As you can see, I didn't even get to write about how I didn't complete the challenge!

Also, I received a screening call from a company I applied to and told them that I would not be able to speak then (I was out and didn't have access to any of my job hunting stuff). They said I could call back and schedule an interview. According to my sweetheart, this was the absolutely wrong thing to do. I should have taken that call then no matter what the situation. It also didn't help that recruiter called when I had already gone over all of my daytime minutes for the month. 

So all in all it wasn't that good of a day. And I even got rather stressed and started having thoughts of "I'm a failure" and "I can never do anything right" towards the end of it.

Day 3:

Much better. At work today I used some of my down time to do some reading about business analysis.

I rested a bit once I got home and then applied for a few jobs; I never keep account.

I'm glad today was a success because I needed that boost to counteract yesterday. I also need it because nursing school resumes in less than 48 hours and I am still without a job. But I'm not giving up hope.


via icanread
update: just realized I forgot to write a note of gratitude for yesterday and today! But I'm going to do the one for today right now!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recognizing thought patterns

I was talking to a friend today and was reminded how differently I think than other people. She was sharing with me that she recently held her new baby cousin and felt "her uterus contract" (meaning that she now has a case of baby rabies).

We kept talking and I asked her if she ever worried about having kids considering current and future economic, environmental, and political conditions. She told me that she doesn't think things will get really bad during the lifetime of her kids. When I dug a little deeper she admitted that she really doesn't think about things like this at all and that all she thinks about is being financially able to provide for her kids a life that will save them from a lot of hardships.

I couldn't help but think about why our thought processes are so different. It is also my goal to make sure that I am able to provide for any of my future children in a way that will make their lives easier but I can't separate that from the general state of the world.

Or can I?

Some background: my friend comes from a developing nation but is very, very privileged by any standard. We met at a top-tier university. Her parents paid all of  the extremely expensive tuition for her and her sister. The only reason I was able to afford to go was due to the school's very generous financial aid policy for economically disadvantaged students. So I know that we come from very different worlds. Yet I don't think that's what explains the different way we see risks involving children. Most people seem to see the world the way she does. From the poorest to the most prosperous. No matter what their current circumstances, people continue to procreate and the grim forecasts for the future seem to have even less impact on people's decisions concerning procreation.

Why am I different? Why do I think this way? I'm scared to ask but what's wrong with me?

After talking to my friend today I am even more motivated to change my patterns of thought. I'm not trying to become super positive but I don't want to always think of the negative first and foremost.

I want to become more like my friend and only think about what's best for myself, family, and other people who I care about. There's a huge part of me that feels that that's selfish but I can't see any good that my current "unselfish" state has done for myself or anyone else. Especially recently since I am no longer involved in any activist activities.