Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Goodnight to the city that never sleeps

Today I tetris-ed myself among my belongings in a car to head out of New York and to the Washington D.C. area.  Since the doctoral application process, there has been something nagging intensely at me to GTFO of New York.  I was wondering why until I gave it a lot of thought.

My initial reaction to my own words that we should "stop fighting to survive and take time to live", made me realize that is exactly what New York feels like.  Every day is a fight of some sort to achieve or eat.  New York is the Ivy League of living in general.  You are brainwashed to think you are special because of it's reputation so thoroughly that you don't realize your investment returning nothing but crap to you.  New York, to the common graduate of the late 2000s, offers the opportunity to do everything.  In the 8 years that I have lived there I have been able to go to school, teach, play rockband in a bar, learn 4 different types of yoga, spend a whole month of weekends in nothing but costumes, meet bands that got big just a few months later, skydive, become a young favorite in the stand up comedy community, sword fight, and lots of other things.  None of these things further me in life.  Not to mention the disarray of my living conditions that any appraiser would consider to be potentially fatal.  They are great stories, but that's kind of it.  Yet I have met countless people caught up in the amount of "things" they have done and could do that are stuck waiting for the next one.

Surviving in New York is its own special sport.  People of my economic class, namely those that decided to earn their living through means of income reportable on a W-2, continue to flock then flee from the city in a way to cheat the system of living in the coveted relevant zip codes.  You're proud of the rare amenities for the area which are essential givens for daily living to people in other cities (like a fucking door to your room that locks).  We live in tenement buildings refurbished and redone only to hold the same amount that made them illegal in the first place, but the law doesn't need to know that.  I know people in other cities that know not what a railroad apartment is, but people who have lived here shudder at its utterance.

This is where the paradox lies, to live to the max with so little.  That is the sport of life in New York.  This city is full of people looking to find and lose themselves within a span of 24 hours.  The vices are endless and the funds are laughably minimal.  But New York is a shallow city based on the appearance of success, which breeds the prowler of deals and groupons.  So many lies to upkeep and the facade is incredibly exhausting.  It's easy to get lost with no guidance.  New York's templates for the successful individual are difficult to follow and most I see this way don't have an idea of what their end goal is.

I will have to admit that the most I've been able to take advantage of New York was when I was hollow inside.  That was probably the best I've looked on facebook to anyone.  I'm pretty sure that's not a great thing.  I established perspective on this mode of living by visiting friends in other places.  A common complaint that I hear is "I could have all of this, but I would have to leave the city (NYC) for sure."  That is how addicted we are to the (212).

When I told my boss I was leaving last month, she told me something important. "New York is a great place to spend your 20s, and that's about it."  This is from an established doctor on Park Ave.  I balance her books and she and her husband are still trying to get a handle on living in New York City as a family.  That's not really inspiring.  I suppose it would be a trade: NYC frenetic madness to a stable life elsewhere.

Yet I am a bit proud of my time here.  I was able to live in NYC at the period of its awkward adolescence that seems to get it's most attention.  To have had my time to bask in in this odd mutation of a hedonistic American dream.  In that sense, New York is it's own harshest critic with the Madonna-like pressure of trying to compete and out-do the last iteration of itself.  I have been force fed fine arts, culture, and counter culture alike and come to find that I can deem what is beautiful in my own eyes.  I'm happy to have earned my stripes of jaded adulthood in the most jaded of cities.  The knowledge and wisdom of adulthood is earned so that we can have our future backwards ways excused by our spawn.  I've earned my judgements from the most judging of places.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Since it's going to be the end of the world soon

I'm probably going to be spending the apocalypse with my family.  Which is fine or something.  Also it is 4 am and I'm just trying to kill time before I shower and travel over to my flight.

There is really something to be said for therapy.  I recently finished my MA degree and I'm pretty jazzed but I would not have been able to do it without the introspection of a professional.  Mind you, that these past 2 years have been some of the most exciting, terrifying, and formative years of my life.  That's probably why I didn't do this write up in 2011-2012... But I've finally had a moment to think.

The beginning of my graduate career was rung in with a tumultuous and long overdue break up and moving out of a shitty apartment, at which I witnessed an assault and a rape attempt in my own home.  Luck being what it was, I found a cheap basement room to call my own and a slumlord that never asked how I got him $800 a month.  I stayed with a friend and actually started classes while looking for a home from his couch.  There were repercussions to this, of course, but it was important for me to grow up in this manner.  Establishing a roof over my head had been done, money and means was a trial for a while.  As classes continued through my first and hardest semester, which was overloaded due to over-achieving psychosis, I somehow managed to find a job relevant to my field.  I was lucky enough to pick up the call outside my basement door, right before I lost service into my own home.  The base of Maslow's hierarchy having been established, I trudged on through courses.

Summer brought along boredom and distractions.  Two friends of mine, who pride themselves in conquest, returned to my life and brought their mentality to the empty, tired vessel that was my brain.  The sudden awareness of my single-hood kicked into overdrive.  We were quite the 3, reveling in indulgence.  It was reminiscent of my rave parties and waking up covered in glitter.  However this time, I wouldn't always wake up alone.  And that was the first thing I started to notice.  I felt like I should be doing all these things, but some part of me was taking a backseat in my brain and watching the chaos.  It knew better, but didn't care.  In turn, I didn't care.  It began small with drunken make out sessions with strangers, once in a while someone would take me home.  But I was always safe and it was always fun. But I never felt anything.  It escalated to nearly doing acid and sleeping with a friend I've had forever, and I still felt nothing.  I barely worried that things would be different between us.  This wasn't Shar.  Shar is a guilty Catholic girl, timid at the idea of taking off clothes.  I mean, those are extreme differences, but where did feeling anything at all go?

I returned to my first full year of grad school and started therapy.  I decided it was best to finally tell someone about the feelings I had in my apartment.  She asked how I ended up there and I talked about my boyfriend at the time.  I talked about how we had a semi-destructive pattern, and I gained some awareness.  Eventually it was her who said,
"Was it abusive?"
"No he would never! Besides I could take him in a fight no problem."
"Then why did you keep going back?"
"Because even though he says and thinks horrible things, he's always loving and great for at least a little while...HOLY SHIT I WAS IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP!"
I learned about emotional abuse and how it is common.  I learned that I could never therapeutize myself.  I was mad for not seeing the pattern, the pattern I'm supposed to point out to other people.  It was a lot to take in that day.

Before therapy, I had made a list of the things that I was looking for in a person.  Mostly in the phases of "not this".  In therapy I learned how to make these into positive statements and the barriers I had believing that I was worth these qualities.  He had torn me down to the very last bits of a person.  We worked hard to grow esteem back and where this came from.

School trudged on.  I established myself among my peers and in a couple of labs.  I eventually was trained to  give a shallow diagnosis of a patient based on an interview.   I was also trained in Substance Abuse counseling.  Meanwhile, I ran into my fair share of interesting people.  What I am proud of though, is that each was a small step in the right direction.  Someone from the internet showed me that a positive attitude isn't a weakness and that apologies are unnecessary for small things.  Someone who remains a dear friend showed me that public exposure isn't the end of the world, that pleasurable interactions with my friends is a possibility, and talking about 'us' with and without seriousness is not a bad thing.  However, after a much needed trip home for Christmas, 2012 was rung in with Dan, who I love whole heartedly.  This isn't a surprise, I have always been taught to love with all of myself because of being shoveled a faith.  I do take parts of it with me (general kindness, giving to less fortunate, and loving others), but the guilt has kept me from doing everything fully and trust issues have made me feel like every kind deed requires reciprocation.  Dan has taught me the importance of allowing myself to be loved.

The fact that I have a problem with this was overwhelmingly apparent when my parents called with a doosy of an argument, as they often do.  Mind you, they are in CA while I'm in NY.  It was so bad and so ridiculous that I became the messenger for the whole of the family and I did not stop making calls until I got them a marriage counselor.  This same "fix-it" attitude was apparent with my abusive ex as I tried to find him people to support him in his movies, often appearing in them myself and giving him a roof over his head on many occasions.  I had to control things.

Being loved means being truly vulnerable.  Someone else is the active agent, be it in money, living, or social support.  I have never felt as safe as I do now with Dan.  He has been the human salve to my existence.  Here there is joy, there is whimsy, there is strength, there is love that is different from everything I have known.

As 2012 comes to a close I recollect losing and replacing a job with at least 3 others, celebrating an anniversary, a large exercise in self-care through sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica, and Doctoral applications.  For once, in a very long time, I feel accomplished.  I can go from here in any direction and be very content.  Wherever I go, there I am.  I don't have reservations in the things I take pleasure in, I've stopped caring about other people's judgement, and I've learned that caring for myself will lead to the right tools to care for others.  It's been quite the trip.

Now about this whole apocalypse thing.  The world can't end, I need to know who the mother of Ted Mosby's children is ok?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

First test for hardest class in grad school program


But besides that, there's the annoying bit after of listening to people beg and plead to make life better for themselves over a number.  Every bright eyed undergrad newbie going "oh this is a liberal arts school and I bet it totally doesn't matter if I study" got kicked in the fucking teeth much to my amusement.  GUESS WHAT?! IT DOES MATTER!!

Do you know WHY?!
Because you are not in fucking KANSAS anymore bitches!  GRAD SCHOOL IS NOT A JOKE AND IF YOU TREAT IT LIKE ONE IT WILL RAPE YOU!
No one is gonna fucking HOLD YOUR HAND now telling you and outlining EXACTLY what to fucking look at ok?
I had my roommates AMBUSH ME with fucking DSM 4 AND 5 criteria before I could make it to my macaroni and cheese, and although I'm pretty sure I associate Schizophrenia with cheese now, I can recite that shit to you backwards and forwards.


If you think all disorders have a Marxist agenda, you need a new career path.
If you don't understand that hormones play a role in emotion, then you need an adrenaline injection and to be walked onto a bridge with a pretty experimenter so she can throw you off it.

I'm done.  I'm so mad.  I'm so tired.  I'm so psychology it makes me want to psychology (I don't have room in my brain for other useful information or words)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Soft Science

What do you want to be when you grow up?

That had to be the hardest thing to answer for me as a child
At the age when minds were running wild
What are the things we want to change?
Why do things have to rearrange
My mind would change as time would pass
To understand a place at last
That wonders beyond this time don't inspire me
But the wonders of the now that no one sees
What is it that makes the human mind tick?
How do we fall for the same old tricks?
Why do you choose paint and I choose words?
And others tools and gears or chords?
How are we all living differently
Yet all claim to humanity?
These are secrets I hoped to claim
That different mouths all think the same

Time marches on and we all grow
More technological our mediums now
And someone asks me "what's the point
Of tracking every data point
Of smaller change, movement, and sound
When calculations do this now"
"My science isn't real" I've heard
Our research is nonsense and absurd
We are cells fired at spontenaity
And that causes confusing emotionality
Well if you believe we are just circuitry
Then why even discuss this with me
What motivates you
To have a point of view
Since circuits give us no cue
And fire only when told to
No, consciousness eludes you
Frustrates and confuses too
But somehow it's something we can't forget
Even though there is no "concrete" proof of it

I don't aim to be the one who knows
Some universal hopes and dreams and goals
But only hope to best understand
The mediums best for unique hands
And counter believers of lifeless circuitry
With soft instances of our humanity
And those with eyes only for the future
That around them is an organismic culture
That must grow in tandem with wild minds
So we can make the best of shortening time


I've been feeling rhyme-y with reason so expect some more poetry here.
I've also been published for our findings in rat brains.
I have also given a presentation on Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game Addiction (seen below) and an accompanying paper (which will also be below)
View more presentations from Shcl1438.
View more documents from Shcl1438.

I'mma get rantastical up in here!

Monday, March 1, 2010

sweet jesus the doodles!

this is the scan for the asia comics, I find drawing chibis very hard.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dream 11/30/09

I meet this Indian girl and she asks me what I do, in order to keep this anonymous we recognize each other by a nickname made out of our jobs. I think I'm on a blind date, with Pila; the nickname I made from philosopher. I think we hit it off great and then I go to visit her at her home by swinging in on a blanket tied around my wrist. At first the people in the home are amused and then they talk about how we would never work. She's a philosopher and I measure giants. I sadly walk away leaving my backpack on the hillside and ski down the grassy hill. I return later to get my backpack to see that people are filming something. I get very angry because they moved my backpack and I yell out. One of the guys from the comedy group that's filming asks me whats wrong. I tell them, where is my backpack? I just had to break up...with this very nice girl...after swinging from 8 blankets...the backpack had gargoyles... He cuts me off at "gargoyles" going "Oh god I'm sorry, but you have to understand what a find that is. I haven't had those in ages, gummy gargoyles are so awesome I couldn't resist!" he says that he moved my backpack not far from here. I tell him to hustle or I'll kick him in the shins. I wake up.