Oh look, I am doing that thing where I randomly disappear from the interwebs with no warning and then later randomly reappear with just as little warning, that I seem to always end up doing. I feel like this makes me a bad blogger. Like, if I’m going to take a break from blogging, I should tell people that I am going to take a break, instead of randomly disappearing. But, well, I’ve done that enough times with enough things on the internet over a long enough period of time that it kind of just seems like a thing that just happens whether I want it to or not.
I’m sure the whole recurring major depression thingy doesn’t really help with that either. I am tired of that. I wish it would just go away. It makes life be harder and less rewarding and generally suck more. And is there ever going to be a time when I am not at least a little depressed? And I still hate calling it depression, though I don’t have anything else to call it right now. I’m not sad godsdamnit. Tired, easily stressed out, lacking motivation, stuff like that, yes, but not sad.
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One thing that bothered me after I became an atheist was that it was so difficult to stop using habitual phrases/swears like “oh my god!” and “Jesus!”. Why should I be swearing by things I don’t believe in? I mean, it’s just a little thing. They’re just phrases; they’re not meant literally. They’re comfortable words to express surprise, anger, incredulity, and other emotions. It’s (mostly) not the words that carry meaning, but the way they’re said. But such phrases are specific to culture and do subtly reinforce certain world views. “Oh my god!”, for example, carries the implicit assumption that there is one god (as opposed to many or none), and that this is the normal, default view. And these assumptions are rarely, if ever, questioned by the people around me.
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Trigger Warning- this post talks about some incidents of transphobia/cissexism and about invasive questions people ask asexuals and trans people
One thing I am very glad to have learned over the past year or so is that it is ok for me to refuse to answer invasive questions. When I came out to my new roommate as trans, she asked about whether I would have or had already had surgery, and I just said “That’s private medical information.” She immediately apologized and backed off. I thought about saying something to make her feel better or saying that it was ok, but I didn’t. It really isn’t ok for people to ask invasive questions like that, and I’m not going to pretend it is just to make people feel better. I did quite appreciate her response though; she made a genuine apology, backed off, and did not make a big deal out of it. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, either. I am quite proud of myself for standing up for myself, though.
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Well crap. I think I’m getting depressed again. Er, more depressed than I already was, I mean. Or maybe I just have some weird undiagnosed condition that makes me be tired all the time. Or both. *sigh*
I’ve been kind of worried about this for a while, I guess. I never got quite back to normal after my last depressive episode (last summer), and I was worrying about the fact that I seemed to be stuck at some level of functioning that, while significantly better than an actual depressive episode, was still quite noticeably lower than normal/healthy. I’ve also been wondering if whatever the hell this funk is could be something other than depression, like maybe it’s some other mental illness (dysthymia, perhaps, which is a chronic, mild form of depression, which is not mutually exclusive with major depressive episodes) or physical illness (like maybe a sleep disorder or some thing I’ve never heard of) or some combination of things. As ever, I am confused with the label going on the thing that seems to be wrong with me being ‘depression’ when I don’t feel sad.
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So, yesterday I said “I have a very odd idea of what comprises an awesome dream–the one yesterday was distinctly unpleasant, but it was also very interesting and unusual…” I think I’ll write about that dream, today.
As it turns out, you can actually feel pain in dreams. I’ve had a few dreams where I’ve experienced pain, but I could count the number of them on the fingers of one hand. The most interesting of these was the one I had the day before yesterday. It started out as a fairly normal variation on the (oddly common) dream theme of having one’s teeth rot/fall out. I broke my two front teeth, somehow, and I was left holding the little bits that had been knocked out. I was worrying about what I would do, and if the bits of teeth in my hand could be put back in, if I didn’t lose them (so of course the bits kept crumbling or otherwise being on the verge of being lost). It didn’t hurt at first, but the dream kept going on with me worrying about my teeth and wondering how to get this fixed and trying to find a dentist. When it did start to hurt, it was this throbbing, sharp pain shooting through my two broken front teeth. Later it was more of a throbbing, dull pain. At some point, I was thinking about something I saw on tv a long time ago about a guy who fell (like off a short cliff/dropoff) and hit the ground face first and broke most of his teeth, and he was in so much pain from his broken teeth.
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Ok, short post***. I should be sleeping, but this was just too good not to write (and I’ve been neglecting my blog more than I like, anyway).
I’ve been having some fairly awesome blog-worthy dreams the past couple of days, but there is one bit I want to mention now even if I don’t get around to all the rest, yet. Also, I have a very odd idea of what comprises an awesome dream–the one yesterday was distinctly unpleasant, but it was also very interesting and unusual…
But that’s not the snippet I talked myself into writing about before I go to sleep. This is.
I was in my room, and my door was open a little ways (normally I always have it closed, but hey, dreams). I saw Alice* out in the common area. I wondered if my other roommate (who is out on vacation in waking life and I don’t know when to expect her back because I didn’t ask) had come back and brought Alice with her. Alice looked at me, probably. I just closed the door. There was some pushing from the other side of the door, but I just kept pushing until it was shut. I didn’t care what she did once I got the door shut. I was just closing it and that was it, and it was staying closed even if Alice yelled at me and banged on the door. She didn’t, though. Nothing happened after I closed the door (well, the dream continued, and the rest of it was very interesting, too, and in fact I got lucid** a bit later, but I can write that in another post).
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I should post stuff, but instead I kind of just want to curl up into a ball and hide in a corner for a while. Dealing with school is stressful. Dealing with roommates is stressful. Dealing with family is stressful. There are too many things, and I can’t handle all of them at once. I am just a little ball of stress right now, so I think I’m going to go play minecraft for a while and then sleep, and holy crap, am I actually being a responsible blogger and actually posting about why I’m not posting?
Anyway, I totally have lots of ideas to write about, it’s just not happening right now. I’ll probably have a real post up some time in the next week, though.
So, in spending a lot of time with my family over the holidays and being out about everything (except my atheism), I found myself doing a fair bit of education about asexuality. It wasn’t even the first time I’ve tried to explain asexuality to some of my family members, but they just didn’t quite get it the first time around, or in some cases the second or third. Honestly, I don’t understand why some people have such a hard time understanding asexuality. I had a hard time understanding it at first because I wasn’t sure what sexual attraction was, having never experienced it, but surely it must be easier for people who do know what sexual attraction is to understand what the statement “does not experience sexual attraction” means?
This may have been a rather naive assumption. Sexual attraction, it seems, is rarely experienced by itself in isolation from other related feelings/states (e.g. libido, romantic attraction), and it is probably conceptually difficult to sort it out from all the other things it usually goes along with. So when you ask someone to consider that someone does not experience sexual attraction, they might assume that person has no libido because sexual attraction and libido are intertwined in their thinking. And low libido is something that is often considered a problem to be fixed (and sometimes it is), so the person assuming that low libido is the cause of a person’s lack of sexual attraction will assume that their asexuality is a problem to be fixed. This person will then tell the asexual in question things like “it might just be your depression” or “have you had your hormones checked?”.
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No, don’t answer. It’s totally a trick question. It’s like asking “Do you believe in string theory?” or “Do you believe in photosynthesis?” or “Do you believe in the ideal gas laws?”. It would be silly, because we generally don’t talk about any of these things in terms of belief. They are scientific theories. They are either correct or they are not. Time and experiments and empirical evidence will show which. Whether or not people believe in them has absolutely no relevance to whether or not they correctly explain something useful about the way the world works. The only thing that makes evolution any different is that people who see it as conflicting with their religious beliefs have sought to discredit it and dragged it into the conversation about belief. And now people are so used to hearing evolution talked about in the realm of belief that they don’t think to question whether it even belongs in there or not.
Now, I’m not saying that anybody has to accept the theory of evolution (although “because it conflicts with my religious beliefs” is just as bad a reason not to accept evolution as it was for people not to accept that the Earth revolves around the sun*). There are plenty of reasons to accept a theory or not. Many theories are proven wrong, in whole or in part, by later scientific discoveries. If new data is found that contradicts a theory, scientists will adapt and develop a new theory or change the old one. That’s what science is all about. You fit the theories to the data, not the other way around. But just because we know that scientific theories might not be correct or complete is no reason to dismiss them. It just means that the scientific theories we have are the current best explanation we have for the way the world works. Perhaps we’ll improve upon those explanations some day, but for now they’re the best we’ve got (and for a scientific theory, that means that there is lots of evidence backing it up and it probably makes useful predictions that can be used in a variety of applications, so please don’t dismiss any scientific theory as “just a theory”, because there is nothing “just” about scientific theories).
So yea. Evolution. It’s a scientific theory. Let’s talk about it like we would talk about any other scientific theory. Whether or not you ‘believe’ in a scientific theory is a red herring.
That is my rant for the day about the way that evolution gets (mis)discussed.
* See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo#Controversy_over_heliocentrism for more information.