Friday, February 26, 2016

February 26th, 2016

I was working at a new store last week. I was there on a trial and feeling extremely nervous. I had gotten through a few hours and finally had a chance to check in with the manager. She said

"Smile more. You look really serious."

Such is the struggle of having an angry resting face. Your resting face is the one you make when you're not thinking about how to present your face. If I think happy thoughts, my face looks happy but if I'm not thinking about anything in particular then I look pretty angry. The manager was pointing out the shape of my face when I'm not thinking.

I'm trying to improve. I have no work for a little while so I'm practicing in practical situations. When I walk to the store, I try to smile and look less serious. It is so hard to force your face into a different position. My resting smile is barely there, but when I put it on I feel like the biggest idiot in the world. I look happy, but for no reason in particular.

I think others appreciate when they see smiles around them, so I'm motivated to keep practicing. And practicing my smile is certainly helping me to be less angry at strangers, but it takes a lot of work and I don't know if it will stick. You'll be able to tell next time you see me on the street.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

February 21st, 2016 The Change Of The Season

I like winter for the most part. I like the things you get to to in winter like skating and skiing. I like the way the sky reflects all the lights from the city when it's snowing. I love the holiday season with all of its optimism. I think it's pretty okay. My body on the other hand is not a big fan. Everything happens slower for me in the winter. I am less creative, less active, and less optimistic. I spend less time with friends. I hibernate. It can be difficult to watch myself close off from the world for January and February and not accomplish much of what I accomplished during the rest of the year.

As soon as the first day above five degrees hits though, it's like I become a totally different person. I launch open the windows, start cleaning up everything in the house, and get in touch with everyone I know to make plans. I feel a sense of energy coming over me as I breathe the warm and humid outside air deeply for the first time in months. Yesterday the weather turned and today I'm feeling noticeably better.

I hope you also enjoy the turn from winter to spring (whenever that happens). February is the worst of months, but it's nearly over and when it is done there's another glorious ten months of weather hospitable to human joy. Enjoy them while they last.

Friday, February 12, 2016

On The Seven Dirty Words

If you start reading backwards through the archive, you may begin to notice some older posts have been edited. Actually you probably won't unless you pay far more attention than you should. I am going back over old posts and applying copy edits and tweaking some of my choice of wordplay. The copy edits are for personal satisfaction (typos drive me insane). The language choices are in response to some comments I have gotten about my choice of language. You will still find "vulgar" words in some posts that fit within the Seven Dirty Words. They will be significantly less frequent than they used to be.

I recognize that people will read the things that I write and then make judgements about me based on those things. That is fair and so I ought to make sure that the things that I write match up with the person that I am within reason. There is little point in going all the way back and trying to edit every piece of content I have created over the years because at a certain point in time, I can point to things I have written and say "that is how I felt about this then, but that is not how I feel about this now". But with the seven dirty words, I've felt a certain way for a while and it seemed good to me to update my use of language historically so it matched that belief.

Words have power because we give them power. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of the seven dirty words. They are a collections of sounds produced by your mouth. But we assign them a meaning and that means that we have to consider how other people are going to respond to them. I have to think about how my language makes other people feel. The go-to passage about language in the Bible comes from Ephesians "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." In other words don't tear people down with your language. If I'm going to use certain words, I want to make sure it's not creating problems for other people that I am around. This is why I use polite language in public spheres.

But there are certain situations where the crassness of the seven dirty words can be appropriate. Some topics don't earn the privilege of polite language and some issues require a force of language that cannot always be reached with polite vocabulary. For this reason I use these words when other words do not accomplish the same purposes as well, and when others listening would not be brought down by them. Sometimes people do things that are so unspeakably selfish that "asshole" is the only title that carries enough force to communicate that selfishness. It's not for use in every situation (hence the editing) but when applied appropriately and with the right audience, these words can help to enhance the force of whatever it is you're saying.

Friday, February 5, 2016

February 5th, 2016

Newton's first law states that objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. I love to stay at rest unless something crazy happens. I think most people do. Unless you are driven to action by some force outside yourself, it is much easier to sit on your couch and just keep watching Netflix until the sun goes down and another day passes. This phenomena means that when I break the cycle of inaction, even if it is for something strange, I feel really great and that generates force which can push me further out of the state of inaction. Then instead of a downward spiral, it becomes an upward spiral.

Yesterday I resisted the urge to stay home and do nothing because I recognize that sometimes I have a limited amount of time to do something and that means I really ought to do it today. Yesterday I needed to go to North York for a little bit to do some learning about a place where I might be working. It took forty five minutes to get there and forty five minutes to return, but I am glad that I went because I feel so much better prepared now than I did yesterday. I resisted the urge to stay home and do nothing and that was a good thing.

Today I need to get groceries and continue to work on a few other positive developments. I want to remember yesterday when I think about it so that I am able to push forward and work on these things instead of sitting around and being lazy. I want the upward spiral to continue.