floatingleaf: (snowdrops)
Okay. Let me attempt an update. I still don't know where to start, but I'm going to start anyway. Please bear with me if I'm not making much sense.:)

I feel I have reached a sort of turning point in my life... a deciding phase during which I am ready and willing to make some lasting changes. Now, this is big, because generally I tend to have a rather negative reaction to changes. Something along the lines of a cat's reaction to a hedgehog.:P But every once in a while, there comes a moment where some thoughts/beliefs that had been percolating under the surface come into alignment and prompt me to take action. Whenever that happens, it feels like something that has been long in the making, but is ultimately inevitable. Like the slow shifting of tectonic plates or something. LOL. Well, the last time it happened was in 2008, when I joined WeightWatchers. Read more... )
floatingleaf: (despair)
I'm back. It's been an intense trip, for several reasons, and I'm sort of having a hard time figuring out what to say about it. I could just focus on the positives - but that wouldn't feel entirely honest, and this journal has always been THE place where I could be honest about pretty much anything. I don't want that to change. But I don't want to sound negative either - that would be unfair, and also dishonest, in a way. And I don't want to sound ridiculously cryptic - because if I'm gonna do that, I might just as well not post at all.

Maybe I need some time to sort through all those conflicting emotions before I even attempt a recap. Or maybe it's enough to say that online compatibility isn't quite the same thing as "real life" compatibility, and some friendships function better without crossing that line. Or perhaps the ease of online interactions has the unfortunate side effect of raising the bar impossibly high when it comes to our expectations of RL encounters. Even when we think we're being realistic.

See, that sounded negative. But I can't make a happy post just now. I probably can't even make a fair, objective one, because I am engaging a considerable effort of will in order to keep my mood from a massive downward plunge. I am sure the crisis will pass eventually, like others did before it. But I need time to adjust to these new perceptions, and I think I'd rather stay quiet on here for a bit than put the precarious emotional balance in peril by wallowing in it. Time will tell if I am overreacting again, I suppose...
floatingleaf: (sad Sinead)
I just watched In the Land of Blood and Honey. You know, the movie about the war in Bosnia, directed by Angelina Jolie. I really want to say something coherent and intelligent about it, but I don't have the words. The fact is that it blew me away with its raw brutality. It flattened me into the chair. I guess I expected something tamer, some sanitized version of events for the American audience. But this film is devastatingly honest about the realities of war, as seen through the eyes of women. I have a whole new level of appreciation for Angelina now. I really didn't think anyone with ties to Hollywood capable of such uncompromising realism. Yes, there is a love story in there, but there's nothing - absolutely nothing - "Hollywood" about it. It is as uncomfortable, and ultimately terrifying, as the circumstances in which it happens. Read more... )
floatingleaf: (intense)
Just a quick post tonight to sort of summarize my recent conclusions concerning MY LIFE. Or, more precisely, my "lifestyle". Which, I am realizing yet again, is not healthy. Because what do I do for most of the day? Well, I sit in an office and stare into a computer screen and/or type. And what do I do for most of the evening at home? Well... yeah. I stare into a computer screen and/or type. And my body/brain seem to be of the opinion that this is somehow deeply wrong. It's not that I haven't known until now that there is something wrong with that picture; it's just that I am no longer able to shrug off that knowledge and keep postponing any "lifestyle changes" until an unspecified "later" (which is what I've been doing for some years). Read more... )

In brief, I am trying to focus more on physical/mental health and wellbeing, and get rid of some bad habits. Which means that my internet time outside of work needs to be reduced to the bare minimum - at least on weekdays. And I am most likely not going to bother responding to LJ posts unless they talk about something I can relate to extremely well, and I can already "hear" my response forming in my mind while reading. That said, I do not intend to "unfriend" anyone unless they choose to remove me first.

That's all for now.:)
floatingleaf: (nymph)
Ahhh... FINALLY. *plops down into chair with relish* My legs got quite a workout today from all the running around. First the chiropractic appointment, then the weekly grocery trips, then the cooking... I had thought of buying a "quick fix" dinner for tonight, so I wouldn't have to cook until tomorrow - but I didn't see anything appealing at the local store, and was too tired to venture anywhere else. Ever since I started paying attention to what I ingest (which is, generally, a very good idea :), I have realized that most "quick fixes" available at an average American grocery store are either outright poisonous or highly suspicious at best.:/ Sometimes just reading the ingredient list can give you the hives. For example, today I looked at a plastic container of soup that included, among (an endless list of) other things, propylparaben. Or was it methylparaben?... Anyway - it was either one of the two, and yes, I am talking about the famous evil chemicals that are common in makeup/cosmetics. I have been trying, for a few years, to avoid those particular ingredients (among others) in my facial creams, soaps and hair products, at least - but this is the first time I have actually seen any of them in FOOD. This is downright creepy. *shudders* Forget high-fructose corn syrup, "modified" food starch and "partially hydrogenated" oils (all present in a tasty-looking potato salad that I almost bought... LOL) - here someone really went for the kill.:/ Seriously... this should be illegal. And I bet that in most other countries, it is. But I happen to live in a land of glorious liberties, where corporations, factory farms, laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and other shady establishments are free to poison people with impunity. Just like they are free to poison the soil, air, water and everything therein. It's good business, you know? :(

Anyway... *steps off soapbox* No need to preach to the choir here.:) How about I do the next installment of the 30-day meme instead?...

Day 09 - Your beliefs, in great detail )
floatingleaf: (Rossetti flaming hair)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] meathiel and [livejournal.com profile] dissonant_dream for the blue dragons!... They're cute.;)

Winter is making its final (hopefully...) stand this weekend, and after trudging through frozen snow for most of the day running errands my legs feel weak and achy. Luckily I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow...

No other personal news to share... but there is something I've been thinking about a lot for the past few days. See, I discovered this blog on intersexuality. Also known as hermaphroditism - but the latter term is seen by some people it refers to as controversial. Anyway... the essence of the matter is that our (Western) culture tells us everyone is born either male or female, except for some extremely rare "birth defect" cases that require immediate corrective surgery. And that is simply not true. )
floatingleaf: (thoughtful)
A disturbing article on how pharmaceutical companies in the US create and "promote" new mental disorders in order to sell more drugs:

http://www.alternet.org/story/153634/7_reasons_america%27s_mental_health_industry_is_a_threat_to_our_sanity/?page=1

Ever wonder why we suddenly have so many mentally ill people in need of drug treatment, including small children?... Yeah, that would be why. If you're feeling brave, read the story of a four-year-old who died of a massive overdose. She had been diagnosed with ADHD AND bipolar disorder, and prescribed three different psychotropic drugs. Yeah, a four-year-old. Why? Because she was "hyper". And even though her parents went to jail after she died, the psychiatrist who prescribed the drugs wasn't even put on trial. She's still treating small children according to the same guidelines, "without any restrictions, penalties or supervision."

And here's the conclusion of the article, which I completely agree with:

When we hear the words disorder, disease or illness, we think of an individual in need of treatment, not of a troubled society in need of transformation. Mental illness expansionism diverts us from examining a dehumanizing society.

In addition to pathologizing normal behavior, the mental health profession also diverts us from examining a society that creates the ingredients — helplessness, hopelessness, passivity, boredom, fear, and isolation — that cause emotional difficulties. We are diverted from the reality that many emotional problems are natural human reactions to loss in our society of autonomy and community. Thus, the mental health profession not only has financial value for drug companies but it has political value for those at the top of societal hierarchies who want to retain the status quo.


In other words, apparently being human is now a disorder. We all need medication that will transform us into unfeeling, unthinking, unquestioning, docile androids. And if it kills us in the process, then oh well... accidents happen. At least someone made a profit.:/

Which reminds me of how a year ago, when I had landed myself in a nasty financial pickle and was feeling pretty crappy because of it, some people immediately suggested that I should seek "treatment for depression". Which, had I done it, would have most likely resulted in being handed a prescription for some mind-numbing pills. It kind of shocked me that this was apparently the most obvious "solution" to the problem in the eyes of those people - but perhaps I understand it better now. Not that I find it any less troubling - but at least I can see where it comes from...
floatingleaf: (green eyes)
Guess what? Yesterday I received another letter from the city, regarding the aforementioned parking ticket (which the guy who bought my car had assured me he was going to pay). They explained to me that if I sold the car without removing its license plates, which were registered in my name, I might still be liable for any violations - UNLESS I can provide sufficient documentation of vehicle transfer.:/ Which, of course, I cannot provide, because I do not have it. The new owner does, but he (surprise, surprise!) ignored my request to send me a copy.:/ So I paid the damned ticket. It was only fifty bucks, after all. Read more... )
floatingleaf: (meadow)
I went to see my chiropractor today. It used to take me about 20 minutes by car to get there. By public transportation, it's a 20-minute commute (with a transfer) PLUS a 30-minute walk. One way, of course. YEEEAH. You bet I can feel every muscle in my legs right now (after that, I STILL had to get my groceries).:P But the doctor said I "moved nicely" when she did her customary adjustment. She also said I looked happy. Well... significant reduction of money-related stress tends to have that effect, I suppose.;)

But the real reason for this post is the movie I watched last night. The Stoning of Soraya M. I can't remember the last time I was so shaken by a film - literally, I just fell apart at one point and simply sat there shaking, choked with tears, completely unable to control myself. It was scary. But then, it is an unbelievably gruesome story. Gruesome, heartrending and perfectly true. It actually happened. Read more... )
floatingleaf: (pouty)
So, apparently I fit the definition of a clinically depressed individual pretty well.:/ (According to the two people who commented on my previous post, anyway.) Great. The first time I felt that way was back in my early twenties, when I got totally overwhelmed with life and needed a means of escape from the pressures/responsibilities of Becoming an Adult. Read more... )

fuck it all

Jan. 5th, 2011 11:30 pm
floatingleaf: (winter)
I've been in a pretty dark mental space for the past few days. I just don't see much reason for cheerfulness, try as I might. I have a feeling this is only the beginning of some shitty period in my life and everything will basically go downhill from here. The fact that my mother called and we had a serious conversation about the FUTURE might have something to do with that. She has an uncanny way of making everything look absolutely BLEAK. Or maybe it's just a way of making me FACE REALITY, which I am otherwise pretty reluctant to do.

I wonder if that's what depression feels like. When you sort of trudge through your day, but don't really see much point. And if you happen upon something that would normally make you jump up & down in glee, you just go: Damn, I WISH I could enjoy it!... And you feel exhausted all the time, but can't really sleep very well. And when someone (like an annoyingly happy coworker) tells you to cheer up and "live a little", you just want to punch them in the face.:/

Also, I am apparently about to start looking for a part-time weekend job. According to my mother, anyway. I told her I would think about it. I could certainly use some extra money (or, to be precise, ANY money, since the word "extra" seems to imply you have some already in the first place, doesn't it?...). But this is ridiculous. I mean, I shouldn't have to work two jobs. I am single, and I don't have an army of kids to feed. Or even a cat/dog/hamster/whatever. I don't even WANT a damn car anymore, OKAY?... I just want some time to myself after I've put in my 40 hours at the office, and some peace and quiet. Which is, apparently, a privilege I can no longer afford. Fuck this land of fucking opportunity and everything that's fucked up about it. Fuck the Wall Street bankers, the moronic, gun-toting, Bible-thumping "patriots" and "health" insurance companies who would happily rip the last shirt off the back of a homeless guy dying in a ditch. It's all some sort of dark comedy, and so is my life, and it's just not funny anymore. Not fucking funny at all. Why bother? I will probably only end up homeless/mentally ill at some point anyway. Why wait till it happens?... Seriously... why?

*curls up in a ball*

Excuse my shit, but it needed to get out. End of transmission. Good night.

creeeeeeepy

Dec. 3rd, 2010 11:45 pm
floatingleaf: (sacrilege)
Another mind-boggling example of how religion messes with some people's heads:

http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/149022/creepy_christian_patriarchy_movement_shackles_daughters_to_their_fathers_and_homes/

As in, women AGAINST feminism. Because, you know, feminism is so very bad for you. And, apparently, God doesn't like it. Or, in other words, your daddy and your pastor don't like it - which obviously means that God doesn't like it either. *bangs forehead against the wall*

My favorite quote? (...) prime purposes of feminism are to establish a lesbian-socialist republic and to dismantle the family unit (from the pro-patriarchy website Fathers for Life). God(ess) help me!... I LOL-ed so hard I almost fell off the chair. Not that I would necessarily mind a lesbian-socialist republic... but yeah. Sometimes stupidity is so great it achieves accidental brilliance.:/

My next favorite quote (from the notorious preacher Pat Robertson): feminism is a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians. Now, kindly note the order in which said calamities are listed: "destroying capitalism" seems somehow worse and more terrifying than killing children, but "becoming lesbians" is the ultimate evil. Looks like I started my descent into darkness from the wrong end, LOL. But I often do stuff backwards, so no worries. Now can someone please tell me how to destroy capitalism?... I'd like to get that done before I move on to the witchcraft. Killing children doesn't sound appealing, so I think I'll stop there. Also, no need to leave a husband, since I never had one. See? I messed the whole thing up. I'm not even a "proper" lesbian, since I do get hetero-crushes every once in a while. Maybe I'm just not feminist enough. Because, apparently, heterosexual feminists don't exist (see above). Just like lesbians never have children or start a family. Gahhh. I think I have moved past the stage of being outraged at such vicious nonsense and achieved a state of semi-permanent hysterical amusement. It's a coping mechanism, I'm sure. Otherwise I would probably have to become a terrorist and blow something up. Like Pat Robertson's church, for example.

Yeah. Just this little tidbit to mull over on a Friday night. Will try to catch up on comments/emails over the weekend - no predictable success rate, though.;)
floatingleaf: (halder)
First, a link to an article on Thanksgiving and what it's really all about. Because, unlike my mother who thinks we should celebrate Thanksgiving for no other reason than that "we live in the US now and Americans celebrate it", I chose to actually inquire into the origins of said holiday and decide for myself whether I see a point in celebrating it. And, in all honesty, I do not.

http://www.alternet.org/news/148991/no_thanks_to_thanksgiving/

So, for me, it was just a regular Sunday dinner at my parent's place.:P Which really applies to all the traditional holidays (Christmas, Easter etc.), when I stop to think about it. I don't actually "celebrate" them, as in attach any symbolic meaning to them - I spend them with my parents, because THEY care about them, and about me being there. When I was still in Poland, and my parents already here, I didn't really mind spending those days alone. I actually tried to avoid/get out of holiday dinner invitations by extended family, because I felt much more comfortable by myself, holiday or not. But that's probably just proof of my antisocial tendencies.:P

Second, there's this author meme going around. The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who have influenced you and will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes, and they don't have to be listed in order of relevance to you:

my list under the cut )
floatingleaf: (close up by stormatdusk)
So we're doing another research project at work. This time, my task consists of checking various radio station websites, in order to determine whether they accept online advertising. Apart from giving me a pretty good idea about what kinds of music Americans listen to (country, mostly, it would appear, followed by hip-hop/R&B and a tiny bit of classic pop/rock here and there - so I'm not missing out on much by not listening to the radio, LOL), this project has also made me aware of a disturbingly large number of cultish-sounding Christian broadcasting entities all over the country. As in, flashing ads telling you how to find Jesus and how to see whether you're going to heaven (I wish I was kidding, but I'm not). One website had the following lovely motto: "Smile - God is watching you". It gave me the creepiest feeling of deja vu - Big Brother flashbacks, as it were. You know, from Orwell's 1984. Except this creepy, stalkish, totalitarian ultra-right-wing version of God totally wins in competition with Big Brother. Wanna know why? See, should you fall from grace, Big Brother can only torture you until you die. Stalker!God, on the other hand, can torture you for all eternity. So, point for God. That's about the only difference, imo.

Now, if you know me well enough, you are probably aware that the vicious!sarcasm mode is a sure sign of freaking out about something. So yeah, I might just as well admit that I am freaking out. I might have mentioned this before, but these past few months (years?...) of living in the US made me realize that A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood wasn't just some outlandish futuristic fantasy (naive me - that's what I thought when I first read it years ago). It was a warning. Gilead is coming. It is being shamelessly advertised through the use of most advanced modern technology. More and more people in this country are living in a "high-tech stone age" - to quote an article I read online a few days ago. It's not some sick joke. It's real. And maybe, just maybe, like Viggo's character in Good, I am not taking it seriously enough. Because it's easier to snicker dismissively at one ridiculous indoctrinating website (or five, or twenty) than to really consider the meaning of its existence. Any rabid nonsense becomes dangerous if enough people believe in it. And as long as we still in control of our mental capacities keep dismissing it, there might come a time when there is indeed nothing left to do but smile, because someone WILL be watching. Not God, perhaps, but for all intents and purposes, we won't know the difference.

Just saying.
floatingleaf: (green eyes)
My car failed the emissions test today. I kind of expected this, because the "check engine" light has been on for a while - but still, there was a glimmer of hope that maybe it's something minor and it will pass anyway. Well... no such luck. With a 14-year-old car, you don't get "minor" problems anymore.:/ You get problems anywhere upwards of a few hundred bucks.:[ )
floatingleaf: (pensive Sinead)
So I've been reading this blog... real stories of women who broke free from religious fundamentalism after years of brainwashing and abuse. I found it by pure accident - the blog's founder, Vyckie Garrison, left a comment under an article I was reading on AlterNet.org, with a link to her site. I clicked on it out of pure curiosity - and ended up getting hooked for weeks, devouring the stories with my jaw hanging open most of the time. I had never even heard of the "Quiverfull" movement - let alone that it was gaining popularity in the US these days. Get it: there are actually increasing numbers of people who willingly adopt a "biblical" lifestyle, based on the "ideal" of the wife's complete submission to the will of her husband, as well as the desire to "leave family planning to the Lord" and have as many kids as the Lord sees fit, regardless of how the endless pregnancies might impact the woman's health and wellbeing. Now, at the time when the Earth is seriously overpopulated and poverty in many countries, including this one, reaches a new low. The mind boggles. This blog is a resource for women who have been sucked into this mire and want to get away, or who are trying to find themselves after getting away - a therapeutic retreat and a warning. Click on the link below to read the introductory post by Vyckie, where she explains how the site came into being:

http://nolongerquivering.com/about/

Alarmingly, the women who end up joining this movement are in no way stupid or easily deceived. Vyckie herself, as evident from her posts, is incredibly smart, thoughtful, well-read and strong-minded - and yet, it took a suicide attempt by her eldest daughter to make her start questioning the "rightness" of the life she was leading (despite her own deteriorating health from multiple pregnancies and lack of proper medical care). The site's co-founder, Laura, is another stunning example: raised by TWO LESBIANS (can you imagine a more open-minded upbringing?...), she still somehow managed to get married to a fundamentalist guy, get locked up in an isolated farmhouse and have 11 children, who then weren't even allowed to see their grandmother until she "gave up her sinful lifestyle". Fortunately for everyone involved, Laura "recovered" (after much pain and disillusionment, of course) and is now happily married to someone else, while both her children AND her parents still have a place in her life. Other stories are less positive in outcome. All in all, an absolutely fascinating read. Sometimes I can't tear myself away even if there is new V/O fic popping up on my flist - and that REALLY is saying something.:P

In more mundane news, I FINALLY found THE RIGHT shampoo for my wayward hair. Read more... )
floatingleaf: (thoughtful)
Another excellent article giving a very insightful evaluation of the mess we're all in.

http://www.alternet.org/media/146005/we_stand_on_the_cusp_of_one_of_humanity%27s_most_dangerous_moments

Just a little excerpt below:

The election of Barack Obama was yet another triumph of propaganda over substance and a skillful manipulation and betrayal of the public by the mass media. We mistook style and ethnicity – an advertising tactic pioneered by the United Colors of Benetton and Calvin Klein – for progressive politics and genuine change. We confused how we were made to feel with knowledge. But the goal, as with all brands, was to make passive consumers mistake a brand for an experience. Obama, now a global celebrity, is a brand. He had almost no experience besides two years in the senate, lacked any moral core and was sold as all things to all people. The Obama campaign was named Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008 and edged out runners-up Apple and Zappos.com. Take it from the professionals. Brand Obama is a marketer’s dream. President Obama does one thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertisers want because of how they can make you feel.

And another:

The cultural belief that we can make things happen by thinking, by visualizing, by wanting them, by tapping into our inner strength or by understanding that we are truly exceptional is magical thinking. We can always make more money, meet new quotas, consume more products and advance our career if we have enough faith. This magical thinking, preached to us across the political spectrum by Oprah, sports celebrities, Hollywood, self-help gurus and Christian demagogues, is largely responsible for our economic and environmental collapse, since any Cassandra who saw it coming was dismissed as “negative.” This belief, which allows men and women to behave and act like little children, discredits legitimate concerns and anxieties. It exacerbates despair and passivity. It fosters a state of self-delusion. The purpose, structure and goals of the corporate state are never seriously questioned.

I love it when someone expresses my thoughts much better than I ever could.

Also, to top it off, TEH BEST bumper sticker EVAH: PRACTICE ABSTINENCE. NO BUSH. NO DICK. This totally made me LOL, because it applies to me on so many levels.;D
floatingleaf: (angsty)
So. Dad's neurologist says that the results of the EEG test are inconclusive. Meaning, they don't look normal, but he needs more detail before he can attempt a diagnosis. So he wants dad to have another EEG - this time the electrodes will stay glued to his head for three days instead of 30 minutes. Fortunately, this sort of thing is done at the patient's home - someone will come and attach the electrodes, and then come back three days later to take them off. And all the while dad will be able to move freely around the house while wearing them (or so the doctor said). Hopefully this test will clarify the situation - but it also means that dad can't go back to work yet and needs to extend his short-term disability for another three months (the follow-up neurologist appointment is in April). After which he has to either come back or quit the job (or they can fire him anyway).

In other angst-inducing news, my mother also has a strange medical problem which requires immediate attention. possible TMI under the cut )
floatingleaf: (thoughtful)
Just a link tonight. An excellent article that perfectly sums up my present outlook on the world in general and the USA in particular. Not an uplifting vision by any stretch, but sometimes brutal honesty is refreshing. And I find the vicious sarcasm refreshing too.

http://www.alternet.org/news/145840/joe_bageant%3A_americans_are_%22hope_fiends%22_because_honestly_looking_at_the_present_situation_would_destroy_just_about_everything_we_hold_as_reality

Long article, I know, but totally worth it - even if it is, to some extent, stating the obvious. That's precisely the kind of reading material that keeps me awake all those long hours at work.;) (Reading porny fanfic at the office might be too risky, but anything else is fair game, as far as I am concerned - especially if it prevents me from nodding off while staring at the database...:P)
floatingleaf: (sad Sinead)
As if I didn't have enough reasons to feel upset already, I read an article today that gave me another one. About evil, carcinogenic chemicals in cosmetics and other 'body care' products. There was a sizeable list of substances to be 'avoided at all costs' - and nearly every item on that list turns out to be a very commonly used ingredient in all types of products. I checked out my shampoo, conditioner, face wash, mouthwash, toner, facial cream, shower gel etc. - and they ALL contain some of the evil stuff. Granted, possible damage caused by cosmetics is not as great or immediate as that caused by harmful chemicals in food, which is actually ingested - but still, constant exposure over time can result in some of those chemicals being absorbed by the body and finding their way to the internal organs. Read more... )
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