POLLY TICKLE, MUCH?

The blogpost where Buffy tries to be all clever and pretend he's a bit wise like Socrates, but convinces no-one....

This is expanded from a comment I made in response to the excellent and erudite Mindfump. [He's great. You should go read his stuff.] 


'DIVERSITY OF MIND' 

At the risk of sounding particularly smug, I pride myself on having impeccable taste in friends... indeed, without exception, all my friends are delicious and fabulous people. They also all rate extremely highly in the compassion stakes... one of the biggest reasons, really, that they're my friends. 

They're also all more clever than myself [it's not hard, to be fair] -- it's always good to have wise and clever friends. They raise us up.

However, this circle of friends also has a wide diversity of political and religious viewpoints -- from hippie liberals to stodgy socialists to curmudgeonly conservatives -- sometimes dissimilar to, and occasionally at odds with, my own. Though of course, these disagreements are always chummy... if possible, I do everything in "chummy" fashion, as is my way. 

I've always liked to debate in the fashion of the "Socratic Dialogues" of ancient Athens... albeit in a much less erudite fashion, and with much more wine [as is the way at Chez Buffy, or my local pub]. 

I definitely welcome this chummy sense of disagreement and debate: after all, if my friends all had identical or even very similar views, and furthermore always agreed with me, then that'd be the most direct route up my own arse that I could possibly take. 

Possibly due to my sense of duality, I'm also firmly of the belief that, agree with them or disagree, the majority of the UK's political parties have their angels, and have their demons. Certainly you won't find me turning my back on anyone for their political views [within reason... he added, quickly covering himself]. 

Also, my own political views are quite fixed, but they can get moved a little depending on new facts/arguments I encounter. That's good. It's evolution. 

But is being welcome to a diversity of views going out of fashion? The more I read about politics and hear the comments of people online, the more bigoted, polarised, and restricted are the views that I hear. 

This has been happening for some time, I think: the voting for, and reaction to, both President Trump and Brexit may have firmly underlined this mutually antagonistic tribalistic mentality, but it didn't produce it. 

Is tribalism the nature of online commenting, or does it reflect the UK at large, the USA at large, and the world at large? 

A while back, out of weariness I had to turn my back on both Facebook and twitter. My reason? It simply wasn't fun the way it used to be. I felt like I was drowning in a deluge of bigotry, emotive exclusionism, elitism, virtue-signalling, and more bigotry. 

Socratic it ain't. 

So...
-- Is it wrong of me to be jaded? 
-- Is it wrong of me to be intolerant of intolerance? 
-- Is it OK that I want to believe in compassion and good sense and democracy and progressiveness and patriotism... but at the same time, am very suspicious of people who bandy those words around as if they're going out of fashion? 

And, as with so many things, I remain confused. 

Heck, will I even be voting on June 8th? 
I suppose I won't know 'til June 8th.

But, for the time being, I'll be proud to encompass diversity of mind. 

For me, that's where Utopia begins.

 

ONE HUNDRED: NOT OUT

OK, it's going to be a one hundred word free verse poem for blogpost #1OO. 
Just something simple.
I'm enjoying refining my own personal sense of verbose brevity, after all [!]

Anyway, a warm thank you to everyone who's stopped by this blog so far, and read, liked or commented on my posts since I began blogging. Every word has been much appreciated.

No matter where we are in our journey, I think most anxious depressives are very appreciative of warmth, kindness and support... it's not just useful, it's essential. 

Thank you for being my chum.


'HAPPY CENTENNIAL BLUES' 

What am I? 
Silly soliloquist? 
Depressive dilletante? 
Happy haikuist? 
Anxious serenitist?
Male feminist? 
Romantic cynic? 
Wonderfully wise?
Introspective idiot? 
Suave chump? 
Boozy oaf?
Deliciously foolish?
"Admiral Buffy"? 
"Captain Posh"? 
All of the above? 

It's all good. 
So, will I ever grow up? 
I doubt it. 
My personal credo? 
Non-responsibility.
Child-like... but not child-ish.
I hope.
Not because I'm indifferent; 
Rather, because I care too much 
About the world's pain and its problems.
It is what it is.
Anyway, my First Mate and reader; 
Set a course for the way home: 
Second star to the right -- 
And straight on 'til morning.

 

REFERENDUM BLUES

'MATTERS OF IDENTITY'

British Citizen?
Citizen of the EU? 
I'm both, just for now. 

President Juncker,
First Minister Sturgeon and
Prime Minister May? 

They'll all have a say. 
So, does my identity 
Depend on others?

Unions broken;
The globe is split wide open;
Divisions aflame.

The bottom line is
Remainer or Brexiteer 
We are all people. 

We all have the right
To our own identity.
Me? A mixed cocktail: 

Sicilian wines,
Scottish and Irish whiskies 
And some English gin.

I know what I am:
A most European Brit. 
No passport needed.

NEUTRALIST BLUES

'DISUNITY DISORDER'

A grim, brutal phrase: 
"You're with us or against us!"
It thuds in my brain. 

Refusing to choose
I stagger thru No-Man's Land;
Shot at by both sides. 

Divided nation? 
It's a world too tribal, now.
Neutral? Laughable. 

Happy to stir shit
They'll put us all in boxes,
Breeding division.

No need for lines drawn;
I'm human -- at first at last. 
I'll refuse to hate.

 

CHOCK-FULL O’NOTHING

I've been sitting in this swanky captain's swivel chair with a sweet cuppa and deciding what to write about on this decidedly grey and dull Saturday afternoon.

It's at an odd time of day: a time succeeding all that I've had to do and preceding that which I want to do [there's a pub involved... surprise, surprise].

And I'm finding myself meditating on nothing. 

Not unusual. 

Meditating on 'nothing'... emptiness; unknowingness; limbo, as I call it.

But even after all these years, I still can't quite get to grips with "emptiness" -- either as a feeling, or as something to analytically define. 

A spiritual state of being? 
A chemically-induced feeling?  
Simple boredom? 

I still don't know. I'll write about it properly -- one day.
In the meantime, though, here's a haiku about it: 



"LIMBO" 

First: the drudgery. 
Last: the fun, frolics, and wine. 
Define the middle? 

The Inbetween Time. 
Cool and cloudy confusion. 
Doubtlessly empty. 

Not a sinful soul. 
Ignorant of the Divine? 
Clearly hard to say. 

More silence needed. 
To enjoy the Spotless Void; 
Be the Wise Old Owl. 

Contemplation's done. 
Limbo ended for the day
With my last full-stop.

 

ALPHA TO OMEGA

Simply put, a leisurely Sunday afternoon A-Z snapshot of some of my traits, desires, and preoccupations: 

Anxiety is my first.
Black Dog -- that's my second.
Compassion is one of my top 3 words. 
Death. I've feared it & desired it... often at the same time.
Empathy. More for everybody, say I!
Friendship: it sustains me. I couldn't live without it. 
Generosity of spirit: I hope I've got plenty. I still want more of it.
Hate. I do, sometimes; some people. Not sure if it's good or bad.
Interesting. My quest is to be so... because if I'm dull, I'm dead.
Joy. I look for it every single day. Mostly I find a fair-sized slice of it.
Kinship. I feel so happy when I find it -- and I often do so in the unlikeliest places.
Loving. Love is what it's all about. I'm privileged to have felt it, and given it.
Moral. I try to be it -- but never to moralise. 
Negativity. It stalks me every day. On my bad days, it catches me. 
Outrageous humour: because of my general demeanour, it sometimes surprises people that I possess it.  
Possibility -- it's a word I utterly adore.
Questioning: my childhood hobby. My enquiring mind never rested.
Romance. It adds colour and flavour to life. Worth doing, every once in a while.  
Social anxiety. It's a right bastard. I'd be happy to be rid of it, for good. 
Terrified. That's me, every morning. About everything. Sometimes I get better. 
Utopian. That's my soul, by day. And by night? It depends.  
Vision. I certainly don't have enough -- and I'd like more.
Whimsical. Me at my best, say I! 
X-rated. I've had my moments. Just don't tell the Vicar.  
Youth. What I hope never to lose, in my mind.
Zonked. Me, after this post. 

 

IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE

There's a fair few euphemisms I've used for anxious depression -- 'Mr Darkside', 'Dusk Wulf', etc --  in addition to the more obvious ones in common usage like 'black dog' or 'under a cloud'. I know some people don't like these euphemisms as they prefer to be direct and look the awful think directly in the face... but personally I find that a little imagery takes some of the heaviness out of it. 

One of the more long-term euphemisms [particularly when depression was a new thing to me] was 'The Twilight Zone'.

I really liked that eponymous American TV series as a kid [no, I'm not quite that old; in the 1980s and '90s they repeated episodes of the eerie original '60s series, late at night] and its offbeat, unsettling nature -- in atmospheric black & white -- did describe well that feeling of being in a place where life's normal rules don't apply anymore, where the ground beneath your feet is not as stable as you thought it was.  

Watching it as a kid, The Twilight Zone series could be mildly unsettling, or downright terrifying on occasion... just like being anxious/depressed/both. 

In my own 'Twilight Zone' I could/can go from fidgety/nauseous to borderline suicidal, and many places between. Colour fades from life [as in the original series, indeed]; up is down, down is up... the landscape of my life has all the sense of a drawing by M.C.Escher after a heavy session, and walruses have wings... 

Amid all the chaos of the Zone, the silence or indifference of others is registered as loathing, the ability to focus is abandoned, and positivity shrinks to subatomic size, losing both its voice and trousers in the process. 
Just horrid. 
Diabolical, even. 

* 

Yesterday, I drifted in and out of my own Twilight Zone. Several times. 

It was just one of those days: amid a day of busy-work, coffee with a chum, a couple of blogposts and some social emailing, I nevertheless on a number of occasions found myself feeling intensely lonely, miserable, with the feeling that everything I did or said was doomed to fail, and that every time I even attempted some degree of positivity then the world-at-large was essentially laughing at me, sneeringly and snidely. 

I kept thinking, should I tell someone? A good friend? An old friend? A new friend? Should I blog about it, stream-of-consciousness style? 
Anyway, I ultimately fell back on an old family maxim: 
In confusion, procrastinate... Then do nothing.
So I kept silent [save for posting a poem I'd written earlier] -- and indeed, by the end of the day, it was as if I'd never felt low or anxious, at all. 

Another devilish facet of my Twilight Zone... to leave naught but the vaguest of memories of the inner turbulence it brings. 
Until the next time.

But, as with the other changes that come from my blogging, I feel that it's important for me to shed light on that Twilight-y place, and to be heard -- indeed it's important for any and all of us to be heard -- and I believe that in being open, I can hopefully make my Twilight Zone a less strictly personal, and therefore less lonely, place to be. 

And what's more, before my blogging days, I don't recall ever admitting to openly feeling lonely ... feeling it was something to be ashamed of. And that is something of a big development. 

So, my blogging chums... thank you for reading. 

Your friend, 
Buffy -- occasionally of The Twilight Zone.

DUELLING WITH DUALITY

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." 
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Sadly, while I love what F. says in the above quote, I'm pretty sure that I've failed that particular test, day after day, because part of my problem in life is that I feel and see both sides of just about everything, at the same time. 
Am I the only one? Does anyone else suffer with this? Because it often turns my sense of self into more of a blur than anything. 
Inconsistency and duality run thru me like the words written on a stick of Brighton Rock. They almost completely define my life and my persona. 
Some examples:

[1] I'm outwardly very laid back -- but a massive bag of nerves on the inside.

[2] I'm a deep, deep romantic -- and a wholesale cynic.

[3] I'm rather suave in manner -- yet also a completely clumsy oaf.

[4] I'm often exuberant -- yet extremely bashful.

[5] I'm very serious minded -- yet very childlike about things that I love.

[6] I'm very forgiving of those friends that I love -- yet extremely hard on myself.

[7] In my time I've voted for political parties that are diametrically opposed on key social issues.

[8] I've been happily engaged twice -- and both times I knew that I would be a hopeless husband.

[9] Every day I look for [and usually encounter] joy -- yet most days I'll wish that I were not alive.

I could go on. [And on, and on...]
Sometimes I yearn for consistency... and yet, at other times the very idea of consistency is dull poison to me. 

Another inconsistency. 

So... how to blend these seemingly mutually exclusive stances into one unified, functioning whole, not unlike a delicious martini? 

It's a challenge, and an opportunity. 
Sadly it may be an insoluble opportunity....