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Dictionary of Whimsy: Flogic

Flogic, Verb+Noan

  1. Fuck Logic or F*** Logic, but in one handy word which most people do not understand, so they can’t scold you for swearing.
  2. Basic premise where a feeling or impulse may not have logic, or be awfully useful, but needs to be dealt with somehow.
  3. Phrase uttered before a person does something that is logically a terrible idea. Something like eating foods that sicken you, or spending heaps of money on a useless pretty thing, or cheating on a partner, or being a dick, or calling a dick.
  4. Phrase uttered situation when one is very upset, or angry, or emotional in another annoying way that is incredibly frustrating. These emotions do not improve the situation or experience, but need to be dealt with, or else the become festering emotional ogres.

Examples:

My sister is in hospital, and I know crying will not make her better, but flogic, I will cry.

I should not buy that dress, but flogic, I will because it has sequins!

Comment:

There is a thing called alexithymia which means severe inability to deal with feelings. Feelings can hurt. Suppressing them will hurt more in the long run because the act of suppressing them means you cannot feel the good ones, and they say it can make depression, and erratic behaviour too. Deciding to put logic above feelings is neurologically unsound as well, because the feeling bit of the brain actually starts working after the logic bit. So being over logical is neurologically illogical.

Dictionary of Whimsy: Asymmetric Affection Situation

Asymmetric Affection Situation, noan

  1. Situation where one person likes another person romantically, but where the other person only likes them as a friend, thinks that they are a bit of a dick, or does not know that they exist.
  2. Situation where two people are in a relationship, and one person is feeling that the other is a soulmate person that they want to marry, while the other person is plotting ways of breaking up, or feels meh about the other person.

Synonyms:

  • Friendzoned
  • Éponine situation:

Please note that Éponine, while a famous, postergirl for this status, is probably the worst role model for dealing with these situations that you are ever likely to see. She sacrifices herself for the man she loves. In the book, she tries to get him killed because if she can’t have him, no one should. While I empathise with her, I don’t think she is a role model. She is a tad creepy.

If you suspect that you may be in an Asymmetric Affection Situation, it is best to confirm it by asking the object of your affection and/or talking to your partner. Getting information as soon as possible is important, because that means you can do something about it.

Asymmetric Affection Situations are nice because having a crush can be fun, and give many warm fuzzies and/or distractions from crap things in life. For me personally, these situations crop up the most when I am sad in other parts of my life, and need a distraction. Such distractions can be fun, but they achieve nothing, so their time needs to be limited. They suck because there is no chance of anything happening, and putting emotional energy into dead end streets does not get you anywhere.

The Asymmetric Affection Situation is saddest when it is from a long relationship, and one partner is ready to do the marriage dance while another is ready to leave. Either way, we have limited time on this earth, and Asymmetric Affection Situations, while potentially enjoyable, rob us of putting effort into profitable pastimes.

 

 

 

Dictionary of Whimsy: Pressuredox

Pressuredox, noan

1. Situation in which one person wants something from another, and they put so much pressure on the other person to provide it that they guarantee that they will not receive it.

2. Situation in which a person (usually a male person) is so desperate to have intercourse that he pressures another person (usually a female) into intercourse, and completely ruins probability of intercourse with that person, and all of the people she cares to tell. In many cases, the person was disposed to intercourse at some point, but is completely put off due to the pressure.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

I once dated a boy who I will call Pascall for the purposes of this blog. The main problem was that I did not fancy him. But he was perfect on paper, so I tried very hard to fancy him. Not fancying him meant that we broke up, and then got together. I said things I did not mean. I hurt him badly.

It was never my intention to hurt him.  I intended to make myself fancy him more. I intended to make him happy. But these good intentions were not even close to enough.

They do not change the fact that I hurt him. They do not change the fact that I said stuff I did not mean. I lied to him. In that particular interaction, I was on the way to hell.

Why?

They hurt a person. They ruined a friendship. The outcome was rather shit.

Why was that the case?

Well, intentions are only a part of what we do. When intentions are not accompanied by the appropriate knowledge and resources, they can do more harm than good. In fact, good intentions can convince people that they have knowledge, skills and abilities to do things that they are not capable of doing.

Wayan Rosie left a family homeless.  He had good intentions, but the outcome was worse that square 1. Instead of the family living in a hovel, they ended up homeless, having to live with their neighbours instead in their own home.

This is an obvious one. With interpersonal interactions, the hell that good intentions can create are never this obvious. People are complicated. They have sides that they will not tell you about, or that they are not even aware of. If you do not have the full information, you can burn bridges with a single misjudged wisecrack or hurt others a great deal.

I know that this is what I did with poor Pascall. I did not know that I could not make myself fancy people. I was not aware of relationship dynamics. He was my first proper boyfriend, and I was pretty rubbish at knowing what my feelings or his were. I was about as well qualified to have a relationship with him as Wayan Rosie was qualified to build a house.

And you know, it is not my fault that he liked me a lot. But I did have some responsibility for the things that I did to make this situation worse. I was missing knowledge about myself, Pascall* and relationships which made my good intentions into slides into an emotional hell for poor Pascall.

It has been done to me as well. I dated a boy who tried to improve my posture by calling me an old lady every time I saw him. That is the wrong way to motivate someone. They will try to live up to your expectations, in my case trying to imitate an old lady. This guy did not have the skill set to motivate me. Fortunately, others did (myself included).

Yet good intentions are not all bad. Without good intentions, medals do not get won, stuff does not get invented, and things do not happen. So good intentions do not have to be a road to hell, so we don’t want to throw good intentions away completely. So how can a person go around with good intentions avoid the lucifer highway?

  • Increase your own knowledge or yourself – this is a BIG one. You need to know what you can do, and what you are good at. Delusions of grandeur can make hot messes. Related: Dunning Kruger Syndrome. I could have avoided hurting Pascall if I had known more about myself.
  • Cultivate and develop empathy for other people. Work out what makes them tick. That way, your good intentions are less likely to hurt them. Anything you try and do in life will be better if you can connect with people.
  • Back up your good intentions with ACTIONS. I may intend to write a great epic , but it amounts to nothing if I don’t do anything. The key to this is making goals and having a plan. There are many webpages about how to come up with these.
  • Learn from instances where you mess up badly, despite intentions not to. Make changes to your habits that mean that you don’t do it again.

Good intentions are awesome, and they can be the start of many positive things, but they can also pave the way to hell for yourself and others. Knowing yourself, learning to empathise with others, backing up intentions from actions and learning from mistakes mean less hell from good intentions.

*Pascall is married now, but not to me.

The acid test of friendship

When I meet someone I have things in common with, it all seems so easy.  I don’t have to censor myself around them. They understand me easily. It feels so refreshing. But is it friendship?

Possibly…

But I cannot say that it is yet, because friendship is not all about easiness. It starts with things being easy. It starts with things in common and easy conversations. Then life gets in the way.

Life is not easy. I am not saying that it is all bad. Life can give us wonderful things, but it can also give us challenges which are not always easy to react to in the right way. Sometimes, a person may hurt themselves and/or people around them, and not realise what they are doing.

I have had a few of these negative times in my life. And what did my friends do that others did not do? They told me the truth, even if it was not nice to hear.

To survive the acid test of friendship, you need two things:

(1) The guts for friends to tell each other when their decisions are hurting themselves or others

False friends can say negative stuff about while you are not present. (i.e. backstabbing) They won’t say stuff to your face. This is not being a friend.

Some friends stand on the sidelines watching you hurt yourself or others without telling you. This is better than backstabbing, and where a friendship is not strong enough, or a person is unsure of the whole situation, this can actually be the best course of action(*). If I don’t know a person well enough, this is the action I have to take. But I will want to be there for them if things go really badly.

However, telling someone when you see them hurting themselves or others takes guts, and if you are close enough friends with them, it is the best idea. Yet it can ruin friendships. It is not the easy thing to do, but it is sometimes the best.

Yet if you only have (1), it won’t be enough. I have been told that I am stupid/being dumb and a litany of other things by people within an hour of meeting me. This is not friendship. This is negging. I don’t like gender stereotypes, but this almost always done to me by men looking for sex.

Therefore you also need:

(2) A relationship where you respect each other enough to listen to negative feedback about each other

This means that constructive feedback can help, rather than make the recipient annoyed.

If you don’t have (2), what people say will be regarded as an insult, and it will be ignored. I have been in some situations where people thought they could tell me my real and imagined shortcomings, and I realised that I did not respect their words enough to actually listen to them, so it ruined bludgeoning friendships(**). This was not always because their words upset me. It was often because they were not even true, or showed a gross misunderstanding of me as a person.

I have received upsetting but true feedback, so I am still friends with the people who gave me that feedback. In fact, they could only give me that feedback because those friendships are strong, and are actually stronger because they cared about me enough to tell me the truth, even though they knew it would hurt me. I know they are in my corner looking out for my best interests. I know that they are not afraid of hard conversations.

To me, this is the acid test of friendship(***).

(*) If you don’t know a person well enough, you may not have all of the information to be able to make a judgement, and give feedback. It is a tricky balance.

(**) No regrets.

(***) And romantic relationships as well.

The right to sensitivity

Have you ever been in a situation where someone has been upset over something that is no big deal, or that they ‘should really be over by now’?

I know I have. I have wanted to tell them ‘get over it’ and/or ‘you are too sensitive.’

Yet I never do. Why?

Much of the time, it was a person who was frequent blow-ups. He was a highly strung fellow, and I worried about his shallow breathing and the shape of his heart. And for many other cases, I have decided I have no right to.

If I decide I have right to tell people how to feel, what else do I have the right to do? Tell them what they should eat? Instruct them in their career choices? Where does it end? I do not want to start with being the emotions police. That is certain. I have no right to tell people what they should care about or how they should feel about things.

These sensitivities, as I will call them, are not really about me. Some people may have stuff in their head which is making them feel sad, or angry. There are people out there with mental illnesses, or attitudes which will stop them having good lives. There are people who want to get angry and make placards for everything.

This is not my style of living. It is too tiring. I will get sensitive about violence, female genital mutilation, abuse of children, the treatment of Syrian emigrants, the plight of people after the earthquake in Nepal, suicides, and sexism in the media. There are some things like a late bus, a lost rugby game, cheating by a cricketer, a flag, a shop lacking jeans that fit, or an order messed up that I cannot be bothered caring about. As Mark Manson put it, I don’t give enough fucks.

But if people give fucks, I am not going to criticise them. I will be sympathetic to friends who are sad about rugby results, but I don’t care myself. If someone cries about not getting marmite, I may think they are being a wee bit unreasonable, but I don’t tell them that they are being oversensitive, or tell them to dial down their sensitive. Their things are real to them. They may be going through all kinds of shit I don’t know about in their own lives, but they only feel comfortable enough to me to bitch about Marmite. That is ok.

There are people in the world who do not have the same opinion as me. They have told me that I have been wrong to care about what I care about, or not find a joke funny, or be offended by how I treat them. This is usually men. The thing is, this will not change my opinions, or make me stop caring, laugh at a joke or decide someone is inoffensive. It just makes me annoyed. They are essentially telling me that my way of thinking, and my choice of what I care about is not acceptable to them.

I get where they are coming from. I really do. It can be annoying when people fly off the handle all the time for what seems to be no reason. Here is an option. If you think someone is too sensitive for you to deal with, work out why. Maybe, the joke has a highly offensive nuance which you didn’t think about, and you should say sorry. Maybe, they should get counselling for their issues (it is not your place to tell them this unless you are very close friends with them). Also, maybe look at yourself. If someone is being sensitive and it is really annoying you, this may be partially or even fully about you.

If someone’s conduct is really annoying you, you don’t HAVE to spend time with them. One guy who bitched and moaned about his life constantly asked me out. He did not get a date. I dated a guy for a few weeks who flew off the handle without any reason. I am not dating him anymore. There have been people in my life who have talked about their family issues in their teens and little else. This is not cute after 30 and I don’t spend much time with them. Yet I have some highly sensitive friends who I would not swap for the world. Sensitivity is a superpower when used for the right reasons, and their sensitivity makes them great friends. They understand and empathise with me at a level that other friends just don’t have. I love them for it.

Sensitivity of others can be annoying, but everyone has the right to their own sensitivity. Telling someone that they do not have this right is just a little bit rude in my opinion.

Dictionary of Whimsy: Wummer

Wummer, noan

(1) Wellington Summer*

(2) Weather in Wellington that is fine with little winds or light winds, little cloud or no cloud, and a temperature over 15 degrees celsius. This weather normally lasts for a few days, but may only last for a few hours, or even sometimes last for a week or two. During this weather pattern, people have been known to wear sunhats, and sunscreen and short skirts. Generally, this weather pattern encourages Wellingtonians to congregate on the waterfront and eat ice cream.

(3) Weather that goes from fine and sunny to cold, windy in wet in a short amount of time during December, January and February. Technically, these months are summer, but in reality, they may consist of weather from any season, and may completely be dominated by cloud, mists and rain.

* These two words are potentially an oxymoron

Failtogol

Failtogol, noan

1. Situation where you walk away from attempting to do something that you want to do and you make a goal to do that thing as a result.

2. Situation during a workout where it is simply not possible to do what you want to do. Your muscles* just say no**, and you become determined to do it next time, or sometime***.

3. Process of turning failures, or inability to do things, into a positive striving sentiment.

* Usually glutes

** turn into jelly and fall into a puddle on the floor

*** well maybe next year…

Chronicle of being in a choir

I recall being in a choir with a young lady called Paloma Bruce – now Paloma Horlor (who can be listened to here). She was talking about how she could not sing in one of her main choirs any more. Her voice was too big, and could not blend with the voices of other choristers, and she was required to make the choice between quitting the choir, and changing her technique in order to sing in the choir. The second choir confused her. She gave up the choir. I guessed that she was so good that she was almost too good for the choir. I figured that I could never be that. I guessed that it would never be a problem for me.

I felt rather sorry for her. In my teens, I LOVED choirs. My part was always soprano 1, and it felt kinda awesome being able to pull out the high notes above the clef when no one else could. I adored the thrill of a big forte, hearing all the music thick and loud around me. Singing my first mass with a massive orchestra in the Wellington Town Hall gave me thrills.

My now ex-choir had lots of very awesome repertoire, a great culture, and many lovely people, so it should be fun to sing in. But it is not.

So now, I have made exactly the same decision as Paloma, for almost exactly the same reasons. My voice is bigger than the other sopranos in my now ex-choir. Like, quite a lot bigger. I have to work very hard to keep my voice blended in with the other voices. My voice is dark. The second biggest voice is bright. We clash quite a bit, and the better my technique is, the more we clash. I am singing quietly by my standards, even when the music is technically forte (loud). SInging quietly is not bad in itself, but its impacts are interesting.

The issue is that my main focus while singing with the choir is controlling and restraining. It is not singing well. It is not even using good technique. In fact, I have been told to swallow my sound more in order to blend, a habit which I have been training myself out of.

I have been lucky to have an understanding conductor who says that I should sing for myself. But it is mutually exclusive to do this as well as blending in with everyone else. And it should be a choir, not a choir with an overtone of me.

It does carry through into my own singing on my own time. I restrain, I attempt to control. I am scared of singing anything.  I am terrified of the notes above the clef that I love so much, even through they are easily within my range. I think part of that is the fact that they come out big. My B is massive and I am not sure that I can make a small one, so I force it out with a strangle, which could injure me at worst, and which sounds like a horrible cat dying at best. So singing in the choir is not easy for me.

The main issue is that I am in a journey of vocal discovery right now. My voice is dark. It can go high – but I am not sure how high. It can go lower – again, I am not sure by how much. It can be taught to do perfect pitch – maybe with some limits. There is some repertoire that works for it better than others. I know that Mozart if one of the best composers for it, but I am not sure what else it can do.

While it is being held back, and changed for others, I cannot find out what it is, and work on polishing it.

I am sad about quitting this choir. I am happy about my new journey of vocal discovery.

So time for some vocal adventuring. I wonder where I will end up.

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