Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year's List!

Oh I love lists...and dear Lolabola has posted on here.

And lovely there's no tags...just something fun to do without any pressure at all.

The rules:
The categories:
Things you learned this year
People you met
Things you don't want to take with you into 2008
Things you want to hold close as you pass into 2008
Things you're looking forward to in 2008
Things that were life changing in 2008
Things you hope to accomplish by the end of 2009

Now you can either give two answers for each category OR you can choose two from that list and give seven answers.

Things you learned this year
1. Sometimes you have to seek help no matter what bias you hold and what bias you may face.
2. Boundaries can be a good thing.

People you met
1. Patrick! And I got to reconnect with H's siblings and Gabriel which was wonderful.
2. Rebeka!

Things you don't want to take with you into 2009
1. Depression so crippling I can't function.
2. Insecurity.

Things you want to hold close as you pass into 2009
1. My beloved family both nuclear and extended.
2. My friendships from all over the world.

Things you're looking forward to in 2009
1. Finishing my master's degree.
2. A whole summer with Horacio and the kids.

Things that were life changing in 2008
1. Antidepressants.
2. Revisiting Mexico.

Things you hope to accomplish by the end of 2009
1. Finish the bloody thesis.
2. Write more set limit just to write more of it.

Phantom People

This post has been half composed since last summer. Actually the real history goes back quite a bit further...maybe when I first meet my friends from an online parenting group. But really my affair with the internet and the people I meet over the internet goes back much further. This post has never really felt right though, and I've aborted several efforts to put into words my thoughts about "online" vs "real life" friends. I have no doubt that this post will fail to satisfy as well but for some reason I have to put it out there. For one thing, it's been rattling around in my brain for too long and making me crazy. For another, I realized when I was putting together a casual gathering for a New Year Eve's party, that I don't know anyone whom I could invite. I have meet some people at the kids' school, and become pretty good friends with one of the families (who is coming). There's another family I like but I'm not sure how they feel about us...and there are some others that have promise. And of course my friend D is coming because he's like a part of the family now...much more than a friend. But coming up with a list to invite made me feel kind of sad because most of the people I'd like to be here just can't. They live too far away and our friendship developed over the ether of the internet.

I've been fascinated with the possibility of the internet for along time. Being an avid scifi reader, it was hard to not imagine the possibilities. And of course William Gibson's Necromancer just made those fantasies all the more vivid. The idea of a whole separate world intrigued me. I love the idea of worlds existing beside each other not just parallel but drifting into each other, enmeshing in such a way that it is hard to separate the threads of one world from the other. My exploration began when I was twenty-one, I was introduced to a board, DOS system, black screen, green type. Of all the boards I joined this one was the one that meshed the most with my real life. After about a week of posting online I meet most of the people. The meshing was made complete in that these people knew me by my board name as opposed to my real name. Even once they knew my real name, they continued to use my online handle. My identity felt marvelously fluid. I created a persona that traveled not just online but with me when I went out with these people.

And the affair with the internet has continued from that moment on...not all positive of course. There was the Irish man I meet online at a Scottish online cafe. Over the internet and telephone, everything was perfect. It was intense but when we meet, there was on connection, no chemistry. You could almost hear the hiss of air escaping the balloon...not even a dramatic pop. From this to various parenting boards to myspace to blogging to facebook....all these people, all these connections, meshing into my life in the subtlest way. Some of the people I came to know through this wireless connection I have meet in "real life" while others I still only know through the black type of the computer.

What amazes me though is that I feel closer to many of you that I have not meet than I do to people I see nearly everyday. I used to worry about this. I thought it reflected an inability to connect to people. I grew concerned that I felt a safety with this kind of bodiless connection. I wondered if I had some kind of psychological disorder that made phantom people easier to touch than real bodies, real flesh.

But when I began to seriously take on my depression and what it was doing to my family, I posted here. It was not, as so many cultural critics claim, a desire to reveal my most personal details to the world--a kind of expose egotism. Rather it was because my readers have become my close friends. I knew that I would find the support that I needed here. I felt safe disclosing this information because there were so many people who cared about me...cared even though they had never encountered my body. It made me realize that the people I know through the internet are not phantoms. In too many ways we have touched each other, we have fought, we have loved, and in some ways held each other...all virtually. And for me this brings into question the idea of real life. What does this mean? Real life? Is it not real life when you leave comments, or I leave comments, when we reach across the ether for human contact?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Yule

From about the age of ten on, Christmas was not much fun. Having your dad walk out on Christmas Eve does not set a precedent for wonderful Christmases. But having children has definitely changed my view. It's not just the joy of getting that moves me but rather their embracing of the whole season. They love the tree, love baking with me, love making cards and picking out presents. Their enjoyment in the whole process has made it easier for me to relax. In the past, I became what H dubbed the "Christmas bitch." This involved an almost manic desire to make everything perfect. But the kids don't care about perfect, and their joy over the simplest things makes it easier to not have to relive my own bad Christmas. This year Umberto became conscious that there others who have much less than he does, and he gave on his own initiate. Plus this year was a bit special because for the first time ever I managed to surprise Horacio with a gift. Horacio is wonderful generous. He urges me to spend money on my hair (a hugely expensive proposition because I am quite vain about my hair), my camera obsession, stuff fro the kids, etc. However he is cheap when it comes to spending money on himself. He's been eyeing Ipods for about a year now but would never consider spending the money to get one. So I got him a Classic and managed to keep it hidden from him for about a month. It felt good to do something like that for someone who is so generous and who has been working a yucky job to keep us fed.

Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another Tedious Update

My plans to write have been consumed with the usual busy seasonal stuff like shopping for presents, baking yummies, and trying to clean after two weeks of utter focus on school. This place has become a sty. My bathroom? Argh. Plus with the kids in school we did the whole kids' in plays thing. It always feels so strange to go to things like that...H and I both tend to feel like posers. It's kind of a grownup thing to do I guess, and I, at least, don't really feel like a grown up.

But we survived, and it was cute. Camille had a really great time while Umberto suffered through...he's not really into these things. The child really is 8 going on 13.
In anti-depressant news...the Welbutin has done it's job. The first week was kind of interesting. The drug made me feel like I was on acid without the hallucinations. It was kind of cool for one day but by day four I was over it. Luckily that went away by last Thursday. I still feel like just the edge has been taken off, and while I'm definitely happy I'm not a zombie or bouncing off the walls. I just feel like it's going to be okay. Like I can make it through the day.

I realized the other day that one reason why I think Zoloft makes people think "zombie" is perhaps really about them rather than the drug. I know that drugs work differently on each person, etc but hear me out. What I was thinking about is how when you're depressed it takes really intense emotion to penetrate the fog. I know that for me in order to feel anything but the depression I had to these burst of extreme emotion...anger, falling in love, etc. If it was a mild feeling, I just didn't feel it. But on Zoloft I feel like I can feel things, not intensely but just everyday things. At first it was strange because I'm used to only feeling things intensely but I'm starting to realize that this might be how normal people feel things.

Some pictures.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ginger Does Exist

But she's been busy doing life.

And what a life....

Papers, readings, kids' school, the list goes on but it's living, and I am trying to do more of it.

Week three on antidepressants...I refuse to call them happy pills because they do not make me happy. All of my expectations have been blown apart, and that's a good thing by the way. Zoloft does not make feel like a zombie, it does not make me feel overjoyed, nor does it suck up my creativity. What Zoloft has done is taken enough off of the fog and depression so that I can function. It's hard to write when you're so miserable you can not even muster the energy to type out a sentence. I've not screamed at the kids, so much. And I'm starting to slowly ease myself back into the land of live people. It's been interesting...painful but interesting. I've really isolated myself over the last couple of years. The world sort of revolved around H and the kids. We really had this sort of insular wall around us. We let our friend D in but that was about it. Now that I'm forced to interact I'm slowly making friends's not easy in some ways, and there are days when I honestly long to just be back in the womb we created. But this is life, and I've already meet someone who I know is going to be a good friend. It's nice but scary because it involves opening up not just myself but opening up to her pain as well.

Bad thing about Zoloft...sexual zombie. The only thing I can't feel is sexy. I'm talking totally turning off my sex drive! It was very unpleasant, and felt so foreign to me. I did however feel a kind of safety in that void, and that scared me almost as much as losing the sex drive. It's strange to walk around the world and not feel any sexual attraction whatsoever but then it's also safe.....I don't know but the doctor gave me Welbrutin to counteract the effect of the was as he said "A Christmas gift your husband."

Thanks for checking in. I'll be writing more over the holidays.