Thursday, 23 March 2017

Stuff I learnt about myself this past year

It's really weird to realize at the age of fourty that so much stuff I believed is no longer true.

For example, I found out I hate painting. I do it only because it's the only way to commemorate the images roleplaying and imagination make in my mind, so I've been doing it with dedication since I was six or so, but man, it's really hard work and I'm never good enough with it and it takes a million hours and once you got the sketch down it's nothing but stupid, technical monkey work. So you know what? Yes, I hate doing it! There. I said it.

Turns out that I did 'being sad' wrong all my life, because each time I cry (which I do a lot and without any shame or restraint, really) I feel frustrated rather than relieved. I just mess it up, like I do cooking, so much so that I failed to get the evolutionary point of it. But then Rachel and Noogie explained it to me. I should look at what makes me sad, really think about it and deal with it, even wallow; only then will crying be a relief. Because what I did all my life is cry my eyes out while refusing to actually look the pain in the eye. It's like... closing your eyes and punching really hard while yelling "I'm okay! I'm okay!" or something. So this year I had relieving crying for the first time ever, which was great.

And chatting with Mountain, I realized I've made the same mistake with anger all my life. I feel it, hugely, but I refuse to admit I'm allowed to feel that way, which brings only frustration, never relief. In fact, I think it kind of... multiplies it. Mountain advised to wallow in it as well, really face it, write them anger letters (which I loathe doing exactly because of that, because it's touching the raw pain) - actually let the anger in, and out; not try to push it away or ignore it. Just like sadness.

Fourty years of knowing I'm the queen of expressing emotions, that I'm all free and open with them, and I discover I do it wrong. I'd nab a medal for being able to screw up something like this, but that aside, I'm actually quite relieved. It feels like with these two emotions better handled, life can be far nicer. Even if I only got this halfway through it.

Farewell, Mountain

So I'm trying to find the guts to go out there and spend time with people. Groups, not one on one. And tonight a friend had a farewell gathering, and I went there, and it was... wonderful. Simply wonderful.

There was Tee (we met in 1999. Whenever we meet I say 'Tee, my love!' and he replies 'Bell, my fish' - I don't even remember when we started that); his brother Zee - also 1999 - with the guitar (we'll get to the guitar, it's a big thing); their dad, whom we all call Papa Sanfur ('Grampa smurf' in Arabic); Mountain (I think we met around 2009), ever calm and solid and gentle, with his flute; Tzur (2002), the strongest memory I possess of whom is him kindly reminding me not to fall asleep in the scorching sun at that mythological LARP theatre thing we did in the Akko festival, 60 LARPers living in a tent commune on a wall for four days of absolute bliss; my own gem of a husband (2006, Warcraft), O (2009) who said he'd kick me out of the house to socialize, kicking and screaming if he has to; Then the two who made my heart sing the most - Lector Knight, whom I met when he was 16 at 1994 and we were besties for a few years, and boy is it weird seeing him 38 years old (but when we hug the skin of his neck smells the same as ever) - and of course Shmoopie (1999), whom I wish I had another codename for because using this one is tugging at memories of the turbulent love we shared for a year or three, and we pretty much didn't speak since, but he sat there grinning and sprinkled anecdotes from our past as if to say 'there's parts of you only I know', and he laughed his loud, roaring laughter and it felt like sunshine.

That's eight people who make me feel loved, and appreciated, all gathered in one room. I haven't seen most of them for over a year, or over twelve; but I walk in and hug each in turn, and then the guitar is out and Zee and Lector are playing, and Shmoopie and Tee and I are singing, and it's all Beatles and Papa knows all the lyrics and joins in with his beautiful baritone, and I suddenly get it: that feeling of community, a real life, genuine thing, not online; friendships long and tested, surface adoration but ever the sense that this is real. And genuine. And safe. I am welcome here.

And I stopped being social at 2011. And I tried to get out - that LARP last November - and it didn't feel nice; but tonight did, and I want more of that. So I think I'll try.

And Mountain is leaving; We agreed it hardly matters, as we meet once every four months anyway - and he'll be visiting Israel just as often - but somehow, though it was his farewell party, I feel as if I was the one given a gift. And I'm grateful.


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Re-dressing the house, cintiq and more

Miracle trainer said to 'get out of the bummer zone' and I couldn't so I'm changing the house to make it give a different feel. The new furniture are here - two desks, drawers, a new sofa - and now I'm just waiting for the handyman to come and demolish the built-in plaster desk I had made eight years ago.

In the meantime, both husband's work station and mine are on the same small desk in the middle of the living room, the whole place so full of messy wires that it looks... well, pretty much like you'd imagine a gamer teen's room, sans action figures. It's nice to be able to see husband's face right across from me, or to find his foot in my lap, but the mess around the house distresses me and I can't do anything useful. I'm just waiting for the mess part to be over; hopefully, in two days. Demolishing and fixing the wall tomorrow, then a fresh coat of paint - then placing furniture in place, installing the cintiq with the ergo arm (which was badly installed twice already, dammit, and it's part of the reason I don't paint) - then screwing wheels to two bits of wood to make trollies for the computers, and then, hopefully, the living room will look much nicer and tidier.

My parents moved more than ten times before I was fifteen. I'm so used to packing and changing the place I live in; I've never been eight full years in the same place, until now. And on the one hand, I love it; the stability. On the other, I find that I hoard junk because there's no yearly packing-unpacking, that awesome part where you toss away all the stuff you don't really need; and I loath hoarding.

So this will be nice. Just... push through this mess-in-the-living-room part. I can't wait.

I also, I'm surprised to find out, eager to be able to paint again. Part of it was the bad feeling connected to acquiring the cintiq; the other part is just the discomfort involved with moving it around the desk, and hopefully now this will be solved. I haven't had much urge to paint this year, and I had Blender to keep me occupied and more, but now I have a couple of images from The Secret World I want to paint - if only to thank Lucky for walking hand in hand with me during a month of bummer - and I can't bring The Secret World models into Blender. I'm actually thinking some mixed medium technique could be great - using wow models in Blender for pose reference, for example - but that will have to wait until the cintiq is up again; right now it's lying face down in my bedroom, and I give it a baleful look every time I pass it.

I really hope the bummer is over. It will be spring soon, and there's so much fun coming - a tidy house and a guild expedition, sunshine and walks outside, roleplaying with cool new people.

The whole guild drama bummer lasted one week. Two people left, politely but with an aura of unpleasantness that brought both husband, Lucky and me down. But it took only a week to find more than enough people we're happy to try playing with; and frankly, the guild's build has been a thorn in my side for a while. They're all excellent roleplayers and cool people, but the characters were very passive, so passive that Lucky and I had to change our introvert, quiet, shy characters just to move the plot along; the guild being very small by choice made it so that no interesting character dynamic was generated, and even in times of great plot action, things felt a little stale. So bummer or not, this is a good thing; hurt ego and 'this is unfair' or not, it's better to be hoping that new people will bring better dynamics than to compromise for a guild you don't enjoy. And really, the people were all so nice; you can't kick them on account of not contributing what the guild needs. Now that they left, there's hope things will be nicer.

And I opened commissions again; after the animation bootcamp, doing a single image feels like vacation, even if it has particle hair and stuff. And I really kind of need to replenish my paypal, after those 200$ spent on rendering the clip.

I'm itching to make animation, but not something as long as the clip, and I can't come up with any good idea for a 10 second long animation. In the meantime, I got to itch the scratch a bit by teaching a friend to animate today, which was nice. I wish I could bring myself to taking erotic commissions - there would certainly be plenty of them, and they're quite short and much simpler to make - but I just can't. Even the sweet romance images of my own character cuddling with her guy made me cringe, and throwing actual genital anatomy there - criiiiiiiinge. No. I'll leave that to people who feel comfortable with it.

So much to look for! God damn it, come already, tomorrow! I want to do cool stuff!

Eilat, 2017

Dad: And now we'll watch this TV thing I recorded and wanted to watch with you all.
Me: Dad, I'm hungry, I'll get a bowl of soup and sit to watch with you while I eat.
Dad: No, we'll all have dinner together in two hours.
Me: But I'm really hungry, dad, I didn't have a large lunch like you. I'll sit with you around the dinner table when you eat, but may I please have a bowl now?
Dad: No, suck it up, you spoiled child.
Me: ...


So I got up and took a bowl of soup anyway, because I'm hungry and two hours is a long time to be very hungry. Dad was furious, yelled at me in front of bro and husband and uncle, with 'how dare you defy me in front of everyone' and the works. 

And then he wonders why I don't ever want to go over there, 350 kms away from my safe zone, with no means of going away to a place where I can fucking eat when I'm really hungry. It's as if my wishes, my basic needs, are illegitimate. Bro was, like 'dad, come on, it's as if you're forbidding her going to the loo if she needs to' and dad was 'no' and... yeah. 

The visit to the grave was actually okay. I didn't feel like crying. I still hated it when they read the Kaddish over her, because she hated all things religion, but we're here for dad just as much as we are for her and we do what he wants out of respect. But the eating thing... sheesh.

And I think I now understand another reason why I don't like going out to visit other people; it's always that niggling fear that I won't be free to have the basics - if I'm cold, or hungry, or tired, that I'll be forbidden fixing it. And I'm a grown up, for fuck's sake. And it feels so pathetic and undignified to sit there and freeze or be hungry and not be allowed to turn on the heater (it's right here, dad, come on, I'm cold now, I don't want to wait an hour until the air condition gets the living room warm; true story, also from this weekend). I know he loves me. I know he'll give me all the money and love and protection I need. But I also need to feel like my will is respected, not with little things, but with the fundamentals. Like cold, or hunger. And it's not, it's always a battle of wills with furious, violent consequences if mine doesn't align to his.

I love my dad. But I'm also fourty, a person in my own rights, and I can't stand being treated that way. What a fucked up thing is that, keeping a guest hungry or cold? What for? I don't get it, dad.


But I'm back home now. I need a couple of days to recuperate from this - a few walks in the sun, some more cleaning and fixing things around my home, my safe zone, then I'll be fine. Sheesh.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Eleven years since

I love you, mom. :(

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Plan for depression times

There's always a sense of 'dare I jinx it?' when I feel a relief in depressed time; likely because I remember all those times during 2003-2004 when I thought it was over, I said it was over, then found myself back in the lowest. It could be a relief that lasts a day, even two or three, but then it would always be back to waking up and wanting to be dead again. But that was 2003; I've never ever felt as horrible since. I've never wanted not to exist, since.

So this spell of bummer, or down swing of the bi-polarity I've never been diagnosed with (and I wonder if I would be, if I went to have it checked) has lasted a month. It started on January 10th. And I called Miracle Coach only after three weeks, and the meeting left me unhopeful because she said nothing new; but I did it anyway. And I think it's starting to work, because during this week the noise in my mind subsided; and I've had four nights of awesome, peaceful sleep; and the fury, or hurt, melted - into understanding, seeing the good that comes out of the bad, even a hint of future forgiving. It no longer burns.

So here's what I think helped:

  1. Leaving the 'zone of depression', the physical place where I feel sad. I didn't go on vacation, but I did make sure to go outside every day, even if only for an hour. I've been lucky, it's been sunny and warm all week; the sun, and indeed being away from my home, my room, the computer, did me good.
  2. Throwing away stuff. I love doing that, and I've never before in my life lived nine years in the same apartment. I miss moving, really; the packing, the throwing away of endless junk, the new place, the making it pretty and homey, the designating space for plates, books and games. And without moving every two years, I've collected so much junk I don't need. So this week I started tossing it away, and boy, does that feel good.
  3. Asking for help and socializing: Ghouls reprimanded me for not asking for help when I'm down, so this time I called her; I also met Notch, and Noogie, and just - aired my brain from all the things that have been weighing it down, immersed myself with the novelty of talking to people face to face, touching, laughing, telling, listening. 
I think all of the above really helped. I'm starting to feel like myself again. I've even tried Blender today - that is, not the purposefully-brain-numbing model-cleaning, but actually making a picture. Couldn't find the drive to do more than make a terrain, but still, it's a start. And I answered the emails I've been neglecting, and I'm cleaning the house again. That's good.

And I'm reading a book that keeps me interested - until Robert Galbraith (aka J.K Rawling) publishes the next Cormoran Strike book, I have to do with terrible trash, and I really find Dan Brown's writing infuriating and annoying, but he does deliver on the 'don't want to put this book down' part, even if he does so with cheap tricks that make me feel cheated as a reader. It doesn't matter; it keeps my mind on nice things before I go to bed, meaning I sleep well, meaning no complains.

Can I say 'this bummer is over'? I don't know. I'm afraid to celebrate prematurely. But if this lasts two more weeks, I think I'll be safe to say it. Here's hoping.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Morpheus Vs. Corwin

I totally shouldn't have picked those for the title; I should have went with the non-lame characters of the books, say Hob Gadling Vs. Benedict. But the point is that since 1989 (for Sandman) and 1970 (for Nine Princes In Amber), people have been fan-casting those two stories for a filmed adaptation. It was one of our favourite games: When I was seventeen during LARPs, nineteen during Vampire: The Mind's Eye Theatre, twenty in breaks during our D&D tabletop, twenty three with the ex-wife in London, twenty six with the gang of roleplayers who actually tried to put up an Amber play; you always sit and think: which actors would be cool for Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire/Desprair and Delirium? Who could best portray Llewella, Deirdre, Fiona and Flora, Eric, Benedict, Corwin, Bleyz, Caine, Jerard, Julian, Random and Brand? And Dworkin, of course?

If you've never read Neil Gaiman's Sandman or Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber, you have no idea what those names are. But for all the people I grew up around, friends and mentors, brothers and even people I didn't get along with, those were a source for many a jolly hour of fantasy and speculation. I'm not saying they're awesome; the older I grow, the more aware I am of the aspects I don't enjoy in both, but even with that, even with growing older, soberer, disillusioned and favouring a completely different kind of literature, I can't help be very excited at the rumour that both are in the process of being adapted to screen. The Sandman is already on IMDB, Amber not yet - but I can hope.

...It's a bloody shame that the perfect combination of David Bowie / Tilda Swinton for Desire won't ever happen; let's hope there's a fitting replacement somewhere out there.