Friday, March 31, 2017

I’m One Odd Dude.

Friday morning and it’s sunny! Waking up to a sunny morning it like awaking to find all your symptoms have disappeared.
This morning, I’m going to meet someone with whom I went to high school. Wendy is a very creative person, that’s all I know about her; we weren’t close friends in school. Getting together was her idea.
Fucking Lady Gaga. Not the singer, the person with PTSD. She announced to the world that she has is but I see her doing this and that and jetting here and there — a “this” can be jumping off the roof of a stadium (Superbowl) and “that” can be singing live in front of tens of thousands with sound blasting in your ears. Her revelation makes me dislike using the term “PTSD” to explain my symptoms and deficiencies. And the whole amygdala explanation is unsatisfying for me so I can’t expect it to be meaningful for my friends.
It leaves me with this: “I’ve got a mental health problem.” I add, “I’m sad to say” to make myself feel better. And then I hope there’s no question; Canadians are too polite to ask more, thank God. And that’s what I’m going to do with Wendy this morning.
This is being Chris.2: Having to explain myself.
Recently I had to meet with two people. They are not strangers; we’ve met several times before. They both seem like nice gentle positive people who have seen me before and know about my condition. But when they decided to ask me about my symptoms — and, by the way, I admire their forthrightness — one of them opened with: “Are you on the spectrum?”
As soon as my condition becomes the subject of the conversation, my symptoms worsen. I can’t help it, so they were seeing a fairly dramatic display at times because I felt like a   laboratory specimen. The other person said, “I thought you might have cerebral palsy.”
It’s my arms. I don’t just stutter, my arms dance under stress. It’s so odd. They sometimes move on their own, too, when I’m going to sleep or watching TV.
I’m one odd dude.

Look closely: Fern bits!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness

After changing the water in my aquarium Thursday morning, I picked up Cathy in my little red convertible on the nicest day of the year so far. We went to Vandusen Garden to mosey around before having lunch there. It felt so good to not only be outdoors, but in a quiet garden.
It’s therapeutic to be in nature. I know that but every time I feel it, it feels as good as when I first learned it. It’s so sensual. There’s fragrance, visual beauty, the sound of water and birdsong; there’s also majesty in the trees, exquisite detail in the flora and patterns and there’s quiet calm.
And it was fun to drive on a sunny day. The top was up though.
Dwight brought me some Ethafoam. It’s interesting material and could work for dress #10. It would be interesting to work with but it’s expensive (perhaps $150) and it may require a special glue gun ($128) and special glue ($50). I have to do my taxes so I’m going to have to face how much I have spent on this project.
We’ve reached that time of year when the setting sun beams brightly into my office at the end of the day and I have to lower the blinds to work. Yesterday afternoon, being so sunny, made my early evening a delight to experience at my desk.
I consider myself to be a shy person so Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness by cultural historian Joe Moran is a book that interests me. Here are some great quotes from a review I read:
  • But shyness can also be, Moran argues, a great gift, its impulse toward introversion allowing for the inventive thinking and creative genius that might elude the more talkatively inclined.
  • Shyness, so emotionally adjacent to shame, is often also regarded as a cause for it. Within a culture that so deeply values self-confidence—and that takes for granted that social skills are external evidence of one’s internal self-regard—shyness is seen with suspicion.
  • That is the paradox that animates Shrinking Violets: Shyness is an extremely normal condition that has yet, despite it all, to be normalized…. The world, for all the strides it has made when it comes to progress and acceptance, still does not look kindly on timidity.


Wednesday I had lunch with Dwight and late in the afternoon, Dianne and DR came for champagne and Indian take-away dinner.  Although it was dark and wet, the air was fragrant and warm.
I’ve had a brilliant idea: I am going to apply for a second locker in the building so that I can store my ladies there. The locker next to me is destroyed and unused so I am optimistic. It would really be an ideal solution to my storage problem.
However, last night entertaining two people with take-away and eating off my living room coffee table went fine. It’s a huge change from the fancy dining I used to offer guests, but it works. It was the right decision to get rid of my dining room table for my dress project.  
For roughly eight months my concern with my condition was focused on stuttering. Suddenly becoming a rather severe stutterer was a shock. For the first few months, I kept thinking I would get better. Then there were months of doubt and then acceptance.
But once I stopped thinking about my speech, I started the same process — concern and hope for relief, doubt and then acceptance — seems to be ahead of me as concerns my inability to control my arms and my desire/ability to socialize.
The good news seems to be that that will be the end of my adaptation; there are no other lingering symptoms to accept.
I have another year of therapy; five more months of weekly sessions and then seven months of semi-monthly sessions. And then … and then …
Today has dawned with bright clear skies. Finally we’ve a day off from the incessant precipitation. The air comes from Hawaii and smells glorious—a fresh clean Spring smell; having the windows opening and smelling the air is a treat.
A new Boca show is about to open — no wonder I haven’t received any news about the residency competition. They must be terribly busy. But reading about their micro series on The Straight website today, I realize how divergent my script is from their company mandate of socially relevant theatre. I doubt my script will interest them and that’s okay.