Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I am thankful for prophets -- 341

I haven’t been sure whether to just go over all of the dark stuff sequentially, and get it over with, or whether to break it up with other things. I guess this is a combination, as it is something else, but still a bit heavy. I just feel that I want to write something about President Hinckley passing.

To back up a little bit, the first president I remember is Spencer W. Kimball, and I could not have necessarily told you a lot about his teachings, but I remember feeling a strong love for him. I was born in 1972 and he became the president in 1974, so there wasn’t really much chance of me remembering Harold B. Lee or Joseph Fielding Smith.

I should also note that my parents joined the Church after they were married, and even before Dad stopped going we were never that orthodox. General and stake conferences were days off for us. I can’t recall ever watching General Conference until I was already out of high school, and I don’t think I knew there were Christmas broadcasts and Saturday night sessions of stake conference until I was out in the mission field.

My point to this is that although I am sure there were lots of people who were confident that Ezra Taft Benson would be the next prophet when President Kimball died, I had no idea. Plus, I was so attached to him that it was really kind of sad, but I remember lying in bed thinking about it and the words of “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet” came to mind, and it was reasonable, because we would have one, and everything would be fine, and it was.

At this point it was 1985, and I was in junior high, and maybe the youth leaders did not work the same magic as the primary teachers, or youth are less susceptible to magic, but I did not really think about President Benson much. Once I graduated from high school and started going to the newly restarted singles ward it was helpful, because then I did start attending conference, but even after getting my mission call my first real memory of President Benson was at the Missionary Training Center where I saw some video footage of him and was struck by the love in his eyes. What I remember about President Kimball is that I loved him, and what I remember about President Benson is that he loved me.

The problem is, by the time I really started paying attention to things, he was already pretty sick, and I didn’t really get to hear him speak, though I read older talks. At some point I learned the traditional ways of succession, and that President Hunter was next in line, and that he was also not in very good health. My speculation was that President Hunter would die first, so that the next President would be healthy, but then in the April 1994 conference he spoke, and he was powerful, and the next month President Benson died. I thought, shows what I know—he could go on for years. And then in nine months he died, again proving that I know nothing.

I had always like President Hinckley as I started becoming aware of him, and indeed he was eminently likable. I remember being curious what his theme would be, as it had so clearly been temple worthiness with President Hunter. At the time, all he said was “Carry on.” It was simple enough, and yet he was remarkably energizing. Suddenly he was traveling everywhere, which was a big change from the last few years. Instead of being out at Conference due to ill health, he would speak in four of the five sessions. It was amazing.

My strongest memory is from 1997, when I learned that you could read conference talks online, and I brought up Priesthood session, which is the one I had not listened to, and I read his announcement of the smaller temples. This flash of spirit came over me. I don’t know how else to describe it—it was too fast to really register any details, but I was so moved and knew it was what was right and what was needed and what would work. It was so beautiful that it could happen.

Two other things stick out for me. One was the announcement of the Perpetual Education Fund—again something so inspired, and so helpful at providing greater equality of opportunity to members all over the world despite economic and cultural disparities.

Also, I remember when he was talking about the effects of Hurricane Mitch in the Honduras, and about a little girl whose father had died saving her from the flooding:

“I would hope that at this Christmas season, when there will be no gift-giving among these devastated people, this small orphan girl might receive perhaps a little taste of candy, something sweet and delicious,” President Hinckley said. “I must see that that happens. Perhaps just a little will be present enough for that tiny child in La Lima, Honduras.”

I just felt his love very strongly then. Surely there were other times—he was never less than loving, but these will be my main memories. Based on that, how could I not miss him?

At the same time, I have been feeling a little guilty for the past few conferences that I was wanting him to stay while he was getting older and more tired. Really, I have only felt guilty since his wife died, but that was a hard thing for him and now they are together again. Amazing growth happened during his tenure, but amazing growth happened when it was President Kimball as well, and just as I believe that President Hunter’s call to temple worthiness paved the way for the smaller temples, I believe that President Lee’s focus on correlation was important in allowing members to lengthen their stride when asked to do so by President Kimball.

I don’t know what lies ahead. Most likely President Monson will serve, and how long he will have and what challenges and blessings will come is still to be seen, but it is a good journey and I will stay around for it. I thank Thee, O God, not just for one prophet, but for all of the prophets, ancient and modern, and the connection they create to Thee.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sporky Pig

If the title has not tipped you off, my greatest shame is that I am fat. Clearly this one is not a secret, because if you have met me, chances are good that you have noticed it. There is not really a way to hide it. At the same time, it is amazing how reluctant I have been to talk about it, or think about it, or even weigh myself. I didn’t want to know.

Sadly, that is a big part of how I got here in the first place. There is a story here, but I think I am going to backtrack a little. I have referred to the therapeutic writing that I did, and the idea for that pretty much came from my own head—I have not had an actual therapist guiding me. However, I did have two emotional processing sessions once, and they have had an influence.

I may not be using the correct terms for it. I used the term emotional processing once while talking to a friend to describe me trying to sort out my thoughts and feelings about some things (see, I do a lot of that). She was surprised at the term because it was used for the type of therapy one of her friends practiced. Basically she would use kinesiology to find ages and emotions that needed to be explored. We covered three, but the big one was from when I was fourteen.

We will cover that incident later, but what was interesting to me was that I had a very clear memory of it, and I had noticed how clear the memory was before, but without assigning it any special importance. I thought it was just a dumb thing that happened that I had a clear memory of. Anyway, after discussing it, and seeing that it was in fact pretty significant, I started going back to some of my other sharp memories.

The memory that applies here comes from when I was six. I was on the playground at school, and I was just sitting on this concrete thing by myself and thinking. I could go into my own little world pretty easily back then. A pack of girls in my class came over, led by Suzy A., who was their leader. She started criticizing how fat I was. I remember looking at her, and seeing that my thigh was twice the size of hers and being mortified, even though externally I was ignoring them.

From then on, I always knew I was fat. I hated it, and I tried not to think about it, but it was always there. There were two problems with this. For one thing, I was never thinking in terms of getting fatter, it was always just staying fat. However, there are different degrees of fat, and it would have been good to have paid attention and stopped at some point.

The other problem is that it simply wasn’t true then. I was bigger than Suzy, but she was really under-grown. Some kids tend to be more spindly, and some are more solid, and I was always getting my growth spurts in ahead of time. I was also always one of the taller kids until junior high, when the rest of the kids caught up. Now when I look at pictures from back then, I seem pretty healthy. I didn’t stay that way though, and I didn’t really even know that anything was happening until it had happened.

I think it is a big part of why I am so passionate about honesty and clear-mindedness now. Perhaps you can’t blame a six-year old for being emotionally vulnerable and easily devastated, but surely I should have been able to figure it out sooner. However my coping strategy was always the suppression route. Don’t talk about it, don’t think about, and don’t let it be real. At thirty-six, I now realize that ignorance and avoidance don’t actually change reality, and are not productive in general. I know, give me a gold star.

So that was how I saw myself, and it hurt, and what hurt more was that I believed that was how everyone saw me, or that it would override anything else that they saw. People can make a lot of assumptions about the obese. It’s like you are wearing a poster board saying gluttonous and lazy. Except, I’m not lazy. I work hard, and at times I have even been exercising regularly, which did give me better energy but never made me small. Gluttonous? Not as often as you might think. It’s always been more complex than that.

I was thinking about that a few months ago. I was at a church meeting and the talk was about reaching out to others with their struggles, and I was thinking about how I am pretty functional, regardless of what I have going on (perhaps that was prideful of me), and then I had this flash, “Sure, and it only took you two hundred extra pounds.”

Ouch, but I am beyond that now, right? I have friends that I talk to and I write out things that bother me, or talk about them, and I am not lugging around the same loads of emotional baggage anymore. I have thirty years worth of bad habits, so I am not expecting anything to be easy, but I should be capable now. I’m at least going to find out.

There will be obstacles. I have been an emotional eater, and so there is the possibility of falling prey to that again if you give me a bad enough day. There are also medical issues that will make things harder. In addition to a genetic predisposition to obesity, forty of my current pounds happened after a bad reaction to some medicine, and since I am on insulin, that encourages weight gain as well. I also have a sedentary job, I live in the suburbs where you go by car everywhere because things aren’t close enough for walking, and the corn lobby ensures that most processed foods contain high-fructose corn syrup. Add in all those things we all know, but still fall prey to, like bigger restaurant portions. So maybe really only eighty pounds is emotional, and forty is corn syrup and forty is family and so on. The causes only matter in that understanding them may help me to beat them.

I don’t really know what my ideal weight would be, or what dress size I would end up. Right now the focus is going to have to be more on trying to be healthier, and trying to take good care of myself, because I do often put my needs last, and that needs to stop.

In the past, in addition to the repression, which is kind of hiding things from your self, I have also tended to conceal most of what is on my mind. I wouldn’t tell people things that I wanted to do, because then if you fail they know, and it makes it worse, and you certainly wouldn’t tell anyone your weight because the horror of that must be contained at all costs.

Well, I am telling you that I want to lose weight, and my current weight is 344.5 pounds. It is in fact horrifying, especially when there men who are a foot taller than you and weigh less, but again, it’s not like concealing the number makes me look thinner.

There will be a lot more to write about this. This will not become a full-time weight loss blog anymore that it has been an all-music blog or an all-writing blog, but every subsequent entry will have a number by the title, and that will be that day’s report from the scale. Now I really need to make it move down.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

I know I promised more shame, and that is coming, but I thought I should review my birthday happenings. For one thing, I have previously written about changing the month, so some of you may have been wondering about that.

I did not make any scheduling changes. This was not my primary reason, but I was advised that having it in May would make me a Taurus, and I was not stubborn enough. This particular friend (Karen) advised that she could buy me as an Aries, if I went with April, but my older sister already has April and it would not be fair to infringe. The funniest thing about that is my family will tell you that I am really stubborn, but I tend to only be stubborn for a cause, and apparently a Taurus will be irrationally stubborn over little things. I had not known this but (after hearing it) the next time someone was being really obstinate over something silly I asked if she was a Taurus, and she said yes. Perhaps there is something to this.

Actually, my primary reason for wanting to reschedule has been that I am always so busy in January that I don’t have time to plan anything good. Twice this has led to me having no plans, and my friend Tara has plotted with my younger sisters and thrown surprise parties, of which the one last year was also a karaoke ambush. Since I said that I would do karaoke for my birthday in May, and then didn’t, I cannot complain about this, but the song selection was terrible. I have a theory about karaoke, which is that vocal talent is a pale second to attitude, and you just need to own the song. I cannot own a song that sucks. So, the closest I could come at Silver Dollar last January was “There is a Light that Never Goes Out” by the Smiths, and it was a little blah. Fortunately, in April I got another chance in Huntington Beach, and I got “Just Like Heaven” by the Cure, and that worked much better. I also did a duet of “Oh Ricki” which is really hard. There aren’t many rests, and you feel like you need to do cheerleading moves, so it is pretty exhausting.

Despite the presence of karaoke, both of the surprise parties were a bunch of people at a restaurant where I thought dinner was happening one on one. There are things that are fun about this, and one of the highlights is seeing how much people care about you, even if it is a little disturbing how adept your loved ones are at deceiving you. The downside is that you really mostly end up visiting with the people you end up sitting near, and if the wrong seating combinations happen some people may not have a good time.

When I throw a party, I like to throw it in a house, and have lots of food and music and side activities and mingling. I have thrown two Mardi Gras parties, one luau, and a Saint Patrick’s Day party (the Great Irish Potato Feast) that were pretty awesome. I don’t throw these at my house though, because the layout is not right, and while the dogs are great for every day living they are not ideal in party situations. Also, it might be overly self-aggrandizing to throw that type of bash for one’s own birthday. I thought about it for 29, 30, and 31, but work was always so exhausting at that time of year that nothing happened, and it was always a little depressing.

The past few years I have taken vacations right around the time of my birthday (usually a couple of weeks later) and that has been great. However, with Australia coming up in the fall, I can’t do any other big vacations this year. (I hope to spend my next birthday in Playa del Carmen.)

This year I had kind of been thinking spa day, and some commercials for Dosha increased that impulse. The commercials specifically mentioned the new one in Bridgeport Village, but apparently they only do hair, so I ended up making an appointment for the Spa Retreat package at the Dosha on 23rd and Glisan. I was having a hard time deciding between the Retreat, the Sampler, and the Experience, but I think I made the right call.

Since I was going to be in the area, I thought I would also stop by Saint Cupcake, Everyday Music, and Powells, and maybe run by Lovejoy Studios, but the day did not go quite as planned. I found I was running late, and I really needed to eat something before going in, and I hadn’t. If I had been even fifteen minutes ahead, I would have eaten at Snow White House, purveyor of delicious crepes and friendly service. I did not have time, so I just jumped on the streetcar and figured I would find something near the spa. Then the driver announced that the car had a malfunctioning door, so in two stops we would have to all get off. The next stop was Hot Lips Pizza, so that is what I ate. The next car came before I finished, so I only had half a slice, but they are pretty big slices.

Looking at the clock there was no time to check out the studios—it was just get off at Marshall and walk straight to Glisan. On the way I saw that I could easily have eaten at many other places, but the important thing is that I was not late, and I did not pass out at any time.

I have to recommend Dosha highly. I don’t know about their other locations, but the service here was highly attentive and everyone was great. I’m not sure I was wearing enough black, but hey, it was Northwest Portland. It had been about two years since my last massage, so I was due. It was only fifteen months since my last manicure and pedicure, and this was my third massage, third pedicure, and third manicure total. Clearly I spoil myself. I had never had my hair styled before.

So getting to the spa had involved a few difficulties, but being there was great. Once leaving, things stared getting hard again. To protect the pedicure they give you these flip-flops, but they do not offer a lot of support, and it was really cold out. There had been snow. If I had thought ahead and brought my Tevas, I probably would have toughed out the cold, but I only made it a few blocks before I decided to just put my shoes back on. I had messed up the paint on one toe, which required retouching, and that one did end up getting messed up by my shoes. The other toes are fine, but it is not perfect. Fortunately, I will not be wearing any open toed shoes for a while.

I made it to Saint Cupcake’s and was quickly disappointed. They were better than the place in Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, and the prices were much better, but not as fabulous as people have said.
It was getting later and darker and I would have gone straight to the bus, but I needed to go to the bathroom now, so I did go to Powells, but not EM. At Powells I also purchased the third Harry Potter book (forgive me, Henry) and Howards End. Then I hopped on Bus 20 to Beaverton Transit Center, where I intended to get dinner at Jin Wah, which I believe is my favorite restaurant. I liked eating there better when they were a diner, but the food is still good—it is just bigger and fancier.

I realized I was right by Catherine’s and the Avenue, and maybe I should at least look and see if I could find something new for the dance. I ended up getting a shirt and a skirt from Catherine’s. Then I went to dinner. I had my favorites, Cashew Chicken and Pot Stickers. Actually, my favorite Cashew Chicken was at the Chinese Kitchen, but they have been closed down for some time. I had thought about putting in a movie at home, but I got interested in the book, so focused on that.

The fun continued Friday when I took doughnuts into work. I went to Donut Day, because I believe in supporting local business, I think Krispy Kreme is an overrated marketing phenomenon, and that after the frying temperature cools off the grease turns to knives in your stomachs. They are nonetheless what people always bring in, even though they end up staying around for days and no one feels good about eating them. I was pleased to see that my doughnuts were all eaten quickly, and no one felt horrible afterwards. Score one for the little guy!

After work my friend Tara picked me up and took me out to dinner for my birthday and as a prelude to the dance—Portland’s first ever mid-singles dance. It was pretty fun. I can see that I am much older, because I get tired faster and am not as limber. Also, I have a harder time finding my groove, which I partly blame on the music and partly on my dance partners. I only cast that blame because I ended up recovering some old moves that were kind of cool on two separate occasions. Once was dancing with a guy, Mike, who is a really good dancer. I thought I had lost my ballroom ability when a cha cha with some one else was not working out, but Mike could lead and it made a huge difference. I think we were basically doing a West Coast Swing, but we were not thinking about the steps, and that was great. The other time was when they played “My Sharona”. That song just unleashes the rhythm in me. Anyway, it was a pretty good night.

And it was a pretty good birthday. Not all of my plans came to fruition, including the plan to take pictures of everything, like my cupcake and my painted nails (I feel like such a hussy), but I can live with it.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sporkful’s secret shame

Before I start, I should mention that for at least fifteen years of my life, my coping strategy with everything was pretty much repression. Now sometimes when I feel emotions about something, I am not always sure if they are proportionate. Is this really that terrible? Why am I crying? Anyway, with a couple of incidents that recently had me on the verge of tears, I believe the cause of the overreaction was my shame about not driving.

Did you know I don’t drive? I try not to make a big deal out of it, but it has been a big deal to me. There are invitations that I will decline strictly on the grounds of transportation being a problem.

I started out normally enough, in that I got my learners permit when I was fifteen (almost twenty-one years ago), and I took a driver’s education class, though I may have been sixteen then. Clearly I wasn’t rushing towards driving, because the main incident we are getting to happened right before my seventeenth birthday.

In class I drove on one-way streets in cities, and on highways and freeways, and even over that bridge with the weird surface in Portland. I was not terrible, but I was very nervous. It is just so easy to cause damage to another person or property, and there are a lot of things going on at once. Obviously after the class I would need practice before being ready to get my license.

My main problem was that I did not want to practice driving with my father. I was already nervous, and he yells and swears and berates and is not in any way a calming force. I realize driving instruction is stressful for any teacher, and it might be worse when your pupil is your child, but I could not stand the thought of getting in that car with him. Maybe it was a carryover of some of the tension that was already between us. It’s not like he didn’t want us to be afraid of him.

Anyway, I wanted to learn with Mom, at least at first, and initially he seemed to agree. Our first practice session did not really get anywhere because the Colt wouldn’t start. The symptoms were similar to vapor lock, but the conditions were wrong for that. So I had not really had any family practice yet, and then one Saturday when we were the only two people at home, Dad called me to get in the car.

He just wanted me to drive around the block, and he actually stood outside the car (probably not legal), and I wanted to cooperate. I did not want to be a problem child. But I hit a car.

The Driver’s Ed class car was an automatic (Toyota Corolla), and the Colt was a stick, so maybe that made things harder, but as I got to the top of the cul-de-sac I was having trouble turning enough and I could not clear this car that was parked on the street. I was moving at such slow speed that there was no damage to either vehicle, but I was still horrified, and I was getting out of that car. Dad was angry, and tried to force me to get in and keep driving. He came close to hitting me, but there were people gathered around (because I had just hit a car), and he restrained himself. The owner of the parked car could see that there was no damage, and he was being very nice, but that did not help my father at all.

Basically, I went past him, out of the car and back to the house. I suppose he brought the car back. He didn’t talk to me that day. I think I stayed holed up in my room anyway. Sunday morning I was up early, and he came to me in the kitchen and told me that he couldn’t believe how stupid I was, and he was ashamed of me. I believed then (and still do) that the real issue was that he had lost control over me, but I just could not give it back. He didn’t speak to me again for two and a half years.

Well, after that it was very hard to get back to driving. It was awkward enough just living in the same house in my disowned state, and me driving was certainly a sore subject, so it didn’t come up. Then I was a college student, and a missionary, and a college student again, and when I came back home he was already gone and I took on a lot more family responsibilities. Some of those would have been easier with a car, but money was always an obstacle to owning a car, and that made it less imperative to get the license. I did take additional driver training, and I am not even bad at it, if for no other reason than that I am super careful. I still just kind of hate it though.

There have been good things about not driving. If I did have a car payment, insurance, and gas to worry about, I would not be able to afford the mortgage, and I would not have paid off college as quickly. (I sure wish I had stayed debt-free, incidentally.) My being able to help others, and be a fairly benevolent landlord, has a trade-off in that my other family members are pretty good about giving me rides, even though sometimes it is still a hassle and I don’t even want to bother (this was a big part of me not joining a foreign film club). Also, I have had great conversations with people who have given me rides, and done a lot of unofficial counseling, and I am grateful for those opportunities. Despite all of this, it just seems like driving is something adults do, and something I should be able to do, and yes, I have found that embarrassing.

There was also some misconception on my part. My sisters have told me that for their first years of driving they had nerves too—getting comfortable doesn’t happen for awhile, so maybe I am not abnormal, and I just need to push through the fear.

Also, even though I am genuinely scared of the driving, it is possible that some of that knot in my stomach is not really the car, but my father. It was really traumatic being cut off like that. I had nightmares a few times. Possibly the reason I loved managing the sports teams so much were that the coaches were like father figures. I didn’t even ask them for advice or do that much with them—I just needed to have them there. And no one ever knew. It was our family secret. I sort of told myself it was a relief not having to deal with him, because he was jerk on a regular basis, and conversations were no longer happening, but I don’t recommend it for your teenage daughters.

After two quarters away at college (after Mom had refused to let him turn my bedroom into an office), he said he wanted to start over. It was not an apology, but I was ready to hug him and tell him that I loved him, and I meant it. I sensed at the time that if we ever fought again, we would not be able to find our way back, so we never had important conversations after that. Everything was shallow, where I said things that were supportive of what he said, and then him contradicting me anyway.

That was the end of his first child disownment (there had only been siblings and parents before), but it would be followed by disownment of all my other siblings, reconciliation with my sisters (but not my brother), disownment and reconciliation with my sisters again, and then a final disownment of the four of us once divorce proceedings were started. He did open a window to reconciliation when he sent us an email announcing his remarriage, but I didn’t take it, partially because I couldn’t thing of anything to say that sounded right. (I hope you treat this one better than you treated the last one?)

The last time he disowned us, I was worried about doing anything then that might cause issues with the divorce proceedings, but I thought that when all of that was over, I would write to him and give him a chance, but that I would be done pussyfooting around, and it would be an honest relationship or none at all. Then, when it finally was done, I no longer wanted to write to him. Maybe it was because when there was email from him I felt that same pit in my stomach that I get when I think about driving.

(I think the reason he did send the wedding announcement was that I had scanned in and emailed an invitation for his fiftieth reunion, which I thought he should have, and he took that as an opening, replying to that and sending a separate message with a question about some paperwork. Therefore, our email addresses were included on the message he sent to everyone with a picture of them holding the marriage license and a date. His communication skills are as good as ever.)

When I was in Italy, different family members would ask about Dad, and would be sad that we were not in touch, and I would explain that I did not have time for him. He takes more emotional energy than most people, with very little payoff, and so it’s not the best investment. I don’t just mean payoff for me in having a rewarding relationship, but I don’t think he gets very much out of it either. I do have other family members who depend on me, and a job and church responsibilities and friends and this life. One thing I have realized during this period of self analysis is that I cannot do everything that it would be good to have done, and it actually can be okay if the only thing you do with some family members is to leave yourself open to later inspiration. It was sort of scary, like “Really? I can ignore this?” When I realized, yes, I can, it was very liberating.

I don’t know what will happen with Dad, but I am okay with that. For driving, I want this to be the year that I get my license. Again, I do have limited resources, and right now the most important thing seems to be writing, with a few strong sub-currents of emergency preparedness, physical fitness, and the local mid-singles group, but that’s okay. I think I will start practicing towards the end of April, maybe the 26th.

I can’t truly say I am looking forward to it, but I am okay with it being there. I remember once that I was looking for something on Aloclek, and I saw a sign for a stunt driving school. I don’t know if it is still there, but that’s something that should help conquer fear right there. Establishing that level of control over the car would be amazing, so maybe I will take that course, or do a loop on a racetrack, once I have my license. I’m not going to let fear rule me. It’s not practical.

And so that’s my deep dark secret, and I can put it out on the internet, and the world will not end, and I will not lose friends, and things are pretty much exactly as they were on the outside, but on the inside I am better. I read once that Alcoholics Anonymous has a saying, you are only as sick as your secrets; there’s a lot of sense in that.

My next area of deep shame will turn out to be no secret.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Out with a fizzle; back in with a bang.

You know, "bang" does not look right in lower case letters, but I don’t think I can justify capitals and grammatically you should only use an exclamation point with dialogue. Just pretend this is exciting.

Obviously, I did not finish my plan of writing twelve days in a row. Mainly I was overbooked with a big project at home that took a lot of my time, but also the next topic on the schedule was political and kind of dark, and it didn’t feel very Christmas-y. I will get to all of the topics on that list, but I really needed to take a break, and then come back.

I do love Christmas a lot, but the New Year is also very special to me. On a family level it is Mom’s birthday and it starts the round of other birthdays. Mainly, for me, it is about fresh starts, and getting another chance. Usually even when I have really rough years (or at least rough Decembers), as I approach New Year’s Eve hope starts seeping in again and I feel optimistic for the future.

This year I feel like the optimism is pretty well grounded. Having finished my rigorous self-evaluation and mental processing, I feel like I am more emotionally healthy than ever, and more ready to move forward. That I have been writing regularly helps a lot, because that has just not been true in previous years even though it has always been desired.

Obviously, I hope to do a lot more writing in 2008, eventually followed by some selling. I don’t think I will be actively selling until after the writer’s strike is resolved. I have not checked the official WGA policy yet, but I believe their demands are fair, and I do expect to be a member some day, so it seems right to wait. Also obvious is that the sooner it ends the better, but it is worth holding out for a fair deal. Kudos to Worldwide Pants, and may they be an example to the others out there.

There are some other major goals that I have, and I hope they are not too ambitious, but that everything can actually be accomplished. My next few entries will be about these issues, how they came about, and what I will be doing about them.

Some time ago I realized that shame is kind of a useless thing. If you are doing something wrong, you should change it, and if it is right, don’t worry about it. That’s a little simplistic, because change can be very hard, and not worrying about the appearance of things can be hard as well.

Based on my experience, I think it is more common that the things that really bug us and hold us back are the wrong things. Sometimes they aren’t even real, like when you are embarrassed because of what other people will think, when they would not think about it at all. A lot of my therapeutic writing was knocking down false perceptions, and getting rid of fear.

I don’t feel like I am expressing the concept really well, but it will make more sense over the next few entries. Get ready to explore the dark side of the spork.