Syllogistic leftovers

So.  I am become illuminated by the processes of stress.  Briefly, as I’ve another meeting to attend:

Stress begets angst.
Angst acts as an obstacle in the path of correct action.
Suppress the angst by role-playing that it doesn’t exist.
Suppression of emotional response begets stress.
With the suppression of the angst, it is possible to dispassionately act on the initial stress.
The initial stress gone, the angst dissipates.

The stress born of the suppression remains, but no longer has cause with the initial stress gone, the angst born of it gone, and so the suppression no longer necessary.
This stress begets angst.
Suppress the angst… producing tertiary angst.
And fail to act on the secondary stress, as there is no longer a cause for it.
Keep the initial suppression angst.
Keep the secondary suppression angst.
Experience stress as a result.

Cycle until explosive decompression resets the internal pressures.

There may be some sort of a problem with this practice.  I believe that I’ll be working on a new syllogism.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry


Work has been extravagantly furnished with opportunities to excel. That’s a positive spin on “too much to do and no way in hell will it all get done.” I have been failing, daily, to manage the production workload against the quote workload against the support workload against the helping-coworkers workload against taking a deep and shuddering breath.

And, of course, I’ve been house-hunting at the same time, and (this week) signing leases and moving at the same time, which precludes working late to catch up on some of the shortfall. The result is a world of people who want things from me, who aren’t getting what they want, aren’t getting what they get in a timely fashion, and who aren’t getting a chance to believe that things will improve any time soon. This isn’t my fault; we’ve had half our workforce shipped to other departments, and management isn’t fixing it anytime soon. It is, however, my responsibility.

Last Friday that thought gave me pause. I don’t have the power to change the situation, so I cannot be saddled with the responsibility, only the blame. I didn’t provoke the situation, so I cannot be saddled with the responsibility, only the blame. Blame is not something that one has to accept, so I chose not to. I wrote out my workload, and the algorithm that I use to determine what to do next, and showed concisely that, if I continued, the backlog and number of irritated customers would increase. I ended with a statement that I needed managerial guidance on how to change my algorithm to keep within the company’s best interest.

I got back a reply that provided that guidance, give or take. It’s a mistake. But. It isn’t my mistake. It’s how my leader is directing me. I shoved off several hours of work a day to poor souls who are already foundering, and did so with a clear conscience; it isn’t in my ability to manage the managers from below, even for the benefit of the Many.

It’s been a better week. I no longer wake in the wee hours dreading thinking about the next day.

I’m still not writing, I’m still not doing many things I’d like to do. I believe that, while moving and working full time, those are reasonable lacks, but they were lacking before we were moving. I think, I think, I think, that I have been living my entire life the way I had been working up until last week; I have my own load of work to do, and then see that things aren’t being done, and that people working next to me in my life have needs that they can’t meet, and I add all of that to what is rightfully my own load.

Effectively carrying other people’s load, as well.

And falling further behind, day by day, on my own life. Further behind on writing. On getting enough sleep. On being happy.

*looks impressed* This analogy thing, it’s pretty useful stuff.

I am, of course, my own Manager in my life, so I need to write me a nice email asking for guidance in prioritizing my life. I think it will need to include “sometimes do things even when those around you don’t want to, or are tired, or have conflicting needs.” Historically, I’m not good at that, but I have just had a demonstration that the results are good, and that I will be happier afterwards.

And we’ll see.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Puritan Work Ethic

For a change, this is short.

Like this:  without ever having it spelled out in so many words, I was brought up to believe that doing good things was a Good Thing.  I extrapolated from this in the simplistic sophistication that children bring to philosophy; if I do good things, I’m good.  If I do bad things, I’m bad.  If I fail to do good things, which am I?  At best neutral, at worst bad, probably not good, because we’ve defined good as “having done good things.”

Y’okay.  Pretty simplistic, and failing to take other things into account, like ability, cost, circumstance, responsibility, responsibility to be happy and fulfilled…simple.  For a kid, it worked.  If it works, I don’t fix it.  And, being me, I took things to their extremes.  After all, if it is good to do Good Things, it will be better to do more Good Things…and if I don’t do Good Things, I won’t be a good person.

Hellooooo John Calvin.  I had, by accident, fallen into the premise of Virtue by Works, with the implied corollary that if I fail to provide Works, I fail to have Virtue.  No Salvation, to Worth, no Love.  No worth or love, either.  Implied in this is the concept of “total depravity”, which isn’t nearly the fun the name indicates.  Basically, it is the notion that we are inherently sinful and without value unless we do Works.

  1. I am a valuable person only if I am useful to others
  2. I am only loveable if I provide value to others
  3. I have no inherent worth, only derived worth
  4. I am inherently corrupt (well, that’s true, but I work at it, too) and worthless and unloveable

Wow.  I’m pretty sure that most of that is either wrong or is based on false assumptions.  #1 is false; I can have value to me without being useful to anyone else.  I can have value because they like me and feel better when I’m around.  #2 presumes that my being loved is in my control.  It isn’t.  People love who they love.  Given time and diligent effort I might convince someone to stop loving me, but it would be just that; convincing.  And, if they don’t love me, I can’t get them to do so by Works.  #3, I suppose, is just a restatement of #1.

#4 is what I say to myself when I am overburdened and depressed thereby.  I’m not accomplishing all that is set before me, therefore I am useless.

Which means that, if I am burdened to the point of failure at work, I determine that, by my failure, I am useless.

If I am fraught and tired and depressed because I am stupid and think I’m useless because of work, and I don’t write, I am further useless.  Not because I didn’t do something I enjoy doing, but because I didn’t Accomplish Things.

I am determining my happiness by my value to other people. No wonder I frequently fall short on my own best interests; they aren’t even on the list, except that they matter to those who love me.

Cotton Mather, you were a horse’s ass.  I can tell by your works.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Werner Heisenberg was here — or maybe he wasn’t

The artist is, frenzied, pacing back and forth.  Piles of torn hair litter the floor, and there is a look to his eye that would send sane men skittering back.  A bit of white froth is at his lip.

I seem to be stressed.

There’s reason, of course — everyone has reason for what they do, however unreasonable it might be.  Mine are, generally, internally coherent.  That’s not happenstance.  I spend a major portion of my energy keeping an analytical eye on myself, checking things over and making certain I’ve not skipped my tracks.

I spend, in fact, what the philosophers call a buttload of time navel-gazing.

And there, the rub.

Backing up a bit:  I seem to be stressed.  There are many changes in my life just now.  We are about to move, about to take on roommates, about to make add some changes to how we treat money, budgetary changes, income changes.  There have been changes thrust upon us; both our workplaces have experienced upheaval.
Both of us are carrying greater load at work than we can manage, and more is coming.

That’s a lot of change.  Change — good or bad — produces stress.

Stress produces reaction.  Reaction, in me, produces spot-checks on my behaviors and thoughts.  The spot-checks produce careful analysis, which, in the end, will produce a shift in paradigm and my behaviors.

Again, I do this pretty much all the time.  I’m wrought, I look myself over, consider if my internal landscape needs modifying, and then do so.  A habit, it seems to me, that will continue to refine my decisions and behaviors, leading eventually to Buddha.

Part of the process, for me, is to challenge the base assumptions for fault.  This morning I was raking through the previous day, looking for ways to improve things.  I noted that I was doing so, and noted that, since there have been stressors, I was doing this rather more than usual, there being more opportunity and perceived need.

But I was in self-analysis and challenge-the-base-premise mode, so I pursued the thought.

Change begets stress, stress begets behaviors and emotions, which beget spot-checking which begets personal change –

–which begets stress, stress begets –

– oh, hell.  The more that happens, the more I am unbalanced, the more I think, the more happens.  I am perpetual energy.

My CBT is a mental disorder.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Cue the Banshee

“I heard a banshee last night. I wonder if there’s any connection?”

“Change,” Luke said. “They mean things are changing and they wail for what’s being lost.”

“Death. They mean death, don’t they?”

“Not always. Sometimes they just show up at turning points for dramatic effect.”

–Roger Zelazny, Sign of Chaos

My stepfather is in his last hours.  It’s for the best, and it’s sad, and it’s sad that it’s for the best.  And there’s a horde of regret that I have on his behalf, partly because he hasn’t the facility to have it himself any more, partly because he never did have the judgement to do so.

Work has seen personnel fluctuations that have a significant impact on my life.  The intensity has risen to a painful height, but the results should be a more pleasant and sustainable work place.

Illness has moved into the household and taken up rooms with the obvious intent to stay a while.  We are improving, but it’s slow.

I am about two weeks of Fast Drafting to the end of my first draft; I have been for three weeks, but haven’t the energy to take it up.  I carry Jarvis everywhere in hopes that I’ll come to it.  So far I can barely read for entertainment, let alone write.

I have taken up new projects that have every prospect of opening up new opportunities and changing our lives for the better, leaving more time to write and rest and be happy.  It isn’t clear where the time or energy will come from to pursue these projects, but the groundwork is laid for them.

Slow down, Kali Ma; the banshees can’t keep time when you dance this fast.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Two Weaks

Stress.  Lots of it.  It fills all of the corners of life and clutters the walking spaces.

It’s not my stress, mind you.

Pretty much everyone with a daily presence in my life has bombs dropping all over their personal landscapes.  I’ve successfully not taken on anyone else’s problems (listen, sure, offer advice, noodle things out with them, but the problems are their problems), but I’ve been finding that the constant awareness of strain is wearing.  Clearly I should be a hermit … but then I’d have to take breaks to the local pub to get my social fix, and where would my hermitage be then?  Besides, so few Edwardian gardens have openings for a good hermit anymore.

Anyway.  Naught to be done on that score but hold the course and continue to try to divorce my energy levels from everyone else’s.  I may or may not be able to do that, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been.


In other news, Libby, you were oddly passive in my dream last night.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Master of the Obvious

Step #8 of keeping my writing flowing required me to vacuum and call Jackson County Circuit Court.

I’ve known that distractions are … well, distracting, and that the gradual torture of being nibbled to death by ducks  can keep me from doing what I want to do, living how I want to live.  And I still manage to forget this on a regular basis.

Currently, I have overdue projects at work (not my fault, but still my responsiblity), papers to file with the court to make certain we don’t lose a third of my income, a snake rack to finish building without the most basic tool needed — a workspace — and the usual little duties that go into living.  I have been unable to get a firm grip on all of those things.  I have not been sleeping well, or enough.  I have, in fact, been degrading into an utter mess.

Saturday, Shannon declared that, while I was writing letters to the court, she would vacuum and clear the table of mail-drifts.  A magic thing transpired; with each broad sweep of the vacuum, clean carpet appeared and my mood (very slightly) lifted.  The floor was clean; all things were possible.

That’s a lot of weight that was on that floor.

Uplifted, I wrote letters.  Letters written, I helped reclaim table and more floor.  Reclamation complete … you get the idea.  Each quanta gave slightly firmer footing to reach for the next quanta, and more feeling of having done something to keep my life and my choices mine.

I still have not written (there are more things that Need Doing), but I’m getting there.

S’okay, kids, learn from me:  When event-maelstrom whirls about you, do one thing, however petty, to commit order against life’s vortices.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Ch. Ugh. Ga.

Nothing is resolved, all things are colored panic-bright and ominously hanging (think Damocles at Christmas-time), but motion is ocurring and it appears to be focused in a single set of directions that will, I believe, result in me standing in a place where horse-hair strung doom is not swinging over my meat and drink.

The legal issue, for instance, is not resolved, but I understand the options available to me clearly, and know what steps to take to prevent the situiation’s worsening.  That is, I think, the best one can hope for when cleaning up years of mess.

The too-many-rats issue has been defined to all parties, clearly and succinctly.  It has resulted in no action whatsoever, but I intend to push that a bit (like, “go make a list of rentals and look at two today”).

Sleep is still not really working well for me.  As quickly as I understood the legal issues (and my mind went ohthankgawd) my attention turned to the umpteen things I’ve to do, all with deadlines of one sort or another.  The professional ones will be cleaned up about 10:00 Monday, if I go in around 6 … the furniture making ones (yes, that has a deadline) have been defined, each problem separated from the others, each one provided with resolution that can take place in sequence … exercise will simply have to be done in lesser degree for a while, and I’ve a plan for that … writing needs a whole brain, but Shannon and I have discussed a plan to get me through this week in fit shape to engage the 24-hour-writing contest next weekend.

So.  Perhaps not the chugga chugga chugga of the indomitable Catie (anybody see any idealization there?  I should send her a pedestal), but I’ll be up to full chugga soon enough.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

The gods are telling me I am alive

Sequence is too difficult.  Y’all get temporal potluck.

The essence of my current stress is the laundry list, to wit:

  • Too many rats live in my cage; one has to go, no matter how well behaved a rat he is
  • In a department of three, if one coworker departs the workload becomes untenable
  • When the coworker was unprofessionaly indolent, highlighting your behavior with dedicated professionalism is nearly obligatory
  • There are too many ongoing chores on my plate right now
  • The last week has had more social engagements than I know how to cope with (I kept balanced, but even good stress is stress)
  • Friday I was served with a summons to small claims court
  • The weekend was spent in impotent spinning
  • Monday I arranged a lawyer and a financial advisor to help us navigat this mess
  • I have, in the past week, told more people what my limits are than I am accustomed to in a year
  • I’ve been telling them in unapologetic, clear terms; explicite, concise, and strongly phrased.

Okay, I can see why I was having difficulty with sequence.  This all happened at once.  There have been professional, social, self-actualization, domestic, financial, legal, and child-rearing issues all in the last week.

I’ll catch up when and as I can, but y’know, I already have a novel to write, so some bits may remain shrouded in mystery.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry