This is my old diary... You can view my new one here!

08/31/2023 / 10:47 PM
I am in a somewhat better mood now... School was fine. I think I talked the professor into giving us Halloween night off. (It's a night class). We have a quiz that day & it's open book anyways, so he said we (probably) could just do it from home & submit it through email. I really hope so. This whole conversation came about because I told him if we didn't have a test or quiz, I was probably going to skip class to take my brother trick-or-treating. Then he checked & said we did have class Halloween night, and a quiz, and without thinking, I crumpled down onto my desk in melodramatic fashion and groaned & whimpered. Then he said this generation was so doom and gloom and went from zero to absolute despir so quickly, (which is certainly true in my case), & he said intead of crumbling down onto my desk in melodramatic fashion & groaning & whimpering, that was my cue to ask him if there was any possibe alternative to class that night. So I asked him if there was any possible alternative to class that night & we landed on an emailed quiz. Well, he landed on an emailed quiz. I just stared at him with my puppy dog eyes. Hopefully we really do get to stay home that night. I've gone twenty one years without missing a Halloween, I don't want to miss it for a quiz of all things.

The lecture itself was fine, dull. It went really slowly, because some guy in the back of the class kept interjecting after every other slide. It made the lecture go by so much more slowly & nothing he had to say was of any value. That sounds harsh now that I say it, but it's true. Everything he said was the most banal, surface level observations. It was nothing but a waste of time. I could tell the professor thought it was taking too long, too, because as the guy was rambling on, he'd switch slides, which gave the impression of someone tapping their foot impatiently. Another large portion of the class was him mentioning our first (actual) paper & everyone asking him questions about it, so many questions that aren't even relevant at this point. The paper in question is due mid-October or something. Do you really think they're going to remember the minutiae of the formatting by then? Well Vashti, maybe if they wrote it down they really would remember... That's the thing, though! It was written down. Every question they asked was on the fucking sheet of instructions he gave us. I think they're one of those sorts that asks questions just so the professor notices & recognizes them. Stupid. It took so long that he cut everyone off & said we had to move on, & if they wanted to ask their questions, they could ask him after class. Amazing how no one stayed after class, huh? It's almost like none of their questions were important... I don't think I really learned anything today, but at least I (probably) have Halloween off now.

I should quit procrastinating. I have a lot of schoolwork to do & my schedule got all messed up on account of last night. I need to make flashcards, do my math exercises, take my literature quiz, write & respond to the literature discussion, take notes from my communications textbook, & write my introductory two to four page paper for my tecahing class. I'm normally not the sort to procrastinate. I don't know what's with me...

08/31/2023 / 4:32 PM
I got off work less than an hour ago & went straight to school, now I'm just waiting for class to start. Work was horrible, but I'm not sure if some of that was because I came into work in a terrible mood. Every single one of my coworkers pulled me aside and asked me if I was alright. I wanted them to stop, but I didn't say anything because they were just trying to be nice. Instead I just said that I was so busy with school, being a full-time student who works and all. That answer was satisfactory & I sat in silence for the majority of my shift. Normally I'm the talkative one out of everyone, so it made everything feel off, like they were trying to compensate for my usual noise. They did that for a while till we got absolutely slammed. We fell so far behind they made me quit taking orders. No one tipped me. I wish I just called in sick today, but at least there is no feasible way that work tomorrow can be worse than today. The only shift that I think was worse than this one was when a customer asked me how I was doing & I started sobbing.

E said something to me the other day that I haven't really gotten out of my head. She told me that I'm more moody than emotional, which I think is very true. I think I can see myself with a bit more clarity now.

08/30/2023 / 11:23 PM
Oh friends, I am feeling pretty low. I've been feeling off all day. I've been saying that a lot lately, but today in paarticular was bad to me. I had to wake up early today to make it to school on time for my meeting with the disability advocate, I guess you could call her. In college world, they classify mental illnesses as a disability, apparently. Maybe they do that in the real world, too, but I don't think so. So anyways, the meeting was to get me accomodations for school. You know, like extensions or extra time on timed exams. Really I should've done this my first semester, but I didn't. Or the one after that, or after that. I was nervous about it because... well, I don't even know, but the idea of it was so scary to me that I've avoided it for several years, despite every college anybody telling me that I really should just go. I suppose there's a difference between being bipolar & acknowledging that you're bipolar & it's humiliating. It shouldn't be, but it is. And it's especially humiliating when you have to disclose all of this to a complete stranger. When I submitted a letter from my psychiatrist, I thought that would be sufficient, but no.

Though, maybe I should be a bit more detailed here and set the sad little scene. I arrive forty minutes before my appointment, because I took the bus. I scribble away at my math homework, and then when the time comes I march over to this woman's office. Well, marching is a bit too confident for this scenario. I traipse on over, with sad little steps. Before her office is another office, a waiting room, in the middle of the school. It really was just like a doctor or psychiatrist's waiting room: I walked in & they checked me in & I was seated next to some other miserable looking individuals. It was quiet and tense and overly formal. I feel even more nervous at this point, because it feels like I'm waiting for a psych evaluation, but I'm already there, and I only have to wait a few minutes, so I stay. Really, I just didn't want to explain that I was done, that I changed my mind. If I thought I could scurry away unnoticed, I think I'd have done that. Then the woman comes in waiting room fashion & says my name & asks me to follow her to her office. All of this just to see her. And then I walk behind her, not next to her, like a dog till we make it to her office. She sits down before me & as I walk in, she tells me that I can shut the door if I'd like. Now it really does feel like a visit to the psychiatrist. I can't decide, so I leave the door cracked & sit across from her in her dimly lit room. I don't know why it was so dark... If you told someone I was there to have my fortune told with candles & a scrying ball, they would've believed you. Then the questions began.

Like a psychiatrist, but not enough like a psychiatrist that I felt as though I should be telling her these things, she asked what was wrong with me. I tell her I'm bipolar. She says And? expectantly. And I have an anxiety disorder. How does that affect you? Now, if you haven't had to do this before, let me explain what this is like: This is telling an absolute stranger the most painful details of your life, while you stare blankly at the wall & they stare blankly at their computer screen and tip-tap-type away. And as you say all of these awful details that you wish could just stay a secret & die with you, they type and type and you wonder what they could possibly be typing, because they're typing far more than what you're saying. But you don't ask that. And it feels like their typing is just dragging things along, like it's in the way of you leaving & forgetting about this. What made you come here today? Accomodations. But why now? I'm finally doing well enough to come here. You mean it's so severe that you didn't even come in for help? And she says this with such a strange tone in her voice, like she can't believe it, and she types away again, with more vigor. And after this, you really get the impression that she has no medical knowledge. And then you get that impression a second time when she asks you about bipolar disorder, Depressive and what episodes? Manic. And you withdraw from classes when you're manic? Yes. Then why are you here? In case I get depressed again. So you're doing okay now? I guess so, but I say yes, well enough that I could come here at least. Part two of It was so bad you didn't come in and ask for help? Yes. So what do you want? What do you have for people who are depressed? Well how does depression affect you? I almost dropped out. I failed almost all of my classes. I took a semester off. I thought you took the semester off when you were manic. Yes, that too. Do you want extensions for you assignments? Yes. Do you need them right now? No. So you're here just in case something happens? Yes. Then your plan is in place. Notify me when something happens. You can tell if you're going to have an episode, right? Kind of. Normally I'm a few weeks in before I can tell. Great! Just remember to ask before you need this extension, not after. Do you need extra time on exams? No. That's never been a problem for me. Well I'll walk you out! Let me know if you need anything! And it was finally over. I say finally, because it was much lengthier than what I wrote here. But I got what I wanted.

Then I talked to E for an hour or so before my classes began, but I felt kind of disconnected from her. I don't really know why. It probably wasn't just her; It could've been anyone. It was just her that I happened to be talking with. We talked till I just barely made it to class on time & I lent her Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. I hope she likes it.

Classes were unremarkable. I spent math trying to explain the base five system to the girl I sit next to. I think she started to really get it, which felt nice, considering I want to be a teacher and all. Then in speech I exchanged numbers with a girl, which is something I don't do a lot. She's really sweet though, and young, too, seventeen. She was shocked when I told her Monday that Vashti's twenty-one! It was kind of funny, because I was telling her all about my little sister, till we realized my little sister's older than her. I think it's her first semester, so I've been trying to be helpful & give her any advice she needs. Then she & I sat after class together for a little while & then this other girl from our class came up to us with some scantrons for our test next week, which I'd forgotten about. (The scantrons, not the test). She said she had extras, so we could each have one, which was really cool of her to do, considering she bought them. Later when we have another test, I have to remember to buy some scantrons & pay the favor back.

Then I went off to the public library, not the school one, and they had almost none of the books that I was looking for! The only one they had was Grotesque, by Natsuo Kirino. Then not wanting to leave empty(ish) handed, I picked out a couple of books I'd never heard of: Audtion by Ryu Murakami & The Grip of It by Jac Jemc. I've heard of neither author before. I found Ryu Murakami while trying (& failing) to find a Haruki Murakami book. I wanted coffee, but the nearby shop was closed early, again. I bet you they're going out of business, which while it's bad to say, I kind of think they deserve to. I mean, they have a limited menu, are constantly closed at random times, close in the early afternoon on the weekends, and their drinks are overpriced. Your lattes should not cost $6 for a 16 oz drink. I don't care if you're a local business. It would be one thing if the drink were really, really tasty, but if there were a Starbucks nearby, I'd just go there instead. More variety & the pricing is far more reasonable. Yeah, Vashti thinks the local coffee shop should just die already, I can hear the mob & its pitchforks clattering outside. Maybe I have a bit of a vendetta, because while I was on the job hunt, they didn't hire me, despite perpetual signs up saying they are now hiring. In light of this, I think they should perish.

Then I came home & got in a fight with my dad. Well, that implies that I was partcipating. Really, he was just mean to me. He's mean. He was so mean he apologized, which is something he never does. Then he told me I can just leave, because he's not going to change, and the apology made sense: It was fake! His apologies normally consist of explaining why I make him angry, which in his mind, justifies any of his cruelty. In other words, it's always my fault. I don't really want to talk about it, but he made me cry. All of this while I was cutting papers for his classroom. But he has money & I don't & he has a house & I don't, so I'm supposed to be happy about living with someone who makes me cry.

I feel so unhappy.

08/29/2023 / 4:22 PM
I woke up before my alarm & spent the day cleaning my room. I listened to this video about executions & the death penalty, (which I am against, if that's relevant), & in the video they discussed Michel Foucault's Discipline & Punish, a book that I've recently started reading. A large potion of the video was about lethal injections & what goes wrong. It's pretty grisly, so I won't really write about it at length here. I will say though, that it's barbarous. I will also say that, I've always had this thought about the death penalty & its executions, & that thought is that every so often, we come up with a new execution method & condemn the previous one, and this video I watched was the first thing to affirm this though of mine. We smile & we say Look how far we've come! At least we're not giving people the chair, drawing & quartering them, at least we no longer have the gallows! We've come so far & this, this is now the height of mercy, this new execution method. & it never is. & what's going to happen, (hopefully, inevitably), is that sometime in the future, we'll come up with a new way of murder & we'll condemn lethal injections. We'll spit at them & we'll call them cruel & we'll be infatuated with the idea or the concept of this new execution method. It always happens that way. Always, throughout history. Of course, if I were to say that I'm staunchly against lethal injections, especially where I'm from, no one would take it seriously. They'd look at me & tell me, Vashti, there's no other alternative. But there is. We could just not execute people. And it's extra laughable, because I'm sure history will be on my side. Maybe not within my lifetime, but in the future, people will hear about lethal injections & they won't believe people actually did that to each other. I think they'll look at it the way everyone looks at drawing & quartering or la peine forte et dure. & that's how they should loook at it! But, I think they'll just pick a new method of killing. I think we'll keep doing that as long as there are people to kill & be killed. And I will also say, people are wrong all the time. People are falsely executed & people are posthumously exonerated. That happens. It is a fact. & by supporting the death penalty, you accept that fact, that innocent people are killed for things they didn't do. My empathy doesn't allow me to do that. I don't think my empathy can even allow me to let people be killed for things they did do.

Outside of thinking about the death penalty, I went for a couple of short walks, finished cleaning my room, showered, napped, & now I'm getting coffee. Well, I've gotten coffee & now I'm waiting for class to start. I'm also going to finish this new book today, The Disaster Tourist, by Yun Ko-eun. I picked it up off the library shelf on a whim, which is somewhat spontaneous for me, & I'm really enjoying the book so far. I'm about 125 pages in, so more than halfway through. I'll probably finish it tonight. After that, I'm not sure what I'm going to read... Till We Have Faces? Moshi Moshi? Tokyo Ueno Station? Should I finish Discipline & Punish? I'm undecided. I think when I read Till We Have Faces, I'll lend E my copy of Kitchen, 'cause the reason I'm reading Till We Have Faces is per her recommendation. It's her favorite book, or one of them at least, & she said it reminded her so much of me. So I'll lend her Kitchen, because I think she should read it, & it'll be almost like a book club. I've always wanted to be part of a book club. Or just to have one person in my life who also reads, to discuss books with.

08/28/2023 / 11:18 AM
I'm at the school library with E right now. She's studying for her anatomy exam & I don't want to distract her by talking, but I also don't have any schoolwork to do because I'm ahead & don't have classes till high noon. Okay, well I lied. We just talked for ten minutes, again. Now I'm not distracting her.

08/27/2023 / 10:29 PM
Well, I did nothing today, like I planned! I think that it was good for me. I did a little schoolwork, but not too much. I purposely left some of it to do tomorrow so I could relax today. Out of the ordinary for me. I even took a nap, in the evening no less. Out of the ordinary for me. Not to say that I'm some ultra-mega-productive-robot-android-girl-thing, but I do like having things to do.

It rained today, for the first time in a couple of months. It was really sudden. I was out for a walk & the wind was so intense that no leaves were still. They were either shaking in their trees like cicadas or they were invading the street in swarms. They were like autumnal tumbleweeds, 'cause all the leaves that were blowing around were brown & dead. Not because it's autumn here, (It's been a still & somewhat monotonous summer until today), but because it's so dry that most things are brown & dead, despite that being out of season. I guess these leaves didn't get the memo, huh? Pretty gauche of them, I must say. And if I'm the one saying it, then you're so far removed from gauche that you're out of sight. The wind was so strong too that it almost made me stumble a couple of times. I really can't understate how strong it was. The only other time that I felt wind like this was back in elementary school when we were at recess & it almost blew me over. It really felt like I was going to get swept away today, but it was such a new feeling that I just went with it & kept walking. A few raindrops began to drip down & they were pretty gentle considering how tempestuous the wind was, so I kept walking still. Then, very suddenly, so much rain began to fall that the sidewalks went from white to grey in just a few moments. After that I hurried home, because I didn't want to ruin my headphones in the rain. I tried to walk under trees for cover, but they made no difference. By the time I got home, after walking only a block or so, my clothes were completely damp; It was like I'd just taken them out of the washer.

I was going to study or read or clean my room, because I thought it would be nice with a rainy backdrop, but in keeping with my goal & in true doing nothing fashion, I decided to take a nap instead. I wasn't particularly tired, but I thought the rain would be nice to listen to, & it was. I just listened to the rain tap on my windows till I woke up an hour later. By then it was evening & while the temperature was still nice, the rain had mostly gone. I went for a walk & still had to take an umbrella due to a light drizzle, but I was able to put it away after a few minutes. I went for a walk again, because when it started raining today, I just knew that I'd see a rainbow. This is going to sound maybe a bit crazy, but this is a very transformative part of my life, & I knew I'd see a rainbow because of that. I'm not a very faithful person, but I really do believe that rainbows are a sign of something, maybe of God & His promise to man & all that, but of new beginnings, too. And so I walked around till I saw my rainbow & it was wonderful. There's no other way to describe it. It was small & mostly translucent when I first stopped to look at it, but I liked it anyways. That's just how rainbows are. Even the most measly, sickly, pathetic, barely-a-rainbow is beautiful. Then I just kept watching it, until it got brighter, so bright that I could see a second rainbow & it was so big it made this giant arc in the sky, like a kid's drawing of a rainbow, a cartoon rainbow. And the sky itself was this light blue & then a periwinkle & then a pinkish purple, because this was all happening as the sun was setting. & I just kept watching the rainbow for a while, because even though I got my sign, or maybe you could call it an affirmation, I wanted to be there for the rainbow as it faded away. It just seemed like the right thing to do, to stand (a small) ceremony. So I did. I watched it until it faded into nothingness.

I texted E & she gave me some words of encouragement. About what? Well that's a secret. We're going to study tomorrow morning together, too. I have a present for her that I picked up Friday, a folder. I got it at this stationery store. It's purple & illustrated like an old story book. It immediately made me think of her. I think she'll really love it. Then I texted my aunt. I've been trying to reach out to her more, because even outside of just being my aunt, I think she's a really interesting person. Even if we weren't related, I think we'd get along, you know? She's really down-to-earth & accepting. It's refreshing, talking to her. It always is.

08/27/2023 / 11:11 AM (Make a wish ☆)
I haven't really written very much this week, which is out of the ordinary for me, but it's been an out of the ordinary sort of week for me. I have a new routine, by which I mean a no routine. Every single day has been something different & I don't like it. At least I think that's what's been bothering me. I think at the very least it's certainly part of it, maybe most of it. I've just felt overwhelemed by everything. It's all too loud.

Yesterday I went to work & I took a nap & I went for a walk & I filled in my planner & I did my homework. I'm happy with the planner. If you didn't know, Vashti is a sucker for stationery. Always has been. So my little Rilakkuma planner is half sticker & half due dates. I'd upload a scan, but I've already written in it & don't want to be uploading that sort of info, you know? It's very cute though. The planner itself is from Daiso & I think it only cost me a few dollars. It's a small planner, A6 sized. I like it because it has a section of empty days for your to-do lists, in addition to monthly calendars. I write my due dates in both the calendar & in the daily slots, so I don't forget. I'm not really the type to forget assignments, though; I normally have them done early.

I got the planner the day before yesterday, Friday the 25th, when I took the train to the city to visit my sister's dorm. I didn't really want to go, because I'm still upset with her, but oh well. She showed me her dorm, which was boring. She told me that I'm not really bipolar, which was infuriating. She described my manic episode as "that time [I] didn't sleep for five days," as if it didn't go on for a month or so before they drugged it out of me. The thing is that I can't tell if she's genuinely rewritten what's happened in her mind to conform to this narrative or if she's just oversimplifying things & discounting what I've experienced consciously. Neither are okay to me. She constantly tries to minimize anything that I've gone through. I don't know where it comes from, though she's basically half admitted to me she's jealous of the attention that I receive, that she thinks I'm faking it for attention. Jealous of attention from who, though? The psychiatrist I saw weekly or biweekly for a few months? I'm not a very big proponent of therapy at all, but I think she could benefit from the attention of a therapist. I do mean that both genuinely & somewhat as an insult.

She just hates me, to the very core of my being. She hates me for being me & I hate her because she hates me. I could maybe understand it if I were more successful than her, if I were doing really well in the traditional sense, but I'm not. I'm so behind in school that I haven't received my two year degree yet, when I could've been getting my four year degree next year. She points that out a lot. I can't drive. She points that out a lot. I work an easy fast food job. She points that out a lot. But she's still so jealous of me. I think the real difference between her & I is that I'm free & she is not. I won't tell her this, but her life is a pretty bland one & she puts a lot of her worth into how well she reaches or acheives traditional milestones. Whenever we talk, she just talks about her university, about how it's so much more difficult than my two-year college. Or she complains about the cost, about how her school is expensive and mine is cheap. And I think she wants me to tell her how smart she is or how poor & unfortunate she is, but I don't. Every problem she complains to me about is one that she caused. And maybe I'd be a bit more sympathetic if she were nice about it, but she's not. She always tries to put me down; She feels as though she needs to be above me & I need to be beneath her. One of our mom's work colleagues stopped us in the grocery store & told her congratulations for getting into uni & do you know what she said? She said, Thanks! I'm going to [Insert University] & Vashti only goes to [Insert Local Community College]. And do you know what the guy did? Nothing! Because it was really awkward. He just excused himself & my mom just laughed it off. Oh! Isn't she so funny, so charming? No! & that was in public, so you can only imagine how she is when we're alone. (Mean. She's mean to me).

And you know, in spite of all of her successes, I am happy & she is not. I like myself & she does not. I am self assured & she is not. I am growing & she is not. I am growing up & she is not. & I feel bad for her. I genuinely, truly feel bad for her. I feel actual pity; I can feel it in my stomach and in my arms when I want to hug her. I've realized that everything she insults me for is just a reflection of her own (perceived) inadequacies. She insults my dyed hair & bold outfits. She doesn't feel confident in her appearance. When I receive high grades, she tells me it's because I go to such an easy school that everyone can pass. She thinks I'm smarter than her. She's upset that I don't have a car & my parents will drop me off at work or school, while they make her take the train home, because her dorm is far away. She thinks that they love me more & this is a reflection of that. She makes fun of my job, because she's jealous that I have spending money & she doesn't. She makes fun of the fact that my school is so cheap & lowbrow, because she's jealous that I haven't had to take out student loans like she has. And in some ways, maybe she's right, but I can't help that. And you know, after having watched her grow up for eighteen or so years, she hasn't changed. & I don't think she will. She will always be mean, or bitter, or cruel to me, because that's who she is. & I mean that. It's one of her most enduring traits. She's just a mean person & I realized that this summer. I used to not hate her, but I really do now. I really do hate her.

And so in the face of this, you can imagine how our day went. I don't think she realized the extent of this divide between us. She thinks it will be like every time before, where I forgive her, but I just can't do that anymore. Why should I forgive someone who won't change? That's not even forgiveness, that's just acceptance, & I'm not going to accept this from her. I'm done answering her calls & texts, because I'm her last choice. She only wants to talk to me because she's lonely at her new school. I hope that we can grow so far apart that she becomes barely an acquaintance to me. Well, she won't grow. I'll grow apart from her. I can do it.

08/25/2023 / 11:32 PM
Anxious morning! Almost didn't want to get on the train, almost. But I can do uncomfortable things & that's what I did. My fears don't control me, I control me. And Vashti decided to take the train into the city. I got a window seat, one with a table & just stared out the window for the entire ride. Despite feeling scared to get on, once I was actually on the train, I calmed down a lot. I think it's because I've done it before, at least a handful of times over the past year or so. And because one of my very worst nightmares, getting stuck on a train, happened to me earlier this month & I was okay. I watched a blur of burnt grass fields that all sort of blended together, until I saw this beautiful deer, galloping through the monotony. I felt so deeply moved. I do feel like it meant something. I saw that deer & immediately thought that it was some sort of sign... I don't know. Just seeing such a beautiful, delicate creature in such a hot & hostile place, surviving anyways, it stirred something in me. I'm that deer. I can be that deer. I live where the deer lives, the only difference between us is that it lives its life beautifully & with splendor. I can do that, in spite of everything.

08/24/2023 / 11:26 PM
Feeling weird. My mood went way up and way down and way back to normal like a slide whistle, a dumb little slide whistle. No one invites the slide whistle to the orchestra... He's too silly and too trivial. That's how it felt. I was going to say it was like being dragged around on a leash, but that commands some type of seriousness that this didn't deserve. Sometimes, when I'm not in the midst of an actual, genuine mood episode, some part of me remains self awware enough to realize that what I'm feeling isn't proportional to what's going on. It's definitely a frustrating feeling, but I think that this could be considered progress.

I'm going to keep this short, because I'm waking up an hour early tomorrow to take the train into the city & the texture of my nightgown is bothering me, because I don't like the cut of the collar & I don't like the feeling of my wrists resting on my laptop right now. Everything feels like it is encroaching on me, even my own body. Actually, I'm too frustrated right now. I'll write on the train tomorrow & publish it when I have internet.

08/23/2023 / 10:46 AM
I am kind of annoyed, because E & I decided that I'd come before my classes start to study or talk before class, so that's what I did today, but no E. We said that before the semester started & that's what we did Monday, so I thought that was the plan, but I guess not. She's over at the library with a study group for her government class, which is fine, I just wish she'd given me a heads up so I could've slept in. She has a car & I don't, & public transportation here is really bad, with a single bus that comes hourly and goes only one route, so I don't think she gets how much of a pain in the ass it is for me to get here. It's not like she meant anything by it, though, so I'm not mad at her. I'm just annoyed. Not even necessarily at her, I just deeply hate when plans are cancelled or altered in some way, so I can't really tell if I even should be annoyed by something like this. Would a normal person be bothered by this? I didn't confirm with her the night before, so maybe our plans were more shakey than I'd thought. I'm kind of over it now, though. Kind of. I just won't come early to school anymore, in case she's doing something. And yeah, maybe I should be able to just come early on certain days, but I really hate not having a routine.

This entire week has felt off, actually, because it's the first week of school, so I have no routine. I've done something different every day, which I don't like at all. Oh, but Vashti! You love travelling & that's not routine... Yeah, but that's a designated time to not have a routine; That's me scheduling time in my routine to break away from my routine. When I travel, I normally have every single day planned out, & every hour if I can manage it. And I don't like any last minute travelling. I don't even like going to the grocery store without a plan or a heads up. It's just how I am & I feel no real inclination to change that about myself. Maybe I should, but I don't. I'm Vashti & I like plans & routines & lists & planners. It's just how I am & I don't mind it one bit.

Today is my math class & my speech communications class. One of our assignments will be an "active listening" assignment, which I do not have very much self assuredness in. You have a conversation with someone & the teacher grades you on your ability to hold eye contact & to nod & to smile & to say mm-hm & How interesting! & repeat back what they say like a mirror, but not too much. How much is too much? I don't know. I'm probably going to flunk this assignment. I tried to "actively listen" like the textbook said last night & someone told me I looked like "an autistic child." I'm not even sure if they meant it as an insult or in a neutral sense. I didn't ask a clarifying question to find out, which you're supposed to do when you actively listen. (I am assuming it was meant to be an insult because of the use of the word "child." I've learned that most adults look down upon children). What I do know is that Vashti's done for... I'm gonna get a B in this class based off of my poor ability to mimic human body language. Well, before that assignment, we have to write an essay about ourselves in which we explain how we communicate with others, interpersonally. I looked over the prompt & I suppose I'll just explain how every time I engage in body language, it's unnatural & I feel like my body's a puppet that's detached from me. But I'll say it in a normal way that doesn't make the teacher ask me if I'm alright. We also have several speeches, which I am not worried about. I'm told often that I'm a good public speaker, because I'm loud & confident. I find it easy because the prescribed body language is differnt: No eye contact & no smiles are typically required. It's almost my default way of speaking, actually. As long as you remember your words & don't stutter, people think you're good. People also tell me I'm funny, which I don't like, because it's normally when I'm not trying to be funny.

One of the speeches will be about an informative topic of our choice, which got me so excited: Vashti gets to talk about gars, or the Donner Party, or the hostility to pedestrians in America to a captive audience! (And I mean captive, you're required to listen to other speeches). Sign me up! But then there's a stipulation: a health related topic, which I suppose means no gars. Maybe I can talk about how poor street design in America leads to pedestrian deaths & about stroads. (Don't know what a "stroad" is? Sounds like an ugly word, right? Well it's a hideous word for a hideous thing. They're essentially a poor cross between a street & a road, sacrificing the effectiveness of both in the name of a pavement monstrosity. The United States is infested with them. And the people who build them are 1) Stupid or 2) Auto industry boootlickers or 3) Both. Vashti feels very strongly about this). We're required to find a library book on it though, and I think the term was invented in the last decade or so, so maybe I'll have to choose another topic. I'd also find it hard to speak for only five to seven minutes about it. Maybe I could speak about the Black Death. I was obsessed with the Plague as a young girl. I think it was my earliest obsession. As a child I was obsessed with: 1) the Plague 2) mummification 3) reading animal encyclopedias 4) Fable II on the X-Box 360 (and then Fable III when it came out, though never as much as II). As a child, I actually wanted to become a disease pathologist. I wanted to work for the CDC, if I recall. And then I wanted to be a doctor, not a pediatrician or anything, I think I wanted to cut people up, like a surgeon. If I'd known what forensic pathology was, I think I'd have wanted to be a forensic pathologist.

Oh! And I received fantastic, extremely very good news this morning. I was just too pissed off about my change in the day's plans that I didn't talk about it. For my teaching class, I'm required to spend time observing classrooms from the Kindegarten to high school level, eight separate times. Our college has partnerships with certain districts to place us at a school, but not the one near my house, where I live. You have the option to "self-place," but things often fall through & it's not encouraged. That being said, Vashti spoke with our director today & I received approval to self-place in the district of my choice, because my chances are good. I can get in at my father's elementary school, almost guaranteed & that already covers half of my time, because I need to spend a quarter of it in a Pre-K or K classroom & another quarter in a 1st-5th grade classroom. So I already have half of my hours covered. Then I'm going to reach out to the middle school that his elementary school has a relationship with for my other quarter (because my foot will already be in the door) & then finally, I'm going to reach out to my old high school for my final quarter. My chances are very good, the director said, so she approved my self-placement. She said to reach out to her if I encounter any problems, but that she doesn't think I will. I'm going to do my required criminal background check this week & then I'm going to pursue approval from the elementary school first. This is really important to me, because after this semseter, I want to get a substitute teaching job in this district, & this would help me immensely. And that in turn would help me secure a future teaching job. I just need to be enterprising & I can get what I want. I really do believe that. Lately I've been trying to take more concrete efforts to get what I want in life & this is a good step for me.

Okay, I'm off to math class. God speed, Vashti.

08/22/2023 / 4:23 PM
I am mentally exhausted. Normally I have the opposite problem, where I'm all wound up like a spring waiting to pop, but today Vashti is a spring in the middle of the street that's been run over a few times. Not even a street; A road. A gross, ugly car infested road. Maybe a bird will stick me in its nest. Or I could be the other type of stream, one that got paved over. Both work. Well actually, both feel too tired todo any more schoolwork today.

There are storm clouds on the horizon, but I'm not being metaphorical. I'm staring out the window while I wait for my evening class to begin & it looks like it might rain. I think the last time it rained here was the beginning of July, or maybe June. I can see the wind picking up, too. I really do think it will rain. I hope so. Though it would be a bummer if the first rain in months is when I'm stuck in class.

All I did today was schoolwork. & I worked on the site a bit. Nothing to say about my schoolwork so far. It's all really easy & really dull, like every other year before. I feel like everything I'm writing is really dull, too. I feel uninspired, somewhat. Well it's more like I feel like today isn't even worth writing about. Who cares if I forget today?

I worked out a little schedule for this week, too, complete with when I'll do all of my assignments, all spaced out in a healthy, manageable manner. I already know what's really going to happen, though. Tomorrow, after school, because I'm not working, I'm going to sit down & do nothing but schoolwork for hours or till I finish it all, whichever comes first. Probably the former, because none of it seems particularly hard. It's a reading for each class, (two for World Lit II), two math assignemnts, two reading quizzes, & I think that's it. Then I'll be done for a week and a half. Oh, and I have to write something about one of the literature short stories, but it has to be less than two hundred words or some other really, really small number. And then I have to comment on whatever someone else wrote, but even shorter than my own response.

I know what you're supposed to do is space things out, take lots of breaks, etc. That's not really how Vashti operates, though. When I focus, I find it really hard to unfocus, even if it's something I don't really enjoy, like my math homework or textbook readings, but especially if it's one of my hobbies. I get so involved with what I'm doing I forget to eat, actually. I also find it difficult to not finish my books in one sitting. But yeah, I thought about it more, & since I'm working on being more true to myself & my preferences, I think I'll just knock out all of my schoolwork over the next couple of days. I don't care if other people say it's a bad idea, because I'm not other people. In fact, this is going to sound like a strange thing to say, but I think the reason I feel so mentally tired is because I was doing all of these different things today: I switched from sending emails, to writing on here, to my math class, to my communications class, etc. I normally just sit down & do all of my work for one class.

I also stopped by the library today. I picked out a book by random: The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun. I've never heard of it before. I just saw it on the shelf by Banana Yoshimoto & grabbed it. I think a bit of spontaneity may be good for me, so I hope I like it. Judging by the name, I think the author is Korean. I've only read two other South Korean books before: Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982, by Cho Nam-Joo & The White Book, by Han Kang. I liked the first one & wouldn't recommend the latter. I normally find something worthwhile in every book I read, but I didn't take anything away from The White Book. I found it kind of boring, too, which is pretty incredible, because everyone I know tends to comment on my ability to read "boring" books. Oh well. You might like it, though. I don't think it was a bad book by any means, just not the book for me. It didn't evoke any emotion in me, which is what I normally look to books for. Nor did it really change my thinking about things, which is also what I normally look to books for. I felt the same before & after I read it, which is a rare occurence. That's actually what made me remember it, the book that made me feel nothing.

08/21/2023 / To-Do List (Because I don't have a planner yet)
  • email advisor about classes
  • submit proof of prerequisites, world literature
  • download textbook, world literature

  • 08/21/2023 / 10:13 AM
    At school. E's class ends in ten minutes & then we're going to hang out before my classes start (12-2:50 PM). Her schedule's kind of fucked: She has this giant gap in her classes from 10 something to 1 something. That's how it was for me last semester. This semester, I just picked my classes based off of 1) Requirements 2) Times. Personal interest wasn't taken into account, because I don't think I've ever actually enjoyed learning anything in a class here. Oh, and I also checked my professors online to get some easy ones. My schedule's perfect except for this one stupid evening class that I have to take. I can't get out of it either, because it's required for everyone pursuing a teaching degree. Oh well. 3/4 perfect is 75 % perfect, which isn't that bad. And besides, I met E a couple of semesters ago taking an evening class. Maybe I'll make a new friend.

    08/20/2023 / 11:49 PM
    Slow, simple day today. Woke up late, not late for anything, just late in the day: past 9 AM. Lounged in bed for a little while. The house was quiet because everyone left to visit my sister at her dorm. I stayed behind because I'm still really upset with her. & I just haven't been able to handle noise for the past few days, so an entire family & stepfamily outing to the city packed in one car sounded overwhelming. After a while, I got up & went to get coffee. Went to a nearby Starbucks. I've started bringing my own cup, because I've been making an effort to be more conscious of how much waste I produce as of late, and the main offenders are disposable cups & straws. So I got a Frappuccino & drank it in one of those big protein shaker sports bottles, which felt silly, but I use them because they show the ounces on the cup. I didn't have a reusable straw, though, but I'm looking to get a couple that I can stuff in my purse. The problem will be trying to find one that doesn't bother me. The reason I like the plastic ones you trash is because I don't mind their texture, because they're so thin. The reusable ones that are thicker kind of gross me out. It sounds nonsensical but hey! That's just how my mind works.

    I sat around & wrote & worked on the site for a few hours, then I went to a nearby cafe & got Eggs Benedict. It was loud, so I wore my noise cancelling headphones & listened to Okurimono. It was nice 'cause it also kept the waiters from talking to me. When I'm by myself in public, I really don't talk a lot & it feels good. I just put on my headphones & speak in short sentences. Not even sentences normally, sometimes just a few words. And sometimes not even a few words, when I can, I just gesture. Table for how many? I put up one finger. You can sit over there at the bar. I point to the bar & she nods. Is the food good? I nod my head. Do you need anything? I shake my head. As much as I like writing, sometimes I really wish I never had to talk again. I wish it wasn't an obligation. I wish it were considered okay to not speak for a few days. Especially when it's noisy, I feel like I can't get the words out. Every word feels sharp in my mouth as I add to the noise.

    After eating, just as I was walking out, my mom called and asked where I was. I said at a cafe. She asked with who. I said myself. Then I went home. I really just relaxed all day, what with it being my last day of summer break & all. I think I spent my time well & I enjoyed this day thoroughly. Good night & see you at school tomorrow! My hair will be wet because I have to shower in the morning.

    08/20/2023 / New Sufjan Stevens Album!
    Sufjan Steven's is coming out with a new album October 6th! I repeat: Sufjan Stevens is coming out with a new album October 6th, 2023, only forty six days from now! I cannot wait. Well, I have to wait, but I'm very excited. Carrie & Lowell is one of my favorite albums & it's held that spot since I first heard it years ago. Normally I can really like a musician & listen to their music nonstop & then I set them aside, while still holding fondness for them. I'll leave them behind & occasionally pick them up again, but I won't carry them with me & they'll be associated with a specific period in my life. This is not the case with Sufjan Stevens. The first time I heard Sufjan, I rememeber I heard him on the radio. My dad & I, sometimes we listen to this local radio show that plays music Sunday mornings, & they played Mystery of Love. And from that moment, I grabbed his music & didn't let go. While Mystery of Love was my first Sufjan song & is very special to me, I soon listened to Carrie & Lowell afterward. I can't say when exactly I first listened to the album, because it didn't really feel like a single instance if that makes sense. It's like how I tuck my little brother in whenever I visit; I can't remember the first time or the last time or any specifics, just that it is something I treasure, despite how regular it is. That is how I feel about Carrie & Lowell.

    Of that album, The Only Thing is my favorite song by far. I normally have trouble dealing and sorting in absolutes, but that song is absolutely my favorite out of all of them & is still one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, songs to date. While on at least some level I do simply like the way the song sounds, (I'm fond of songs of this genre or feeling or style), it's my favorite for its lyricism. Oftentimes, I listen to a song because I simply enjoy the music, but that's not the case here. If this song were to be in a library book somewhere, it would be my favorite poem. I really do think that. I just really admire its candor. It's very rare that others acknowledge suicide. And if you do acknowledge your suicidal thoughts, even if they're just thoughts that you won't act upon, something is very wrong with you; You feel criminal for having thoughts you can't help. I really struggled to acknowledge my suicidal thoughts & ideation, even to doctors & even to my family. It's one thing to say you're depressed, it's another to say you're having thoughts that are basically forbidden. I mean, if your thoughts are suicidal enough, you can get yourself institutionalized. It really is frightening. And so I kept them hidden. And I eventually reached a point where they were just constant & even if I didn't actively want to kill myself, I couldn't see myself living to reach eighteen, or twenty, or twenty one even. And it was like I was living this double life almost, where when the doctor gave me pills, I told her yeah, I'm depressed, but it's not that bad. I'd never kill myself! I'd never even think bad thoughts about killing myself! And I was just lying. And the only way I got better was to acknowledge them, even though it's the scariest thing in the world. And you know, on the off-chance someone is reading this, and you're reading this & you're dealing with this, tell someone. It takes courage, but that's how you get help. No matter how bad it feels to speak the words, to sob out the words, once you're done, it's all worth it. Trust me.

    So upon hearing this song, hearing the lines: The only thing that keeps me from driving this car / Half-light, jack knife into the canyon at night / Signs and wonders, Perseus aligned with the skull / Slain Medusa, Pegasus alight from us all & The only thing that keeps me from cutting my arm / Cross hatch, warm bath, Holiday Inn after dark / Signs and wonders, water stain writing the wall / Daniel's message, blood of the moon on us all felt really good in a way. I felt understood. I think it was the first time in my life that I heard someone acknowledge the sorts of thoughts I was having, & not only that, singing about how he'll go on anyways, that the world is full of wonders despite it all. And he was singing them to me! A stranger! The song was just so candid, so brave. It is what I would point to as my ideal type of writing. I think to write well is to speak the truth & to not compromise, to not dillute yourself & make yourself more palatable to others. I guess in other words, I think writing is antithetical to shame & that's what The Only Thing is to me. It's the anti-shame song.

    And beyond being the anti-shame song, it's the anti-suicide song. It's so hopeful. And you know, once my dad had me play some music for the family & I chose this album & he made a joke asking me if he had a song about slitting his wrists in the bathtub, too, because this album was so depressing (to him). If only he knew that one was my favorite song of the bunch. And if only he knew that song was the most hopeful song I'd ever heard, or that I have ever heard: The only reason why I continue at all / Faith in reason, I wasted my life playing dumb / Signs and wonders, sea lion caves in the dark / Blind faith, God’s grace, nothing else left to impart

    08/20/2023 / School Again & Psychiatry & Change
    School starts again tomorrow. I'm not one of those types that gets antsy for school to start again, gets excited. I'd be content doing nothing till I die, I think. That being said, I'm not upset about it. It is what it is. I'm happy to be moving forward, in a way. When I was down in Houston, I was hanging with this homeless guy named Lewis at the bus station, (don't tell my parents). And he told that I have to catch up. That's what he said. I have to catch up. And I'm catching up. If all goes according to plan, and it will, so help me God, then I'll finally be in a four year university next autumn. Everyone's really fond of pointing out that I could've already graduated last year with a four year degree, my sister especially, but who cares? Well, I have an answer: Everyone in the world except for Vashti (and E and my little brother) cares. I don't have time to fret about nonsense like that. I'm just happy to be alive, didn't think I'd make it this long. And no one's going to take that from me. I don't care if I'm behind, I'm happy & that's enough.

    Being happy is enough, so I'm practicing being happy. A year or two ago, waking up every day hurt. And the idea of doing that every day for the rest of my life seemed insurmountable. It really wasn't, but it seemed that way. Well maybe I shouldn't say that. At the time, it actually might've been. I really do think that I got as close to breaking as you can get without actually breaking. But that's over now. And now I'm happy to wake up every day. And the fact that I'll be in school for a few more years? I don't mind it at all. I was so eager to get out of here, to move away, & to not look back, & in some ways I still am. The entire reason I'm in school is because it'll help me leave this place. But right now I'm content. I'm happy. Not only am I okay with the fact that this is my life for the next few years, I look forward to it. Recently, I had come to the realization that in the end, how I spend my days is how I spend my life, so I've been living day to day, while still keeping my future in sight. Maybe I'm being too vague. When you're depressed, you retreat inwards. & people think that oh, being depressed, that's when you feel really sad, too sad, but that's just the beginning of it. You start off that way, but eventually you just feel nothing. Nothing, for days, weeks, years at a time. Everything becomes monotonous. You don't leave the house, because it doesn't change how you feel, so why bother? You don't visit your friends, because they're outside the house & talking to them doesn't change how you feel. You don't shower, because you're not leaving the house, you're not seeing your friends, & it doesn't change how you feel. You don't eat, because food no longer tastes good, & you don't feel hungry, so even on a physical, biological level, it doesn't change how you feel. Depression is pointless, monotonous, a state where nothing changes; It's stagnation on every level.

    And the way past that is to change. It's that simple & it's that difficult. I've done the dance that was prescribed to me: I've taken more psych meds than you can probably name. Doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, therapists; I've seen them. I've prayed to God that he just fix me & make me better. If there were a cure to being bipolar, I would've had it by now. The simple fact of the matter is that there is no cure. And the thing about being bipolar is that because there really is no cure, (and doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, therapists, and it seems like even God himself- they love to tell you that), you think there's no way out. You think you're stuck like this. And you think, this is who I am. I'm bipolar, so I'm depressed or I'm manic, and there's no helping it. It feels like this ugly, immutable facet of your personality. But it's not. That's not really who you are.

    And you know, I'm sure that if I were to say something like this, someone would tell me, Thanks Vashti, I'm cured. If only I just decided not be to be depressed anymore! Why didn't I think of that? But that's not what I mean. And you know, I'm sure that if I were to say something like this, I'd be dismissed as an anti-psychiatry wacko or something. (Though in many ways, I probably am an anti-psychiatry wacko, just not to its utmost extreme). But that's not what I mean either. I'm not denouncing medications here. The simple fact of the matter is that one day, most likely, I will become manic again. & the only way to get back to normal will probably be in a pill bottle, a few pill bottles. But listen to me when I tell you that the only way you can meaningfully change & learn how to live is to just do it. Just change! You have to wake up & decide to be different. And you really can do it. All of the things that were once out of reach to me: a friend, reading books, writing again, leaving the house & getting coffee, leaving the house & going to another city, leaving the house & going to another state, (leaving the house & going to another country next summer), learning how to drive, doing my schoolwork, watching movies, all of these things were out of reach to me until I moved to reach them. I was a small person who hid at home. And I mean I hid. I used to be too scared to leave the house. When I did, I got sick to my stomach & I couldn't breath. That was my life for a while. And then one day, all of these fears I had, I realized that they were the problem, that I was the problem. I really did think to myself that hiding from life was killing me & that I'd rather be dead than living like this. I don't say that to people, because it's too extreme, off-putting. But I was so scared of leaving the house, so scared of something happening to me, till I realized I've put myself through more suffering than what anyone or anything else could do to me. All of my suffering was self inflicted. & when I realized that nothing could be worse than what I was going through, I was able to change. I'd always heard about people talking about this comfort you feel when you reach rock-bottom, & that was it for me. I realized things really couldn't get any worse than that. & it was comforting somehow.

    And when I talk about finally being able to change, it wasn't an in the moment thing. And it wasn't an overnight thing. And I didn't unfurl my butterfly wings & fly away. It wasn't like that. It wasn't that easy. It took a lot of effort. I had to practice driving & practice leaving the house & it was awful. I still felt scared & sick & my chest hurt. Sometimes it still feels that way. It was uncomfortable. It was extremely uncomfortable. It hurt. And it took time. It was a culmination of effort. That's how actual change is. People like to look at butterflies as a symbol of change & I can see the appeal: They're this undesirable little worm & then almost like magic, they become a creature universally admired for its beauty. But I was reading the other day & they say it's not that easy. When that caterpillar is in that cocoon, do you know what's really happening? It's dissolving. When that caterpillar is in that cocoon, it digests itself in a way. Enzymes turn it into goop. Not all the way, mind you. It's a bit of an oversimplification that it loses itself completely, but that caterpillar really is dissolving, disintegrating in that little cocoon. It's disgusting, isn't it? That's real, radical change. It feels so uncomfortable & painful & disgusting & it's so worth it.

    And unfortunately, I am neither a caterpillar nor butterfly, I am a person, so change is less obvious to me. Sometimes it can only be seen in retrospect. And looking back, I can say that last year, or the year before, or the year before, I would not feel so okay right now. I'd be panicking, scared to go back to school & to fail yet again. But that is not me anymore. I'm different now. I'm someone else, by which I mean I'm more myself. It feels as though everyday I'm getting closer & closer to who I really am & as I come into sight, I like what I see. And tomorrow, as I catch the bus & head to my first class, more than likely I'll feel scared & sick. But the difference now is that I know I can get through it. I can make myself get through it. It doesn't sound pleasant when I phrase it like that, but that's how it is. And I'm happy.

    08/19/2023 / A Self-Transformation
    This doesn't really feel good to say, but I think I've come to a realization today. And normally my "realizations" are the result of extreme despair or mania, especially mania, or some other undesirable state that others view as unacceptable, unhealthy, but today it was different. Normally, if I reach some sort of epiphany, if I manage to get my hands on one, it comes with a flurry of thoughts & activities & plans, most of which will not come into fruition, ever. And it normally feels good! I go A ha! I've got it this time! This time I will be different! I can change! I can change! and then I don't change. But this time it's really different. I really think so. It doesn't feel good, either. It feels like I'm admitting things to myself that I can barely stand to hold in my mouth. & I think I'll collapse if I acknowledge them, because they're too heavy, but I've been carrying them the whole time. Does that make sense? I don't care if it does, actually. That's part of the problem here.

    I've realized that I'm constantly faking things. Everything. Down to the minutiae of my body language, of my smiles, of my voice. I can't do it anymore. I can't. I can't. For as long as I can rememeber, I have somehow felt different from others. And it wasn't just a feeling: I was different. The way I walk, the way I can't look at people in the eyes, the way I have to tell myself to smile, the way I can't wear clothes that fit 'right," they need to be too big, or I can't stand the feeling otherwise, the way I can't grow my hair out because I can't stand the feeling, the way I used to cut my own hair at home, because I can't stand the feeling of someone else doing it, the way no one shares my interests, the way my interests are weird to others, the way I obsess over things without meaning to, the way I need to obsess over something to avoid feeling lost, the way everyone tells me my posture is bad, the way everyone makes jokes about my monotone voice, the way everyone makes jokes about the way I don't smile enough, the way I can't stand last minute plans, the way I plan things by the hour, the way that spontaneity for me is making a plan the morning of & not the night before, the way I feel like a robot or an alien or something unhuman, the way everyone else knows how to act & I don't, like they have a guidebook, the way I learned to copy the way other girls walked and spoke as a child, the way I'd make mental notes of the slang they used so I could adopt it & seem normal, the way I can't wear denim, the way that the things I say that are innocuous to me are morbid or stange to others, the way people tell me I'm being funny when I'm just being myself, or when I'm being serious, the way I feel like I have to perform my emotions, the way that for the past day, every noise & light & texture & voice has been too much for me: No matter which way I go, I'm wrong & I'm weird for it. And this is me trying to be normal. Even when I try, it's wrong, so why bother trying?

    I think my way of love has been wrong & that's where this is all coming from. As long as I've been trying to act normal, I've seen love as something that needs to be earned. Something that is not given freely. You have to act the right way & people give you love in return. And when I say act, I mean act. You have to act like someone better, more ideal than who you really are. You need to act like someone who smiles at the right times & & looks people in the eyes even though it feels like you're really looking into the Sun & talks about things like the weather & doesn't talk about things like the fact that we're all going to die one day. I think I've been mixing up love with acceptance. I need to act a certain way & then people will accept me. And I think my idea of acceptance has been wrong: If I am not acting like myself, how are people accepting me. They're accepting the counterfeit Vashti, the one I've put makeup on. And I think that love and acceptance are distinct, but that they rely on one another. For someone to truly love me, they need to truly accept me. For someone to truly accept me, I need to truly be myself, and not act. And these things seem really obvious as I say them, but they haven't been that way for me! Maybe I've caught glimpses of this idea before, of the fact that this double life of mine won't really work & that people don't like the true me, they like the fake me, but I've never genuinely acknowledged it. I've always just pretended not to see it. It was the only way I could continue. I've always felt lonely, like the other, and desperately I just wanted someone to love me. People need love, and I've realized that I love me. I don't need someone else to love me anymore; I can do that myself. I was looking for approval from others because I couldn't get it from myself & needed it from somewhere, anywhere, no matter what I had to do to get it. And I think I love myself so much that I'd rather be alone than pretend to be someone more palatable. I'm not sacrificing parts of myself as an offering anymore. I'm going to be unapologetically myself. I think what's changed is that all of this shame I've felt is gone. Well, what I mean is that I got rid of it. I like myself. I love myself. And I love myself so much that I'm not going to compromise anymore.

    I've been thinking about this for a while now, vaguely, but this past day my thoughts have become specific & real & actionable. And this is just the beginning. I'm going to change. I can change! I can change for real this time. I can change radically & fundamentally. I'm not necessarily going to change myself, I'm going to change this fake self, I'm going to shed it & get rid of it. And I've been pretending or acting or whatever you want to call it for so long that it's almost natural to me. It's become natural, instinctual, to act like something I'm not. And this fake me that I have, the one I want everyone to like, it's all mixed up & jumbled up with the real me, so it's going to take some time to tell them apart. I'm going to have to unlearn & relearn a lot of things. I'm going to learn how to listen to myself & how to act the way I want & not the way I think others want me to act. I guess you can say that I'm making my way back to myself. It's like I'm going home for the first time in a long time.

    08/18/2023 / 10:08 PM
    I have too much to say to write anything cohesive. Payday, have money. Worked, lost some more of my sanity. Big fight with my sister yesterday; I'm not sure if she understands the severity of it. It's not just one argument. It's the culmination of years. The argument itself is just stupid & petty: She texted saying that she got a great deal on an extension cord & I said in summary, "Haha, you're a real adult now, getting excited bout extension cords. I wonder if I'll reach that point one day?" And then she proceeded to just insult me, over and over. She told me I'm not a real adult because I can't drive, that she can't be an adult because I'm not an adult, that I'm "inept with speaking to human beings," that she's "just defending [herself.]" And after ten or so insults that came from nowhere, something in me just kind of snapped. Not out of place, but into place. And I sent her a very long message saying essentially that instead of her perpetual victim state where she thinks people are attacking her for no reason, she should quit jumping to conclusions constantly. And that it's not just when she's talking to me either; She always thinks she's the victim in any given situation. She constantly complains about how unfortunate she is, how unlucky, while I am so lucky. But she and I come from the same parents, from the same home, and we essentially have shared a life as long as she's been alive. So what's the difference between us? I'm bipolar and she's not? I work and she doesn't? I'm behind in school and she's not? (And she points that out constantly). That I'm going to a cheap community college & don't have to take out loans while she decided to go to an expensive four year university? (And she points that out constantly too). I just don't feel bad for her. I mean, I feel bad for her in the sense that I feel pity, I think, but she's living an easy life. And all of her problems are caused by her. Even at my very lowest she refuses or is simply unable to extend either sympathy or compassion to me, so I don't want to do that for her anymore. And that's what I told her. I told her that just because she harrbors this resentment towards me, I don't feel the same way! Even if she hates me, she's just my little sister to me, and I love her. And I told her that I'm done accomodating her, done bending over backwards, done trying to make her happy, when she clearly just hates me. I'm done making any efforts. I promised her I'd take her out for birthday sushi because her birthday was ruined & I'm taking her around the city to go shopping & after that, I'm done. I don't care anymore. And our dad is making me go into the city that day, because she's scared to take the bus & train by herself & he wants me to show her the way home. That's why I'm still doing it. I'm being forced to. She treats me like I'm nothing. I mean that. And it's not just me. Everyone sees it. Our mom said she believed me, even without seeing what we'd said to each other, because that's how she is. She's mean. I showed E the message I sent to see if I went too far, but she told me what I said was good for her. When I describe how she acts to others, they ask why I even bother doing anything for her. And I don't have an answer. Because I'm supposed to. That's all it is. I was raised being told that I need to look out for her, to protect her, to keep her safe. And that's how it was, you know. For a few years. Then she grew up a bit & we began to hate each other. And everyone said we'd grow out of it. But when I went back up to Oregon this July, you know what our aunt told me? She told me she doesn't think we're getting out of this one. She's says maybe my sister will grow up, but this is probably just how she is at this point. I don't know. She's an adult now. And I'm tired of trying so hard for approval for someone who treats me like I'm nothing. I'm always a last choice to her. And she only wants me when I can give her something. She doesn't like me. She really doesn't. And I don't think she loves me, either. And you know, she left today, to her dorm, and I thought I'd cry & that deep down I'd forgive her & miss her, but I felt nothing. Maybe I felt a bit of relief, actually. I don't think anyone understands the gravity of what's going on here, least of all her. I think that I've reached a point where I hate her, based off of how she acts & who she is as a person. Or maybe I don't hate her, maybe I'm sick of her. She makes me sick. Like a dog eating chocolate. I should stay away from her. And despite all of this, if she were sick, I'd do everything I could to help her. If she were cold, I'd give her my jacket. If she were hungry, I'd give her my food. If she needed a kidney, a lung, I'd give mine to her. But I also hate her. And I love her. Those two feelings seem like opposites, but they can coexist. It doesn't feel good, but they can. They're not opposite extremes, just extremes. They're so close they can hold hands if they want to. Like me and my sister. But she doesn't want to. And I don't want to either anymore.

    We're going to see her Sunday & I don't want to. I don't want to at all. I already have to see her next Friday. I want her to just go. And Saturday I'm watching my brother. Our brother. She treats him the same way she treats me though, so they may as well not be related. She just holds contempt towards him & he knows it. We were looking at his baby pictures a month or so ago & he was gushing and smiling because there was a picture of her smiling with him & holding him. He said that she loved him in that picture, that she was actually hugging him or something. I can't remember the exact phrasing. And she just told him our mom forced her to pose like that. So he knows what's going on. Children are smarter & more perceptive than they're given credit before. The difference between him & I is that he constantly refers to our sister as his least favorite, the unfavorite. It's sad, but I wish I could do that.

    2023 Houston Trip / Part Five
    To be continued!

    2023 Houston Trip / Part Four
    Now the Natural Science Museum was just awesome, okay? Super, super, super awesome. And also, from here on out, I'm going to refer to it as the HMNS for the sake of brevity. So yeah, they gave us a student discount, which they didn't have to do, because that discount was supposed to only apply to students who went to school in Houston. What can I say? Wherever I go, people are just nice to me. We also bought tickets for the King Tut exhibit & the planetarium. (I had actually never gone to a planetarium before this trip! I wanted to go because of P5R of all things. It's a confidant location, haha). The tickets were somewhat expensive because of the two extra exhibits, $35, I believe. Apparently there was also a butterfly thing, but I didn't realize till I came home & my sister told me I missed out. Oh well...

    The King Tut exhibit is what I was the most excited for & it is what we did first. If you don't know this already, Vashti used to be obsessed with mummies as a child, okay? Egyptology somewhat, but mummies specifically. I just loved learning about how these people were embalmed & entombed. Death is a taboo subject, especially for a young girl, so learning about ancient Egyptian mummification & funerary practices was really one of my only acceptable outlets to learn about it. Suffice to say, if young Vashti were to see the King Tut exhibit, she would've died on the spot from happiness & would have requested everyone mummify her, leaving her heart in the body & storing her intestines, lungs, liver, & stomach in canopic jars. As a kid, I really, genuinely think I wanted to be mummified & stuck in a pyramid when I died. In fact, I distinctly remember the sheer dissapointment I felt when someone told me that wasn't feasible & I'd likely be put in a standard grave or cremated. "Too expensive" is what they told me.

    The King Tut exhibit was most definitely worth our time. I enjoyed so much of the trip that I'm not sure if I can say it was my absolute favorite part, but it very possibly was. We were in there for I think an hour and a half. The guy at the desk said it would probably take us about an hour to get through, but I had to read absolutely every piece of text in the exhibit. I most liked the recreation of King Tut's sarchophagi & funerary mask & jewellery. What can I say... King Tut's funerary mask is basically emblamatic of Egyptology, right? Also just the size of them is so much bigger than you would think. I never understood their scale when reading my books. Outside of that, I'd say I also simply enjoyed looking at the artistry of the ancient Egyptians, especially their depiction of scarabs.

    I took very few pictures, most were of E, some of myself & a few of the actual contents of the exhibit. One thing I did take a picture of was actually a placard speaking about King Tut's Wishing Cup, or the lotus chalice. A prayer was inscribed, which stuck with me: "May your spirit live! May you spend millions of years, you who love Thebes, sitting with your face to the north wind, your eyes beholding goodness." Just the idea that so long ago, people still wanted to live forever, it just made me feel funny. We don't really change. And you know, King Tut, a king, a pharaoh, was almost lost to time. What does that mean for me or for you? If history leaves even pharaohs behind, what happens to Vashti? It just made me think of my own personal mortality... And it also stuck with me, because in a way, he has lived forever, so far. We found him & I think he'll be remembered as long as there are people to remember him. Maybe not millions of years, but for a while, maybe. And it's always been so interesting to me, too, that he's not remembered for his life, he's remembered for his death & his tomb. When they prayed for him, I don't think that's what they had in mind, you know? It's kind of sad.

    And I've never said this to anyone, but reading about Ancient Egyptian religion & forgotten gods as a child, it really did shape the way I see religion to this day. Maybe this is going to sound bad, but as a kid, I was always stricken by how in a way, these religious rites seemed to be in vain, because no one believed in these gods anymore. And it almost made all religion seem pointless or silly to me, because if these gods were forgotten, what's stopping our gods from being forgotten? The only thing that did this to them was the passage of time, not even these gods could withstand it. & I'd always thought that if I were to believe in God, well a few thousand years will go by & then no one will believe in that God anymore, he'll be fake & I'll have been wrong. I was a very atheistic child & even then, I thought when people died they were just dead & lost forever & only things like pyramids would keep them from being forgotten, because there was no afterlife waiting for us. As I've gotten older, I've turned toward religion, but in an unorthodox sense: I still do believe that when I die, I very likely will just die & nothing will be waiting for me, nor am I really sure or unsure about God's existence. But I still see merit in religion & want to be religious. I think it's a source of comfort that people have constructed, but there's nothing wrong with it. I've learned that it all wasn't in vain & that whether or not the ancient Egyptian gods were real doesn't really change anything in the end.

    2023 Houston Trip / Part Three
    After Sapporo, we went straight back to the hotel. Oh, & her sister sent her money for our dinner, which was really sweet! I don't know if I mentioned that already. But yeah, we went straight back to the hotel, 'cause E said she didn't want to be out & about in Houston at night. I can see why; I mean, she's tiny. She thinks I'm really tall, but I'm only 5'6" (167 cm), which is so funny to me. Since she didn't want to walk around at night or take the train or the bus, she called an Uber. When we got back to the hotel, she showered & I typed away on this site & then I showered & she talked on the phone with her sister (I think). I don't know, I didn't want to eavesdrop, so once I was done, I just went back to writing & put on my noise cancelling headphones. I could've stayed up longer, but once she was done on the phone, she seemed really exhausted, so I just put everything away & got ready for bed. Well, we talked for a little while first. & we sorted out tickets, plans, etc. I was basically "in charge" of our plans you could say. She referred to it as my trip, because it was my idea & I was the one who planned it all out, but I didn't want her to feel that way, so I really tried to make sure we did things she wanted to do, too. That's why for our next day, Tuesday, after visiting the Houston Museum of Natural Science, we decided to visit the Houston Holocaust Museum (the one museum she asked to see) before the Rothko Chapel. & the plan was that if we ran out of time, because we were leaving in the late afternoon Wednesday, we would see the Rothko Chapel then. And so we talked for a little while & she started yawning, yawning, yawning & we decided we'd just buy our tickets Tuesday, at the place, & not online. I don't really remember what we talked about. Just that I was going to sleep with a towel on my pillow so I didn't dye it purple. & she said that she couldn't believe we were staying in a hotel in Houston, which I thought was kind of cute. i didn't say that to her, because you can't just tell someone Aww, what you said was so cute! because it comes off as kind of condescending, don't you think? I didn't mean it that way though, I just thought it was sweet that she was so happy to be on this trip with me. I also couldn't say it was cute I'm a lesbian & people oftentimes have the assumption that Oh! I'm a woman, so this lesbo must be into me. We're seen as predatory. I'm not saying E is like this, though. I've just learned to be careful. Though this caution was probably for nothing, because she didn't mind sharing a bed with me & we say we love each other platonically & she's not weird about it. I don't know. Normally I don't struggle with any sort of internalized homophobia or whatnot, but when I'm talking to girls, I'm always second guessing myself, policing myself, trying not to come across the wrong way. I don't know where it comes from & I don't like to admit it. I think this is the first time I've actually written the words.

    She set an earlier alarm than me, because she takes way longer to get ready. She does her makeup, puts rings on, brushes her hair, etc. My getting ready is this: piss, brush my teeth, get dressed. Sometimes if I'm stuggling with the texture of my clothes it'll take a while, because I'll try on a flurry of clothes, trying to find something that I can tolerate, that is comfortable, but for this trip? I had a pair of shorts (that doubled as my PJs), three shirts, my pair of rave pants as my dad likes to call them, & a jacket. And one of the shirts was hers, actually. So there wasn't a lot of dressing up to do on my part. None of my typical elaborate outfits. So her alarm went off, I went back to sleep, then later, my alarm went off & I got up. I think she went back to sleep after her alarm went off, but she was up by the time I was up. She brought her backpack, but I just brought my phone in one pocket, wallet in the other. It took me a minute to find my shoes before we left, because she moved them to the front of the room, by the door. One thing I didn't know about her prior to this trip is that she is a very neat & tidy gal. When I got in our room, I just tossed my stuff on a heap on the table. She sorted her things into drawers. Then I figured since she wants it nice & neat, a heap of my junk is probably unsightly, so I scooped everything into a drawer & called it a day, well a night. She also made the bed in the morning! Her half, so then I realized well I have to make my half, something I didn't even think about doing. The only time I make my bed is when I wash my sheets & bedding, you know?

    So after waking up, we trotted downstairs for our free breakfast. I wasn't feeling very good, so I just pecked at some little pastry. A muffin, I think. And I drank some water. I forgot what E got, but I do remember we both snagged some granola bars to shove in E's bag for later. It was funny, she told me I should go grab some for later as I already had them in my hand. We watched the news & talked about politics & current events like old people, then we went to the front desk to check in again for our second night. Then we were off to the Houston Natural Science Museum!

    2023 Houston Trip / Part Two
    After the ferris wheel, we entered the actual aquarium part of the aquarium, with all of the exhibits. I think that part was the most fun to me, because I saw a gar! Several gar! If you didn't know, for some inexplicable reason, I love gars. I don't know why. It's as though I'm being possessed whenever I see them; I can't help it. I lose control & scream "Gar! Gar! It's a gar! E, did you see this? It's a gar! Look at the gar! That one's a spotted gar!" And while I'm yelling this out loud, in my head I'm yelling "GAR! GAR! GAR! GAR! GAR! GAR!" on a loop. I don't know. I really can't explain where this obsession came from. They just have some impossible to articulate allure to me. Maybe it's their little snouts. Maybe it's because they're super old and cool like ammonites and trilobites. Maybe it's because they're so cute. I don't know. I just love gars. If anyone were to get a gar tramp stamp, it would be Vashti. If anyone were to have the middle name "Gar," it would be Vashti. Vashti Gar It's-A-Secret. And E asked me if they were my favroite animal, well she asked me this at the museum because I saw a gar fossil, but that's a story for slightly later. And I'd never really thought about it, but I guess they are one of my favorites: Gars, thylacines, stag beetles, & pigeons. I also like tigers, isopods, stingrays, seals, ammonites, nautiluses, & trilobites. And while they're not my favorite animal, I'd say I definitely have stronger opinions on orcas than most people. But I have stronger opinions on a lot of things than most people I've realized.

    The rest of the aquarium is quite the blur, I must say. The gars really were the highlight for me. I think we saw an ocean sunfish, because I remember telling E that in French, they call sunfish moonfish or "poisson lune." And we saw the jellies, because I'm really fond of jellies & remember E pointing them out to me. Oh, and we saw a moray eel! E said it was creepy, but I think they're so cool! And we saw a fish called a "Sergeant Major" & I remember this because it sounded made up. Same with the virginicus fish. I think it was a porkfish, an Anisotremus viginucus or something. I kept telling E "Look! A virginicus!" & she said she thought I was messing with her. Oh, and a cute catfish, like my Lego one. And an epic arowana. (Not as cool as a gar, but still pretty cool). After the aquarium, we tried to feed the rays & failed & then we did the shark tunnel ride again.

    After the Downtown Aquarium, we went to this restuarant called Sapporo that was pretty nearby. My sister went for her last birthday. E has mentioned wanting sushi a few times, so I thought it would be fun. I got nabeyaki udon, which was delicious! Delicious, delicious, delicious! And hot, too hot. It took one million years for my food to cool off enough to eat. It was a lot too, so I shared with E. We also split yakitori, which I'd always wanted but never had. Also delicious. I'm not much of a food critic it seems. The only words that I can conjure up are "delicious." E got sushi, I forgot which. Maybe some rainbow rolls? All I know is that she liked them. I would've gotten a Sapporo Beer, but I'm waiting till I go to Japan next summer to try some.

    2023 Houston Trip / Part One
    After we arrived in Houston, we walked ourselves to our hotel. It was all sad and pathetic, like a little desert lizard accustomed to only going out in the early morning or evening sun to avoid the heat that had to tread under its rays because a predator was chasing it or something. In this case, the predator was our lack of car. And the heat was even worse than a desert, because we were surrounded on all sides by asphalt, asphalt, concrete, asphalt, glass from skyscrapers glaring, asphalt. It's basically like the big city near where we live, only even bigger. Even the roads were bigger. It was weird. And all of the buildings seemed to be thrown together like a collage with no planning. I will say that there were many, many crosswalks & the area we were in was pretty walkable. It was crowded, but also somehow open. It was like being lost in a big store with no one in sight. Yeah, it's crowded, but not with people. All of the people we saw were in cars, shut away from us. But you know, it wasn't a long walk at all, actually. I made sure to pick a hotel relatively close to our bus stop. It was kind of expensive, but the other hotel in the area that wasn't the Four Seasons Hotel or some other ridiculous luxury place I'd never set foot in was one with the highest rating being three stars. And in that review, they said it was sort of a dump. And in another review, they said they'd try to get you with hidden fees. And another one said that. And another one said that. And then one said they didn't feel safe there. And another said the place was filthy. So I decided to shell out for the non-murder hotel.

    After we made it to the hotel, I had to book us another night. The reservation was under my name anyways & E isn't old enough to book a hotel. A bunch of them say you have to be at least 21, which is crazy to me. You even have to be 21 to buy cigs now. But you can join the military straight out of high school. (And let me tell you, they try to lure the poor kids into the military). But yeah, I booked us another night & it took kind of a while, because I'd originally prepaid online, so the guy had to just make a separate booking, because he couldn't edit the one I'd already paid for. So the next day, I had to check in a second time. I didn't mind though. The guy called me sir a few times before he saw my I.D., so it was all hunky dory to me. (It was so funny, too, because E thought it was crazy that I got mistaken for a guy. It happens to me all the time though). And it was nice to stand somewhere with A.C.

    Once we got to the hotel room, we dumped our stuff off that we had been lugging around all day & headed straight to the Houston Downtown Aquarium. Took the train & it smelled like piss. It's so silly to me, we passed all of these fancy buildings & outdoor art installations, but we also passed a bunch of homeless people & the train smelled like piss. You'd think they'd have enough money to fix these problems. And you'd be right. They just don't.

    We had to walk some more, about ten to fifteen minutes or so, because the entire city is built as though cars live there first & human people second. It's littered with litter & parking garages & parking lots. The roads are big & fat and the cars are big & fat & the buildings are big & fat & swollen. That's how the aquarium was; It was giant. And I mean giant. We approached it from the back of the building & I thought that perhaps we had the wrong place, because it looked like it could be an apartment or a hotel or something. Then we saw the ferris wheel & the train tracks & face painting & we realized we were in the right place. We got something called an "adventure pass" or something for twenty bucks & it basically let you do almost whatever you wanted, aside from paying to feed the animals. The first thing we did was pet the stingrays; Vashti loves stingrays. When I was a kid & my parents were still together & I was too young to understand the intelligence of orcas & the tragedy of their captivity, we went to SeaWorld for one of my birthdays. & they has this things where you eat with Shamu. I don't know if it was the real Shamu or anything, because I think every orca was Shamu to me & every SeaWorld had one. And essentially, my parents just paid (a likely exorbiant amount of money) for us to eat lunch in the orca auditorium thing for an hour & watch them swim around. This got cancelled though, because one of their other orcas mauled a trainer. I think she got mauled to death, actually. Timeline wise, I think it was probably Dawn Brancheau, because that fits in with about how young I'd be at the time. I'm not sure though. That happened a few months before my would-be birthday, so maybe it was something else. the gist of it was that Shamu tried to kill someone, though, so I couldn't see him, even behind glass. That was the entire reason we went, though, so they ended up letting us tour around the park in the early morning, before it opened. We watched them feed the animals, fed the dolphins, & they let us pet the stingrays, all while no one else was around. It was even more fun than lunch with Shamu, and all it cost was someone's arm or leg or scalp or life, huh? But yeah, since that young age, whichever age that was, I'd always been fond of stingrays. I have a lot of problems with many textures, but they're the perfect texture to me. I wish I had a blanket that felt like a stingray; I'd never let it go. And I wish it were really heavy, because sometimes when I need to chill out, I'll take a blanket & set books on top of myself or something. It's very calming.

    But yeah! Stingrays, we pet them for a while & decided we'd feed them on the way out before we leave. Big mistake, because when we went back to feed 'em they told us they'd been fed enough today & they weren't selling food anymore. It sucked, but I'm glad they actually care about that. & then we washed our hands again, because we washed our hands before plunging them in the tank, but E is really particular about stuff like that, so she went to the bathroom to rewash her hands. I'm particular about things too, like noises and lights and textures (& even which parts of the sidewalk I'd walk on some time ago), so I didn't mind. I get it. And while she did that, I bought a nice bottle of cold Coke, because I hadn't had anything to drink in hours, because I had no water on the Greyhound & didn't bother getting anything to drink at the hotel & then it hit me very suddenly as I was waiting for E to finish washing her hands that I was extrememly thirsty. It happens to me all the time though. I always forget to eat or drink. I don't know. It's just how I am when I'm preoccupied with something. Then E came back, bought herself a lemonade, because she loves lemonade for some reason, (gross)! (Well I like pink lemondade sometimes). & then we went outside to go in the shark tunnel. It was this train ride where they stop you in one of those aquarium tunnels & you watch the sharks swim around you for a little while. The sharks were cool and all, but the sawfish was my favorite! And they're actually rays you know. And if you didn't, now you do! I think it was a largetooth sawfish, but I'm not sure. E was so funny, too, because as we were walking through the actual aquarium portion with the rest of the fish, I just kept pointing out all of the fish to her till she just stopped and asked me how I even knew the names of all of these fish. I didn't really have an answer. I just like reading things, I guess. She was also really funny when she fell for this little jumpscare toward the end of the shark ride. They started playing tense music, kind of like Jaws music or something, & made a fake shark pop out at you & she jumped. When we went through again she even jumped a second time.

    I laugh at her getting scared of the fake shark, but when we went up on the ferris wheel, I thought we were gonna die. It went really, really, really fast for some reason & made these creaking, scraping noises & our little car just kept rocking back & forth the entire time. Not sure why. My guess is because I'm way bigger than E is. And it wasn't too bad when we were speeding around in circles. The scary part was when they left us at the top for a little while. It was horrifying. I don't understand how something like that is supposed to be romantic. You know, people on dates always go on ferris wheels in movies, I think it's even an option in Persona 5 Royal, so let me tell you: 1) I will never go on an amusement park date and 2) If I do, me & the mystery girl are not going on a ferris wheel. She can buy me a funnel cake & we can spin around in one of those teacup rides. They're the only ones I like. And the view from the ferris wheel was not the nicest, I have to say. It overlooked a bunch of roads & highways & urban sprawl. That was actually kind of funny to me though. At least it felt nice. & at least E had fun with it.

    08/16/2023 / 10:08 PM
    Our Greyhound got cancelled for a third time. I'd write more, but I'm just exhausted. We slept six hours last night, woke up at 4:30 AM & it is now 10 PM & I got home a little while ago. I am so tired. Not even sleepy necessarily, just exhuasted physically & mentally. Our trip that was supposed to be a few hours ended up taking us about seventeen or eighteen hours to get from Houston to home. We were almost stranded in Houston. I was already scripting in my head how I would go about calling in tomorrow because I'm stranded in a faraway city with no way to get home. I have nothing descriptive to say about it. I'm just tired. I'm going to pack my things because I have work & am visiting my mom tomorrow, but some time tomorrow I'll probably write about our trip. It was just a lot. Too much for me to write now.

    08/15/2023 / 8:46 AM
    Oh dear friends. Our Greyhound got cancelled again, so I'm not going to get to see the Rothko Chapel. To say that I'm disappointed is an understatement. I really am just sad about it. No other way to spin it. Yeah, I should be positive about things & I am truly happy to have gone on this trip, but I feel like I'm missing something really important.

    08/14/2023 / 9:55 PM
    Finally in Houston! You may wonder why I use the word "finally" & that's because getting here was an ordeal. 1) I wake up very, very early, because E is going to pick me up on our way to the train station. 2) Right before she arrives, we both get a text saying that our Greyhound was cancelled. 3) We can reschedule, but we'd get to Huston at 5 PM today, leaving almost no time to do what we'd planned. 4) We choose to stay an extra night & come back Wednesday. 4) We were at E's house as we were planning this, so we have to go back towards my house to the train station. 5) Please note that the museum tickets we bought are now worthless, because they don't do refunds. Goodbye $35. 6) We have to move our Greyhound return trip back a day, another fee. 7) We have to pay for another night at the hotel room, not a super big deal because we essentially paid one night each, but still annoying. 8) We leave on a very early train, that way we arrive to the station early & have time to get food, because I hadn't eaten at all. 9) Our train stops suddenly & we're stuck. 10) "It's a mechanical error." 11) We can't leave, because it's unsafe to cross the very empty tracks. 12) They'll send another train in thirty minutes at the latest. 13) Over an hour passes, no train. 14) They send in a mechanic & he can't fix the train. 16) The other train is supposedly one stop away. 15) I ask again to just get off, because this is stupid. Policy says we can only get off the train if they hit something, but "it's a mechanical error." 16) The A.C. isn't working and it's 100 degrees out. 17) Note that this is after I told E how great the train was, because she'd never ridden it. 18) Our supposed to be forty minute ride becomes about two or so hours, & they send a van to come get us, because I guess the other train was just made up to placate us. 19) The van drops us off at our stop, which was about five minutes away. 20) We have to take an Uber, because there's no time for a bus. There is no time to get food either, so I sat for hours on the train & bus with no food or water. It was 9 PM by the time I ate. 21) We finally get to the bus station. 22) By the time our Greyhound leaves, this was the time we already should've arrived in Houston. 22) We finally arrive to Houston!

    And the Greyhound ride really wasn't too bad. We had no rest stops, so I had no food or water, but I had gone so long without food at this point that I just quit feeling hungry or thirsty, so I really wasn't bothered by it. E took her motion sickness pills, so she didn't puke. Of course, she did have to focus on not puking for hours, but hey, she was successful! The atmosphere is a lot like a plane ride. Just the way the seats are arranged, the bathroom at the very end of the bus, the seatbelt sign overhead, the air conditioning vents overhead, the fact they told us multiple times not to smoke in the bathroom. It was quiet, too. E and I didn't really talk. She just sat with her eyes shut & slept a bit & I just listened to music. I read about Rothko for thirty minutes or so, from this little book I bought from the library for fifty cents. It was about the evolution of his style. I listened to Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel album again. That's how I know the book was about thirty minutes, it was a little longer than it took for me to listen to the album.

    08/13/2023 / 11:41 PM
    Houston trip tomorrow! So many logistics, buses to catch, trains to catch, hours spent on buses, tickets, tickets, tickets, times & places & addresses & plans & it is overwhelming! But it's done now; I've planned the entire thing, down to the hour, because I am not one for spontaneity. Luckily, I don't think E minds my neuroticism; She just thanked me for booking the hotel & planning everything out. Her only request was that we get back to our hotel by 10 PM, which isn't a big deal to me & if that's what makes her feel safe a bunch of miles away from home, so be it. She also said she didn't want to take the bus at night, so instead we're going to call a cab or an Uber, which is also not a big deal to me. She said she'd pay for it herself, but we can split it.

    The highlight of the trip will be the Rothko Chapel I believe. It's the entire reason I'm going to Houston in the first place. You could consider this a pilgrimage by bus. I don't think that I could hope to explain all of my thoughts & feelings about Rothko's works & hope to go to bed on time, so I'll just say this: Even when I feel nothing, when everything is stagnant & rusted & stuck, his paintings always stir something in me. Every single one. I don't think that I've seen one of his color fields & stayed the same. I think others try to understand their meaning, but they're more like an experience to me, with no inherent meaning. Not to say that there was no purpose he felt as he was painting, but what I mean is that I can look at a rainbow & feel moved to the point of tears. Another can look at it & just smile. Another person can look at it & feel nothing. Another person can look at it & wonder what they should have for lunch. The rainbow hasn't changed, just our feelings & responses to it, our experience of it. & you know, some of the feelings I get when looking at a Rothko are so visceral or religious or both, that I thought it was universal. I thought that everyone felt moved, maybe not in the same direction, but moved. But I was wrong. Some people just experience rectangles.

    I know very little about the chapel beyond its hours & location & that is purposeful. I want no preconceptions, no assumptions; I just want to experience whatever may be waiting for me within. I know that it houses (chapels?) some of his paintings there & that he died before its completion & no more. I don't know Rothko's thoughts or writings about the chapel. I don't know its history. I know next to nothing & that is rare for me. Normal Vashti fashion would lead me to learn everything I can about it, but I don't want Rothko's vision to interfere with mine. I don't want to be influenced by anything, other than my growing excitement for the trip.

    Here is one of my favorite Rothko paintings. Here is another & here is another. So is this one. I could keep going, too, but I have a train to catch early tomorrow. Good night.

    08/12/2023 / 11:06 PM
    Went to work early today, sad! Lame! I made $80 in tips again though, so oh well. & I don't work until next Thursday. It was really slow today, too, so I just leaned against a wall & scrolled on my phone for hours. And you know, a week ago feels like weeks ago, a month ago & I was so miserable that I could barely leave the house & now it's the exact opposite: I feel energetic & happy & as though I need to run around or spin around in a centrifuge or go Around the world, around the world / Around the world, around the world. I've had that song in my head all day. You'd think I'd have Beneath the Mask in my head, because I listened to it on a loop as I went to bed last night, but you'd be wrong! Around the world, around the world / Around the world, around the world. And I'm so happy & I'm soaring & the world is rising up to meet me, so I'm somehow still connected with everything. I have reasons to be happy. That's what I'm saying. I examine my happiness under a lens of suspicion constantly, out of fear that it could be (hypo)mania, but as of right now, I think my happiness is justified. Well that's not how I'd like to put it, though I think that's how others (doctors, psychiatrists) would like to put it. There are no symptoms to my happiness at the moment. I am sleeping well & I'm lucid & I am able to write & I am able to go to work & I am able to save my money and not projectile vomit it out. So I think that I'm fine. Well, the fact that I went from so low to so high may be cause for concern, but I'm taking a step back & trying not to treat myself as a case study.

    I went to work & I came home & there was a carnival in our neighborhood! I got a free popsicle, a good one, coffee flavored & free cotton candy, green my favorite color & a funnel cake, not free, but I've been craving funnel cake so I coughed up the money for it (instead of projectile vomiting it out). They had face paint, but I'd already showered & it was 7 PM, so I didn't get any. They also had brisket, but I spent my money on funnel cake instead, because I have my priorities all set in a row like little ducks in a row. They also had rides, free, but they were kid-sized. If they had a spinny ride like a teacup one, I would've waited in line for that, but they didn't.

    Waking up early tomorrow to listen to our radio show; It's the last one we'll listen to before my sister leaves for college. I want a McMuffin from McDonald's. Maybe we can get breakfast. When we listen to our Sunday show, there's almost always breakfast, though. For the past few days, it's as though it doesn't matter how much I eat, it won't make me full. I don't mind it. I just listen to whatever my body is telling me. I don't surveil my body; I don't count calories & to be quite honest, I don't often even read nutrition labels either.

    Then the day after tomorrow, Monday, is when we leave for Houston. Tomorrow's my day to triple check things. I'm neurotic & scared & paranoid when it comes to travelling. I used to not even be able to leave the house. I used to only walk on certain parts of the sidewalk in a certain order every I did manage to leave, because I thought I had to to be safe. In short, this long bus trip to another city where I booked my own hotel & am staying overnight away from family is a big deal to me. This would have been unthinkable to me a year ago. & the Rothko Chapel is a big deal to me, because he's one of my favorite artists. & the fact that E & I are going together is a big deal to me, because it makes me feel like a normal girl my age who gets out of the house & does girl trips or whatever this would be classified as. This trip is a big step towards independence for me, moreso than Oregon.

    08/11/2023 / 11:55 PM
    I don't really have very much to say, somehow. My mind feels quiet. I slept in until 10:30 AM this morning because I had work at 11 AM & I'm just going to go to sleep after writing this. It's my last day of work tomorrow & then I'm off until next Thursday. & even then, I'm only working two days: Thursday & Friday. Next week I have the Houston trip, I'm taking my sister to Daiso & to get sushi, I'm taking my brother to the movies again to see Blue Beetle & E is coming too. The only day I'm not doing anything is Sunday & that's just because I never work Sundays & E will be in church. I want to go out, but I don't want to spend too much money. Then again I made $80 in tips today & I only worked about five hours, so I could afford it just fine, but I don't know. I just paid for classes & all. I'm going to be staying with my mom starting Thursday, so my guess is that by Sunday, I'll want out of the house. Then comes Monday, the start of school.

    You know, I was giving it some thought, & at the moment, I'm pretty content with my life. I've come to the realization that how we spend our days is how we spend our lives & I think I'd be happy with a few more years of this life of mine, until I'm done with school & on to whatever's next for me. This is the first time I think I've been able to say that.

    I just feel a bit boring today. Nothing else to say. Bonne nuit.

    08/11/2023 / Lots of things to do
  • work tomorrow
  • buy one get one at the coffee shop
  • set up sister's driver's permit appt.
  • laundry
  • pack bag for Houston trip
    • wallet
    • tickets
    • phone charger (& phone)
    • ginger candies (for E)
    • change of clothes
    • toothbrush & floss
    • deodorant
  • print tickets (tomorrow)
  • itinerary
  • book hotel room
  • scan passport nonsense
  • check in with school advisor

  • 08/10/2023 / 5:24 PM
    Hanging at the coffee shop near my dad's school right now. I got off work at 4 PM. Forgot to check my tips for the day because I was in such a rush. My dad gave me a ride. He's doing some back-to-school thing or something that goes until 7 PM & I'm just going to go home with him afterwards.

    I slept so incredibly well last night. I still feel good somehow. I've been listening to music while I go to sleep lately. Last night I listened to Beneath the Mask from Persona 5: Royal. Maybe it's in the original, too. I don't know. I've never played the original. It's been one of my favorite songs since the moment I'd first heard it. It's my favorite P5R song, too. I listen to video game music a lot, especially while I study or sleep or read. Something about it just works for me, maybe because it's made to be played in the background of another activity? Maybe because it's composed to play in a loop? Maybe it's just because I like video games. I'm wanting to play P5R again. I used to be obsessed with it. I used all of my free time & played it till I was all the way through. (It's a long game, though, so it was at least a couple of months that I was at it, probably more. I think I first got it winter break when it was on sale, so I was able to basically play as long as I wanted every single day for a few weeks). Then played it a second time. Then played it a third time. Then I probably found something else to obsess over; That's normally how I operate. This was one of my longer lived obsessions, though. It must've gone on for what? At least half a year, probably longer. I mean, the game is like 90-100 hours on the low end, & I think the last two times I played it, I hovered around 120 hours each, so I must've been at it a while. Not only did I play it constantly, when I couldn't play it for whatever reason, I'd find someone who was streaming a part that I'd already played. I read some of the Mementos Mission comics, too. & they had this deal on Persona 4: Golden, so I bought that too, & decided I'd play once I was finished with P5R, but I was so into P5R that I ended up just playing it again immediately after finishing. I still haven't gotten very far into P4G, but I should. I say that, but I hear the sirens calling out "Persona 5" to me.

    08/09/2023 / 11:06 PM
    Quick entry; Going to bed early because I work tomorrow. Still need to pack up my things. Woke up on the couch 9:30 AM. Lazy day. Spent time with my brother & he played the Happy Home Paradise DLC & I just sat beside him doing God knows what, I already forgot. Went on a walk, too hot. Argued with my mom. Showered. Played Minecraft with my little brother, a survival world, he was a remora the entire time, never leaving my side. Tried peach Ramune for the first time, delicious, perhaps my new favorite flavor behind lychee. Was hungry today & ate a lot: Pocky, chicken tikka masala, vegetable samosa, dark chocolate Raisinets, Hot Cheetos (two separate times), my sister's white cheddar Cheez-Its, soup my mom made (twice). I wonder what's gotten into me. Of course, "hungry" isn't really the word. My stomach will yowl & make noises like a ghost is haunting it, but I won't normally feel the sensation of hunger. Listened to Okurimono again because my brother loved it so much & my mom wanted to hear it. Put away groceries. Packed my things to bring with me to my dad's house. Watched my little brother play Roblox, the pizza place game. He became manager right as I walked out the door. The car was so hot & the sun was so bright that it felt as though I were getting sunburnt by just sitting in the passenger seat. Read some of The Indifferent Stars Above. Went for another walk, only a few songs long, beads of sweat gathered on my face. Sleepy but didn't go to sleep. Another walk later, this time in the shade because it was evening time. Still hot, but not to the extent that I had to go home after ten minutes or so. Unremarkable but comfortable day. I feel like I did nothing. I have to get my work things ready for the morning. Good night cruel world, see you in the morning!

    08/08/2023 / 11:57 PM
    I'm laying on the couch & the lights are off & I'm typing gently because my little brother is sleeping on the other couch, just a few feet away. He wanted to have a sleepover & I normally tell him no, because I go to bed much later than him, but I really am making an effort to go to bed earlier, so this time I told him yes. He brought down our blankets from our rooms & pillows & we brushed our teeth because we'd had Ramune earlier & I really am making an effort to brush my teeth every night. Okurimono by Hyakkei is playing, my favorite album, not through my headphones but on the TV, because I asked him if he wanted to listen to music as he went to sleep. I think he only managed to listen to a song or two before he fell asleep, but before he did, he told me "this music [was] music to [his] ears." What a cute thing to say. I'm glad that he loves this album, too. I think music is made for sharing.

    I feel really happy right now. Oftentimes, I can just barely scrape contentment with the realization that happiness is still out of reach, but not tonight. Tonight my cup is so full that I have to carry a second cup underneath it to catch anything it spills. What is it a cup of? Maybe Ramune. He's only had it twice now, but he loves it. He loves it so much that he drank all of his bottle & wanted some of mine. He wasn't greedy, though. I just had something he really wanted & I could tell. He didn't expect me to give him mine, but was glad I did. I wish tonight could last forever. I wish we could drink Ramune & brush our teeth & he could stay little & school wouldn't start & he could sleep & I could lay there & listen to this album forever. I mean it.

    And I saw E again today & I wish that could last forever, too. We couldn't see our movie, because there were no seats left that were next to each other, so we just talked for hours & I wish that could last forever. & I wish that I could sit in the passenger seat as she goes in circles trying to find a parking spot forever. & I wish we could wait in line for coffee forever & I wish I could drink my coffee forever. & I wish our grocery trip lasted forever. & I wish the drive home lasted forever. & I brought Indian food home for dinner to share with my mom & my brother & I wish that could last forever. & I went upstairs & sat with my mom while she organized her desk, even though it was boring, because I wish that could last forever, too. I wish I could listen to her talk about sticky notes forever. But one day she'll be dead & her desk will be gone & her sticky notes will be gone. And after I watched my mom organize her desk, I took my brother out for an evening walk & I wish that could last forever. We watched the sunset & if the sky were to really freeze & hold like that forever, I wouldn't get tired of it. & I gave my brother a couple of pushes on the swing & then he was able to swing himself. & just a few months ago, he wouldn't have been able to do & I'd stand there & I'd push him, maybe a bit begrudgingly, but he wouldn't know it. & despite that, I'd wish to myself that I could push him on that swing forever.

    Of course, the thing about forever is that it doesn't work. Even if I somehow could hold one of these moments forever, my hands would be full & I wouldn't have room for anything else; You can't watch the sunset forever & drive in circles in the afternoon sun forever & drink coffee forever while you share Ramune forever. These things are mutually exclusive by virtue of being forever. You can't have multiple forevers. So I'm grateful that they're not forever, even if I do want them to be that way. Because everything was temporary & ending, I got to experience so many wonderful things over the course of only a few hours.

    And it's somehow the eighth of August already & summer is fleeting, but it can't last forever. A month is so short, isn't it? Just four weeks. That's not a lot of time at all, but in that time so much can happen. Everything can change. And even though I can't hold onto this moment, on this couch, with my brother & this album for forever, I'll try at least a little bit. I'll just lay here for a while & try to hold on before I go to sleep. This happiness I feel right now, it's the reason I've stayed alive. Everyone's fond of telling you it will get better, but the thing about that is that you have to experience it for yourself to believe it. I believe it. And I wish this night & this happiness could last forever.

    08/07/2023 / 11:55 PM
    Continuing my writing about yesterday, Sunday, I played chess with my little brother & we then got in the pool. I told him very explicitly that if I get in this pool with you, do not splash my hair, because my dye will run & this water will become purple. He was actually very careful, more careful than you'd expect a kid to be. Like I've said before, he's a very polite kid, very conscientious. Or put succinctly, he's a good boy. And you know, last night, I actually had a "nightmare" where all of my hair dye was gone & I was just bleach blonde. It was awful. Anyways, we weren't in the pool for too long because the sun was blaring & my skin was burning, but we were in the water for maybe thirty minutes or so. We had one of those pool floats that you lay on, like a chaise longue, (& the pool was so small it basically was the length of the pool, maybe a foot less), & we played this game where he'd lay down & I'd just shove him off & dunk him in the water. It was fun for him. I mean, I'd prefer to just lay in the water, but if all it takes to make him happy is to shove him off of a pool float, who cares? My dad & stepmom got my sister Starbucks, because they were celebrating her birthday, & they got my borther & me Frappuccinos. After they gave us our drinks, we got out of the water & went inside. We played Minecraft until we left for the movie.

    Before the movie, we went to the nearby dollar store to load up on candy & soda, then we made our way to the theatre. The movie was Princess Mononoke, which I think I've mentioned. He didn't seem particulary enthusiastic about the movie itself, just about spending time with me, his one & (not) only big sister, until I told him it had blood & wolves in it. That got him real excited, real quick. He loved the movie, too. He gave it a 10 out of 10, which made me glad to hear. I thought it may be a bit too mature for him, story-wise, but I suppose I was mistaken, huh?

    After the movie, we met our mother at the used bookstore & I managed to find two Junji Ito collections, each half off; Incredible luck! I asked my mom to buy them, expecting her to tell me no, & she asked why she should buy them & I said just because & she said alright & got them for me. Incredible luck, part two!

    After saying goodbye to my mom & my brother, I went back to my dad's house for the night. Played more Minecraft & this card game called Flux with my father & sister. Not my favorite game, but it was fun enough. I don't think I'd ever go out of my way to choose it over chess or Catan or something, but it was nice to spend time with them, I guess. I then packed up my things to bring to my mom's for the span of a couple of days & picked out my outfit for the Barbie movie. Apparently people dress up in pink for it & I have a lot of pink. I ended up with a white floral print dress with pink flowers, a red skirt underneath, chunky sandals, & a dicky. I've worn that dress many times before & it is easily one of my favorite pieces of clothing. I actually spent thirty or so dollars on it, which is a lot for me, because I thrift all of my clothes & that has really skewed my view on what's a fair price. And I looked good today. It was fun to dress up & I like playing around with layering. The clothes were baggy & feminine & I felt confident. I just love fashion. Maybe I should make some sort of photo log of my outfits on here. I just don't want my face or any identifying features atatched to this site due to internet safety and whatnot. What to do with my passion for fashion?

    Barbie was extremely underwhelming. Not a feminist masterpiece like so many said, nor did it hate men like so many said. Unfortunate on all accounts. I have a lot of thoughts on it that I will record elsewhere, but I can sum up my feelings as follows: It was a barely lukewarm feminist movie & was fun to watch because I was with my friend. And because I didn't pay for tickets. It was alright, but not alright enough, and I will never watch it again. I find it insulting that it's being heralded as some new cornerstone of feminist cinema & don't think it deserves any of the hype & almost none of the praise that it's received.

    After the movie E & I just talked for hours. We got pho for lunch & talked over food & then talked when our food was long gone & into dinner time. We talked about every topic under the Sun. We talked about movies, ebcause after hearing me talk about Barbie, she was interest in my favorite movies. I told her Paddington (2014), The Thing (1982), But I'm a Cheerleader (1999), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995) & that I tend to like animated movies like Spirited Away or claymation like Coraline, which she had just seen for the first time recently. I told her that I honestly can't really recommend movies as well as books. And she told me she wanted to see some Natalie Portman movies like Garden State (2004) & I told her I'd seen that & I love the soundtrack, but hate the way the girl is written, I forget her name, but she's barely a person. She's just an amalgamation of quirky but still attractive traits, but that she should give the movie a shot because who knows? Maybe she'll like it. Then I told her she should watch V for Vendetta (2005) & that I didn't remember the plot & had seen it years and years ago, but that I recall enjoying it, but maybe my thoughts had changed after a decade or so. I just remember being young & actually seeing another lesbian on TV, though at this point, i don't think I knew that I was a lesbian, I'd just felt connected to this woman somehow. Then she said she wanted to see Pulp Fiction (1994) & I said that movie was just alright to me, but that I'd like to watch Reservoir Dogs (1992) & that I think it's the same director. I also told her when I was younger one of my favorite movies was District 9 (2009) & that I don't remember it, so we could watch it together. The only part I remember is that the guy eats dog food or cat food or something & the scene is absolutely repulsive. She asked if I liked trilogies or if I considered them too long & I said I don't mind trilogies & that I'd seen the LOTR trilogy but only remember the very end. & then she laughed & asked what I'd remembered & I told her Gollum bites his finger off & the ring gets melted. And then she laughed some more, because that really was all that I rememebered. She really likes LOTR. She said she saw this movie called Tuck Everlasting or something & that she enjoyed it very much & I said oh! That's a book, right? I think it's on my reading list & I think we came to the conclusion that it is indeed a book. We also talked about horror movies some. She doesn't like them she says, but says that she'd watch them with me. I just don't know any good horror movies aside from The Thing (1982) or Perfect Blue (1997). I guess Scream (1996) is good, but that's not really a horror movie. It's just a slasher flic. I think this came about because I'd said I'd wanted to see the Five Nights at Freddy's movie when it came out, but my little brother doesn't want to come with me because it seems too scary. So she said she'd go with me for Halloween. We also have plans to see Blue Beetle, because she wants to see it & while I don't particularly like superhero films, it has a Latino cast, so I'd like to take my little brother, because he's my half brother & half Lation & I'd like him to see people like him on the screen. I'd like him to have a superhero he can point at & see that he's like him. I'm white, so I don't really know how to navigate things & support his identity very well, but as a lesbian it means a lot to see people like me out in the world & on the screen in a life of perpetual invisibility, so I thought maybe Latinos hold some of the same sentiments. I just want to be a good sister to him. Maybe I'll try to learn to cook some dishes from his family's country. I don't think his dad does that at home for him. I know he didn't teach him Spanish.

    We also discussed the trip & our classes. She's worried about her anatomy & physiology class & I told her she has nothing to worry about. I told her she'd be alright & that she'd be more than alright & excel at it because she is smart & dedicated. I think she believed me which makes me glad. I really meant everything I'd said. Things won't just be alright for her, they'll be amazing. I told her that I have the utmost faith in her & I do. Then we talked about my classes & I said I'm somewhat worried that maybe I'll get depressed again & that I don't want a repeat of almost flunking out of school. She said that she'd be tehre for me & that because we have our classes at the same time, (just serendipity, no planning there), that we could study together on school days & that she'd check in with me. She told me maybe the structure would be good for me & I agreed. I also told her maybe I'd try out having a bedtime or some type of morning/night routine to manage my anxities & she said that's a wonderful idea & that if I pick a bedtime, she'll check in with me & text me to go to sleep. I told her that you know, even if I do end up sad, this time things'll be different for me. She asked how I normally manage things & I told her that I just don't & that this is the first time in my life that I've tried to proactively manage my mood. & she asked what I'd do in the past & I told her that honestly, I'd just feel miserable, because I thought it couldn't be helped; I thought that I was just a depressed person, because for a long time, there was no diagnosis for me to point to. I couldn't point at something & realize that I'm acting like this because I'm bipolar, because I really didn't know. & I told her that it's still hard & that there's my personality & there's my disorder & there's no way for me to sort the two out, because there's a lot of overlap, even if it would be helpful. But I told her that I do know now that I am not a sad person & that I can't change the fact that I am mentally ill but that I can change my reaction to it & the way I treat myself & manage it & that I have agency. & I told her that I don't need to be motivated or to feel good, that I am in full control of my actions & that when school starts, I can manage myself & I can make myself put in the necessary effort. & she just smiled at me & it was so genuine & she told me that's amazing. & I guess it is! I couldn't have done this a year or two ago. It's like I'm someone new now, someone I like much better.

    We talked about how I'd been feeling in general & she told me she was sorry, but it didn't bother me. It wasn't like she pitied me, it was sympathy, or I don't know. When someone feels bad for me, it normally comes across as pity to me, as in they see me as smaller or lesser than somehow, like poor, poor bipolar Vashti, oh what a poor soul, but E's not like that. She's just very sympathetic & very compassionate. She really is one of the nicest people I've ever met. And she just looked at me & she didn't have to say anything, because I could tell from the look in her eyes, but she did anyways & told me she was so sorry & that she was there for me. It felt good to talk about things. I told her that I don't talk to my family about it & that she was really my only confidant. She told me she understood. We talked about crying, too, & how I feel like I have to perform my emotions & that no one takes me seriously & that when I do cry, it's normally in front of others, but it doesn't feel right. & I told her I cried last week & it was the first & only time I've cried in months & months, outside of some tears shed for movies or books or other stories. & she was just dumbfounded, because she cries all the time, & she has kind of the opposite problem, I have to cry for people to listen to me & she cries so often that people don't take her tears seriously. She told me she'd believe my words & not my face or tone or lack of tears & I told her I'll believe her no matter how much she cries. I talked about how I kind of feel like a perpetual outsider & that ven as a kid, I felt different from the other girls. We talked about being weird & being normal & I think that ven if I had the chance to "be normal," that I wouldn't do it, that I'd keep myself the way I am, because I think I do love myself. & she asked what "normal" was & I said not bipolar or anxious or neurotic & she told me that those things aren't me & that they're not weird or normal, they're just things. I think she might be right. I told her that recently, I've come to the realization that I don't need to live on everyone else's terms to be happy or healthy & that I'm so different that I should just find my own version of happiness, one just for me.

    She also talked about one of her brothers & how she struggled to fill her tires with air again & how she broke her ankle & her wrist before. & how she sprained her ankle so badly a spearate time that it got put in a cast. She told me the stories about the ankle (same one each time) & it sounded awful, the way she described the crack, the way it hurt to be carried because even then her ankle dangled in the air & gave her no respite. But she said something that stuck out to me, she said it was an interesting expereince & that she's glad she experienced it. & I confessed that while I obviously hope to never break or sprain anything, that it really did sound interesting & it would be almost fun to experience. She said when they put the cast on, it feels amazing. It's like a really hot towel & it hardens around the limb. I'd never given it much thought before, but that makes sense. How else would they get it on? & she says that they saw it off of you & that the first time she saw the saw, she didn't want it near her. & she says when they take the cast off, it smells rank because it hasn't been washed in weeks, another thing I hadn't thought of. & she says even after a few weeks, you still have to learn to use your hand or foot or whatever again. She says it's so hard, but if you put it off, it just gets worse, & that it's like your body has forgotten what to do & that it doesn't want to move, it wants to stay still & stay safe. When I'd heard of people learning to use their hands again, learning to walk again, I didn't realize it was physical. You normally hear that type of thing after a horrific accident, so I'd thought it was a hit to the head or something that made you forget. I guess I didn't realize that there was so much overlap between body & mind.

    She also told me something so nice, she told me he was always so impressed with how much I could write, how easily it came. She thought it was amazing. & I tried to give her advice, because when I gave her writing advice before, it didn't occur to me that she was struggling to write a lot, because I have literally never faced that problem. She said she wants structure to her writing, some cohesiveness, so I told her that she should try just writing about her day from beginning to end, because that's normally what I do, just with tangents whenever my mind wanders. I also told her to write as though she has no audience, because she doesn't. Then we talked about the fragility of memory & the importance of documenting it all. She says she has trouble writing about "normal days," but a day like this for example, a day like this is one she'd have no trouble writing about. She also said something that I'm still bouncing around my mind, she said she was amazed that I can do things so quickly, that I can just choose to do them. It was a really sweet thing to say, because I normally feel the opposite way, that I'm stuck & going nowhere ever. It's so strange to me that someone can have the exact opposite concept of me, & it's not like one of us is right & one of us is wrong, you know?

    She recommended this book to me, a CS Lewis book, Till We Have Faces & it's her favorite book & she was rereading it & whenever she does, she says the narrator makes her think of me. She was quick to say that it's not because the narrator is so ugly she covers her face with a veil & that it's the way she speaks & the way she sees the world. She says she's intense & feels so many emotions or feels none. That's she's "all or nothing." & that it's about love that becomes jealousy & hate & that I have to read it, so I will. & that the narrator is crazy, but that I'm not that crazy. I'm excited to read it. It'll be interesting to see myself the way another sees me. I think you have to be careful of who you use as a mirror & that a lot of people in my life are funhouse mirrors that contort everything, but that E's a good mirror to have & that to see the world through her eyes wouldn't be a bad thing at all. I'm also just happy to have a friend to recommend a book to me. It's never happened to me before. I've never had anyone else in my life who reads. A (small) dream has been fulfilled today.

    After talking for hours & hours, we agreed to meet tomorrow at 2 PM & she brought me home. I spent the rest of the night with my brother & he had Ramune for the first time. He's so cute; He covered his ears when I popped open the bottles. He really liked it. We had strawberry & melon flavors. I'm going to spend some time with him tomorrow morning before leaving to see E, so I'm going to quit writing & go to bed.

    08/07/2023 / 9:00 AM
    Good morning cruel world! I held off on writing last night because I needed to go to bed (kind of) early & I had a very full day yesterday, not because I didn't want to. I ended up going to bed at 1 AM & waking up at about 8:30 AM, so just going to sleep was a good call. (Good job Vashti for having foresight & taking care of yourself!) I am lounging about in a coffee shop because I'm meeting E at 10 AM. We're going to see Barbie, (& maybe Oppenheimer today, maybe tomorrow), get pho, & plan next week's trip. I told her I wasn't feeling very up to much, so all of our plans involve sitting down somewhere. After seeing her, I'm going to go to my mom's house & hang out with my little brother. We're working on a Minecraft survival world together. I'm the type of person who wants everything to be coordinated & if you're going to be my neighbor & make a giant wooden cube & call it a house, I'll call the Minecraft HOA on your ass. & if you're making a farm, you have to at least do some landscaping; You can't just stick crops in the ground & pack up & go to sleep in your dirt & oak plank house. I'm kind of joking, but I do really enjoy building in Minecraft & making everything pretty. You know, as a kid, when I'd play with my dollhouse, I wouldn't actually move the dolls around & play. I'd just painstakingly arrange the furniture to perfection & not touch it & that was fun for me. That's kind of my modus operandi while playing Minecraft. That being said, I want my little brother to have fun & participate in the joys of building in Minecraft, so I put him in charge of making our underground secret base. He can do whatever he wants with it & I don't have to see it from my beautiful Minecraft porch or flower fields; It's the perfect compromise. He also put himself in charge of the farm & while it is a bit unsightly & right next to our Minecraft home, I'll live.

    Yesterday he & I left the house way before the movie started, at 9 AM or so. I brought him with me to my dad's house to hang out with me for the day, because originally it was just my stepmom & I that were going to see the movie together. My brother was kind of a last minute addition to the party, but he wasn't unwelcome. Even though he's my half brother & has no relation to my dad, that side of the family still doesn't mind having him around. In fact, they really like to see him. My dad's a school teacher & my stepmom just loves kids. Our parents (the mom we share & my dad) don't get along at all, but my little brother visiting is the one thing they can agree upon while holding no vitriol toward one another. So yeah, we got McDonald's for breakfast then went for a walk to the park before it got too hot. I told him that I'd push him on the swing, but between now & the last time we were at a swingset together, he learned to do it by himself. He told me he wasn't sure if he could do it, but that he thought he learned how & was going to show me & part of me, a larger part than I'd like to admit to, not a small part at all, kind of hoped he couldn't do it. I don't know. I just don't like watching him grow up. I'm infinitely grateful that I'm around for it, because there's such a large age gap between us, & before he "grows up," I'll have probably moved far away, but that doesn't make it hurt any less. And at first he couldn't swing himself, so I gave him a few pushes, but he figured it out pretty soon & I didn't even need to push him; I was just doing it anyways. Watching him didn't make me feel bad, though. It actually made me happy.

    After our walk, we filled up the backyard pool (one of the little inflatable ones) & we played chess while we waited. & he was excited to play chess. You know, I kind of had the suspicion that maybe my little brother was just indulging me because I liked chess so much, but I guess I was wrong. He said the cutest thing to me, he said, "It's not about age or who's tallest, it's about skill." I suppose in a nine year old boy's world, your merit is judged by the fact that you're just a kid & by the fact that you're small. It's tough being a kid, I think, to perpetually have no one take you seriously. That's how I feel, so I think I understand. Obviously I won at chess, but he did an amazing job, better than last time. He still isn't very aggressive with his pieces, but he's able to see most of the traps that I set up for him. When we'd play before, he'd just avoid immediate caputure & would seek to immediately capture my pieces without thinking of the repercussions. It's so interesting to watch him learn to play this game. Children really are incredible.

    E's here. I'll write more later.

    08/05/2023 / 11:33 PM
    Today was good. I'm not beaming with joy or anything, but my heart is full, even though I'm tired. My brother & I got to the grocery at 10 AM or so & we picked up candies & soda for the movie. Well, I got some water. Woke up sick to my stomach again (downed some Pepto & packed some in my bag before we left the house) & wanted ginger ale, but they didn't have any. Got some macarons, too. I was eyeing them when I went with V a week or so ago, but didn't get any for myself. I asked my brother if he wanted some & he really, really did, so I got one of each. Went to Starbucks, because I think it makes him feel grown up to get "coffee" with me. At this point my stomach was feeling a bit better, so he & I split one of their little breakfast sandwiches. We both would have preferred McMuffins from McDonald's but alas, there wasn't one nearby & we were at Starbucks anyways. We brought our Frappuccinos into the movie with us.

    The first movie we saw was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) & I loved it. I'm not particularly into the TMNTs or anything, I just thought they did a wonderful job with the movie. The animation was fantastic & I really liked its style. And I mean, it had style okay? You know how you're playing Persona 5 & even down to the UI things look good? That's how this movie was; Stylish all the way through with attention to detail. I thought that the oil pastel-esque style was novel, too. It was a thrill to look at, like the Spiderverse movies, but without making my head hurt. I really hope that film makers for "big" movies follow this new trend of experimental animation, or that this actually becomes a trend rather. As for the story, I was impressed. I'm not at all a fan of remakes. Normally I just see them as unnecessary cash-grabs that thrive off of nostalgia & past successes, but in this instance, for this movie, I think they did an amazing job. It was still fresh without veering into a completely different direction from its source material. In other words, I think that the creators of Mutant Mayhem honored the TMNTs. I also think that there was nunace you don't normally see in a kid's movie. Yes, there was the power of friendship, lessons on heroism & bravery were learned, but it wasn't heavy handed. I think the creators of Mutant Mayhem trusted their audience, something rare to see in a kid's film. My only complaint was that there were too many pop culture references that didn't come across as natural to me, more like plugs, but it was minor enough to overlook. And you know, maybe I don't like them because I'm just not hip or with it. I don't know. What I do know is that I would absolutely & will absolutely see this movie again & I think it was my favorite release of 2023 so far.

    Now the next movie, Meg 2: The Trench (2023) is what you'd expect. It was just a shark movie. It think it bit off more than it could chew with its environmentalist message & storyline, but I appreciate the effort. It could have very well just been a shark murder movie, could have fear mongered, but I don't think it did. Of course, I'm not particularly scared of sharks, so maybe it was supposed to be really scary & it just went over my head. My little brother enjoyed himself & that's what mattered. Not only that, I ended up getting two free movie tickets because of it.. I originally booked the 3D showing, because I thought my brother would enjoy seeing sharks mauling people in 3D on the big screen, but they cancelled the 3D showing. Not onlt did they cancel it, they didn't tell anyone. When my brother & I were trying to get to our seats, these people were blocking the aisle while they were arguing with people who were "in their seats." This was whatever, I just stood there for twenty or thirty seconds, the lady acknowledged me, we made eye contact & I thought oh sweet, she'll finally move her husband out of my fucking way. No. She kept trying to get her husband's attention, not very well, & I thought this was a waste of time & that I'd just walk back & walk to our seats the other way. It was pretty rude of them, but whatever. Overall, most people are honestly just really nice to me, so it's all hunky dory. So my brother & I find our seats & these people are still arguing ten seats over or something & I think to myself, man, these people are arguing over a shark movie. Then in front of us, the same thing happens, these people are told they're in the wrong seats even though their tickets say otherwise. Then it happens again, one seat over from me, & the guy leaves to see what's up, leaving his kids. I figure he'll just come back & tell his kids what's going on, so no need to get up, I'll just wait in my seat, because after all, no one's accused us of being in the wrong seat. & then just all around the theater the same thing keeps happening, so I know it's not some coincidence where maybe three separate groups of people found the wrong seats. The guy comes back & tells his kids yeah, they cancelled the 3D showing without telling anyone. And all I can think is come on, man. They cancelled my Demon SLayer movie the last time I went to the theatre a few weeks ago. So with my brother in tow, we go get a refund & everyone's bitching so they give us free tickets for a movie another time. Then I tell the guy another time isn't good enough, I took this kid to see a movie, so we're gonna see a movie. & he tells me yes, yes I'm so, so sorry. Take the tickets & then go to the box office & you can go see any movie you want today. Nice! So we go to the box office & they just finish telling this group of people in front of us sorry, no Meg 2 seats next to each other. They stomp away & it's our turn & I go oh, no seats near each other, huh? And the guy goes yeah, it sucks & I go well alright, how about another kid's movie, what else is showing? He says TMNT & I say I've already seen that & everything else seems lame & the next Meg 2 showing is 4 PM something & it's 1 PM something at this point. Then I tell my brother, oh well, we'll just go another day, unless you want to wait around, but he didn't. & then the box office guy goes oh wait! Meg 2 at 1:30, it just started but we have two seats right here, right next to each other (& they're better than our original ones). And I think to myself, why did we just have this long conversation about different movies if they have seats for us, but whatever! We can still see the movie! And the guy tells me, that'll be thirteen dollars please, & I tell him nah, because our movie just got cancelled & he tells me yeah sorry about that & I tell him not to sweat it, not his fault & we're on our way & we get into the theatre right when the movie begins.

    After the movie we get ourself some cheeseburgers (delicious, absolutely delicious) & my brother is gushing about how much fun this is & I ask him if he wants to get frozen yogurt because I saw a sign for it a block away & he's never had it. We scarf down our burgers, get fro-yo (we both got strawberry) & we go home. I hadn't really been feeling good most of the day, but right around when we were going in again to see Meg 2 I began to feel really overwhelemed. I still wasn't really feeling too well & I guess my brother could tell, because he said when we go home I can ask him for anything I need. & I told him I was going to lay down & he told me not to worry & that he'd play video games & that we should both just relax. Pretty perceptive for a nine year old. I slept until 8 PM, when our mom who came back from work woke me up. I could've slept longer. When she woke me up, I didn't feel groggy but I didn't feel well rested either.

    All in all, I managed to get out of my head today & I played the part of a cool older sister, so I did everything I set out to do. Maybe "played the part" isn't right. He genuinely does see me as cool somehow, so I guess I wasn't pretending. I was just being myself, yeah? Maybe I said "played the part" because I was trying to act more energetic or more enthusiastic than I actually felt today, but sometimes that's just what I have to do. With the risk of sounding depressing, sometimes going through the motions of a happy person really does make me feel better. I mean, rotting in bed has never helped me. I think you have to embrace the world even if you don't want to. I think it's the only way to really live.

    I gave him the news & told him I was watching him tomorrow too & he absolutely flipped. He's so excited just to watch another movie with me. He really does love me. It's weird, kind of. There's just no one in the world who so openly adores me. I feel like he'd love me no matter what I did. Maybe that's what "unconditional love" is. I don't know enough about love to say, though.

    08/04/2023 / 11:57 PM
    The movie's over now & I put my brother to bed, so now I can actually focus on writing. Went back to work yesterday & didn't feel too hot & they asked me, are you sure you're not sick, are you sure you don't have COVID? And I told them yeah, yeah I took three COVID tests, all negative & I'm covered in fucking hives, so it's not COVID. And they went okay... as long as you're okay to work. I felt awful but I made $95 in tips, probably on account of my charm. My charm being the fact that I looked like an abandoned puppy in a sopping wet cardboard box. My other charm being that I'm a "spunky young woman," as someone told me today. And today, today was not as good. Today I woke up sick, sick to my stomach, & promptly puked my guts out into the toilet as soon as I opened my eyes. Well, "puked my guts out" is innacurate, as from what I understand, my guts are still intact. I suppose a better way of phrasing it would be that I puked so much, so intensely that it was as if you scraped a melon's rind clean with your finger nails. But yeah, this is my first week back at work after my little sabbatical, little stint of housesitting where I lost my mind, so I didn't want to call in sick. So I went in and they went, "Wow Vashti, you look horrible. How about you go home early? It's okay. Thank you for coming in." So I worked maybe three hours. And the entire three hours they kept asking me if I was alright & I kept telling them, yeah, yeah, it's all good. I'm all good. This is good. It's good. It's good. And see, I thought I did a good job of acting ay-okay, but apparently I didn't, because one of our customers told me to "hang in there." Just part of my charm. I have that effect on people.

    I got home at maybe 1 PM, maybe 2 PM & I just took a nap. I don't know how long I slept for, but it was hours. I actually felt a lot better after my nap. I had a dream about coding, actually, a dream about working on my website, but it wasn't the act of me coding, it was more like I saw different sites or designs in my dream, and they were mine. It was kind of weird, but I woke up feeling inspired. Normally I wake up from a nap & it's a 28 Days Later situation, but I actually felt well rested, inspired. Okay, well I felt stupidly groggy at first. I wanted to go for a walk & was so tired that I forgot what my shoes looked like. I just sat in bed for a minute trying to imagine them. And then realized a-ha! They're the sandals you've worn almost every day for the past few months! You remember them now!

    The walk was about ten minutes. I went to the park in my almost-forgotten-about sandals & I thought I saw a coyote, but you know, coyotes aren't that unusual. I've seen them a lot more recently, too, I assume because they're looking for water, because I keep seeing them midday when the sun is blazing. But anyways, I kept looking at this thing, (Well, "kept" isn't exactly it. When I say I "saw" the coyote, I mean I basically caught it in my field of vision & immediately got ready to leave. When I "kept" looking, I maybe kept looking for ten, twenty, maybe thirty seconds.), and this thing was dark, really dark for a coyote. Normally they're kind of a light greyish or tan, but this thing was a black, actually maybe a deep brown, yeah brown. And so I thought, huh, maybe a coyote with a strange coat? But then I realized it was big. If you've never seen a coyote, they're pretty small, the size of a small-medium dog, smaller than my dog, and my dog's fifty or sixty pounds. This thing was big though. It was bigger than me. It was the size of a grown man walking on all fours, but it wasn't a man, because it started bolting & it was fast, faster than a man could've been. And let me tell you, in whatever span it was that I saw this thing, in that less than thirty seconds, I was terrified, genuinely so. I just turned right around so it didn't see me & it bolted into the woods next to me & I just walked away, at as steady and natural a pace that I could go & I kept looking over my shoulder. & where it was originally before sprinting into the woods was between me & the way home, so I kind of did this big semicircle & when I got near the spot again I looked around & half jogged then half ran home. And I just have no idea what that thing is still. There is nothing that I can compare it to.

    After my little safari I came home & didn't leave again for a few hours, & then when I did go on a walk, I didn't go near the park, I didn't go near the woods, I just walked around the block a few times & even then, I was still worried about seeing that thing. My brother came home at 9 PM-ish from his dad's. We split a caramel brownie & he said he wasn't sure about it, because he just brushed his teeth & he'd have to brush them again. He's such a responsible kid. We watched the movie & we made our plan for tomorrow: pick up sodas/candy from the grocery store, Frappuccinos, TMNT: Mutant Mayhem, Meg 2: The Trench in 3D, cheeseburgers, & then we go home. When I told him what we'd be doing tomorrow, he was bubbling over with excitement. It was cute. He was even more excited when I told him I'd be watching him Sunday, too, & that we'd be going to the movies again. We're going to be seeing Princess Mononoke. I think it may be a bit bloody for a kid, but if it's okay for him to laugh at people getting eaten alive by sharks, I'm sure he'll be alright with the Ghibli movie. I told him it was by the people who made Ponyo & that got him excited. Then I told him that there was some blood in it, but I thought he was old enough to see it now, & that got him even more excited. I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Obviously I should be happy to spend this time with my brother, & it normally would make me happy, but it just isn't. What I mean is that I should be excited like he is, but I'm not. I'm not sad, but I'm not excited. I'm trying not to use the word "should," with myself, though. I don't think it's good for me. Because saying "should" has a double meaning, it also means "but you're not," and I think every time I say "should" I feel a little bit of shame, so now I'm trying to say "I'd like to." So, I'd like to be excited. I think I'm just worried that I'll go do all of these fun things & it won't make me feel anything, but I shouldn't worry about something that hasn't happened yet, that might not even happen. I mean, I'd like to not worry about something that hasn't happened yet, that might not even happen. I guess it's just that it would make things real for me, if even tomorrow doesn't make me feel better. It would mean something really is wrong.

    Monday I'm seeing E. We're going to plan the Houston trip & buy our bus tickets. We moved it to the week after next, which is good, because I'm not really feeling up to it this next week. I can't take my sister out for her birthday sushi this week, because apparently the day we were going to go, she has a doctor's & dentist's appointment back to back. I'm really bummed out about that. She had what sounded like a really bad birthday, so I wanted to make it up to her a bit. It's weird; I don't like her but I also love her & want to make her happy. I feel bad for her, but I wish I didn't. My friend who I've never written about, C, is back from New York & wants to see me. I'm not really sure if I want to go out & see her. It's complicated. I can deal with all of these things later, though. Tonight I am going to go to bed & I'm going to wake up early & have a fun day with my brother & be a good older sister, the type I'd want.

    08/04/2023 / 10:28 PM
    Watching The Meg (2018) with my little brother in preparation for Meg 2: The Trench (2023) tomorrow afternoon. I haven't seen it before, but he loves this movie. It's pretty silly. He's actually kind of sadistic. I thought by "liked it" he meant he took the story really seriously, but he just laughs every time someone gets eaten by a shark, like a bad horror movie. He says his favorite part is when "a mom & baby whale are swimming & they get eaten by the meg. It's very actiony." He also said something that kind of struck me. A woman in the movie went on a mission to rescue some divers stuck 12,000 feet (meters?) under water, and he asked why she was doing that, because he'd never do that (& I'd never do that, for that matter). I said she was just a hero & he said, "She's not a hero- She's a sacrificer. She sacrifices herself for other people." And you know, a few days ago I was thinking about martyrdom, but he was able to to put thoughts upon thoughts upon thoughts I had into only three sentences.

    08/02/2023 / 12:11 PM
    Woke up today feeling better. Good, even. My head was clear, my nose was clear, my eyes were clear & not bloodshot. Fed the animals, brushed my teeth, cleaned the house some, got dressed, all routine things, but I didn't struggle with them. Left the house an hour ago, got a pancake & a mimosa. I don't really like drinking, but I am partial to mimosas. I just had one, not enough to get me tipsy. I tried a pomegranate & orange juice one & it was the most disgusting mimosa that I'd ever had. Normally even a relatively sucky mimosa is at least alright; This one was not. I didn't finish it. Pancake was good & they finished it quickly. Not enough chocolate chips in my opinion, but oh well. I read Upstream by Mary Oliver while I waited for my food. It was peaceful. The mimosa started to grow on me, so I sipped away at it while I waited.

    I'm alone again today. I was mistaken in thinking that they'd be back from their trip when I woke up this morning. It's actually tomorrow morning. I work tomorrow, too. And the next day. & then I'm off to babysit my little brother. i don't know why I always refer to him as my "little" brother, I only have one brother. He & I are going to watch Meg 2: The Trench in 3D. I don't really want to see it, but he really wants to, so it's worth it to me. He's asked me about it almost every time he's seen me since we saw its poster hanging in the theatre. We'll probably get burgers either before or after. & then maybe we'll go to the mall. I'm not sure yet, but I'm watching him all day. Then the next day, Sunday, we're going to see Princess Mononoke at the theatre. He doesn't know yet that I'm watching him Sunday, too. He's going to be so psyched.

    Not sure what to do today. Even though I'm in relatively high spirits, there's nothing I really want to do. I'm thinking of seeing TMNT: Mutant Mayhem. The art style seems interesting to me & I still have that redeemable free movie ticket, but maybe I'll ask my brother if he'd like to see that one too & we can watch Meg 2 & TMNT back to back. For now I think I want to head home in a few. I still have some cleaning to do & I can put on the TV in the background while I clean & then when I work more on the site. I told myself that I'd use this housesitting time to redo it, but I haven't worked on it at all beyond adding my diary entries. I'm not upset with myself, though. I really just couldn't bring myself to do it. I didn't feel up to it.

    08/01/2023 / 10:46 PM
    I am not feeling too hot. Since I slept so well last night, I'd thought I'd finally conquered allergies, that I was cured, kind of like how I thought I'd cured my depression when my manic episode came. This time too I was mistaken. I came home after my outing to see that I had hives on my legs, all raised and red and blotchy like some sort of topographical map. So I thought, "Why Vashti, if your allergies are so bad, why not just take some Benadryl? Swallow some of those pink pills!" And then I thought to myself, "Why Vashti, what a great idea! Why didn't I take Benadrly a few days ago when I was so congested I couldn't sleep at night?" Then I remembered: Benadrly makes me drowsy, yes, but it also makes me horribly lightheaded. About twenty or thirty minutes after taking it, I felt like I was going to keel over. And you know, I've had several fainting spels before, so I really do know & recognize the feeling. Originally my plan after the Benadryl was to go upstairs & take a bath, but I thought 1) I should not walk up a set of stairs like this and 2) I should not be near a bathtub like this, let alone one filled with water. So then, I figured I'd just camp myself on the couch for a few & wait for the feeling to pass, but even lying still, I still felt my head swimming around in the darkness behind my eyes. This feeling didn't last very long though, because I eventually just passed out. Enough time had passed that when I finally woke up, it was pitch black outside, like when you go to see a movie and you come out once it's over & you're suddenly accosted by the night & it shakes you by your shoulders. I'm feeling very off. I'm still tired & still don't want to walk upstairs & don't want to do anything really. I'm actually having trouble just typing this. I keep pressing the wrong keys, going back, going forward, pressing the wrong keys, going back, going forward, going back, going way back, going way back, going forward. I'm so tired.

    I have another day alone too, before I go back to work. What to do with it? I feel as though I've wasted this time that's been given to me, which feels somewhat silly to say, because there's no predetermined way that I should be spending my time, so how can I be wasting it? I'm so tired. I don't know. I'm so tired. Today wasn't too bad of a day. I did some fun things & they didn't make me happy, but I didn't feel sad, either. I'd say it was a 5/10, which is the best I've felt in a little while, brushing the surface of being okay. Sometimes it's the best that you can hope for. I'm so tired.

    08/01/2023 / 3:00 PM
    Even though I don't feel good, I have to admit that there's good around me. There are these two kids talking to there mom & asking her for a cake-pop & they're each holding stuffed animals & they're each wearing matching shirts the way my sister & I used to wear matching shirts. And this lady next to me is talking to her friend & she's telling her about her daughter, I think she's in college, & she described her as "blossoming" & she's saying she misses her. And I'm talking to my sister while she's out on her birthday trip & she's telling me what to pick out to eat because I can't decide & we settled on Eggs Benedict & cinnamon swirled pancakes. And the kid wanted a bumble bee cake-pop, but they're out of bumble bees, so his mom called him over to pick another one & it's really easy to feel separate from it all, but I'm really not, I'm just as much a part of this world as everyone in here. And people like to say that the world is cruel or the world isn't fair, but that's not true, because I'm a part of this world & I am kind & I am fair. And you know, it's easy to feel like you don't belong, but that's not true either, because when I'm watching birds, I'm not asking myself why they deserve to be here, they just deserve to be here by virtue of being here, they don't need a justification, & I have as much right to this world as the pigeons & the egrets do. Sometimes it's just that simple.

    08/01/2023 / 12:56 PM
    Good morning world! I feel horrible. I did sleep about ten hours though, and while it didn't make me feel any better, I'm sure that I needed it. I thought that getting out of the house would be good for me, so I'm sitting at a Starbucks, because I thought maybe a sweet treat would bring my mood up a bit. It actually kind of did! I'm right near this diner, so when I'm done here, I may get some pancakes. I haven't really felt hungry these past days. & then when I do finally feel a bit hungry, I eat a bit & feel full almost immediately. I'm sure it's just related to my mood, but I still have to eat, so pancakes seem like a good place to start. The place I'm going to does this "swirl" panacke where they swirl in cinnamon or something. And it has chocolate chips. And frosting. It's basically just a sugar bomb.

    I'm feeling somewhat lonely right now. There's no one I can really talk to about things. My sister is on her birthday trip & we're not close anyways. V is hard to talk to when we're not in person & our conversations feel really shallow & one dimmensional & talking to her about how I feel doesn't make me feel better. E's class is ending this week & she has a final, so I don't want to bother her while she's studying. I can't talk to my mom or dad, because they don't see nuance when I'm feeling down; They think that if I'm feeling off or depressed that it's the end for me, that I'm dropping out, that I'm giving up, that I'm going to slit my wrists. They have a straitjacket & a vial of tranquilizer at the ready. I think it comes from this cinematic, dramatic idea of mental illness where being bipolar means that you feel the highest highs and the lowest lows of human emotion, that you have more range somehow, and maybe that is somewhat true, but it's not normally like that. Sometimes it's just being overcome by this dull grey. I'm sure that's less interesting, to hear about how food doesn't taste good anymore, that maybe I'm still happy but not as happy as I could be, this incessant dissatisfaction that's gnawing at me. I'm sure it would be more interesting to hear that all hope is gone, that there's no coming back from this, etc. I think people expect melodrama, maybe. They expect me to throw myself on chaise lounge, or a psychotherapist's little couch, & crumple in on myself and weep. But I don't do that. I just keep living like normal, even if I don't want to. It's the only way to go on.

    08/01/2023 / 12:17 AM
    Another bad day. My dad stopped by & I helped him set up his classroom for an hour or so. He got me my favorite breakfast, but it just didn't taste very good for some reason. He told me I looked horrible. I agreed. He offered to drop me off somewhere instead of just taking me back to my mom's, but I declined. I didn't feel like going out after yesterday. I told him it was too expensive. He told me it's summer & to just spend my money & have some fun. I told him no thanks. He got me Starbucks on the way home. That didn't taste very good either for some reason.

    Spent the day bleaching & dyeing my hair purple again. I felt the need to drastically change my appearance. Like that Springsteen song, "I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face" I've been listening to that song a lot, actually. "I get up in the evening / I ain't got nothing to say / I come home in the morning / I go to bed feeling the same way / I ain't nothing but tired / Man, I'm just tired and bored with myself" It's been on a loop in my head & in my headphones.

    Listened to The Only Thing by Sufjan Stevens, too. Made me cry, actually. I don't normally cry. I think it was good for me. I think it's because E texted to ask how I was doing & it was the first time I'd let myself really think about things. It's August now. Today disappeared the way July did, so fast & in such a blur that I didn't get to watch it go. A new month is good, though, a new beginning. I don't know, I'm trying to put some positive spin on things, but it's just contrived. I don't really have anything good to say. Goodnight.

    07/30/2023 / 10:06 PM
    Brunch got cancelled, the place was closed because their AC broke. Progressively felt more & more miserable, until I realized my trek to the outside world wasn't helping me feel any better, so I just went home. Didn't stick around long enough to see V. Watched The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994). When comparing the two movies, everyone seems to prefer Priscilla to To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), but I prefered the latter. I think part of it was Priscilla's portrayal of this Filipina named Cynthia. It just didn't sit right with me & I couldn't get over it. Some people referred to the movie as a product of its time, but I didn't know it was still alright to be blatantly racist in 1994. I'm sure it wasn't. When they say "product of its time," they should be referring to the use of the word "transexual" as opposed to "transgender," not the writing of a movie whose foundation is based on the acceptance of queer people that doesn't extend that to Filipinas. But I'm white, so maybe it's not really my place to determine whether or not this film is considered offensive to women of color. I still think it was pretty messed up, though. Outside of that, the movie was alright, good actually. I thought it was supposed to be a comedy, but it didn't really make me laugh. Maybe I just don't understand Aussie humor. All of the scenes with Tick's boy & the drag show at the desert camp were genuinely heartwarming & very touching. They weren't overly sentimental, either, which I could see viewers having a problem with when watching Wong Foo. I also found it interesting that in Priscilla, they're not constantly in drag as they were in Wong Foo. I'd like to know the reasoning as to why they were in drag through the entirety of Wong Foo. Maybe it was an artistic choice, because from what I understand, drag is a performance, it doesn't necessarily mean constantly cross-dressing. (Also I'd like to just note that I'm not really a fan of the term "cross-dressing." In my opinion, as long as you're normal & not a freak about made up rules regarding gender, cross-dressing isn't athing; It's just wearing clothes. If I were to put on a suit, i wouldn't consider it cross-dressing, I mean. it would just be wearing clothes to me.)

    Going to bed early tonight. I feel awful. It's probably because I'm home alone in conjunction with my allergies & not sleeping well, but I think I can identify this span of the past few days as the worst I've felt this entire year. I guess in a way I should be grateful. I don't think I've felt down since maybe summer last year. Last year in May I became manic, then got prescribed multiple pill cocktails, basically got sedated, felt like dying all over again, got on some stable meds for several months, got eased off of them in December or so, so I've been completely fine since maybe September or October last year. I know this, because I didn't struggle with school for the first time in years. I was able to just do my assignments on time. So the fact that even though I do feel relatively bad, the fact that I haven't felt bad without cause for about a year feels good to say. It was unthinkable to me for years. I genuinely thought I'd be depressed my entire life until I eventually would just succumb to it. Not only that, I'm handling it well enough. I don't feel motivated, but I've showered every day, eaten, cleaned the house, gotten out of the house, etc. I don't feel suicidal & I'm not even talking down to myself, both of things that were so routine to me that once I unlearned it, I noticed their abscence. I'm treating myself gently. I'm treating myself like a friend. & I am not hopeless; I am not giving up; & I know that I will be fine. These are all things that I've finally learned. I'm proud of myself. I'll get through it. The only way out is through. And it's always okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it's not the end. I truly believe that.

    07/30/2023 / 1:28 PM
    I'm feeling somewhat better today. I'm not really sure that I'm feeling "good," but I did the dishes yesterday, cooked myself a small dinner, & watched two movies: Brokeback Mountain (2005) & But I'm a Cheerleader (1999). I liked both of them a lot, but But I'm a Cheerleader was easily my favorite of the two, one of my new favorite movies actually. I'll definitely rewatch it again some time. I may be biased because I'm a lesbian & that's the lesbian one of the two, but it was nice to see a happy gay movie, one that's not centered solely on gay suffereing. There's that & the fact that the movie was genuinely funny & well designed, the costume design specifically was just amazing to me. Brokeback Mountain was very good, too, well made & it made me cry a bit. The entire time you tell yourself that maybe things will work out, maybe Jack & Ennis will live happily together, even though part of you know that just won't happen.

    After the movies, I slept really poorly last night. I woke up over & over again & was freezing for some reason, for no reason. I had this weird, indescribable feeling when I woke up in the night, a bad feeling, a really bad feeling, but I can't describe it. I just don't know how. I had to wake up early to feed my mom's dog & let her oustide & with all of the waking up I did, I probably only ended up sleeping for five or six hours. It was just miserable. I couldn't fall back asleep, either. I tried, actually did fall asleep, and woke up again thinking a lot of time had passed, but it was only six minutes. Then I gave up, went downstairs & watched another movie: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995). Another fantastic movie! I'm normally pretty picky about movies, so watching three movies that I really enjoyed in a row is unusual for me. It was a sappy, happy road trip film, but I like sappy, happy road trip films. I found it touching & felt genuinely happy as I'd watched it. I'll watch that one again some time, too.

    I took a bath, did a face mask & I'm at the coffee shop again. I'm not giving myself time to sit around & agonize & ruminate & doubt myself. In a bit, I'm going to get brunch, then I'm going to stop by V's work. Planning the Houston trip right now. Undecided if we'll be staying one or two days. I sent a message to E, asking her what she'd rather do. Bus tickets are way cheaper than I'd thought, which makes me happy! Still need to find a motel, figure out the deal with the Rothko Chapel & maybe the aquarium, check all of the local museum hours, & we may go to the movies when we're there. I'm excited.

    07/29/2023 / Tomorrow's Plans
    I've been sitting here for a while trying to articulate this feeling I have, but I still don't really know how to describe it. It feels like I'm always in waiting for something or someone, like I'm looking for an excuse to enjoy myself. And I feel like all of my days are blending together into some kind of choppy amalgam that's hard to remember. There isn't a lot to differentiate between them, they just kind of bleed into one another & all end up with the same tinge. And it feels like I'm not really living my life, that I'm just experiencing it passively. It's like I'm outside lookin in, even though I can do whatever I want. But I don't do whatever I want.

    I think the problem is that I keep putting things away like a fine china that I only take out for special occasions, and I just look at them through glass while they accumulate dust in their cabinet, & I think of them as possibilities for a future date, not something that I can just grab with my two hands. It's like I'm looking for a reason to take them out. Isn't being alive a good enough reason, though? That's miraculous in and of itself, yeah? So what am I waiting for?

    And I think, I think that I'm just going to do nice things for myself, without cause. There are all of these restaurants that I pass by every day, but I never let myself stop in & try a bite. There are so many coffees & teas that I've never had. I don't want to use my nice art supplies. Why? I do want it, actually, I want all of these things. But I keep denying myself. I keep staring at all of these desires & all of these happy possibilities through glass.

    So I decided I'm going to take myself out on a little date tomorrow. I'm going to get brunch at a restaurant near the coffee shop & maybe a mimosa. And I'll stop in for a coffee I haven't had before. I'll live a bit differently, just because I can. And it'll feel good. I'll wear something nice. I'll carry on conversations. Maybe I'll smile.

    07/29/2023 / 2:20 PM
    Slight change in plans. Down at the coffee shop & I'm going to the library after it closes (4PM). I didn't really have to get out of the house, but I think it's good for me, so I did it anyways. Haven't been here too long. I guess the barista recognized me, because she asked me what I was studying today. I just tend to work on the site when I'm lounging around here, but I can see how that would come across as studying. I mean, I just rattle away at my keyboard & I'm in the age range for it. And when I bring my little brother in tow, after talking for a bit, I tell him I'm going to need to focus for a while & to not talk for a bit. I never think that I'm recognizable, though, so that's what stood out to me. Maybe I was with my purple hair, but not now. Well, that's untrue because I've been recognized. Even when I'm out and about, customers from work will approach me & go, "You're ___ from ___! Aren't you?" And I give them an uncomfortable little smile, because it's not the environment where I'm used to encountering them. But yeah, I just told her that I'm actually working on a webpage & I'm learning to code & I guess she knows at least a bit, probably quite a bit, about coding because she asked me what language I was coding in. I kind of coughed up that it was HTMl & CSS & I went to sit down. I don't know what's with me. Normally I'm more sociable. I'm just in a mood, I guess. Not a bad mood, well a bit of a bad mood, kind of somber, but I'm alright.

    I have a large batch of books to haul over to the library on my brother's behalf. Our mom won't open a family library card, so they're all under my account. It's just somewhat irksome because I can only check out about fifteen books or so, right? But with him that's halved, because he's a kid & all of his books are shorter, naturally. And half of fifteen is quite a few books, if they're all novels, but they're not, I also like to check out manga, art books, poetry collections, etc. Perhaps I'll speak to the librarian about opening a family account under my name, but from what I understand, I need to be a parent to do that, not just an older sister. Oh well. You'd think they'd make it easy to check out more books, get themselves more patrons & more funding, but no.

    I was going to stop by V's work as well, but she's not in, asked for the day off last minute. I wonder why. It's not really like her & she took yesterday off to see me. Maybe she's just tired from all of her schoolwork.

    I feel weird.

    07/29/2023 / Saturday to-do list
  • make tuna melt
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • dishes
  • work on new homepage
  • bathe & brush teeth
  • cat food
  • matcha bread dessert
  • Ramune
  • update pixel bank
  • order Ebay stamps
  • stamp album
  • get coffee? (depends on how I'm feeling)

  • 07/28/2023 / 10:50 PM
    Okay! Like I said last night, I need to do things, meaningful things, so I did.. I think going out into the world & not locking myself away at home helps me act like a person, so that's what I did today. Took the bus to meet my friend V for coffee. Originally I'd been planning on meeting her early in the morning, but I didn't want to leave my mom's dog alone for too long, so we ended up meeting up around noon instead. She didn't mind. She worked on her schoolwork while she waited for me. She's retaking a science class that she failed & it's the only class she needs to transfer schools. Whether or not she passes this class is going to determine which school she goes to, where she lives, etc. It's a big deal, a really big deal. She's failed it either once or twice before. Or she failed it once & didn't sign up to retake it quickly enough & ended up having to take a semester off. Yeah, that's what happened, I think. She's really not the type to share her feelings, despite the fact that we've known each other for a decade or so now, but she was very obviously worried about it. She talked about it a lot, saying her future hinges on the outcome of this class, & there wasn't really anything I could say to comfort her. Personally, I believe that even if she does flunk the class again, she'll find her way forward, but relentless positivity didn't really seem to be the prescription here. I thought it would come across as annoying, so I just didn't say anything & listened. I wish that there was something I could do to help, but there really isn't. I could tell her that she can reach out to me, but I know she'd never do that, so I didn't say anything. Most conversations can be characterized by what was said, but in this instance, what I'm left thinking about are all of the things I didn't say.

    Maybe I should've said something more. I don't know. Sometimes it feels like everyone else got a how-to guide on how to be a human being, what to say, how to move your body, what expressions to make & when, how to hold eye contact without flinching. These things don't come naturally to me. Well, the things that do come naturally to me don't come naturally to everyone else. Sometimes it makes me feel like a stranger to my own body. I correct myself and make myself smile, or adjust my tone, or fix my posture & it feels like I'm betraying something in myself. It feels like I'm performing my emotions. I think that's part of the reason I like to write; No one can look at me & you don't hear the monotone of my voice. You're hearing only my words & I don't have to be a pierrot & cover my face with paint. There's nothing to prove this way.

    I used to think of writing as a way of hiding, but now I think it's the opposite. This is me. I am acting like myself. When I speak with others & try to plan out every minutiae of muscle movement and timing to make the right faces or gestures or tone, that's when I'm hiding. That's me making myself more palatable, more easy to understand, & that's not really me. I think it's just because I want approval, or maybe love, but I'm beginning to think that maybe love doesn't work like that. I've always thought of love as something you can track, something that goes up & down, like a currency & if I mess up then I lose love points & if I do a good job, I gain love points & praise. I've always thought that I'm just a few errors away from falling out of someone's good graces, from being demoted, but I don't love people like that. I'm not keeping score, so why do I think everyone else is keeping data? And that's an exhausting job, isn't it? To be a love accountant, to choose how much love to dole out & to whom, to be sitting at your desk with your scales when right outside the window people are loving one another freely. And less and less lately do I really want approval from others. I think I've been sacrificing parts of myself, like some sort of offering, for the purpose of making others like me, but that doesn't even work, does it? What's the point in others liking me if I don't like me? I think that I'm becoming someone who is self assured. I think I like myself. And I think if someone doesn't like me, then it's fine, because there will always be someone to love & to take care of me, & that person is me.

    Got a bit tangential there. A lot has been on my mind lately. I'm kind of realizing for the first time that this is my life & I can do what I want with it. If I want to change, all I have to do is change. I've been putting a lot of thought into how to live most authentically. I think there was a point in my life where as a child, I was still unaware that I was weird & that there were ways to act that would make me normal. Towards the middle of elementary school, I realized that the way I moved was strange. When we walked in line, I'd always hunch over & stare at my feet & that the other kids didn't walk the same way as me. Then I began to realize that the girls with lots of friends moved differently than me, they had different mannerisms, so I'd consciously make an effort to adopt them. I remember this one girl would always roll her neck when she spoke, so I began doing that too. But there was a time before all of this where I was completely unware of it, where I lived without introspection & it's weird to think about. I mean, I think of myself as someone who is very pensive, but there was a period of time, a brief period, where I wasn't like that & I was happy. And I'm not saying that I want to revert back to childhood innocence or anything like that, but I do want to not constantly monitor myself & I want to have fun. I want to have fun again, like I did as a child, so I went to hang out with V today. And I bought myself a few nice pens, Microns, to draw with. I didn't do this today, I did it a few days ago, but I bring it up because V remembered them. She has a really, really bad memory. There's not really another way to describe it. She just can't really remember things, but sometimes she'll hold onto these little details of my life that even I've forgotten about. And so she brought me some Petit Prince socks from a library in New York that she visited & I was moving things around in my bag, rearranging & showed her the pens that were in my bag & she rememebred from God knows how long ago that I'd mentioned wanting them but not wanting to spend the money. i think I said it in passing months ago. Sometimes I feel like she doesn't really listen to me, I don't know how to explain it, but little things like this show me that I'm wrong.

    We talked for three hours about & then I got hungry so we went to get cheeseburgers. Correction: cheeseburger. V is vegetarian. She just ate fries. We had tickets to see The First Slam Dunk at the theatre, so we went to the grocery store to pick up some snacks & a soda for me. She works at a candy shop & brought me choco gummy bears, choco pretzels (a little stale, but still just as thoughtful), & chocolate covered espresso beans, so I didn't pick out things to eat at the theatre, just some stuff to bring home. I've been feeling down so I've been trying to add some novelty to my day with new snacks to try, so I got myself some ginger candies, a melon candy called Puchao that seems similar to Hi-Chew, a couple of Mexican candies, & Milka Milkinis. And as for things I've already had before, I got a thing of Pocky, a Bug Juice, some fancy cookies that my dad will buy but not let me eat, some Botan Rice candies for the stickers (I just gave the candies to V, because even though the candies are good, they're not my favorite, but she really likes them), some Raisinets, & Pop'n Cookin' set. And some Altoids. I also got two little Barbie Hot Wheels for E & myself as a little something for us to remember the movie by when we go to see it. V got some miscellaneous snacks & some cotton candy which we split before the movie. Apparently she's been really into cotton candy lately. Everyone at the grocery store was really kind to me: I dropped my things & a guy swooped down to pick them up for me, a guy offered to let me cut him in the checkout line, & then after I forgot my Altoids & went back through another checkout lane, a lady offered to do the same thing. Talked to this cashier lady about the Barbie movie. She says her son really wants to see it with her, & that she wants to see it for the message, & that back in the 60s, her mom couldn't even open a credit card in her name.

    Movie was actually pretty good! Animation was a pleasure to watch & while there were plenty of sports anime tropes, it didn't feel cliche. While I probably won't watch it again, I did really enjoy it. Went home after that to feed the dog, because she eats at 7:15 each night. V's dad offered me a ride home so I didn't have to take the bus back, which was pretty cool of him.

    Throat hurts. Before my mom left for her trip, she was telling me to watch out, that my allergies were going to get bad due to "desert sands" or something & I just brushed it off. She was right. My throat feels like I've been swallowing sand. It hurts to swallow.

    07/27/2023 / 11:50 PM
    Okay, so I think I've figured something out. I think that to stave off emotional decay, I need to fill my time. No more laying in bed then going back to sleep after I get up, no more scrolling on my phone till I dislocate my thumb, no more lazing in bed after I bathe because I don't feel like getting dressed, no more skipping breakfast because I don't feel like making anything; I need to fill my time with meaningful things, precious things, important things. I think it's just a bit difficult to decide what's meaningful, intimidating even. I think that's where a lot of my problems come from. To choose one thing is to give up on many others, but right now, I have nothing. Right now, I'm giving everything up. Perhaps this isn't a comforting thing to say, but I'll just make choices, even if I'm unsure, even if I don't want to, like I did when choosing my degree. Anything is better than nothing. It's like Plath's fig tree, but I'll pick a fig, pick many figs, & I won't starve. And with the ones that rot, they'll make way for something else to grow.

    07/27/2023 / 12:13 PM
    First day housesitting for a week. I feel uneasy about it. The last time I housesat I was going through my manic episode. I was paranoid & afraid the entire time. The time I housesat before that I was in the midst of one of my worst depressive episodes. I rotted in bed for a week & didn't shower or feed myself. I suppose in light of this, (though if there's light to be found here, it's a dim & dirty one), I feel like something is going to go wrong again this time around, that it should go wrong. Sometimes it's comfortable to be pessimistic, but just because pessimism feels safe doesn't mean that it's good. Safety feels better than hope, but it's really not. It's not even true safety. Being pessimistic is just trading possible disappointment for certain disappointment. It's comfortable, but you shouldn't just try to live comfortably. In the end, it's really not possible. Even if you do your best to avoid pain and discomfort, even if you look under beds & lose sleep over it, it'll still find you. It's an inevitability. I've realized that I can have the discomfort of avoiding discomfort or I can have the discomfort of living the life that I want to live. I just have to choose over and over again to choose the rewarding type of discomfort.

    I think I'm someone who always takes the easy way out. I'm not used to trying & when I do try something new, I give it up quickly. I guess you could say that I'm lacking in discipline. Most of the time, I do things in short bursts of motivation. When I have a hobby, I normally pour everything into it until I run out. Think of the angel on the Temperance tarot card tripping & spilling both of their cups, or of pouring so much into a cup, so quickly, that it overflows & you being to lose all of this water or wine (or in my case, coffee) because you don't know how to pace yourself. I don't think there's anything to gain in doing that. It feels good in the moment, to get it over with, to be flashy, but doing that only brings you loss.

    What I'm trying to say is that I don't think I should be doing things so frenetically. I think it would be beneficial for me to learn to do things steadily, maybe even gently, over time, outside of my emotions. I haven't felt motivated or inspired lately. I think that's where this is coming from. On paper I'd like to learn HTML that dazzles; I'd like to write all the time; I'd like to learn to draw again, and take it seriously; I'd like to effortlessly read book after book each day; I'd like to watch movies; & I'd like to cook myself breakfast, but when it comes time to actually do these things, all of these intense desires to be someone else, someone I look up to, dissolve like chalk. No matter how sincere or well though out, plans written in chalk fade eventually. Part of it is that I think I may be approaching another familiar slump, maybe something is wrong & I am becoming depressed again, but part of it is that even outside of that, I still act this way. People like to insist that mental illness is biological, chemical, things are out of balance, and that may be true, maybe I am predisposed on some biological level to act the way I do, but that idea strips you away of a lot of your agency. I think, for me, being bipolar is probably biological, but it's also how I act & what I choose to do. I find myself in these loops where I'm either soaring upward or plummeting back down and burrowing into the ground, & I don't resist it, even though a lot of it is in my control. I do believe that, sincerely. I am my own keeper & even if I can't cure myself, I can control myself. I have to do my best to do so. I have to try, to really try & not give up again.

    07/26/2023 / 3:06 PM
    At the coffee shop & my brother is playing Animal Crossing:New Horizons & is attempting to catch sharks. He keeps catching suckerfish & he doesn't get the "sucker" pun & thinks they're actual sharks & gets giddy every time he catches one. I'm not going to correct him.

    I slept really badly last night. I had a nightmare, which isn't unusual, but I woke up actually afraid, which is unusal. I can't really remember what it was about, other than that it was genuinely horrifying. When I woke up I thought to myself how I wish I were young enough to crawl into my mom's bed, or that I wish someone were sleeping there beside me. I didn't want to go back to sleep. I think something cut my stomach open, but I don't know. I just know that whatever fear I had was visceral & it's probably for the best that I forgot it all.

    I woke up tired & very early despite having woken up multiple times throughout the night. Early in the morning, I took my brother to eat breakfast from McDonald's as a surprise (we're McMuffin lovers) & then we went on our cavern tour. I'd wanted to invite E, but my little brother was gushing about how it was just the two of us & I decided to just indulge him a bit more.

    The feeling of being in the caverns is hard to describe. I suppose that the best word would be "pensive." It was kind of like being near the ocean. We saw rocks hundreds of thousands of years old & it mad elife seem so short. Life always seems short, but this made it seem shorter. We saw this gargantuan, glistening calcite flowstone, & all I could think was that I wonder how many human life spans were the equivalent of that single rock. It wasn't a bad feeling, really. And on our tour, there were these couple of older women & I think the had their grandkids with them, because we saw a stalactite & stalagmite growing toward one another & the guide said that if we came back in fifty or so years, they'd be touching. She said how if the caverns were still open then, we could all come see, but the ladies realized they'd be dead by then & joked that the two kids could go. The tour was over an hour long, but it really didn't feel like that. It felt like maybe thirty minutes had passed. That's just another way that cave messed with my perception of time, I guess.

    At the end of the tour, we had this portion where we sat in "total darkness." Normally if you're in the dark, even if you can't make out any forms, the dark seems to have some sort of texture to it; Maybe it's swirling, maybe it's choppy, maybe it's fuzzy, maybe it's grabbing you, but the darkness in the cave could not be descibed as such. It was just all encompassing. There are no words to describe it other than "total darkness."

    After the tour, I took him downtown like I'd promised him when I was in Oregon. We grabbed him a slice of pizza (I hate pizza) to go & waited like twenty minutes for it. & it was $7.25, which I thought was pretty overpriced, but the slice they gave him was ginormous. It was like if a pizza slice absorbed its twin in utero & became twice its regular size. He also enjoyed it, so all was well. We then went to the local coffee shop & I got him an iced chai & myself a cold brew. I told the barista how I'd wanted to try something new & she said if I didn't like it I culd get a refund, which was nice, it was pretty good, though, so I drank the entire thing. I got a small, just in case though. I wanted something somewhat bitter & it delivered. While it was pretty good, I think I'd have to be in the mood for it to get it again, & I don't think I'd get it over the other things I'd tried off their menu.

    The coffee shop has a chess table, so I played it with my brother. He's nine yeah, so I beat him, but in his defense, I also beat our seventeen year old sister every time we play. I gave him advice throughout the game: control the center of the board, the most valuable pieces are normally queen>rook>bishop>knight>pawn, etc. He's really not that bad, he just has trouble understanding that sometimes rather than just catching pieces, you should be positioning yourself for future moves. What I mean is that his bishops & knights were skipping around the board chasing after pawns when he could be using them more strategically. Again, he's nine so I don't really expect him to be a Grandmaster. I beat him & I didn't really think he was having fun, so I offered to clean it up, but he actually wanted to play a second match. He improved markedly from his first one. It was also fun to play with someone who is so unpredictable. I also got a bit cocky thinking I could slip some pieces by him without him noticing & capturing them, but I was actually wrong! I mean, he is a smart kid, he's in the gifted program & all. I guess I'm just impressed!

    Going to write more later! To be continued~

    07/25/2023 / 11:23 AM
    The rest of my day was very full. Had to go shoe shopping with my mom & sister & my sister did the whole martyrdom schtick where all of the shoes were too expensive. I didn't go with them to all of the stores, but I think they went to at least three or four & my sister stayed shoeless. She should grow up a bit & realize martyrdom doesn't get you anything. Maybe it's just a holdover from Puritanism. You know, between the two of us, despite being belligerently athiest, she definitely acts like the more religious one. I think its her self denial; She worries about sugar constantly, squirrels her money away, won't drink soda, won't really get out of the house, has an expensive degree from an expensive school but complains about it, won't let my mom buy her shoes, always volunteers herself for chores only to complain about doing them. Why would anyone want to live like that? I'm not even sure if you can call it discipline, because it's not accomplishing anything. She always makes snide remarks about how hedonistic I am, how impulsive, the way I spend my money on trivial things, my love for junk food & sugar & coffee, the fact that I'm attending a community college, my strange outfits. The difference between us is that I'm happy, though. I guess I win, but it doesn't feel like winning. I wish she could feel as happy as this, too.

    The shopping & the errands were pretty miserable for me because 1) My sister would not pick out some fucking shoes, so it was for nothing. 2) I had this pain right under my right rib, like a stitch you get when running. And I said it feels like I have a stitch & my sister said I've never had stitches & she was being just overly aggressive about it, like I was lying about having stitches for attention & I had to refrain from calling her an idiot for not knowing what a stitch is. It's like when we were talking about song covers. I mentioned listening to this cover of Kickback, a Vocaloid cover & my sister said she hated it. & I asked her how she could hate it because she's never heard it. And we went back and forth for so long until I realized she didn't know what a song cover was! I had to explain it to her. She was arguing with me about something she literally knew nothing about & that fact has shaped all of my interactions with her. She also likes to pretend not to know things as a joke to mess with me, basically playing dumb while I try to explain it to her. & I can't really tell when she's playing dumb & I can't even flat out ask her, because I once thought she was messing with me & asked her, "Are you being dumb on purpose right now?" She wasn't She took a lot of offense to it. And so now I treat every simple thing that seems obvious like song covers or stitches like they're real, which also doesn't work, because one time she was doing her playing dumb schtick & I really couldn't tell, so I didn't say anything, and she asked me, "Wait do you actually think I'm this dumb?" And I mean, yeah, I kinda did. She took offense to that. And look, before it seems like I'm talking down to a kid, we're almost the same age. She's going to be eighteen in a week or two. Anyways, everything was for naught, I had this stitch under my rib and 3) I wasn't told we were going to be running errands. I really hate when people spring last minute plans or schedule changes on me. I don't know, I just really don't deal with an interruption in my planned routine very well. And that's one thing, but the other thing was that I was still in my pajamas & I felt gross & honestly just filthy. I was really overwhelmed & conscious of the feeling of my clothes on my skin & I felt hot & it was just miserable.

    After the fruitless shopping venture we went home, I changed finally, & I went to get my passport photos done. It took more time than expected. The chick taking the picture didn't really know what she was doing, so I had to stand here, stand there, no go back, no stay right there, oh this was too close, oh this was too far! My eyes felt funny because I had to take my glasses off & once she finally was at the proper distance I blinked. & it was just so silly to me, so we were both smiling & I had to stifle it & put on my blank & serious face & after an arduous several minutes, my picture was taken. Then she had trouble uploading them to the computer. Then she asked me which one to use & I was like, I don't know girl, I'm paying money for you to figure this out. & she took the photos & compared them to some sample photos & sent me on my way. Overall, I think it took maybe ten to twenty minutes, which was incredible because I was the only person there & the last time I'd gotten them done I looked at the camera, took my picture, they were printed out & this was done in the span of a couple of minutes. It's alright though. I mean, I'm complaining because I was so happy I couldn't stop smiling. There are better things to be upset about, yeah?

    Then we went to the half priced bookstore. I found actually quite a few things:

  • Hatsune Miku manga illustrated by KEI
  • Skip Beat 1-3 (Omnibus)
  • Dissolving Classroom!
  • a couple of Nintendo magazines, one with a Naruto poster still inside
  • Bungo Stray Dogs volume 3, which unfortunately is going to my sister and not me, for her birthday
  • PMMM Wraith Arc volumes 1 & 2

  • When we got home, I put my thrift store clothes from last night in the dryer, had a BLT, & took a nap. We went to dinner to celebrate my step-grandmother's birthday. Went to an Italian place. I really, really, really like chicken Alfredo, so I got that, but it wasn't that good. Maybe a five out of ten. I didn't really eat a lot, because I felt kind of on edge & sick to my stomach. Towards the end of the meal, I started feeling better though, & actually ate all of my dessert: tiramisu that I split with my little brother (divine, perhaps one of my new favorite desserts, ten out of ten, my brother agreed), some of my mom's creme brulee (reminded me of toasted marshmallows & I really enjoyed the texture, so delicious), & some of my sister's Nutella & strawberry crepe (just a regular crepe).

    Still light when we got home, so I took a walk. Going to bed, because the cave trip is back on, just me & my brother. He is so excited for it. It's really cute. He keeps gushing about the fact that it's just the two of us. I'm also surprsing him with McDonald's breakfast in the morning. We're going to have a good day.

    07/25/2023 / 9:20 AM
    Vashti is the sleepiest girl in the whole wide world right now... Well there are a lot of girls in this world. I'm the sleepiest Vashti in the world, at least. I ended up falling asleep at 3 AM last night... Time just passed without me realizing. I got up at 8:30 to go to my mom's house. Five and a half hours isn't that bad, I know, but I try to get at least seven a night. Normally I sleep between seven and eight hours. I can't really stay asleep any longer than that.

    I'm trying to try more new things & every time I get coffee, I always end up getting a frappe or this special latte the shop by my house makes, so now each time I've gone, I'll get a small cup of a new drink & a large one of something I know I'll like. On today's menu is the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso from Starbucks. It's actually amazing. I asked for something kind of bitter, because the iced macchiato was just too sweet for me, & after some discussion with the barista, we landed on the espresso. It really is the perfect level of bitterness to me, it's not overpowering, but it's still not very sweet. There's this slight aftertaste from the brown sugar, but it's not overpowering. It's perefect & leaves you wanting another sip. When I'm in the mood for espresso, this is my new go-to.

    When we were driving past the Starbucks, I mentioned it, because my mom really likes the iced chai from here & I thought it would be nice to surprise her with a cup. She instead got overly aggressive & told me no one gives a shit about Starbucks & was annoyed I'd asked to stop, so I told her fine. Whatever. I just won't get you a drink if you hate it that much. Then she started to backtrack & sounded like she was going to go through the drive-through before taking my sister to the bank, but I told her it was fine, that I'll just go by myself. While it's undeniable that she was rude for no reason, I figure I'll just get her her little drink. It's not a big deal, you know? Not the rudeness, that was a somewhat big deal, very annoying. But getting her a drink? It's like five dollars. Maybe it'll placate her a bit. I don't know... I feel like I'm always the bigger person, which doesn't work, because in reality, I'm a very small person who feels like a prey animal. Sometimes I think "be the bigger person" means "make yourself so small that you'll take whatever someone gives you, and we'll pretend this meekness is a virtue." I'm overthinking this, though. I'll just be nice. It costs nothing to be nice. Well in this instance, a small cup of being nice is $5.25 + tax + a tip. But you know what I mean.

    07/25/2023 / 1:40 AM
    I want to go to bed, but first I have to record the rest of my day; I can't risk forgetting such a wonderful night. Even bad nights have some good in them, but this was a good night & the amazing thing about good nights is that they don't have to have some bad in them.

    E told me she was going to be late, which isn't a big deal because she's just always late. It's just how she is. It was about thirty or so minutes after the time she was supposed to be leaving & I still hadn't heard from her & began to worry. I thought that maybe she was going to cancel last minute, because she secretly hates my guts, because I'm so terrible & annoying & dreadful, etc. But then I figured that's probably not true, because 1) She never cancels on me 2) She told me yesterday that she'd probably be late 3) I don't secretly hate people, so others probably don't do that & 4) She is easily one of the nicest people I've ever met & if anyone were to secretly hate me it would not be her. With all of this in mind, I came to the conclusion that I was just feeling insecure about myself & that nothing was actually wrong, that my mind was just playing tricks on me. And almost immediately after coming to this conclusion, E texted me saying that her tutoring session went on later than normal & that she was heading out soon. She told me that she could swing by to pick me up, but that she had an errand to run first, something to pick up. She said she didn't mind getting me at all, but that we could just meet at the thrift store so I had more time to shop. She's never really asked me to meet somewhere instead of her getting me, so I figured something was up & that we could just meet up when she was done, like she'd said. I got there about fifteen to twenty-ish minutes before her & when we met she came with a Frappuccino in hand as a surprise for me. That was what she had to pick up. She said she'd wanted to get me something because I'd been feeling down. The fact that she went out of her way to do something like that for me really moved me. It really did make me feel a lot better.

    I'd kind of perused a lot of the store before she got there, so after we met up, I just kind of lazily followed her lead & we chatted. Well first I showed her all of the clothes I'd found, which was fun. I don't have very many friends to begin with, let alone one that I can talk about fashion with. She thrifts all of her clothes, too, so she gets me. We're also both very fond of layering & we like a lot of the same clothes. She's pretty tomboyish & I wear a lot of skirts & dresses, though. In fact, she was telling me how she wanted to try out wearing skirts, so we looked for some, but she didn't really like any of them. It's too bad we're not the same size, (I'm like eight inches taller than her), because she & I agreed it would be so fun to share clothes.

    She was telling me that since coming to the United States, she felt as though there was a Japanese E & an American E & that they were totally different. I obviously don't understand what it's like to be a foreigner anywhere, but I do understand the sentiment of that disquieting feeling you get when everyone has differing perceptions of you... Which one is the right one? What if they don't align with your self-perception, your self image? If everyone has a concept of you, is that part of who you are? Even if you don't agree with it? I don't have the answers to any of these questions. All I've come to realize is that you're not responsible for the way others see you. You don't have to take any of that into consideration. You don't even need to try to uphold whatever image or narrative you have for yourself. People aren't simple enough to explain away as a list of traits, nor are they simple enough to fit into some cohesive thing. I think, for me personally, my self is more comparable to a quilt or to a collage. Many parts of myself are clashing, but they are still equals. Perhaps some people fixate on certain squares of the quilt, but that has nothing to do with me. In fact, it doesn't matter to me. I am complete, but I am not finished. I can keep adding to myself. I can patch some things over. Put simply, I am not stagnant or flat. I'm always changing.

    Maybe now that I've articulated these thoughts, I should tell her. Sometimes I take a lot of time to really think about what's been said before I give a full response.

    I found so, so, so many cute and some downright gorgeous pieces of clothing. I had a hard time putting things back, actually. I found so many dresses that'll look really good on me. One of them looks like a watercolor painting. I also found some more fun clothes: a color-blocked dress with rainbow pockets, a skirt printed with morning glories (I think that"s what E called them...) E actually really liked that skirt. Ssaid it reminded her of Japan, but it was my size not hers, so I got it in her stead. Like I said, we like a lot of the same clothes, so we both loved the skirt. It's really cute & fun. I found another pair of corduroy shorts, these ones brown. I'm really fond of corduroy & my favorite colors to wear are either purple or brown. Oh! And speaking of purple, E found this bright (well deep) purple dress in my size. I'm not really sure how to describe it... I guess it's kind of like something you'd see at the Ren Faire. It ties in the back, which I like, because even though I do tend to wear lots of baggy clothes, I do feel really nice in clothes that show my figure. There were so many clothes that I picked up, I'll just have to upload pictures or something. E managed to find Levis in her size! She's really short, less than five feet tall, I forget the exact number, so it's really hard for her to find pants that aren't too long on her. They're cute jeans, too. I mean, I don't wear jeans because I can't handle the texture, but if I did, I think I'd go for the same straight-legged cut.

    We actually had to rush, because as I was going through my clothes & deciding what to leave behind, a worker told us the store was closing in ten minutes. Normally I agonize and deliberate over potential purchases, but that simply wasn't an option this time around. E lent me her big thrift shopping bag & I told her that once she dropped me off home, I'd dump the clothes in my room & bring her bag back, but she told me it's not as though she's going to go thrifting without me, so I shouldn't worry about it. It was 8 PM when the store closed, so she & I went to the delectable H-Mart food court to get some food. She joked that since she was with me, I'd be able to fit right in because she's Asian. I got udon & I think she got chicken katsu with curry rice. I've never had curry rice, which she found shocking, so now we're going to have curry rice together some time. She called it "karee raisu" & said it's really popular back home. We just chatted for a while as we ate. Time went by really quickly. I was so engroseed in our conversation that the only thing that showed me time had passed was that our food was gone. She was talking about her brother-in-law, the one I'd met over dinner. She said that he was really introverted, but that I'd like him. She said he was interesting to talk to & smart like me, said he read a lot & knew a lot of facts like me. It's just like her to say something like that. She's so nice she managed to compliment two people at once. It was a nice thing to hear her say. I don't really think of myself as smart, even though other people tell me so. Maybe I'm just lacking some confidence.

    Because we were already in H-Mart, I decided to pick up some snacks. A while ago, I was trying to drink every Ramune flavor, & I even had this little collection of reviews, but I lost them. They're probably buried in one of my diaries somewhere. I thought that having some new snacks to try would give me something to look forward to, so I just picked up a lot of the cheap ones. I wanted coffee jelly, but couldn't find any, so I went with coconut jelly, like from Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I also got two new Calpico flavors, a white peach Ramune which I hadn't tried but E raved about, two other Ramune, some hard candies, a Botan rice candy box (for the sticker), & an array of some small cakes & breads (matcha bread, mocha cake roll, coffee bread, & castella). I'll be housesitting for my mom & being alone kind of messes with my head a bit, so I thought maybe having something to try each day would give me a small routine & something to be happy about. When E saw my snacks she said I'd love it in Japan & I told her that trying new foods was one of the things I was looking forward to the most.

    After our grocery run, we agreed to get yogurt (I think it was yogurt) on a Monday we're both free, because this one place is doing free toppings. When we were in the car, we were talking about our periods & I'd said that it was so annoying to me, because every time my period comes, I break out. I said something along the lines of me being to old for it, because what kind of twenty one year old still breaks out like a teenager. She told me hey, adults get acne, too & I'd realized that yeah, she does have acne. We weren't annoyed with each other or anything & she wasn't being defensive, it was a joke, but I realized that I'd never rag on her if her face broke our, so why was I doing that to myself. It made me think that maybe I should make an effort to treat myself the way I would a friend, more gently. We went home & she told me if I was feeling bad or worse or if I need help that I can talk to her. I oftentimes feel as though my presence is burdensome somehow, so her words really did mean a lot to me. She's a good friend & I'm lucky to have met her.

    07/24/2023 / 5:21 PM
    Lalalala, probably going to leave to go thrifting soon. Might get some fast food afterwards... maybe a burger. Or maybe we'll get some cheap food court udon. Haven't left the house today & I'm feeling antsy. Spent a few hours laminating & cutting papers for my dad. He made this comment along the lines of talking about some hypothetical person who would "actually" want to listen to me while I was talking to him. The implication was that he did not want to listen to me talk to him, but the way he phrased it was so rude that I was taken aback. He was so casual about it, too. How can someone so casually say such a mean thing? And so I told him that. And then he cut me off mid-sentence & told me it's not like I was doing him a huge favor by laminating & cutting these papers for him, that I just had to do it. That had nothing to do with what I was saying, though. I didn't want him to be nice, or even decent, because I was doing him a favor. I wanted him to be nice because he's my dad.

    07/24/2023 / 1:05 AM
    When we went to Oklahoma, I bought four knock-off lego mini-brick sets: 1) The rainbow trout whose allure was irresistible 2) The catfish who I went back for after the trout 3) The bass I went back for a third time, to the same cashier 4) A chicken my mom bought me. Today, I built the rainbow trout. It was more enjoyable than I'd thought; I got annoyed each time someone 1) Talked to me during my trout time or 2) Interrupted my trout time. My dad asked me to hang out with him and I told him no, the trout takes precedence. This was after I asked if I could build the trout on the kitchen table and he told me he'd be working at the table eventually. (He did not work at the table eventually.) So I took my trout to my room, and my dad told me to wait up, that he wasn't working yet, but I didn't want to pack up my trout and transport its hundreds of tiny pieces to my room when he felt like working, so I just built it on my desk. Then he asked me to hang out again & so I played Animal Crossing on the couch while we watched T.V., but I was thinking about the trout the whole time. Then after a few hours or so, when I was back to the trout, my dad asked me & my sister to hang out with him. And I told him no, I want to finish my trout, but he said no, we have to hang out with him. We always hang out on his terms. I don't really know if it can be referred to as "hanging out" either. My dad has this rule where I'm not allowed in the living room until 7 PM, unless he invites me out. Aside from the fact that this is apparently insane as no one I've mentioned it to has found it remotely normal, it's just really hurtful. I mean, he hates seeing me so much that I'm not allowed in our living room. How else can you spin that? I told him I only do it because staying in my room all day makes me feel lonely, too. I guess he just doesn't care. He only cares when he feels lonely & when that happens, I'm supposed to drop everything I'm doing and spend time in the living room with him like it's some great privilege, and not just a thing normal families do.

    I didn't even want to come back to my dad's house, either. My plan was to spend Sunday & Monday with my little brother, but my mom's being weird about it. When I went to Oregon, I promised him that I'd take him to the library & out for milkshakes when I came home. Then he asked if we could get Starbucks instead, & I told him that was fine too & that I promise I'll take him. My mom tells me that she has a hair appointment Monday & asks if I'd be willing to watch my brother. I tell her of course, we can do our little hangout that day. Then she tells me taht she'll cancel her appointment so I don't have to watch him. And then I tell her multiple times that I will watch him & that I very much want to watch him. Then she says that my stepsister is there the day I'm watching my brother. I don't see what that has to do with anything. What she's getting at is that I shouldn't spend time with my little brother because my stepsister will feel excluded but 1) I promised my brother we could spend time together and she is more than old enough to understand that and 2) She & I don't spend time together because we just aren't close with one another. I met her at too old an age, fifteen or so, so I never became close with her. She's a nice kid & I like her, we just don't have a close relationship. 3) I take my little brother to coffee shops or to the movies all the time. This would be no different. For whatever reason, though, my mom was acting really weird about it, so our Monday plans got cancelled.

    On Saturday, my mom invited me to this cave tour that I really enjoy. I like it so much that I've gone many times before, once for my birthday. Not spelunking or anything. It's just an hour and a half walk through some caverns. My mom said she wanted to take my little brother & I was so excited. It was out of the blue & something that I just really wanted to experience with him. It was a pleasant surprise & then she cancelled Saturday night. She said she didn't want to spend the money on me to go. I don't understand why she would even invite me in the first place just to rescind it a few hours later. And money is besides the point, because I'd pay for my place in the tour. It just hurt my feelings. And so she asked me if I wanted to go visit my dad before I housesit for her for the next week or so, and I really didn't, but here I am.

    I now have Monday evening plans again, at least. I told E that I was feeling lonely & she was going to stop by & bring me coffee, but we decided on going thrift shopping together after her math tutoring. I'm really excited. I'm feeling kind of low, so maybe it'll make me feel better. We're going to see Barbie together soon, too. Personally, I'm sure that I'd enjoy Oppenheimer more, but I don't really think she'd go for that, so I'll probably watch it alone. I think I watch most of my movies alone. When the Jujutsu Kaisen movie came out, I went to see it by myself & my mom acted so weird about it. She was saying how sad & strange it was that I was viewing a movie alone, how it must be awful. I don't really understand why the theatre is supposed to be a social experience, but it's perfectly fine to watch movies alone at home. I genuinely don't understand it. It seems so arbitrary to me. That being said, I'm excited to go to the theatre with E! And I'm excited to go thrifting again tomorrow night! I still feel pretty sad though. E told me that every time I feel one thing I'm always feeling something else simultaneously. She said she never feels that way. When she's good, she's good & when she's bad, she's bad. I can't imagine not feeling multiple emotions at once. I think my view of the world would be fundamentally different.

    07/23/2023 / 10:41 AM
    Getting an iced macchiato at the coffee shop & there's this father & daughter next to me, his young daughter. And he lifted her up, but struggled momentarily, and he told her that she was getting heavy & just hearing that gave me this pang in my chest. I didn't cry, but my eyes teared up a bit. One day she really will be too heavy & he just won't pick her up again. What an awful thing to think about. There's this thing I read once by Iain Thomas that really articulates how I feel:

    I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it's about to end.
    And if you're never going to see someone again, it'll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, "It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now."
    And maybe if you're never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it'll shine and you can order everything off the menu you've never tried. Maybe, if someone's about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you're with a group of friends who'll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you'll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, "This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good."

    Just think, as the dad is about to pick his daughter up for the last time, that light will shine and they'll know. And maybe they'll rememebr it forever that way and it won't become some formless event. It won't be a thing that you don't remember, but logically speaking, must have happened. I mean after all, it was something that used to happen all the time & now it never happens, so of course it ended one day. And maybe they'll see that light shine & the dad will change things somehow. He'll go out of his way to pick her up again. Things could be different.

    I don't know, something feels kind of wrong with me. I feel insecure and sad and sulky. I'll be okay, though. I'm always okay in the end. If things aren't okay, then it's not the end for me. I have this habit of seeing the world in absolutes, normally it's some sort of worst case scenario that I've conjured up, like Don Quixote's windmills, only there's nothing noble about this. If someone is short with me, it's because they hate me. If someone cancels our plans, it's because we're not friends anymore. A misfortune isn't just a misfortune, they're all connected; I string them together like dirty pearls & I wear the necklace and I tell everyone, "Look! Do you see how terrible I am! Look how God has branded me with pearls!" But the truth of the matter is I started wearing that necklace myself. People like to pray to God, but I feel like a lot of prayers could be solved if God came down (or up) for just a minute and told everyone to look at their hands, told them to quit clasping their hands to pray to him & start using them.

    Of course, conversely, I also have a habit of thinking I'm the very best in the world. Part of it could be that I'm bipolar and the way I feel morphs itself into thoughts, but sometimes I think it's not that & there are just these loops or patterns of thoughts that I'm trapping myself in. I mean, I'm not having an episode right now, but these thoughts prevail nonetheless. I genuinely think it's something about me, part of my personality, if I have one. But that's a good thing, because I can change. You can just change. The truth of the matter is that even though I either feel like I'd be a better god than God or that I'm guilty of crimes I didn't commit, I don't have to be like this. I guess what I mean is that even though these are genuine feelings that I have, I'm not subject to them. You don't have to act upon or obey your feelings. I can feel things & tell myself that the way I feel probably isn't a reflection of what's really happening. As short as a year or two ago, I think that I wasn't capable of this. In other words, I've changed. I can keep changing, too. I can make myself someone completely different. My personality isn't something predetermined and etched somewhere, and it's not something tangible. It's not something as shallow as my propensity for insecurity and fear. Perhaps it really is in my personality to be neurotic, but it doesn't have to be. It's not a sentence. I can live with it. And I can take care of myself. And I can combat it. That's all that matters. I'll probably be a bit messed up and a bit sad and a bit grandiose forever, but I don't have to relent to this. When I feel filthy, like I deserve to be marine snow and not a person, I don't have to put my hands up & say, "Well I'm just a sad person!" Because I'm really not a sad person. Maybe I'm predisposed to feel that way, but I don't have to just accept it.

    I think that these feelings that I have, that I'm terrible or a failure or worthless or better than others, they aren't my personality. I think my personality is how I react to these feelings. I tell myself they're not true & I take care of myself anyways. If I have a personality, then it's found in my conscious thoughts & actions. My personality is perseverance, then. I'm not someone who gives up.

    07/22/2023 / 11:50 PM
    Wowzow! I am home now. Well, I got home at 6:30 PM or so. No. 7PM. Right upon our departure, I got this iced French vanilla machiatto from a local coffee shop- delicious. I got one yesterday when their frappe machine was busted. Also delicious. Serendipitous. It's good to try new things. It's not as good when six or seven bucks is on the line, but it worked out, so I win! Speaking of winning, I was waitlisted for my Intro to Teaching course & I've checked compulsively several times a day for the past week or two and I got in! I was at the top of the waitlist, so I just needed one person to drop, and they did! I win! Something went wrong with my registration & I planned the class but was not registered. Now my schedule's lined up so Mon/Wed I have class in the afternoon & have to get to school by noon. Tues/Thurs I have one class in the evening. It's by a coffe shop, though, so I'll just make a small day out of it & do my homework before class. An outing. A little ritual. (It's not the feeling that you got. Oh leave the party full of life. I found out your motive. I could do this all day long. But just a minute, that's all I want. De quelle façon, pour quelle raison. Dis-moi pourquoi, comment j'étais. Rien qu'une seconde si seulement tu te réveilles. Goodbye soleil!) Things are working out for me, one could say.

    There is not much for me to report in terms of the Oklahoma trip. I would not go again, truth be told, & the only way to write well is to tell the truth. Sincerity, authenticity, etc.

    I really feel like writing more, but I'm not feeling very good. I feel disproportionately bad, actually, for no reason. I feel sad and have nothing to be sad about. I feel lonely. I'm going to do myself a favor & just go to bed. I didn't sleep very well last night, or even somewhat well, so maybe that's it. And my routine has been interrupted. I've been overwhelmed by noise since Wednesday, overstimulated. I didn't get to go on my daily walks. I had to sit for eight hours today. It could be a lot of things. And I have to wake up at 6:30 or so tomorrow, so I'm going to bed for now. Maybe I'll feel un-lonely in the morning. Less gross. Less capricious.

    07/22/2023 / 9:13 AM
    Leaving Oklahoma soon... 11 AM. We could leave right now, but my mom doesn't want to seem rude. She has a lot of ideas about seeming rude. Apparently coming back to the cabin and showing other people that we bought something is rude. And I don't mean literally grabbing what we bought and showing everyone, I mean holding more than one shopping bag, even if what I bought was just postcards and a few mini Lego sets with my own money. She lives in a world where she calculates how each and every minutiae of her behavior will affect another's view of her, and I will never join her there. My sister lives like that, too. It seems so exhausting. I don't understand how the default state isn't simply not caring. My sister made this huge fuss because I was eating before they said grace yesterday. My one great aunt who leads grace (says grace?) wasn't even in the dining room or kitchen. I ate like 2/3 of my meal before she came downstairs. Why should I wait for something I don't even believe in? My sister talks a big game about religion being stupid, God being a lie, etc. but still waits for someone to say grace. It's silly. Why believe in something if you're not going to stand by it? Are they really beliefs if you put them away to appease others? I don't know. She's still young, so maybe she'll grow out of it. I mean, she's about to be a legal adult and all, but she can still change.

    07/19/2023 / 12:12 AM
    Hey Vashti, how was your movie? It was horrible, thank you for asking! Oh was the plot bad? Poor writing? Oh, I wouldn't know any of that, because the movie got fucking cancelled! Yeah, it got cancelled after I showed up to the theater at 6:30 & waited until 7:20 or so until I was like, come on man. There's no way it should be starting this late. And at first, I thought maybe I'd just gone into the wrong theatre, because I go to the wrong theatre house or grab the wrong seat pretty regularly. I knew I was in the right house, however, when a group of children all dressed up as various Demon Slayer characters took the seats behind me. And you think I was disappointed? These kids were crushed. They were promised a four hour play. So was I. It only makes sense we were crushed. I'm especially annoyed because I had to walk in the 105 degree heat to take the bus to reach the theatre. Yeah, I got a full refund & I got a free movie ticket redeemable whenever, but I'm still annoyed. I'm not even bothered by the fact I wasted fifty minutes of my time, because sitting in an empty theatre beat being at home, I'm just disappointed I didn't get to see Kimetsu no Yaiba On Stage. I didn't get to see Mugen Train in the theatres either. It's just annoying. I went through all the trouble of sneaking a Frappuccino & a strawberry boba in, too. Whatever.

    I'm all packed for the Oklahoma trip. Just gonna download a book for the road. Not sure which one... maybe I'll download like three or four or five & just pick one at random. That's my usual method. Going to bring my laptop, too, because we're anticipating rain. We were going to go swimming, but that seems to be off the table now. I guess it's under the table, and maybe it'll get put back on the table later, depending on the weather. It's all the same to me. I just started my period. I wish I knew that before I went out of my way to buy a swimsuit for the trip.

    07/18/2023 / 12:37 PM
    It was so, so, so, so fun to see E again! Just wow! I was there for four or so hours & it felt like no time at all. I also got to see the family she's staying with in the United States: her sister, her brother-in-law, her niece, and her nephew. They're all so sweet! I mean, Ema's a really, really nice person, so it makes sense. And her niece and nephew are sooooooo cute! I love kids. And they're both still so little, not even in school yet. They both remind me of when my brother was that little. I always forget how much I like kids until I'm around them. And they're both just such sweet kids. Her niece is a little rambunctious, but that's normal for her age, and she's just a fun kid to talk to. Her nephew doesn't talk very much, because he's so young, but he's such a cute little guy! And they have one of those little vacuums that roams around the house, the little disc one, and her nephew is scared of it, but he kept asking for them to turn it on. What a funny little kid. I think I've met her niece & nephew once before, maybe last year. Her niece still remembered me, which was sweet.

    Her sister and brother-in-law are both really nice, too. They went to Japan at a different time than E, so basically she was alone for a month, they came back, and then she departed shortly afterwards. They actually brought me a few gifts, which I can't believe! E told them how much I like Kuromi, so they brought me some Kuromi trinkets. The gifts are so nice, but also the fact that they thought of me is so nice, too. Like I'm telling you, these are some of the nicest people that I've ever met. I guess being a swetheart runs in the family, huh? E loved her elephants! Total hit. She showed me her room, and let me just tell you, so many elephants. Elephants to her are what Sanrio is to me, I'd say. She's putting two of the elephants on her shelf & then she's putting one elephant keychain & the Snoopy enamel pin on her bag. And I can't believe I managed to find a lime green elephant keychain up in Oregon! Lime green is her favorite color, so it was perfect for her. And as for the Snoopy pin, she loved it. She said it reminded her of her mom. I figured maybe it would help her feel less homesick, to have something to remind her of her mom with her all the time. She liked everything so much that she texted and thanked me a second time this morning. Like I said, her entire family is just so polite, so nice, so sweet, so warm, so welcoming. E brought me some gifts from her Japan trip, too. One of them was this Kuromi bag that she manage to get out of a UFO catcher. It's like this big claw machine I think, except the things are nicer and you actually have a chance of winning. She texted me right after she nabbed it, and when I saw the picture I screamed! It's so, so, so cute! And she told me she never ever wins at UFO catchers & this was the exception, so it's extra special to me. She also brought me a couple of stickers, one was a Pochacco that one of her sisters picked out for me (So sweet!) & one was this red triangle that says "shut up" in Japanese, I think. (Urusai?) And oh my God! I collect stamps, right? And her mom, her so super sweet mom that is letting me stay next summer, she gave me a page of Hello Kitty stamps & a page of these art stamps that are bronzeish with illustrations of bamboo & other nature things (They are so beautiful. If they were bigger they could go in a museum). I cannot believe that she gave me a sheet of Hello Kitty stamps. I have wanted some Sanrio stamps for such a long time. I've even looked at some on some stamp trading sites. They are now the prize of my collection. She must've had them for a while, too, because they're either from 2010 or they are from ten years ago I forgot which). In other words, they were probably a part of her collection & she chose to give them to me. It really means a lot to me. Now I have to find some stamps for her! She loves Snoopy, so maybe I'll look for some Snoopy stamps on Ebay.

    Okay, I looked for some Snoopy stamps on Ebay & found some of the cutest stamps ever. I'm gonna buy them & have E bring them with her when she sees her mom over the winter break.

    E's brother-in-law made dinner: hamburger steak! I've never had it before, but I've heard of it. I think it's relatively popular in Japan. Her sister was asking me if people ate this here in the States, but I don't think we do. I think the closest thing is Salisbury Steak, which isn't particularly popular here. Not only that, I hate Salisbury Steak, but I loved this! He even made egg drop soup. It was just so good. It wouldn't be out of place if it were served in a restaurant or something. E's niece was so cute, too, she asked me for my mushrooms, haha. And we ate everything with rice. I think any time I've eaten with E, we've had rice. I guess it's similar to how Americans want meat with every meal? Their rice is really yummy, too. It's nice and fluffy. I don't know how they do it. We use a rice cooker, too, but it never comes out the way theirs does.

    After dinner we watched the Sumikko Gurashi movie together. I have little Sumikko Gurashi keychains & stickers, but I didn't know there was a movie. It was a really sweet movie. It was surprisingly touching, by which I mean I almost cried twice. If you have the means, go watch it! Right now! I wasn't originally planning on staying after dinner because I didn't want to overstay my welcome, but it was E's idea & her sister told me I can come over any time. She said that a few times. I wonder if E told her what the relationship I have with the rest of my family is like. Either way, it's a very kind offer. E offered to drive me home, too, which was another kind offer. I was originally planning on just paying for a ride, so she saved me twenty bucks. Part of the reason we watched the movie after dinner was that we were hoping my mom would be asleep by the time I got home, so I wouldn't have to see her. She wasn't. She was on the back porch when I got home, so I immediately set my bags down & went right back out the door. It was dark out & I don't normally take night walks on account of being a young woman, but I really, really, really didn't want to talk to my mom. When I went back home, she was in her bedroom, so mission success. She called me after I was back inside, asking me where I was, telling me good night, & acting all saccharine as if she didn't yell at me over text a few hours earlier. That's just how she is. She never apologizes, no matter how bad or how wrong or how egregious. She can't say she's wrong. I don't know why. What I can say is that I really think we'd be much closer if she could just say she's sorry to me. But I don't think that will ever happen.

    This morning I woke up, caught the bus, & got coffee. Don't want to be at home. Don't want to see anybody. Later I'm going to the mall. And later still, I'm seeing the Kimetsu no Yaiba play at the theatre. It's four hours long, so it get's out a little after 11 PM. In other words, it's perfect. My mom comes home at 7 PM & I was looking for a reason to be out of the house that late. E's not big on anime, but still wanted to come with, but she has an algebra test tomorrow moring, so tonight it'll be just me, myself, & I. I didn't bring Froderick just because it's really hot out & I didn't want to carry him to the bus stop. I'm buying him some new clothes! I found a Build-A-Bear lace bralette, a leather skirt (will match his Harley Davidson Jacket, on sale), an emerald satin skirt (on sale), white satin panties (he has hot pink ones already & these ones will match the bralette), & a black slip dress. I also found these little satin heart jammies, but they're $12.50, so I don't know. He already has an Animal Crossing onesie to sleep in, so he doesn't need them, but they're just so cute. There are also these black combat boots on sale, that look kind of like Docs, and he doesn't have any shoes, so I don't know... And I'm getting the mini rainbow pride BAB frog, too. And maybe a Bearlien. I think as long as I keep everything under $80, I'll be okay. I've been making a lot in tips lately, and I'm getting a raise, so I'm not worried about money. I'm just frugal. I just can't resist. I like dressing Froderick up & I also like collecting BAB things, so it's not like I'm not sure whether or not I'll be happy with my purchase. And they're having a huge sale. Ugh!

    07/17/2023 / 3:44 PM
    Going to head over to E's house for dinner in a little while to have a delicious homecooked meal! This is going to be the first time I've seen her since May. She went to Japan & when she came back, I went to Oregon. Now we're both back! She's taking a summer algebra class, so she's pretty busy, but it's only five weeks, luckily. So beginning-ish of August, we can hang out all the time like we normally do! I'm so, so, so excited. I'm planning out this trip for us: We're taking a Greyhound down to Houston, Texas. The uncle I was staying with in Oregon went to school there & he was telling me about this big museum district they have, and the Rotko Chapel. Vashti loves Rothko, if you didn't know. Not my absolute favoite artist (that title belongs to Yoshitomo Nara, with Maria Prymachenko in second place, and probably Aya Takano in third), but he's in my top ten, at least. And anyways, E mentioned to me that she likes museums & I've always wanted to take a Greyhound, so things are just falling into place, huh? Once her class is over, we're gonna spend a day or two in Houston.

    I also have some little presents to give her: A Snoopy enamel pin (I got myself one too, kinda like a matching keychain situation), a cute elephant plush (she loves elephants), an elephant keychain from Comicon, & and elephant keychain from Oregon. I don't know why, but everywhere I went, I was seeing elephants. I also sent her a postcard from Oregon, of course. (She sent me one from Japan, too! It was a holographic of Shibuya crossing). When I'm there, we're also going to pick out our English literature class for the fall semester. I'm so happy!

    07/17/2023 / 2:11 PM
    Wow! I'm so super annoyed! Got in a fight with my mom about the dishes. I told her that I don't mind doing the dishes if her husband will just rinse his off as oppsoed to leaving them for days to dry and crust over like a fucking scab. And you may be wondering, why are dishes being left for multiple days? That's disgusting! You're right, it is disgusting. I haven't been to that house in at least two weeks, so they're not my dishes, either. And my mom went on this tangent, saying how she shouldn't have to do everything around the house to which I told her, You're right! You shouldn't have to do everything around the house! You should make your husband do things! You shouldn't pay for everything & also do all of the chores! Make your husband actually do shit! You're finally getting it! She didn't take this very well. See, it's okay for her to complain about her husband, but it's not okay for anyone else to do the exact same thing. You're not even allowed to agree with her. I guess I'm supposed to go, No, you deserve to be treated like a second class citizen in your own house. You poor, poor thing. And I'm supposed to compliment her on her matyrdom, rather than recognizing that she doesn't have to live like that- She just chooses to. She can stop whenever she wants. She chooses not to. She has the means to stand up for herself and she just doesn't. It was the same with my dad, my half brother's dad, & now my step-dad. I don't get it. I'd rather just be alone than live like that.

    I'm also annoyed because she called me a freeloader, which I don't understand. I'm there at the very most maybe one week out of the month. She tells me she wants me to come over. I pay for school. I pay for my doctor's visits. She doesn't pay my phone bill. If I want something, I buy it with my own money, because I have a job. I guess freeloading is when someone invites you over and you sleep in a bed. All of my siblings must be freeloaders, too. It's just, both of my parents told me that I can live with them while I go through college. They offered that. And they just throw it in my face constantly. Just constantly. And I thought that it was normal to feel intense guilt about living at home & for your family to just complain about you no matter what you do, but it's not! It's not. My friends' families aren't like that at all. They don't dangle a bed in front of them. They don't threaten to throw them out.

    Enough about my family. I don't even want to think about any of them, except for my little brother. I'm going to see him on Wednesday. Family trip to Oklahoma. I'm sure that's going to go swimmingly. I just picked up some library books for him. He found this comic that he really likes called Rutabaga when I took him a few weeks ago. The second one was there this time, so I got it for him. Also got him more hockey books. And a book on axolotls. We're driving to Oklahoma & it's going to be hours upon hours upon hours, so I figured he'd like some books. I also got the first three Moomin books for us to read together.

    2023 Oregon Trip / Part Four
    I'm tryig to remember what we did during the last stretch of my trip... One of the days we went to pick up a used kiln for my cousin. I think we drove out into the country, an hour and a half or so. It's for Christmas. She didn't really seem very excited about getting a kiln, which I thought was kind of weird. Maybe it's because they're richer than me, so the money for a kiln is less impressive to them. I'm not really sure. Maybe she just doesn't like pottery as much as everyone thought. She talked a lot about her school pottery classes though. And when they told her, she asked if the kiln would count for her birthday, too, because her birthday is kind of near Christmas. Then my aunt told her how expensive a kiln was. I don't know. A kiln, let alone all of the clay & supplies needed to actually use it are so fantastically luxurious to me that to own one is unthinkable. Sometimes I'm almost glad I don't have very much money, or at least that I didn't grow up with too much money. I think I'd be a really different person, just fundamentally so. That being said, I did by three lotto tickets last night, so I don't know how true that is when it comes down to it. The drive was kind of boring, for some reason. I don't know why. I normally really like car rides.

    After acquiring the kiln, we went estate sale shopping, to two separate houses. Both were not fun. I mean, I don't have a house, so I can't really buy furinture. And even if I did have my own place, I wouldn't be able to bring anything larger than my suitcase & heavier than twenty five-ish pounds. I did see this nice Precious Moments figure, however. But I didn't really want to bring a glass, porcelain, ceramic whatever in my luggage, so I left it. Also saw these amazing rainbow pants with this kind of bell-bottom leg. So amazing & so not my size. If they fit me, I know that I'd never take them off. That's how in style they were to me. I'm still bothered by it. I did end up getting a few little good luck charms as we were leaving the last house. They were right up front as my aunt was paying for this vase. They were the little pocket sized charms. One was a clover, one a dove, one an angel, & one a pineapple of all things. They came as a set for one dollar. I'm a sucker for little good luck trinkets like that. And you know, I'm not saying they work or anything, but I will tell you that I am just an extremely lucky person. It could just be a confirmation bias, where good things happen to me & I attribute it to luck & believe it's a pattern, but if that's the case, that's absolutely fine by me. Whether my luck is perceived or is some actual force in my life, its effects are still there.

    After the estate sale, I don't know what we did. I just know that everyone collectively agreed that the estate sales sucked. Good to know I wasn't just being bitchy. I think that I'm somehow off by a couple of days, because Sunday was my last day & the day before that, we went to Portland. And on Sunday we didn't do the estate sale shopping, I think. On Sunday, I woke up & drank some mildly bad instant coffee & we did beekeeping. My mom is very allergic to bees, wasps, etc. & my little sister is at least kind of allergic, because as a kid, when she was four or so & I was seven or so, she got stung by a bee in the garage. Her entire hand swelled up & she just wailed. I remember being horrified. So my entire life, I thought that I was most likely allergic to bees like my mom & sister. It was something I didn't really want to risk, so I just avoided bees. I'd prefer not to go into anaphylaxis & I'd prefer not to have my entire hand swell up. Because of this, I've always been pretty scared of bees, wasps, (& WASPs), etc. In fact, as a kid, my parents once took me to this water park & they had this thing called a 4D movie. It was basically this pirate movie where there was really good surround sound & if let's say a pirate jumped in the water, they'd mist you with water or something. Anyways, the pirates got chased by bees, an entire swarm, & they had these speakers above our heads that actually made it sound like a genuine bee swarm was above us. I bolted out of the theater crying. However! This has all changed. Morning one in Oregon, yours truly got stung by a yellowjacket. Right on my tricep, or whatever- back of my upper arm. And it hurt! But not wailing hurt. Not even tearing up hurt. It felt like getting a lousy shot for about twenty minutes. And I'm not allergic, apparently. My arm didn't really even get red, it just made a circle around the sting. And I'm really glad I got stung, because I'm no longer scared of bees or wasps, etc. It's really not that bad.

    So in light of this discovery, the world has opened up to me some more & I decided to do some beekeeping. And look, this wasn't purely just to face my fears & whatnot. Vashti had an ulterior motive: honeycomb. I just wanted to try some honeycomb, man. And if I had to beekeep to do it, so be it. Here is how Vashti imagined honeycomb: delicious & wafer like, with a satisfying crunch. Here is what Vashti actually experienced: A ball of wax, like chewing gum. Who knew honeycomb was made from beeswax? A lot of people, most likely. But not me! It was kind of disappointing that it didn't live up to this imaginary food that existed solely in my head. The experience of beekeeping was a joy in and of itself, though, so in the end it was hunky dory.

    Wearing the bee suit was pretty fun. It was my cousin's & she's much shorter than me, so I wasn't sure if it would fit, but it ended up being pretty big on me. It was white & fat like a marshmallow. It had this cool mask that reminded me of those beekeeping chicks from Mundaun. It was screendoor material, pretty much. Just with smaller holes. The hives themselves were apparently small. They're supposed to have about 50,000 bees each, but they only had about 20,000. How you even gauge that, I have no idea. We smoked them a bit, but not much. I think we only used the little handheld smoker once when we opened the lid to the hive and once towards the end. It was incredible to examine the bees up close. They progressively became agitated, though, & towards the end they were hovering all around us. When we began they didn't pay us too much mind.

    That night, we had a fire & s'mores. You know, I don't really like toasting marshmallows. Normally my sister does it for me. This time, my aunt made my s'mores. Well I made one & she made one. I accidentally lit mine on fire. Her's was an idyllic golden brown, though. Slightly crispy. We played this awful board game, too: Monopoly Scrabble. I'd never play it again. I didn't really sit & think about which words to spell, because everyone was taking one million years per word & I was getting bored. I can say with confidence that I'll live a happy life never playing that game again.

    Once night really fell & it got dark out, we watched an old slide show. I mean those picture slides. We watched it on a projector. They found a family's old vacation slides at an estate sale. Not one of the ones we attended together. The family must've been really rich, because they were going on vacations every year, like three of them to Hawaii. They ranged from the late 50s to the early 70s. Well one set was from 1950 something, all of the others were from the 60s & 70s. They went to London, Hawaii, Canada, the American southwest, & New York (though I think maybe they lived there before moving to Oregon). It was kind of sad that no one in the family wanted those pictures. I mean, they had kids in the 70s, so they either died young or didn't have contact with them anymore. I suppose their things were being sold at an estate sale, so they probably died alone. It's strange to think that the young woman in the photos, the mom, the wife, was once my age. But she got old and died. It's just weird to think about. When you see an old person, you don't really imagine them as a young person, it's like they've always been old.

    On my last day, I woke up & went straight to the airport. It was a somber atmosphere. It was sad. I got window seats on the plane again. Both times. Landed at 10 PM-ish.

    2023 Oregon Trip / Part Three
    Okay, day four: The Oregon Country Fair! We had to drive a long while to get there. I think it was in Veneta..? I'm unsure. I tend to stick out when I go places, due to my superior fashion sense and killer beauty and whatnot, but I actually kinda blended in at the fair. It was full of weirdos & hippies, pretty much. And topless women. I belonged there.

    I was hoping they'd let me keep my ticket & just take the stub or whatever, but alas. I wanted to keep it with my other little mementos. Luckily, I got this newspaper sized map with an illustration on the cover, so I'd argue that it's better than a ticket, yeah? The fair itself was immense. We were there for five or so hours & didn't see everything. My aunt & cousin shopped a lot, I just kinda glanced at things & waited around. I'm not complaining though- I had fun! The only thing I wanted was food: smoked salmon on a stick & a salmon burger. I really, really, really like seafood. It's probably on account of the fact that I didn't try any until middle school, after my parents split up. My dad just can't stand the smell of it for whatever reason, so I only had it after they divorced when I would stay with my mom. So now I love it, because it's something that I never have. Forbidden fruit situation. Who can blame Eve? I'd do the same thing. Who doesn't want to know everything? I feel bad for people who lack that curiosity. The world must be a dull place to them.

    Outside of food, I didn't buy anything aside from a small keychain & some of these stone-clay necklace charm thingies. Pendants. I don't know how they were made. Maybe engraved? Or it was wet clay & they were stamped? I think they're some sort of clay because they seem to be glazed. One is a mermaid, for my mom. One is a girl with a wolf's head. One is a diving woman. One is a woman under a night's sky. They all range from blue to a deep purple. I'm especially happy that the mermaid one is purple- my mom's favorite color.

    The fair was somewhat overwhelming, but I brought my noise cancelling headphones, so it was alright. The ride home seemed so much shorter than the ride there. It's always like that for some reason. I think everyone else was tired & went to bed earlier than me. My cousin slept on the ride home. I wish I could do that, but there's no way my neurotic self wold be able to relax enough. A couple of the nights my grandpa's dog acted like it was going to maul me to death in the middle of the night when I got up to go to the bathroom. I'm already scared of dogs, so I'd say this just cemented my fears.

    One day we went to this restaurant, I forgot which day. Maybe it was after we came back from the beach? It was called Camp 18, used to be a logging camp or something, and anyways, I had one of the best meals of my life: tuna melt on sourdough with clam chowder. The clam chowder was just like this potato soup I used to make & once I decided to dip my tuna melts in? I devoured them. I had just enough chowder left to take back home & eat a couple of days later. My aunt got the same thing as me, and I ate her left overs for breakfast a few days later. She said she could go back any time she wanted & I couldn't, so I should have it.

    We also ate at this place called Shari's one day. It was basically their equivalent of a Denny's. I got Eggs Benedict. It was good, but not great. It wasn't as good as what my dad makes at home & the eggs were too cooked. The yolk was nearly hardboiled. I got a coffee with it. Diner coffee is always so good. Maybe because my expectations are lower. Or maybe it's because I hadn't had coffee in five or six days. I was the only one who enjoyed my meal. Our server kinda sucked & forgot to bring me my food. And then I overheard him saying to the kitchen, "Did you forget the Eggs Benedict?" They did indeed forget the Eggs Bendeict. Everyone ate without me for fifteen minutes or so. I didn't mind. My aunt & uncle seemed kind of annoyed, but it wasn't a big deal. Mistakes happen. And waiting has never really bothered me. I'm a pretty patient person. And despite waiting, I was the only one out of the four of us who enjoyed my meal (somewhat). I don't get why the wanted to go Shari's. The three of them seemed to know that it wouldn't be very good before we got there. They didn't seem surprised that their food wasn't good. Maybe it's like the BBQ burrito & you just have to try it. I think I would've been fine having not expereinced Shari's, though. Though I'm still happy to have gone. I can add it to my catalog of experiences.

    I think the day we went to Shari's was the day we went to the Lavender Festival. Or maybe it was the day we went estate sale shopping. You picked your own lavender. It was sweet. My aunt picked six or so giant bundles, but I just got a small one that would fit in my luggage easily. I also saw that our picking philosophies were different. I examined each flower and selected them one by one, she and everyone else seemed to cut several at a time. That idea didn't even occur to me. They had this donut stand at the festival & I don't particularly like donuts, but these ones were delicious. They came with chocolate & caramel to dip them in. I much preferred the chocolate, because it was somewhat bitter. I'm guessing that it was dark chocolate. I also tried a drink called Butterbeer- absolutely vile. It was butterscotch flavored cream soad, and I love butterscotch, but it was just way too sweet. Sweeter than soda. Sweeter than eating spoonfuls of sugar. Sweeter than donuts dipped in chocolate. Reminded me of Stevia, which I hate. I think that stuff's sweeter than sugar, too- I can't stand it. The festival was small, but I didn't mind at all.

    I think it was the next day that we went into Portland. Saturday. I know this because we went to something called the Saturday Market. Like the beach & the Oregon Country Fair, I didn't find anything that I wanted to buy, except for a pin for my mom. Of a mermaid cat. A "purrmaid." She'll love it. We got food at the stands. I got Indian food. I've never had an Indian dish that I disliked. I got vegetable samosas, my favorite. If you've never had a samosa, do yourself a favor & quit readong & go buy one right now! I get veggie samosas every time I get Indian food. Ended up being the perfect amount of food. I was no longer hungry, but I didn't feel very full. They go out for food a lot, so I didn't want to eat too much, just in case. They also got some Italian sodas. I'd never tried one before. They didn't ask me what flavor I wanted & i had cherry or cherry cola to choose from. I don't really like cherry flavored things, so I didn't really like the sodas. They didn't really taste like soda, either, more like sparkling water. I don't think that's how Italian soda is supposed to taste, because they all seemed disappointed. Ah well. Maybe I can try some again soon. I wonder if they have a melon flavor? I've always wanted to try the type of melon soda they use in those Japanese ice cream floats.

    After the market, we visited Powell's bookstore. I don't think that I've ever been, because I would've remembered it. My cousin & I went in and it was very overwhelming. I was so big that we had to navigate it with a map! That being said, their arts section had this Yoshitomo Nara book that I'd wanted for years but couldn't justify getting. It's from the LACMA. I wasn't going to buy anything, but my aunt told my cousin to buy me and herself a book. I told my cousin that she didn't need to pay & that I'd buy my own book, but apparently her card is attached to my aunt & uncle's account, so she told me it would be like them buying it. I still didn't really want them to buy it, but my cousin said my aunt liekd to spoil me, so I relented. I bought my sister a book from their manga section as a souvenir: Choujin X or something. I think it's by the guy who wrote Tokyo Ghoul, which she really likes. I couldn't find it at first because the shelves were so high up it was four or five feet above my head! That's nine and a half to ten and a half feet up! I didn't even think to look that high. I had to get some guy with a ladder to get it down & he asked if i wanted anything else & I told him nah, he's all good. I was figuring her book would be maybe twenty to twenty five dollars-ish, but it was only fifteen. I would've just gotten her the second one if I'd known it was that cheap, but I didn't want to send that guy back up the ladder & her birthday's in a month, so I can just get the second copy then. I also got a postcard and a keycahin, because I like kitschy tourist things at heart. I'd sent out my four postcards earlier that morning, so this one was for myself. They had a coffee shop, but the line was really long & my aunt & uncle didn't want to come in with us, so I didn't want to make them wait any longer on my account. They told me to go in long enough to enjoy it, and I had passed enjoying it into being overstimulated by it, so my cousin & I checked out & met them a block or two away.

    After Powell's, we visited a store called Kinokuniya. Or maybe it's Kunokiniya? My cousin really likes it. We have one here at home, too, but I don't go because I find it too expensive. This time I ended up shelling out like thirty dollars, though. I couldn't resist! They had a Hatsune Miku Re-Ment blind box & Sonny Angels. I've always wanted a Sonny Angel. And a Re-Ment set. A Vocaloid one was even better, you know. I figured this was my trip & I'd been frugal so I bought two Sonny Angels, from two separate series (no chance of doubles that way). I ended up with a giraffe & an anteater. The anteater is kind of dorky & it was the one I didn't want, but it's cute, so I've softened up to it. They're on my desk right now. My aunt called them my "naked babies" & watched me open the boxes.

    2023 Oregon Trip / Part Two
    Hm... Where did I leave off? Day three... The third day was beach day, I think. Yes. We drove to the coast. Not sure how long the drive was. Not too long. I mean, I think I consider "long" to be 3 hours +, but that's just because unfortunately, we have to drive everywhere. I wonder how much of my life I've spent in a car? Days and days and days and days, if I had to guess. We stopped at a gas station near their house. Well "near" as in you had to drive down a mountain and down a road to reach it, maybe fifteen minutes away? They told me Vashti, Vashti, you have to try this BBQ burrito- It's delicious! Despite being born in BBQ country, I'm really not too fond of it. It's alright, just not very good to me. If I ever visit a BBQ joint with family, I normally peck at brisket for the most part. I tried the fabled burrito anyways, just to see. I'll try any food at least once, barring those absurdly spicey peppers and whatnot. The burrito was okay. It was filled with an unknown meat and barbecue sauce, and considering i don't really like barbecue sauce, I didn't really like the burrito. And considering all it contained was meat & sauce, I'm not really sure it can be classified as a burrito, but despite all of this, I'm glad I tried it at least. I'd never eat it again, but you know, you have to try it. It could've been the best food of my life. It wasn't, but it could've been, you know. I drank one of those bottled Starbucks coffees. I've been fond of them since childhood.

    I didn't eat anything aside from that 1.79 burrito, because upon reaching the coast, we went to get luch at a seafood place. I got the crab melt, because that's what my cousin had ordered & I'd never tried it. It was pretty good. I mean, crab, cheese, & sourdough- can't go wrong! The portion was just ginormous, so I ended up eating half of it like a sanwich & eating the remaining crab off of the rest. I can't afford to eat crab often, so I really appreciated the meal. I think it's been at least a year or so since I'd last had crab.

    Oh! But before the meal & our arrival at the coast, we made a stop because my aunt & uncle had an important business call. They'd been tense about it the entire ride. They pulled into a parking lot & my cousin & I visited this small arcade. Unfortunately, Guitar Hero was broken. It's one of my favorite games & my cousin has never played it, despite the fact that she loves rhythm games. (She was talking to me about this game called Beat Saber, maybe Beat Saver. It was one of those VR games. She actually had me try it one day. I couldn't understand why I was missing everything, as I'm normally pretty decent at games like that. She kept telling me to follow the arrows, but for the life of me, I had no clue what she was talking about. Everyone kept telling me to try it again, and I flunked a song maybe six or seven times until I just wasn't interested anymore. Well really I didn't want to do it in the first place, but she was so enthusiastic about it. Turns out she had some disappearing arrow mode on & forgot to turn it off.) Anyways, Guitar Hero was out of order, so we played air hockey. And look, I'm not competitive in nature at all, but something about air hockey just gets to me. I just fucking love air hockey, man. I used to have this mini air hockey set to play at home. Worked like the real thing. Hadn't played in years though, haven't really been to any arcades, so I figured we'd be on equal footing. We were not. I beat her maybe four or five times in a row & realized they weren't even close wins, so maybe we should just play something else. She wasn't being a sore loser or anything, I just figured being a high schooler and losing repeatedly to the twenty one year old woman would feel annoying, so then she & I played a motorcycle racing game. It actually let us race one another in the little game world. I won & then she won. I think the only reason I won the first time was because I 1) figured out how to move first and 2) accidentally did some flips for bonus points. Then she'd told me she'd never played DDR but heard it was a rhythm game, so she wanted to try. I just watched. I was wearing sandals (that put me several inches above the ground) & I'm just really, really, really astoundingly bad at DDR. She wasn't too good at it, but she wasn't atrocious like me. Then my aunt & uncle's call ended & we made our way to the coast.

    At the coast, my cousin & aunt did a lot of shopping, popping in and out of these boutiques. None of them interested me. I don't really have money to spend, let alone to the extent that they spend. The one thing I'd wanted were postcards, which I'd found. I also got E & myself these little elephant keychains. (She loves elephants.) Oh, and we went on this carousel that I think has been there since my mom was a kid! Obviously, I rode it. Still just as fun as when I was younger.

    The actual trip to the beach itself was really short. Too short in my opinion. When they said a "beach day," I had anticipated being by the ocean, not shopping. My aunt & uncle didn't actually come out with us to the sandy part of the coast. My aunt said walking on sand was tiring. They said not to take too long, so I only got to look at the waves for maybe ten or fifteen minutes, which made me really sad; It was the one thing out of the trip that I'd wanted more than anything. I haven't seen the ocean in years. My cousin came with me, but we didn't really talk. I just stared at the waves. There's something so powerful about the water. It's just immense. The noise engulfs everything & as far as you can see, there's just water. I don't know how to really describe what I'd felt. I felt really small & unimportant, but my insignificance felt really comforting. It was as though none of my problems really mattered. It was fifty or so degrees out, cold enough that I was wearing an ankle length skirt & sweatshirt, & the water was even colder. I wasn't really planning on it, but I just felt compelled to wade in. I went about thigh deep & stayed in the water until my legs went numb from the cold. I would've stayed longer, but I couldn't. Not up to me. My cousin didn't say anything. She told my aunt and unle that I was looking so somberly at the water that she didn't want to interrupt.

    I cleaned my legs & feet at one of those little spouts & we went on this machine called a Tilt-A-Whirl or something. Think a tea cup ride, but you don't have to twist anything, you just lean & the machine spins you. I really like spinning rides & this one was the fastest that I'd ever been on. I couldn't stop grinning. My cousin liked it, too. After this we went to this candy shop that's always been there. It's known for its saltwater taffy, I think. We would've gone to Tilamook to get ice cream, but we ran out of time. We didn't leave very early, maybe 11 or so, and the phone call & shopping ate away at a lot of our time. I was kind of bummed, because I really like their marion berry ice cream, but oh well.

    2023 Oregon Trip / Part One
    Wow. Back home from vacation. It really doesn't feel like I was gone for over a week... More like three or four days. Flying on my own was interesting. I thought I did a good job of being cool and composed and whatnot, which is apparently untrue because on my first flight the guy next to me asked me if I was alright, followed by the stewardess twenty or so minutes later. Oh well. You can have the discomfort of living how you want, (what I've chosen), or the discomfort of not living how you want. No matter what, discomfort will not be avoided. You can just exchange it for a less rewarding kind.

    I don't understand how people on the plane were looking at their phones or a movie or sleeping when clouds were right outside of our windows! Some of the clouds were as big as mountain ranges. And speaking of mountain ranges, we were so high up that the mountains looked like an illustration on a topographical map. And at take off, human sized cars and houses became model sized cars and houses. People were reduced to ants. And no one seemed to care. It's just somewhat dumbfounding.

    I'm not sure how to go about relaying everything I'd done in chronological order. I don't really think about events like that. They more sort themselves into clusters, and those clusters can be sorted into chronological order. For example, this cluster is my Oregon trip of 2023. All of my memories are an ammalgamation already.

    Hm. Not sure where to start. I don't remember landing, actually. Just that I found the Portland airport's carpet to be an interesting design. It was green, too. Vashti's favorite color. I think we went straight "home." Their home. My grandpa's cabin. Well, shack would probably be more apt. I'm not being hyperbolic or snarky either; It really is a shack. It was more so a shack before they started fixing it up. Now it's a Ship of Theseus situation where they've gradually changed more and more of the shack to the point where I'm not quite sure what percentage shack it is anymore. And it has its old woodstove to keep it warm, so at the very lest, it still has some of its original components. So for now, I am still classifying it as Grandpa's Shack. Also I should identify they. They are: my aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandfather. Mom's side. Gramps has always lived in Oregon, at least as long as I've been alive, but everyone else moved up there (from here, home) sometime after I graduated high school, in the midst of COVID, I believe. Wasn't sure about the time frame, until my aunt & I were talking & she was still incensed at the fact that after I graduated, my father & sister didn't believe that I got a 4.0. I guess I should explain: They said that I never study (& I guess they thought that I'm stupid), so surely I didn't get a 4.0 & it's a mistake. They told me this the day that I graduated. That it was impossible that I, of all people, received a 4.0. But I'm actually smart enough that I can get a 4.0 without studying. This came up again this spring when my sister graduated. She also got a 4.0, and told me that she bets that I wish I had a 4.0 in high school, or something along those lines, to which I replied that I did get a 4.0 & that it was easy. And then she said that wasn't true, because her tassel was different, after which I grabbed my tassel & they were the exact same, minus the little charm denoting the year. And anyways, back when I graduated, because of COVID, I didn't actually visit with my aunt & co. Instead we drove by their house & I popped my head out of the sunroof to talk to them from the street. And she heard, or really my mom told her, about what my dad and sister had said to me. And you know, I really did try not to let it upset me, but the fact that they just blatantly denied my achievement (even if I didn't really work for it) and thought me incapable really hurt somewhere deep in my stomach. It makes me feel sick that they think so lowly of me. And you know, I can almost understand it if it were retrospective, after I'd flunked my college courses, because maybe it would be easier to assume Vashti is just stupid and not sevely depressed, but it wasn't like that at all. They said all of this to me for what? What did this prove? That my sister is better than me somehow? It's just something I can't forget. And that my aunt can't forget. And anyways, she left after I graduated. I think maybe we told them all goodbye from the car when they departed, but I can't remember. I was severely depressed for years on end, that year being part of it, and it really affects your memory.

    Anyways, we went to the cabin-shack-hybrid. Oh wait! Before that we got food. I remember because I left my suitcase in the back of the truck & was nervous about it, but they live in a small town so they didn't think anything of it. I got udon and takoyaki. They were okay. The udon was better than the takoyaki, but both were alright. Then we went to the cabin-shack-hybrid. After we went grocery shopping. And maybe to Home Depot..? They went to Home Depot like three times in the week span that I was there. The home depot trips all bleed together, because I just waited in the car each time. They also took us to a store to buy doors for the cabin-shack-hybrid. We were there for at least a couple of hours. It was really boring. This was a different day, maybe the second one. The first night we watched The Abyss, by James Cameron. It was terrible. When I thought the movie was wrapping up, there was still about half of it left. Maybe the fact that I didn't enjoy it was compounded by the fact that I was tired from flying all day and we were watching it in the living room 1) Together & 2) On the couch that I was using as a bed, so I couldn't go to sleep in the midst of either of these circumstances.

    Day two, don't remember what we did. I woke up at 5 AM because of the time difference, I think. And then again at 7 AM. That was the door shopping day, I think. I think I spent a lot of the day talking with my aunt, which was my favorite thing, actually, out of everything we did. Just seeing them made me happier than anything else. I won't go into detail, but my childhood came up somehow, and she asked me about things that happened to me and apologized for not knowing about it. I told her it was alright. I think it came up because we were talking about my phobia of cats. Originally they were going to have me sleep in their trailer with half a dozen cats, and they said something along the lines of me not minding morning cuddles from the cats. I thought it was a joke, so I laughed. Then I realized they'd all forgotten my lifelong fear of cats somehow. I say somehow, because I once went with them on a roadtrip to some cat sanctuary & waited outside because I couldn't stand to actually go in. But I slept away from the cats on the couch in the cabin-shack-hybrid, so it all ended up hunky dory with no worries. And then we talked about how mean my sister is. I don't know. Any time I describe my sister to someone, they just think she's awful to me, and she is, but she's my sister. She won't change. For years and years growing up, everyone around me insisted that all siblings don't like each other, but the relationship between me and my sister (& my sister & our brother for that matter) goes far deeper than that. I dislike her on a fundamental level and I really think that she's not a good person. I still love her though, somehow. And unfortunately, I either have a sister who acts the way she does or I disown her and have no sister, because she won't change. I have someone else in my life who won't change but I feel bound to. Once you come to terms with the fact that they are how they are, it's somehow better. Anyways, my aunt is the first person in my entire life to say that my sister and I just don't get along. She didn't reduce it to some petty sibling squabble. She didn't say we'd change when we got older. In fact, she said she thinks that my sister will never change.

    We also spoke at length about me being bipolar, which was irksome, I guess you could say. She voiced doubt that I was actually bipolar, because I'm not a "severe" case or whatever. I wonder what I would have to do to be "severe" enough. Suicidal despair, nearly failing out of school, having to take a semester off, living for years with the assumption that I'd kill myself & not have to deal with anything, not eating or showering, losing weight, hearing things, my doctor telling me I should check myself into a psych ward, being so amped up I got asked if I was on drugs at work, spending all of my money and having to start completely over with savings, lying to everyone about school out of shame, feeling guilty just by virtue of waking up each morning, sleeping three hours a night, being incapable of being quiet for more than a couple of minutes... what's "severe?" Would "severe" be if I just killed myself? No seriously. She wasn't even here. How would she know how "severe" I am? I think the psychiatrist I saw weekly (and at times twice a week) for months would know how "severe" I am? I think maybe I know how "severe" I am, because I have to live with it. But everyone knows more than me. It's just that I really don't open up about this ever and this is what I got. What was I even trying to "get?" Maybe I just wanted someone to listen to me. And look, I love my aunt very dearly, I love her so, so, so much, but just the ignorance in saying that I probably had schizophrenia because of the fact that I'd been hearing things while manic... That's what cinched the fact that she had no clue what she was talking about. Psychotic features are common in bipolar disorder. And she told me that my uncle's brother was bipolar, and what he had going on was bad or something & that I'm nothing like that. I'm "nothing like that" because I took pill cocktails every day and saw a psychiatrist and a therapist and tried my best to take care of myself. The fact that I'm being dismissed because I've done well managing my symptoms... I don't know what to say. I'm not mad at her. I'm kind of annoyed, but not mad. She was saying these things out of love. I just feel alone. I wish someone understood me or would at least try to understand me.

    It's one in the morning now. I'll write more later, tomorrow most likely.

    07/02/2023 / 10:34 PM
    Tarot reading, Celtic Cross spread:

    1. 9 of Cups
    2. Judgement
    3. Temperance
    4. The Star
    5. The Magician
    6. 7 of Pentacles
    7. 2 of Swords
    8. 10 of Pentacles
    9. Knight of Wands
    10. Knight of Swords

    I normally draw the Tower, so it means a lot to draw the Star, the card right after disaster. Knight of Swords appears again, this time with the Knight of Wands. I don't think I could've received a better sign or a better pair. It's time for decision & action. My other cards indicate indecisiveness, though. I'm not sure what to make of Judgement, yet. What type of challenge is that supposed to be? A decision. It's a decision card.

    07/02/2023 / 2:54 PM
    Departure tomorrow- still haven't packed. I don't know. I'm just throwing clothes in a suitcase. Not much else I need to do. It's not difficult & at the same time, I haven't really put it off. I've just been up to other things, I guess. Everyone's making a big deal about me flying on my own. I guess because I used to suffer from agoraphobia. I used to barely be able to leave the house. I'm over it now though. It'll be fine. And I'm not scared of flying, either. I used to be severely scared of driving, scared of cars in general, but I got over that, too. If I'm not scared of cars, why would I be scared of planes? The only worry I have is that my carry-on won't be allowed or something. Or maybe I can't find my connecting flight. Logistical things. Not dying in a fiery explosion things. Maybe it'll be different once I actually get to the airport, though. And this time there will be no Zoloft or Xanax to carry me through. I'll have to carry myself through. My only hope is that I have a window seat & that I sit next to a hot chick. And that the plane doesn't crash.

    I'm gonna do a tarot reading when I get home. I'm at Starbucks right now, on a whim. Apparently a barista's in training & they've just been giving me free Frappuccinos. Feels good to be God's favorite little lamb, I gotta admit.

    07/01/2023 / 11:59 PM
    Left E a message saying no worries, talk to me when you're ready, & I'm here if you need me, I miss you too. I hope she's okay. I'm sure she is. She's a resilient person. If she's not okay now, she will be. That's just how she is, who she is.

    Got Starbucks before work, because I had a dream last night about getting Starbucks before work. I left forty-five minutes early today. No reason. I just didn't want to work & asked if I could go. Dad texted me at work. My uncle's house burnt down & now he's staying with us. I thought it was just some kind of joke until I saw a picture. His aunt & uncle were in the fire & now his uncle's in a burn ward. He seems distraught. He got drunk & told me he wasn't upset now, but he probably would be tomorrow. He said tomorrow he's going to go back & see if he can salvage any of his clothes. I can't imagine that. They don't even know what caused it.

    So when I came home from work, my uncle was here & then I talked to my aunt (no relationship to him) on the phone about my upcoming trip. It's Monday. I'm flying up to see them in Oregon. To say I'm excited would be an understatement. I feel like I'm on the cusp of really changing myself, & I think this trip will be part of it. I'm going to do a tarot reading tomorrow, before I depart. I also need to pack. Not only do I need to pack, I need to pack a sweatshirt & pants! A sweatshirt! I haven't needed to wear one of those in months.

    I'm in a mood that I can't identify right now. I don't know. I went on a walk & everything seemed strange to me. The clouds looked as though they were being sucked away & I figured that it's just hot & I'm walking, so I should just stay still & give them a good look, but they really were moving rapidly. It wasn't a trick of the eyes. Or of the light. Have you heard that song? Trick of the Light, by Villagers? It's chorus articulates this deepset feeling I've had for years, "And if I see a sign in the sky tonight / No one's gonna tell me it's a trick of the light / May never come but I'm willing to wait / What can I say I'm a man of the faith" I don't think the words need any explanation. The birds were acting up, too. They were all gathered in a field, almost as if they were lounging. I had a feeling that it was going to rain & maybe they did, too. It didn't, save for a single drop on the walk home. And on my walk, I rediscovered an old favorite song of mine: Heart It Races, by Dr. Dog (a cover). I haven't stopped listening to it since. I wonder how many favorite things I've lost over the years...

    07/01/2023 / 8:57 AM
    Woke up to this awful smell, like when someone accidentallly burns the hot fudge at work. It was thick & sweet, but still disgusting. Turns out my dad made cookies. Well, "cookies", isn't exactly the right term. My dad went grocery shopping finally & brought back a bunch of berries. He then mixed this assortment of berries into a batter with chocolate, dates, & maybe nuts & cooked them into balls. He calls them cookies, but cookies taste good & these do not. These smell so bad that I can smell them from my room with the door shut.

    E hadn't been responding to my texts, but I wrote it off by the fact that she just came back from Japan & has family visiting her here from abroad, so I didn't think anything of it, just gave her some space. Well, she texted me at 2 AM last night saying someone died which was why she had been so absent & began apologizing. I'm not really sure how to respond beyond telling her she has nothing to apologize for. I don't know how to give condolences, nor has anyone close to me died when I was old enough to understand its gravity. Maybe I'll just tell her that. And I'll tell her to talk to me if she needs me or simply wants to. I don't think there's anything else to say, but maybe I'm missing something.

    I wish there was a guide for this kind of thing. The closest thing you have is TV, which I don't really watch. And everything on TV is dramatized. If this were a TV show, then instead of understanding that people get busy sometimes & it has nothing to do with you, I would've snapped at E, calling her a lousy friend, & then through tears she'd tell me there's been a death in the family. And then I would quickly backtrack & apologize & I'd spend the episode learning that you shouldn't make assumptions about what's going on in another person's life. But this isn't a TV show & I already know all of that.

    07/01/2023 / 12:29 AM
    July is here. I don't really feel different. In fact, it still feels like June, still feels like May, still feels like April, still feels like 2022, 2021, 2020.

    06/30/2023 / 9:24 AM
    I have to go to work in an hour and a half... Didn't sleep well. I had some awful dream that I woke up from. I can't remember it that well anymore. I think I was being attacked by an animal. Animals are normally the topic of my dream anxieties. And my waking ones. I'm scared of most animals, but I have a really severe cat phobia. Whatever it was, it had claws. I was being scratched.

    I only have two days of work: today & tomorrow. Only ten hours. Then I have Sunday off & leave to Oregon on Monday. Only two days of work, with the only manager that I like, too. And there's no food at home, so I'll just eat at work both days. Easy. It'll be easy. I feel as though I'm psyching myself up.

    06/29/2023 / 6:49 PM
    Today's been a lazy day. I haven't done anything. I was awake for two hours before I accidentally fell asleep & ended up taking a three hour nap. Whoops. It's not just me either. My dad hasn't gotten out of bed today, except to take the dog to the vet. She may have cancer & no one cares except for me & my sister. The dog got this garagntuan lump on her back that looked like it popped up overnight like a mushroom. It's the size of one of those little oranges. It doesn't hurt her at all. The vet said she may need surgery. I didn't go to the vet with them & no one will elaborate when I ask them about it, so I have no idea what's going on. Our childhood dog also had lumps & lived to twenty something, so it may just be nothing. Their lack of concern strikes me as callous though.

    All I've eaten today is soba. We came back to our dad's house & there's no food. They haven't done an actual grocery trip in about a month. The only reason I have soba is because I bought myself some a while ago. I only have three bundles of noodles left. Maybe they're just tight on money. I don't know. When my dad did go to the grocery store to just pick up a few things, he brought me back about a dozen packets of Top Ramen. He asked if I was happy & I said no, because I hate Top Ramen. He said when I get hungry enough that I'll eat it. Hasn't happened yet & I leave to Oregon for my trip on Monday, so I doubt it actually will ever happen. I don't get how he expects me to eat instant ramen every day, either. That stuff is terrible for you. It's extra ridiculous because they're all dieting & keep telling me that I should watch my calories. 1) I should not watch my calories. I'm 5'6 & 140 punds. That's a perfectly healthy weight. 2) How the fuck is instant ramen diet food? And you know, I was thinking maybe I'm just being dramatic & ungrateful & there's plenty of food, but I went to visit my mom & I was right the first time. Her house is packed with food & there's almost nothing here.

    I'm not going to complain, though. My dad is letting me stay here rent-free while I'm in college. That means I'm supposed to be happy about everything. I'd go grocery shopping, too, but I don't have a car. I feel stuck. I wish I could just eat some vegetables. I wish we had milk. I wish that I was living my life differently & that I'd just finish school & move away already. I wish we had bread.

    06/28/2023 / 10:27 PM
    I went to bed at about 3 AM (whoops), but still managed to wake up before my alarm. 8:54 AM. Not sure why I remember the time specifically. You know, I forgot to mention this in my last entry, but I think I saw a shooting star last night. Or, because I'm learning French: J'ai vu une etoile filante. For some reason, I remember the French expression for a shooting star, which is strange, because it's not a term I regularly use & I don't even know what filante means. I saw it right around sunset, past the point where the sky is warm & orange & has become a blue that deepens into black like a bruise. At this point it was still somewhat light out, though. It gives me doubts. Can one see shooting stars before nightfall? I mean, they're meteors, right? It's not like meteors only fall at night, but I thought maybe they just aren't visible in the day time. Its path was odd, too. It was bright white & plunging down into an arc & then into a straight line until it began squiggling around in the air. Then it disappeared. I don't know... I don't even know what to wish for.

    Anyways, out of the wishless night and back to this wishless morning, right? I didn't get out of bed for about twenty minutes or so. I even tried to go back to sleep, succeeded, & then woke up again realizing less than five minutes had passed. Then I gave up. I would say that I'm in a considerably better mood today. Took my brother (& Froderick) to see that Elemental (2023) movie at the theater. It really wasn't that bad. I kind of liked it. The plot wasn't anything particularly unique, it was predictable, but it was fine. I wasn't bored watching it. I wouldn't watch it again, but I was only going to make my brother happy. It was a romance & Vashti is a romantic, you know. So is my little brother. You don't normally think of a nine year old boy as the type to enjoy a romance, but he does. Our sister even tried to tease him about it, but it didn't work. She asked him if the characters kissed, expecting him to go "EWWWWWWW," but he didn't. He just told her that they did & that he liked it. I took him to get Frappuccinos right afterwards. We both got the Caramel Ribbon Crunch one. It's our favorite. He said today was another one of his favorite days with me. He's easy to impress, but so am I. We're both childish in that way, in the way that we can be appeased by McDonald's or something of similar caliber. He & I are a lot alike. If my sister & I weren't related & had no ties or societal obligations toward one another, I don't think we'd have a relationship. I'd hate her. My brother & I though? We'd be friends despite it all. We're twelve years apart in age, but we'd somehow meet & find a way to care for each other. I believe that wholeheartedly.

    The rest of the day kind of melted together into tonight. I went for a walk before sunset & I was really on edge the entire time. Saw a coyote & jumped. Saw a man walking down the street & jumped. A bird flew near me & I jumped. A dog looked at me from across the street & I scurried away. I felt like a prey animal, not an animal of prey. What a strange distinction, right? One gets hunted & one does the hunting, but all that's separating them is a tiny preposition. I used to think a bird of prey was a bird that was prey, until I finally understood that to be "of prey" means to consist of prey, as in it's sustained by prey. I walked with my headphones off because none of my songs would load, for whatever reason. I downloaded them, so you'd think that I'd be able to pull them up whenever I wanted, but you;d be wrong.

    It feels hard to write. I feel insecure & I keep second guessing myself, backtracking on what I've said. I've had a good day, but I still feel strange. I feel like something's wrong with me. E told me that it amazes her that whenever I feel good, I'm also feeling something else. She said she doesn't feel good & bad or good & strange at the same time. You would think that being bipolar, I'd feel either despair or euphoria in their purest forms, but that's not how it works in practice. Even when I was manic, there was always this undercurrent of misery or discomfort. Now that I'm just a normal amount of happy, it still seems to be there. I try to avoid identifying as my emotions, as in I'm not sad- I'm just feeling sad, but sometimes I wonder that some of my personality or identity is hiding in this constant hum of strange, inescapable, normally bad feelings?

    06/28/2023 / 12:28 AM
    I can't remember how to code & it is very annoying. And there is a fly buzzing around in the vicinity & it is very annoying. And Vashti has a headache & it is very annoying. I don't know... something's just wrong with me today. I'm in a bad mood. It's like in those horror stories where someone/thing dies & they get revived or resurrected or whatever & they come back wrong. Well I went to bed last night & I came back wrong. I'm just very irritable & easily overwhelmed. Everything has been too much, all day. Woke up late & sweaty & didn't change or brush my teeth because I was going on a walk & decided I'd just do that afterwards. In the morning it's about 90 degrees out, at least, normally 95, so I proceeded to get hotter and sweatier. Only outside for about ten minutes. Feel like Meursault when he's just so hot & he shoots the guy at the beach & he doesn't know why he did it, just that it was so hot. Only walk a couple of blocks away before my mom calls, Are you coming home? Why would I be coming home? We're leaving. No one told me that we were leaving. I get home & decide I'll just put on clean clothes & brush my teeth. Three minute plan. Becomes a zero minute plan, because as I walk into the driveway, everyone is in the car. They've been waiting for me. I get into the car. I ask for a mint. I don't have a mint. I ask for gum. I don't have gum. They ask me why I didn't brush my teeth. I was going to do it when I got back. Well you should really brush your teeth in the morning. Yes. that was the plan. At this point I'd only been up for about fifteen minutes. The seat is leather & it burned my thighs as I sat down, but now the sweat of my legs leaves an imprint. Like a slug's trail.

    I feel filthy, but the plan is just a quick trip to the craft store. I can shower when I get home. The plan is quickly abandoned. We're shopping for at least two hours. We shop for my sister's dorm furniture. They ask me which drawers she should get. I don't really care, but I pick one arbitrarily because there will be a fight otherwise. The lights in the store are bright & I can hear everyone's footsteps clacking on the tile. I'm cold now. The store is cold & I'm wearing gym shorts & a Kuromi t-shirt. Several people call me "sir" or "bud." My sister thinks this is funny. I got a haircut last week & it's a pixie cut. People mistake me for a boy now. She seems to think that this was inadvertent, as if I didn't know what I was doing when I got this haircut. Her idea of gender is so shallow that she can't fathom the fact that despite being a girl it feels good to be called "sir" or "young man." We get a second cart to push more furniture. It's so loud & my sister & brother are arguing so I put on my headphones, but no music plays. Something is wrong & my downloaded songs won't load. My headphones muffle the noise around me, but it's not enough. It's not the volume of everything. It's just the amount of it. Overlapping voices and sounds and textures. My brother is pouting about something, which seems impossible because 1) We got him a Frappuccino & 2) I bought tickets for a movie that he wants to see tomorrow. Some disney movie. Elemental. It looks mediocre.

    After we get home my borther won't stop making noise & my sister won't stop talking to me. My sister throws my purse onto the ground because it "doesn't belong on the kitchen table." She tells me that I need to take it up to my room. I get annoyed & tell her that's fucking stupid, because any time we go out I'll just have to go back upstairs to get my purse. My brother is whistling & talking to himself & talking to his video game. I ask him to stop. My sister is in the other room & is telling mw to put my cup away. It's a water cup. Water can sit in it while I'm not drinking it. She argues with me & I tell her again that what she said is stupid. My brother keeps making noises. I get more annoyed & realize that while everyone is indeed really annoying, my reactions are not tempered & I need to calm down. I lay in bed with my headphones on & I cover my face with a blanket. It's dark and it's quiet. I lay like this for about 45 minutes until I take a nap. I wake up feeling disgusting again.

    I took a shower & I'm still in a bad mood. My sister keeps bothering me about this site because I won't tell her the name. She says she'll tell our parents. I'm twenty one, so that doesn't really mean anything to me. She keeps trying to look at my computer screen. I tell her that's really fucking rude & she pouts. I tell her a child would know not to do that & she pouts. She's been upset about it since last week. If it wasn't so annoying, it would be funny.

    I debated even writing anything today, because I wouldn't mind forgetting about today.

    06/26/2023 / 10:22 PM
    Just took a bubble bath, wearing my boxers, a silky thrifted nightgown, & coconut chapstick- feeling feminine. I wonder what that even means. Is femininity really boxers or silk nightgowns? I think if I weren't a lesbian, my relationship with womanhood would be completely different, maybe nonexistent. I think the only part of being a woman that matters to me is loving other women.

    I'm off for the next few days & actually got an extra day off this week! My goal is to totally redo the site with my time off. I haven't really ever been satisfied with it. I just don't know enough about coding to make things look the way I want, so the only solution is to learn. I don't want to compromise. I'm capable of doing difficult things. I think part of it is that I'm indecisive... This is going to sound really ambitious, but I got to thinking that if I can't settle on a theme for my main page, maybe I'd just make a few. I have an idea for a strawberry one. Was also contemplating whether or not to incorporate my diary onto the main page, because this is the only thing I reliably update, but I'm unsure.

    06/26/2023 / 1:40 PM
    Spending the day with my little brother. I took him to the library, trying to get him to read more. Trying to get myself to read more. I told him, "Let's read thirty minutes a day, together~" & our sister overheard that & immediately started telling him that would be so boring and that he shouldn't do it & that I'm terrible for "forcing" him. I was just dumbfounded by her vitriol. She was angry that I was reading with our little brother. I genuinely have no words for it. It's just absurd.

    But whatever, we went to the library & I helped him find a bunch of books. The key is to let the kids read what they want. I wouldn't want to read a book if someone else were the one choosing, would you? So I told him he can read anything, pick anything from the kids' section. If you want to read only comic books, get only comic books. I don't care as long as this kid is reading. I think he ended up settling on a graphic novel about a chef in a jungle, three or four hockey books, and a story about an axolotl. The axolotl one was sweet & he read it in the library while I was searching for my books. Dewdrop, I think it was called. The boy loves axolotls. He said the funniest thing after reading the book. He asked me if axolotls were a new animal, if they had just been invented, because he'd only heard about them a year or two ago. I laughed because it was such an interesting thought. It's always so novel to hear how a kid is thinking. I mean, it would appear that way, wouldn't it? Maybe not that they were just "invented" because people don't really "invent" animals, but that they were just discovered.

    The way he speaks is always so interesting, too. Sometimes I think they're things no one has said before. I realized today that if he's finished more than half of his drink, he says that he's "drunk less than half," as in there is less than half left. Our sister didn't get what he meant & corrected him, but I understood him perfectly. He understands me perfectly, too. Maybe it's because I'm childish & maybe it's because we love each other & maybe it's just both. I don't mean childishness as innocence, either. Innocence really isn't good, is it? It's just a lack of knowledge. It's ignorance to all of the bad in the world. Maybe it would be nice to go back to that, but that's not how innocence works. You don't make a U-turn back to innocence. And even if I could forget every bad thing that I've learned, if somehow I could just forget, well the moment my mind was "clean," I'd want to learn it all again. I want to learn everything & then forget it.

    You know, when I go on walks, I like to look at roadkill. I think it's the most interesting thing in the world. Death is not an acceptable interest, though. When I was a child, I was really interested in mummies & I think it's because it was the one of the only ways I could openly learn about death. As a child, there were books about mummies in the library and not books about decomposition. If there were books about decomposition, I think I would've abandoned mummies. This fascination has stayed with me until now & probably will until I die & decompose myself. And when I go on walks, I take note of where all of the roadkill is & observe it over a period of days or weeks. I like to gawk at it, basically. And I didn't tell anyone this. And I took my brother on a walk, & we passed by some roadkill & he asked to stop & look. So any time after that, when we went on a walk, we'd stop to look at the roadkill together. That's the type of childish the two of us are. And so I thought, well maybe this is just normal. So our sister went on a walk with us & we stopped to gawk & she asked us what the hell we were doing & then I realized it's not normal, I was right the first time.

    And childish in a differnt way, outside of this curious way, the two of us love my Build-A-Bear frog, my brother & I. He's not embarassed of me the way our sister is. He's rarely embarassed & shame doesn't have a place in his life. Being childish is also unlearning shame. Shame is antithetical to freedom & to happiness & to courage. Shame & apathy kill. And my brother, he's not ashamed of me or my frog, he thinks I'm cool. I'm his older sister & we get milkshakes together & I'm cool. And we talk about Froderick together like he really is alive & I dress him up in outfits that match mine & my brother thinks I'm cool. I've flunked a lot of classes back when I wanted to kill myself & I'm a year or two behind in school & my brother thinks I'm cool. I can't drive, so I take the bus everywhere, & my brother thinks I'm cool. And when I complain that once you turn twenty one, well no one carries you upstairs when you fall asleep anymore, you walk yourself up those stairs, my brother laughs, because he didn't quite get what I was saying & thought someone was still carrying me upstairs when I was twenty & he thinks I'm cool. He thinks I'm cool. He's never seen me as a loser. He thinks I'm cool.

    And he told me today that this was one of his favorite days with me. This day isn't very different from the rest. We checked out books. We talked about axolotls. I taught him to use the library catalogue. We read together. I bought him a milkshake. We're sitting at a coffee shop together while he plays Fortnite & while I write this. He's tried to explain what a "Battle Pass" is to me & I didn't get it. I picked out his Fortnite skin. He carried Froderick for me & I carried our books, because when you're twenty one, no one will carry you upstairs anymore, but your little brother who loves you will carry your frog.

    06/26/2023 / 12:00 AM
    I did a lot of cleaning, actually. I guess I really am capable of self discipline. My desk is spotless as in 1) It is clear of items and 2) I scrubbed away any rings that got left behind by the condensation of cups. There are literally no spots on it. Hung up most of my laundry, too. Always a hassle because I insist on lining up my clothes in rainbow order. What? It looks nice, okay? It's functional, too. I have a lot of clothes, so it helps to sort them by color, because I remember them by color. Makes it easier to come up with new outfits, too.

    Ugh, outfits. Speaking of outfits, I need to pack my clothes etc. because I'm visiting my mom tomorrow (well today technically), & the next day, & the next day. Packing is the worst. You just pack to unpack. It's futile by its very nature. And I just don't wanna fold my clothes or plan my outfits. It's not as fun when you don't have a choice in what to wear. It's cramping my style, haha. Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I don't want to get up. We leave at 10 AM, so maybe I should just wake up at 9 & rush?

    06/25/2023 / To-Do Lists...
    I feel like I'm getting a bit stagnant, friends. I feel like water in a cup that's sat in my room too long and has a funky taste. The human body is mostly water & mine has moved so little that all the water in me has grown over with algae and a film. I feel like I'd really like to change & that I don't know how. I think I've been avoiding things lately. I don't know what I'm avoiding, though. But I seem to be filling my life with little distractions. I'm making a more concsious effort to do things that matter now. The hard part is deciding what matters. When I was depressed, I made to-do lists, constantly. It was self imposed structure. I even scheduled fun things. It showed me that I was in a hole & not a grave. I'm not depressed right now, but I think I'm going to start doing that again. And can I just say that it feels so good to say that I'm not depressed, that I'm 21 so I'm probably just in some weird episode of my life? It feels good. It feels so good. I never thought that I'd become 21 & I didn't think that I would ever be happy again, but here I am. I am happy & I am alive. I feel weird, but I am happy & I am alive. I just have this slight discomfort that's tingeing everything. But I think that's a good thing. It's keeping me from being content with everything. It's good to be content with some things, but not everything. I think it's just a signal from myself that I need to change & I can't articulate how. Maybe I already know what I want & I should just say it. Yeah. This is what I want to do:

  • wake up early again & go to bed early again
  • fill my days with little ritual & routines
  • go swimming at the pool.
  • a navel piercing once the summer is over
  • dye my hair to be purple again, even if I do a hack job
  • compile my favorite poems & my favorite paintings in one place that I can look at whenever I want
  • read every manga in my library
  • make a summer reading list
  • keep track of all of the movies I watch & what I think about them
  • make collages
  • send postcards to my brother & to E when I'm on my Oregon trip this July
  • work obsessively on this site until it looks the way I want it to
  • see E when I come home
  • take my brother somewhere fun, the way my parents did for me as a kid
  • Tears of the Kingdom
  • learn some Japanese for my summer 2024 trip
  • pick up French again. Anything you put down can be pciked back up just as easily.

  • I'll probably add more later... hm... Summer reading list:

  • Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto
  • Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (reread & lend to E)
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt
  • I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison
  • Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura
  • Haruki Murakami book (pick whichever the library happens to have)
  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (reread)

  • Website to do:
  • movie page
  • Froderick outfits & accessories page
  • manga colection
  • book reviews
  • Calico Critter collection
  • make site button(s)
  • favorite sites page
  • favorite poem library
  • finish about page
  • revamp home page
  • revamp music page
  • continue updating diary (!)
  • graphics directory

  • I probably won't finish everything I've set out to do, but as long as I do my best, then I'll be proud of myself! Is it better to set out to do one thing & accomplish it or set out to do thirty things & accomplish half, you know?

    06/25/2023 / 11:24 AM
    At a coffee shop with my sister right now. We're sitting apart because she kept trying to read over my shoulder & see what I was typing. I think that's pretty rude. She said it shouldn't be a secret, but she's wrong. How can I be my authentic self & say what I want if my family is reading? Maybe if I get better at being myself, I'll be able to, but I'm not sure. And you know, I was texting E, telling her that I was really frustrated with myself & that I always seem to be bending into what people want me to be & that I wish I could be more myself. And do you know what she said? She said, "It's funny you say that, because I rememeber from our first English class one of the things I admired about you was how unapologetically yourself you were. Idk like you are just you!! I think it's super cool." And she said she that wished to be like me one day. This was last year. It was one of the nicest things someone has said to me, so I haven't forgotten it. And I've been thinking about it, and I think she's right. I really am myself, I really try my best to be, I really, really do, but I don't think i'm all the way there yet. I'm not sure. I think it's normal to want your family's approval, to want people to like you, or at the very least, to want people to want you for something, anything. Even though it's normal, though, I still think I can overcome it. I think in my day to day life, the way I dress, what I say, what I do, I'm being authentic to myself. I believe what I struggle with the most is writing authentically. Sometimes it's like there's this audience in my head, that I'm writing for someone, and I don't know how to stop. I think it drives me to do my best, even if I'm just writing for myself & even if I'll never reread it, but sometimes it gets in the way. I think that good writing is telling the truth, even in a made up story. It's saying what you want without compromise. It's being sincere and genuine, so if I'm asking myself, what will they think, I've already begun compromising. I'm trying to impress people that don't exist. I'm trying to stop writing for the omniscient them & I'm trying to write for just Vashti. Even here. Even though other people are reading this, I'm writing this for myself. I think it's good for me. In this instance, I sometimes do have an audience, but I'm making sure not to write for you. It feels good.

    06/23/2023 / 9:24 PM
    Okay, where was I...? Yeah went to Daiso & went to the Asian grocery mart to pick up some more tsuyu because I ran out. Went home & that was that. I love riding the train. A year ago, it would've been unthinkable for me. I was scared constantly scared of everything, and leaving the house made me panic. This same time last year, I had what was probably the worst panic attack of my life riding the train into the city. I almost bolted off of it on the first stop. I was dry heaving. It was like someone was squeezing my heart with their fist. Even after I got off, I couldn't calm down. I think my dad drove all the way into the city just to pick me up so I wouldn't have to take the train back home. It was awful. The fact that I love it now is unthinkable to me. This simple thing used to be insurmountable, and now it's easy. Fear like that is a jail where you're both the prisoner and the warden. Exhausting.

    And today I spent most of my time out of the house. Woke up & got coffee, decorated my diary (maybe I'll post a picture once I'm done), oh and before all of that I got breakfast with my dad & sister. After went to the used book store and found a copy of... Yotsuba! My absolute favorite manga. I've never seen a used copy, or even a new one for that matter, for sale when i'm out and about. After that went to the theater & watched Asteroid City. I'd like to rewatch it. I think it's like a book, where if you reread/rewatch it, you'll take something new away from it. The meaning I took away upon my first viewing was that no one really knows what they're doing, but you have to persevere nonethelesss. I've never seen a Wes Anderson film before this one, except for The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I think I'd consider myself a fan now. Got more coffee once the movie was over & came home, went on a walk, cooked dinner that I'm not going to eat (spaghetti- can't stand it). Gonna sticker up my diary & do some laundry probably. The clothes are clean, just need to hang them up.

    My day was a lot like my other ones, except for the start of my morning. I dressed up in this teddy bear dress from the thrift store that happens to be a nightgown & my dad was telling me I shouldn't go out in that. Not because it's revealing, it's more like an old timey gown. He says that every single time I wear the dress. Every time. It's so silly. Oh~ this dress was designed by someone to sleep in, so you can't wear it when you're awake. Why should I follow such inconsequential & trivial little rules? Not only that, I got complimented on it. My family always rags on me about what I'm wearing, but I promise to you, dear reader, that I look fantastic. No one believed me either, until my mom & I went out on my birthday & five people stopped me to tell me how great I looked. She didn't believe it, which is so silly. I guess they think I look so bad that they thought I had been lying about people liking my outfits the whole time? I don't know. This is gonna sound vain, okay, but I dress up basically every time I go out, so if someone doesn't tell me that I look nice, it's out of the ordinary. And anyways, I'm in the "nightgown" & I take my Build-A-Bear frog with me everywhere, named Froderick, & so we're standing in line for breakfast & my sister tells me I look like I'm ready for a sleepover & that she's embarassed to be seen with me, and that was just so astoundingly stupid to me. Not the sleepover joke, that was funny, the fact that she was embarassed. How can someone live in shame like that? That's another jail where you're the prisoner & the warden. There are so many things you can do, if you just let yourself. My sister lives by a lot of self imposed rules, so I don't get it. We're just absolutely different in that way. She won't let herself drink soda, won't let herself play video games, won't eat if she knows she's gonna have good food the next day, other people may call it discipline, but I don't know... What good does discipline do you if it doesn't make you happy. It just seems like she feels guilty all the time. I hope she learns to grow out of it one day. It reminds me, there's something I tell myself a lot that I think applies here, it's the top five regrets of the dying:

    1) “I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” 2) “I wish I hadn't worked so hard.” 3) “I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.” 4) “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.” 5) “I wish I had let myself be happier.”

    I repeat these to myself every day. It may sound a bit morbid, but I think it's silly & actually pretty stupid to live like you're never going to die. It's basically the only guarantee you get, you're born, so you die.

    06/23/2023 / 5:08 PM
    I can't believe it's been four days since I've logged onto my computer... what did I even do in that time? I think the main thing is that I went to the city with my little sister. Well I call her little, but she's going to university. She's smart and a realy hard worker, so she got automatic admission into the university of her choice. I'm so proud of her. She's only going to be like an hour away, but it's so strange to garpple with the fact that we won't be living together for the first time. Our parents got divorced, but despite this, we've always gone back and forth between their houses together. I don't know if I've ever spent more than a week or two apart from her. I'll see her every weekend or every other weekend though, so it's okay. And one day we'll probably live in vastly different cities, but that's some time away & there's no need to fret about that now. It didn't even really register until maybe a month ago, when I was at the mall & we were picking up a shirt for her that looked just like one that I had, so I said that she doesn't need one, she can just borrow mine & we can share. Then my mom told me that no, we can't share because she'll be living in her dorm & I felt like I was gonna cry. I mean I knew that, it was a fact in my mind, but I hadn't really paid it any mind, hadn't processed it, I guess you could say. We're not really very affectionate with each other, or rather, she's not affectionate with me, or anyone for that matter, so when I told her all of this in a card, about how the thought, or rather the reality, of her leaving made me cry, I expected her to make a joke. But she said nothing & simply nodded. She understood.

    Anyways, I was taking her to the city so she could figure out how to navigate the bus system & take the train back home over the weekends. We went early in the morning and we visited an art museum that was a block or so away from her campus. The two of us were unimpressed, which was surprising, as I really enjoy looking at art. In fact, a lot of what I'm doing during my 2024 Japan trip is visting museums. (The one thing that I want to do more than anything is to visit N's Yard, the Yoshitomo Nara museum.) I saw a painting of Esther in the European section which I liked, but I would've preferred a picture of Vashti, haha. I like her so much that's where the name for this site & my online pseudonym came from. One thing I found interesting is that there was this one paiting that pulled me from across the room. It was the only painting I genuinely liked at my very core. It was this rainbow oil painting of a woman. I like colorful art, so it makes sense. And anyways, my sister said Vashti! You need to look at this painting & she was pointing in the same area that I was looking, so I thought we were both gushing about the same painting, but she was actually gesturing to the one next to it, and they looked nothing alike. It was pretty funny to me.

    After, we took the bus down to a revolving sushi place. She loves sushi, & despite me going all the way to Japan, I do not. Not at all. The flavor is good. I like raw fish. I love seafood. It's the rice. When I eat sushi rolls, I gag. It's a texture thing. The place we went to had udon, though, which I love, so much that we actually went to the same place for my birthday last month. She & I ate until we were full & both got two desserts & it was only $36 for both of us. I was expecting a steeper bill. Went to Daiso, too & I bought some more stickers. Yes, I am always buying stickers. I can't help it. I think it's on account of my whimsical & childlike spirit.

    Going to write more later today!

    06/19/2023 / 3:28 PM
    WOWZOW! I'm back after such a long absence. My computer broke beyond the point of being recognizable as a computer anymore- it just became wires and a keyboard and screen that no longer worked in unison. I'd say it was a slow decline, comparable to old age, where my poor little computer that could became the poor little computer that couldn't. It reached the point where it could barely swallow the words I was typing for school papers without freezing. My task manager wouldn't even work either. Nothing worked. I'd just hold down the power button & do a force shutdown. There was one day where I typed around 200 lines of code for the site & it froze & I just gave up. I've needed a new computer for a very long time. And this one wasn't used either. It's my first actually brand new computer. It's hard to use, just because it's new, but it doesn't freeze & it holds battery really well, so it's all good in my book.

    Trying to think of what I've done in the last two months... passed all of my classes for the semester. Threes As, one B, don't want to talk about it. Too tender of a memory, a bruise that just won't heal... Well I'm being dramatic, but I truly and genuinely do not think I deserved a B. Whatever though! I'm over it. I'm having a sunny disposition. That's my new running gag with myself. I got totally fucking ripped off by a tarot reader & I paid them seven entire dollars to tell me to have a sunny disposition. The advice is fine. But they got seven dollars, seven whole dollars, to tell me one sentence. The card was the Queen of Wands, yeah a positive attitude is one of the card's meanings, but it's also a card telling you to have courage & determination. Did my tarot reader reference these aspects even slightly? No. My guess is that they're just a hack who looked up a summary to every card's meaning & they had a cheat sheet. Vashti reads tarot, though, & so I was not fooled. But it's cool. I'm having a sunny disposition about it.

    Also speaking of tarot, there's this regular that comes during almost very single shift I work & I noticed a tarot card hanging from his windshield for the first time the other day, maybe a couple of weeks ago. The Knight of Swords. Another card that tells you to be determined. The question is, what should I be determined to do? I don't know what I want. Right now I'm just trying to do small things, because I'm beginning to think that how we spend our days are how we spend our whole lives, which is somehow even more daunting. It makes me think of how I spend every single moment. It's an uncomfortable feeling. The other day, I was looking at the playtime I have on my new game, Tears of the Kingdome, & it was like 120 hours. That's 5 whole days. And in Animal Crossing, I had 1200 hours. That's 50 days. And my sister, she was asking me how it felt to have wasted all of that time, & she was saying it in a bad way, but it felt really good. It made me smile. That's 55 entire days of my life that I've spent having fun. How could that be bad? I really don't have very much time, you know. Right after I turned 21, a little while ago, I did the math & I'd realized I've only lived about 7665 days. That's really not a lot. And about 1/3 of those days, I was sleeping, so I'm left with only 5110 days where I'm conscious. That's really, really not a lot. And God only knows how many of those days I spent sick, or at school or at work. And God only knows how many of those days I spent depressed. To be very blunt, I don't think I've had very many days where I was enjoying myself, where I was really happy. I was constantly depressed until I was 19, & that only stopped when I became manic. And I wasn't enjoying myself then, either. It was fun for only a really brief period, until I realized that I really couldn't control myself. It was like wearing your favorite sweater over and over again, because it looks so nice, and you're just ignoring this hole in it that just kept growing & growing because you wouldn't take the sweater off. And then everything is just in tatters. It feels uncomfortable, too. I was happy, but I also felt like I was on fire. It's like having such a bad fever that you can't sleep. I couldn't stop moving and I couldn't even write. I was thinking too fast & my writing wouldn't make any sense. Those days weren't good, either, even though I'm grateful for them & even though I still miss them for some inexplicable reason. So I think for the past year or so, it's been the only period in my life where I've just been a regular amount of happy. It's the first time that I've liked myself, too. So to see that I've spent 55 days just playing games, enjoying myself, well it felt great. It made it feel like everything was worth it, because 55 days of happiness have wormed their way into everything without me realizing it. It seems miraculous. So lately, my only goal is to keep playing games & reading books & writing & indulging myself. I just want to keep feeling happy.

    And an important lesson I've learned is that cleaning your room & eating vegetables & cooking when you don't want to & being responsible with your money are things that also make you happy. And if you do them even when you don't feel like it, they do more than make you happy, they also make you proud of yourself. I used to believe that all of these things were Sisyphean, but that doesn't make it so there's no pleasure to be found in them. I have to do my laundry again and again, only for everything to become dirty again, but I like having clean clothes & I like lining them up in my closet by color. I have to shower over and over, because no matter what, I won't stay clean forever, but I like the feeling of the water.

    04/19/2023 / 9:42 PM
    Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow- had SUCH a fun day. Got like six hours of sleep, went to school, finished learning about WWII & began learning about the Cold War. My friend E asked me how I was functioning on such little sleep, I told her that I had no idea. Most school nights I get between five and seven hours. It's not like I'm up late toiling or anything; Last night I went to bed late because I was too busy playing BOTW. I guess I'm just used to it.

    Anyways, I went to her place after class so we could do some homework together. We went to the school library first so she could look for resources for our research paper. I'm already pretty set on mine. I didn't find any additional ones for myself, but that's okay, I found a book for her. We went thrift shopping together before the semester started and she found our English textbook for $4. I cannot even articulate how covetous I was. Turns out that she had already rented hers, so she gave it to me to buy. This book I found for her today is just a small way to show my gratitude.

    Went to her place and did anotehr section of my history paper, two actually. Probably could've been more productive or whatever, but who cares. We spent the majority of the time talking. She made me soba noodles to eat (She's a Japanese exchange student), and they were DELICIOUS. They were, so, so, so, so good! She made them with tsuyu, which she said was the same stuff they put in udon (Udon is Vashti's favorite food), and I loved it. It was the first time I'd ever tried it before. She said you can serve them cold, but I ate them warm- cold just didn't sound very good. I don't know why. It's 80 out, so it's certainly the right weather for it. The noodles were made with tapioca, and the texture was perfect. I wish I had some right now. I finished my entire bowl, broth and all.

    I also tried buckwheat tea for the first time, and it is now one of my new favorite drinks. She gave me a heads up that it was pretty bitter, but it wasn't too bad. I was psyching myself up, expecting matcha level bitterness, but was pleasantly surprised. I had it cold, always drink my drinks cold, and it was so good I had three cups. She even made me some to bring home, and gave me some tea bags so I can make my own later. When I brought it home, I gave my drink to everyone to try. I busted in the door, yelling about how I'd discovered one of God's greatest beverages, and everyone was so unimpressed, so, so unimpressed. It was like they were drinking water. They didn't care even slightly. My plan was to get them hooked on it, so we could buy some at the grocery store, but my plan was foiled miserably. I just figured everyone would like it as much as I do. Oh well, not everyone can have impeccable taste.

    Not too much else to report. While I was hanging out with E, we just chatted the majority of the time. After she made me soba, I did the dishes, and we watched a Japanese variety show. I didn't understand a word of it, but it was entertaining nonetheless. I don't know how to describe it. It was just novel and wacky. And heavily edited. I saw them go fishing (twice), eat an isopod, try to push a rock known for being unpushable, and ride unicycles. They visited a place called Hokkaido, which E described as being the Alaska of Japan (very cold). She's never visited but wants to. Apparently they have these grand ice sculpture festivals there. We're going to visit Japan together next summer (2024). Or rather, she's going home for the summer and taking me with her. I wonder how I'll like it. It'll probably be fun just by virtue of everything being new to me. I like trying new foods, so I have that to look forward to. In addition to touristy junk like visting Harajuku, the Ghibli Museum, the Yoshitomo Nara Museum (N's Yard, the thing I want to do the absolute most), most of the things I'd like to try are pretty tame. I'd like to ride a bullet train, see a stag beetle, try some real, Japanese udon, and visit the konbini (I've wanted to see one since I read the book Convenience Store Woman. E says they're on a whole different level from American convenience stores). This list isn't definitive by any means, but these are some of the things I'd like to do the most. I wonder if I'll get home sick or culture shocked at all? E said that the Japanese aren't very friendly by American standards, and by American standards, I'm very friendly. Oh, and she said you don't talk on buses or trains. And tattoos are taboo, but I haven't gotten mine yet (too little money). Other than that, she said there wasn't anything that'll bother me, most likely. I'm not worried, though. How often is it that you get a place to stay abroad with your friend's cool family? (Her mom's a translator and her dad was an English professor. I've read one of his short stories before. I think he's really talented.)

    I don't have work tomorrow, so I'm not sure what I'll do. Maybe more BOTW. Probably more BOTW.

    04/18/2023 / 11:31 AM
    Goooood morning! I went to bed at 1 or 2 AM, woke up at 7 AM, looked at the clock, and promptly went back to snooze some more. I was thinking of going out to get some coffee today, but the only time I really leave the house is when my family is here, and right now I'm home alone. Yeah, I do want coffee and we're out of my delicious, unnutritious chai tea, but oh well. I'll just drink water. (Lies: My mom is going to the grocery store and asked if I wanted anything; I said a carton of iced coffee). I'm feeling kind of hungry. Well actually let me clarify: I know that I am hungry because my stomach is making some demonic yowling, howling noise, but I don't actually feel the sensation of hunger. I never really feel hungry. I just know that I'm hungry. I wonder what I should eat? I've been eating overnight oats every day, but we ran out of our oat materials and I finished them off a couple of days ago. Maybe cereal? Or eggs? I'm not really in the mood for anything in particular. I've woken up hungry every morning for the past several mornings. I wonder why?

    I'm going through a Breath of the Wild phase again. Don't know what prompted it. I created a new save and everything, been playing it nonstop. It's such a thoroughly amazing game. I was thinking that perhaps I'd add game reviews to the site, but I have a lot of trouble assigning things X Stars out of Ten, or Top One, Two, Three of X. I'm thinking maybe people aren't meant to think in these terms, quantifying and ranking love. At least I'm not. There's this song I like that kind of explains this feeling, it's called ジターバグ (Jitterbug) and it's a Meiko and Miku song. There's this (translated) line that goes: "Fitfully ranking things and aligning them vertically / Abandoning my heart, I convert them to numbers out of impulse / The magic gradually faded out." Sometimes the reason I like reading and listening to music is because someone else has put words to this feeling you couldn't voice. I've thought that it's really arbitrary and reductive to simply assign numbers to things when rating them, but nothing I've ever said has articulated that feeling as well as ジターバグ.

    Because I am currently obsessed with BOTW for no discernible reason, I am listening to Jerma play through BOTW right now. He is really bad at it, and my little brother really likes him for some reason. He calls him "handsome," which was sweet until he said, "He is handsomer than he is smart, and dumber than he is handsome." What a brutal thing for an elementary schooler to say, but really funny. Also really eloquently put, which makes it funnier for some reason. I wish the boy were here now- he's at school taking some standardized test. It's not a big deal, though, the boy is in the gifted program.

    Oh boy, I texted my mom telling her that I'd go to the grocery store with her so she's not bored or anything, and she actually said yes to my offer. God damnit. I thought she was going to tell me that it would just be out of the way for her to come get me after her meeting, but she said yes to my offer. Oh boy and oh well. It's okay to do things for the sake of being nice. I feel like a lot of people have this idea that you're supposed to like things like volunteering or do-gooding, but I don't really get that. If you're doing something nice, why do you need to feel good while doing it? Isn't doing the thing good enough? It's still altrusitic, no? Why are you supposed to feign the fact that you enjoy doing the right thing? You'd think that if anything, doing the right thing at the expense of your own comfort or enjoyment would be laudable. I thought that's what altruism was- doing the right thing in spite of everything else, your feelings included. Of course, Vashti's not an altruist in any philosphical sense. I don't see why someone else's happiness should outmatch my own. That being said, I still do altruitic things, but that's because doing nice things makes me feel good, and doing bad things makes me feel bad. I'm really only navigating things based off of how good they'll make me feel. This isn't to say that I'm bad or anything. I think it's the opposite: On some psychological or perhaps biological level, people are meant to be good.

    04/17/2023 / On Mustache Hairs
    My sister mentioned that she could see my mustache hairs today and it got me thinking about my appearance. More specifically, I am absolutely unbothered by how I look. I think I look fine. Other people think I look pretty. I get told that often enough by strangers to believe that it's true. Going down the checklist I'm conventionally attractive enough: I'm thin, I have doe eyes, I have clear skin for the most part, my teeth are straight, etc. I'm not saying this for the sake of bragging or anything- I'm just pointing out characteristics. I think knowing all of this is relevant to what I'm about to say, which is despite all of this, despite the fact that people tell me I'm pretty, people still expect me to be dissatisfied with my appearance. I don't get it. I genuinely don't get it. I think that I could be Venus herself, and people would still expect me to wince at mirrors. Where did this come from? People will tell me "Well Vashti, it's normal for you to be insecure about certain things. No one is perfect looking." Normal for you, maybe. To me the idea of waking up every day and disliking my body seems dystopian. Why would I dislike my body? It moves me from place to place, it takes in sights on my walks every day, it listens to the birds, it cooks my food, it counts my change for the bus and sleeps when I'm tired. I'm saying the word it, but by it, I mean me. My body and I are one. Once this body is gone, so am I, everything I can be and everything I will be. To dislike my body would be to dislike myself. That's what it sounds like to me.

    And I think the main difference here is by what merit we're judging our bodies by. My appearance is not a factor in judging my body. I don't care how it looks; it's fine the way it is. It wouldn't be better if I waxed my mustache hairs; mammals come with hair- it's normal and shouldn't be viewed as anything else. It wouldn't be better if I lost weight and my stomach became flat; that would mean I'm not eating enough. It wouldn't be better if I shaved; I don't think prepubescent hairlessness is sexy. I don't need to surveil my body. In fact, I refuse to. My body does not need to be kept prisoner. I am not a warden. I am healthy, and that's enough.

    I am just an animal, which is another way to view things. If on the offchance someone is reading this and doesn't know how to view their body with unconditional love, or if perhaps one day I lose my way and reread this: You are an animal. You are a little animal, like a cat or a dog. There is no attractive or unattractive for you: You're just an animal. You're just a thing on this Earth that feels things. In the words of Mary Oliver, "Let the soft animal of your body love what it loves." That's it.

    04/17/2023 / 4:15 PM
    I'm too tired to do any work. I stayed up late playing Breath of the Wild, then went "Okay Vashti, after class you should go home and take a nap." Then I proceeded to go home & play more Breath of the Wild, instead of napping. Go Vashti! Also I don't know why, but I constantly speak about myself in the third person. It doesn't ever come across as weird to me until someone points it out. I wonder where it came from. No one else in my life speaks that way, nor do I hear people on TV or in books speak like that. Also, who cares about that?! Vashti got an interview at the convenience store! I let out a howl, but I don't know how to transcribe that. I'm so psyched! Job interviews are always so difficult though. If you give me the job, I'll perform whatever string of tasks you give me exceptionally well, but if you just say that during an interview, no one believes you. You have to be charming, which I am not. Not even slightly. Sometimes it seems as though my speech has been put through an online translator, translated to some foreign language, and translated back to English again, now barely passable as human language. This is a future problem, though. I can deal with this in a few days. Now is the time to rejoice and howl in the coffee shop some more.

    04/17/2023 / 3:31 PM
    Took my little sister to the coffee shop & the song Washing Machine Heart (?) by Mitski just came on. I really like this song, though I Will is my favorite lyrically. The most danceable and/or jammable is probably Nobody. Should've Been Me is a pretty solid second on the dance scale, though as a whole, I really dislike that album. I feel like the whole retro sound was really contrived. Also, it's worth noting that I prefer folksy sounding music, so naturally I like Mitski's earlier works better. In a way her lyricism reminds me of Sufjan Stevens in that many of their songs perfectly encapsulate feelings of despair and surviving in spite of everything, and in my opinion they're both really well crafted. What I mean is that calling music "raw" to me always seems to be selling it short. There's nothing very impressive about raw meat, is there? What's impressive is carving away sinew and bone and preparing it to perfection. I feel like the word "raw" comes with the implication that there wasn't a lot of thought put into it. Of course, that could just be me assigning arbitrary connotations to words that no one else does, you know?

    Also the song Running Up That Hill just came on. Of all the Kate Bush songs to get popular, why'd it have to be that one? Why not Wuthering Heights? Running Up That Hill is just a lame song. It's a 4/10. Mediocre. Like why not Hounds of Love?

    04/14/2023 / 9:23 AM
    Took the bus to the library & I'm listening to the Katamari Damacy OST right now. I like listening to it when I ride the bus, so I just kept it on. I always code or write or whatever with music in the background. Feeling pretty tired, which I don't get. I slept like eight ot nine hours. Maybe I slept in too much. I woke up at 7:20 (I always wake up around 7 AM by default.) and went back to sleep for an hour. Maybe I should've just gotten up. Oh well.

    Here are my goals that I've decided upon: 1) Learn to touch type (better; I can sort of do it.) 2) Fill out a gazillion job applications (I hope I can get a convenience store job. I've wanted one since the time I read Convenience Store Woman & there are several that are walking distance from chez moi.)(Doing that today.) and 3) Do some of my miserable little (big) history assignment. The one due at the end of the month. There are ten parts, I did one yesterday. (Not because it was hard- it was actually really easy, took me like half an hour. Nah, i just wasn't feeling it.)(Doing that today as well). Oh! and 4) Tell my bosses to go fuck themselves (after new job is acquired.)

    Also, like I swear the public library has blocked. I cannot play it while connected to their wifi & it automatically signs me out every time I open it. What's their damage man?

    04/13/2023 / 9:53 AM
    I spoke with my boss today. I'm not sure if I've already mentioned this, but I've been on about 3 weeks vacation. Vacation is kind of an oversimplification, though. My boss got mad at me & took me off the schedule. I haven't been spending very much money, even prior to this though, because I've been too scared to after my manic episode, so I didn't need the money. In fact, I was actually very glad that God has given me a boss stupid enough to punish me with 3 weeks vacation. But alas, you gotta go back to work eventually, so before I could do that, my boss needed to write me up. Now Vashti, what did you do? That's the funny thing. See, I said the words "This is ridiculous," to my boss on the phone, and her ego is so fragile, and her brain so atrophied, that she sent me home for this. Vashti, why did you say "This is ridiculous?" Well, it was the second time within the span of a few weeks (maybe a couple) that I showed up to work for my shift and had the store locked. And that situation is ridiculous. Stupid or idiotic would probably be more apt phrasing, but because I am so clever and adept at navigating social situations (sarcasm), I opted for the word "ridiculous." And because you can't just write someone up for saying the word "ridiculous" without seeming ridiculous, they naturally lied on my write-up. They said I was insubordinate which sure, whatever, fine. I'm insubordinate. They however did not write the details of our conversation and wrote that I raised my voice. I did not. I speak in a perpetual monotone. Everyone who knows me knows this. The last time I raised my voice was when a dog that didn't belong to me began growling at me. So I yelled "No!" because I was scared. That was years and years ago. I just do not raise my voice. Like many facial expressions, it's something that does not come naturally to me. In other words, the write-up is a blatant lie. And I just signed it, because my dad told me I should keep my job, and that it's okay to pretend stupid people are right, even if they're not. And it feels like I really betrayed something inside of me. My morals, maybe. I feel bad, not because I didn't get to speak my mind, but because I watched injustice happen (to myself) and didn't do anything about it. Maybe I'm overthinking things. I don't know. Just knowing that I'm right and they're wrong isn't enough for me. Just knowing that I'm getting a degree and a new job one day, while they'll be stuck managing a run-down fast-food restaurant isn't enough for me. Of course, telling my boss that she's horrible and that she sustains her stupid little life on bullying those who are smaller than her, well that probably wouldn't be enough either. And it wouldn't be enough to tell her she's wasted her life, because she's probably well aware. And it wouldn't be enough to tell her she's an awful person, because unless she's in deep denial, she knows that too.

    Hey, my dad just texted me saying that I should find another job and that I shouldn't have to "eat that shit." Maybe things are looking up. I'm glad at least one person admits that I shouldn't have to humiliate myself like that, that I shouldn't be expected to, that it's wrong. I think that's what I wanted: Not a you're right, they're wrong in regard to this situation, but a you're right, they're wrong in the moral sense. That's what's being done to me is wrong.

    04/13/2023 / On Justice
    You know, people really like to think of the world as a fair place, and I don't understand it. Yet at the same time, Life isn't fair is an extremely common phrase. The two seem contradictory, but I think I understand it now: When someone says Life isn't fair, it comes with the assertion that this is the way things ought to be. It's not just saying Life isn't fair, it's saying Life isn't fair, but that's okay. Life isn't fair for everyone, but that is fairness in and of itself. Because you know, the only people who tout the fact that Life isn't fair are the people on top. The only people who say these things to me are people who are being treated pretty well by life, and when they say it, they're always saying it with a smug grin or a sneer. It's awful.

    It's always Life isn't fair, so there. Life isn't fair, so deal with it. And they smile, and they clap their hands, and they see that things are going well for them, so surely, so surely, surely, surely, things are fair and this is justice. It's never Life isn't fair, but it should be. No, it's never that. If you say but it should be, (and I have), you're breaking away from the script. Because you see, if someone's telling you Life isn't fair, they're expecting you to grimly assent. They want you to just agree that life isn't fair, so what's happening is alright, because that's what life is. And if you disagree, you're stupid or naive. It's awful. It's awful.

    I hate being lectured by people who are so distorted that they can't even let themselves admit that the world can be a better place, or that at the very least, it should be. All of their hopes are so tethered down, they can't even let themselves fantasize about an ideal. It's awful. It's awful. It's awful.

    And you know, I think that the idea that the world is a fair place is actually one of the worst misconceptions or ideas that humanity has hatched. Learning that the world really isn't fair, that things aren't right, it's set me free. As a kid, any time something bad happened to me, any time I was somehow mistreated, I began to think that I deserved it. My thinking was as follows: 1) Bad things won't stop happening to me. 2) Bad things aren't supposed to happen to people who are good. 3) I must not be good then. I came to the conclusion that bad, after bad, after bad thing was happening to me, so something about me warranted it, because at first, it really hurts to realize that the world is an unjust place. No one wants to think that. In a way, it's almost easier to admit that you're what's wrong, that the world is right, that the universe is right, that everyone is right and that you are wrong, but that kind of thinking will fester and kill you if you let it. I basically had to debride myself of my entire worldview. I had to teach myself that bad things happened to me not because I deserved them, but because things just happened. It's a very scary thought: That there is no order of just or unjust, that no one's really keeping score here, that there's no one governing these things. It's actually horrifying, but for me, the alternative was worse. Rather than endure constant guilt just by virtue of existing, I had to realize that at times, the world can be an awful place. But it shouldn't be.

    04/11/2023 / 1:29 PM
    Slept in until 9:30! I feel so, so, so good! I feel like maybe I slept a bit too much though. I normally get like seven or eight hours, & I got like nine. I woke up & made chai tea (the king of beverages, second to only frappes) & opened up my window & worked on the site. If I were in the same position years ago, I know I'd feel guilty about how I'm spending my time. I used to feel like I was wasting my time, constantly, but I've grown out of that mindset. I've come to the conclusion that 1) I don't have any sort of life purpose beyond what I choose for myself. 2) Because I don't have any overarching purpose, there's no way I can be wasting my time, because there's nothing I'm supposed to be spending my time on in the first place. I also came to a separate line of thought that led me to the same conclusion: 1) Because I don't have any reason to live beyond whatever I choose for myself, I'm going to choose to be happy. 2) By this logic, time spent having fun is not time wasted. So, I can say with confidence that I "wasted" my time today & had a blast doing it! I'm gonna work on the site & code more later, but first I gotta laminate papers for my dad. Well, actually I don't have to. I have no school or work today & I offered to, but still.

    I wanna go on a walk, too, but I'm at home alone with my dog, and if I go on a walk, I have to lock her up. If she's not in her kennel when we're gone, she tears the house up. Luckily for her, there's almost always someone here. My stepmom works from home & only goes into the office a few days a month, so she's always here with her. When she's not, I'm usually here. She gets to choose the days she goes into work, so she picks days that I can watch the dog. And I'd take the dog on the walk with me, but she tries to maul every goddamn dog we come across. And everytime, I try to walk away from whoever has their dog, and everytime, they let their leashless dog walk up to us. They think that because their dog is friendly, my dog is friendly. I genuinely do not understand this logic, probably because there really is no logic there.

    I'm listening to my tunes right now, and Two Days Ago (from Animal Crossing) came on. I think it's my favorite Animal Crossing song, along with Drivin' & K.K. Folk. Oh & now Don't Stop (Color on the Walls) by Foster the People came on. I like this song because it remind me of my friend V. When we were in high school together, she came over to my house one day & we listened to this album together. Sometimes I like songs just for their memories. I'm not saying this song is bad, though, just that if this song didn't remind me of her, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to listen to it. Oh sweet, now the JJK ending came on, Lost in Paradise. JJK isn't my favorite anime or anything, but its Lost in Paradise is one of my favorite anime endings. Oh and now one of the songs from the Stardew OST came on, one of the summer songs. I'm listening to a playlist comprised of happy, fun music right now. I have a lot of video game music included, like from the Katamari OST & from Jet Set Radio.

    Okay, okay, okay, I'm gonna go on a quick walk, then laminate, then after that I'm not sure. Maybe I'll code more or maybe I'll read Yotsuba.

    Wait, wait, before I go, Marimba of Frozen Bones came on, one of the best Stardew songs. Okay, now I'm going.

    04/10/2023 / 10:42 PM
    Okay so my English paper is done. I actually finished it hours and hours and hours ago. I normally speed through essays. I have a twenty page history paper due at the end of the month, and my last English paper due towards the beginning of May, but other than that I don't really have any homework to do. I'd do them both now, but I need books for each of them & I'm still waiting for them to come in. I don't have school or work tomorrow, and because I'm homeworkless, I have nothing to do. Maybe I'll try sleeping in. I wake up around 7-7:30 by default anyways, though. Not sure what to do yet. You may be thinking, Why do you need to know that now? Well you see, even on days where I have absolutely no obligations, I give myself some sort of preordained schedule or plan for the day. I don't really know why.

    Here's what I'm thinking so far: Wake up & drink coffee & go on a walk & read my Yotsuba volumes I got from the library today (rereading them, have read every volume before) & maybe delete all the pictures off of my phone (have run out of storage for my tunes & PDFs) & update the site & go on a second or third or fourth walk while listening to the same song on a loop. And maybe I'll play a video game (started BOTW up again), but I go through phases where I get super-ultra-hyper into things like video games or books or this site & right now it's not video games. Perhaps I'll watch a movie. I really wanted to see Everything Everywhere All at Once because they were showing it at the theater again, but I didn't catch it in time. I used to really dislike movie watching, but I began to think of them the way I think of books, and they've begun to interest me (for the first time ever). Oh and chess, I gotta play more chess. I looked for books on the subject of chess strategy at the library, but all of them were checked out. Who the hell is checking out chess books? We need to befriend each other. Then maybe I can have a real life entity to play chess with, rather than a computer program or the fuckers who keep resigning midmatch on Actually wait a sec, wait a sec, I need to quit getting so pissed off about chess. Normally I'm a pretty mellow guy. just resurrects this aggressive part of me that I thought was dead.

    What else is there to say? I have a gazillion site ideas. Most of them are just writing based, just things I want to write about. Also I'd like to totally revamp the homepage because I kinda totally hate it. And I want to make a page consisting of interesting Wikipedia articles I've read. (I'm perpetually on Wikipedia). And I want to make a collections page for my pins & Calico Critters. And I want to make book & movie review pages. (This is prompted by the absolutely mediocre The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) that I saw a few days ago with my little brother). And I want to make a short, concise little about page for those who don't want to read four million paragraphs about me. (Realistically, I just want to design a cute page with blinkies and stamps, hehe). And I want to make a page of my favorite poems. And I'm in the process of making several graphics collection pages: pixels & stamps. I always feel extremely inspired to catalog the web. You know, there's this lady I read about who recorded her TV nonstop for years and years and years 'til (I think 'til makes more sense than till- a truncated version of the word until, if you will) she died. And it was super valuable because it was such a huge resource for old commercials and junk. It reminds me again of something I'd heard (well read) a historian say. They said that the lives of absolutely ordinary people were the most valuable to history. (Also just looked her up, I believe the woman was named Marion Stokes). I think archivism is important, even if it's on this tiny scaled website of mine. It's always so disappointing when I'm browsing old Geocities sites & they're absolutely defunct and barren. It's like a digital graveyard. Sometimes the old internet feels haunted.

    04/10/2023 / 2:04 PM
    At the library. Have an English paper to write, so naturally I'm doing this instead. It's really not that big of a deal, though. I actually like writing papers for school. Well actually, let me back up & correct myself here: I normally like writing papers for school; this class is the exception to that rule. As someone who genuinely enjoys reading and writing, this class is an affront to 1) Literature and 2) Anyone who happens to have a brain. Now you may be thinking, Oh wow, maybe she's just bitter because she got a bad grade or something. Maybe she doesn't get along with her professor. To give myself a bit of credibility here, though, let me establish two things: 1) I've haven't received a grade lower than a 97 on anything I've submitted in this class, and 2) I'm one of the select few students my professor is actually nice to. Okay, so we've got that squared away now. There's not some overly shallow or petty reason for me to dislike this class. Now let's get into why I absolutely depise this class.

    1) On day one, my professor described herself as "brutally honest." I've found that everyone who describes themselves as "brutally honest" is far more interested in brutality rather than honesty. "Brutally honest" seems to be this phrase we use to mean really goddamn rude or odious, but for some reason, if you spin it as "brutally honest," well now it's socially acceptable. Hell, it's even virtuous. And look, there's a difference between being blunt and being "brutally honest." I don't think that being blunt is necessarily a bad thing. I think it has a time and a place and is sometimes better than dressing the truth up in frills and bows and a petticoat. But being "brutally honest?" That's when the situation at hand gives you the opportunity to choose kindness or gentleness and you choose brutality. And look here again, making assumptions about people isn't always the best, but it is how we make sense of the world around us, and for the record, my assumptions about this woman were absolutely, unequivocally correct.

    2) This class was presented to us as "a discussion about literature." Apparently the word discussion has a meaning that I'm unaware of. Apparently, it means a monologue full of tangential nonsense that is a total waste of my time and money. (I had to pay for this class).

    3) The entire appeal of literature is the ability for anyone and everyone interacting with it to derive their own meaning. It's a subjective experience. In this class though, the professor prescribes you a meaning, and you're supposed to just swallow it without really chewing it up. To put it in other words, the stories in this class are these delicious cakes I'm allowed to eat but not taste. All pleasure is taken away.

    4)The class is too easy. It's stupidly easy. This is a class that's supposed to be about interpreting various short stories, which we are not allowed to do. So when writing papers, rather than delving into the symbolism, the meaning, whatever, we're given a script. This is not an exaggeration either. It requires absolutely no thought on our parts. She breaks down what we have to write down to the paragraph, down to the orginization, down to the individual sentences. The papers are basically fill in the blank. That's why I don't want to write this paper- it's just regurgitating quotes. I'm a robot meant to puke up undigested literature now. These papers are basically owl pellets at this point.

    And you know, maybe I should be happy that this class is too easy, but it feels so empty. All of my classes feel this way. I never have to put any actual effort forth. There's no risk of me failing. I don't struggle. I just turn in assignments and get high scores on them. It's like a game that I never lose. School isn't fun anymore. When I get all of these high grades, they don't make me feel anything. I don't get any sense of accomplishment. Sometimes if it's a really long assignment, I feel a sense of relief, but not relief that I've succeeded, just relief that it's over with. It's so boring. I wish school could make me happy again. As a kid, I used to really love school. I think that ended around 5th or 6th grade. I know in elementary school, I quit doing my homework, and I had to stay inside for recess every single day. My grades were good though, so it didn't really matter. It feels like nothing in school really matters. I've had this same feeling since I was 10 or so. It never goes away. At least things are easy, I guess. I read somewhere a while ago, maybe it was a Dostoevsky novel, about how the appeal of gambling comes from its risk, that gambling isn't fun because you can win, it's because you can be absolutely and utterly defeated. Maybe that's what I want. Maybe I want to lose sometimes. Maybe it would make all of the times I win feel more important. I've started playing chess recently, and I think I like it because I lose constantly. Over and over and over I'm defeated. I don't expect myself to win, so when I do, I'm ecstatic. Everyone expects me to get high grades though, myself included, so it's not like I've accomplished anything. All I've done is upheld the status quo, with no particular effort on my part.