The ease of our collective delusions

Have you ever wondered how the population of a country can be blind to the horrors it is perpetrating.  How did Germans not see?  How did the Japanese not see?  How did the Americans not see?

WHAT?!  Many an American is bristling right now.  “WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS, SARA.  You take that back!” is being shouted at the computer screen.

But yeah.  NOPE.  Not taking it back.  Because we aren’t the good guys.  But the general patriotic rhetoric and feeling about the U.S. by Americans is “We are the heros, the good guys, the knights in shining armor.”

I was 40 before it occurred to me that We Aren’t the Good Guys.  And I knew all the bad things before that.  But still, it was the unconsidered simplified assumption I had about America so I just reinterpreted the bad stuff, as bad but not really changing the basics – America: Good Guy.

I never challenged Good Guy America because that assumption is fed by lots and lots of rhetoric to make me feel that way.  Heck it’s part of the school curriculum.  America, we are willing to blow innocent people up with Atomic Weapons but only because WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS.  That is the gist of how Hiroshima and Nagasaki were taught to me in school.  In fact, right now, someone is thinking about writing a comment about how many lives America saved by doing it.  AMERICA, GOOD GUY!

This country has an ugly internal history of violent and horrific bigotry.  Consider Slavery, the entire Native American Population, (Trail of Tears is just a high point), Segregation, Immigrant Treatment, and Suffrage.  Just to name the big ones.  A full 25 volume encyclopedia would be necessary to summarize the various points of injustices done inside this country by its government to the people and the land and the wildlife.  But we still internalize the fact that we are a good nation.

The U.S. has spent most of it’s young life being  self satisfied at how marvelous we are.  Or if we are having a bad hair day we relish how marvelous we WERE and imagine how we can recreate this fantasy land of greatness which we once were.

The human brain is fully capable of seeing a fact and reorganizing it inside the brain to be a good thing.  To prop it up against beautiful ideas and honestly believe that despite evidence this viewpoint is reality.  It’s the same way people use religion.

If you take a clean objective look at the bible, for example, it’s hard to find a Good Guy God.  But you won’t catch Christian Religions calling God anything but Love.  Because they believe God is Love, they just re-work all the stories inside their brain to be stories about how much God Loves Us.  Our brains work really well at switching that.

Our monkey brains are not clever.  They can be easily manipulated to remember things that never happened, to see things that aren’t there, to re-interpret the view to one that fits our current worldview.

We are complacent in our belief that our brains will not be wrong, when in fact they are wrong regularly.  And we just ignore it.  Like a glitch in the matrix.

Right now Republicans are reworking Trump in their brain.  He’s the Republican so he must be worthy is how it’s going to come out for most of them.  Because they have the unconsidered assumption that Republicans are Good.  Therefore the brain switches to Trump is Good.

We fail when we don’t look carefully at our assumptions.  So very many are hidden from us, but they are worthy of a good stare.  Because our monkey brains don’t just make assumptions, they make SIMPLIFIED assumptions.   So something like being a Republican, which obviously is a complex mess of ideas and concepts, is drilled down to REPUBLICAN.  This removes all the nuance and lets our brain make those unwarranted brain switches on someone like Trump.




The odd in my brain

Yesterday I got a new chair at work.  This new chair has been something of a journey. I was sitting in an old comfy AND broken chair.  It listed a bit to the left. When offered a new chair, I only specified that it not have arms that poked into my fundament.  I hate that. And my current chair, besides being broken, has arms that were put on backward and allow my fundament to spill over without check.

So I got the new chair (same kind as old chair) and it was defective.  The wheels wouldn’t turn to roll in a new direction and I was constantly feeling snagged.  Attempts were made to fix that.  No Avail.  So I went back to old and broken chair a new chair was ordered.

This time, they went big.  As in Big and Tall.  They got me a GIANT chair for large people.  And I love it.  It’s a fat person chair.  There was a time when this would have been a humiliation for me.  Instead, it wasn’t until I was falling asleep last night that I realized I’m fat.  That I’m the fattest person in the office.  That they bought me a fat person chair not just because I made jokes about liking plenty of room for my fundament but because I’m fat.

I’ve had an unconscious self identity of being normal weight.  Despite the conscious awareness that I wasn’t.  So this is why it felt like a surprise.

I wasn’t this fat when I started there 3 years ago.  I was a normal weight 7 years ago.  But in those years I have gained 100lbs.  100 pounds. That’s A WHOLE LOT.

I am aware of it, but I don’t have the obsession with it that plagued me when I was young.  My only desire to lose weight is connected to the awareness that my joints hurt when I walk.  And pain is problematic.

You have to understand the ABSOLUTE OBSESSION that filled my life until I was 33 and got a gastric bypass.  I was very fat, much fatter than I am now,  and my entire focus was on how to lose weight, how awful being fat was and feeling terrible about what I ate when it was bad.  I have NONE of that.  I have only a clinical awareness that my pain is due to my weight.

I have none of the humiliation that would have filled my 20 something soul at getting a fat person chair. I’m fat. OK.  My co-workers think I’m fat.  Its OK.

This change is due to the plunge my life has taken in the last 7 years.  I’ve been living my life in a place of desolation.  A place of horrors.  This is a maximum security desolation where minor side issues like being fat are just lint in the air around me.

So now, my brain has a new perspective. And on the one hand, it’s nice to not have that constant whip that is an obsession with body weight and weight loss.  On the other, I’m not healthy and it’s due to what I eat and the weight I’m carrying, so it would be better if I got a little big more focused on this issue.  Not caring at all isn’t particularly helpful.

Figuring out a plan for this seems annoying and huge and a change.  Mostly I think its the change that the depression is bucking so hard.  My brain is NOT a fan of change or New.

So first small step. This weekend I will figure out how I want to develop a new way of handling this.  I think a daily walk and food changes.  Which is where we come into problems.  Because I’m not well enough to prepare elaborate things, so it has be easy and healthy.  Not two things that go together in my mind.

Sigh.  This is going to be a lot of work.

Ellie from Borderlands 2


I’m running a deeply important poll.

You should participate.

Its on Twitter, that’s how you know it really matters.

Also, it’s about Labels.  These are important questions at important times in my life.

Also, I may need to buy labels in order to continue organizing my closets.

Also, for full disclosure purposes I must tell you, I may be using polls and blog posts as a way to defer ACTUALLY doing the reorg of the closet.  It’s possible.  Hard data on that point has not been fully tabulated.

I’m sitting in the Living Room.

This is so rare that I don’t even remember the last time I did it.  And I know that in the 2.75 years I’ve lived here I’ve sat in here less than 5 times.

I sit in bed.  It’s not healthy.

But I am waiting for the UPS guy and I won’t hear him in the bedroom, so I’m sitting in the Living Room like a normal person.

I opened the blinds, which are always closed.  Its actually quite bright and cheery despite the greyness of the morning.  Huh.  Lily is all kinds of interested in this new development and is sitting on the window sill.  This is probably not wise, since she is kind of a lease breaker, but the management is aware of her and pretending she doesn’t exist because I keep her litter clean and she’s not destroying the place. And they are a service for mental health.  Not having her would destroy my very tenuous path to mental health.

I am wondering if I could rearrange the furniture in such a way that I would be more likely to use the Living Room.  I think if I had the small writing desk in front of the window, with a chair, I might sit in here more.  It’s kind of nice to look out the window and see the world.

The heat is still on in the apartment.  Low, but on.  Because it’s run by an agency that is NOT always super efficient.  They usually turn ON the heat in mid November to Early December.  This is the first year where they forgot to turn it off though.  I may have to call. sigh.

Anyway, that’s life in my house this morning.  I feel like I’m in a stranger’s apartment because I’m sitting in the Living Room.

Did you know Mothers Day is NOT supposed to be a Hallmark Moment?

Listen to the memory palace podcast for the best version of this story but to summarize Mother‘s Day was supposed to be Mothers’ Day.  A Day to fight for and recognize the work that women do in a home as equal in worth to work outside the home.

It was an idea created by Anna Jarvis when she wanted to pursue the work done by her mother.  Her mother was also Anna Jarvis and in the mid 19th century she was an activist for women’s rights.  She spend her life teaching women about healthcare and their workplace rights.

After she died, her daughter wanted to continue that legacy by bringing her campaign for women’s work into proper respect and she thought that if we had a Holiday it would raise awareness and respect for the work women do inside a home. A day that would bring women together to fight for their rights in their unpaid work.  So as a legacy to her mother she focused herself on that task and won.  Congress declared Mother’s Day.

And almost immediately it became a commercialized day about saying I love you to your Mom.  Which upset Anna Jarvis A LOT.  Because it was supposed to be about the bigger issue.  It wasn’t supposed to be a Hallmark Holiday that exploits your love for you mother into a money making venture.

So instead of being able to rest on her laurels, she spent the rest of her life fighting the commercialization of a Holiday she created to change the perceived role of women in our culture.  She died alone in a nursing home surrounded by Hallmark cards and candy that her oblivious fans continued to send her.  She was never a mother.

Now, of course, no one knows the real reason Mother’s Day was brought into existence.  And it’s hard to call the celebration of our affection for our particular parent a bad thing, because of course it’s not.

But it’s also true that we still have the problem of getting respect for the unpaid labor of Moms.  That terrible term Mothers Who Don’t Work continues to plague us.  We have started to head more into the direction of shared parenting, but it remains a cultural norm that women are the responsible party for all child rearing and house care and men are just helping.  Clearly a holiday isn’t the route to take on improving that though.



Listed Under Appallingly Bad Idea

The CIA’s twitter account is doing a rerun tweeting the Osama Bin Laden’s Assassination as if it were happening today.

This is so… bad taste.

This is so… dangerous.

This is so… typical of our narcissistic American Centric view.

I’m embarrassed for this country.  I’m sorry that Obama is making this sort of thing into a sideshow carnival ride.

I’m continually stunned by the choices people make.  People who are supposed to be smarter than this.

Dumping Syndrome ruined my recipe.

It’s a terrible thing.  If you don’t know what it is be grateful.  It’s about the only side effect that makes me question whether the gastric bypass was worth it.  Happily it doesn’t last long.  It basically makes you feel like you have a fever, you get shaky and weak and you just feel horrid everywhere.  Like you are sick, in fact.  In the first several years after the bypass I had it daily.  I was not a good girl about certain foods, so sometimes I brought it on knowingly, but often, like today, it happened inadvertently.

I licked the extra brown rice syrup off the spoon I used to put it in the recipe.  I didn’t even think about it.  I just didn’t want to put the sticky spoon on the counter and I couldn’t take my eye off the pan on the stove, so I just did it.  And then as I stirred my pot, I began to feel like crap. I was so distracted with my recipe that I still never thought about why.  As I was getting into the crucial stage of recipe I was shaking and weak and hot and I just couldn’t do it anymore.  So I finally set everything down and curled up on my bed wondering if I was getting the flu.

It took me 5 minutes before I finally realized what it was.  I haven’t had it in so long I didn’t even recognize it.  I thought I was sick.  As I type this my hands are still trembling even though the worst horrible sickness is gone.  It wasn’t that much sugar thankfully.

My recipe is ruined because in a moment of thoughtlessness I licked a spoon to avoid having to scrub a counter for a few seconds.  Beware the small moments in life – they are the ones that kill you. Or your recipe.


Sometimes I need to be reminded that the world is not Entirely Awful.


I had a bad week.  This means that when I looked at the world and my life all I could see was disaster.  I felt like I was on a short road to Dystopia.

But then the smoke curtains lift and I can things a bit more clearly.  And then when I look, I can see that there is always something good.  Someone good.  Things that matter and are good happen.

There are always helpers.  It’s a terribly good thing to remember.


So. Alabama and Tennessee.


In TN, there is an argument that suggests that you wouldn’t want to see a therapist or doctor who found your gender repellant.  But, its a false argument.  Qualified doctors and therapists do not grow on trees.  They are not evenly distributed among the population that needs them.  Sometimes you need expertise not belief in your gender identity.

In Alabama there is no argument in any form that does not make this law repugnant, immoral and an abomination of human rights.  Its unlikely that it will withstand any challenge but its existence is horrifying nevertheless. Its one town, but it exists.

I’m feeling worn out by the hate in the world.  I find the people who stand up loudest for this sort of malice are the people who claim to work in the name of “loving God” and that is what makes me most depressed.  Because if that their concept of love then we can’t even agree on what love is.  Where is common ground at that point?

I try to remind myself that they aren’t the majority but then this happens.  And it feels so much like the majority.

When I was young it felt like the future had hope.  It felt like we were moving to a better place.

And even though there are huge obvious milestones that have been met, we have these kinds of things and I feel like hate is always going to exist.  We will never get past it.  There will always be those who look for things to hate in the name of righteousness.  We will never be free of it.