The Stories Begun











{August 2, 2015}   Concerned Dalek is Your Friend

I seriously considered writing this post in character: A huge wall of caps lock and angry, shouty love. That I did not proves my restraint is legendary. You’re welcome.

Most of you don’t know me. I’m just some strange juxtaposition of persistent yelling and self-care advice on the internet, known as Concerned Dalek on Twitter. It’s a thing. A weird and wonderful thing.

Recently, I revealed to a fellow Whovian my parody account status and spent the rest of the night giggling in wonder at being recognized for my work of less than 100 tweets (then, it was 77; at time of writing, I’ve hit a grand total of 93; at time of posting, this will be the 100th tweet). I’m a writer, and that this is the writing that has reached the biggest audience was a joyous absurdity. It was a trippy experience, but also a sharp reminder that people had responded in a way I could never have expected and that it had been a while since I had tweeted.

So, on Friday, I started tweeting again. I went from 80 some-odd to 100+ followers in the matter of a day (I know, that’s not very much on Twitter, but it’s still a minor explosion). People started responding in a deeply profound way again, like they had when this all started. Y’all are a beautiful bunch o’ people, I tell you, but I gotta admit that I find all of this more than a little strange.

Because, in all honesty, Concerned Dalek is yelling at me.

I’m terrible at self-care. Truly, I am horrible at self-care. I forget to eat or take my pills until it’s been 18 hours since my last dose or communicate my needs until I’m WAY past the boundary line and approaching full-on manic. I have to carve out time to do my nails (which takes half an hour, generally) and convince myself the time is well spent. I feel guilty for budgeting for things like massages, because that money could be doing “better things,” despite the fact that I know that a) I have room for both this and “better things” in the budget and b) I cannot do any sort of thing, much less a better one, if I am not taking care of myself first. I am useless without my sanity and since I’m really bad at making time at home to maintain it, I have to make a monthly appointment. I am much more reluctant to dismiss a calendar item than I am a to-do list item or a concrete notion of something I should do. (Oh, yeah. I have a to-do list which has it’s own task category for self-care. This is a recent development, but a wonderful one. I get points on an app for taking care of myself. I recommend this to everyone who is at once motivated by competition and bad at self-care.) So, I put the appointment on the books and maneuver myself into a position in which I am breaking a contract if I do not take care of myself. It’s a little sick that I have to do this in order to convince my brain to prioritize self-care, but it works.

Do you see why I need Concerned Dalek?  I hope to get to the point in which I don’t need this any more. But even so, it’s a need I have in my life right now. Concerned Dalek is the yelling, loud, and slightly ridiculous counterpoint to all those heinous whispers in my head about being selfish or having so much to do or being not worthy of the time it takes to stick a few stickers on my nails or of being called my chosen name/pronouns (I’m NB trans. Xe/xyr/xem, so you know.). Everything Concerned Dalek yells into the void is a message I desperately need to hear. Miraculously, it’s a need that seems to be filling other peoples’ needs at the same time.

Now, Concerned Dalek didn’t start out this way. Concerned Dalek was created when a friend got a particularly nasty bout of Con-Plague and I wanted her to take care of herself and feel better. Mostly, I just wanted her to laugh, as being sick is a generally humorless experience. I pretended to be Concerned Dalek on Facebook, yelling, “HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE!” and offering tea and kleenex. I was transported by the fanciful notion, and sketched a rather terrible cartoon of said dalek and wrote a get well card in (rainbow) Circular Gallifreyan for my dear, sick friend (that was done in Paint, by the way – never again). This, then became the account’s profile photo and header photo, respectively. The first tweet was my simple wish for her. What started as a silly gift for a friend became a thing in the way of internet things (largely due to the second tweet, I think), albeit a small one. People started reaching out for internet hugs and advice and it was a delightful, hilarious, touching, and profound several weeks.

I took a couple unintentional hiatuses as my life dramatically changed, in good and bad ways, and did my best to continue occasionally yelling into the void, hoping I would listen to myself. And then I got recognized for my seventy-seven ridiculous tweets, angrily demanding I (and others) love myself (and themselves). Life is a weird and wonderful place.

So, I’m committing to tweeting three times a day. You all seem to enjoy it and The Doctor knows I need it. Hopefully, morning, lunch, and before bed tweets will reach as many people in as many time zones as possible. I kinda hope this gets bigger (because I fiercely believe everyone needs a better education and constant encouragement in self-care), but I dearly love the small, intimate community I’ve already got. You all are perfect and lovely and I really want you to remember that you are worth the effort of taking care.

Pursuant to this tweet, it took me a while to choose to decide if I wanted to include some words from behind the curtain. Revealing myself felt veeeeeeerrrrry frightening. Especially since I’ve blogged about many things in my multi-year history, including things I’m not proud of (I have left those things up not because I stand by them, but because I refuse to erase my mistakes – they happened, and I hope it’s clear that I’m doing better). I’ve also been blogging since before I acknowledged my trans identity/sexuality, so I was afraid of giving people ammunition to deny my identity. This was opening a door. Then, I remembered that this was a community that was all about humorous, ridiculous, earnest self-care. I’m still a little scared, but I think you’ve all earned this trust. Besides, I was really excited about the surprise I’ve been talking about.

And so, to end this very strange love letter to the people in the void who seem to enjoy me yelling at myself and them, I wish to celebrate the 100 tweets and 100+ weird, lovely, odd people along for this ride. A giveaway of sorts. I’ll post this blog a multiple times this week on Concerned Dalek, and everyone who re-tweets/favorites it will be put in a drawing* for one of five prizes:

Grand Winner: A signed sketch of Concerned Dalek quoting your CD tweet of choice in the scratchy pen style of my profile picture, a signed Circular Gallifreyan hand-drawing of your CD tweet of choice, and a chance to pick the self-care theme of a no-less-than three tweet series by CD (to be approved by me, ultimately, but I don’t expect problems).

Runner Up: Pick two of the above three.

Three-Way-Tie-for-Third: Pick one of the above three.

I’ll send the images via direct message, and if you’re comfortable giving me your address, I’ll also send the originals via the post. If you’re not, you still have the images. Please feel free to use them on any platform, so long as you a) don’t crop out my signature and b) give credit where it is due (a link to the twitter account is perfectly acceptable). I think this’ll be reposted daily for a week or so before I do the drawing. I’ll give ample warning, I promise.

*Only one entry per person, but as I post this multiple times during the week, I’d appreciate any and as many re-tweets to spread this around as you feel comfortable giving. I want all followers/possibly new friends to have a chance at this. I also apologize that I cannot track shares/likes on Facebook, so please make sure you use Twitter if you want to be in the drawing.

I’ll probably do this again at 500 or 1000 followers, if we get there. We’ll see. For right now, though, I want to give a gift to the sweet people out there who support me in continuing to take care of myself. And to help you continue to take care of your wonderful selves.

Concerned Dalek is your friend. Thank you for allowing me to be.

LOVE,

CONCERNED DALEK (WHO THINKS YOU DESERVE AS MUCH LOVE AS YOU CAN REASONABLY RECEIVE)

P.S. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Concerned Dalek needed to show up at least once.

P.P.S. Not all that sorry, actually.

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I’ve been thinking quite a lot about time the past few weeks, seeing as I’ve had so little of it and now that I leave for Europe tomorrow the previous statement is even more true.

On Sunday, I was privileged to go to a gathering that’s main purpose was to hear a singer of quite some talent.  He’s a friend of a friend and was willing to do an informal performance for a small group of us.  It was a lovely time.  He also opened the floor for questions and in that time the question was brought up, how does one balance talent verses work?  I think, in this case, talent being the inborn ability and work being that which improves the raw material.  I really liked the answer the singer gave.

He said that all creative people are a bit selfish and have that need for accolade and therefore naturally seek out the path in which they can get the most credit for the talent (and work) they possess.  He said that when the creative being makes the decision to give that talent to other people and stick with it no matter what, that’s when the artist can find true happiness.  I couldn’t agree more.

I was talking with one of my brothers earlier that day about a book I recently read that bothered me quite a bit because it was a Bi-Polar author’s view of life with Bi-Polar and her view was SO bleak.  It was the most depressing piece of literature I have read, not because of tone, but because I could sense that the author really did think that the two options of insanity or heavily-drugged “reality” were the only options available to someone with Bi-Polar.  I felt ill.  If any of you follow my personal blog, you know that I don’t shy away from talking about my experiences with Bi-Polar.  Furthermore, many of you know that I even rejoice in them, because of the broad spectrum of emotions and life that has been brought to me because of my experiences with this disease.  However, it has taken almost a full thirteen years with this disease to get to that point.  As I was talking about this with my brother, he repeated the advice that my father had given me when I mentioned my almost physical reaction to the book and its sad message: write about your experiences.  Do it in such a way that people know that this is not the only option.

I’ve always planned on doing just that to some degree, but this experience with the book, my father, my brother, and some random singer from England who I barely know, has solidified my conviction.  And it’s not something to do eventually, it’s something to do every day from today.

So, today I make the decision to share my creativity, to make use of it.  I’ve already tried to do that to some extent and I don’t suppose I’ll be perfect at it right away, but I know that I’ll be happiest in my writing when it’s for others and not for myself.



{June 23, 2010}   Truths and Lies

C.S. Lewis–before his famous conversion to Christianity–said this to J.R.R. Tolkien: “Myth is lies breathed through silver.”  Tolkien responded with a challenge to that assumption: Christianity is true and it is also a myth.  Though challenging a non-believer with such a “proof” seems inadvisable at best, especially if you want to keep and already adversarial friendship alive (as Lewis and Tolkien’s was), in this case it seems to have been quite effective.  It was not too much later that Lewis converted, and some point to this conversation as one of the causes.

I’m not sure I believe that claim, it sounds down-right apocryphal.  However, this is not what I want to discuss today.  I want to discuss what I find to be an exceptionally perceptive quote, if not completely true.

One of the first things I learned in my studies as a Classics minor was that all belief systems, regardless of proven validity, are myths.  This did not offend me as it did some of the others in the class.  In fact, it made a great deal of sense to me.  Who was I to claim that the Egyptians or the Greeks were so very mistaken?  There was obviously something that inspired the faith of these civilizations, even the contractual obligation that the Romans felt toward their gods.  I am sure that in another couple millennia, today’s Christianity will seem as foolish as the Grecian gods.

That being said, I am a believer.  I strongly believe in my version of the Christian mythos, and therefore object to myth being completely classified as lies.  That is also not what this blog is about today.  Today’s blog (and I do apologize for taking so long to come to the point of discussion) is about how this quote specifically applies to me as a re-writer of myths, even if it only is a hobby as yet.

As evidenced by the introduction I wrote to my thesis, I believe there is an intrinsic truth to myth.  For those of you who have not been subjected to a) my thesis and/or b) the introduction, I spent ninety-four pages applying the Jungian theory of the collective unconscious (mixed with a dash of Genetic criticism) to re-imagining “Beauty and the Beast.”  I spent three pages explaining why the mix.  The why boils down to this: in Genetic criticism, the concept of the “authoritative text” exists.  This “authoritative text” is theoretical–it is the text as the author intended it, and the key word to describe it is supposed to be “stable.”  When applied to the collective unconscious, I think that trapped within the human subconscious, there is a stable, authoritative text for each myth.  I think myths contain the truths of human existence.

They also contain the lies.  Locked within our subconsciouses aren’t just the truths of the human condition, but also the dreams.  These dreams get woven into myth.  Herein lies the silvered lies.  We’ve dressed up the lies as truth.  Dreams aren’t always lies, we can make them come true, but when they are dressed up and paraded about like everyday occurrences that take no work to come to fruition, then dreams become lies.

Myth is both silver and dross, sometimes each disguised as the other.  It is truth masquerading as lie and lie aspiring to be truth.  It is the human subconscious manifested, the good and evil in us all.  Collectively, we are all writers of myth.  And I love it.

Off to find both fact and fiction!

~R.J.Louise

P.S. It seems my schedule is fluid.  Or just that my life has been too crazy to fit to a schedule in the past week.  I’ve decided that, for this week only, the entire schedule is shifting to a day later.  My apologies, and I will be more regular now that the major event of the summer is over.

P.P.S.  Thanks, Race.  An e-mail is coming.



et cetera