Falling in love with girls

Sometimes I come across a piece of writing that hits me like a cupid’s arrow.

Here is an apt description of how girls feel about other girls sometimes, something I couldn’t articulate myself:

“We instantly wanted to be each other”, she wrote. By the time we met, we were both young women, both married, both acquired the same name through marriage – Barker. And she wore a gorgeous golden pencil pendant. Little did she know, a lawyer then, that she would become a poet. She would say “heinous” every five minutes or so – I was smitten.

This female fascination is so strong that even now, at the age of 33, I sometimes turn into a 5-year-old and space out. We went to a party in New York late last year and I couldn’t even mutter a “hello” to this woman, whose creative career I’ve been following for years. I couldn’t even look in her direction, she was so gorgeous. So I ended up in my safe space – talking to a bunch of men about literature and linguistics while they filled and re-filled my glass and tried touching my hand and occasionally my waist and told me I was “lovely”. I wasn’t: I was muttering away cliches at them, giggling at whatever they had to say without listening because I was eavesdropping on what she was saying from across the room.

Source: Anna F. More here: Of the everyday (image taken via Of the everyday)

Path dependence, Chekhov and control

Blogging resides on the boundary between personal and literary for most people.

I just read a heart-wrenching piece, and it’s impossible to comment on it because it is so personal, but for me, it is also impossible to walk past it without reflecting on it given how sorrowful it is.

Anton Chekhov said something that resonated with me:

“If I had left my family and handed them over to the mercy of fate, I would try to find an excuse in my mother’s inadequacy, in my TB, and so on. This is natural and excusable. This is just human nature.” (my translation)

I think the original blog piece is more about gender, but my point is more about sovereignty, a kind of independence from the past.

We are all functions of what we were yesterday, no doubt about it. My argument isn’t about outcomes, it’s about motives.

Our motives cannot be subverted and limited by what happened to us in the past. This doesn’t mean that we have unlearn what we learnt, but rather find the strength to learn even more about that little bit of space in this world where we do have some control.

Don’t ask why?…

A reader kindly sent me this article.

I don’t agree with its analysis, but it has some interesting points about using what vs why can have a significantly different effect.

During my stint in psychiatry, I learnt perhaps the most helpful question: what makes you say that? Notably, not a why question even though it asks about the same thing.

I also remember a brilliant psychiatrist giving a patient advice. The patient had a personality disorder and started reading about them to understand why she has it. He told her that at that point reading that could make it worse – and that interventions such as mindfulness and therapy were superior.

As for my disagreement. The article suggests introspective people are unhappy. It assumes and, with a very simple experiment, shows that asking why causes people to be sad. I think that introspective people aren’t sad because they are introspective, but sad and poorly self-aware people turn to introspection. And Negative Capability is still a thing.

“In today’s innovative world…”

The teenagers whose essays I read think we live in a phenomenally innovative time. Smartphones. Computers. The internet.

Yes, this all happened in the last 50 years.

In the 50 years before that we landed on the moon, split the atom, came up with the bomb, made cars and film widely available and saved countless lives with penicillin.

Appearance vs reality

Sometimes I get tired  and retreat into a safe echo-chamber where everything will agree with me. On that note, I downloaded The Black Swan and bought a paper copy of The Bed of Procrustes.

Perhaps my expectations were too high, but The Black Swan seems dated and overly reliant on Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow.

I will share some gems from The Bed of Procrustes when I am done, but for the most part it doesn’t have the insight porn quality that I was looking for.

On another note, I noticed some autumnal waistline creep and decided that I should take measures.

During a moment of intense boredom with a hint of sadness, I complained that had I not been watching what I eat, I could have had a chocolaty pick-me-up, alas I am on a diet, so I will just sit here and be sad.

I was and am fully aware of how pathetic that is, but I figured sharing my feelings is better than comfort eating.

The reason I am sharing with you now is the response I got, which was:

How will food make it better?

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I guess normally I would have said, it would make me feel better. However, I was just after writing an essay on appearance vs reality in Macbeth and the idea that the reality won’t be better crystallised for me.

The world weighs a little heavier since that realisation, but maybe I won’t.

 

Ordeal By Innocence

Presuming one’s innocence means presuming that the plaintiff’s lying. In certain cases.

The presumption of innocence works well when we don’t know who committed the crime. The paradigm breaks down when fighting over whether a crime was committed.

Whoever solves this philosophical puzzle will do a lot for justice. The current rules fail both the victims and the accused. And the bystanders – all the people who worked on “Ordeal by Innocence” whose work will never be recognised.

The BBC said Friday that it will not air upcoming Agatha Christie special “Ordeal by Innocence” while an investigation into actor Ed Westwick on allegations of sexual assault proceeds. Filming has been disrupted as well on another BBC series starring Westwick, “White Gold,” which is available on Netflix outside of the U.K. “Ordeal by Innocence” […]

via BBC Pulls Drama Starring Ed Westwick; Filming Disrupted on His Comedy Series ‘White Gold’ — Variety