Monday, April 23, 2018

When the Pointing Finger Points to the Mirror



"Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.  For example, a person who is habitually intolerant may constantly accuse other people of being intolerant. It incorporates blame shifting."--from Wikipedia's series of articles on psychoanalysis.

Do the Cheeto and the GOP at large suffer from this psycholocical malady?  Or is their propensity to condemn their "enemies" for exactly the dirty tactics they have so successfully employed for the past several years merely an exercise in revisionist propaganda?  

Or are they merely honing their skill at making the best of the first by employing it as the second?  If fate hands you a lemon as an ideological leader, make...

Kool-aid.  


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Save...What?



Right-wing "economists" harp that Americans do not save enough money. Many Americans are working two jobs to pay housing costs that eat up 1/3 to 1/2 of their income. Health "care" is another 10 to 20%, or more--and that's just the cost of insurance. If they actually get sick or have to take drugs, it's more. Now pay for food, utilities, gasoline and auto insurance, a car payment or auto upkeep, a cel phone...if you're lucky, you can throw in cable tv or internet. What's left to save?

Say I have a couple of pennies left over at the end the month to put away. I'll get a whopping .25% (yes, that's 1/4%) interest if I put it in a bank account, and I'll probably end up LOSING money through bank fees. If I should somehow squirrel away enough to buy a CD, I won't be able to touch that money for at least six months, probably several years...and for that, I might get as much as 2% apr. Where's the incentive?

No...the 98% have been screwed. If we want to save money at all for retirement, we have to put it in a 401k and let the stock market have at it. If we're lucky, we'll at least have what we put into it left when we retire. Forget about any kind of reliable return.

I'm 62 years old, and looking retirement squarely in the eye.

It scares the hell out of me.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Knees



When I do my devotion to the four directions in the morning, I ask each of my spirit guides to guide me in some way connected to what I have discerned is their "specialty," as it were. 

My Spirits of the South are hawk and owl--who have the ability to see things from far away and in dark places.  I ask those spirits to guide me to insight and vision--kind of a request to help me walk with an understanding of what I  normally might not see.

What I've had in mind has been more of an understanding of the motivations of other people in my life--people whose actions might piss me off or frustrate me.  It's all about ME, in the end, isn't it?

But, as usual, I've discovered that the Universe answers requests that you didn't know you made, knowing there are things you need to experience that you didn't know you needed to...or flat out didn't want to. 

Getting old is not for the faint of heart.  And being one of the younger of my circle of family and friends, it has almost been harder to watch the physical deterioration of my older siblings, than it has been to deal with my own descent into decrepitude.  Partly, I'm sure, because I'm resisting going there with every fiber of my being. (Though not enough, apparently, to be dedicated to exercising or keeping my weight down...)

My brother-in-law and my husband have both been suffering with knee issues for the past several years (and the husband is younger than I am!)  And I have to admit, I have looked upon them with a certain amount of impatient "get over it!" clouding my vision of their issues.  It has rankled me that, one by one, my family has aged out of things like hiking trails in the woods or even walking a mile on the beach.  Again, it was all about me.  "Poor me...I have to do all of these things alone." 

Well.  The Universe saw fit to give me a little better understanding of knee issues.

Three weeks ago, my left knee suddenly went tits up for no particular reason.  And I do mean "tits up." 

I've never experienced anything quite like this pain.  And the weird stiffness that comes with swelling inside the joint.  Yuk! It's just...horrible.

So I guess I will need to be a little more sympathetic to my crowd of achy-kneed siblings and assorted hangers-on.

But I have to admit to being a bit miffed with my Spirits of the South. 

I guess the moral of THIS story is, "Be careful what you wish for..."   



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Hang Your Head in Shame


Yes.   People voted for a man who displayed this kind of unconscionable boorishness on the campaign trail. 

He is the face of our national character, now. 

I STILL cannot wrap my head around it.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Lessons Learned




Still smarting from the aborted vacation.

My self-confidence is in tatters.  My yearning for change sours and burns for want of an outlet.  My courage and fortitude are acrid ashes at my feet.

Best, perhaps, to focus on lessons learned by the experience:

There is a certain amount of comfort in being alone among the familiar.

Guess if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look further than my own back yard. 

Sigh.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Do-Over, Please?




I was looking over my stats earlier today, and just randomly clicked on a post that showed up in the stats feed.  It was from 2015...and it actually had comments on it!  I guess I thought that commenting on blog posts had gone out of fashion long before that.  

For some reason, people are SO allergic to posting comments on blog posts, that even if I post a link to a post on Facebook, they come...but they don't comment.  Or, if they DO comment, they do it on the Facebook post, not at the blog.  I CAN NOT understand that. Have they forgotten how to log in?  Are they AFRAID to log in?  Does it just take too much time to log in and then leave a comment?

I Just. Don't. Get. It.

In view of all the recent crappy revelations about Facebook and what they actually DO with the information you knew was not private (if you had a brain in your head) but had no idea what kind of nefarious--even treasonous--purposes for which it could be exploited...  Why can't we all take a step backward and go back to blogging?  

Yeah...I know.  It'll never happen.  

That boat done sailed...and nobody ever goes backward when it comes to technology.

More's the pity, because clearly social media have gone completely out of control, and there seems no way to close THAT Pandora's box.  Even if we could gather up all the evil spirits and ill humours that have escaped from it into the world at large over the past ten years. 

These days, there are only problems...and no solutions.  


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Goodbye Facebook?



How does one set the limits of one's community?  Especially within a medium over which one has only the slightest token control?

I have ridden the wave of social media, in my own small, contained way, from the days of its infancy.  By the turn of the 21st century, AOL was all the rage.  It was, in fact, one of very few avenues to the internet available to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Average Guy.  In 2003, AOL launched its very infant versions of social media.  

I started signing on to the internet through Aol in about 1998.  In 2003, I was in an extremely lonely and isolated place in my life; as low, I think, as I had ever been.  I filled pages upon pages with my maudlin angst...at once an historical record of the sad events of a terrible decade of my life, and an attempt to use pen and paper as a substitute for talk therapy.  When J-land started up that year, it was a natural place for me to...put myself "out there."  At the outset, I had no idea it was going to turn into a community.  But it did...and I really think it saved my life.  Or at least, my sanity.

J-land was only around for about 2 years when Aol chose to take its very popular social media to the next level--it added advertisements around the edges of the journal pages.  How infuriated we were!  There was a mass exodus of j-landers away from the "commercialization" of our little internet home.  How funny that seems now.  What in the world ever gave us the idea that WE "owned" that little space, or had any say whatsoever about what went on there?

I had a little cadre of steady j-land "friends."  I have to laugh, now, when I think of how incensed we were about the ads on our blogs.  Some quit the neighborhood altogether, never to be heard from again.  Then, Aol closed j-land for good in 2008.  So, the whole span of that time of community and emotional support lasted a little less than 5 years.  Why, then, is it so branded on my psyche that I STILL miss it?

Most of my j-land friends, however, eventually popped back up on Facebook.  They missed the community of social media, I guess, enough to swallow all the things about Facebook which were EXACTLY the things we railed against at Aol j-land. 

So...here we are.  Fifteen years down the road of social media, all thinking we are so smart and so with-it to have claimed our little spaces on Facebook.  Up until the run up to the election of 2016, we had all told ourselves that we could manipulate the medium to serve our personal needs--whether it was to stay in touch with distant family, or reconnect with friends from our past, or communicate with current co-workers or neighbors, or advertise our small business for free. 

But as the dark political divisions in our country were highlighted and widened by social media, I think we began to get the inkling that we were playing with fire.  That this gigantic network that reached into the homes and hearts of so many Americans of diverse geography, lifestyles, ideologies and faiths had fallen into the hands of forces that could and would manipulate public opinion for their own nefarious purposes.  Ultimately putting us at war with each other. 

All for financial gain.  Someone is getting rich on this stuff.  Maybe a lot of someones.  But not Mr. and Mrs. Joe Average American.  No.  We are the pawns.  We are the puppets.  We are the masses to be manipulated in whichever direction the guy with the most money can point us.

Recent revelations about the extent to which foreign powers trafficked in and manipulated American social media have proven the Machiavellian depths to which this dark game of power and control have gone.

A friend of mine deleted his Facebook page after the Cambridge Analytica bombshell.  He said he felt like he needed to do this as a "public service."  

I'm inclined to go in that direction myself.  But...

I'm having a really hard time cutting that umbilicus. 

Facebook is my last, weak connection to my j-land "friends."  The folks who flit past my posts and click "like" if something strikes their fancy.  The same folks I used to interact with on a deep and personal level (or so I thought) on a nearly daily basis.   

If I leave Facebook, I say a permanent goodbye to 95% of the people "in" my life.

And I'm not sure I have the guts to do that.  Yet.

Am I a sap?  Am I just the kind of person that nefarious forces count on to continue their work of tearing apart the fabric of American society?

I don't know.

I have to do some real thinking about all this.             

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Disaster




So, I went on my vacation.  Pulled up my big girl panties, made my motel reservations, packed my gear, gassed up the car, and headed east.  All stoked up for a real adventure.  Not mad at anyone, or resentful, or sad, or desperate.  Trying to bask in the warm glow of joy and peace.

Three hours into my solitary adventure, piloting the van across the flat, featureless high desert of central Oregon, I looked out the windows...and had a Grand Mal anxiety attack.  Out of the blue, for no reason I have since been able to come up with. 

I have been having these attacks since just after I was married.  They seem to have something to do with my stepping out of my comfort zone and embarking upon something completely new and foreign.  Marriage was, apparently, one of those things.  Evidently, so was driving away from my solitary, protected little life in the valley, and up onto the vast, flat-from-horizon-to-horizon, plain of the high desert. 

During these attacks, I temporarily lose myself.  I suddenly feel as if I've been dropped into a completely different universe...I come dangerously close to losing my concept of who I am or what my life is...as if I've been living an alternate existence, and my actual reality is trying to break through into the one I'm in. I can't look in a mirror during these spells, because I have this sense of not recognizing myself.  It's like I'm falling, but not into a hole.  More like into a boundless space where I will just...spread out in the air and disappear.  It scares the crap out of me, every time. 

Over the years, I've learned to physically turn away from these attacks, connect with something familiar within my line of sight, grab onto it and turn my back on the feeling of...not knowing who I am.  It works.  But driving across the bright, empty plain, away from everything familiar, I couldn't find enough of anything to grab onto to keep from falling.  I very nearly lost myself.  It scared the shit out of me.  I was rattled and shaken for two days afterward. 

It was just too hard to get myself back to a place where I could enjoy the adventure, after that.  Even though the feeling and immediate fear finally abated, I was scared to death it would happen again...because it had come at me from out of the blue the first time.  So I just couldn't explore the open, boundless beauty of the high desert alone. 

After three days, I canceled the rest of my trip and headed back to the valley, familiarity, and safety.

I feel like such a failure.

I've always known that fear and anxiety are my constant companions; and, in fact, they have been rearing their ugly heads with greater frequency as I get older. 

In a way, I guess I believed that heading out on an adventure motivated by joy and surrounded by peace, I would also be charting a course away from fear and anxiety. 

They sure proved me wrong.

Apparently, strong negative emotions are the best way for me to conquer fear and anxiety, and accomplish anything at all.  Anger, sadness, loneliness, frustration...these are the clubs I use to beat back the fear so I can move in any direction at all. 

Which is why this has been the story of my life.

Who knew?