1. Remembering Ithaca.
I harbor a lot of bitterness. Sometimes I think it’s gone or asleep, but then something reminds me, and there it is again. Most recently, I was looking at some things online about our former town, and it reminded me of reasons I was glad to leave there.
There are things I miss: our church, my Celtic trio, a few friends, full recycling programs and a dump you can take things to, a healthy freecycle group, interesting food, concern for the local and the environmentally responsible, the farmers market…
But there are certainly things that still leave a sour taste in my mouth. The other church, although that bitterness is pretty low key now. The music scene that I felt mainly excluded by and yet also didn’t really want to conform to. The super annoying assumption that everyone wants to hate and make fun of Republicans and conservatism. Some other things, too.
2. Positive thinking
Doug has posted a list of possible core beliefs — the kinds of underlying beliefs we have about ourselves and our place in the world and our current situations. He talks about how once we know what our core beliefs are, we can challenge them and work to correct them into more positive ones.
I’m not against this idea. In fact, through therapy and DBT group and other things, I’ve learned a lot about identifying and challenging faulty beliefs about myself and my world. I’ve particularly benefited from those Prompting Event worksheets, some of which I’ve posted here.
On the other hand, just because a belief is negative and painful doesn’t mean it’s false. One of the good things Freud contributed is the distinction between the Pleasure Principle (avoid pain at all costs, including the loss of reality) and the Reality Principle (stay engaged with reality, even when it is painful).
So when I realize that I hold a negative belief about myself or my world, I can’t just automatically rewrite it in the positive and affirm the new version. I must be persuaded that the negative version is actually incorrect, and the positive one actually correct, before I can sincerely try to correct my thinking.
I think about things like how people talk about how everyone’s life is worth living, and how everyone is valuable and lovable, but yet people also talk about idiots and jerks and the awkward and ugly and unlovely — could you really look that person you despise in the eye and tell them you think they are a wonderful person and shouldn’t kill themselves, and that if they would just be themselves they would find friendship and true love and a worthy vocation?
What if I really AM that person?
3. We (usually Mark) pray for Amy when we put her down for bed. Lately, she’s been adding her own bit at the end, completely unsolicited. Mark usually thanks God for a few things, and then Amy will say something like “thank you for the bowed psaltery” or “thank you for the medicine.” It’s the sweetest and most lovely thing in the universe, even if she has no idea yet who she is thanking. And it’s a little reassuring, since sometimes I wonder if we are doing enough to introduce God to her.
4. I made some towel bibs for a friend today. I made a play curtain to hang in Amy’s doorway. I’ve made Boppy slipcovers and ring slings (both from patterns found elsewhere, and therefore probably only for personal use). I’ve made baby shoes (my adapted version of a pattern elsewhere — not sure if it’s sufficiently different to be salable). And dolls and doll clothes. I think about Etsy, and wonder if I could / should try making some things to sell there. Then I browse over there and everything is so wonderfully made and out of all organic materials and priced lower than I could price it, and I think it wouldn’t work for me. Any opinions?
5. I voted Libertarian. I liked Obama for his greater alleged concern for the environment and his energy policy. I don’t like the Libertarian or McCain’s energy / environmental policy. I feared Obama for his health care ideas — McCain, too — I worry about any kind of national plan trying to cut costs by limiting availability of services — especially for mental health concerns. I also disapprove of Obama’s record on abortion. I’m not at all interested in legalizing marijuana, but I can almost see a case for it (as well as other things) being more properly a state’s issue and not a national one. I like the Libertarian ideas of smaller government and protection of civil liberties.
It certainly felt odd to vote a third party. It was maddening to not find all of the things I care about lined up neatly in one candidate’s platform. But I felt better going with Barr than I would have felt with either Obama or McCain.
Now it’s done, Obama’s it, and it will certainly be interesting to see what happens next.