Wednesday, January 28, 2015

True and False

Lately I have been playing a game with Elli that I call True and False.  The way it works is that I tell her a story from my past and I add in one false thing.  Usually this involves me telling a story with three or four main points with one of those points being a fabrication and then she tries to guess which thing I lied about.  The most recent story was about my frosh week where I stuffed my face into a bowl of flour chasing some kind of candy, blew up an answering machine with explosives, and got pushed off a platform into a pool of water while wearing a blindfold.

The pushing off of the platform was the fake thing, which she got on the second guess.

It turns out that she is actually pretty good at this game.  Picking out the false thing from that list above is pretty tough because all three are completely plausible in the context of frosh week activities and Elli doesn't even know what frosh week is like!  Usually though she gets it right, like when I talked about taking my parents' small boat with an outboard motor out for a spin on the tiny rivers created by spring melt.  Canoeing on those rivers is totally reasonable but power boating, not so much.

In general this is just a fun way to pass the time and deal with Elli's constant desire for stories.  I eventually get tapped out of good ideas for new fairy and princess stories and adding in one odd twist to tales of my childhood is a lot easier.  I suppose eventually I will run out of amusing anecdotes but I haven't got there yet.  I will need to cap it off with a completely preposterous story where the entire thing is made up, just to keep her on her toes.

I generally like the idea of trying to demonstrate that people can make things up that seem completely real but aren't.  Children are so often told to believe everything adults say even when they are obviously ridiculous (See:  Santa Claus, Religion, Homeopathy, Trickle Down Economics) that I think a good dose of acknowledged lying is useful.  An inoculation against nonsense, I would call it.  Not that the rate of immunity is anything to brag about but even a little bit of doubt is a good and healthy thing to carry forward.

Whether or not it helps though it seems like good entertainment for us and that is sufficient reason on its own in my books.  The potential for education is just the cherry on top.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Two Minds, One Kiss

Roughly eleven years ago I had a bizarre and somewhat inexplicable experience.  Wendy and I were having a small get together with the two of us and a couple of female friends.  At some point Wendy began telling them how I had a really remarkable intensity to my kissing.  That is, there was something about my kisses that was amazing but couldn't be chalked up to technique.  One of the women there asked if she could test that out herself and Wendy thought that this was a great idea.

Anyone who knows me will not be shocked that I was totally on board with that plan!

I knew that I couldn't just deliver a quick peck and have it work - I had to get myself psyched up to do it properly.  That took a minute or so and then I walked over, embraced the lady in question, and gave her a long, intense kiss.  When it was over she was wide eyed and flushed and I had to catch her to prevent a small stumble.  (Okay, maybe I didn't *have* to catch her but I had plausible deniability.)  She agreed that there was something special going on and that technique was not it.

During the kiss things inside my brain were in a strange place.  I felt like the world was on fire and the heat was whirling around the two of us leaving us untouched while everything else in the universe was incinerated.  I couldn't bring myself to care about that though because the rest of the world was irrelevant and the two of us were all that mattered.  After it ended I came back to myself and was tired, feeling like I had done something really draining.  I described it to the people there and said I could do it again if asked but noted that it was difficult and exhausting.  No one quite knew what to make of it all but I think it was good party entertainment at the very least.

For years I had no idea what exactly it was that I did to myself at the party.  I knew I could do it again if I had to but I didn't exactly have a lot of volunteers to practice on and I certainly couldn't have told you what the hell was happening inside my skull.  Now I can.  All I have to do is look at this in the light of having multiple personalities (see my last two posts) and it all falls into place.

As usual The Director was in charge during the party but The Director can't kiss like that.  Passion, on the other hand, can *only* kiss like that.  So what I did was forcibly slam Passion into the driver's seat for a minute, deliver a Passionate kiss, and then The Director shoved his way back into control.  Passion only wanted to continue with far more than kissing but that wasn't an option so I had to revert in short order.  Passion is hot and while he is driving my blood is pumping and adrenalin is running high so the feeling that the world is burning fits perfectly.  So does the sense that the world went away because Passion cares about nothing else when locked in an embrace.  Finally the sense of exhaustion at the end is easily explained by the effort of forcing two swaps in quick succession and the acceleration and deceleration of my body as part of that.

This makes it clear to me that my current mental arrangement is not new.  I have been this way unknowingly for at least a decade and most likely much longer than that.  I can't pin any event or situation down as something that may have caused it, if indeed it isn't just the way I was born.  What I can say is that every couple of days since I have first realized I am defined by two extremely different and distinct personalities I have had a new revelation about how they have shaped my relationships, hobbies, and life choices.  It is a wonderful feeling to suddenly see myself so much more clearly.

I wonder about three things now.  First, how many great revelations can possibly be left to me?  Shouldn't I at some point completely figure myself out and be done with introspection?  Somehow it seems like I should be running out of surprises by now.

Secondly I wonder what exactly about Passion elicits such reactions from people.  There is something about pure, raw, well... passion, I guess, that completely transcends the basics of body positioning.  The Director wants to quantify that so he can do that himself, in a careful and controlled fashion.  I suspect that is completely impossible.

The last thing I wonder is who the woman was that I kissed eleven years ago at that gathering and whether she remembers it exactly as I do.  A gentleman does not kiss and tell... but I couldn't tell even if I wanted to because although the event is crystal clear in my mind the person I was kissing is shrouded in the fog of memory.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Two Minds, One Parent

Last time I talked about my relatively recent revelation about the way my brain works.  That is, I have two personalities that I call Passion and The Director which swap control back and forth.  (I don't exhibit any of the problematic or destructive traits often associated with multiple personalities though, so no worries.)  I have been thinking about how this dichotomy impacts the way that I function as a parent.  The short answer is that I make a great parent to some kids but Elli and I in particular have real issues.

Back before we had a kid Wendy and I went on a honeymoon to Manitoulin Island.  We set up our stuff on a nice sandy beach and Wendy decided to go off for a walk.  When she came back she couldn't find me and was initially concerned.  Then she noticed a giant pile of kids working together to dam the river that ran through the beach... and one large man feverishly working alongside the children stacking logs and rocks and mud onto the dam.  She was suddenly struck by the impression that I would be a great father given that I had apparently organized all the children on the beach into an impromptu engineering project.

Pretty clearly I was Passion while building the dam.  Running back and forth stretching my physical limits against the unstoppable force of water building up, knowing that defeat is inevitable but that my job is to hurl my body into an impossible task... this is what Passion loves.  Winning is irrelevant, the adrenalin rush of competition is everything.  It wasn't that I was organizing the children or encouraging them so much as I was doing something super fun and they joined in.  In many ways that is a great model for parenting because I wasn't controlling them, forcing them to participate, or even giving them a goal.  I was just doing things with them, letting them figure out their own how they wanted to help, and giving them free rein to be creative in their solutions.  Obviously a parent can't be Passion all the time but that seems like a great thing to be sometimes and it is certainly a way to generate good memories.

The trouble with Passion is that he isn't interested in being held back, standing still, or doing things that are trivial.  Elli isn't the sort of child that wants to hurl herself into things alongside others and see what happens because she desperately wants to be in control, to decide how every move will play out, and be sure to find a way that she can 'win'.  When I try to stretch myself, to let Passion out, she gets agitated and angry that I am doing things she can't match and she demands that I stop doing whatever it is I am interested in so she can inform me of all the rules I must follow.  I have the choice to simply continue doing what I am doing, keep Passion in charge, and have her blow a gasket and stomp off in a rage or I can stop cold, The Director can take over, and I can let her control everything.

Trouble is that The Director is great at following orders and keeping a lid on things but he is useless at engaging with a kid.  He is only interested in theory, in abstract, in mental challenges and eight year olds aren't great at generating that.  The Director can sit around while Elli issues orders and play along but he will never, ever be interested or excited about it.  I am stuck with the choice between an explosive meltdown on Elli's part or crushing boredom on my part and there doesn't seem to be any middle ground.  If Elli was eager to just join in someone else's game and player her own part then it would work but she isn't that sort of kid.

I suspect this problem will lessen as time goes by.  As Elli gets older she will get better at challenging me mentally and our discussions will get dramatically more interesting so The Director will enjoy spending time with her more.  Also she will hopefully get to the point where she can play more advanced games with me and that will be a wonderful thing we can do together.  It may be challenging to find ways in which Passion can interact with her but it should get easier as she gets older and me operating at maximum physical exertion is something she can keep up with.  I think that we will find things we can do together that allow me the freedom to push myself to my limits without making her feel left behind.

One really interesting footnote is that I have discussed this subject with Elli in general terms and she is utterly fascinated by it.  She has been continually asking me "Daddy, are you in your thinky mode now, or in your body mode?"  She understands that I am nearly always in my thinky mode but she is extremely curious what body mode looks like.  I wonder what she thinks she will see when the shift happens.  Probably she will be disappointed when all that happens is I rush off to run, lift, climb, and smash.  All the roars of fury and screams of defiance are generally just echoing around inside my brain rather than actually articulated.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Two Minds, One Head

I have been reading lately about Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as multiple personalities.  It has granted me quite a revelation about myself:  I have multiple personalities, two to be precise.  Thankfully in my case the word disorder is not appropriate because my personalities work together well and effectively with no notable issues.  DID is associated with gaps in memory, lack of control of switches between personalities, anxiety, depression, emotional instability, and other issues.  In my case though none of these problems is evident.  Like most mental illnesses DID exists on a spectrum that stretches from those who are officially diagnosed to those like me who have just a few of the traits but none of the problems that would make change or intervention necessary.

I call the two personalities I have The Director and Passion.  It isn't that they converse with each other using those names but those designations came immediately and powerfully to mind when I was thinking about how I work.  The two personalities shift control back and forth regularly but they are co-conscious.  That is, no matter which of the two is driving the other one is in the passenger seat and can see and remember everything quite clearly.  For people with DID some personalities spend some of the time in the back seat and are not able to see or remember what is going on and that never happens to me.

The Director is an analyst who sits back looking at the big picture.  He is usually completely divorced from the emotional impact of a situation and notices interesting things to think about even in the midst of tremendous stress or tragedy.  The Director likes to be alone or involved in quiet discussions with others who like to spend time entirely in the realm of thought, separated from the realities of the world.  However, The Director is very aware of other people and is extremely concerned with making sure everyone else is taken care of - he is well intentioned but also cold and calculating, not capable of generating the warmth and sympathy that others so often desire.  The Director is particularly focused on the future and has immense reserves of self control which he uses to make long term decisions.

Passion on the other hand is hot and all about the body.  He loves extreme physical exertion and sensation and is very focused on sex.  Passion wants other people to have a good time but does not concern himself with trying to observe them to make sure that is happening.  He just goes for it and is happy to help when asked.  Passion likes to do things with other people and revels in competition, especially things like dodgeball or paintball where he can throw himself fully into it with no thought for anything but maximizing his own performance.  Passion loves to trashtalk, scream, and shout while playing physical games but doesn't actually care much about winning - really he just loves the sensation of pushing himself to his limits.  It doesn't have to be a competitive sport though as climbing up a boulder field brings out Passion just the same.  He also has little to no concern about the future and lives purely in the moment.

It isn't that I hear voices in my head exactly, though that is something people with DID often do.  It is that I always have two completely separate tracks going on in my consciousness and which track is dominant shifts quickly and dramatically.  Even when I am crying at a movie The Director is busy marvelling at how adeptly the director manipulated my emotions.  While in the midst of a esoteric philosophy discussion Passion is there in the back of my head quivering with pure erotic energy, sitting in place tapping his foot, waiting to be unleashed.

While it might seem like I just have two different facets my internal experience does not support that.  I actually manage transitions between the two states both subconsciously and consciously.  For example, if someone argues with me on the internet Passion leaps out and wants to flame on, telling them they are stupid and wrong.  I often begin to write in as Passion, then Director forcibly steps in and I actually feel a chilling sensation and the world locks down, organizes itself into lines, and Director slowly begins to compose a more appropriate message.  (If you think I am confrontational as it is, you would be blown away by what Passion has to say.  There are a lot of variations on "Fuck me?  No, fuck YOU!")

Another example is my experience running an Escape Room last weekend.  The Director evaluated my group, realized that it was full of technically skilled gamers, and stepped back and let Passion be in charge for the rest of the game.  Not only did I focus on physical tasks but I wasn't *able* to do the puzzles competently because Passion isn't particularly good at that stuff.  I ended up being valuable to the team because Director's evaluation was right - my team needed Passion to run about and bash on things and did not need another puzzler.  When I encountered a puzzle I mostly handed it off to somebody else and continued to hunt for physical things to do.  There were a few times I did things like entering codes and such but only when it was simple and straightforward.

Playing poker is another situation where the two personalities have to interact in interesting ways.  Passion is fantastic at playing other people, bluffing, maintaining table presence, and bullying his way into victories.  The Director is very good at sitting tight, folding for hours until just the right hand comes along, and maintaining iron discipline even when facing a bad beat.  There are tables and situations where both of those strategies can be very effective and I can remember switching tactics back and forth as circumstances dictated.  This technique of switching gears is a thing poker books recommend but it wasn't that I was trying new tactics out - I *was* the rock, and I *was* the gambler at those times.

Some people have seen me in both modes and those that know me best have confirmed that this way of thinking about myself reflects their experience of me.  I am confident that many people I know have only seen either Passion or The Director though and for them this might be something of a surprise.  I am pretty sure the largest group is those who have only seen The Director because he is in charge most of the time.  People who only know me through sports might have only seen Passion but I suspect that is a very small group indeed.

How exactly it gets decided who is in charge is a bit of a murky issue.  The Director feels like the decision maker though, if there has to be one.  It is as though The Director knows that Passion needs to have his hedonistic needs met and that Passion's satisfaction is key to my overall happiness.  I feel better the more Passion gets to come out and run the show but The Director can't just let Passion be in charge all the time because everything would quickly become a mess without proper oversight.  I need both the level headed planning of The Director and the wild joy of Passion to make my life be the best it can be and thankfully these days I seem to have that balance pretty well in hand.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Words are hard

I find people's desire to wrangle of the usage of words to their own version of correct endlessly entertaining.  A lot of the time argument is entirely pointless as language drifts on its own even when powerful groups attempt to bash it into line in the way they want.  Sometimes though small groups, when vocal enough, can change the way people talk in general - witness the way that gay is fading as a general pejorative term.  (Obviously it is still used that way, but the pressure is on and the direction of movement is clear.)  Of course for every term that people successfully add or change there are a thousand that people try for and fail at.

Witness the discussion about solopoly, a word that refers to people who practice polyamory without a primary domestic partner.  That is, they date multiple people at a time with no intention of developing those relationships into live in partnerships.  Even though I have read plenty about the topic and spend lots of time around poly people I didn't recognize the word when I saw it.  I initially read it and assumed it was some type of poetry for some reason... you can parse it as 'solo + poly' easily enough but I didn't see that right away.  I recognized the concept from a variety of sources but the language hadn't even reached me yet so it seems highly unlikely that it is an agreed upon term.  The comments in the article I linked there had an interesting discussion about polyamory terms with plenty of heat on all sides.

One big thing polyamorous people argue about in that regard is the use of the term primary and secondary when referring to relationships.  Some poly folk get really upset about that terminology because of the implication of hierarchy.  They don't like the way the words can be used to imply that someone is of lesser importance.  I don't generally use primary / secondary to describe my relationships but I don't have a problem with the words because I use them descriptively.  Wendy is my domestic and romantic partner.  If I say "I am moving to Edmonton" everyone would correctly assume that we are going together and made a joint decision.  No one else in the world has such a role in my life and I think primary is a fine word to describe that.

The trick in this case is that I don't think that people with whom I have secondary relationships have an inherently subordinate position, nor do they require permission from someone 'higher up' to be there.  I am not looking to fill primary and secondary slots, I am just describing the roles that people happen to have in the life I live.  I certainly don't think that the primary / secondary description *does* fit everyone, much less that it *should*, but I can't deny that it is useful shorthand for my situation.  I think this is a very common problem when small or new groups try to find words to describe themselves - some people use words descriptively, others think of them prescriptively, then trouble starts.

There is an argument made that primary / secondary designations cause people to treat secondary partners badly and to think of them as being under the authority of the primary.  This dynamic can play out like "Sorry, my wife told me I have to break up with you because she finds you irritating" and that is, to me, a disastrous relationship model.  I don't think it is the words that cause that though, rather it is that people are sometimes total jerks and they use language to try to defend their bad behaviour.

Words are hard.  However, I think that they become less conflict ridden if people remember to keep "This generally conveys the right information" and "This defines you completely" separate in their minds.  Acknowledging that descriptive vs. prescriptive interpretations are quite different and that which we are talking about should be decided up front avoids a lot of arguments.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Careful what you ask for

The Pope made some statements recently responding at least in part to the Charlie Hebdo attacks last week.  One quote of his I found particularly telling:

"One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith."

As a matter of fact, yes, I can.  Pope Francis, your faith in an invisible sky wizard is ludicrous and the actions of the organization you head are abominable.  See, I just mocked your faith, and what's more you should be extremely glad that I can because the alternatives are much worse for you.  Imagine what the world would look like if no one was allowed to mock other people's faith.

For starters, the statement "God exists" would be banned because it goes against the faith of those who belong to the church of the flying spaghetti monster.  Anything suggesting that a divine being exists who does not have noodly appendages and meatball eyes would be against the law.  Also I would assume that anything suggesting that the flying spaghetti monster exists would also be against the law as it would offend other religions.  Under this world structure virtually any statement that might be construed as religious would be instantly disallowed by someone or other.

Given that scenario I suspect that you do not in fact want statements that mock people's faith or offend religious sensibilities to be banned.  What you actually want is to have the power to tell everyone in the world what they can and cannot say with impunity.  Unsurprisingly the rest of the world isn't too interested in that and once people see that this is truly what you are asking for they will reject it.

This is the reason I reacted so strongly to the Charlie Hebdo attacks last week.  There are a great many very powerful people in the world who manage to get a lot of support behind the idea that they alone should decide what everyone can say and what they cannot because being made fun of is just so *awful*, especially when you are someone with incredible political power and all.  We must all stand up to these lunatics and make it abundantly clear that this will not happen.

That doesn't mean of course that we should all ignore things like the rampant Islamophobia in France, or the serious problem with racism that some of Charlie Hebdo's cartoons have, or the way in which white lives are so much more valued than the lives of people of colour, especially when reporting on events in other countries.  One thing we definitely should do though is condemn attempts to crush free speech in the name of religion regardless of the religion in question.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The long game

Elli's room is a disaster.  By disaster I don't mean it is messy by my standards, oh no.  By my standards the room is a strong case for casual arson.  It is messy by Elli's standards now which means that the toys are so deeply stacked on the floor is a real challenge to push them aside to make a small path to the bed.  It is so messy that even if we used every single storage option available to us there would still be stacks of junk on the floor just as the job was finished, never mind three hours later.

This used to make me crazy but I have successfully walled it off in my mind.  For five months now I have refused to worry about it and it has slowly gotten worse and worse.  Each time she gets presents whether it be a birthday or Christmas or just another Kinder Egg purchased with her allowance things pile a little deeper.  I push it aside, refuse to let it get to my inner neat freak, and continue soldiering on hoping that someday she will want to tackle it herself.

The problem is that she is right off the charts on the 'keep all the things' measure.  She has a cardboard box that has been sitting in her room for a year and a half.  In 2014 it was used once.  My attempt to remove the box was met with hyperventilating and tears welling up.  If I can't even get rid of a box how am I going to pare down the mass of plastic bits that are far less replaceable and far more suited to pretending to be a princess?

I have come to the conclusion that I need to take drastic measures.  The new plan is as follows:  I will leverage the intense power of a teenager's desire to look grown up.  That is, I am going to simply wait until Elli decides that her toys are an embarrassment and gets rid of them herself.  This is the long game for certain - the decision to simply ignore the problem and pile the junk higher and deeper until she gets to be thirteen is not going to be easy to stick to.  However, I know that I can ignore the ever increasing pile of stuffies and princess figurines for five months so there is no reason to think I can't go five years.

So now I just need to do some extra yoga to develop that additional patience and inner serenity required to watch the piles get ever higher and deeper.  When looking around my filthy, disgusting student residences years ago I never thought I would be the sort of person to develop a five year cleaning plan but we all end up surprising ourselves it would seem.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Silence by default

Since I have been talking about being polyamorous on my blog I have had a lot of conversations with people about the decision to come out publicly.  There have been some people who have been actively supportive of the decision but there are a lot of people who reacted negatively.  Unsurprisingly my poly friends generally reacted very positively but the negative reactions came from all quarters - family from both sides, work acquaintances, and other friends.  The negative reactions generally focused around the issue of Wendy not being eager to be public about polyamory on my blog.  There was a consistent assumption that if Wendy didn't want me to talk about it that the issue should have been done and settled; her right to privacy absolutely trumped my right to talk about myself in my own space.

It isn't as if my family comes from a tradition of keeping secrets from everyone about everything - generally I think they have fairly normal standards that way.  My friend group is mostly the same.  I am definitely the crazy outlier sitting comfortably 3 standard deviations from the norm in this regard.  Even now with me talking about relatively openly about sex and relationships here I am still holding an awful lot back that I would very happily slap up on the internet if it wouldn't upset those close to me.  I often think about embracing radical honesty but I couldn't do that without renegotiating an awful lot of my relationships.

Deciding what to post and what to keep secret is a tricky thing.  I don't make those decisions in a vacuum because I want to be sure that if I am sharing someone else's secrets that they are on board with that decision.  However, I won't allow anyone veto power over talking about my own secrets.  I can and do show restraint sometimes when asked though.  For example, I waited more than a year to make the first post talking about my own polyamory even though I was itching to spew it forth immediately.

The thing that doesn't add up in my mind is why so many people seem to place privacy as on an entirely different plane of importance than disclosure.  There seems to be an assumption out there that if anybody doesn't want a thing being said then it shouldn't be said.  I don't buy into that view at all.  Rather I strongly prefer the assumption that all things are fair game instead; silence should exist but it should be exception, not the default.  That doesn't mean you have an obligation to divulge your own secrets, just that you won't dump on me because I choose to talk about my own stuff.

This extends to the things I want to hear as well as the things I want to say.  Other people often say "Ewwwww, TMI!" when somebody else starts talking about their sex life even when it is cloaked in metaphor and indirect references.  My reaction is the total opposite - I just want more details!  This stark difference is especially obvious when other people express a desperate desire to not know anything about their family members' sex lives as though somehow it would be better if everyone related to them was asexual.  In my own head "So this is the new thing I am knitting" and "So X and I were bangin' on the kitchen table and this hilarious thing happened" are equally appropriate dinner conversation for family gatherings.  Not that I am more curious about my family's sex lives than my friends', it is just that I see them as equally interesting while the rest of the world seems to see one as utterly taboo and the other as merely a bit risque.

These preferences do not blind me to the obvious; I am able to easily determine what the world thinks is appropriate.  I just disagree with the standards I see to such an extent that I can hardly fathom how we ended up the way we are and I can't be happy hammering myself into the box that other people seem to inhabit quite comfortably.  Secrets sit inside me and fester, burning away like terrible heartburn that has but one cure - setting the secret free into the world.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


A tragedy has occurred in France.  The satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked by several people using assault rifles and 12 people are dead.  The attack was explicitly in retaliation for pictures published by the magazine mocking Islamic State and the attackers shouted about prophet Muhammad during their assault.  Needless to say this is a terrible event, not just for the personal tragedy but also for the state of affairs between radical Islam and the rest of the world.

I think though that the perpetrators are going to learn that their attack will not have the effect they intended.  They are, I hope, going to receive a quick and dirty lesson in how the Streisand Effect works.  I had never heard of Charlie Hebdo before today nor had I seen their latest post that is assumed to be the flashpoint behind this attack.  Now I have and I will share it in an attempt to push awareness of it as far across the world as possible.

I hope others will share it too.  Those who would try to suppress expression such as this must learn that all their despicable actions accomplish is to spread the very images they are trying to suppress far and wide.  Acts of violence against free expression must not only be fought back against with weapons but also with more expression.  The greater part of society, both Muslim and not, does not tolerate such atrocity and we outnumber the lunatics by a great margin.  We can and must show them that we will steamroller right over their feeble attempts to terrorize us.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Frame of mind

I have been sick as hell the past week with some kind of demonic nanotech futuristic magical evil necromancer spawned flu.  The first part of it was the worst as it entailed the age old question "Which end of me do I need to point at the toilet for the next 30 seconds?" and that is pretty much the worst time there is.  In the last few days though I have only had a modest cold in terms of physical symptoms but the brain effects have been *interesting*.

I often feel fairly high when I have a cold.  Weird thrumming underneath my kneecaps, temporal discontinuities, frame of reference shifts, and other facets of the cold are very much in keeping.  One thing that I have had friends describe as a part of being high that I never experienced myself though is extreme paranoia.  I don't get anxiety or paranoia issues in regular life at all - it just isn't an issue I deal with.  What that might have to do with feeling that while under a cold high I don't know but the last couple nights I got it in a big way.

Between sleep and awake I found a very bizarre place where I was dreaming but not quite.  I could wake up at will and be as functional as one would expect from a sick person but as soon as I lay back down images would flood my mind and everything seemed to be wrong.  I was certain I had done everything incorrectly, let everyone down, forgotten all the things that needed doing.  Things weren't totally out of control though and I would constantly reach to try to fix all the swirling disasters around me only to fail over and over.  The world was unfamiliar, frightening, and all things were off kilter by just enough that I could never feel relaxed.

I spent many hours in this state, often waking up to verify that I could still do so, then lying down again hoping for sleep to claim me.  I finally did sleep but only once dawn was ready to break in the morning.  You would think that such a bizarre mindset that never really touched sleep would leave me hideously tired and unhappy in the morning but it was not so.  I feel slightly tired, I know my sleep was not ideal, and I recognize that I passed hours in the grip of terror and yet things are fine.  Somehow all that madness actually did bridge the gap between restorative sleep and being awake.

What I can say for certain is that I have had enough of this cold high.  I want my brain back now.  I want to be able to think properly, I want to be able to sleep properly, and I want to be able to properly delineate the border between sleep and awake because not being able to do so is a teensy bit strange.