Just Gravy

Where are you and where are you going?
RockyMtnLiving
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:49 am

Re: Just Gravy

Post by RockyMtnLiving »

@Crusader

You undoubtedly know all that follows. I am merely weighing in to memorialize my own views.

There is lots of interesting literature advancing the state of knowledge around why religions may have emerged tens of thousands of years ago, then evolved thereafter just like any other trait. See, e.g., https://www.sapiens.org/biology/religion-origins/. All of this literature may be wrong. I am neither an anthropologist nor a theologian. The literature is interesting, however, and does make one think.

I’m certainly not religious either, though I used to be a Christian. Now, I’m flirting with existential nihilism. And of course, any given philosophy could be viewed as a belief system, too. We are all just trying to make sense of existence, I suppose.

Anyway, if one looks at religion as just another evolutionary trait of Homo sapiens, it arguably makes religion easier to understand and accept. Viewing religion as a hereditary trait was an eye opener for me and arguably has made me more accepting and understanding.

disk_poet
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:33 am

Re: Just Gravy

Post by disk_poet »

@Biscuits and Gravy : I also think you're dealing remarkably with the separation. I think being generous and able to disentangle on good terms is something to be proud of. IMHO it's true that character get's revealed in difficult situations. I had some divorces in the friend group and it can get really ugly.

I've also gone through a separation earlier this year (no 14 years and no kids, thankfully) but I pretty much want to add +1 on your points. Working on the relationship in good times and establishing routines and tools to address issues when SHTF was my biggest take away (Be it couples therapy , a regular state of the union or whatever). I personally really dropped the ball there and it was a big eye opener for me when I looked back after the initial grief & hurt died down a bit. Same with being vulnerable. For me it's similar to physical health. Once it hurts you're already past the point where you should have acted.

Anyway. Just wanted to stress these points because @Crusader brought up the topic.

I hope you continue to move forward!

Crusader
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:16 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Crusader »

@RockyMtnLiving
Thanks, of course there is a good reason why people are religious and believe in supernatural things. At one point of my life, I was a part of a philosophy club with all kinds of people. None of my beliefs changed, but I got to understand others more, and I realized how people's minds are different. Given another mind or set of circumstances, I could have well been a believer (and it would even be "rational" for me to be one, if by "rational" you mean "optimize your life's happiness"). But, the reality is that I am not, and that you will never witness me uttering something like "I choose to believe A over B being true, because belief in A helps me cope with life", and if you do say something like that, I really don't think we would be able to truly be close on a deeper level, that is all.

@Biscuits and Gravy
The consensus seems to be, with which I agree, is that:
-> solving problems as they arrive quickly and together, which leads to
-> being vulnerable
is very important.

Some of my favourite talks on the subject also agree:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFVXsjVdvmY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o

7Wannabe5
Posts: 7076
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Just Gravy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

“Crusader” wrote: I really don't think we would be able to truly be close on a deeper level
So, you believe that your partner’s preferred religious delusion would likely interfere with your ability to maintain your preferred romantic delusion? ;)

Crusader
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:16 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Crusader »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 2:38 pm
So, you believe that your partner’s preferred religious delusion would likely interfere with your ability to maintain your preferred romantic delusion? ;)
No romantic delusion necessary!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEyJnwPIr4Q

;)

7Wannabe5
Posts: 7076
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Just Gravy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Crusader:
Lol-I should make that my karaoke number.

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Crusader wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:39 am
Good, I am not crazy. Not that I should care what others think (I still do), but it helps to know that I am not the only one.
Read this just now and it made me think of your comment, Crusader:

Self-acceptance is “a universal struggle we negotiate partly through the minds of others.” From Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon.

Crusader
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:16 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Crusader »

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon sounds like an interesting book, thanks, I'll add it to my reading list!

That quote is a bit ambiguous to me. We think that others are the ones who are judging us (and sometimes they are), but in my case, I am my own worst judge, so checking in with others usually helps tame my neuroticism. But then, if even others confirm/share my judgement, then I am supposed to listen to them? Is that the negotiation? Usually, though, I found people very uncomfortable with expressing any kind of disapproval, partly because it creates discomfort and (sometimes) an emotional response. Anyway, I'll stop rambling.

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

@Crusader It probably is a bit ambiguous, especially taken out of context. The context here was the author struggling with accepting his homosexuality and looking for acceptance from his parents. As I read it, although we would like to think self-acceptance is entirely dependent on ourselves, in fact it will always somewhat hinge upon finding our tribe (like ERE) and it's easier for us to accept certain parts of ourselves if we find others that are similar (like you and me and atheism). In fact, in addition to your comment, I thought of ERE, and how much of a difference finding this community made in my own journey of self-acceptance. I'm only one chapter into the book, but I highly recommend it (at least that one chapter :P).
____

Three unexpected things occurred after my ex moved out three weeks ago.

1) I don't feel safe. Forgive me the sexism, but when it's just me and the kids alone in the apartment at night with the doors all bolted and the world just outside, I don't feel safe. I'm trying to frame this as an illusion, though, and that's helping. Even having a man in the house, I'm not really safe. I'm never safe. Safety is an illusion and can easily be torn away at any time. I have to live with it.

My ex and I have this story about when we lived in China. It was late in the evening, I was sitting on the couch watching TV, and he was in the other room, painting. Out of the corner of my eye I saw our doorknob very slowly turn and when I looked over there stood a man. All I said was, “[ex’s name],” but he could apparently hear the terror in my voice and picked up a hammer and ran at the intruder, chased him down five flights of stairs, and out into the courtyard. Really, when we tell this story to people, we mostly focus on my ex’s quick reaction and bravery, but if he hadn’t of been there it would likely not be a story that I tell people.

2) I no longer have the opportunity to exercise. Previously, I would work out after the kids went to bed, but now that would mean leaving them alone in the apartment, which obviously isn't an option. There's a gym at work, but it's closed due to COVID. Thus, I've gained three pounds.

3) I’m not sure if I can actually swing this whole paying-for-everything thing without committing financial suicide. I prepaid three months for my ex’s apartment, so that means I’ll only have to pay March through August, a total of $6,000. When I look at my cash, I’m like, psh, no problem, and my paycheck is secure to boot. But shit happens. Last week I dropped $2300 on fixing my car. We signed DD up for ice skating lessons at $70/week. Etc. Things add up. Suddenly I’m calculating my “hobby” of playing the stock market (thank you, TSLA) into my income, and I know how unwise that is. How much of a drain will seven months be on my finances? Once I’m on the other side of it, how much of a drain will being a single parent be, emotionally, physically, and financially?

There are a lot of unknowns in my future, just like everyone else’s. I can’t spreadsheet away the uncertainty and I hope that I may have the strength to face the unknowns, accept and embrace the chaos, and live my life as I would prefer.

Numbers.
Retirement account: $76,000
Brokerage: $24,000
Kids' Roth IRA: $6,800
Cash: $10,000
Weight: 140 lbs.
Days Sober: 6

anesde
Posts: 198
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:32 am

Re: Just Gravy

Post by anesde »

Hi, chiming in as I always appreciate reading your journal. To the extent you want to tackle #2 I would suggest body weight workouts. Freeletics is a good option (there’s a paywall but good free exercises as well), or otherwise there’s a plethora of free YouTube videos, etc. “Insanity” is a good program too, although not free. All take up minimal space and don’t require anything but you. The best shape I’ve ever been in was after a 90 day Insanity run, although it does involve a lot of jumping which may disturb your kids.

Otherwise a small kettlebell might work well - that’s what I currently use in a 600sqft flat I share with my SO. Not ideal but it gets the job done, with no jumping. I use a free app called “Kettlebell” that mixes up exercises.

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Hey anesde, thanks for the advice! I mostly run for exercise, so it honestly hadn't even crossed my mind to do at-home workouts, but that would fix my problem. My exercise for the last year or so has been limited to running, biking, and hiking, so why not try something different? The jumping won't be a problem because I'm on the ground floor of the building and it *hopefully* won't wake up the kiddos. I looked up Insanity and it looks a bit intense for my fitness level (I'm at the works-out-fairly-regularly-but-still-loves-cookies level). I think I have an old Jillian Michaels DVD or something I might dig up. Thanks again, and thanks for saying you appreciate reading my journal!

Crusader
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:16 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Crusader »

MadFit on YouTube has nice light to moderate workouts with minimal or no jumping involved. Nothing like Insanity. It might be a good way to get started.

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

I went for another walk in the woods. You know what that means. Six dense paragraphs of introspection. And y’all be like, “Jesus, Gravy, enough with the introspection. Just post your budget.” And I be like, “What budget? I be living like life is a world-class stripper.” Dollar. Dollar. Bills.

I hike in Trump country. When I was up here mid-December, there were still Trump placards in most yards, Trump flags and pennants and shirts. (My favorite was “Gun Owners for Trump!” Such a strange identity. It’d be like if us libtards flew banners proudly proclaiming “Nutribullet Owners for Biden!”) This trip those signs were noticeably absent. I’d say an 80% decrease. I’m not sure what this represents, but I did note it.

I like coming here. The people are my people, although they’re not. They look and talk and swagger like me, they like their hospitality and their state and their trucks like me, but that’s as far as our shared identity goes. Mostly on this hike, in between bouts of OCD, I thought about identity, which was no doubt prompted by my reading of Far from the Tree, the book I mentioned in a post above. The author has this idea of horizontal vs. vertical identities: vertical is what you inherit from your family and horizontal is what is uniquely yours that breaks from your family. Every chapter covers an extraordinary horizontal identity—deaf, dwarfism, down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, prodigies, children of rape, crime, and transgender—and memorializes the struggle of families adjusting to and accepting and finally supporting these identities in their children. This book is full of some heroic parents, y’all. I sought out this book because I was insensitive to one of these identities and that hurt someone close to me. I realized that ignorance and/or lack of exposure is no excuse to be insensitive in this time of readily-available information. As we tell defendants all the time: “Ignorance of the law is no defense.” I am a product of the people and culture that raised me, but that only goes so far, and my education has been in my own hands for quite some time now, so, I apologize for remaining willfully ignorant.

Reading this book prompted me to draw unexpected parallels, as well. The author talks about illness and identity, and how the line is sometimes blurred. For instance, some see being deaf as an illness, and so they seek to cure it. For those that see being deaf as an identity, they abhor “cures” such as cochlear implants and see ongoing efforts to eradicate deafness as genocide. This made me examine how, these days, I consider OCD to be a part of my identity, although it is technically a disorder/illness. The way I think seems to be unique to the OCD brain, and maybe that’s a beautiful thing? What if... what if one day people accepted my OCD like they accept that I have brown hair? How liberating that would be. I wouldn’t have to hide bouts of it or force myself to interact with society when I’m in a loop. I could just call my boss and say, “Hey, I’m extra crazy today, so I think I should stay home.” Maaaaybe that last one is a bit of an overreach, but acceptance and understanding and accommodation would be... yeah, just liberating.

Another parallel I drew was people integrating politics into their identity. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that being a Republican is an illness, but... I’m kidding. Really. I’m surrounded by people that support the Republican party in my everyday life, and I love and respect and cherish [most] of them and I can respect the Republican platform of smaller government. In fact, my poor joke above is one of the innumerable issues with people letting their political beliefs become a part of their identity. If you attack one of their political beliefs, you are attacking them personally. I would hope that my fellow Americans can extricate themselves from any poisonous politics and see the value in differences—differences of opinion, belief, culture, what have you. As one of the dads of a little person says in the book: “I look at dwarfism as a metaphor for difference. Whether we value it; whether we fear it; whether we would stamp it out if given the opportunity.”

I guess it’d be safe to say that none of us have our identities tied 100% to one thing (except for the dude flying that ‘Gun Owners for Trump!’ flag), and part of what I’ve always respected about this community is that our identities don’t seem to be tied up in our professions (a la YMYL, I guess?). My job probably only accounts for 5% of my identity, and now I’m sitting here, trying to math out the rest of identity.(<—most INTP thing ever said?) 0% politics, for sure... maybe 10% Texan and 5% atheist and 2% local-brewery-snob? How much of it is motherhood?! Jeez, math is hard.

Something else I thought of on my walk was how I think in a narrative. And how this past week, with a really intense OCD bout from Monday to Wednesday, my mind has been like a hefty compendium of short stories, all unfinished: some abruptly stop mid-sentence, others only a few letters in. It’s fragmented. And I like to think like I’m writing, and I like to go back and edit paragraphs, think about the intonation, try to sew in a clever line, even though it’s only for me, but that hasn’t been possible this week. I dunno.

Tl;dr: Went for another walk in the woods. Feel better.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 2147
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: Just Gravy

Post by classical_Liberal »

...
Last edited by classical_Liberal on Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 7076
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Just Gravy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

now I’m sitting here, trying to math out the rest of identity.(<—most INTP thing ever said?)
Lol- as an eNTP, I also do this to relax, but just half a quantum out at the level of “lifestyle” rather than “identity.”

BTW, my DS32 (egads, how did I get old enough to have a 32 year old child?!) also suffers from OCD. One of my eternal maternal guilt trips is that I didn’t get him diagnosed earlier. I just kind of wrote it off as part and parcel of gifted child syndrome.

mooretrees
Posts: 457
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by mooretrees »

Hey Gravy, just wanted to pipe in and say I really enjoy reading your thoughts. I think ERE is so much bigger than just money, so it's always cool to read journals that aren't only focused on money.

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

@c_L I'd point you to a term 7w5 used in the ERE dating thread: "covert contracts." When I read that term, I was like, yup, hits the nail on the head. "I did X for you so you must do Y for me" might be fine if that contract is actually communicated, negotiated, and agreed upon, but covert contracts just set the stage for angst, misunderstanding, etc. Good on you for recognizing the issue before it got any further; Ms. c_L is a lucky one. Re: OCD. 95% of the time I'm a totally normal schmuck and the OCD really only gets bad when I'm in a very stressful or embarrassing situation. People can't tell I have it; it mostly makes me seem distant, scatter-brained, or quiet to other people. I have the intrusive-thought variety, so usually it's just like a track playing in the background, but when I have intense bouts of it, it's like someone flashing a strobe light in my face. It makes it really difficult to concentrate.

@7w5 I hope your DS manages well, it can be a really isolating disorder. I wouldn't feel guilt about not getting him diagnosed earlier. Looking back, mine started back in adolescence, but if they had taken me to a doctor I probably just would've been diagnosed with depression. I was diagnosed when I was 27 and didn't believe them, as all I knew about OCD at that point was what is portrayed in the media. I don't wash my hands a thousand times! I don't care if the tassels on my rugs aren't perfect! But it takes many shapes and I do have to admit that I have designed my life around it. I took a less stressful path in my career because I know stress exacerbates it. I almost didn't have children because of it, because there's some evidence it's genetic.

@mooretrees Thanks! I love reading your journal, too. Sometimes when I read yours, it makes me realize I'm not doing enough practical things to steer my life towards ERE, but I've accepted now that this part of my journey is focused mostly on my emotional landscape. It feels like I have to get all of this in order before I can really start pursuing the practical aspects. To be honest, I just don't have the bandwidth for much else right now. Full time job, a one and three year old, a divorce... I can't even finish all of the chores at night. But this is a rough spot. It'll get better.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 7076
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Just Gravy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Well, there’s the tendency to review the film when you are the parent. For instance, the time I changed the orientation of the rug in the living room while 3 year old son was out with Grandma and he screamed and screamed and screamed. He does okay these days, biggest problem for him was that he loves to read, but developed habit of counting letters.

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Ran my numbers for January. With just my paycheck, I had a savings rate of -83%. Yeah, negative. When I add in my realized gains from stock market black magic fuckery, my savings rate was 17%. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say none of what happened in January--my expenses or my gains--is sustainable.

In other news, I'm a little stressed. DS keeps pooping at four a.m., and if you've never had the pleasure of being jolted awake by AHHHHHMAMAAAAAAAHHHHHHHMAMAAAAA^n and then tripping over toys in the dark on your way to get screamed at in the face as you try to keep your hair from falling into literal shit while you wrassle a shrieking 30-pound baby that recently discovered he can make you suffer even more by mercilessly pinching your arms into a new diaper and new pants and new crib sheets, I highly, highly recommend it. Why, I love it so much I do it every morning.

Biscuits and Gravy
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

The end of Permission to Feel asks “who do you want to be?” When I read that a year ago, I knew I wasn’t ready to address that particular question yet. I still had an enormous amount of work to do on accepting, communicating, and processing my past and present feelings. These past few weeks, I’ve naturally progressed to beginning to address the question. I am primarily focused on who do I want to be as a mother, as that is an urgent decision. The kids are growing quickly and already mimicking behaviors and attitudes my ex and I model.

I’ve decided the mother I want to be is kind, patient, loving, and supportive. Basically, I want to be like Daniel Tiger’s* mom. She is all of those things, but also a goddamn tiger.**

*My kids love Daniel Tiger. I, also, love Daniel Tiger. Consider this a shameless plug for Daniel Tiger. Also, buy legos.

**This sounds like me making a joke, but I’m serious. Recently my mother told me, “you’re a goddamn cheetah,” which is by far the greatest compliment and validation my mother has ever paid me. It’s a reference to Glennan Doyle’s memoir Untamed, arising from the anecdote of her watching and comparing herself to a captive cheetah chasing a dirty stuffed bunny. In a nut shell, you are powerful and meant for greater things; unleash yourself.

I think the four qualities I listed will make for safe, loving, close relationships with my children, which is what I want. Being a tiger/cheetah and letting them see that will hopefully instill a value about which I carry some baggage, but still want to instill: strength. My parents taught me to be strong by telling me to “toughen up”, “get over it”, “if it bleeds, we can kill it”***, etc., which all lead to dismissing one’s feelings. Dismissing feelings leads to self-doubt, which leads to low self-worth, which leads to staying in an unhealthy relationship for 14 years. So, I don’t want my children to walk that same path, but I see the value in the... value of strength and want to instill it in a positive way. Modeling strength, which my parents also did, seems to be my best bet, but the way they buttressed strength with invalidating one’s own feelings led me down an unhealthy path.

***You’ll recognize this as a line from the Schwarzenegger movie Predator. My family said this whenever one of us showed vulnerability in any way. Which... is kinda fucked up now that I think about it. The message there being: you’re in mortal danger because you showed you’re sad/mad/human to the people closest to you.

Yeah... strength will be a tricky component of mothering for me, I can already see that. I’ve had to strip it down and start from scratch, and it’s much easier to mother on things that are inscribed by past generations.

As an aside, I can see how this entry could be interpreted as me placing blame on my parents for my poor relationship choices, but nothing could be further from the truth. I think my parents in aggregate did an excellent job raising my sisters and me (if I do say so myself), and I can absolutely forgive them for any perceived mistakes they made along the way, especially as they were basically children when they had their own children. They elevated my sisters and me out of generations of poverty and gave us the tools and the independent mindset to succeed and I will forever be grateful for their efforts and awed by their humility and strength. 夏侯惇等等。

Why am I up at 3 a.m. writing about parenting? Because I love my children and I want to do “right” by them. I brought them into this crazy, dying world and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my imperfect nature disproportionately scar them. I know I’ll do some things wrong, but lack of interest or concern or effort will not be the reason. Also, I can’t sleep or whatever.

Post Reply