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Sunday, 29 December 2013

I need longer vacations

Aunt A sent gifts. I remembered who each of those was supposed to go to. And delivered all of them. Problem? One of the gifts was initially intended to stay, and be given to LC4's soon to be little sister. When I reminded aunt A that she was missing a present for another baby, she just gave me that and said she'd get BCM's newborn something else. All the other babies already had presents, mind you. Turns out the baby who was missing her present was 9 months old and could not possibly fit into the 0-3m clothes. That's aunt A's bad planning for a) not buying this baby something in the first place and b) deciding to recycle a gift intended for a baby who was an entirely different age. How was I supposed to know how old this other baby was? Well, aunt A is never fucking WRONG so it stands to reason that it was me who obviously fucked up. Hearing mum tell me about this clarification from aunt A made me cry.

It did. I'm only here for another week and that means that in one short week I go back to the horrible old hag who is right even when she's blatantly wrong and it's somehow all my fucking fault. Now I know she'll have some kind of lecture for me. How dare I be mistaken? How dare I not remember the lie she came up with on the spot when told she made a mistake? She didn't label all the gifts (she didn't label any of them) and that's somehow going to be my fault too because I told her I'd remember who each of the gifts went to (which I did) but I forgot she'd forget and blame any mistakes on me. FUCK. Another bloody year of that! Another. fucking. year! Not until it's over, no. That's just until I get to escape again. It will be another year and a half until I'm done and it's already been a year and a half too long. 


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Christmas

Behind the times for this, I know. I should know. But bear in mind typing is very hard when I'm not on a computer and the intersection of "time I get by my self" and "time I get with a computer" isn't all that large. It will seem odd, then, when I point out so late in the game that I very much wanted to wish SmTn a merry Christmas. I only wished A a merry Christmas but I couldn't not say anything to SmTn. Except I couldn't say anything to him either. So I thought it was very clever (not) to set "Merry Christmas!" as my Skype mood message. Which I later found out was virtually invisible (I couldn't see it from my sister's account, which would mean SmTn couldn't either.) What was I supposed to do? I've been thinking about him a lot, taking pictures with the sole purpose of imagining all the things I'd tell him and... you know, in general, he's just been on my mind a lot. 

Well, he either managed to see my mood message (which would have been written exclusively for him, mind you) or he didn't. What is certain is that he had the same idea: even if we're not talking, wishing each other a merry Christmas ought to be fair game. I don't know if it is, but he sent me a "Happy Christmas" message last night and it. made. my. day. Both yesterday and today. He was thinking of me too! I wished him a merry Christmas and held back from adding a :) with it, because that, my dear children, could be considered flirting and he's a taken man. I very much wanted to talk, to tell him things, to have him tell me things, to joke about Christmas and festivities and talk about vacations and... but it was not allowed, so I turned away from the screen with some not-so-small degree of sadness to hear another message come through from his side. It was Guns N' Roses singing "Estranged." Like so:


Not quite the Guns N' Roses connoisseur myself, I had to quickly look up the lyrics to the song and think of a quick response. This is what I came up with:


Truth be told, I sort of chose it based on two things (mostly): the phrase "young at heart" is used in the Guns N' Roses song and it's my holiday song of the year, because I quite suddenly remembered it at some point this December. There's a tiny bit more to it, though. If I understand the lyrics correctly for "Estranged"... it's kind of a love song for the one who got away. And my song basically says "Fairytales can come true." Which, admittedly, is entirely the wrong thing for a virtual mistress to say to an emotionally cheating man but... it's what I came up with. I must say I quite like it, as a response. I just wish there were more to all this, though. More than both of us just sending :) in the end. More than wishing him a happy new year (now I feel I'm "allowed to" and I'm already planning how to best spend the precious few lines I think won't be too much). More than the dream I had about him last night where he was here. He'd come here to get me.

He was here with guy friends but he'd come here exclusively to get me. To be with me. He was only missing the old man's permission and had already sort of earned my mum's and my sister's surprise and approval. I remember him driving a car and setting the radio station to news of his home country and thinking it was adorable. So, a detail I had to come back to add in is that he opened bottles of champagne and maybe was a bit too fond of the drinks. Maybe he was all about celebrating seeing me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the thought crossed my mind last night "he's drunk texting me a merry Christmas."

There should be more to all this! I had a glimpse at the possibility (but not really) of re-visiting the town where summer school was hosted. And my first thoughts are directed to SmTn, taking pictures and showing them to him, sending him a postcard with a witty/clever/nonsensical/silly/very-me message to tell him "I was here and I was thinking of you." Which is oh-so-very-wrong. *sigh*

All I want for Christmas (pardon the corniness) is you, darling SmTn. Our brief exchange last night was the best gift I got this year. I love you.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

You can make perfect and still not mess with time

I had a dream last night about LesMisGuy. It had been a while. We were in school1. so were the queen bees, N1 and L2(?). I remember seeing him from a distance in the cafeteria. He was wearing an orange shirt showing he belonged to the chess club. I considered joining just to be close to him but it was already the end of the semester and I didn't know if he'd be around next year. I seemed to think he wouldn't, actually. I wish I could say our eyes met but I can't seem to remember it happening. I do remember thinking that the reason he was in school1 had something to do with me. I tried to brush it off, but I couldn't think of another explanation why he would be there. Later in the dream I talked to this girl who told me men [she meant LesMisGuy] regretted not being with [me]. Sorry. Can't remember her words, just the overall message. I thought she was just saying that, like you do when you're trying to comfort a girl with boy problems, but she seemed to know what she was talking about. I can't remember whether it was with her or someone else that I cooked a recipe for my perfect man by pouring liquids from glass bottles into I know not what, each liquid representing a different quality. As I poured them in, it was noted that I could make the perfect man but there was no guarantee I would get to meet him, or be with him.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Como camarón

I had a dream about SmTn again last night. This time I just remember looking at pictures of him and thinking he looked good (and missing him). Remembering that dream made me check Facebook, and checking Facebook made me realise I completely forgot about EBF's birthday yesterday. Which is curious, because just yesterday I heard a song I hadn't heard in a very long time which reminded me of him.

I have worried about congratulating him, wishing him a happy elated birthday in some original way, seeing how I actually bothered last year... But then, I checked and realised that it was a stupid thing to do and gave up on the idea, somewhat relieved to know I'm too late anyway. Though I wanted to contact him and let him know I'm in town, I put it off indefinitely. I haven't even tried to contact AOB. I'll be at the cinema tomorrow night with my sister and her friend. I don't care if I don't get to go out more as long as I can afford to help around the house.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Still dreaming of SmTn

I had another dream about SmTn last night. This time, I was doing whatever on my phone when messages from him suddenly started pouring in. He was emotional he talked about his feelings for me as if he'd been holding them back for too long. I started writing back, wanting to be as honest and sweet as he was. But I was in the car and we drove away from the WiFi signal I was using and my messages stopped going through. I felt awful, leaving him alone like that until I got home, but there was nothing I could do better except try to get a signal somewhere along the way.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Home and dreaming of SmTn

I've been home since Friday night. Friday itself was uneventful, except for the fact that I had to pay for transportation to the airport, even though aunt A had said they would be paying for it. I don't know why I thought I could take their word for it, but I didn't have enough cash on me that morning and I ended up fishing for it from my piggy bank. *sigh*

Be that as it may, I'm home. The weather is nice and cool, the food is great and I don't have the As or any of their madness. I've had to lie, telling people it's all good and pretending to be happy. The old man asked about the air conditioning unit, I suppose my sister mentioned something about it. He also asked about what it would take to finish a degree in philosophy, or literature, for that matter. Such conversations sadden me because they remind me of how stuck I am. Not that I wanted to bring it up in the first place, but it's that much harder to bring up the topic of therapy or maybe needing prescription drugs to treat depression.

I can't remember what else I've dreamed about since I got here, but this morning / last night I had a dream about SmTn. We were in the town where summer school was held. He was coming to see for the second time. For some reason, I was living with the As and still depended on them for lots if things. There were other young people around, though, and I half recognised one as the PhD student who gave up on Pf1. It was weird... SmTn's second stay was a less exciting one. I felt stupid for having opened three packages that had arrived in the mail for him. Two of them were his, while the third was a present for me: a video he'd put together years ago and whose name I can't remember. It had the air of a school project, presenting his point of view on subject and telling a story. It was a very nice gift, really. 

When he first visited, I had to ask uncle A to give him a lift to the airport. The second time, he wouldn't have it. We talked without being able to see one another, with him hiding in a fridge-sized box. I gather that was us trying to keep a distance after the breakup. After a while, I said I couldn't make out what he was saying and he came out, realising it was plain silly to hide like that. The conversation was still strained, though, and he felt distant. I only realised later that he had stayed much longer than he should have, risking losing track of his bags if he didn't get to the airport early enough. Just to be with me.

I remember hugging him, most likely the first time he visited. It felt so good... I couldn't smell him. It upset me a little because I wanted to have something to remember him by. After the second visit, though, I remember being on the plane with him. Then the dream took a turn for the crazy and spun off into a story where he was a spy and we were to sneak into an elegant Victorian era themed party at a fancy hotel.

I wish I could write him an e-mail... There's so much U'd like to tell him about... I miss him.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Faery tales

There's a deliberate spelling there, not a typo. I do mean faery tales. 

On to the subject matter. We were just at the cinema watching Disney's Frozen. I knew it was a musical (or could guess as much, knowing Jonathan Groff and Idina Menzel were voicing some of the characters) but I did not know what it was about. I have a major objection with the storyline: namely, that nothing happened when Anna found out about Elsa's powers and I never quite understood why she wasn't allowed to leave the castle, which kind of makes those years of silence pointless. Other than that, I'm very happy with the strong female leads and that nice turn where true love was not necessarily a kiss from your other half but an act of love for anyone. Moreover, they even had time to teach girls about scoundrels who only pretend to like them and boys about respecting boundaries and asking. Well played, Disney. Well played. The music was okay, the singing was superb. And then, when the credits rolled and I looked eagerly for the name of the person doing Anna's voice, I found out it was all based on The Snow Queen. As in Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. Probably not the best adaptation, but I don't hate it. 

At any rate, it's interesting because just before leaving I had been looking into faery tales. There's a make-up contest I thought I'd give a shot (I tried last month and lost, but I refuse to be discouraged: I could use an excuse to play around with make-up and I kind of like having a theme). The theme for the month, you may have guessed, was faery tales. I'd been looking at a list on Wikipedia trying to find inspiration and I had coincidentally pored over Hans Christian Andersen's stories briefly. My other tabs? Oscar Wilde's short stories, The Beauty and the Beast, Babiole, Belle-Belle (I'd never stopped to think of a Mulan-style, transgender plot in a faery tale, but there we have this one)... and The Forest Bride. I'll be honest, part of it is because I was drawn to the whole forest bride reference, as it reminded me of Kementári and other Earth-element women of mystery in other legends (kind of like the forest equivalent of the yuki-onna in another tab, or perhaps nymphs). Then I read a translation of the story and started reading too much into it. Maybe you can guess why. Even if you can't, I suppose you can't be too surprised to find me overanalysing anything so... 

My research went no further than a quick skim through the Wikipedia article until I reached a couple of conclusions. First, they can be used to talk about unlikely (or flat-out impossible) stories. Second, they are tales of an older time when magic was still the norm. Why, apparently an alternative to "Once upon a time" is "In the old times when wishing was still effective." And that just evokes all the right pictures. For me, at any rate. 

This should explain my choice of spelling for the word "faery."

I don't suppose it's exactly clear now because it's been so long since I last brought it up, but mythology, legends and faery tales were my introduction to literature (and some cheap philosophy, might I add). I've always been drawn to these mysterious enchantresses in the woods, to the spirits of the forest and the Mother Earth figures. Maybe it's because they're strong/powerful/magical/wise and live alone independently (think of Galadriel* or Nimue). They tend to be lonely characters or have love stories that don't quite work out. They're strong and embody a fundamentally feminine sentiment. I don't think I'd given it this much thought until just about now. Well, they're amazing. In a genre that specialises in giving out beautiful women as prizes to men with the right set of moral values (or military prowess) they stand above it all. Not so in The Forest Bride, big disappointment there (unless you see it as her victory for scoring the man she laid eyes on and convincing him to marry a mouse). But something's still to be learned from the story.

You see, the lead character only found love because he set out in the wrong direction, which is to say he tried to find love where no one would have thought of trying. He's rewarded, of course, with a wife who is beautiful, rich and good at housework, would you give me a break? NOT THE POINT. Our "hero" finds his wife because he's kind, persistent and a bit optimistic even in the face of an almost certainly unpleasant future. There's an element of blind faith in fate thrown into the mix somewhere. That about sums up everything you want a lead character to do in order to reach a happy ending. You see, it's because they can wish for something and blindly trust that things will sort themselves out if they follow a simple (however hard) set of instructions. That sort of thing doesn't work in real life anymore. Magic is very much dead these days. At least the magic that made faery tales happen. Talk about being born in the wrong time period.


*I know she's married. Just how often is her husband mentioned? Does he ever do anything other than help welcome guests? She's the one ruling the land and making decisions. She's the one who comes from a line of demi-gods. She's the one with the amazing powers. 

A leetle bit late

Can't believe I only just discovered Lana Wachowski is part of the genius behind V for Vendetta. And this is her:



She's an amazing storyteller, even if she's not the best public speaker, the examples she chose, the pauses, the wording... everything. I love her. And everything this video stands for.

News from Thursday

So, Thursday I was too tired to write. Friday just ran out of its last hour and I didn't get to write either until just now. I should because I have relatively big news, blog. Thursday was my last session with the therapist. 

Why do I feel like I had another big piece of news to share and now I can't remember it? See? This is why I should not have been too lazy to write about it on Thursday.

The therapist essentially said "I'm going to leave you to sort things out in group therapy. What I'm doing here is not working." Did I sense a bit of anger on her part? Did I feel that she was taking it personally? A little. Was I tempted to judge her inexperience? Very. I actually sort of do hold her empty promises against her. "I feel like we're getting to the heart of the matter/we're making progress." Or whatever else she said two weeks ago when she told me to write about how I felt about maths. "I'll teach you how to make friends and, as a treat, teach you how to get a boyfriend." "We still have 3 more sessions left. How do you want to use them?" Do I blame myself for bashing a book I knew was meaningful to her? A little. Have I been tempted to talk to the person supervising her to ask for a second opinion? Very. 

The therapist gave me her card with her e-mail address and phone number and said to contact her if I want her to hook me up with someone who can prescribe medication. Just like that. She didn't pitch for it, she just said it in a "I'm leaving your hot mess for someone else to deal with."

A number of things bother me about this. 

1. I broke out crying. (More on that later, I think.)

2. I compared myself to a toddler feeling frustrated about not being able to do things I see others doing with ease and rationalise I should be able to do (like know how to handle and talk about my feelings.)

3. She said I'd made progress in talking about my feelings but in fuck all else.

4. She didn't mention the goals we set out for and I kind of feel like she was blaming me for not doing everything she asked. More specifically, she didn't say it in so many words, but she basically stated that I was being stupid for staying in a situation that made me unhappy in spite of all my reasons (the greater good, yada, yada, yada) for making my choice. 

5. I agreed with her and told her I was fine with it, and then it hit me that it sort of leaves me completely alone and it makes me very lonely to know I won't have her to vent to. I don't feel comfortable drawing attention to myself during group therapy and I haven't been in group therapy long enough to have gotten the hang of it. While there's the tough love approach to just letting me land on my butt and make it work, what if group therapy doesn't work? Right now she knows I have trouble with even the most basic "let's all bring some food and write each other nice words" exercises. Then she's just pretty much left me defenceless and it brings me to my next point.

6. I get the feeling that she just plain doesn't care. I've said it before, she doesn't have to. But I shouldn't believe she doesn't care. She should pretend to be more empathetic and to worry. Shouldn't she? Frankly, I don't know anymore.

7. Shouldn't she have made the conversation about medication a longer one?

8. I fucking looked forward to talking to her, just for the sake of knowing I had someone's undivided attention for an almost full hour when I got to vent. 

9. There was so much more I wanted to talk about (SmTn, self-esteem, EBF, feeling objectified). 

10. I think the drugs talk deserved a proper conversation. Not just a "Oh, and do you want to try drugs?" Shit, you can't just treat that lightly. It's an addictive substance you will be dependent on for the rest of your life. It fucking costs money (and won't be covered by insurance). I would actually have to tell people about it. And she doesn't bring any of this up? Just like she didn't bring up whatever she said we could pick up on "next time"?

What did I even expect going into therapy? 

What should I talk about on Wednesday, if anything at all?

I've considered talking about how I worry too much about doing everything wrong. I think about things a lot before doing them, if I can, thinking I'll avoid mistakes and regrets. Except I don't, I still feel I had room for improvement after everything is said and done. I've considered talking about whether or not to take the offer to get prescription medication and how justified/reasonable my fears of having less money available each month and believing I should be able to handle this on my own are. I want to talk about feeling objectified because now that I'm truly alone I fear that even SmTn saw me as nothing more than a pretty face. 

A-ha! I remember! It's the woman at the bus stop.

As I waited for the bus to arrive, a woman who had sort of just walked into the bus stop but took a sudden interest in me started talking to me. It was such a strange conversation, though. She seemed to be a clairvoyant testing her powers, trying to guess things about me. She started out with my age. "Let me see if I can get this right.. you are... 32? No, 35? No... 29 years old. Am I right?" Nope, turning 25 in February. "Have you lost weight recently? (I think that's what threw me off)" Why, yes. She tried to guess what I studied and she guessed just about everything before trying maths. She seemed to believe I'm local for a while. The conversation went on in the bus, where she made sure to sit in the seat across the walkway from mine but the bus engine was too loud for me to hear her well. It all ended with her asking about what I heard as "clap" and asking whether I knew what it was. All I could think of was clapping, as in putting your hands together quickly and making noise. But she desisted after I said I didn't know what she was talking about and got off the bus a few stops later. It's odd that when I noticed she must have gotten off the bus I tried to look which way she went but I couldn't see her. There was a strange air about her which made me think of the Harry Potter universe and witches in the muggle world. It was as if she was a Sybill Trelawney of sorts (why, she even looked a bit like the film version of her, if she had grey hair and lost her glasses), but also a witch trying to recognise another and ultimately deciding "Oh, no. Wrong number." 

It got me thinking, though. I don't look like the person I think I am. I have to wonder what I actually look like to others because I'm certainly being judged (and more often misjudged) based on that. For the first time, pretty much ever, I felt objectified. Like all along I've just been this thing that everyone sees for something else. An apple living the life of a fruit punch, if you will. Or maybe the other way round, that's a terrible analogy. 

Just think about it. I've very much ran out of friends. Only three friends sort of remain "on paper" (as in we-could-sort-of-still-start-a-conversation-at-some-point): A, AOB, EBF. I ranked them. There's CtThumbe too, but not really. I mean, she's lovely and I think nice things about her but we're friendly acquaintances who get along quite well. Not friends-friends. And look at how much I talk to my friends. Look at how much I talk to people. Look at how I started a blog to make up for it and now desperately (and futilely) look for ways to get this blog out there, read. I so desperately look for a human connection and fail miserably to find meaning in anything.

I need the practice:

This week's low is that my therapist gave up on me. Or she said she wasn't helping and I agreed but it feels like she just gave up on me. And that the thermostat is set even warmer. Mother. fucker.

This week's high is that next Friday I'll go to cooler climates and to the people who care about me and aren't selfish and don't actively plot my demise. Another high is the reminder that most people are nice, as evidenced in the stranger who helped me catch the bus I was a few seconds too late to catch at the stop, the lady who didn't make a big deal about my contract (I was a bit mortified to even show my face around her after the whole "asking if my pay was right" debacle), and the maths department professor I talked to about auditing a class. I initially felt stupid for asking if it was him with the pink shirt (actually red and white in itty bitty thin stripes) and wondered if he was taking an extra-long time to get to me because of it. But then he was nice. So, self-esteem. I haz none. 

Thought-feeling-action? Thought: I'm lonely. And quite literally alone. And stuck, and frustrated, and annoyed to have lost my freedom and independence, and fucking helpless. Feelings: sadness, despair, frustration, anger. Action: cry at night and during therapy sessions because I can't do a damned thing about the above. I can't change the situations that make me think the thoughts. I can't make myself not think the thoughts because they continue to be true. I can't make the thoughts not lead to the feelings because that's exactly how those thoughts develop when you ferment them. Same for the crying.

And I need to talk to someone about the taking medication dilemma. That's a big fucking conversation.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

For balance

A small collection of moments that made me smile: 

1. The man in a kilt playing Christmas carols on an ocarina. Well, just the one Christmas carol. Just the one part of that Christmas carol. And not that well either. Nevertheless, kind of awesome.

2. My lab partner for bioelectricity for two reasons. First, because he doesn't care at all about the other guy we've sometimes worked with who is gay (and a love). He doesn't act uncomfortable, he doesn't treat him differently. He's just all around easygoing and it's great (except when we have deadlines and he's a bit too relaxed about those because I end up doing most of the work). Second, because he said I might want to skip being the volunteer to attach EEG electrodes to my forehead because I was wearing make-up. Stupidly, I was embarrassed and said I would have argued against it because one needed to go in the back of the volunteer's head and I have longer hair which would not have helped much (it actually would, as it's easier to keep to one side). But the fact that he said it in a totally "just being thoughtful" kind of way made me smile. 

3. The guy in the bioelectricity lab who is gay and reminds me of the kind online stranger. He's so nice and smiles so sweetly and is so easygoing. Makes my day. I feel like I'm trying too hard to make him like me, but I realise I'm compensating for how much I like him. 

4. On one of the cooler, windier nights waiting for the bus to arrive a man offered me a seat inside the bus stop, shielded from the wind. Just so I wouldn't be cold. 

Unrelated, I had a very vivid daydream/fantasy/memory of kissing LesMisGuy during class today. Made me a little uncomfortable because I'm pretty sure I blushed just thinking about it. Confession? I may have looked at his facebook profile last night and found his keeping up with chess tournaments absolutely adorkable.

Also unrelated, I had a rather sad hunch about the man with Down Syndrome who works at the restaurant I had lunch in today. He had bags under his eyes and I got the very strong impression that he was either very sad or extremely tired and both made me worry about him. What do I care about him? I can hardly remember having seen him before and making a note of how he's the one person in that restaurant I consistently find working when I grab lunch there. The fact that he has Down Syndrome is, admittedly, irrelevant and may not be politically correct to point out. I could say he's the consistent worker at that restaurant but the truth is that a good part of the reason why I've noticed him there every time is because he stands out a bit. I do not take his extra chromosome against him. I do not think it makes him deserve more or less attention. I'm not one to feel particularly compassionate about people with conditions similar to his. I do think it's fair to say that his condition does not define him, even if all I've ever seen of him and can remember him by is that. That's on me. I do think he looked very sad today and that it made me sad just to think about it.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Dirty

Oh, Epitome of All Things Clean! You are absolutely right to think that one should never wash one's hands in the kitchen sink! How silly of me! How would it occur to me to use running water and the readily available hand soap to wash my hands there when you prefer me to use the sink in my restroom? Why, you never use the sink in your restroom when you've touched something you think is unclean. The bacteria and dirt you so much fear and abhor is to remain away from you. Except for when you fail to wash your hands or feet for very long periods of time and then eat with dirty hands and put your crusty hoofs in slippers. So very hygienic. As hygienic as mopping the house with a bucket of dirty water ("so as to not waste water" or goodness knows what fucked up reason you excuse yourself with). As hygienic as the E. coli ridden shopping cart, fruit and vegetables. As hygienic as keeping food in the fridge for years. As hygienic as having blue cheese that wasn't blue when it first got there. As hygienic as having dead flies all over the fridge. As hygienic as never replacing the water filter or never ever cleaning the microwave oven. As hygienic as never cleaning or replacing the metallic grill that hangs over the stove, where steam collects before dropping back into whatever you're cooking. As hygienic as food that's been on the kitchen floor for days, whether spilled or dropped somewhere "out of sight." But it's absolutely wrong for me to wash my hands in the kitchen sink because I must want you to die of salmonella/AIDS/bacterial cancer/the plague. Which I bring with me everyday from being on the bus and touching nothing, and from sitting in uncle A's car. Of course. 

*Nazgûl shriek*

I don't have patience for this shit! I have work to do! I have a report and a project due in tomorrow! I have test questions due in on Wednesday and an exam on Thursday! I have a lot to worry about and true reasons to busy myself other than your stupid and idiotic claims of what makes your kitchen and food dirty. The bloody food in the fridge is far dirtier than the kitchen tap. I am not dirtying the tap by touching it with he back of my wrist. You are being ridiculously irrational and so help me the powers that don't be I fucking hate, hate, it when you try to impose "your way of doing things" which have absolutely no evidence to back them up as being in any way better than mine. Not when you argue that bigger perfume bottles make the perfume inside them evaporate or turn rancid more quickly. Not when you argue that washing one's hands in the kitchen sink dirties your food. How the fuck would it?!

What a horrible state of mind to work with. Thanks aunt A. I doubted whether I'd get any sleep tonight. Now I know I won't because I know I won't be sleeping tonight. Does that help you sleep better at night?

Also, I may have been hungry when I got here but I got a glass full of juice and even if I get hungry letter, I'll just go ahead and starve.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Angsty and fidgety

I'm angsty and fidgety. Can't you tell from the title? It's a terrible state of mind to work in. So I've managed not to work. Even though at least one of the deadlines is today. Damn it. I start writing and I end up doing five different things, other than writing. On the projects, I mean. I'm writing now and even this is taking me forever because I keep finding something else to distract myself with. 

Maths and languages

I should be working on one of three things due this week, and I won't even tell you what those are because that's not what I'm writing about now. 

Maths and languages


I think the first time I was marvelled by languages I was 9 or so and learning about code languages. I'm not sure why it's taught to children at all, other than to stimulate their brain activity or something along those lines, but in the book where we were meant to be learning English we were taught about encoding information by switching letters with symbols. It was magical. Imagine being able to express things knowing only those who had your key would be able to know them. It's the cheap fun behind codes in cereal boxes but it goes a lot deeper than that. 

I've always been impressed by polyglots and dream of speaking every language ever (or, failing that, at least 10 languages, but I'll settle for being fluent in 4 or 5). More than the average person, I've been interested in understanding ancient/dead languages. Learning a language, to me, is like sharing a secret. The more books I can read in their original language, the closer I am to what their true forms were in the authors' minds. Understanding an ancient language is the key to the secrets that can no longer be spoken (see: The Voynich manuscript). Being able to speak a language that only you and a few people in a room are able to understand allows you to speak to them and only them. Creating a language of your own and choosing who you teach it to is just another way to do that. There have been attempts at creating universal (or at least "common") languages. You can see them in Middle Earth (common tongue) and you can see them in India (Hindi). Esperanto never really took on. English is trying to take over but will fail miserably. I may not know enough languages but I have yet to come across a complete one. There are always words you can't quite translate that only have a meaning in the specific context of the language they belong to, like "saudade," "lassitude," "Schadenfreude," and even your ever-so-simple "nice." Moreover, I don't think there should be a complete language. On the one hand, it's not practical (I don't know about possible), but on the other, there's a certain beauty in not being able to name every single thing. 

There's a good chance that we're not naming anything at all because communicating with words is ultimately an act of faith: you are counting on the other person using the same set of symbols and sounds to represent an abstract (or not so abstract) notion. Even when that notion is very unambiguous, there's no guarantee that both you and the other person think of the exact same thing when you think of it. That's part of the reason why we have dictionaries and that's the whole reason mathematics rely on definitions and axioms. 

Through minor variations in the words as they are translated into other languages, what you write in mathematical form is very unambiguous. In fact, what language is needed is to translate the maths into words, meaning that "$x = 5$" is a statement which can be translated into other languages as "ex equals five," "equis es igual a cinco," "X gleich fünf," or "x égal cinq." 

(Fun fact: it took me forever to write that last couple of sentences not so much because I didn't know how to say them, but because I didn't know how to write them and even now I'm not sure I did it right. How come I can't find the names for letters in German and French which are so handy en English and Spanish?)

You can agree beforehand what a mathematical object is and then use a word (in whatever language) to refer back to that maths definition. Take for example a circle as the set of all points at a fixed distance from an origin. Whether I say "circle" or "círculo," they both refer to a set of the form $\{x \in \mathbb{R}^2 | d(x, O) = r\}$ where $O$ is the origin and $r$ is the radius. As far as languages I know of go, maths is as unambiguous a language as there is. If there is no word for a particular structure in maths, you may have trouble finding one, but as long as you can describe it with mathematical symbols its meaning is clear to anyone. That's why it's beautiful knowing maths and being able to "speak" its language. Whether maths really are the language of the universe or just the language we've collectively come up with to describe it, they're so pure and precise you can't help but be extra aware of the fact that everything is a fabrication of your mind. And it's wonderful. 

I don't know if it's unfortunate, then, that abstract concepts like feelings can't be written down in the language of maths. It sound very deterministic, but if it's possible at all it would be horribly impractical: start by modelling the very tiniest of physical entities* (good luck deciding which) and then model their interactions on an ever greater level until you reach the complexity of life. Then tear down psychology and medicine and explain every neurochemical interaction through that. Now that you've mastered all of the above, using as many axioms, definitions, lemmas, corollaries and theorems as possible, I present to you a final challenge: use it in a sentence.


*There's an unmentioned debate there that does not elude me. Physics use maths to describe observations. Before we go to Inception levels of nonsense, you have to wonder whether physics uncover the underlying maths that make the universe work or if the maths are just our closest approximation to something purer.