(no subject)
ElkMoon
litteraoccidit

may this nasty, barbarically early 8am class show my commitment to this line of study:

Intro To Social Work 8:00 am - 9:15 am MW
Ethics & Society 10:00 am - 10:50 am MWF
Intro to Theatre & Dance 11:00 am - 11:50 am MWF
Hist Of Civilization II 1:40 pm - 2:55 pm MW
Science Of Biology 6pm-7:15 pm MW
Science Of Biology Lab 7:25 pm - 9:15 pm M

social work should be cool.  I wanted to get into the online class, but I can wake up early enough to get there 2 days a week...I'll have to test drive it some time to see exactly how bad traffic is.  I might have to avoid the highways.  its nice to actually know the back roads.  I hope I won't have to leave more than an hour early to get there by 8...I really want to make a good impression on this professor.  I'll need two letters of recommendation to get into the social work program...*wonders who to ask*  maybe I should be looking for volunteer

both the ethics and theatre profs got very high marks on ratemyprofessor.com, bio one also got pretty high marks.    history was unlisted on the site and social work is TBA, so those are gambles, but I have to take both of them either way and only having to be on campus for 2 hours on friday will be nice.  or frustrating, I wish I could've gotten them all to be just MW classes, but oh well.

funny thing, when I came back to campus I really felt good.  I like UALR's campus and I like going there.  yay!


(no subject)
ElkMoon
litteraoccidit
random thoughts in no particular order:

things in my life after age 8 that have lasted more than 3 years:
ethical/religious commitments
family relationships (at varying degrees of quality)

---

since I've gotten back I've been eating when I'm not actually hungry, just to have something to do.  I'm back to 175.  still 25lbs lower than I was in august, but 5lbs more than I was before thanksgiving and the boredom cooking.  grr.

---

I have an appointment with UALR's academic advising office tomorrow.  I know I want to take intro to social work, spanish 3, and probably french 1, (both electives, UALR requires two history classes and two language classes, instead of 3 language one history...stupid in my opinion, though UCA's gen-ed history was utter shit) and whatever gen ed requirements there are for the Bachelors of Social Work.  hopefully my human anatomy class/lab will count towards bio, though it's not on the list.  it'd be kinda retarded if the pre-med bio requirement wasn't good enough for the social work gen ed reqs.

hmm.

I'm kind of worried I may have Rheumatoid Arthritis or something.  now that I'm not taking those steroids the joint paint is coming back.  it's not bad, I think it gets worse when I don't get a full night's sleep...which is hard to judge for me.  a twitch in my eyebrow also reminds me I've been worried about other neurological issues...I've noticed that I shiver uncontrollably when I'm anxious - like a fucking chihuahua.  I never used to do that.  I don't know if it's just stress or what.  frankly I'm not managing it well enough and I want to change that.

the other thing I'm wondering is if the stress of going into social work might be too much for me.  I wonder if I should contact my old abnormal psych professor.  she was really enthusiastic about my being a therapist, as became evident when I mentioned an interest in adoption and foster care.  she had chronic depression too and might have some insights, she was definitely encouraging.  she left teaching to go back into the field again, so I guess she must like what she does despite having to work through a lot of the same things I do.

from what I can tell via online research, the BSW would probably get me a job in a related field fairly easily.  an MSW would be required if I wanted to do psychotherapy/be a counselor.  as an added perk, self-employed counselors make the most money...not that that's a terrible lot, but the idea of being my own boss and maintaining a soothing, healing atmosphere somewhere is very nice.  I'm still kind of attached to the idea of being able to bring a golden retreiver to work with me.  dog assisted therapy would rule.  other areas of focus this website lists that might work for me: disaster relief, rural social work (going back to anthropology, working on an indian reservation would be pretty cool), adoption and foster care, international social work, HIV/AIDS, school alternative programs (oh hell yes) - ooo, and this website actually has relatively prominent sections on helping GLBTQ youth and even a "Click here to read profiles of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender social workers."  it makes sense that you'd want more people from within the community to help it, and the GLBTQ community definitely has lots of unique challenges.  my friend Martin up in NYC works as some kind of mentor to gay youth...his job description consists of being his awesome self and generally supporting kids going through tough times, helping them deal with mental health problems, making sure they stay in school, probably some sex ed, he even set up an altar at work for the transexual day of rememberance.  I would love a job like that - and frankly my depressed high school dropout self might actually be decently equipped to help younger queer folk make better choices than I have.

---

ZOMG the coordinator of the BSW program at UALR is an out lesbian!  this is beyond cool.  she writes about the fucking adoption ban here in AR in her bio...and I found her by going from the Bureau of Labour Statistics page on Social Work to the website I linked to above...yay!

totally doing this.
ElkMoon
litteraoccidit

The Magical Loaf Studio

Magic Loaf!

Here's Your Very Own Adventist-Style Vegan Dinner Loaf!

program created by Jennifer McCann for the Vegan Lunch Box Blog

THE EVISCERATOR

Ingredients:

1/2 cup walnuts
2 TB vegetable oil
One onion, diced
One large garlic clove, minced
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a loaf pan or 8x8 square baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside (an 8x8 pan makes a crisper loaf).

Grind the walnuts into a coarse meal using a food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Sauté any vegetables you've chosen in the vegetable oil until soft. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny (you may not need to add any liquid if the grains and protein are very moist). Add more binder/carbohydrate as needed if the loaf seems too wet.

Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice. Serve with potatoes, vegetables, and vegetarian gravy, if desired.

Cold leftover slices of THE EVISCERATOR make a great sandwich filling.

*Disclaimer: I have not personally tried every possible combination of ingredients and therefore cannot vouch for the tastiness or efficacy of every Dinner Loaf creation. Happy eating!


(no subject)
ElkMoon
litteraoccidit

I had a conversation the other night.  I'd like to nominate my pillow for best supporting actor this year, or really every year since about 2nd grade.  last night it played a very sympathetic, albeit rather quiet friend of mine, who I anticipate meeting in the next 6 months, and whom for some completely relaxed and natural reason will be lying next to me under the stars asking me this:

Him: so now that I've rambled to you, answer a question for me.

Me: shoot.

Him: Who are you, really?

Me: oh damn...complicated question.

I have to stop and think for a bit.

"You know, when I was a kid, the first, instant reaction to that would've been my religious identity."

I pause again and bite my lip.

"I don't think that's actually changed, really.  It's just gotten so much harder to express, more personal, you know?  It almost feels wrong to talk about it...to circumscribe it, pin it down like a butterfly.  You never get it live that way, just a dead thing.  Collected.  That's how Jesus died, you know, pinned down and labeled.  I guess he's part of the mix too..." I shift a bit awkwardly "but I'm not a Christian."

It takes me a while to keep going but I decide complete sincerity is worth trying tonight.

"You've met my Mother."  I laugh a bit.  "She is...wide.  Covering us.  Surrounding us.  Protecting us.  We pass through her...stars.  Our outward awareness the light caught on the curves of her body...the form of a Woman."  I think of the limbs of Nuit touching down, pillars holding up the sky...the sun passing through her each night, warmth and cold.  So hard to put into words.

"Drive me out of my mind, oh Mother" - how does it go?  "What use is esoteric or philosophical knowledge...immerse me irretrievably in that stormy ocean without boundary...pure love, pure love, pure love."  Some Laugh, Some Weep, Some Dance for Joy.  "She catches us...encompasses us...pale moon, reflected light."  I wonder as I speak if there's some implicit inferiority about the cool, silver impression she leaves on me, contrasted to the warm gold of the sun...but the darkness is so much greater.  Patient.  All things move within her, contained. The reflection is only there because there was something beyond the light to catch it.  Something farther, wider, greater.  A flash on distant glass...cat's eye in the night.  I hear the music in my head, "curves more fluid than desert wastes"...and I say "we're tesserae."  

With him there next to me, I'm afraid, but after another pause I plunge on ahead.

"There's more, though..."  I get stuck, the next thing out of my mouth is "Ishq par zor nahin, hai ye vo aatish Ghalib."  I offer a bad translation from memory, "Love is an uncontrollable, triumphant fire."  That warmth I wondered about earlier.  It's so much more intimate, I don't know that that makes it greater, but vastly more emotional for me.  Mother is peace...Ishq, that fire...heh, tere Ishq men ham ne kyaa kyaa na dekhaa, oh what have we not endured in your love?  I should stop editorializing.  It was a flash of emotion, but a second later I continue.

"It's a word from the Arabic for 'vine', it means love, love that takes hold in your heart and drives out everything else...There was this thing they used to do...Sufis...what was the word...'Witness Play'. in Persian they called it 'Witness Play.'  Trying to catch that light, to see it in someone, through someone.  It pissed people off."  I end up whispering, "They kiss a slave boy and claim to have seen God."  "How did he put it...'The threat to conventional religion...was that man could realize himself more perfectly in love than in religious ritual.'  Heh...though it probably didn't help it was guy on guy."

I'm bashful.  My friend jokes a bit, "Yeah, they sure as hell weren't gonna talk about finding God in a woman."

I think about that a bit.  "Well...honestly I've never felt that way about a woman before.  I mean, once back in high school I had this friend I really wanted more in common with...so I tried sexualizing and objectifying women a little, it worked a bit, but it's just not the same.  I think the main thing for me is that it has to be equal, a peer...a mirror."  (I remember a friend who wrote that, "I am your mirror" and how I wanted him to be.)  "Two mirrors facing each other...you're looking into infinity."

"I guess that's the other half of it...after the cold, the warmth that moves within it, within Her...witnessing.  I want that."

And I fall asleep with him holding my hand.

---

a bit part of why I wanted to write that out was that I think I was being completely honest.  the person I was talking to was a complete fantasy, but I love that potential to the point I was expressing myself with absolute sincerity.

What caught my attention was the bit about an equal witness.  Why can't a woman be an equal witness?  Answer: she can, of course, but in my heart I'm not sure it's ever going to be that way.  I was never taught to look at a woman as an equal.  The way I desire men is entirely organic and personal, owing largely to the fact it grew up in secret, was modeled for me by absolutely no one, and I didn't have words or concepts for it until gay rights marches on TV came crashing in and informed me all the things everyone knows about gay people.

We/They love anal sex, for example.  I learned this from my mother in one of the most uncharacteristically hateful outbursts from her I remember.  She was angry and disgusted with a world that could prompt her 12 year old son to ask "what does gay mean?" She used the correct anatomical terms to describe this (I'm told)central aspect of homosexual identity.  However her tone, in my memory, was the most personally affronted and outraged I have ever heard from her - indignation at my or my brother's most heinous childhood offenses aside.  It was also the moment I learned that the general public had a word (several...) for the complex of emotional needs, desires, and their interplay with my identity that I had never shared with anyone before.  "How gay people naturally treat each other" slammed into my awareness several years after I had already begun observing what I felt, more or less in a vacuum.  It stayed utterly private for several more years, until its intensity and depth prompted me to share it with others, gradually.

How "we" men naturally are to be with women?  Whole nother story.  That I was trained in from before I could talk.  By the time we were old enough that my friends were starting to get curious, I had already been walked through guided book series on the Christian view of marriage and sex.  I was fully aware that rather than disrespecting fragile, delicate, pure women, it was my future role to cherish and lead this completely opposite (but equal in a I-would-always-have-the-last-word kind of way) being.  The church was right, and in contrast "the world" preferred I should objectify them.  Dismembered anatomy...nice ass, nice tits.  Look at the cheerleader moving, this is how you appreciate the finer points of women, and eventually if you want the good stuff you play a little game.  As per Job "I made a covenant with mine eyes not to look upon a woman" and that was that.  Wonder why my Christian brothers seem to have so much trouble with that one.  *shrug*

That all worried me.  If there's some kind of ideological residue that keeps me from looking at women as peers, as people coming from the same place I am in a really fundamental, intimate way, then shouldn't I try to get rid of that?  Does that mean I have to be bi?  Look past the construct of woman to get to the shared humanity in whoever I'm relating to?  I'm not sure that's something I'm capable of, to be honest.  To the same extent I reject the puritanical Christian view I was handed of them, and to the same degree I am disinterested in the sexualization and dismemberment mainstream culture hands me, I see victimization, I see the underdog.  I don't see a peer, not someone inferior by any means, but someone who looks over her shoulder and walks a little faster when she sees I'm walking behind her and there's no one else around.  Getting all the societal bullshit out of the way and getting us really looking at each other, mirrors without angles slightly off throwing off the reflecting, I'm not sure that's possible.  Moreover, I'm not sure that some gallant, ideologically motivated crusade to learn to desire romantic intimacy with women is something I want to embark on.  Justifying same-gender attraction, and lack of attraction to other genders, is something I've forced myself to stop trying to do.

Other Genders.  That's the other thing I realized.  I realized it a few weeks before I had the conversation (well, monologue) above.  I'm not attracted to men, per se.  I'm attracted to my peers, to people who are coming from the same place I am, to people who can witness the deepest parts of me and understand.  Frankly, I don't see a heteronormative man doing that.  When I try to describe what attracts me to someone it's always slightly awkward.  Yes, I like a deep voice, muscle can be nice, whatever - but what makes the difference between attractive and boorish/threatening is how it's used...If I see them acting like me, or how I want or wish I was.  Nurturing a child, being gentle to something, eschewing masculinity taboos for things that matter to me on a deep level.

There may be something narcissistic in that.  I've worried about that, too.  An Eastern Orthodox Christian once wrote to me, sincerely and in love, that true intimacy was about encountering the Other and having the Other encounter you.  Am I deficient, self absorbed, for not wanting to have sex with the Other?  I worried about that for a few years before I read Harry Hay.  The radical thing he saw in Gay Love was that it could be Subject-Subject relationship, not Subject-Object relationship.  Men historically tend to relate to women as objects, the masculine west relating to the feminine Orient as something Other, exotic, foreign...something often romanticized and invariably dominated.  The Hebrew word for "veil", I posted weeks ago, is related to the word for conquest, to spread over, to subdue.

Speaking of that fire in me and in him whom I would have witness me, the Song of Solomon always comes to mind:

The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that am heartsick.

---

more thoughts to come.  they took my veil, is it a good thing?  love is as strong as death.  Dark am I, but beautiful.  The Shulamite and death.

(no subject)
ElkMoon
litteraoccidit

I have a lot to write about.  at the moment I'm home alone for the week, and I quit my job yesterday.  it could take hours to write about that alone but I'm wanting to get to the store.  brief timeline:

1) get home from Massachusetts
2) realize I'm not sore from the train, I'm covered in purple-grey splotches and have aches too bad to move
3) left side of face paralyzed, possibly due to the combination of imflammation evinced by my roving joint pain and stress (slow-boil year long freak out and identity crisis since a little before Mabon last year, more direct freak out over what happened in Mass, acute freak out over stupid LJ drama the day or two before actual paralysis)
4) go to doctor, be poked and prodded, got steroids to help with the paralysis and an antibiotic on the off chance it's lyme disease, get bloodwork done
5) be told my liver enzymes are abnormally high, come back in, be told they're still abnormally high, scheduled to drop another $75 I don't have in mid december to find out they are probably still abnormally high.  I have no idea what this means, but I'm curious if it has to do with the fact I smell different than I used to.

meh.  I need a new doctor, I was afraid to ask this one for an HIV test.  I highly doubt I have HIV (I haven't had any form of sex that could transmit it since the last time I had surgery, before which I know they did a blood test, I think it included an HIV test but I don't know and since my mother was there I didn't ask.) but it's still something that I worry about cropping up spontaneously.  I could lie to the red cross, tell them I'm not gay, give blood, and then have them let me know if I'm clean, but that would bother me on multiple levels.  I had assumed the general blood screen they did included tests for major illnesses along with things like liver function and thyroid problems, but my friend thinks it's illegal to do an HIV test without my express permission.  meh, at any rate I'm not asking for one as long as there are copies of "The Jesus Film" (which my parents' organization produces...oh joy) with the magazines on the tables.

whatever the hell it is, since I've been tapering off my dose of prednisone I'm starting to feel the inflammation in my feet again.  hopefully that's not indicative that once I'm done (i.e. tomorrow) the joint pain will come back.

---

I wrote a long-ass letter to myself the other night, more on identity.  a few things really stuck in my mind from the whole starbucks experience, too:

1) completely insignificant things become extremely significant when our social relationships treat them as such.  I could give a damn about how other people drink their coffee, but stick me in a context in which my entire (brief, fake, insignificant) relationship with someone depends on the accuracy with which I enter in their exact desired number of splenda packets into a computer system I haven't had time to learn, and I will have a panic attack.  this leads into:

2) I fail pretty damn badly at not caring about relationships with even the most douchey people on the most insignificant basis.  I need time to recover from the disapproving, dismissing glare customer X gives me because their overpriced coffee took too long or I handed them the wrong kind of danish.  I don't handle being around people who don't approve of me well (which is odd and problematic, considering who I am and where I live.)

several thoughts: do I want to learn to dismiss people?  obviously not stressing to the point random nerves explode and I paralyze myself is bad, but seperating myself from people and viewing our interactions as lacking inrinsic significance is something else.  a big part of why I quit was that I didn't think I could handle doing that, and I definitely couldn't handle taking every little bullshit mistake personally.

in what ways is this a flaw and in what ways is this a strength?  for one it indicates insecurity and lack of self-esteem.  I have really serious identity issues, mostly clustered around gender, ethics, and ideas of responsibility and accomplishment.  some of these may be legitimate and some of them may not be.  I don't know which and to what degree, though.  I'd also like to think I am pretty genuine with people (the reason what happened in Massachusetts was so shaking was that living with seriously unstable people I was forced to withdraw from threatened this perception of myself) and that maybe if I just got into a line of work where instead of being required to brush off superficial interaction after superficial interaction I was supposed to engage with people and connect on a real level over significant things, maybe I'd be well-adjusted instead of a failure who keeps running away from shit.

what's the common thread here?  yes, I don't finish things.  the question is why, though.  difficult relationships?  quitting tenth grade, reason...what was I feeling at the time?  intense loneliness, isolation, disillusion...really desperate loneliness was the main thing, though.  not sure if that's the reason or not.  no specific relationship failure comes to mind, unless it was a subconscious recognition that my obsession with John was failing, his presense in my mind is huge and glaring throughout that period, it's possible I just didn't have the stamina to keep it up anymore.  quitting UCA in 05, kings in 06, UCA in 08, UALR in 09.  I'll have to write about all of them and see what I can come up with...maybe a general sweep of all the voluntary endings in my life and we'll see what relationship patterns develope.

I'll also post what I wrote last week without expanding on it, for now.


(no subject)
ElkMoon
litteraoccidit
New journal.  Hi there.

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