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September 19th, 2005


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01:49 pm - Sours to Flowers
"I find support in the sky and the earth; I find support in expiation and inspiration; I find support in day and night; I find support in food and drink; in the holy power; in the lordly power; in these worlds I find support."
      -Rg Veda

It's interesting, today, how I look out on things. It's a generally happy day, really. We're shockingly light on customers (though there's no shortage of work, for sure), the students are back, and I've gotten to see some people for the first time in a while.

But the escapist in me isn't letting go today. Maybe it's the overcast sky or the fact that I know the Autumn Quarter rush is just now hitting stride. . . but there's a lot I need to get away from.

The past few weeks have shown strange and slightly surprising introspection. In some cases, I wasn't aware of how deep I might actually be. In fact, I thought that the depth of me was pretty similar to the Grow Cube that fred_smith introduced me to today.

I spent the weekend avoiding (for the most part, successfully) the birthday wishes of most people. I don't care for a celebration of myself, never really have, and after last year's attempt at a birthday party fell through horridly (though for everyone's benefit, it seems), I've learned that birthdays are not to be celebrated. So, after receiving birthday wishes from a total of five people (four of them family who can't really be faulted for it), I consider this birthday a complete success. I've grown older, but not so much up. And no one cared.

Hehe. Just the thought that no one cared makes me remarkably happy, actually.

In these worlds, I find support

*snickers*

This was, officially, a good LJ entry!

[Oh, but I was going to mention that this overcast and cool day I've seen no fewer than five crickets. This is significant, but only to me and one other person, but it's significant enough to mention.]
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "A Pirate Looks at Forty", -JB

(44 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:tanrinia
Date:September 19th, 2005 09:10 pm (UTC)
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why not start on sept 17? seriously, what does it matter? you're right, one should do such things throughout the year, but we don't. why not just 'get over it,' as it were, and appreciate it in the spirit in which it is intended?

and, there are different kinds of 'offending.' there's a difference between offending people by stating something controversial or something and offending people by saying their gesture was less than expected b/c it happens to fall on a certain day. in my own LJ i refuse to avoid the former, but i'd be very upset if i managed to insult or make a friend feel bad (the latter).

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From:chronarchy
Date:September 19th, 2005 09:22 pm (UTC)
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Sept. 17 is a time of forced giving for me. I find it very difficult to locate the genuine caring beneath the immense weight of obligation. Hell, I have a difficult time locating my own caring beneath the immense weight of obligation about birthdays when I go out shopping for them. And I do go out shopping for them because they mean a lot to others. And no matter what I get, no matter how much I spend, I always feel cheap about it. What would have been a great gift two weeks ago is merely a gift of obligation. Meaningless to me.
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From:singingwren
Date:September 20th, 2005 06:59 am (UTC)
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You know, I kind of understand what you are saying, but it also sounds unusually jaded. It reminds me a lot of when we talked about flattery and you said that flattery was ultimately an insult because it implies that the person is NOT beautiful or attractive when they are not wearing/doing whatever flatters them.

Similarly, I think you are being jaded about birthdays. Yes, recognizing birthdays is somewhat of a social expectation, but why does that automatically mean that people don't appreciate you the rest of the year? Just because people do something that is expected of them does not mean that any other intentions they have are somehow nullified. If that's true, do you think Valentine's Day is a fraud because it shows that people don't really love each other the rest of the year? I'm not a big fan of the day, and I agree that people should be romantic spontaneously all throughout the year. But if people take extra heed to be romantic, and are more symbolic with their affections than normal, I do not think this is "empty" behaviour because they are simply "obeying" the date. They are honouring that date with each other. In the case of Valentine's Day, that's somewhat ironic (goofy!), but with birthdays it does make sense. Why should we not honour the days upon which the people that we love were born?

If you're assigning blame to behaving a certain way just because of the "date," why celebrate any set holidays at all? Why acknowledge Independence Day? Why acknowledge our pagan holidays if behaving according the cycle of the year is foolish and shallow-minded? No, birthdays are good things to observe, if not party on. They mark a turning point along YOUR circle of reality, your personal Wheel of Life. Your world began in the middle of September, and in the middle of September you find yourself looking at a reality that is once again beginning anew, even as it already began years ago. There's something unique about that. There's something to be said for seeing each September 17 through eyes that on this same date years before saw an entirely different world. It's a way of tracking progress. It's a good time for introspection on your behalf, but even more importantly, it's an appropriate time for others to reflect on what you have meant to them. It's appropriate for them to give you cards and gifts of appreciation particularly on this date because it marks the beginning of an adventure, and adventures are always to be celebrated. It doesn't mean there can't be other adventures, or that there haven't been plenty of others in the past.

I guess I just don't understand why you seem to think that in order for a thing to be sincere it must be spontaneous. I can see where in most cases that would be true, but I don't think the inverse is therefore true. Just because someone gives you a gift on Christmas should not make that gift mean less to you -- it's unfair. You have no idea when that gift was ACTUALLY acquired for you, nor how much time and thought was devoted beforehand to choosing it for you. Same goes for the words on cards. Birthday cards should be written in advance from the heart. If someone expresses a kind sentiment in a card, or even a mean sentiment, that doesn't mean it's any less significant because it appears on your birthday card. Birthday cards tend to be extra sentimental because they are reflecting back on another year of friendship to the recipient, and therefore it is appropriate to use the date as a mile-stone and recall some of the wonderful things the recipient has done or been until then.

I think it is bitterly cynical to think that it is simply people groping for flattering words because they need to write "something nice" to you on your birthday. But if you DO get birthday cards full of bull-shit from people who are not nice and sincere with you the rest of the year, maybe you should consider just how much you value these peoples' opinions and how much weight you will let them carry. Don't let them outweigh those who are true. I know, it's nicer when people are spontaneously sweet all the time, but maybe you should think about this harder before you go and pass off judgments.
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From:chronarchy
Date:September 20th, 2005 12:48 pm (UTC)
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re: flattery: that realization was an amusing one, actually. It has nothing to do with being jaded, really, but more with the fact that it involves conditions: "You're beautiful in that dress!" or "My, that hairdo really becomes you!" or even "Your eyes are beautiful when you smile!" Nothing is intended by it, but that's what makes it funny.

Valentine's Day, to me, is a good time of the year to get cheap jewlery. Let me tell you: you can get some excellent deals on them. Flowers, on the other hand, you cannot get good deals on. I never, ever buy flowers on Valentine's Day, and I'm clear about that to everyone. And so, if I ever were to purchase them then, they would be special, because they'd be out of the ordinary for me.

I haven't read your card yet. It's still in my bag, awaiting to join the others.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 20th, 2005 05:16 pm (UTC)
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Don't worry about actually reading it -- I did think for a while about what to say inside it, but, it is indeed a birthday card and will probably stay relevant to you for some time to come. (Unless you go and be a big jerk-store or something and make me mad. ;P) I try to be fairly nice to you the entire year and not just your birthday, so whatever I wrote is probably redundant anyway.

I just think your attitude about this is oppressively negative. I know you have your stances on things, and I know you are a stubborn male, but you are being somewhat rude here. Fortunately you are not a confrontational humanist by nature -- that would have been tiring. :P
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From:singingwren
Date:September 20th, 2005 07:15 am (UTC)

whoah!

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And if I didn't write enough yet (Weifei and I are both awake and talking still, for some reason... don't know why)... I wonder if maybe this has to do with having trouble expressing gratitude or something similar. I mean, gods know *I* certainly have issues with gratitude... I hate getting presents because I get all squiggly and touched and frustrated at my inability to properly express my thanks. It's not that I don't feel gratitude and say thank you all the time, but it's just that I can't seem to adequately express how I really feel to be receiving some token of their affections. It's not the gift that matters to me so much as the act of them giving it.

But you know, I still do not make any effort to influence whether or not people give me gifts. I don't grump around (hehe, yes, I AM calling you grumpy at 3 am!) about how people shouldn't give them to me nor guilt trip them for trying to give me something on my birthday. Gifts are kind of like compliments, in a way... I always feel awkward when I receive them because if I accept them happily, I feel egotistical or falsely special, but if I refute or deny them, other people either ignore me or feel chagrined. I am still very awkward at accepting compliments (I always used to just flat-out refuse them, to the point of offensively implying that the other person was stupid/ignorant/blind/whatever) but I have learned that really the joy is in the hands of others if not in me. People LIKE to give gifts and compliments to show their affections. It makes them feel good and they ultimately hope to make you feel good in turn. And if it makes them feel good, I have learned to let it make me feel good in return, and to try to be gracious about whatever rather than stubbornly refusing their attempts at showing affection.

I don't know, I'm not accusing you of being ungrateful or anything like that, but I am saying that it sounds to me like you are trying to make things easier on yourself and justifying it by saying it makes it easier on others because they don't "have" to buy you anything. As if, were we told we HAD to follow certain rules, we would actually do so benignly! Seriously, man, just let people treat you specially on your birthday sometime. Give us more credit than to assume we are sheep who are only behaving according to custom and not our own varied and questionably-motived personalities. :)

And remember, it is not egotistical to celebrate yourself with each new turning of your wheel. No one will think you are self-centered for being foolishly happy one mid-September day just because you find yourself standing on top of a hill looking back at a stack of years full of progressive mischeif.
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From:chronarchy
Date:September 20th, 2005 12:55 pm (UTC)

Re: whoah!

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I am, simply, stuck here. A lot of it probably has to do with the way I've felt about myself on and off since Summerland. Yesterday, I spent some time feeling as if I was back on my knees in the mud, naseous and sweating. Hell, I'm feeling it now, just writing about it.

I cannot deal, today, with people being interested in me. It takes all I have to make LJ posts, done mostly to show that I'm still here, still fighting. It'd be easy to curl up and die, to get depressed over things, and to lose the battle. I want to walk away.

But some things are worth fighting for, and if you're going to fight, you have the advantage only if you pick your battles carefully.

This is a battle I can't win today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. Maybe when I turn 100.

But today, if I fight this battle, I'll lose.
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From:singingwren
Date:September 20th, 2005 05:31 pm (UTC)

Re: whoah!

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What does this have to do with people liking you? Well, I mean, obviously people wanting to celebrate your birthday has to do with them liking you, but I mean, why are you linking it to Summerland? Are people confessing undying love to you via birthday cards? If so, consider what that relly says. And please remember that people being interested in you is not necessarily your fault or an indication that you have been misguiding others or otherwise wrongly seducing women. Please do not tear yourself up so much over it. When I was a smart kid back in high school (haha, that's a joke) I used to feel AWFUL if a guy started liking me, because I was certain we could never have a working relationship or I wasn't interested or whatever. But I didn't want to hurt their feelings, especially if they were friends, so I would tear myself apart with horrible thoughts about how I was being selfish, ungrateful, frigid, whatever the hell insults high school kids think of. And it sucked a lot. But eventually I began to realize that not everything was my fault. I follow my heart, and if doing so hurts or heals me, that is between my heart and I. You obviously follow your heart too, so trust it. It worries me sometimes to see you so miserable when you have such a strong and sure heart to guide you.

Ever since Summerland, you have been a mess. We have all been confident you would bounce back after you fought the battles you needed to fight, but that doesn't mean you have to plough through everything alone. It also doesn't mean, when you write about them, that we are smirking knowingly or rolling our eyes or otherwise pretending we fully understand. You can say whatever the hell you want -- you know that! -- so don't let writing LJ become a chore or something you do against your will. It's your damn journal, damnit, so keep it for your own damn reasons. If you are having huge issues about something, and you want to write about it every day three times a day, do it. I know you don't, but the point is you should not feel bad for it. You should also not feel bad for feeling it, recorded on LJ or no.

I know this doesn't help at all, but I still wish you the best in overcoming these nasty struggles. I've never been there, but if I can at all be helpful just let me know. Remember that Summerland was NOT a complete abomination or something to be blamed on you -- keep it in perspective. It was a festival full of young people learning and making mistakes. Some mistakes are more drastic than others, but don't forget the good that came of it. You're a tough cookie. Now put on some more JB and kick ass.
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From:chronarchy
Date:September 20th, 2005 06:17 pm (UTC)

Re: whoah!

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I think my best response is my most recent post, posted at or just before the time you posted this.

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