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Yet Another Rememberance

This journal wasn't started when the towers fell, ten years ago.

In fact, I didn't have my life figured out in even the most basic ways, ten years ago.

With that in mind, I present to you what I remember.

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On September 11th, 2001, I was working at the State of Michigan in the department that dealt with Certificates of Need. A Certificate is needed (or, at least, was needed at the time) in order to get large expensive medical equipment like MRIs or CAT scanners or PET scanners. I was an administrative assistant and I spent quite a lot of time doing formatting and spell checking work. Yes, Word does that, except when it doesn't. Then it fucks it all up. I got to go in and fix it and make things look pretty.

That morning, I was listening to the radio, as I did many mornings. We didn't have Pandora yet. I listened on an honest to god radio. Not an iPod or iTouch or iPhone or iVibrator or whatever comes out in the next few decades of my life.

Suddenly, things started to get very confusing. Sure, there were talking heads on the radio, but they weren't making any sense at all. Someone flew an airplane into a building in New York? Was this some kind of War of the Worlds bullshit? If it was, I couldn't believe that they would try that kind of stunt in a modern day setting.

I took off my headphones and heard the buzz that was going up. There wasn't facebook or twitter to consult for a grassroots experience. People who had family or friends in New York often weren't able to get through. Reports were broken and mish-mash. Gossip flew.

Soon we got a TV in our department. A small CRT from a video conferencing room, I'm sure, on a high cart and with a VCR or maybe a DVD player. We tuned it in to the local broadcast, and we watched in fascinated horror as the second plane hit the second World Trade Center tower. I can't remember if it was a replay. I remember it as if I had seen it as it was happening, but memories lie.

I do remember that none of us were really working. We could only stand and watch. I remember watching the first tower fall, slowly, almost gracefully, except for the thought of just how many people were still in the building and how many were on the ground around the tower, trying to save more lives. I cried in horror. How many would die in futile bravery? I couldn't know.

I internally acknowledged that the second tower would fall. I thought that it would almost be better if it did as I saw tiny specks fling themselves from the top of the building, but also wishing that it would instead stabilize so that rescue workers and survivors of the crash would not be killed, but would instead also be able to survive the nightmare of the day.

As the reports of the attack on the Pentagon and the failed attempt that crashed in Pennsylvania came in, people started to worry and even panic about the attacks. Fascination turned into a survival instinct. We worked for the government. Couldn't we also be attacked? The tallest tower in Lansing was also a government building, and it was evacuated. Boji tower is only 23 floors tall, but at the time, it seemed like the threats were immediate and dreadful.

Not too long after, all of us were sent home. It was obvious that there wasn't going to be any more work done. People were too shaken up or concerned about family or friends in New York. I can't really remember all that much more. The day was mostly a blur.

I do remember a bit more, though. In the following months, someone started to send anthrax through the mail system, and often to government targets. I was the one to open our mail, and there were new protocols to follow, in light of the new times.

_____________________________________________________________________


Our way of life has been pinched in made less by this tragedy. The terrorists won. Not because of that day, but because of our reaction to it. In trying to scrabble for security, we have given away our freedom. We were terrorized, not because we were attacked, but because we chose to react in terror.

We hardly trust one another anymore. We don't trust our politicians. We don't trust our companies, and we don't trust in the kindness of strangers, even when we are proven to be wrong. We think that that is the exception, rather than the rule, anymore. And we use that "rule" as an excuse to be less. An excuse to NOT be the kind stranger. An excuse to HATE Muslims, or Christians, or the government, or each other. An excuse to only act in the interests of our company, of our shareholders, rather than the interests of each other.

But that is truly what can make this country great. What has always made this country great. That we act in the interest of our freedom. And by our, I mean the freedom of every single citizen of the United States of America and those within her borders. When we work to help each other, when we work to help up our neighbors, even the ones who don't look like us or who don't pray like us, or who don't even pray at all, that's when this country is great. We were great on that September 11th in 2001, when rescue workers swarmed to the site in order to help. We were great when we banded together in order to help one another out.

The terrorists lose when we choose bravery and compassion over intolerance and hate.

Where's all the POSTS gone?!

Well. That's interesting. I've been looking in my archives for when my changes of residence might have taken place, and here I notice a trend.

It seems that since my last unemployment (beginning of July, 2009) until now, I've hardly posted. There has been quite a bit of things going on, but...hardly a peep from me. Why?

I think the unemployment must have taken quite a bit out of me. That and that I was faced with six months of being able to do what I wanted (career-wise, game programming), and I totally didn't take the opportunity. I also didn't keep up with my eating habits and exercise. From then until now, I've put on around 65 lbs, but have also confronted some of the demons in my past. So, the weight is not as much of a huge problem as it once would have been. (Hint: weight and health have not been proven to have a direct correlation, even though our culture conflates them.)

Even now, with my health, it is stress that seems to be the biggest problem. I'm currently having an adventure with my stomach and having too much acid. I've been on antacids for long enough that I'm not *usually* having cramping stomach and intestine pains, but still the stress is bleeding through and making my whole gastrointestinal tract an adventure in the making! Wouldn't YOU like to plumb those depths? ;D (The answer is no.)

There's still good news, though. I've verbally accepted a position at Rockwell Collins as a software engineer. They don't make weapons (directly. Depending on what you term as a weapon, you could debate it). They mostly make aircraft avionics software. That is, if you look into the cockpit when you're getting on a plane and they have screens displaying stuff on the console, that's what I'm talking about. I actually got a glimpse when I flew out for the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival at what I was pretty sure was Rockwell Collins avionics. It was neat. ^__^

So, that's all I can think of right now, some bits of speculation on why I've been silent, some bits of update. And I wouldn't doubt that the stress has something to do with my silence.

The Crane Wives

Okay, since I like you guys, I'll share this with you.

My niece, Kate...well, she's one of my nieces, but this is about her...Kate's pretty awesome, and she's in a band. The Crane Wives. They do what they call "Indy Folk". Think rock with a bango. Or Country that doesn't suck (sorry, I generally hate country, but I think this is the bee's knees, and not actually Country). Or you can just take my word that it is worth listening to and take a listen to them, along with an interview:

Live at River City Studios - The Crane Wives from River City Studios on Vimeo.

And if you liked their songs, you can go download the ones in the interview on their Facebook page.

Lastly, if you really like them, please pass this around. Great people like your friends need to hear great music.

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Therapy Hiatus

So, I decided that I need a hiatus from therapy, and that I would tell my therapist today.

I've been going to my therapist for probably about half a year now and I started when I had hit a height of anxiety and depression and a slump of feeling like I have people who I could find support in. This should not be taken as a rebuke to anyone at all, by the way. It's just that I didn't have the type of support I felt I needed (read: in-person).

So, why the break? Several reasons, but one of the most compelling is that I'm suffering from my homework pattern.

Basically, if there is a task that I'm afraid I will be judged on, it will become homework. Once it becomes homework, it is promptly forgotten until the due date approaches, at which point I will frantically try to finish it before it is due, and either fail, or succeed. If I fail, the party that it is due to can only rant about how I didn't complete the task, which is horrible, but preferable to judgment. If I complete it and it isn't good enough, I can lay back on the realization of, of course it isn't good enough, I did it in, like, three hours, or, if it is good enough, I'm a hero for having completed it in such a short amount of time and under such stress.

That is the pattern that I have applied to the therapy practice that I've been assigning myself between sessions. It hasn't been helping, and, if anything, has been harming my ability to make progress, currently. So, I am taking time off so that it is about personal practice, not conforming to deadlines.

It Applies to Work, Too

One of the most useful things that came up when I was talking to silere about this today is that I saw that I've been applying that pattern to my work. I've been finding it hard to focus on my work and be as good at completing it on time and with the amount of quality that I've come to expect from myself.

But why now? I used to be able to exceed the expectations of others very easily. Some of it might be that I'm lowering my expectations in response to others expectations being low, but I believe most of it is because I'm breaking down patterns. Specifically, I'm breaking down the patterns that are based around pleasing everyone else at the expense of myself. More and more, I'm refusing to give my obsequious patterns play.

It was my "please everyone" patterns that were overriding my homework/avoid judgment pattern before, and now that I'm breaking them down more and more, the homework pattern is coming to the forefront and messing up my day. What I want to do is find a personal value to use in countering the homework pattern. Something stronger to help me find pleasure in a job well done.

The Next Steps

Now I will be going forward without a therapist, unless things get hard again or I need advice on how to proceed. I will be doing this, not because my therapist messed up, but because I need to practice on my own, at least for awhile.

And I want to make mindfulness, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the base for my future growth. I know it helps me; I just need to remove my roadblocks so that I can use it. Once I have a steady practice set up, I believe it will help me to incorporate the other changes that I want to make.

So, going forward, my first priority in my personal growth is to set up my mindfulness practice.

What I Need From You

Congrats, questions, or thoughts on what I am going through are welcome.

Please do not give me any advice.

Posting? Bah.

I've just looked back into my archives, at the numbers, and I haven't really been posting all that much since I lost my job nearly two years ago. I suppose a certain part of me believes that I don't have much to tell, or that people aren't going to care, if I do tell.

But, I don't care if people don't care, if I dig around a bit. I want to be posting so that I can look back and see what I've done. I am finding things harder to remember. My past all seems to flow from one day to another without any notable changes, but that certainly isn't what it is.

So, what happened?Collapse )

One of the things that I'm hoping to bring about, going forward, is to start writing regular journal posts. They are unlikely to be here, though. This will be kept for more personal-update type stuff. Most entries will start happening over at Tastefully Twisted, but I'll probably post a link here, just in case anyone might be interested.

Sheepies

Oh yeaaaaaahhhh... Even easy farm work is hard, especially if you haven't done any in 15 years and then spend 10 hours doing it.

Ow.

But also?

Yay!

More later, after I get warm, get clean, and do the second half of my amazing fibery weekend.

[rant] Pushing My Buttons

Okay, I'm going through the X-Files episodes because I haven't seen most of them.

And season three is pushing my buttons. Anything "different" seems to be under the gun.

First, there was the "video games and loud music make for evil kids" episode. I mostly just shook my head, amused at how the '90's looked at this group of "different" people (who then often grew up in the next five years to build the tech boom and crash).

Now, I'm watching an episode about some guy meeting fat women online in chat rooms and luring them out to eat their fat.

...

Dude. Not cool.

Why? Well, first thing that comes to mind is the first "fat" chick that they have on is beautiful, and there isn't any reason that she should feel bad about being chunky. In fact, no one should be made to feel bad about their weight, damnit. But no, they make it out like she's been treated like some hideous lump (with an undertone of "and that's the way it should be") and that the only way that she can get some play is through chatting with people on a Big and Beautiful chat site.

And the underhanded language, both about internet chat sites (don't care about that one too much because that's been debunked by time) and fat women (which I do have a big problem with because it hasn't gotten all that better) just keep flowing. It's making me twitch.

I am lucky enough to have gone to a very lovely and awesome retreat last year that has helped me to start coming to terms with how I've viewed my body and judged it with the opinions of others. I am also very lucky to have made friends with a great woman, freekat, who introduced me to the fat acceptance movement. I've not just jumped in without looking, though. I'm still feeling my way around, but the book "Healthy at Every Size" has helped me to view fat hate from a more balanced position and see new truths.

Health is what matters, not weight. Our culture has equated weight with health, but there is very little connection between the two, certainly not as much as we have been made to believe.

If you need to judge someone, please, at least judge them from the position of "Are they healthy?" rather than, "Are they fat?" Or better yet, don't judge them at all and get to know them for who they are.

Suggestions Needed!

Do any of you know of good D&D character portrait artists?

I would love a portrait of my character, but even trying to dip my toe into looking through Deviant Art is annoying, since there is just so much there and I don't know how to weed out the chaff quickly.

Star Crabs Belong in the Sky

Due to my throat feeling uncomfortably like someone is pressing on it, and me learning my extended family history of thyroid problems, I think that it's time to ask my doctor about getting it tested, if for no other reason than to make sure that I'm just being paranoid.

I knew my sister had thyroid cancer and that my mom has hypothyroidism, but didn't know that thyroid problems extended to aunts and cousins.

I really hope that I'm being paranoid, but right now I have a "sore" throat on the outside. It's woken me up because it is hard to swallow. I've also had a similar problem that was mostly just pain earlier this year, before I started to think about this stuff.

Well, let's hope this isn't the year of star crabs for me. I'm cheering for a diagnosis of hypochondria.

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