Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Problem With Paranoia

Is an old root that creeps
Through the meadows of sleep
When the long shadows cast.
As a vagrant young vine,
It encircles, entwines,
And it holds the heart fast.

"Catches dreamers in the wild wood
With the stars in their eyes
And the moon in their tussled hair.
But love
Is a light in the sky,
And an unspoken lie,
And a half-whispered prayer."

My favorite verse from my favorite love song. I didn't know it was possible to be both pessimistic and hopeful at the same time.

I'm actually not much of a party-person. Any type of gathering usually sees me sitting in an out-of-the-way place, either reading a book or watching the crowds interact (an actually rather fascinating experience). But I honestly do wish I could've made it to Cam and Jake's wedding, particularly since it was only a few hours away. But I couldn't get off work in time to make the drive.

So rather than just ignore the whole affair, I decided to send my well-wishes over the phone. Well... well-wishes, plus a very particular message to Elaine, since she and Nick had been getting more and more "official" by the day. I got pretty creative with it too, if I do say so myself. I may have mentioned that I am absolute crap at half-serious death threats, but I took a page out of my friend Terrie's book (who has given plenty of hurt-him-and-die speeches in her day), and I think I managed to sound convincing.


Today's lesson/opinion (because it's really more of an opinion, honestly) is brought to you by Kay and Naomi. It's something I've been thinking about a lot, recently.

When I was in 4th grade, there was a multiple-choice pop quiz that I wasn't prepared for. The teacher, rather than grade it herself, opted to let us swap papers with a partner and be graded by our peers. My neighbor was a girl I was friendly with (though only in that we shared a mutual friend; I had very few friends as a child), so in hushed voices, we struck a deal - as the correct answers were read off, we would each change the answers of the test we were grading to the correct ones. That way we'd both get A's.

The plan went through without a hitch, or so I thought. I changed her answers as I went along, but I also remembered which ones I had gotten wrong, and kept peeking over to make sure she changed them for me. I don't exactly remember why - maybe I was afraid she would accidentally miss one, or maybe I simply didn't trust her to follow through on our bargain. Either way, the grading was finished, and all tests were then handed in to the teacher, presumably to be re-graded for accuracy and posterity.

The next day, our tests were handed back to us. To my relief, I got an A+. However... the same was not true of the other girl. As it turned out, I had spent so much time making sure she corrected my test properly that I neglected to change many of her answers. She got a D.

I was... horrified, to say the least. My naive little 10-year-old mind hadn't even considered the possibility that I would be the one to fail to keep my end of the deal. The betrayed and disappointed look on her face didn't help the growing pit of guilt in my stomach.

But that's the thing about trust. When you don't trust others, you automatically become untrustworthy yourself. It's not something you intend to do, it doesn't make you a bad person; it's just a reflex. But it nonetheless does happen. It's up to you whether you want to put a probably-innocent person through that... But maybe that's just me. I've always been the type who would prefer being wrong and disappointed (or dead in this case, I guess) about someone than wrong and unnecessarily cruel.

There's also the matter of personal health. Being constantly on guard is bad for your your nervous system, and screws up the fight-or-flight mechanism after long periods. Said mechanism can also do damage to your immune system if you're constantly tense and the tension has nowhere to go - because let's face it, if you don't trust someone, it's not always a smart idea to take action against them.

Finally (and this is probably the biggest issue for me)... paranoia is It's game. It wants us afraid before it kills us, or hollows us, or whatever the hell It does. It wants us isolated from those who might be able to help us, and too afraid to trust anyone. I don't know about you, but when my enemy wants something from me, I make it a point not to give It what It wants, because there has to be a reason for it. What that reason might be is anyone's guess, but denying It that fear certainly isn't going to hurt your chances of survival, and it might actually help.

Who was the one who compared the monster to a troll? And, as they say, the only way to win is not to play... Granted, it's too late to "not play" in any case, but you can not add fuel to the fire.

In the end, of course, it's up to you, but that's my two cents.


Hmm. I feel better now. Writing this sort of thing makes me feel more like myself. I should start doing it more often.

And if it seems like the tone of these posts kind of goes up and down... well, that's entirely intentional. It's part of the slipshod "survival plan" I've thought up: If I get depressed, I deliberately seek out something fun to do, and then write about it to make it more permanent. Makes sense, right? It's also why I haven't been reading or commenting around much in the past week. I should probably go catch up, unless anybody wants to fill me in.

Oh! And another bit of good news: Michael's alive! His reason for being MIA for the past couple months is... slightly worrying... but screw it. He's back, he's alright, and he's on the move. I am immensely relieved.

Plus, no sightings all week. That's something, right?

See ya, everyone. Try to stay happy, alright?


  1. Ryuu.. I...
    Cam would've agreed.

    And yes, your threats were convincing.

  2. God, I'm almost sorry for them now, only without the almost. -hugs Elaine tightly-

  3. Huh.

    If you guys can worldbuild so well, why bother with blogs? Write a goddamn novel already.

    I have a feeling I'll be called for trolling or told to get out of here before I get myself drawn in and killed. Nevertheless, you have good explanations, good theories, good tone....

    Nice work.