Day 6597 | Day 6750 | Day 6757

The Custodian wrote about this in a much more eloquent way than I could hope to but I'll add my own ruminations.

Rushing for a fraternity is a very extensive process for most of the men who choose to join one. Hours are spent at the frathouse getting to know the guys, setting up for the parties, attending the parties, and cleaning up after the parties. Half of my rather limited circle of friends were given bids when they came out in January. Now, if I were to draw a Venn Diagram with my male friends in one circle and those who got bids to rush in another circle there would be complete overlap. It's also worth mentioning that a third circle containing my other friends always seem to end up hanging out at the frats anyway. Understandably, this has created a sudden excess of time alone in my life and I've decided to use it for some quiet introspection.

In my entire life I have never been to a party with people my age. Sure, there was the odd birthday party in elementary school, a Bar Mitzvah or two in junior high, but I always found myself most comfortable at the holiday parties of family friends, talking with my parent's friends two and three times my age. I went to prom not because I wanted to but because I feared regretting not going later in life. After high school, I chose to go to a college in a small, midwest town where the only entertainment is that which the students create for themselves. I was quickly introduced to the true days of the week on a college campus: Messed Up Mondays, Two-shot Tuesdays, Wasted Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays, Fucked Up Fridays, Schloshed Saturdays, and The Sabbath. With the party culture alive and well, I quickly defined myself by not going to the frats multiple times a week and by having a clear recollection of my weekends.

Because of my friends and because of my choices so far, I am constantly pressured to go to the fraternities. This is also, in part, because people enjoy my company (for reasons I truly do not understand ). And so I broke down and went this week—it was not an enjoyable experience. That's not to say that it was unenjoyable, only that I would have had more fun spending the time alone in my room reading E2 or watching TV. All the people I told this to were shocked by it and are still convinced that I 'just need to be brought out of my shell'.

Fuck. That. Shit.

I mention all this as a roundabout way of saying that I've spent a lot of time brooding over what makes me so different from so many people i.e. my introversion. The statistics would have us believe that two thirds to three quarters of people lie on the extrovert side of the personality spectrum though at times it feels like far more. I am sure that I am not alone in saying that us introverts get mighty tired of being told we have no social life and that we're living our lives wrong ("why don't you ever go out and have fun?"). So I got thinking; the extroverts and introverts are equally sure that their take on the matter is correct and yet both cannot be true. And as I contemplated, I started forming this (most likely unoriginal) idea:

In my experience and what I've read about other's experiences, depression and loneliness always seem to include a cognitive dissonance at a basic level. Each of us has two senses of self: our own personal sense of self worth (I'll call it SW) and the sense of our perceived worth (PW); the way we think others see us.

For most people, one dominates the other. You have the independent, often eccentric members of society who don't give a damn about others—these people are dominated by their personal sense of self worth. On the other side you have the gregarious and often outgoing people who, while prone to obsessing over things such as popularity, typically manage to surround themselves with sycophants. You would probably identify this latter group as the "popular" kids in high school and, while some people grow out of this mindset, others don't.

At least for me, depression begins when neither SW nor PW are dominant but rather when they are nearly equal. This leads to a very dangerous form of cognitive dissonance. For some it starts as a deep seated frustration with society where the SW is fairly high but the PW is fairly low. People in this situation tend to see themselves as good, perhaps even exceptional, people. However, there may also be a general sense of being rejected by society. The dissonance is in feeling oneself superior or worthy of society while at the same time holding the belief that one is generally inferior to society. This frustration is metastable and depending on dozens of factors can be tipped to the more stable arrangement of dominant SW or even dominant PW.

Depression itself is most similar to complete apathy. When SW and PW are both equal and they're both zero. When you're told that people care about you and you're only thought is that they're lying. It's when, late at night, the idea of suicide isn't so much a question of why as why not.

I ate lunch with a friend of mine yesterday. I trust her. It's funny how one idle comment can turn into an overblown discussion: she suggested that maybe I should try to change. In high school she was bullied a lot because of her race, her glasses, and her bookishness. So one day she decided to change: she cut her hair short, she changed her clothes, and she got into theatre. She says she wouldn't change again for the world.

It was one of the saddest stories I'd ever heard.

Don't read this if you suffer from debilitating anxiety attacks.

Friday was 11th day working (full spectrum family practice doc) in a row and zebras all over the place. First specialist call was to radiation oncology. He had to look it up and call me back. I am not kidding. Then got the introverted thinker and we jammed in the car to cuzes house. I was really tired driving and she sang to me to help me stay awake. Missed the exit and had to use damn cell phone (thinker called) to get instructions from the next exit. Stayed with Cuz. Spouse of Cuz made comments about my Calvin Klein pale ivory silk suit. Sent eyeball rays of death, but I really was so tired I didn't care. Actually sent Eyeball Rays of Don't Fuck With Me Because I Am Really Tired And I'm Beyond Diplomacy.

Saturday up at 5:30 because brain wants to get up after 6.5 to 7 hours sleep. Cuz gave me her songbook. I want it to have music especially for the ones I don't know. Can I find time to do the music for her? Maybe. Not now. Maybe someday.

Drove Introverted Thinker rest of way to Portland. Ergh. We'd gotten directions from Nephew. Told him name of pool. He printed out. Was Wrong Pool. Introverted Thinker (IT)did not cry, I did, because I was so tired and didn't want to drive any more. Told her that I would get directions from someone else next time and she pointed out that so far, no matter WHO we get directions from, including me getting off internet, have been wrong 100% percent of time for 4 years. This has got to be some kind of record. The Beloved has a totally evil sense of humor. We stopped at two places to ask for directions and they were both wrong too. At the second place I saw a newspaper article "Swine flu in Mexico". FUCK. Not that it's unexpected. Managed to concentrate and not scare IT. We made it on time by a squeak. One of the other parents started to tell me about a GPS, hoping to fix me, and I said it wasn't a good time. He looked at my face and decided I meant it. I made sure the Introverted Thinker was set and told her I needed to be ALONE. She understood. Other parents also understood and I disappeared.

Went to a Portland Goodwill, was on the way to Powell's and got sucked in the door. Found another nice second hand suit and a few cashmere sweaters. They are warm. There was a cool leather jacket. Was $400. No way. I went back to the pool. Got there right at one. IT in tears because she knew I needed to leave at one to get back home so I could sing in my concert. Comforted IT and did her her. Left the other parents to apply the melted knox (synchronized swimming is a WEIRD sport) to her hair. Got in car, drove back to home, 4+ hours. Was supposed to be at the church by 6. Got home at 6. Told Extroverted Feeler expected his presence at concert well behaved or else and found black clothes to put on, the scarf that makes us match and my music. And a black folder. Did concert. EF there, behaved. Father (General Singular) also there. Went well, very fun, some fabulous soloists. My one line solo as a nun was well received. I am destined for greatness, clearly. I got to do the line about the father son and holy ghost in latin. How appropos.

Was a bit too wired for bed. Went to the venue in town where they'd had a nice ad for some dance thing that night with some guy wearing next to nothing from the waist up and nice muscles. Unfortunately it was over. Went to another venue and they had a pretty fab woman singer, who started with John Prine and kept getting better. I was in the back and couldn't see, so stood on my chair. Nice chair, with gently giving caning. The people at the bar could see me and didn't care. I danced on the chair, much to the amusement of the singer, for 30 min. No one else was dancing. Then a nice group of visiting young women, self-proclaimed lesbians, joined me and one of them asked me to dance. We danced until the set ended. She told me she was in a drinking contest with one of the others and winning. I did not join them in the contest. Talked to the singer in the break, bought her CD, explained I was too tired to stay for last set and home to bed.

Sunday am woke really early. Had bought paper on way back from Portland. Already in Texas and California. SHIT. Called alternate parents and called sister, hide out. In any emergency first check your own pulse. Thought was actually nice that I have so far entirely ignored my taxes and don't know which pile my W2 form is in. Pulled out all the camping gear and filled every plastic selzer bottle that I had saved. Looked over books, musical instruments and art supplies to see what I think is important. Explained my concerns to ET and told him he'd be getting a flu shot the next day. Even if it doesn't protect against "Swine flu" if they've mutated enough, one could get both. That would be bad. He said, "Mom, we need a gun." I said, well, think a gun is lower priority than water purification. Besides, I'm not getting back in the damn car. He helped me organize stuff. IT called at 4. She won top place for synchro figures in her age group. There were 7 of them, this is 5 states competition. Okay. She was in tears from being tired. Instructed her to sleep in car and that she was to skip school next day if exhausted. She was pretty bouncy by the time she got home.

Monday am. Took EF to school. Took IT to school. Ran around. Bought water purification, one filter and one set iodine tablets. Bought other survival gear. Looked at a GPS but $400. Damn. There's a solar power doowop that you can buy in addition. Damn. Spent $700 at coop on food supplies, mostly storable except the carrots, greens and jerusalem artichokes. Some was medical supplies. Bought an ok first aid kit. I don't have my own AED damn it. I was at the coop for at least two hours. Joked to the checker that I was finally laying in my disaster supplies. Ha, ha. With the bridge closure looming Friday, no one batted an eye. Personally I'd freak if I saw my doctor buying what I bought. Met with D and D for coffee. They are freaking out in a calm way. The female D thinks that the executive branch has plans for the extra powers. We hope it's to kick the banks butts a la Great Britan and to lay down the law for univeral health care, but we're a bit too cynical to hold our breath. Retrieved IT from school and the EF too, and got the EF's paperwork notarized for the exchange. Gotta mail it. Tired, gosh, don't know why, in the evening and think I went to bed at 8 pm.

Today. Woke at 5, which is sleeping in for me. Tried the Bach remedies. Yum. Whenever I am running on right brain instead of left, something electronic in my house breaks down. Computer, cell phone, whatever. Today it was the coffee maker. I looked at it with some annoyance (damn thing was a wedding present so it is only 19 years old) and decided that I didn't need electricity to make it work. Put all the filter and coffee in and boiled the water. Poured it in and put the pot under. This coffee maker even has the Impatient Bitch attachment, meaning it stops dripping when you pull the pot out. Heh, heh. Off to clinic. The zebras are swarming. Gave a lot of flu shots. Is now noon and think I'll go to lunch. Hasta la vista.

Will add more links later. Need lunch. More patients in 40 min.

Accusations you will not deny. Shielded by inconspicuous comforting lies. (Do not.) Alternating with truth you never arrived at. (Will not.) Though sometimes, you don't know anymore. (Can not.) Stick them on with wasted band aids. We'll watch skin peel away while we wait for the next round. Everything is an infinite circle.

Mirrors reflect more than the mere soul. But even they can't repaint every memory. It claws and hooks and tears, and still loses to insidious lies that you once swore by. Betrayal asks for nothing but trust. A worthy sacrifice the first million times, slowly morphing to crumbling star dust that means so much of nothing. The price of pain stuck in a decaying inflation. And I reach for the otiose tape.

I'm curious. What lies under your skin? I find myself afraid to ask as you cry your ultra violet tears. (Don't cry.) I want to ask, but I don't want to know. Instead I soothe your soul and calm your fears with flowers that can only wither away. A fitting goodbye to sins I'll never touch. Only because you would not let me. And I won't deny the accusations. I have my shields. And the falling, crumbling, mocking, sad old band aids.

Mirrors reflect so much more than the mere soul. I find solace in the blindness you impose. And all I long to see is long gone away. The river will find me. The river will take me home. Don't make me go. Don't let me go. Don't let me get carried away.

Yesterday was a smartwool socks day. My little sister's mother-in-law works for a shoe store that sells smartwool socks. A while back my roommate borrowed a pair of my smartwool socks. At the time I didn't care that he hadn't asked to borrow my socks but my ex-girlfriend got bent out of shape about it. I didn't do my laundry over the weekend so I had to scrounge around for a pair of socks to wear to the gym. I was halfway across the lobby when I saw this girl I went to high school with. She used to be stuck up so I wasn't sure she'd want to talk to me about anything but I said 'hi' just to be polite. A friend of hers that she had been waiting for showed up just as I was getting ready to head to the locker room. She introduced herself and she probably would have been a good prospect except the girl I went to high school with is married to a stock broker so that lead was out.

My first client was a guy who works for Harley Davidson. We met at Starbucks and the only thing he knew for sure was what kind of coffee he wanted. He didn't know what his credit score was or how much credit card debt he had. When I asked him about his company's 401(k) program he was sure they had one but he didn't know what percentage of his income was being directed towards that. We agreed to meet again at his place so I can take a look at some of the statements that he had forgotten to bring with him. My two o'clock appointment was half an hour away from the office. I left early but they're redoing the freeway west of town so I was almost late for that. My three o'clock didn't go as well as my first appointment had even though these people have more money than my first client.

My appointment with the Pizza Hut manager was on my way back to the office so I was early for that. One of the things I hate about my job is talking to people who are fucked. The Pizza Hut manager has four kids, his wife doesn’t work and he lets her pay the bills. They have a two bedroom home out where I grew up. That appointment went nowhere although he referred me to his parents. For a while my roommate has been talking about buying a house. He left me a voice mail asking if I wanted to check out a place not far from where I went to college. My plan was to stop at home first but my roommate told me he'd meet me at the house. I was halfway across town when he called back to tell me he was going to have to work late. My roommate is a used car salesman. He thinks my job is harder than his. There are things I don't like about my job but I would not want to sell used cars for a living.

I ate most of the leftover pizza for supper. By the time my roommate came home it was too late to check the house he likes out but he sold a car so he was in a good mood. He asked if I was feeling better. We talked about his shoulder and his dad. I wanted to ask what he had said to my ex-girlfriend but he didn't bring it up so I didn't either. I was listening to him talk when I noticed he was wearing my smartwool socks again. He mentioned that the girl he sold the car to complimented him on my socks. It ticked me off that he was sitting there in my socks bragging about how he had sold a car. I paid attention to my roommate for a couple minutes before I told him I had laundry to do. I asked my roommate if I could have my socks back, he handed them over but I resented having to turn dirty socks that he had worn inside out so I could wash them. I went to bed still thinking about the damn smartwool socks. Is getting mad at my roommate over a pair of my socks really worth it?

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