Can Positive Thinking Be Negative?

Here’s another Scientific American article. It turns out there are risks to optimism and benefits to pessimism.

When Opportunity Knocks, but it Isn’t Looking for You

How about those women’s marches? I feel better about my country than I have in months.
View of the January 21, 2017 women's march in a major city with protestors filling the street between tall buildings and holding signs
As it happens, I didn’t attend one. Pop-up protests over the past few years have been a major source of stress in my life, and I’m pretty angry about that. The same few demonstrators show up to anyone’s march, looting, breaking windows, vandalizing random cars, and stoning police. Not a constructive way to espouse a cause. I depend on public transit, and a few dozen demonstrators can close it down for hours. As I result, I have often been stranded far from home, in the middle of a very tense situation, lugging 30 pounds of perishable groceries.

Because of this, I am on alert lists for the bus company and police department. Which is how I heard about the women’s march – the bus company sent out an advance email about expected service disruptions. Other than that, I saw only a TV commercial, which surprised me. Protest marches advertise? That’s new. But given aforementioned experiences with protests, I wasn’t intrigued enough to find out more.

But on the day of the march, when texts from the police department started coming in with massive numbers, I realized something different and historical was happening. I briefly considered going, until I got a text from the bus company saying they had completely closed down bus service to the downtown core. I texted back “completely unacceptable!,” but I was relieved from the decision of whether to enter an intensely crowded, noisy situation where my ability to retreat would’ve been severely limited.

Maybe I would’ve risen above the limits of sensitivity on the group high. Then again, I tend towards disturbed-hibernating-bear syndrome in January, so maybe not.

But even from my armchair, it was pretty cool. And the more I learned about it, the more amazing it got. It wasn’t just the massive turnouts in major cities. There were also hundreds (not an exaggeration) of marches in smaller towns, and even tiny villages, some of them in very bad weather and/or unfriendly environments.

I’m something of a coward about putting myself physically and visibly on the line. I’ve found some peace with this reluctance, now that I understand it’s a pretty natural reaction for an HSP introvert. There’s more than one way to be an activist. Still, I respect people who expose themselves in that way, even if it feels less risky to them than it would to me. If you participated, thank you. A lot. Thank you for showing me I wasn’t alone.

But this post isn’t about that. The rest of it isn’t, anyway :)

What’s New – or Not – with Me

My self-employed career isn’t going well. It turns out there is a fatal flaw in my business plan (this is a figure of speech. If you happen to be comparing yourself with me, I don’t want to deceive you into thinking I have anything as organized as a written plan). I’ve done a really excellent job at finding people I emotionally resonate with as clients. Over and over, they tell me they chose to work with me because they felt I understood them.

And I do. They are people who are going it alone, carving out their own career niche, plus a few passionate bloggers who just have to write. Like me. Most of them are struggling financially, also like me, with a very limited budget for things like… my services. I have done an excellent job of finding my peers. At creating myself an income, not so much.
Continue reading

Dance Me to the End of Love

This is the first record I ever bought with my own money. That was 44 years ago.

44 years. So endless. So fleeting. We don’t know where that time goes, but we know this: After awhile, this week, too, will go there.

A worn LP jacket of the Songs of Leonard Cohen

Quiet Revisited

The cover of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan CainJenna, my comrade in bloggery over at The Wishing Well, just published a post about Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. To my great surprise, her reaction to it was very different from mine. Since I had recommended it to her enthusiastically, I started out writing a reply in a comment, but it became way too long, so I’m publishing it here.

Wow, did we read the same book? Before I read Quiet, it had literally never crossed my mind that I was an introvert, much less an HSP (which Elaine Aron believes Susan Cain also is). I thought I was an extrovert inhibited by a tendency to isolate. I defended this, extolling the joys of solitude, as I still do. However, before I read Quiet, those joys were seriously undermined by my secret fear that solitude was an unhealthy indulgence, an escape from my shameful inability to interact “normally.” Whether it was my failure to produce extroverted bubble and bounce on command, or my persistent inclination towards behavior I had been taught was dysfunctional, I was coming up short no matter what I did. Continue reading

SensitiveType on Facebook

My brain is abuzz with all of the things I read and see that I want to share with you. The backlog is getting too huge to ever catch up, though, so I set up a Facebook page where I can post things that don’t make it into a SensitiveType blog post. Check it out (there’s also a link in the right sidebar).
A screenshot of the SensitiveType Facebook page

Life After Death

Thanks to my readers who have sent their comfort. It does help.

After the past two weeks of constant intensity, I’m feeling a little numb. I think I reached my limit, and my emotions automatically shut off to give me some rest. I’ve been cleaning the house, catching up on neglected work, donating the leftover medications to the animal shelter.

I can’t really get away from it, of course. The house is too quiet, and wherever I look, there are signs of the life with three cats I used to live. Winter came while I wasn’t looking. The cold lurks in corners, ready to envelop me the moment the heater ticks off.
A sunset over a frozen lake
The surviving cat has never been alone in the house in her entire life. The first time I left her, after… she ran and hid when I came home. She came out when she realized it was me. It was someone coming in the door that had frightened her. The last person who came to the house was the vet who euthanized her sister.

I always wondered how the cat dynamics would change when there were only two, but it never occurred to me I might lose two at the same time.

Mom and daughter will be cremated together. It wouldn’t surprise me if my emotions come back when the ashes are returned to me in a couple of weeks. I’m grounded in the physical realm – cremation has always seemed more final to me than death, as if, as long as the body which was the vehicle of our connection still exists, that connection is not really broken.

In the end, one cat died “naturally,” and I had the other euthanized when every breath became a struggle. Neither of these was a “good” death. Maybe there is no such thing.

Finish Lines

I ran two races at once to win lives that were precious to me. My opponent was Death.

Death had a head start.

Sometimes I ran strong, hopeful and determined. Other times I faltered, exhausted, confused about where to go, feeling I had already lost. Always, whichever race I was running, I felt myself falling behind in the other.

In the end, Death won them both.

An animated calico cat runs across the screen