Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Changing, Part IV: Minna 4.0 Manual Complete*

All right. Back to the software upgrades. Go read the other parts of this series if you want to be au courant on the subject, especially the last post.

Minna 4.0 is more stable in functioning.  The downtimes are briefer, and maintenance is not as intense.   In addition, her firewall is stronger.

The earlier editions of Minna had a big flaw–I couldn’t say no.  I thought if I said no or stood up for myself, I would lose a friend.  For the most part, this wasn’t the fault of said friend as my friends are solid people who love me for who I am.  But, there have been people over the years who didn’t like this one bit.  And, because as I said earlier, I tended to store things up until they exploded, the ending of said friendships were ugly and brutal.  And, of course, it would reinforce my notion that I couldn’t voice my real opinion or I would lose my friends. My best friend, Kiki/Kat, who has been there for me since 1994, gave me a plaque for Christmas that has this quote by Dr. Seuss:

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

It really resonated within me, first of all, because she’s one of my biggest supporters.  She’s seen me through some ugly things, and she’s never faltered in her friendship.  Secondly, I am used to feeling that I fall short of some amorphous ideal, and it’s soothing to hear from a very dear friend, “Hey.  I like you the way you are.”  Thirdly, I am slowly reaching the point where I am OK with myself.  And, that quote just underscored the inchoate sense of self-acceptance that is burbling inside of me somewhere.

So.  I am slowly starting to say no once in awhile.  I’m beginning to demur and say, “No, I don’t agree. ”  In other words, I’m becoming more than a mirror for other people, merely reflecting what they want to see.  And, if someone doesn’t like it, then she wasn’t really a friend in the first place, was she?**

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The Changing, Part III: Realizations Big and Small

Minna 4.0 is not easy to run.  There are bugs, and at time, the program suddenly freezes up.  Then, I have to shut her down and start her up again.   Sometimes, it’s a simple ‘file not found’ error or a ‘low disk space error’, but on occasion, it’s the blue screen of death and panic sets in.  Then, I just have to shut her off and let her rest a bit before trying to reboot.

For the most part, however, I just have to deal with incompatibilities between Minna 3.0 and Minna 4.0.*  There is a surprising amount of software which is not usable in the upgrade, and I have to figure out how to get rid of it without trashing the entire program.

For example, Minna 4.0 can’t keep her temper, anger, and opinions under control as well as Minna 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 did.

All right.  I have to say this.  There is going to be a lot of recapping in this post.  I will talk about things I have talked about previously.  So, if you are a long-time reader who starts feeling a sense of déjà vu as you read this post, it’s not you.  I really am saying shiitake I’ve said before.   Now, back to the show.

I was taught that all negative emotions were not to be expressed and that anger was not acceptable.  No, it was stronger than that–anger (except as exhibited by my father) was a display of hate.  If you were mad at someone, that meant you didn’t love that person.  No, it was never said in words, but it was felt deeply–at least by me.

I want to be careful here.  I have talked to my brother about our childhood, and his memories are vastly different than mine.  We were talking yesterday, and the topic of our visit to Taiwan came up.  He was wistful as he said, “That was so much fun.”  I made some murmuring noise and changed the subject.  I didn’t need to get into it with him why I felt differently, but it struck me anew how two people can have such diametrically opposing reactions to the same experience.

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The Changing, Part II: I Got a New Attitude, Bee-yotches!

Listen up, bee-yotches.  In my last post, I gave a eulogy for the past incantations of me.  It was surprisingly hard to do especially as I’m in the midst of grieving for her/them/the past/all the years lost/winter being over, but I needed to have some temporary finality on the subject.  And, since I’m a writer, I find that I figure things out best by writing about them.

Now, today is my birthday.  Longtime readers know that I have a tempestuous relationship with my birthday.  I disliked it as a kid, positively loathed it through my twenties and early thirties as it was a nasty reminder of the fact that I was, yes, indeed, alive in body and that I was a year older with nada to show for it.  In the last five years or so, I had been slowly working my way to being neutral about my birthday.  I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it any more.

Last year, I returned to struggling with it, and it’s been even harder this year.  Why?  Well, first of all, it’s a round number–40.  Now, I have never cared about my actual age.  In fact, at the beginning of the year, I just say I’m a year older in order to prep myself for my birthday.  Of course, then when my birthday arrives, I sometimes get confused as to how old I really am, but that’s neither here nor there.

40.  That’s old.  Or at the very least, middle-aged.

I fixate on certain things (no, really?), and apparently, 40 is one of those things.  I keep staring at the number as if it’s an alien being with three heads.  It doesn’t look anything like I feel.  On the one hand, I wasn’t taught healthy ways to navigate the world when I was younger, and I stayed frozen in time for fifteen years.  So, on that hand, I feel very young, as if I’m just learning to walk.  On the other hand, I’ve experienced things that I sincerely would not wish on someone I loathed because the way back is just so long and arduous.  I feel as if I’ve been alive forever, so on that hand, I feel very old.

40?  How can I be 40?  What the Hades happened to my twenties and thirties?  For that matter, where are my aughts and teens?

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The Changing, Part I: A Eulogy for the Broken Minna

Dearly Beloved:

We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of someone very dear to me:  Me.  Oh, I know I am still alive, so obviously, I am not mourning the actual physical passing of me, as fascinating as that may be.  No, I am mourning the passing of the girl/woman I used to be–the one who I am trying to no longer be.

For decades, I hated that girl/woman.  I wanted her to die.  If I had the guts, I would have killed her and her whiny, mopey, puling ass.  I couldn’t stand being inside her head as she brooded about how much her life sucked for hours on end.

I hated that she was weak and indecisive and just so gumdropit* spineless.  She was a complete mess, and she couldn’t do anything right.  I hated her with every fiber of my being.  I wanted nothing to do with her–which was problematic, of course, because she was me.  As hard as I ran, as much as I numbed out, as much as I tried to get away from her–I couldn’t.

That depressed me even more.

Hate.  it’s an ugly word, but it’s apropos in this situation.  I can’t tell you how much I raged against her, how much I tore her down and shredded her into tiny bits.   The demons in my head didn’t have to egg me on because I was a willing participant in her destruction.  I berated her physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.  She couldn’t do anything right, and oh, how I hounded her with that truth every Damascus Fig moment of her existence.

Let me be brutally honest:  There was a time when I didn’t like a single thing about myself besides my intelligence.  I hated my face, my body, my indecisiveness, my low self-esteem, my freakishness, my skittishness, and everything in between.  I thought I was the biggest piece of shiitake on earth, and I didn’t think I deserved to live.

I abused myself physically in many ways because I just couldn’t express my disdain for myself deeply enough with mere thoughts and words.  Horrifying?  Yes, in retrospect.  At the time, I thought it only what I deserved.

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