Montecristo Captain Quixote


The World Line of the Horizon Star

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world

The Hanged Man Captain Caesura

There is no half-way to curiosity. That's why it's dangerous.

Why does she call herself a "kept woman" if this flatly contradicts so much of what I know about her and who she really is? Was she making a questionable joke? Was she trying to tell me something about herself, or at least, the way she perceives herself? Was she trying to admit something without actually saying it? What in the hell did she mean? Why is it that I very much doubt that I'd get real illumination from asking her that question? Why in the hell would she describe her situation that way? Was she wanting me to do something with that knowledge?

What was being offered in "sharing" that? If she does believe what she said, that sounds pretty damned insecure for a woman whose spirit and courage I actually admire, and I am disappointed. If she doesn't believe it, then why did she say it? Was she being manipulative? If she wasn't being manipulative, was she sharing her insecurity with me? What am I supposed to do with this, or about it? Hell, everybody gets insecure. It sucks. I have plenty of insecurities to go around. Self-doubt is imprisoning. If she really feels that way...disappointing doesn't entirely cover what I would feel about that. It would make me feel sad, to think she experiences those kinds of self-doubts. It makes me feel...protective...but half the time I'm not even sure how to be that, with her. I keep thinking she would perceive that as somehow catering to her weaknesses, or something. It's kind of conflicting to feel protective if the person about whom you feel it is going to resent it. She seems so self-confident to me, most of the time. I know that she has courage, and I admire it, greatly. I damned well know that I am in no way delusional about that. I'm in possession of reason and plenty of evidence, on that. Well, yeah, OK, in most contexts, I admire her courage. She has it in places where I think I could stand a little more of it, in myself. It's inspiring. It's one of the things that make her beautiful, to me. In other contexts, not so much, perhaps. Maybe I'm wrong about that too. Who knows? Maybe she'll figure it out and actually marry the man she's with right now.

Does she really believe that I am trying to "punish her" by staying away or is she trying to make this all about her as a means of manipulating me and having control? After all, if it is about her then she has some input into things, some control. If it is about me, then it does exclude her, whether I am there or not there is entirely out of her hands. When I told her this is about me and not her, why would she not accept that?

Delusional? I'm delusional? If it is true, then I am hurt, and I want to get away from this mess. Who wants delusions? I've had far too many of those and they're just gross. If it's not true, then why did she say it? Was it manipulative? If it's not true and she said it anyway then I am more than a little angry about that. Did she say it to be hurtful? To what end? Did she say it to push me away? What other effect would any rational person expect such a statement to have? Hell, if she thinks it's true why in the hell would she even think to question what I am doing? If I'm really delusional about what is between she and I then I need to get away from whatever is feeding that delusion, but she doesn't or didn't seem to want that. Is she in effect saying that she is OK with my being delusional as long as my delusions serve her desires and ends and she can control things?

Why am I so entangled in this, anyway? What in the hell am I doing? It's not like I don't know the material facts, the situation on the ground. She hasn't lied about that. Am I being needy? It's not like it is her who keeps me hanging out in limbo. I can be angry with her all I want, but do I really have a reason? I can disapprove of her actions all I want, but I can't say that I have been unaware of them.

I went poking around on OKStupid with a catspaw account this morning. I'm not exactly sure why. I'm not looking to meet anyone. I damned sure don't feel like dating, and if I did date, I wouldn't feel honest. I'm not interested in investing my curiosity in someone new right now. At any rate, I was window-shopping or fiddling around distracting myself. Is it that I'm just missing her? I'm not sure what I was doing. Some woman wrote in her self-summary: "I enjoy alone time, and want to be with someone I want, not with someone I need." I was tempted to write to her and ask what she thinks the distinction is between those two concepts. I wonder if she actually knows what she was talking about or is she just parroting the common wisdom and is just saying it to sound deep? It made me wonder. If she is a aware of a distinction, what is it that she perceives herself to "need"? What does it mean to her, to need someone? What does it mean to me? I tell myself that I don't need L. Is it true?

Montecristo Captain Quixote

...and if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out...

Contempt is poison. It is one of Gottman's "Four Horsemen." Hell, I don't want it. How can I feel it though, and consciously believe that the target of the contempt does not deserve it and that to feel contempt is indeed beneath me? I am aghast at my propensity for internal conflict. How can I get to the bottom of this? I can't even make sense of it...and it hurts.

She says: "I am direct," (while implying a contrast between her behavior and mine) and then says things like "L. (her parenting partner) says our dynamic (hers and mine) is abusive." Robert is not direct, being the unenlightened and un-de-FOO'ed one, but she is, always. I notice such contradictions. She tells me that she does not treat me with contempt, but she has, and moreover steadfastly refused to even acknowledge or discuss it...for over two years. So, I experience cognitive dissonance. I feel like I can't talk about things like this with her without being accused of attacking her. It's frustrating. Is it worthy of contempt? Why in the hell would I ever answer that question in the affirmative? Still...I feel it...and sometimes, I show it. It is on my face.

Is she awful? No. Is she evil? No, quite the contrary. I keep saying to myself that everyone has blind-spots. I accept that. She is a remarkable person. Then what is going on in me? I see the pattern: I don't want to be in my father's position. I perceived him to be, courtesy of my mother's numerous complaints, and his own questionable actions, her mistake, and I have come to see that kind of existence as appalling. I have resolved to never again end up in that position...and yet, I still often perceive myself to be in that position. Is it just me, or did I actually become enamored of someone who recapitulates that experience with me? How in the hell am I supposed to figure that one out? There's an example of Peter Gerlach's "trust wound." I suppose that it is also compounded by the "shame and guilt wound." It is more than just dismaying, how these traumas combine in wounds that produce a kind of fractal pattern of cognitive and interpersonal pathologies. When it's not painful, it is morbidly fascinating.

Pete says these things are ungrieved things or traumas in us, and that grieving them frees us from them. To Laurel, "de-FOO" fixes everything. She doesn't say that as much, lately, which is just OK with me, because it really rankled me when I heard it. De-FOO is not a process; it'a a result! It's neither a means nor an end; it is a realization to which one may come. So, what's to do? More parts work? I suppose I should dive back into Pete's site. I can't get anywhere right now. I just end up making things worse. Sometimes, I find myself so unmotivated in the mornings. I have to drag myself out of bed, or lie there, working up the initiative to do something. That was the state in which I found myself this morning. Hell, I would have found sadness to be a relief, but I felt "insulated" from that. I feel tired and frazzled and frustrated. Part(s) of me insist that I may as well be alone; my company is not that appetizing right now, anyway. I think I want solitude. I want to go home, and be alone right now. It is not a good day.

There is too much going on at once. Jackie's headaches are getting worse again. She wants some sort of medical cure. Her good doctor, the family practitioner she likes, asked her if maybe she thought she might get somewhere talking to a therapist. I heard my own former disdain in her voice. She's angry and doesn't want to be thought crazy. Nobody is denying that she is experiencing these physical problems but she definitely does not want to entertain the idea that they have a psychological/emotional component, at all, or that maybe, she might find some insights in coping with these things if she spoke with someone. I asked her if she thought that I am crazy, after all, I am now talking to someone in an effort to find some clarity. That question got dodged artfully. There are no lessons so bitter as the ones we long to un-teach. Why would they listen best when I was wrong? I suspect it is because that we learn that we are wrong through age and experience. We are wrong before we are right. We are wrong when we are younger, and our children are younger, and that is when they are most vulnerable and impressionable. It is difficult to talk to her and reach her...and I'm not talking to the person with the good ideas in this arena right now. Damn it. This is what I get for plucking out my right eye. Ha.

At least Jackie will say that something is wrong. Shannon is trickier. I spoke to her last night around nine, and then again around ten, when I got back from Oakland, where I was helping Tom. She was having a panic attack, I think. She found herself in a position of being unable to swallow, and was retching back up the water she kept trying to drink. She described it as feeling like her esophagus was blocked. I suggested that she might want to call the ER and talk to them, but apparently, she decided to wait it out. I asked if she would call me back last night, when she knew more, after talking to someone with a medical perspective. She didn't. Instead, she went to bed. I called her this morning to check up on her and found out that the distressing condition went away after about forty-five more minutes, and that she was still tired. Well, as maladies go, ones that disappear on their own are better than one's like Jackie's migraines, which hang on tenaciously. The thing is though, I don't know what is stressing Shannon right now. It's worrisome. I think I'll call her tonight again, and see if she will talk to me. I can be difficult to reach her, in more ways than one.

I wish it were five o'clock. I'm not feeling useful, right now.

Montecristo Captain Quixote

The turn of the tide

What did he do? I've now had three conversations with my parents where I have been moderately more honest, to the limit of my courage or ability, to be honest and open. The first was with my mother, on her birthday, and the second two were with my father, one yesterday night and the other earlier tonight. There is so much I don't understand about what's happening. I was so angry while Dad and I spoke, in both conversations. It's amazing, and disconcerting. In the first conversation, with my mother, on her birthday, I told my mother a little of what I felt about my parents violent fights in our home. She offered me an apology, which is to say that she acknowledged that she was wrong. She knows it. She cannot feel it. If she felt it, it would motivate her to some sort of action. A lamentation is not understanding.

The conversations with my father were amazing. In the first, I did not feel up to trying to square some kind of account with him, so I decided to be honest about my mother, who is actually in the hospital. Apparently, she collapsed yesterday with some sort of UTI infection. She was in intensive care for awhile, although Dad told me this evening that the hospital had moved Mom to a room.

What in the hell is happening? I was enthusiastic this afternoon, if a bit scared. Tonight, after the phone call with Dad, I feel a residual anger and a bunch of confusion. What did he do to me? Is this something I did to myself?

So much about which to wonder. I had to go bury my nose in internet stuff in order to collect myself after the call. What's up with that? What's with the anger? It feels "clean, in that it is not misplaced or misdirected. There is irony here. When I first started talking to Laurel about this process, and reading, I read about being angry while talking to one's parents. I thought that the person in the example in Molyneux's book must be making it up. Did they have a reason for the anger? I knew, consciously, about how awry things had been, growing up in that house. I wasn't angry about it. I didn't get what Molyneux was implying that the reader do. Was I supposed to call up my parents and pretend to be angry? That's crazy. Now, I am angry. It is a knot behind my forehead. Surprisingly, it is not showing up in my shoulders, back and neck. Why would it be different now?

King of Cups Captain Querent

I keep your picture on the wall; it hides a nasty stain that's lying there

Is there a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for deciding to engage in a sexual relationship? How do I know when that set of conditions is met?

I was rolling around the subject of my sexual ethics and I believe that I have obtained a better handle on identifying my moral premises on the topic:

Ethical statemeent: I will only engage in a sexual relationship with someone if I believe that I can trust them with my life, and moreover, the lives of my children, actual or potential, and if I believe that my partner believes the same with respect to me.

Does that sum things up for me? Does that work? It is possible that the statement, as it stands, represents a necessary set of conditions, but do these conditions constitute a sufficient set? I note that, as I understood this statement at the time, it would not have excluded the choice of Crystal at the time I chose her.


I believed that I trusted her with my life and with the lives of my children. The ethical premise is sound but in applying it to Crystal I made a mistake: as she was, and to many extents, still is, the decision to trust her with the lives of my children or potential children was not sound. Neither of us had the self-knowledge that would have enabled us to furnish and sustain the high-quality nurturing environment necessary to the ultimate well-being of our children, however much I did not understand this at the time.


Certain key areas of Crystal's integrity were, even in my estimation, even then, very much open to doubt. What was not factored in properly was an understanding that these limits logically implied that together we would be unable to provide such an environment as I desired, and for which I was morally obligated to provide consequent to taking Crystal as my mate and having and raising children with her. I could not trust her, both for limitations of my own and hers. Therefore, the decision to have sex with her was unwarranted, in retrospect.

So, why did I believe it at the time? Why did her prior infidelity and sexual and procreational risk-taking not matter to, or not weigh decisively in, my decision at the time?

I believe that the answer is that I grew up swimming in an ocean of lies. The perceptions of reality with which my immature brain formed the premises about the importance of honesty, and the consequences of dishonesty, were distorted by the environment provided by my parents. Before I was married, did I ever confront Crystal over what I perceived to be her infidelity? No. In fact, was I clear about my boundaries in this regard? No. In fact, I sometimes evaded the importance of my feelings with respect to her behavior. As a matter of fact, I sometimes evaded, to myself, the knowledge of the likelihood that she was cheating on me when in fact she was doing so. Is that true, or was I using the fact that we had no formal, or at least well-understood, agreement between the two of us, to absolve her of the moral responsibility to be "faithful?" I had a standard, but in the absence of communicating it to Crystal and having it clear to both of us, did that allow me to somehow have my cake and eat it too?

In what way? To what end?

Did I need to be able to pretend that she loved me and that she cared? It is possible that I thought so. If it is so, this would explain why I was frequently in doubt about what she felt for me. I need to ruminate on that. Perhaps this would be a good thing to look up in previous journaling.

Montecristo Captain Quixote

If you could only see how blue her eyes can be...

Observation: It is difficult to write about the things which are extremely important in a timely fashion. Also, I have to change some privacy settings on some entries I have made here. I promised Laurel that I would do this, because she wants me to do so, but I have not attended to this yet. I feel guilty about this, but I have not put the time and the thought together at the same time in order to accomplish this yet. I want to do it, but I am also reluctant to do it, because of feelings about my own honesty in "covering up," and I don't want to do this thoughtlessly, and yet alacrity is also of the essence. I will do it tonight, or no later than tomorrow morning. That is a promise to myself. I will keep it.

Laurel is speaking to me again. Our communications have been strained, at times, but I still find them pleasurable, and in several different ways, richly rewarding. If I am ever to have a life-partner with whom to share the intimacy, passion, and spiritual values Schnarch says are possible for two people to enjoy together, I am still of the opinion that she is the best candidate I know, or have known, with whom I am likely to accomplish that goal.

On the 17th, Mom's birthday, I had conversations, first with my brother, and then with my parents, which were much more open and honest than the communications I have previously had with them, possibly in years. The conversations still were not honest enough, in my estimation, to satisfy my conscience, but they are an improvement. I am still very much conflicted over, and wrestling with, making hard choices regarding whether I can and should terminate my association with them. Logically assessing the necessity of doing so is horriibly difficult, and emotionally assessing it is practically impossible, because my feelings keep shifting and fluctuating. I was on YouTube some minutes ago, listening to the song over which DJ has been obsessing the past couple of days and I was flooded with a feeling of sadness so powerful it made me weep, but the feeling faded. I am working on this.

Observation: My brother sees negotiations with his wife over differences in their values and intended actions (e.g. the aesthetic value of a wall-hanging on their wall) in terms of win-lose. They are still married.

My parents and my brother all seem to have no problems with the limits of their own moral curiosity. Can one honestly live and love without an active and continuously growing moral consciousness? I don't see how that question can be answered in the affirmative at all. Is it possible that my family members might also live in contradiction to what they have each told me, to one extent or another? My parents have been, and seem to be, reaping the natural consequences of attempting to live according to their own confessed beliefs. The jury is very much out on my brother. He seems more differentiated, in some ways, than I was expecting, when I spoke to him. On the other hand, some of his surface calm is possibly just dissociation. How can I be sure?

My mother is upset because Chris has appropriated some photographs of my mother's when my mother felt certain that she had not given Chris permission to take those, and she wants them back. Something to ponder: why can't Mom simply talk to Chris and ask for the photographs back? What kind of weirdness is at work here?

This morning's attempt at applying "Five-Why Analysis" to the problem of de-FOO.

I should de-FOO.


I can consistently operate on a moral standard only as high as the one to which I am willing to hold my parents.


Operating on a higher moral standard allows confrontation with internal sub-persona so that dysfunctional feelings and behaviors may be redirected and re-purposed to more functional ends. [Side note: Does this really answer the previous question well? Was the previous answer really true?]


The dysfunctional feelings and behaviors of un-lead (ill-managed) sub-persona create adverse consequences in my ability to relate to others in healthy, productive ways. They also interfere with my ability to perceive reality, focus on what is important in existence, and appreciate, identify, produce, acquire, trade, and share values.


The ability to process reality effectively, enabling me to appreciate, identify, produce, acquire, trade, and share values is required for me to exist and thrive.


Existence, the thriving of the individual, is the fundamental human end. It is the meaning of human consciousness.

Riff Benighted Hero Captain Earnest

I only hear what I want to? Wrestling with an angel, or devil, in my head.

I was tempted to write her again this morning and ask if we could talk. Why in the living blue blazes is it so ridiculously hard for me to just accept already that she doesn't want to talk to me and drop her out of my thoughts? I need to change my focus. I am focused on the non-existent. She's gone; there is no more point in thinking about her, missing her, wanting her, or even analyzing what happened. How could there possibly be, after nearly six months, anything else of value to squeeze out of consideration of my relationship with her and what happened? It wastes my precious leisure to remain in this frame of thought. Sheesh. I really need to issue an eviction notice to her simulacrum in my head...and I can't. It's tiring. I just need to accept that there is no more closure to be had and "move on." As much as I hate that phrase I must admit it is applicable here. Ugh. I can refrain from contacting her, and have, and I can accept rationally that these thoughts are a dead end, and do, but I cannot change how I feel. I still want to talk to her, at least once more; there are still things I want to understand, and don't. Damn it. I know that fighting it doesn't work, but for the love of sweet peace, why does it take so damned long just to ride this out? Grr...ah well, it takes as long as it takes. Hell, it took a year, with Crystal. It's just that, given the current expected human longevity, I don't have an abundance of those left. Damn it. Suck it up.

Montecristo Captain Quixote

Summer nights and street cars take me back, to the world gone away

When I told the therapist that I had been keeping a journal since 2 May 1978, she asked if I had re-read it. I told her that I had not looked at my old paper stuff, which encompasses everything from the start date, when I was in the eighth grade, to the time just before Crystal and I moved to California. She suggested that I try reading it. I felt apprehensive about doing that, when it came down to it. I can't exactly identify why. Nevertheless, I did manage to go get those old notebooks and start reading. I thought I'd make notes here, since things started occurring to me as I am reading.

I was writing to be read, even though I have tried to keep a conversational tone out of my journals. I wasn't as conscious of the effort or even the fact that there was a conversational tone to the writing style, at the time. Is it a symptom of the desire for external validation? In reading my childhood writings, the neediness was very clear. I wanted to be understood. I wanted the girl to whom I was attracted to desire me, to know me. It was very difficult for me to feel that desire and not act upon it and just speak up and talk to her. I was terribly insecure, and immature, and at great pains to deny both of these things. I was still building "forts and clubhouses" out of tree limbs in the woods with kids two or three years my junior, when I was fourteen. I was much moved to hyperbolic prose, or at least, romantically colorful prose. It is somewhat amusing to me to note that being shy, awkward, and naive, while at the same time being somewhat precociously adept with prose, produced some rather interesting text. I was very much more sentimental than I am now. Carl Jung tells us that, "Sentimentality is the superstructure erected upon brutality." All I can add to that is that apparently, we learn it young. All punning aside, it does cause me to wonder: do we learn the two concomitantly or does the inculcation of one naturally facilitate the inculcation of the other?

Side note: while looking up the quote to check the wording I stumbled upon an article, by a person named Antonio Dias, discussing Jung's observation. It looks interesting. I wonder what this guy makes or would make of the fact that Ayn Rand and Carl Jung appear to be in agreement over their dislike of Joyce, and do not appear to be that far apart in their justifications for their dislike. The author defends Joyce, I note. I am intrigued by this line:

Sentiment takes any criticism, real or inferred, and turns it into an excuse for a reaction. Anything to keep our focus where we demand it belongs.

Hmm. Perhaps I should drop that idea on some of my own sub-parts and see who squirms. Why anger, indeed. Of course, "an excuse for a reaction" is somewhat lacking in explanatory power. "Anything to keep our focus where we demand it belongs," instigates a better question: why. Is it fear, or something else? Do any of us actually entirely escape the charge of narcissism, if Miller, Gerlach, et al, are right about the ubiquity of childhood traumatization and consequent baggage? I note the author's use of the inclusive "we," in his article. It is not a question of pathology. Herds of "normal" people go mad and turn their times into orgies of bloodshed.

It is not as awkwardly painful, reading this, as I worried that it would be. I was terribly obsessed over Veronica. There was something about her that drew my attraction. It is hard to pick out. I was all over the map in documenting what I felt and this early in the chronology I see very little questioning of why. I'm wondering about how much of a clue I actually had, at the time. I knew that it was her, specifically that I wanted, and I didn't find quite so much interest in many other of the girls in my class. I am wondering if I managed to identify anything substantial in what I valued about her. Was it all physical, at that age? Was it all neediness and desire for external validation? I made a lot of notes in my journal about Veronica that would point to an attraction to her femininity. I was way too young to characterize this observation as such, at the time, but I see it, in the particulars I tended to note about her, and I understand it in light of what moves me today. I liked looking at her bare skin, her arms and legs fascinated me, when she would wear a dress. I wrote frequently of how she dressed and how she wore her hair. I recall that she wore makeup when almost all of the other girls in the class did not, and she was talented and subtle enough with it not to get noticed or rebuked by the nuns, as far as I knew. I haven't seen it, yet, at this point in my reading, but I am wondering if I duly noted my observation about her wearing makeup in some entry. I also see that I was clearly attracted to the sound of particular female voices and laughter. I noted both the sound and the kinesthetic grace of her movements when she laughed.

I was fascinated by the most silly coincidences, like the fact that we had worn sweaters of the same color one day. Oh, my poor brain. I do note, in favor of the child I was then, that I didn't attempt to ascribe such coincidences as the manifestations of some sort of supernatural will or destiny, despite the fact that I would have confessed a belief in God, in those days. I was still a server at Mass.

I note that, for all that I was chided and chastised for absent-mindedness and awkwardness as a boy, I was very observant, when my interest was piqued, having noted the warmth of Jenny's hands, for example when I had occasion to touch them during a classroom experiment with building a model thermometer.

It is interesting to understand, from my reading between the lines now, that my parents probably had a better grasp of my infatuations than I believed them to have at the time. I wanted advice, but I wanted my inner life a secret to them. They both, in their ways, managed to make me feel invaded (and sometimes, all too often, even rejected). Have I done any better than they when Shannon tells me, "I don't like to feel around you."

The Hermit Captain Contemplative

Can I buy a vowel, Vanna?

My Internal DJ is mashing a couple of tunes this morning: Stone Temple Pilots: "Vasoline" and Fleetwood Mac: "Go Your Own Way." Musically, it doesn't work, I think, but I get from where it is coming. I am reading and thinking this morning and it is difficult to do those things without being reminded of my erstwhile correspondent. Yeah, well, it gets better. Monty Python and the Holy Grail come to mind.

Peasant: "She turned me into a newt!"
Sir Bedevere: "A newt?!"
Peasant, after confused pause: "I got better..."

So, what brought that to mind this morning? Something I read in Schnarch:

[B]oth Bill and Joan felt validated, needed, and valued early in their relationship. Each felt lucky to have found such a compatible partner. Conversation came easily and lasted for hours. Each reinforced the other’s disclosures with further disclosures of his or her own. They celebrated their ability to talk about “almost anything.”

Schnarch, David (2011-10-01). Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships (p. 103). Midpoint Trade Books. Kindle Edition.
Isn't you, isn't me, search for things that you can't see...

I know that I cannot contact Laurel. She did not expressly forbid it outright, but she did tell me that she did not wish to engage. If I respect her, I must honor her wishes until or unless she changes her own mind on her willingness to talk to me. Damn it though, I miss her in more than a romantic sense. She's the only one who really was on the same page about this stuff! Schnarch and Gerlach flatly contradict one another. How does Laurel integrate them? Does she integrate them or is she just fooling herself? If one of them, Gerlach or Schnarch, is wrong, where is the error? Are they each at least partly right? In what context? Is the contradiction only apparent, to be resolved with a synthesis? If so, where is it? Laurel's OKStupid profile reads as if she believes Schnarch and wants what he has to offer. On the other hand, "at the sticking point," she clings to the framework propounded by Molyneux, Gerlach, and Mackler. Schnarch claims that they are wrong, and I perceive the possibility that if he is right, their prescriptions can lead to undesirable results.

If I could, Baby, I'd give you my world, How can I, when you won't take it from me...

She told me: "The trust is gone." The beautifully diplomatic, controlled wording she used there did not escape me, from the moment I first read it. The only accusation in that is implicit; the statement itself only says what she is feeling. It does open the question though: is the trust gone because she perceives me to be a liar and untrustworthy, or is it because she is less than capable of trusting when things get emotionally involved and her insecurities are roused. I suspect that it is almost certain that the case is a little of column A and a little of column B. I wonder if she would agree with that assessment? In any case though, whatever value she claimed to get out of discussing this stuff with me is obviously not great enough for her to talk to me, for whatever reason. Demonstrated preference is a pretty strong argument. Nevertheless, the way things have gone down can't help but make me wonder about the "why" of it. Is it that it hurts too much? Is she really of the opinion that I am some untrustworthy scoundrel who will morally contaminate her if she gives me the time of day? Is it that she feels the need to not be intimately involved with me but can't break loose without cutting all contact? Bah. Futility. Hell, I fully admit to having plenty of emotional reasons for missing her correspondence, but damn, I have intellectual reasons as well, for missing communicating with her. Hmm...they don't seem to be all that divisible, actually. They're entwined — the fact that I could have such fascinating conversations with her was one of the attractions. Value and emotion are inseparable. Meh. So why does it appear to matter to me more than it appears to matter to her? That is a puzzle that may be unanswerable. Damn, I do miss her, though. This stuff is really interesting, but it is hard to sort out alone. I wish she had been a better partner for me with whom to exchange "clues to the universe;" I sure as hell wish that I had been.

Montecristo Captain Quixote

Flies in the vasoline we are, sometimes it blows my mind

We keep getting stuck here all the time...

I've been thinking about the problem of circles and cycles in thought and action. I may lament them, but the real question is do they have purpose. Cyclic processes are intrinsic to nature. Feedback systems, iterative processes, successive approximation, fuzzy-logic, the OODA loop, all of these are examples of processes of sensing and acting in a manner to optimize the perception of reality and to optimize the things which can be controlled effectively in pursuit of goals. I recently re-read some of my old entries because I had mentioned an insight I had and the fact that I had written it down and tended to do much of my thinking on virtual paper. I don't know what she may get out of reading these pages. When I did, I was struck by the repetition of pattern. In truth, I was a bit dismayed to note the repetition. We had talked about this when I was in her office last. I made the claim that the cycles were not completely circular, in that the action did not terminate exactly where it began, but that the circles were actually spirals, in three dimensions. The path is indeed circular, but more precisely, it is helical. The process would be similar to what Yeats claimed happens in the course of history to civilizations, but at the individual level. As much as I complain of repetition, there is growth and better understanding involved in the process. We are sadder but wiser. It occurs to me that all of this internal wrangling and debate do serve a purpose. Whether it constitutes "effective grieving" I don't really know, but things do get clearer. Is six months too long? Is that a relevant question? Do things not take as much time as they take? Regardless of how high or low my E.Q. is, and I don't even know if there is an actual methodology for quantifying this, it is what it is in the present and I have to live with what it is now, even if I can raise it in the future and do work toward that end. So, the "gyres" are not fruitless. Are they obsessive? How does one determine that? What are the criteria? Is there a time limit? I don't know. What I do know is that this iterative process does work in interesting ways.

I became aware of yet another example of this iterative learning process within the past few days. While back-reading, I found an entry of mine wherein I had listed as my mood a feeling I described as, "Roche-limit pull." I have tended to associate attraction and intimacy and connection metaphorically with the physical phenomenon of gravity. Gravity is a force of attraction, and its influence in the physical realm of matter is analogous to profound and pervasive influence that the attraction of connection and intimacy have in human affairs. I would not be so ignorant or vain to suppose or assert that I am the first to employ this metaphor. The lyrics of the song, "Lightning Crashes," by Live, for example, comes to mind, as making allusions to gravitational pull:

Oh now feel it, comin' back again,
Like a rollin' thunder, chasing the wind,
Forces pullin' from the center of the Earth again,
I can feel it.

You can hear it in the singer's voice: you sure as hell can feel it. It stirs up the ASMR just thinking about it, when my Internal DJ plays that song. So, the metaphor is common, and very old, and I have been aware of it, but I did find it interesting that I had, of my own particular inspiration, invoked the concept of a metaphorical "pull" so powerful that it approached an analogous metaphorical Roche Limit. Wikipedia has the following to say on the topic: Roche Limit.

The Roche limit (pronounced similar to the sound of rosh), sometimes referred to as the Roche radius, is the distance within which a celestial body, held together only by its own gravity, will disintegrate due to a second celestial body's tidal forces exceeding the first body's gravitational self-attraction. Inside the Roche limit, orbiting material disperses and forms rings whereas outside the limit material tends to coalesce. The term is named after Édouard Roche, who is the French astronomer who first calculated this theoretical limit in 1848

The interesting thing to me, was that I had not yet read David Schnarch's book yet. I had intuited, in a very rudimentary way, that increasing intimacy and connection were challenges to one's integrity, self-concept, and the ability to "hold onto oneself." Here's what Schnarch says about differentiation:

"[D]ifferentiation is your ability to maintain your sense of self when you are emotionally and/or physically close to others — especially as they become increasingly important to you."
Schnarch, David (2011-10-01). Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships (p. 56). Midpoint Trade Books. Kindle Edition.
Going blind, out of reach, somewhere in the vasoline...

The more my parts argue and fight over what I feel about the relationship and Laurel, the more I come to understand. The process is so grindingly slow though. Fear was our undoing. We got inside each other's Roche Limits, and our gravity, our differentiation, was insufficient to hold ourselves. Why am I so hot, still, though? Why are parts of me so angry? I keep suspecting that anger is a cover for fear and insecurity, somewhere, but as yet, I have been unable to coax an accounting from whatever parts, guardians, managers, or children, are responsible for it. What is it about our differing premises regarding the nature of sex that is so triggering to me? I get the impression of a sense of injustice when considering our interaction. Something is outraged. Why, still? What is it to me, anymore? What if I am entirely justified, even so, it is her problem, not mine. Where in the hell does my empathy go? Won't it hurt her if it turns out that her premise has been wrong? Do I feel no more protective of her than this? Moreover, why should I feel threatened? Parts of me are still chorusing with the refrain: "It doesn't matter!" What if I am correct in that I perceive her to be less courageous in examining her premises than she advertises herself? Am I more than merely ashamed of being that scared little kid in myself? Is it possible that I am also afraid of him, or for him? Is it possible that I am fearful of re-experiencing that fear? Is there any danger of that? Hell, that inner-child part got out before, in front of her no less. It gave me an adrenaline dump that lasted into next morning, but shit, I didn't take it out on her then. What's different when we are fighting? The parts who have more empathy for her defend her still: it was not malice. She doesn't understand. These premises are rooted deep. It's hard to pull them out and examine them or debate them. Her mind works differently. She feels judged and attacked. She's afraid. Why can't I just be curious? Why should that infect me? Where does my empathy go? Great Hod... that son of a bitch who was her father... damn, I hate that evil bastard, but was my behavior toward her any better? FUCK. It's not her. WHY AM I ANGRY? Hell, my own parents were often cause for my being afraid, but they did not "push" me or bully me, as hers did her, when I was afraid. I didn't get that treatment. Why do I show that to her? What about that incites my own insecurities? Is it the fact that she castigates me for what she perceives as my failings? I feel like a hypocrite. How then, do I fault what I perceive to be her hypocrisy? I remember, in addition to feeling a sense of sadness, for her, I felt a grim sense of righteousness when she told me that that bastard father of hers had hanged himself...and in some ways I treated her as he did. "My inner velociraptor," as I envision Schnarch's "lizard brain," got free and bit her, or "retaliated," as some of my parts would assert. In either case, why wouldn't she run? Damn it. I am better than that. She deserved better of me. I have had more empathy for that sweet little blonde girl who was threatened with abandonment and rejection. Where does it go? Why did it take so long to realize this? Damn it all. What can I do about it? Hell, I don't even understand it. When the realization came to me, as I wrote this, I went numb. Should the realization that I can act like him, damn it all, that I can fail Milgram's test, not make me feel abashed or horrified or shamed. I feel nothing. That's screwed up. That's not entirely true. I can reach my anger, I can reach frustration. It's still work, when I get numb or blocked but I can reach those. Why not fear, or sadness, or even guilt? Why do I have to "sneak up" on the other emotions?

You'll see the look and you'll see the lies, You'll eat the lies and you will...

Shannon tells me that I am scary when I am angry. Why should I be surprised? From whence did I come? What patterns did I learn? Adults are allowed to be angry. Anger is power and the power over fear. Fathers use anger and exasperation I can pat myself on the back all day long for never spanking my children but I know they experienced various traumatizations, at my figurative hands. My words, my tone, I am not unaware of their effects. I've known this for a long time. I got a taste of it in the ice cream shop, with Shannon. It started to become clear to me when talking to Laurel. Why did it still surprise me to hear Shannon say it a few days ago when we were talking? I knew it was the truth. I have raised my voice, I have slapped the table, pounded my fist into the palm of my opposite hand, used logic as a weapon more than a tool. I know the effects of these things and have felt badly about doing them. I can be verbally overbearing, even when it is only irritated exasperation I am expressing. Hell, I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of that. Even "mere" exasperation is a humiliating rejection. I heard my father's voice, when I vented exasperation on Shannon that day in Coldstone, and other times. I have no innocence here. Laurel saw it. She was so helpful in illuminating these things. It is another reason to miss her company. At any rate, even if I no longer have her input, I am still aware. I was aware before meeting Laurel. It is an awareness that has deepened, but damn it... Why does Shannon's statement surprise me? I think it is the fact that she would actually tell me: that surprised me. I wasn't expecting her to say it, to offer me such a truth. It is humbling to think that she can trust me enough to be so honest with me. She and Jackie deserved more; they deserve better. Why is it so frustratingly hard to find empathy for my own inner children?

Shannon told me last night that she doesn't like to feel around me. We were looking for a movie to watch on Netflix. We were discussing what would be a movie upon which we could both agree. She pointed out that there were only certain ones to which we would both agree and that the field was not extremely wide. I pointed out that it is very often, which is to say, more often than not, she who is the limiting factor, or nay-sayer on what we see. She did not hesitate, nor did she deny it at all, but simply observed: "It's true; I don't like to feel around you." Well, why wouldn't she? Nobody wants to feel rejected. I sure hated it. I remember it. Why can't I feel it?

In the movie, Inside Out, each of the characters is portrayed as having the group of the personified five primary emotions lead by one of them. For the protagonist, Riley, it is Joy. For her mother, it is Sadness who leads the inner group. I think I know who runs my inner group. Like Riley's father, no matter how "nice" he is, he is still lead by Anger. So am I. Why? Who elected that red hothead president? Irony. I am angry that my inner house has Anger for a boss? I guess Anger can be angry at himself. I think Sadness concurs with the assessment; there has been much to lament in this arrangement, over the years. Maybe Anger can set himself some proper boundaries? That is his purpose, is it not?

Montecristo Captain Quixote

Gonna keep on walking now, yes I will

Need is not a claim.
Desire is not fulfillment.
When reality and a dream diverge it is the fantasy which must be abandoned.
It is disheartening to find oneself at Square One again, but at least it is not unfamiliar.
This island looks barren but it is not hopeless. Food and water can be found. I have tools and knowledge. Shelter can be constructed. Resources can be accumulated and stockpiled. A newer, better boat can be built. Time is the only non-renewable resource, but lamenting that it is in shorter supply is often just an exercise in wasting more of it.


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