Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Space Around Anger

A Statement of Personal Self-Concept

One thing that I am not always happy to admit is that I have a lot of anger.  This is not to say that I am an angry person.  In the past, I have been an angry person – I allowed my anger to control my vantage of the world and those who inhabit the world.  It was a familiar filter through which every decision, every perception and every relationship would have to pass through.  I was not a happy person, nor was I a  pleasant person to be around.

These days, I try to pass the world through a different filter – one of optimism.  You see, optimism is the space around anger.

Anger is not a primary emotion.  I learned this through acting.  When you are angry it is in response to something else.  Surprise – say, when someone cuts in front of you on the freeway – leads to fear at the possibility of harm, and then anger at the individual that presented the threat of that harm.  The anger is not really at the individual, but rather the aggressive counter to fear.  Fight or Flight.

Frustration is another good instigator for anger.  For me, ignorance and social injustice are mammoth triggers of frustration.  Mostly because the aforementioned evils serve no real purpose other than as camouflage for the further aforementioned fear.  Become a bully before someone else is given an opportunity to bully you.  When faced with ignorance or social injustice I am faced with two options.

Option One:  Make like the Unibomber, wrapped up in isolation and my own sense of superiority and proceed to destroy all those I deem unworthy.Problems – aside from all illegality murderous,  sociopathic, hypocritical and generally not productive or helpful.

Option Two:  CHOOSE to assume that ignorance is not self-imposed and can quite nicely be swept away with knowledge and/or constructive disapproval.  Social Injustice – well, can be solved with a little active justice – don’t you think.  A big rally is not always necessary, a single person saying, that is not acceptable – and then calmly explaining why it is not acceptable, that can work too, AND ANYONE CAN DO IT.  Problems – takes an awful lot of patience and extremely thick skin.

Option One is a choice made within anger.  Option Two, a choice made from the space around anger.   But how do you find the space around anger?  That is the big question, isn’t it?

Think about a fight with a loved one.  JJ can make me so angry that I see the entire color spectrum behind my eyes, I lose any and all ability to string words into a sentence (that is a BAD thing with me) and I lose motor function beyond banging my head (fist/foot) against a wall.  But the thing about it is… I love the man.  As social creatures we always get angriest with those we love the most, but we still love them.  We forgive them because of that love.  With JJ, whenever I am the most angry – and this is a direct result of my time with the Medical Examiners Office – I think of him as no longer there.  I have no choice in this vision, my grief for those lost in war has become the home for my anger.  Whenever I go down that slippery slope of rage, it is here where I settle.  In that moment where I envision JJ as no longer alive in this world, my anger cannot survive – it is after all, a secondary emotion.

My love, my grief at the loss of the man far outweighs any temporary anger I feel toward a situation.  And in an instant all of the anger I was feeling vanished, replaced by an overwhelming gratitude that he is still in my life, alive – pissed beyond all measure – but breathing.

This works with JJ, my mother, my sisters, my friends…. heck… if you think about it,if I want to stay away from the hypocrisy of the Unibomer (isolation, absurd sense of superiority) – it can work for the entire human race.

The space around anger


Posted by on April 29, 2010 in Coffee Shop Whore?, Confessions


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Perception and Negative Space

Another interesting conversation today, this one much more productive than the last.  This one centered around the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”:

I have never been much of a graphic artist, or any form of visual artist – my tendency leaning more toward the  performing arts.  So naturally, I have always wanted to be able draw but never had the patience to sit down and practice.

Anyhoo… that is not what I wanted to talk about today… the lesson I learned from the conversation was that of Negative Space.   The handy-dandy did not go beyond ‘negative’ … alas dictionaries are limited in conceptual matters…. sigh.  So, I turned to Wikipedia, which – despite nay-saying academic disdain – I find to be a rather wonderful tool for basic information.

On this subject, the definition is quite straight forward – negative space is “the space around and between the subject(s) of an image” (for more info: but what I really gained was a concept of looking beyond rationality.

I posted a quote in a reply to a comment that I want to now put on the front page.

“The greatest strides in scientific knowledge occur not through an additive process, but through fundamental changes in basic assumption.”

— Rudolf Dreikurs
Are Psychological Schools of
Thought Outdated?

What I would like to do with my thoughts on Self-Concept is challenge some basic assumptions – not out of rebellion or disagreement – but as a way to understand from  the ground up.  I would like to use the concept of negative space to do this.  I have challenged myself to find the negative space of my own Self-Concept – I am not really sure how I am going to do this, but somewhere in brain this makes sense… it is almost clear – and I didn’t want to postpone posting this thought until it became clear (see Lost in my Mind) so… apologies for the half-formed idea, but I will stay on this train until it reaches its final destination….

(I was on the train of thought… it was moving… I got a phone call…I missed the station and it was gone…  BUT… I am back on the train and looking at the map)

It is now 1:36 am and I am once again sitting outside of a closed coffee shop, so I am going home to bed.

I found these two websites that I want to better explore before commenting, but I wanted to share them, both are very interesting.

Hope all is well,



Posted by on April 25, 2010 in Confessions


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Potential and Waste

I had an interesting conversation today.

It was about a person’s potential.  How can you determine how much potential an individual has?

This is a serious question… I really want to know.  I never thought of potential in terms of limits or boundaries, I have always associated it with desire and drive.  This man today said that I was a trouble maker.  I’m not a troublemaker – maybe a troublefinder, but not troublemaker.  I speak my mind and he told me that I would never be taken seriously because I was too ‘uppity’, and ‘fiesty’.

Can someone translate that for me?  I know it wasn’t meant to be a compliment, but I still can’t see the problem.

Oh, and JJ found this article in The Press Democrat (San Fran area  paper) and knew I would love it, I do, and I want to share…

cool article

I like this guy!

I am working on another  episode of Generations, so don’t think that I have forgotten about that, it is coming soon, I am starting to settle into a home rhythm so I should be able to get back into my writing rhythm.

Hope all is well.


Posted by on April 20, 2010 in Confessions


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Brain Negotiation and Navigating the Psyche

I am still somewhat lost, however, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (is that a candle I see?).   Thank you for your patience and understanding.

As I said, I have been shuffling files, I have been trying to do this for about five month’s now but have managed to put it off.   For someone as scattered as I am this procrastination results in the inability to find anything, ever.

It started with a picture that JJ was talking about.  He wanted to show it to someone and as I am the keeper of all things digital, I had  produce it while the story was still fresh.  Big Question:  Which computer?  What folder?  Did I even name the dang thing?  I found it, but only as a matter of luck.

This was taken in New Mexico:

Next to a convenience store in the middle of the desert

Next to a convenience store in the middle of the desert

This is one of about 1700 pictures from the road trip that JJ and I took late last year.  None of which were sorted by location, date, or any other semblance of order.  In essence, I dumped the contents of the digital camera on not one, but two computers….and then proceeded to copy from one computer to the other.  All in all, it is a big messy tangle of pictures.

Repeat this tangle for the music files and documents and you will see my predicament.  Anyway, I wanted to talk about self-concept (I don’t want to stray too far from my path again).  Whilst strolling through my saved ‘single web files’ I came across ‘Self-Concept’ according to the Encyclopedia of Psychology:

  1. Personal Self-Concept facts or one’s own opinions about oneself, such as “I have brown eyes” or “I am attractive”.
  2. Social Self-Concept one’s perception about how one is regarded by others, “people think I have a great sense of humor”.
  3. Self-Ideals what or how one would like to be:  “I want to be a lawyer” or “I wish I were thinner”.

First of all, I hate their examples.  I understand that there is a need for vagueness in examples, but come on… they are talking about SELF-CONCEPT.  My eyes are blue but I really don’t care.

When I think of myself I think “I am a basket-case” or “I am inquisitive” or “I am a self-educator”.  As for other people’s perception of me, I can only guess that they would involve descriptors such as: “strange”, “crazy”, “hyperactive” and lest I forget “sucking black void of negativity”.  I’m still not over that one.

As for the third part of Self-Concept, I was caught by the definition trap.  There are a few different definitions for ‘ideal’ not to mention the various conjugations, (Ideology, Idealism, Idealistic… etc.)  I won’t give you all of the definitions, however, the two in my *handy-dandy for ‘ideal’ are:


  1. existing only in the mind, imaginary
  2. of or relating to perfection


  1. a standard of excellence
  2. one regarded as a model worthy of imitation
  3. goal

I would hope for examples that are deeper than a teaspoon.  The original definition (French origin, “existing in the mind”) leaves quite a bit of wiggle room.  But, when I think of Psychology and Encyclopedias, I expect more of an educational approach to definitions.  For example, as a student of Psychology, my mind jumped to the ‘Id’ as in ‘the Id, the ego and the super-ego’.  The ‘Id’, according to psychoanalysts, exists in the subconscious mind and deals with instinctual needs and desires.  Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see anything instinctual about wanting to be a lawyer or thinner.  I guess this definition was not written by a follower of Freud.

So, with this thought still fresh in my ‘ego’ (*the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality) I continued sorting through files… and a few things clicked together in my brain – the loose strings of Plan D.  I will explain, but not all at once. I don’t want to go off the deep end again.  So, thus begin-eth…

The Question of Self-Concept


Posted by on April 18, 2010 in Confessions


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Lost in my mind

I do hope that you will forgive me, I am a little lost in my brain right now – I started following a thought process, came up for air, and realized I had no clue where I was.
I am trying to find my way back to something that resembles rational and coherent.



Posted by on April 15, 2010 in Confessions


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random flash-fiction

So I am still going through my cracker-jack box of computer files and I came across this little story I did for a flash-fiction assignment a billion years ago. The general consensus then was that it was ‘weird’. I remember that it was the middle of the night when I wrote it (at a 24 hr Coffee Shop that sadly is no longer). I have not changed a single word for this posting – I am sitting outside of a grocery store, plugged into their wall, borrowing their wifi and it is coming up on midnight.

So, kamikaze publishing – I think that is a ‘new’ thing I will add to this blog. Wadda ya think?


She stepped off the curb, the bus was so close, there was no way it could miss her. Just like that, she was gone. She floated in darkness, aware of her mind and nothing else. She felt warm, that came later. She didn’t panic, not at first, she just hung there, suspended. Number twenty-five, the bus was number twenty-five, she didn’t know why she knew that, or why it was important.

The day had started off normal enough, nothing special. She had dressed for work, caught the train downtown and stopped for coffee as she always did. Her boss was congenial, even if he was a bit of an ass. She chatted with the women, this one had a new grandson, that one was getting a divorce. She paid her bills during her lunch hour, contemplated getting a manicure after work, booked a weekend at a ski resort.

Her boss left early, around three. He said it was for a meeting, but the HR lady had seemed a little too friendly when she walked out of his office at two-thirty. She called her mother and relived another conversation, the same one they had every week since she had dropped out of college. She hung up promising to call again the next week.

She turned off her computer, put on her coat. It was red and had faux fur around the collar. She had been happy when she found it at the Goodwill the winter before last. On her way out, she stopped to flirt with the lawyer in the next suite. He was married, but fun to chat too.

She had dinner alone at an Olive Garden, it was located in a strange place. Crammed into the corner amongst office buildings, no other stores or restaurants nearby. They had a good house white, she had two glasses with dinner. The sun hadn’t set when she left, the streets were not as busy as they would be had she waited another hour.

That’s when she saw the bus, she don’t know why she decided to step out. It was just something to do. She didn’t think of death, or injury. She did not think of heaven or hell. She just stepped out. The bus number was twenty five, the same age as she was, odd.


Posted by on April 12, 2010 in Short Fiction


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A Preface to the Question of Self-Concept

     I have three lap-top computers.  To most people, that is a bit excessive.  Considering how non-computer literate I am, some might wonder how I became that person… well, it all started with a Toshiba, an LCD screen, a highly priced case of very low quality and a road trip.  Somewhere along this road trip, my Toshiba met with tragedy.  A single point of impact, a spiderweb of cracks,  and only a third of a functioning screen later – I bought my Acer Mini-PC.

     The Acer is a neat little computer, friendly – except with anything that involves audio – but generally gets a lot of compliments on its cuteness.  The problem with the Acer:  It is SMALL, which is good when I have it strapped to my back and I am riding my bike, but not so good when I have to  read a textbook online.

     Which brings me to my HP Pavilion 9000, which I bought – used – from someone who didn’t know its value.  This wonderful computer, my dream lap-top in fact,  came Microsoft Vista, which some may know has its problems.  My Norton AntVirus subscription ended taking with it my ability to log onto the internet.  While Windows 7 promises to solve my internet-woes, I cannot log on and download the severely discounted (and about all I can afford) Student Edition.  Sadly, the Acer, in all of its cuteness, does not have a CD-ROM drive.  Sigh.

     I do have a point in telling you all of this sad tale.  You see, with only one out of three PC’s functioning entirely – I have been shuffling files.  I have a lot of files…. I very rarely delete something I have downloaded/ripped/written/critiqued/edited…etc.  While surfing through curiosity of the past, the proverbial light bulb came on.

I am gleefully clapping my hands like  little girl singing “I want to share, I want to share” but before I do so , I must bypass the detailed dissections of Plans B, C and D and just come out and tell you what they were.  Afterall, that is where all of the files came from.

  • (1998-2004ish) — Plan A (some may recall) was Politics by way of the Navy.
  • (2004 – 2006)  —- Plan B – removed me as far as possible from Plan A – The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood, CA
  • (2006-2008½)  – Plan C – Brought me back to school in order to study ‘the sciences’ I had neglected in the past.  Ironically, I had hit a creative wall when writing a science-fiction story – I didn’t understandthe ‘science’ in my story, but I knew it ‘sounded’ good – sorry, the ‘Because I said so…’ defense does not fly with the scifi. 

The next leap does require a little explaining as there were several factors involved.

  1. The right side of my brain was feeling abandoned.
  2. Individuals with the misguided belief that ‘science’ was superior to ‘art’
  3. A general accepted belief that ability in one meant inability in the other
  4. Tutoring
  5. ‘Science’ professionals at the VA Hospital insisting that the answer to all of my problems would be the addition of another medication
  • (2008½- late 2009) –Plan D – alternated between two  equally valid and interesting paths,
  1. The use of Acting Techniques in therapeutic use when treating PTSD
  2. A supplementary education program combining academic studies in a comprehensive, context based forum. (how’s that for a pitch-phrase???)  Basically, a conversation that explains how everything fits together. 

Luckily, both these areas could benefit from a single foundation.  I began a degree in Psychology. 

     Which brings me to 2010 where I am venturing into Plan E, which consists of no real plan other than to just keep going with whatever comes along – and above all, FINISH SOMETHING.

Wow, after all that I sure hope my ‘sharing time’ is worth it….  I’ll let you be the judge of that.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 12, 2010 in Coffee Shop Whore?, Confessions


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