One of my photographs, entitled “Avian Encroachment”, has been selected as one of the finalists in CBCs 2008 Nature in Focus contest under the category Your Habitat. There were 1200 entries entered this year.
The title is a play on the term “urban encroachment”, which is used to describe the destructive habits of human activity spreading over natural areas.
Since the photo is of a pigeon sitting next to the spikes used to keep birds off the ledges of buildings, it appeared to me that he was flaunting his position, and pushing back.
One of my geology teachers in university said that it was silly to think of us trying to save the planet, because the earth, as a living thing, is going to be around for a long time. Environmentalism is really about saving ourselves.
Having front row tickets to see Russell Peters means that you’re a fairly big target for being picked on.
Especially after Pat yells “WOO” amid an otherwise silent theatre when Russell starts to explain how Chinese people aren’t as cheap as Indian people. From that point, we were known as the “Wu” family, and he’d refer to us when talking to the Chinese crowd.
No one is off-limits though, and his ethnic jokes cover a spectrum of races as wide as the earth. I suppose that’s how he pulls off his particular brand of stereotyping comedy. Ottawa is an especially fitting place, where minorities mingle instead of segregate, and perhaps it’s exactly this reason that the crowd is so ebullient. It almost as if his set is written for us.
Afterwards, it was back to Pat and Jen’s for some conversation over hot chocolate from their Tassimo. A scoop of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream dropped into said beverage turns it into a yummy candy-cane hot chocolate, something I must explore further in the future.
My anxiety is now under control1, so my therapist and I have moved onto other issues.
It’s funny that I started going to therapy for my anxiety attacks, but he keeps digging up issues I never knew that I had.
Not that any of it is as debilitating the way the anxiety attacks were, but it’s made me realize that they have affected my quality of life. All of it stems from my parents (as opposed to being teased, some kind of incident, etc.). Once again, I say that I don’t like to blame them, but the glaring fact is that I can now trace every issue back to my childhood.
The idea of a self-destructive pattern whereby we repeat the pain of our childhoods is called a lifetrap. They’re categorized differently, depending on the school of psychology one prescribes to, but my most significant ones (i.e. rated “very high”) are emotional deprivation, dependence, unrelenting standards, and punitiveness. When I first started, I also had pessimism, but this has mostly gone with my anxiety.
I’ll touch on two of them now:
One of the things that sparked the realization that I didn’t have a regular childhood was when I was asked to fill out a diagnostic questionnaire. I was told to rate how strongly I felt about the statement “I have not had someone to nurture me, share him/herself with me, or care deeply about what happens to me”. I thought to myself, “That’s normal? People have that?”.
This is why I feel alone and detached from the world. It’s not quite as clean-cut as this, as there are a bunch of other issues that factor into the issue, but it’s an overall feeling.
Until that point, I never considered the idea that such people exist. I assume the parents are supposed to fill this role, and eventually a spouse.
In many people with emotional deprivation, the lifetrap manifests itself in relationships where they remain emotionally distant. For me, it’s more of a difficulty communicating to my girlfriends about my needs, and then feeling disappointed when my needs aren’t met.
This makes me wonder how certain relationships would have worked out if I was a different person and didn’t keep breaking up with my girlfriends
Unfortunately, I could write a book on this.
I’ve realized that I’m still being too hard on myself. This stems from the expectations put on me as a child, or simply the fact that I think being unsatisfied with stagnancy is healthy because self-improvement makes me a better person. Most likely, a bit of both.
Sometimes I have to compare myself to someone like Pat to give myself perspective on this issue. He’s a person who hasn’t “achieved” much when evaluated by my standards, but he’s happy and that’s what matters. It makes me question what I’m trying so hard to achieve. I think of an old Calvin and Hobbes strip, where Calvin says, “It’s hard to argue with someone who looks so happy”
I understand that it’s the pursuit of greatness, not greatness itself, that should make life worth living, so when I have this self-destructiveness as a result, it doesn’t quite make sense. I’m working on this. It helps me to keep a quote by Charlotte Cushman in mind: “To try to be better is to be better”.
A side effect is that I’m too hard on other people because I project my unrelenting standards on them as well.
A lot of people tell me that I wouldn’t have had so much pressure to be the best and perform well if I wasn’t an only child.
I don’t say solved because I don’t think one can completely eliminate anxiety [↩]
One of the advantages of having such a lovable cat is that people want to buy her things. I make a conscious effort not to spoil her with human food, so she happily accepts toys and treats from people.
Like this bunny filled with catnip that Louise bought for her.
One thing she really likes to do is grab her catnip toys by the teeth and shake them to release the scent. I don’t give her catnip very often, so in stoner terms, this meas she’s a lightweight.
And oh how she loves it; within a few minutes, the fur of the toy is covered in cat drool.