Unplugging

Dear World,

I’ve been shoveling data into my brain, for weeks now, at a rate of speed bordering on absurdity.

People have always urged me to use my considerable brainpower for this thing or that thing (usually making money), but I’ve always preferred to stand on the sidelines and observe. Calculate. Intuit.

I can USUALLY gain a fair understanding of what will happen next in any given situation by taking this approach; by “taking in” as much as I can, clearing my internal queue, and just letting the gears turn as they will.

Most folks don’t understand this process, but it’s real – and it works. Otherwise people wouldn’t call me things like “scary,” “spooky,” “intimidating,” “witch,” etc. – ALL. THE. BLOODY. TIME. Just for knowing things that are glaringly obvious to me.

I don’t know how this one is going to go.

I find myself now in the rare position of being fundamentally incapable of discerning the truth based on the data available to me. I don’t know enough about epidemiology, biology, chemistry, world politics and economy, etc. I am left with only vague hunches and inklings, which lack cohesion.

Perhaps for the first time, in this instance, I feel well and truly absolved of mortal obligation.

It is suddenly no wonder to me that, so often, highly intelligent and worldly people end up turning to God in times of crisis.

It’s not mortal fear, it’s not an act of “just in case” desperation, of seeking grace in the face of peril and uncertainty… in my case, anyway.

It’s that I’ve been pushed to the point where FAITH is suddenly the only rational truth.

The truth, for ALL OF US, is that someday we will reach the limit or the exhaustion of our mortal faculties. The truth, FOR ALL OF US, is that we will one day fall short in our understanding or ability. The truth, for all of us, is that we will eventually have to put our faith – our trust, our hope, our dependence – in SOMETHING.

There is freedom in realizing that this is true ALWAYS – and has been true always. I did not HAVE to come this far in my understanding of worldly principles and matters, I did not NEED to smack existentially into the ceiling of my earthly capacities in order to justify my ascension into the paradigm of faith.

Faith is a choice that is always valid. It is not “made valid” by or in light of worldly achievement.

I choose faith in God, and in His plan for humanity – whatever that may be.

To that end, I’m going to unplug from the broader media and focus on the people I care about.

Over the years I’ve amassed a somewhat comical collection of old laptops and mobile devices. I almost can’t turn around in my house without tripping over a device that wants to feed me all the latest to-do. All of them are going into storage. I’ll have my desktop computer, and that’s IT. No more sitting in my workshop reading the news when I could be sewing.

I’m not sticking my head in the sand or anything – there just comes a point when you have to take what you’ve gleaned and WALK AWAY.

XOXO

Kitty

Muscle Memory Musings

It amazes me how the body can remember things. I haven’t done assembly line sewing in ages, but now that I have my pattern figured out, I can almost turn my mind off while I work – or let it wander.

I bought some fabric several weeks ago to make some curtains for my kids’ loft beds, and now I’m using a little piece to make each of them a face mask. What a thing to be doing.

I’ve given a few prototypes away to people I know, and I’ve got a few leads from a neighbor for at least a couple other local ladies who want to help make masks, too – so I guess I’ll have to put a simple pattern together and send it around.

I just ordered more elastic. It’s getting hard to find!

I worry more and more about the economic and political fallout of this pandemic as I settle further into comfortable isolation. I don’t really care about having to stay home – but I’m a little spooked by the shelter in place order. I remember watching videos of what was going on in Wuhan a few weeks ago and thinking that it looked an awful lot like the leadership over there fully exploited the opportunity to flex their power.

I’m not totally confident our own government won’t do the same. Isn’t already doing the same.

Now, I hate politics. I find it entirely distasteful. And yet I always find myself dragged into it.

I’m not going to offer much in the way of political commentary here, because I think that’s best left to those who are not me – but I do keep an “eye to the stars and a finger to the winds,” so to speak, and this situation has my hackles raised.

Lots of people are worried about rent and bills right now, and I suppose I am in the now-fortunate position of having more or less CHOSEN poverty several years back. As soon as housing started to get really expensive where I live, I rounded up my brother and a couple of delightful coworkers and conscripted them as housemates. My rent burden is blessedly small. And they have been good housemates. My husband moved in with me when we got engaged – and we’ve been here since. Every time he’s suggested looking for a place of our own, I’ve hemmed and hawed over committing to a substantial increase in our housing costs. “WHAT IF SOMETHING CRAZY HAPPENS?” I said.

I’m still waiting to see how things actually shake down in terms of help for people who have lost income. We’ve certainly lost a bit – but even if we don’t qualify for any of those checks folks are hoping for, I think we’ll be OK.

It’s a funny thing (also sad) to think that for a lot of people, it would be catastrophic for them to be reduced to living within MY means – while I could comfortably tighten up my budgets quite a bit yet.

Cheers to being poor, I guess.

It builds character.

Settling In

I’m definitely sick, but my symptoms remain mostly mild. I did just cave and take some Tylenol for my headache, which I’ve had all day – but aside from that I’ve felt OK. Only a tiny bit of a fever today, flitting in and out.

I’ve got my face mask design worked out. I made one following a pattern I found on the internet for a basic surgical-style mask, and tried it on – then I yawned and it popped right down off of my nose. That won’t do. It takes just a few more square inches of fabric to make something that provides good secure coverage. I also added a moldable nose piece and a couple little pleats at the chin, to eliminate gaps and also for comfort. I think I can make a few dozen before I run out of materials.

We are now under a “shelter in place” order. I think I’m well-prepared for it, but we’ll see. I feel a little bit calmer now that they’ve told everyone to stay at home. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. The kids are taking it well. It’s certainly not the worst time in history to be a natural-born homebody.

Quarantine Begins in Earnest

Dear World,

Up until today, I felt peachy.

I’ve had a little bit of a runny/sneezy nose for a few days, but that’s been normal for me my whole life.

About an hour ago I started feeling slightly weak and a little warm. I took my temperature, which registered 99.5. I usually run cool (96 degrees and change, since I was a kid) so definitely running a bit hot right now. My heart rate is spiking during normal activity, too. Sitting in my chair typing this on my tablet, it hasn’t dropped below 80. Usually it would be more like 60.

Of course I have no way of knowing WHAT I have, but it’s obviously not nothing, so I will be staying home for the foreseeable future.

I’m still going to make masks (they can be bleached); I guess now I get to wear one, too.

I’ve been really careful about what I touch and where I breathe regardless – but man, I’d hate to accidentally bump off someone’s grandma.

 

PPE Shortage Hits Home

Never before in my life have I prayed to God for my labors to be in vain.

That’s what I’m praying for now.

I keep hearing, from people who are plugged into the mainstream media, that more PPE for healthcare workers is on the way – but I’ve been hearing that for days now.

More credibly, I’ve begun hearing through the grapevine from healthcare workers in my community that PPE is running out and being rationed. Boots on the ground are telling me it’s time to start sewing fabric face masks.

I happen to have all of the necessary materials on-hand, so I’m all over it.

I’m praying really hard that I will sew up a big stack of these only to be told “Oh! Sorry! A whole truckload of N95s just rolled up. You did this for nothing.”

None of these people WANT reusable fabric masks. In theory they can work as well in most cases (likely even this one) – but let’s face it; crises do not lend to best practices. I’m not a huge proponent of consumer disposables, but the medical field is EXACTLY where single-use plastics belong.

But I’m going to make fabric masks anyway. Because they’re better than nothing at all – and nothing at all is apparently exactly what some of our men and women on the front lines of this battle have to protect themselves.

May God protect them where we fail.

Mass Depopulation Events

This is something I’ve been thinking about for months, and this pandemic is only throwing fuel on the fires of my contemplation.

The thing is this: every so often, throughout known history, a whole bunch of people have to die.

No matter what sorts of technological or social structures we put in place, this seems to be a hard and inescapable rule.

This is why I’ve never bought into the hype about anthropogenic climate change – it’s pretty obvious to me that when humans reproduce and consume beyond the threshold that is sustainable, SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN that kills a bunch of them off.

War. Famine. Pestilence. Disaster. Disease.

In ages past, people understood this phenomenon in the context of “angry gods” who required large-scale human sacrifice (population control) for their appeasement. Human sacrifice was a way of ensuring that harvests and rains would be sufficient – effectively by way of limiting the population to a number that can sustainably live off of the natural resources available in any given area of settlement.

Today, people STILL understand this phenomenon in the context of angry gods, more or less – rebranded as “nature” and “science” – which require large-scale human sacrifice for the implementation of their “scientific” population-control models which are aimed at mitigating, or avoiding entirely, the natural consequences of unchecked population growth and unchecked resource consumption. The key difference being an overwhelming shift in sacrificial demographics – namely, the shift from conscious (if not necessarily voluntary) sacrifice of the already-born, to the unconscious sacrifice of the unborn.

Something I’ve repeated a million times, grumbling under my breath in response to people who usually look at me like I’m crazy, is that humans seem bent on working on the wrong end of every problem.

This is perhaps one of the most fundamental problems which faces humanity today. Even if you don’t believe in God, the idea of limiting the size of a population by killing new growth in lieu of pruning away that which is closest to death can ONLY have the effect of slowly killing the entire population. The rate of decay exceeds the rate of regeneration.

People seem to have it in their heads that by selectively sacrificing new life, they can somehow halt the decay of old age, and at the same time eliminate or reduce the incidence of mass-depopulation events.

This isn’t a new idea – it’s only a new FORMAT. Prenatal Termination of Life (and, to an extent, all contraception technology) is the latest trend in human sacrifice.

And it does. not. work.

It undermines the adaptive mechanisms of human biology. Period.

What does NOT undermine the adaptive mechanisms of human biology is for the old, the frail, the terminally ill, etc. to die and to more or less become fertilizer for future generations.

This is the natural order of things; an order which will continue to dictate the terms of our existence, no matter how hard we try to circumvent the consequences of our own mortality by hastening those of others. It is a losing strategy which leaves us systemically weak, both quantitatively AND qualitatively, in the face of the ultimate consequences of unsustainable behavior and consumption on the society level.

From a “faith” perspective – this sort of pandemic illness is the righteous consequence of the hubris that created the global systems which have allowed it to explode into nearly every population. Big-picture, it’s like a microcosm of the fall of man.

I’m not totally convinced yet that this will be “the big one.” I’m not totally convinced that this virus is not actually ITSELF a deliberately engineered mechanism of population-control-by-involuntary-human-sacrifice. At this point I’m just waiting and watching to see how things shake out.

But at BEST, all I can really say is that “the big one” is still lurking somewhere around the corner.

You can still run… for now. But you can’t hide.

Writing about Writing

Dear World,

The most important thing is that I don’t want anybody to take me too seriously.

Frankly, I might say a lot of things that are wrong.

I’ve come to accept over the years that I am a highly intuitive thinker. This means that I don’t always have an “argument” for everything – and no, I likely CAN’T cite any sources without taking at least a few minutes to hunt one down first. But my intuition has been right a whole lot more often than it’s been wrong, so I’ve learned to roll with it.

My brother said something the other day that really struck a chord with me. Paraphrasing:

“If I say something that is FALSE, it is only because I am TRYING and FAILING to say something that is TRUE.”

I do this a lot. My words don’t always come out right. Or sometimes I “put two and two together” not realizing that one of my twos was actually supposed to be a three.

So you might see me correct myself a lot. I might un-publish entire posts and then re-publish them later with some bits changed or left out or added.

I often become emotional when I write – especially about issues that are near to my heart, or that hit “close to home.”  A natural consequence of this is that I don’t always make my points well. I don’t always represent the truth (or even my limited understanding of it) clearly – even when I am trying earnestly to do so.

On the other hand… sometimes I say things that are patently wrong, for no other reason than to make people THINK. It seems to me that particularly hungry TRUTHS are often effectively baited by little floundering lies.

But I DON’T say things that are false or wrong for the purpose of misleading others. There are a lot of nasty things you could call me that just might be true – but “liar” isn’t one of them. If I’ve lied to anyone since I was a girl – it was only because I lied to myself first.

This “information age” is a very interesting time to be alive, because suddenly anybody and everybody can put on an air of authority and offer counsel to the masses.

I’ve seen a lot of people come under fire for backtracking, redacting, reshaping (and so on and so forth – in other words, changing somehow) the counsel that they offer up. If you backpedal, if you change your opinion, if you start singing a different tune – your “authority” is suspect. People who cling to obvious lies for the sake of seeming steadfast and unchanging are lauded as “consistent.”

Whether you’re more of a “faith” kinda person or more of a “science” kinda person – this is silly.

Faith in a higher power is predicated upon human fallibility.

The entire premise of science insists that we must be willing to reshape the parameters of our understanding when presented with new evidence which challenges those parameters.

To be changeable – to be adaptable – to be malleable in the face of fallibility – is the very basis of mortal existence (and survival), no matter which side of the fence you’re looking over.

I’ll be the first one to tell you that I’m a bit of a hot mess. I have emotional and psychological baggage which prevents me from seeing some things clearly.

Don’t we all?

So here’s how it goes:

In the first place, I don’t claim ANY authority upon which to assert that the words I speak or write are necessarily the objective truth.

Furthermore – I am, above all, angling to discover the truth. Above all, I want the TRUTH.

I’m not putting myself out there as someone who “has truth to give” to other people. All I can offer is a small glimpse into my own personal search for truth.

Kitty

Pardon My French

Dear World,

Never let it be said that I am above clinging to dogmatic and incorrect teachings if they suit me well enough.

My mother taught me as a girl that it would be appropriate to begin swearing when I was able to do so with grace and style. I know there are MANY people who do not think it EVER stylish or graceful for a lady to swear – but here’s the thing:

I am not a goddamned lady. I was born into the peasant class, and here I have been my entire life. So please, kindly, do not mistake me for a woman of high or noble birth as would be subject to such requirements of etiquette. I’ve enjoyed exactly none of the privileges that go along with that gig, so if you want me to play at being one of those girls, you can go eat a whole bag of dicks.

XOXO,

Kitty

Contemplating Mortality

I’ve never been afraid of death. It’s been on my mind since I was quite young. Not that I particularly WANT to die – not until I’m good and old, anyway. But it’s not scary.

The scary thing is realizing that I’ve wasted a lot of my time. The scary thing is realizing that I could have done a lot more by now – if I had made better choices.

This has all been driven home for me recently. In the Summer of 2017 I was bitten by a tick and contracted a form  of Lyme Disease that aggressively attacked my nervous system (neuroborreliosis). I’ve taken several courses of antibiotics since then, but it seems like nothing has killed it entirely yet.

When I first developed symptoms, they were sudden and horrific. Each time they’ve returned (they start creeping in several months after treatment), it’s been milder and more manageable – though it can still be somewhat debilitating for several weeks at a stretch, it’s not as bad as it was.

The next step is likely IV antibiotics – but I’m not quite willing to “go there” just yet. My understanding is that this bacteria is fairly persistent, and may need to be strategically defeated rather than just bombed with antibiotics which will also compromise the balance of other bodily systems. The good news is that it almost never kills people!

… Except by suicide. But I don’t think that will ever be my cup of tea.

Now there’s this whole COVID-19 Pandemic going on. I don’t even know what to think about that. On the one hand, we’re due for a good pandemic. On the other hand – it’s an election year. *shrug* Just saying.

I have no idea if I’d be considered “high risk” for this disease or not. I’ve read and heard and been told by doctors an awful lot that Lyme Disease suppresses the immune system – and I’ve definitely noticed a few little indications of that – things like my hair and nails growing more slowly, cuts and scratches taking longer to heal, easier bruising, stuff like that. But who knows! I’ve been around an awful lot of sick people and not gotten sick in spite of that. I like to think I’d pull through this virus like a champ, were to catch it.

But having been ill for so long already has left me feeling a bit… delicate, shall we say.

I’m a “better safe than sorry” kinda gal anyway – and to be frank with you: I like a good conspiracy theory. So the way it shakes out for me is that I’m buckling up for this to be something pretty big.

My family operates on some pretty tight margins (lol peasants). We can’t jet off to a tropical island or retreat to our home in the rural countryside. So for me, preparedness is all about buying time. Just enough time – to survive and to adapt to whatever it is that life is about to throw our way.

And it really struck me over the last few days, that that’s all I’m really doing, when you boil it down. That’s what life is: buying TIME.

Time for WHAT, though?

That’s the thought that kept running through my mind as I was stocking up over the last couple of weeks.

I’m no stranger to buying in bulk. Fun story about me: when I was 13 years old or so, my mother sent me to the store for “some ketchup.” She gave me five dollars. I walked the half mile or so home from the store toting a paper bag with no fewer than SEVEN bottles of ketchup in it. Because that was a darned good price, and I knew it would get used before it went bad. And I had a $5 ketchup budget. The folks at the local foodservice and wholesale places know me pretty well by now.

Buying enough of everything to last at least a couple weeks is second nature to me. I just bought a little extra this time. I had a lot of opportunity to take in the “vibe” of the stores where I usually shop in the few days leading up to the panic-buying-in-earnest. It was eerie. There weren’t very many people out and about. Some were stocking up on huge quantities of staple items. Some were only picking up one or two things. Everyone seemed to be “testing the atmosphere.” Fear and anxiety seemed to be literally IN the air.

And I just kept wondering: what is this time FOR? What is any of it FOR?

In my last post, I touched a little bit on the sorts of dreams and aspirations I had as a little girl that gave me my sense of purpose: I wanted to be a wife, mother, and homemaker. And eventually a grandmother. And a great-grandmother, and a great-great-grandmother… etc.

I didn’t think much beyond that. When people have asked me “don’t you want to be MORE than just a wife and mother?” I look at them like they are CA-RAY-ZAY insane. Nutso. What sort of other endeavor could I possibly come up with that would be more worthwhile than THAT? Do they really think that motherhood is a part-time undertaking? What in the heck?

I’m reminded of a quote I read somewhere, which is apparently from an out-of-print book I’ve always wanted to get my hands on and never have: “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” (Home: the Savior of Civilization, James Edward McCulloch)

I recall thinking when I was younger that having children young would afford me time in my middle-age-and-older years to “have fun” or “make money.” I would achieve success in the home – and THEN I would achieve success in the world!

But these days I’ve discovered that I don’t like fun OR money. I find them disingenuous.

These days I see that there truly IS no logical end to this undertaking of motherhood.

What I have been searching for is the answer to the wrong question: the question of “what THEN?”

The correct question is “WHAT FOR?”

And as soon as I asked THAT question, I realized I’ve had THAT answer all along. I’ve just been a little bit afraid to come out and say it:

For GOD.

I’ve learned to keep really quiet about my faith over the years.

I even spent a long period of time actively denying my faith – to suppress the cognitive dissonance of living wrongly for the purpose of seeking the approval of MEN. I chose to put a man before God, and I have paid dearly for it.

In all my wounded stumblings back towards God, I have effectively lost people I love dearly; people who could not reconcile my love for them with the fact that I believe differently and choose to live differently than they do. I never preached to them; I never judged them. I gave of myself to these people freely and selflessly – time, money, labor, attention and kind words. I do not hold very MANY people dear, and it pains me to wonder if there might have been something that I could have said to any or all of those people, to somehow make them understand that my beliefs and the things I choose to propagate in the world are not a condemnation.

But I cannot continue to make the same mistake of seeking approval from my fellow humans before seeking approval from God.

It occurs to me that I have even still continued to effectively DENY God for the purpose of not ruffling feathers. I mean, I’ll tell anyone who directly asks that I believe in God – but how many times have slunk away from a conversation, for fear of potentially “triggering” someone by offering ANY kind of non-secular perspective?

And that’s all kinds of silly, isn’t it?

There are so many things in this world that could kill me, nevermind this stupid virus. I could be dead tomorrow for a hundred different reasons. And the same goes for every single tomorrow after that.

So, what’s it all for?

For GOD, dammit.

Goddammit.