On thinking too much…

… which really seems to be something I've been doing far too much of lately. Coupled with the utter exhaustion that has been plaguing me on and off as of late (I'm not sure if it's related to the arm numbness thing or if it's a symptom of academic burnout or something else entirely or just a lack of sleep due to the joys of my life continuing to be busy (when isn't it?) and working shifts at the grocery store) and the fact that I've been working at the self-scan checkouts (which give me much time to just think about whatever) and I wonder if even the overthinking of things is making me exhausted.

And that in a nutshell is a bit of my (somewhat circular) thinking today. Then again, that's probably only the tip of the iceberg: my life on a whole goes reasonably well (as it does most of the time outside of the small complaints that I have, being a female living in the first world etc.). But I've been a ball of stress lately and need to do a better job of relaxing and just having a good time. Today should have been one of those days: I only had to work 4 hours and then do my grocery shopping, but I have had a headache since waking up (I may have ground my teeth very badly last night or it might be a tension headache or something) and I've gotten far too little sleep I think as well.

While Friday was an awesome day and I tried my best to make Saturday into one (on Saturday I went to CornFest, visited Roast, browsed idly at the various markets before prepping for the usual board game evening of fun), the lack of attendance at my board game event disappointed me worse than it ought to have: I mean, even one attendee was better than nothing, and we did play a bunch of games and had some good conversations, but I think I build myself up to become ready to host a group gathering like this and to see it not become a gathering of three or more persons is disappointing. I'm not angry or disappointed with any specific individuals, really: life gets busy and the regrets that people had along with their reasons were really worthwhile! I can't expect everyone else to be free and available when I am, just like I can't plan these events for the dates when everyone is available (when EVER is everyone available?).

And having an event with 20+ attendees isn't necessarily optimal either: For me it's never quite as simple as the introvert/extrovert equation: while I have a lot of acquaintances, a lot of social media friends, a lot of people I interact with on a daily basis in the public sphere, I don't tend to have that many close friends, and I really value the time I do get to spend with folks, be it in a one on one situation (which I generally enjoy) or in a small group gathering (that inevitably includes smaller conversations etc.). I'm pretty damn loyal to the friends I have when I do get close, and even separated by distance or time I think of these people often, but I've long ago learned that there's no way I'll ever be able to keep up with even those that really matter. Sure I send Christmas/holiday cards, sure I COULD write physical mail (not that anyone answers in this time and age) and I do read all the emails that come in and reply to these as appropriate but my continued phone shyness often prevents me from contacting or interrupting folks' lives more immediately with a message of what I was thinking or wanting to tell them. Texting is great but it, like email, can be asynchronous and well, I think sometimes I just crave that interpersonal interaction that comes with the immediacy of being together in the same physical space. But at the same time I often crave and/or need solitude to recharge my own batteries, and it's a damn fine line between being lonely and wanting a hug and an ear to listen, and losing myself in a book, watching media, playing a single player video game or otherwise doing something purely for ME, rather than because there's a looming deadline, or because I have an obligation to attend something.

If anyone knows me well they know I like rules and order, that I'm pretty damned good at following them, provided that they're useful or appropriate to the situation, to the time, to the age. Looking back at the past year or so I feel like I've been pulled a million directions by other people, and spent far too much of my own time hiding away from the world in productive and unproductive ways. Sure, some of the reason was political, and I will admit that I still feel a bit of pain from what some folks have done to me in the past year in the name of an organization or in the name of their own personal goals. Some of it is purely because I tend to be a pretty busy person, knowing that in staying busy I can help prevent myself from feeling as lonely, but it's not as if being in a crowd prevents loneliness, just as being alone doesn't necessarily mean I'm lonely — I'm pretty often content to hermit myself with a book, some good food, media, writing, or (more often than not) the Internet. But, societal rules or expectations often stress me more than I expect them to, even though I'm so often good at following such expectations if they're known; I ought to be better at following my OWN expectations and taking my life into my own hands: which means of course less thesis procrastination, but also the understanding that if I'm this exhausted, I ought to just allow myself to sleep, and not let my brain get into the way.

I am not stupid enough to think that I don't still take criticisms and off the cuff remarks from others far too personally on occasion, or that I don't still base some of my self-worth on the opinions of others, but I like to think there are a few things I've been working on my whole adult life and where I'll improve as time goes on. I'm doing my best to not build up the metaphorical masks that I used to wear where others couldn't get at the real me, but also not be beholden to the related emotions that too easily well up. It's not so easy as turning off and on my emotional and my rational brains… though life would be a whole lot simpler if it was!

So I'm in some pretty odd headspace today. And when I think about it, it might be related to my not eating much for much of the day, eating one large-ish meal and not eating much since, or maybe to lack of sleep, or maybe stress, or maybe a myriad of other factors. But I do think that sometimes it helps to type, even if typing doesn't always result in comments or responses from the assumed audience of this blog or of my social media profiles, or really my friends or family.

Comments on an instance of casual racism/religious discrimination

There are times when I don't choose to speak up. Sometimes that's because I know that the response will be 'it's just a joke, what's the harm' or something similar. When I'm considered too 'young', too female or too 'ethnic' to be listened to. When these people are several times my age and already far too stuck in their ways to see the true offensiveness of their behavior. And really sometimes I'm okay with not speaking up while at other times I feel much more conflicted and much more likely to speak up later when I can pull someone aside and explain why what they said rubbed me the wrong way. There are many many different responses that I might take in a moment like this one… and today I'm writing a blog post. Because the Avenue Q song is accurate; everyone is a little bit racist; it's not that I'm blaming these individuals solely for their behavior in this case: indeed it is likely their cultural milieu as well as the media and other aspects of their upbringing that has made it ok to joke about offering Muslim people tons of pork. But I noticed, and found it quite unacceptable. Would these same people find it okay to insult people for choosing to eat fish on a Friday? Or for going to church on a Sunday (or any other day of the week)? Would these same folks joke about other belief systems including their own? And would they be joking just this way if the Muslim folks were male, or weren't wearing a niqab rather than just a hijab or a headscarf or no head covering at all? I don't know the answers to these questions, not being all that close to these said folks. But I'm not sure that I want to hear the answers. And I'm not sure that I want to live in a world where so much casual racism, religious discrimination, etc. might happen even jokingly, as if nothing is wrong with insulting people for their differences. I want to make the world a better place. I like to hope that more people will think it wise to educate people on why such behaviors, even jokes, are not all that appropriate or even funny. Because I certainly didn't find them funny. I was more surprised that such a thing came out of an acquaintance's mouth. I hope that the next time (because there will be a next time) that someone's comment makes me feel so unhappy with their behaviour that I feel safe pointing it out, that I feel that my words will be listened to, that this person, whoever they are might actually listen and learn from my words and that they're not a waste of air. I really hope that this blog post isn't a waste of my words, of my typing.