M is for Music…

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I was going to do ‘Milwaukee” or “meditation” or “mindfulness” “MSTK3000” or even “mopeds/motorcycles”, but life. Send energy drinks.

Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
Electric word life it means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you there’s something else (Go crazy)

They can’t all be zingers.

L is for Learned Helplessness and Locus of Control

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Learned helplessness is a psychological state that is brought about by an external locus of control and trauma. If you’ve not watched the videos (bad reader!), a person with a internal locus of control believes that they are largely in control of their circumstances and actions, a person with an external locus of control believes more in fate and allows themselves to be controlled by others.

Learned helplessness, then is a result of being in a situation where one has little to no control of the outcome. Even after resolutions are possible, the person has developed a reduced problem-solving capability and a sense of hopelessness. It’s believed that learned helplessness may be a contributing factor in depression, and is often behind a victim mentality.

So I will  raise my hand and admit that learned helplessness is a thing for me. While I could totally go into why, the end result is that actually being in control of my life is deeply, deeply dysphoric and I tend to traditionally seek out situations and people that just remove the burden of choice from me, generally to an unhealthy degree, and ADDITIONALLY I BEGIN TO RESENT THIS.

Or I guess I could just eternally seek the person/thing/chemical/idea that controls me in the right way, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahapleaseendme.

Oy.

Life right now is really about enhancing my comfort in making my own decisions and being independent without running to some source of control.

Oh! The horse. That horse, as a colt, was tethered to an unmovable object. It has learned that when it is tethered, there is no escape. This is why we see a thousand lb animal stymied by a lawn chair.

Don’t be the lawn chair horse.

K is for “Kiss Off”, Violent Femmes

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One of those “internally melodramatic” teenager songs…

Saw them live around the time Syd Barrett died (they did a bomb version of “Astronomy Domine”), they’re old guys now but still super-energetic and have to win some kind of award for best use of the washtub in rock.
Example: “Country Death Song
They’re from milwaukee, also, another sign of greatness.

H is for Head…

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Researchers have created a device that can hear your inner voice

When we verbalize internally, we trigger subtle neuromuscular signals. AlterEgo can read these signals through electrodes placed on the skin. The device then responds to the wearer through a bone conduction speaker, eliminating the need for earbuds or headphones.

THEY HAVE BREACHED THE SANCTUARY! MAN THE TAR BUCKETS.

Joe has just worked himself into
an imaginary frenzy during the fade-out of his imaginary song
He begins to feel depressed now. He knows the end is near. He has realized
at last that imaginary guitar notes and imaginary vocals exist only in the mind
of the imaginer.
And ultimately, who gives a fuck anyway? (laugh)…Excuse me…so who gives a fuck anyway? So he goes back to his ugly little room and quietly dreams his last imaginary guitar solo… 

Generational Trauma

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(properly termed transgenerational/intergenerational trauma)

You.

You are not you. You are your ancestors hopes, dreams, folliables and pain. You are a combination of hundreds, thousands of people who passed before your birth.

Same with anyone else on this planet.

There are up to four ways inter-generational trauma can be passed (from “Transmission of Holocaust Trauma” by Natan P.F. Kellerman; biological transmission is disputed.)

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Many disorders that tend to move down the family line such as abuse and addiction are the result of past trauma, genetic transmission is kind of a new concept and disputed, but we have years of psychoanalytic/psychological evidence that, basically, traumatized parents, without proper intervention, raised traumatized children.

Running into Buddhist thought, here, there is a form of meditation called “metta’, which translates roughly to loving-kindness.

The meditation generally starts with:

May I dwell in safety.
May I be happy and healthy.
May I be free from afflictions.
May I be at peace.

Next, you move onto the same format, but with a person you feel gratitude toward. Next, a neutral person (a cashier, random person on the street), then a person you have difficulty with, then humanity as a whole.

Part of becoming a psychologically healthy adult (well, work in progress, over here, but) generally includes forming/re-forming a loving and forgiving relationship with one’s parents, and in some cases may need outside intervention or be impossible.

Ultimately, conflict with others is difficult, and you must consider the pros and cons, your own capability and what the best outcome of the situation is. We all are human, unfortunately.

Links

The Aftermath of Intergenerational Trauma: Substance Use Risk and Resiliency – Laurel E. Pickel. Study on Canadian First Nations people (Native Canadians) with substance abuse disorder

Effects of child abuse and neglect on adult survivors. Small segment on intergenerational transmission.

descendents of holocaust have altered stress hormones.

epigenetic change in stress-related genes in african-americans (video)

holocaust study on epigenetics debunked – even if genetic causes are removed, we still have the sociological effects of coming from a stigmatized group

tuskagee syphillis experiment. african-american men were told they had “bad blood” and offered free medical treatment, instead the experimenters watched the course of the disease progress without treating it. This happened between 1932 – 1972, even after penicillin was discovered to be an effective cure for syphillis…nope.

The Disturbing History of the Suburbs. Loan programs were created as part of the new deal program, loans were available in white neighborhoods, minority neighborhoods were excluded. Housing discrimination still exists.

Reagan and Clinton’s unequal treatment of cocaine vs crack possession. 2010 saw the sentencing ratio change from 100:1 to 18:1 Also see “13th”, on media treatment and incarceration rates in the black community, and corruption/profit in the prison industry.

Segregation is increasing in public schools, not decreasing.

The history of birth control in Puerto Rico.

 

F is for Fitness

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This is meant as a general guide for someone getting started, written by a woman who has lost and gained more weight than some small towns have, probably, so caveat emptor on this concept….

But you know what? Fitness isn’t strictly about weight. While I don’t completely go for “healthy at any size”, there is something to be said about owning the body you are in and appreciating or at least, like, making peace with the way things are. Which is like, on-going crap with me ALWAYS, but that’s, you know, not the point here.

OK, so let’s pretend that you just woke up in this body that just like, does these things,  wants these things, and additionally, Oh God, why is it like this?

BASIC RULES:

You can’t change your body type. YES, you can change a lot about your body.

*But if you’re walking around with small shoulders and wide hips, you’re kinda stuck with that. Can you lift and lose weight? Yes. But you’re never going to be a plank, sorry. Well, maybe if you weigh 90 lbs, but don’t do that to yourself. Same thing if you’re kind of a straight up and down chick, you can enhance your booty but you’re not going to be Beyonce, magically, even with 2839403280 squats.

BUT NO MATTER WHAT YOU’RE SHAPED LIKE, THE GOAL IS TO BE A MORE AWESOME, HEALTHIER VERSION OF YOU AND YOU CAN DO IT!

(diet is also important, but we’re just going to skip to exercise right now.)

 

This isn’t exactly real science, but health-folk/weight-lifter-y people break humanity down to three body types. Yes, you can be a mixture:

endomorph: tendency to gain weight, losing weight is hard, big hips, smaller shoulders.

 

ectomorph: generally lean, gaining fat and muscle is hard, long, small frame, bad at building muscle.

mesomorph: naturally muscular, more-in-between frame, builds muscle easily, somewhat of a tendency to gain fat.

Knowing what body type you have helps you select what exercises are appropriate for you, as are knowing your goals/where you are starting from. (click the links for more info!)

Starter exercises

If you’re picking up exercising again, or for the first time, my advice personally is start slow and with something you know you can and will commit to. No use so hard that you injure yourself or burn out on the whole concept, right?

So here’s some different things, try one, try a few – just figure out what interests you.

 

Walking

 

If you’re super new, or have dropped exercise for a long time, this is a great place to start! You can do this at your own pace, learn your environment better, pick the tunes – it’s good. Easy to build into your day as well.

 

Yoga

Another good place to start, and what is good about this practice is you gain skill and ability, you can up the challenge level. Also it isn’t too much of a cost challenge.

Recommendations:

Gaia’s streaming service – The series “Yoga Every Day” is a gem, 15-20 minutes of yoga, which is a great before or after work activity. They also have years of yoga and tai chi videos on here – worth the investment.

There’s also a lot of new age type material on here, some of it is quite awesome – they have a documentary on the tibetan book of the dead narrated by leonard cohen! how often is life that amazing.

Yoga with Adriene – free awesome youtube channel.

 

Swimming

Another thing that adjusts with skill level. If you’re completely new to swimming, it might be good to try lessons. If you’re brushing back up – here’s a list of styles. I love swimming, but I kinda forgot how to do most stuff besides freestyle and backstroke, lol.

 

Weight-lifting

Building muscle helps you burn fat in general, makes you stronger and um, your body will sit different even before you start to get ripped. If you’re afraid of getting too muscular – don’t be. You won’t build huge muscles without a lot of work.

Also don’t over focus on a single muscle group – certain groups might be more fun/you might be more attracted to how it looks, but imbalanced weight lifting does show after a while…Don’t turn into someone twig legs and giant head crushing forearms, please.

My advice is to hold off on supplements until you’re more experienced with this, and definitely do not expect miracles.

Just getting back into weight-lifting, myself, so here’s a couple links:

Weight-lifting work-out for women

4-week beginner’s workout for men

 

(ps: there is a huge amount of weight-lifting info online. go dig. you’ll find what you want.)

Biking

 

You know what? This should probably be its own article, might get around to that. Personally, getting back into biking was more complicated for me than anticipated. There’s seat issues, lock issues, add-ons like lights and baskets, maintainance, licenses, parking logistics.

..I absolutely don’t mean to be discouraging, and none of this is REALLY that hard to deal with, but it’s a lot more than you might assume is involved in biking.

PS: there is a lot of freedom and cheap thrills in riding in downtown traffic (<3), but again, if you’re new, definitely look into the style of bike you need for the type of riding you’re going to be doing, and your best bet is going to a specialized store…an employee will take pity on you and help you, haha.

Definitely good cardio, fun way to get around town and to work. Most city buses have a rack in the front you can hook your bike up to…

Also the costliest venture, probably.

Book recs:

New Cyclist Handbook – Ben Hewitt

Effective Cycling – John Forester – great, but more of a time investment.

 

Classes/Gyms

 

A lot of people LOVE group classes, and you could like zumba, kettlebells, body bootcamp, barre (ballet type stuff, even!) – sometimes a gym membership gives you access to these, otherwise you could find local groups, depending on your area.

I’m a gym goer, personally. Skip on the classes, but love the access to equipment and a pool.
Good luck on your path.

 

E is for Eliot

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Here’s a clip from Apolcalypse Now (Redux version, I think) – “The Hollow Men” read by Marlon Brando as Colonel Kurtz.  WATCH IT, I DARE YOU.

Interesting note: “The Hollow Men” quotes “The Heart of Darkness” in the beginning Apocalypse Now is an adaptation of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Heart of Darkness deals with colonization, the abuse of natives and guilt in colonial Africa, Apocalypse Now updates the setting to the Viet Nam war from the perspective of Captain Williard, who is called back to do a final mission after the failure of his marriage and a nervous breakdown, more or less.

 

His mission is to kill Colonel Kurtz, a former special forces agent that saw a bit too much and has ended up being a god-king in Cambodia. Here’s a clip of Kurtz, when we meet him:

I remember when I was with Special Forces. Seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate the children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile: a pile of little arms. And I remember I…I…I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized, like I was shot — like I was shot with a diamond…a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought: My God, the genius of that. The genius! The will to do that: perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand it. These were not monsters. These were men, trained cadres — these men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who have children, who are filled with love — but they had the strength — the strength! — to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling, without passion, without judgement. Without judgement! Because it’s judgement that defeats us.

This is an intensely psychological movie based on darkness – it’s a war film, definitely, and the horrors of war are a focus, but you see how experiences degrade and change people…

Oh God, this was supposed to be about TS Eliot, right? Better stop before I segue into Taxi Driver, somehow…

OK, so TS Eliot’s definitely a guy you’d run into in college, pretty well-known, the poem here “The Hollow Men” is attached to the “The Wasteland”. The poem is written from the perspective, more or less, of the Guy Fawkes straw men burned in England to celebrate the failed attempt to blow up Parliament…but they represent the souls of the dead that are in somewhat of a purgatory state and you could interpret the whole damn thing as a metaphor for depression, or a sense of deep stagnation. It’s emotionally based in feelings of despair and failure, disconnection, loss, etc….

Sidenote: Doctor Venture, from the Venture Brothers, went by TS Venture in college. Hah.

Blogger Note: Blogger was once in rehab, rehab had poetry/song lyric day and she once subjected an entire room of unsuspecting women to “The Hollow Men”, probably just sections. Asshole score: 7/10.

T.S. Eliot – “The Hollow Men”

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.