Tag: thoughts

How can we give advice in a world of confusion? How can we guide others when we respect the limits of our own knowing?

I’ve learned that ignoring people who annoy me is far superior to publicly chastising them. But, this is not always an easy thing to do…I feel as though that paternalistic, soapbox mentality is very American. “Let me tell you how everyone is doing it wrong!” I do my best to spend my time finding positive and constructive solutions to problems instead of engaging in tabloid/reality TV-style drama mining to get likes online. Don’t get me wrong, I used to do that aplenty, but I found that it came from an inner sense of insecurity and fear.
 
Honestly, I don’t really believe in saving the world anymore. I think that if you act out of what you see as virtuous on the microcosm level, the macrocosm/society level situation will manifest as an emergent property/system. I’ve probably read the Tao Te Ching too much, but I don’t have much faith in top-down, contrived systems that are more focused on achieving ends than finding good means of being.
 
Working with the void has been helpful. Seeing how there is intelligence in letting go and acting in a receptive manner has enlightened me with darkness. Life seems to be a concert between me, a person on an inner-tube, arms flailing, and the river in which I move. There is no either/or when it comes to concepts of control or power. When two people dance, who is in control? Obviously, they both are. So I try not to obsess about “am I in control?!” I know I am and I am not. Language is inherently reductionistic and binary, and so there are limits to describing true reality with a tool that is probably better designed to questions of “where is the food?” and “where is the bathroom?”
 
The more that I’ve looked for deep meaning in life and tried to capture it like a firefly in a jar the less I’ve been successful. I want to be someone that gives people tools for transcending the mundane aspects of reality, but I also know the limits of prescriptions and commandments. I can see the irony in me saying that I can’t figure out how to tell others how to improve their lives while writing a blog post obliquely focused on a similar intent. I get it. But I don’t get it.|
 
Do you?
 
-Abbey

Let dear death come nobly

Let dear death come nobly
throwing flowers, sing the air
though grim, his visage, glowing, shouts
a devil’s trine from eyes to mouth
we bow
I’ve always been his fine handmaiden
even when I walked a child
now ethers smoke where once was her
Persephone in bridal trim
I am

Come swiftly end
let null pervade
this last dance spins
the Earth’s parade

Prayer to Eris, dark queen of chaos, wanderer of the Kuiper Belt

Oh in the name of dwarf-planet Eris, icy queen of the Plutonic Kuiper Realms, I inhale the vapors of the Libran full moon, I call on my transgender powers to end all of Western Civilization just by being, I drink from the goblet of Saint Hoffman, and I exhale…

So now that Christ is dead until Sunday and all. Since he’s indisposed, I thought I’d share without worry of shame because sometimes I really overthink my perspective, and I just need to get it out. I should probably just give a report on my life since Facebook is beseeching me to share!

It’s definitely a ride in the ol’ Yellow Submarine machine. I thank my lucky Neptune that I’m still alive, and I somehow happen to have a beautiful girlfriend too!

I’m working full time, and in school full time to become a mental health worker, so all super serioso stuff. I live in Portland, Oregon, a city that is absolutely without peer in its total inability to handle the Trump presidency without internalizing the official “the sky is falling!”, “you’re a pathetic serf,” “no gods will love you,” premise, which is the whole fucking point of the Trump “we really, really don’t like black presidents!” golden apple shitpost of a presidency. I mean, I know it’s like the perfect bait for the holy roller Luke Skywalker staring into the desert class. I get it. But, this shit is too much. Laugh people! Laugh at your captors! Gleefully squirm in their shackles.

Oh, and I work for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and you know how pissed we are at everything. I’m shaking my finger at you world! My facebook post is now being edited by grammarly for appropriateness now. Goddess forbid that I mispel a word!

And right now, I’m just barfing up digital confetti because that’s the appropriate reaction to the Paleo friendly Zuckerberg stew that we’re all pigging down on. But don’t worry! Silicon Valley is disrupting our way to salvation!

But lastly, please don’t let any of this profane anti-social speech condemn my future and my children’s future to a life of bleak toil on the lunar spice mines. I need to get a license and all. Thank God I can use this phony creation called Abbey Pope, Discordo-shaman to the interweebs and total alter ego and definitely not the other girl on my resume that shall remain nameless.

Praise the giant dwarf planet asteroid dancing in the sky who conjuncted my moon as a babe. I know you will always be with me because you know, you can’t spell Aries without

oh well, you get it…

Please return to your veneration rituals to the solar zombie god.

We need to stop with this left right nonsense. Everyone is both left and right in some measure. Find the middle.

You gotta be half severe as Stalin and half merciful as Mother Theresa. Yes, there are leftists who cling to and identify with victimization and in so doing try to escape from their own fears and inadequacies. There are fascists who cling to and identify with extreme judgmentalism as a salve for whatever trauma they suffered and can’t move past. We need to stop with this left right nonsense. Life is a balance between opposites. On one side is complete, loving union; on the other is stark separation. Every human organism must dialecticaly move between opposites to survive. Be male and female. Be left and right. Be ego and total spiritual dissolution. Strength lies in balance.

So who cares about this Jordan Peterson motherfucker? He’s not saying crazy things. He might be a little too severe for some or even me, but everyone has their overt and covert severity. Spamming memes instead of arguing is so 3rd grade.

I used to be really into Ayn Rand, like really into her. I went to the Objectivist speeches and read all of her books. But later I came to see her metaphysics as far too materialistic and severe and really just ignorant in many ways. However, I can still appreciate some of what she was saying about asserting yourself and being a radical individual. I mention that I used to be into Ayn Rand to some lefty types, and they sneer with dismissive derision. I had to explore the severe and later the merciful and find a balance.

America is like a brain without a corpus callosum, the structure which links the left and right hemispheres. We are like a person whose right hand is attacking their left and vice versa. Sadly, as many a wise person has uttered throughout history the answer will come in the middle. However, these days centrists are largely reviled. It’s much easier however to be totally reductive to one side of the spectrum because then you can just parrot slogans instead of alchemically balancing opposing sides to find a synthesis.

Will we elevate through the middle pillar to a beautiful balance? It’s going to happen on an individual level if anything. The reformation and revolution has to occur in individual hearts and minds. Then some good and novel synthetic balance might flower.

My struggle as a beat up and sick trans woman with few answers in America. I just want to learn something better

I carry so much weight. I pay child support for two children I haven’t seen in six years. It takes up half of my meager salary. I have PTSD from years of alienation. I have social anxiety and sensitivity to noises that can be debilitating. I am transgender, and, well, I have to be a woman in America. I have debt. I have fibromyalgia and fatigue that stab me all day long with weird pains in my neck and back. I have pain in my heart so deep that I lock it up so no one can see it because I’m terrified that if I show my hurt and vulnerability I won’t be able to just keep crawling forward. I’m terrified that if I open my heart, I will fall apart. If I feel, I will fall and never get up. I can’t do this on my own, and I can’t just dump it on other people too. I don’t know how to manage my life. I stagger around in life in a repeating cycle of trying to be this strong woman so this system will give me scraps. I use drugs, alcohol, and medications to propel myself forward in a stupor, carefully managing a cadre of pills upon pills that works for a while and then ultimately ends in total defeat.

I’m afraid to share. Inside I hate my vulnerability. It is the enemy. I hate it in others too because of this. I go to war against myself, and scream at myself inside to get it together or else. I tried killing myself, and death terrified me even more than living. I want to succeed. I want to live. I want to be open. But I don’t know how. My muscles and soul is tired. How do you live when you’ve been whipped and are still whipped daily? I alternate between hating that system and realizing that I’m just internalizing the system’s poison by doing so. The balance is so tight.

I know I’ve done good things with my life, but I’m tired. I’m most likely going to go back into residential treatment because I just don’t know how I’m going to manage my life. If I get a new job am I going to be able to do that without slowly collapsing from the weight? I know I have to succeed and survive. But I’m terrified of being fooled by my brain into more toxic behavior patterns. Depression upon anxiety upon pain upon manipulation upon fear upon doubt upon loss.

I made the decision seven years ago to be more honest with my gender, and that helped, but I’m very poor at certain things. I’ll last for a while and then explode. It was exactly two years ago that I decided to go into residential treatment the last time, and here I am again. Oh well, if that’s what I have to do, then that’s what I have to do. I’m not really super good at sharing my feelings. I’m good at talking, and I usually just talk over my feelings. But insightful people see through that.

I have fear and pain so deep that I’m locked up. So I just leech off of loved ones until they grow resentful. I have to escape this cycle, but right now I don’t know how I can do it. Right now, all I know is that I’m hurting people around me and hurting myself. Addiction is a scourge. I don’t even want to admit I’m an addict because I fear that everyone will run away screaming. How do I do this? I suppose just by getting through today.

What I’ve Learned from Living with Chronic Illness

Antibiotics are chemotherapy. The word antibiotic means anti life. I have to take some antibiotics right now, and the side-effects are really heavy. I’m feeling very low and drained. But I think it’s the right decision, because I have prostatitis which is related to my fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). I usually just kind of live with it and focus on the positive to not lose my personal power, but right now, the bombs have to be dropped to see if it helps. It sucks, but I’ll get through it.

Honestly, I’ve been thinking pretty heavily about my chronic illness. When I first got sick in my early twenties, I got a lot of resistance from the medical establishment and loved ones. I learned to sort of put it in my private life and not really share it. It’s a very difficult psychological balance to live in a fast world with a “hidden” disability. Our medical tests at present are very poor with detecting what’s going on in lots of chronically ill people, so often the medical establishment just defaults to the “it’s all in your head, take an anti-depressant, and deal with it” approach.

I deal with a ton of symptoms including: cognitive impairment, confusion, deep muscle and joint pain, intense fatigue, depression, anxiety, sensitivity, insomnia, and others. They seem to follow a very irregular pattern and always pop up at the seemingly worst time. It’s something I’ve had to shoulder silently for decades now, and I did reach a point two years ago where I was completely overwhelmed with my health and various other difficulties. But I reached my bottom, and I gave up. I acknowledged my powerlessness, and said “OK, I don’t have control of this situation, but I’m going to keep climbing no matter what. I’m listening and open to learning.”

Dealing with chronic health issues is a very complicated thing because often the best drug is optimism. When you have a poor self-image, a victim mentality, and a “the world is all against me” thought process, it can make you sick. I honestly believe, and the data backs this up, that a lot of my chronic health issues are due to a childhood of trauma and disempowerment. That’s not to say that there are not real, material things at work in my body, but the two factors go together.

My diseases and queerness and losing my children and everything else really broke me, and now I’m happier or more at peace. I don’t care about small things. I’m human, and they bother me, but I soldier on with an understanding that life is pain. I feel disabled in some way, and I have to do a complex set of daily adaptations to handle my various disablements, but that’s ok.

So, I’ve decided that my five year plan is to go back to school to get a Masters in Counseling in some capacity with a focus on the Psychology of Chronic Illness and start working in that field. I think I can help others find balance in a very confusing and overwhelming circumstance, and I feel a real calling to do so. Ultimately, I want to work outside of the medical establishment and integrate my alternative beliefs like the power of ritual and empathic therapy into my practice. But I need the paper to be a “real therapist.” 

There are often not any easy solutions in situations like mine. There is just work and balance. Maybe providence will smile on me, but it’s ok if it doesn’t. I know what it’s like to feel crucified here on Earth, and there is transcendence in letting go and accepting our limitations. There is a tarot card that keeps popping up for me lately: The Hanged Man. In most decks it shows a man hanging upside down, completely suspended and powerless. He has lost all of his earthly power, but in so doing, he sees the world upside down, and he has total spiritual clarity. Life picks us up and turns our lives upside down, and although I’ve seen great loss, pain, and trauma, I’ve grown to see divinity and feel a joy that never dies, even in extreme darkness.

Rambling stream of consciousness thoughts on life Entry 1

Most people don’t understand why they’re stressed out. This thing called the 9-5 work week is eating at them and they don’t know why. Like a good fish we’ve each gone along with the school as it has moved in its increasingly strange undulations; the dance called cultural progress moves on. But we have radically altered so many of our personal environments that we don’t really know what we are anymore. Your life would be completely alien to someone born just two hundred years ago. It’s not a matter of “where are the aliens?” We are the aliens. We are achieving liftoff and distancing ourselves from our life mates here on planet Earth.
 
What does that mean? I don’t know, but it’s true. We are getting so remarkably good at automating our mundane tasks that our brains don’t know what to do with the free time. So we are creating conflict around us to try and keep the inner wheels spinning. But what is the purpose of all of this? What is the meaning behind this big abstract thing called culture and history and language. I’ve found amazing things in silence that cannot be communicated because they operate on the level of the heart. When I first started to really get that there were things and values that were hidden away from words, I was troubled. I thought that these things must be spoken about! But of course I missed the point then. Silence is lovely, especially when it’s internal silence. And words are gaudy neon signs on top of the true existential majesty of reality.
 
My personal meaning for life is to grow as much as I can spiritually, and that requires me to feed all of the other things that support that pursuit. I have to watch my health and try and stay moderate. My being is an ever changing and evolving jalopy that requires I be both a mechanic and friend to myself. I have learned to manage my vices so that they don’t drive me over the edge. I’m happy that I’m getting old. It’s like I’m getting the keys to a new luxury automobile. I learned what doesn’t work for me, and that’s invaluable.
 
I know I can be meandering and all faddish and all over the place. It’s my own personal style I suppose. I’ve found ways of understanding it through astrology and religion, but it’s just me. And I’m pretty happy with this jalopy of a person called Abbey Pope that is doing its best to survive.
 
I’m most happy that I have learned that life is about having a good time. I’ve had some “Grade A” psychedelic/psychotic/paranormal/perplexing experiences which defy language or that I don’t have words to express. I’ve been able to discern a little bit out of the torrent of strange, and I have my personal philosophy and mythology.
 
I think one of the most important things I ever learned was nothing. Nothing is amazing! Sometimes I just go duhh… and that’s the best place to be. I used to think that I had to be thinking all the time in order to be a “valuable member of society.” But I like being a zero. If only for a while. Compulsive thought is my cross to bear in this existence. I’m learning to let it go and just be zero.

The Parable of the Exploded Volcano

I struggle a lot with negative self-perception. My life has kind of exploded repeatedly due to my own fiery nature. But to put it more honestly, it was self-protection that created the problem in the first place. I had to live in fear because I didn’t want to get murdered or completely rejected from society. It sounds over the top, but growing up with a strange gender is still pretty much like living under Jim Crow. I’m not a huge fan of comparing states of suffering, but it was a pretty heavy existence. There is a singular difference between racial and gender issues though. You can’t hide skin color, but you can hide gender, and I hid it mightily. I used the magical power of repression®! Stuff it down inside!

But in psychology it’s the opposite of physics: what goes down must come up, and I blew up like Mt. Saint Helens, all of my repressed shit since about the age of 5 rained down on those around me. It was like holding my breath for two decades, and I was literally about to die from it. I really didn’t know how to process being an exploded volcano. A good number of people thought I must be insane and just waited for me to put the top back on the caldera and apologize. But as you can guess that didn’t happen.

Being an exploded volcano has its benefits: you get to see inside yourself more clearly. When you see all of the things you ran away from and suppressed spewing out all around you, as long as you don’t go totally insane, you can learn a lot about yourself. I feel more self-aware than the average person. This isn’t to say I’m alone in this respect. I’ve surrounded myself with more self-aware people in recent years. My exploded volcano peer group.

Now I’m mightily just trying to heal. I know where I need to go. I’ve found a deep power within myself that I couldn’t ignore. The thing that I was trying to suppress all those years just happens to be my divine feminine nature. I used my overactive mind to heap mounds of obfuscating dirt on top of those pesky feminine emotions and intuitions, but the mind is not as powerful as it professes to be at killing the heart. And really I’m no different than everyone born male; all people including all men have a divine feminine sensitivity. They are taught to bury it deeply when young, and some of them keep it buried, while slowly turning into a sad shell of a person. But every now and again that volcano starts to rumble, and they’re filled with an amorphous fear that they don’t really understand but that petrifies them.

Life is more complicated and less complicated since my eruption. I had to relearn a ton of different things from a heart-centered perspective, and now I’m more visible to the haters, so I had to get used to that. But I know now that fear is the real enemy. And I know now that I am enough, blown up bits and all. I can take a deep breath and rest in the goddess knowing that I’m not fighting it anymore.

Happy exploding friends. 🌞

Identity Politics in the Real World

I have a very complicated perspective on identity politics. As a queer and transgender person, I am constantly surrounded by intense debates that center on buzzwords like privilege, race, and intersectionality. I came out as trans six years ago into the tumbler of Tumblr style politics, and I picked up the flag of radical identity politics like a good liberal and ran with it. I spent thousands of hours writing outrageous polemic after polemic that snarled at the white, male oppressor because I was, unsurprisingly, very damaged by said oppressor. I grew up being bullied by 99% male peers starting before I really had any idea what gay, queer, trans, or any of those concepts meant. I just knew I was the target. This instilled a deep resentment in me that I’m still to this day (I’m 37) trying to dig out from under and probably will be until I pass.

However, resentment is not all roses and candyland. As Mark Twain once quipped “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” I became a festering pit of toxic resentment, which was really just a hyper-defensive state of extreme paranoia. I became increasingly suicidal until after years of living on the edge of death, I finally woke up and realized that this line of thinking was doing far more damage to me than to the “enemy.”

It’s not as simple and binary as saying that “now I’m better because I realize that identity politics is terrible!” Our system pits us against each other like terrified Pit Bulls in a dog-fighting pit with screaming Plutocrats on the sidelines urging us to bloody our fellow citizens. By the time you wake up to the fact that the other dog across from you is not the real enemy, you have become hyper sensitized to react to those dogs because they do pose an existential threat. In my estimation, this is how we are controlled from the aristocracy, and it doesn’t have to be a conscious top down phenomenon. The rich know that when people are too busy fighting with people who should be their allies, they are too distracted and damaged to band together to effect real, substantive change.

Honestly, I believe that one of the core reasons for this nascent tribalism is that our intellectuals eschewed grand unifying theories a century or two ago and devolved into Balkanized camps where each group’s minutia was equally important to the others. We lack an intellectual cohesion and vision, or this kind of vision is kept from becoming ascendant. I’m not really sure what the cause is, but yeah, I don’t know a lot of things. I’ve found more grand unifying theories in esoteric writers like Aleister Crowley and Robert Anton Wilson among others than from the official ivory towers wherein I started my search. I studied Economics and Philosophy in university, and then I realized that there was little novel creative thinking going on in those institutions. But I suppose I’m a bit of an esotericist by nature, so I needed something more avant-garde anyway.

I have seen the best queer minds of my generation destroyed by the pursuit of that elusive victim status that is going to take all of their problems away. But life is rough. Everybody has pain, even your so-called enemies of privilege. Even though I have been decimated by injustice, I now know that trying to victimize myself is a trap that I don’t want to go back into. But it’s a balance. It’s not as reductive as we’d like. Middle path, middle pillar, golden mean…

Be well fellow pitbulls.

Until we understand the psychological roots of our current national freak-out, we are not going to evolve and grow as a society.

My understanding after a few decades here is that 80% of Americans are misinformed and hobbled by improper education and that that 80% is split up into two groups called the “right” and the “left, and they are stuck in this blame cycle like a room full of crying children that is only getting louder. Strength comes from unity and deep understanding, but most people would rather consume their 7 hours a day of vapid, commercial-laden media than work to educate themselves. Nobody is going to educate you. If you think that society is going to educate you, you are most likely going to have very few skills for navigating a world that with all of our “advances” can be completely overpowering to your personal psychology.
 
Life is the shit you really don’t want to do but you do it anyways because you’re not God, you’re an animal in the jungle trying to survive, or you’re somewhere in-between. I find that my generation of Americans (people born after 1975) are incredibly spoiled, and I was one of those useful idiots who just assumed that I had some sort of birthright to be happy all of the time. In consequence, I was constantly depressed because all of these “baddies” out there were fucking it up for us. I tried to kill myself and generally self-sabotaged until I was so close to death that I was forced to grow up in an instant and let my dumb, entitled ideas fade into the void. I learned the hard way that mental health treatment can be a trap that self-perpetuates your sadness by supposing that you deserve to be happy. People all over the world and throughout time have been mixed levels of happy. If happiness comes, that’s great, but thinking that you are entitled to happiness will bring on a nasty paranoia and eventual self-loathing because life is about more than happiness. Life is about growth.
 
Upon hearing thoughts like this people will inevitably try and squeeze me into some sort of right wing stereotype even though I loathe the corporate rich and their slave empire, and I’m a transgender and queer woman, so they don’t really want me anyways. So I feel like a woman without a country most of the time. I’m supposed to be a fired-up leftist, but I really, really do not want a Maoist Cultural Revolution style feeding frenzy to happen in my society. So I’ve just resigned myself to probably not having much of an impact on my people. I’ll just meditate and make my music and look to feed myself for the day. Maybe I too have been indoctrinated to think that I have more influence and power than I do. It’s probably a remnant of growing up as a white male in America, something that has emboldened me but also crippled me in many respects.
 
I’ve spent a lot of time in mental hospitals, and I know what people who are disconnected from reality sound like. I’ve also been around my fair share of hopeless addicts, and America really is starting to resemble a crack house. I think we really have to shake loose this idea that we are entitled to happiness and luxury. I know that this concept is called decadence, and in late stage societies, it kind of plays out like clockwork, but I suppose it’s worth it to try and figure out what might right the ship.

Guru, a poem

I feel the love within me
What is it?
Never will I know
How do you blink your eyes?
You just do
How do you love yourself?
You just do

And then the rain
will wash away

Pain is my guru
It has toppled down my walls
I can no longer act
But still I act
Grace is the lightning
and God is the storm

A simple girl
so crossed and vexed
She smiles at the villains
nailed by love
to a holy hex