~owls@TTBP



14 june 2022

I'm alive! Been slammed with classwork, but I'm free for the summer now that I've cranked out a few behemoth essays. And hey, I graduate with my associate's degree on Friday! I'll be jumping right back in for a bachelor's degree, but it's nice to hit that milestone and see the work pays off. Makes me feel like I'm going somewhere.

I've been chipping away at little side projects lately, mostly tech stuff. I've been making my own Plasma theme (CalmEyes- I already put the color scheme and Kate theme out there), working on various articles for my personal site (note to self: update town site this week), and messing with crafts. I've enjoyed UV resin lately and made a few cute pawpad keycaps! I'm also working on a community project I opted into. I owe at least 250 lines of voice acting and I've got until the end of June to do as much of that as I can manage. Wish me luck! It's fun and tedious.

Also, happy Pride month to all my fellow queers and gender weirdos. You know who you are. 'Tis the season for rainbow capitalism and riots. May we all find the chance to live as who we are one day without it being a problem, and may the ignorant jerks learn to be better than they are now.

To folks that are questioning, and really for anyone who might be queer or trans or anything at all: It's okay not to know. You don't have to have the right words or get it right. It's messy territory and sometimes you've got to carve your own space and say "you know, I don't fit in the boxes quite right and that's just how it's going to be." Sometimes questioning isn't about finding the One True Label, but about breaking away from the need for labels and finding your own path through the maze. It's a Choose Your Own Adventure and you can rip out the pages to tack in your own if you want to. Smash words together. Push at taboos. Play with the ideas and toss them at each other until something sticks and says "I see you, I know who you are inside, and you are home." Make your truth out of popsicle sticks and chewing gum if you have to. It's okay. You're okay.

I've been reading Stone Butch Blues this month (which, by the way, is available for free- gotta love it when an author practices what they preach, just look the book up and the PDF is free to yank in from the author's site [RIP Leslie Feinburg] https://www.lesliefeinberg.net/). It's a very good read, but definitely look up a list of content warnings before reading if you're sensitive to heavy content. You name it, it's probably in the book. I'm glad I'm reading it. In a strange way, I feel seen by a fictional character decades in the past living in a substantially different situation from me. It feels important, particularly the phrases "gender traitor" and "he-she". I'm not alone.



31 march 2022

Been very happy with the switch to Debian. It's nicer than anticipated not updating all the time. Feels like I get more done and am more comfortable. Thinking I'm going to try to make a custom ISO as a project so I can have a ready-to-go install ISO for myself with all the programs I like. Seems like a fun project and a good way to learn more about the whole process.

I'm doing okay- been a little busy and haven't had much time to write things out here. Helping friends move still, and working on personal projects in my week off. Making a little book of information on my plants so I have all their needs in one place. It's coming along well! Need to figure out a nice binding that lets me easily add pages without being too clunky or unpleasant.

My favorite plant right now is the Plumosa Fern, which isn't actually a fern. It's in the lilly family. Really small, soft leaves that look delicate but are surprisingly hardy. It's been a very forgiving plant for me and is absolutely beautiful. Also fond of a little Hinoki Cypress ("Just Dandy" variety) that I'm keeping as a bonsai, albeit a crappy one until I can start shaping it. I'm letting it adjust properly to its pot and position first while I research how not to kill this one. My last attempt at bonsai was not appreciated by the tree and I think I went too fast.

Otherwise, been taking time to work on mental health while I'm doing well. Making good progress there, figuring out better ways to cope that aren't dissociative. It's a challenge because it would be so easy to go back to dissociating everything but it's not what I want and I'm happier focusing on an integrative approach. It's just a challenge to relearn things.

Catch-up article: https://owlsyspeeps.dreamwidth.org/45888.html TL;DR: I no longer consider myself to be plural at this point because I've been working on fusion. Wow, I need to update my tilde site, huh?

It's funny that fusion has given me a totally different perspective on plurality. I see it differently than I did before, at least in my own case. I can understand why academia sees it as one person that's subdivided and dissociated now because that's how it looks after fusing. Didn't feel the way at the time though, so it's an odd incongruency to process. Either way, I feel more complete within myself now, like I'm filling my own holes in a way I couldn't before. It's still an ongoing process but it's been good for me.

Working on another article related to that since there are nearly no resources on fusion for systems, and if I have an experience that gives me the ability to fill a resource gap, I want to do what I can. Doubly so when the topic is full of misinformation and misunderstandings of what's actually going on. The plural community gets a LOT wrong; for crying out loud, guys, it's not murder or death. It's the opposite. It's making everything in your mind present and accepted, all at once. Nothing goes away or dies. It's all still there, even the parts you don't like. That's what makes it so powerful. All of you is there at the same time instead of only one part at a time. All of your complexity coexists within you. Everything is there, and no part of your identity dies.

The one resource I've found on fusion from someone else who's experienced it: https://www.sidran.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Understanding-Integration.pdf

My last college quarter before I get my associate's degree starts next week. Wish me luck! It's on to the cybersec bachelor's after that.



17 march 2022

Doing good today! Spent some time with a friend and caught up. It was nice to see them again! Finals are almost done as well, so I get a week off soon. It's much needed tbh. Currently typing very slowly because I'm practicing my touch typing, which I hope pays off because this is infuriating. So slowwwww... just have to keep practicing to get back up to speed. My hands will thank me one day!

My last final is on Tuesday. Wish me luck!

Going to type more nonsense now as practice.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Rats live in no evil star. Taco cat. My mother made many maple marbles. Are our oars oak? My cat is rubbing on the walls trying to get me to play with him. It's cute but the meowing is annoying. He's silly but not the smartest, but it's cute because he plays fetch when he feels like it. He always feels like it, so he never shuts up. He's a noisy boy.



10 march 2022

I am alive! Just busy. This calls for a rapid-fire bullet point feels round.

I'm hanging in there. Very worried about my friends, but all I can do is support them and hope for the best. I'm emotionally exhausted trying to do that though and I don't know how to handle the whole situation. It's a mess.



26 february 2022

Doing pretty well lately, some ups and downs but nothing unmanageable. Classwork has wound down a little, so I have time to breathe and that always helps.

The highlights of recent events:



09 february 2022

Spent last night figuring out some qmk for a custom keyboard configuration- it's a 40% keyboard, so kind of important to have it all the way I wanted it. Took a while because the file I needed to work with was in C and I don't know any C, but I worked it out eventually. Most of the effort was setting up LED color changes with layer changes so I would always know what layer I'm on, which finally works and helps a lot. I'm just glad I figured it out because my laptop keyboard is slowly getting more and more uncooperative. The x key straight-up refuses to work, the s key is inconsistent now as well, and I'm just waiting for more to give out at this point. Will probably look into changing out that part of the hardware if possible. Fingers crossed I can do that. In the meantime, I can finally use the x key and reply to emails! Yay!

Not too much to share outside of that. Life is happening and it's as ok as it'll be for a while. Been having to help my mom with her job because somehow I, who know almost nothing about accounting, can figure things out that she's struggling with, like what accounts the money is supposed to flow through. It's a weird position to be in and I'd really rather not, but she gets very unpleasant to be around when she's unhappy and she might lose her job if she can't work this out. The last time she lost her job was one of the worst periods of my life and I'd really rather not repeat that. At least she paid me for it one time. That's more than I was expecting.

Got into a game called Elona. Who likes weird RPGs? Like, "you can play as a snail and the janitors will try to kill you" weird. Alien parasite weird. Being haunted by dreams about pumpkins weird. It's great. And turn-based!

Some identity troubles again last night. I fragment more under stress and it's frustrating because being pushed over my coping limit is all it takes for me to lose cohesion. I keep having to remind myself both that healing is a process with setbacks along the way, and that I developed differently enough that I'll probably never fit fully into typical standards of cohesive identity. I think I'll always be at least a little fragmented. It's more about building cooperation and working together better, which for me entails a shared self. I just feel a little brain tangled today I guess.



04 february 2022

I just realized I can't send mail. My x key doesn't work, and I bound alt+c to type the letter so I can make words. That's fine. What doesn't work is that town's mail app doesn't recognize control+alt+c as control+x. Guess I need to wait until I'm at a USB keyboard to send mail now. Sorry if I don't respond for a bit!

Spent today making an ace ring out of polymer clay- it went well. Took about 2 hours after baking to dremel out the center and sand it all smooth. It's a little thicker than I'd like, but any thinner and the thing would break if I squeezed it wrong. I'm pretty happy with the way it is. Fits me perfectly too!

For anyone else that wants to try, here's how I did it:

So that was my project for today. Came out pretty okay if you ask me!

Otherwise, been thinking about how I interact with other internet communities and whether that dynamic is healthy for me. I'm at a point where finding different spaces is a good idea (don't worry, town isn't somewhere I plan to leave- it's all good here). It's more that the norms of certain communities are starting to hold me back more than they help, and I think it would be a good idea to explore other options and see if anything nicer pops up. I'll see how it goes and where I wind up. Outside of town, finding good places to talk to others online is kind of hard when every space has pressures to exist one way or another and fit into a box. It's a very polarized way of interacting where even in the most inclusive spaces, there will be an expectation to fit something specific. Dog people don't talk in cat forums, if the metaphor (and maybe literal) helps. And it's hard when you're both a cat and dog person, or neither, because there's no forums for those that aren't one or the other. You're forced to pick a side. I need more spaces that don't make people pick a box to sit in or expect them to stay in only one box forever. Where exploring and trying new things is not only accepted but welcomed. That's what I'm looking for. I wish more people were able to disagree and still get along in a friendly way online. There are so many good discussions when that happens.



24 january 2022

Been a bit since last feels, huh?

Been figuring things out and doing a lot of thinking, so not a lot of energy to spare between that and college. TLDR: identity is complicated and things are even harder in a social context.

But hey, I know I'm ace now! Ace-aro. That answered a few questions. I knew I was aro but have been questioning ace for months.

In entertaining computer news, the laptop's x key has stopped working properly. I can bang on it 50 times in a row and get no letters, then suddenly I hit it just right and get three x's for one keypress. Cleaned the keyboard and it didn't help, and it's just the one key. So until I have the ability to check hardware, I just bound alt-C to type an x. Problem solved. I have an external keyboard if I really need an properly working x key, and the alt-C workaround takes care of times I don't have that or don't feel like bothering to grab it.

Not much else to say. Most of my time has been taken up by classes. Interesting subjects, but tedious.



08 january 2022

Good news: botany works again! Our plant died because it was broken for a week or two, but it was just a seed at the time so no big deal. Just glad it works again since it gives us reason to check in often :)

We're doing alright. Been absolutely slammed by the college quarter starting, which keeps us busy but is also stressful. It's almost too much this time around. We're doing 7 straight hours of coursework some days, not counting breaks when our brain can't take it any longer. We'll adapt but jeez, it's week one and they're starting full speed.

Been musing over ourselves this weekend a little, wondering about how many of us make the distinction of being part of the same mind and not the same person. It's a small distinction but it matters. I think we need to talk it over more and figure it out. Identity is hard.

Spent today replacing the battery in an iPhone 6 and then jailbreaking it. Haven't replaced a battery before but happy to say it went well and the phone works now. A fun little adventure! We'll see how long the new battery lasts.

Not too much else eventful. We've been too busy with classes and are trying to decompress this weekend so we can do it all again on Monday. We'll fall apart if we don't take the time to rest and recover from pushing hard for the week. There's only so much we can do before our brain stops cooperating, and only so much past that before it impairs us the day after, sometimes several days after. We have very limited mental energy to do things with. We're used to it but I don't think it fits very well into a world that expects you to be able to run at full power for 8+ hours every single day. We run at full power for 4 hours max, have about 2 hours of mildly impaired functioning, and then we either can't do anything more or will hurt ourselves trying to do it anyway. That's the kind of situation that leaves us unable to do anything the day after and possibly longer. We have to pace ourselves. It's hard when classes expect us to go at full power all the time as if there weren't more classes that also demand that, but it's important.



29 december 2021

Is botany broken for anyone else? It's throwing exceptions galore and we didn't do anything differently. It's saying a file in someone else's home directory doesn't exist.

We're doing pretty okay lately. I think we're finally starting to settle into the way we're internally arranged now, though my own parts are still kind of at odds and I really need to work with myself more. I'm getting along great with Kaz though. There's some stress over... something, I'm not sure what or can't get to it right now. It's not bad though and overall we're doing alright. Not the best in the world but not nearly as rough as it's been, just kind of coasting right now until the next quarter starts on Tuesday. Thinking we should finish up some articles we've been working on for our site and write music while we have the time.

I don't know what it is about feels, but it makes it easier to dig up whatever's bothering us when we put things in a safe public space. People here have been very kind and lovely to talk to, so it feels safe here. We don't have to hide parts of ourselves. I guess that means we're able to access things we can't normally and feel them, which is kind of the point since this is called feels? It's a good thing.

Anxiety over... something. I still can't quite get at it. I think it has something to do with social roles, community, and people, but we're going to have to think on it more and figure that out. Maybe something about the way we're online outside of town? I don't know. It'll come up.

Holidays went well! We have things to organize our desk and working area better now, which is helpful for focus. Was nice to see people.



20 december 2021

It's been a frenzied few days! There was nothing to do, so we sat down and coded for three days straight. Worth it! Our poor hands aren't happy because we forgot a wrist rest but that's fine, we'll rest them and it'll be okay. Point is, WE MADE A THING.

https://codeberg.org/Candlebrae/MultiChat

It's a personal chat program! It lets you make as many users as you want, and switch who's talking by sending numbers (so the first user is 1, second is 2, etc.). Nothing connects to the internet, so it's just you talking to yourself. Or talking to the other folks rattling around your skull with you :P

Been really good practice with a few things, and a few little challenges! Got really good at writing and reading to and from files with this one because it's all logged to a text file. Also got some more practice with the random module (friend of ours asked for a random quote picker command and dice rolling command inside it) and a lot of practice passing variables around. Also learned that the readline module is glorious on Linux. ARROW KEYS WORKING AS INTENDED! It's great!

Anyway, yeah, feeling good because we've been Very Busy making this. Happy that it works and it helps us talk to each other externally in a way that's private. Nothing leaves our computer unless we go and send the text file somewhere ourselves :)

Other news... not a lot? This has been the sole contents of our brain for three days, haha. I'm so glad it's working.

Oh, actually, a little news otherwise. Our mom went to her work holiday party and they adore her. She got a nice tote bag that she's thrilled with as a gift. TBH she seems happier now that she's all caught up at work.

There's a nasty cold going around our family. Knock on wood, we've been spared so far, but odds are we'll get sick and be miserable for a few days. Oh well!

Continuing to do reading on Internal Family Systems therapy because some of its ideas are really helpful for us. Still think the concept of the Self is sort of bullshit. It has a point but for crying out loud, if the Self isn't a part then why are you able to act from it as though it were a part? It bugs me. Not to mention the fact that the whole idea of a single Self that has all your good qualities in it and nothing bad about it Ever is... something about that feels Yikes. Personally I don't think the Self is an entity. I think it's a state. Like being centered and peaceful. Maybe the healthy parts working together with a certain mindset? IDK. It could be an entity but I need to think on it. Maybe it's the same thing we blend with to control the body, like the autopilot or consciousness? That makes more sense than the state idea, that it's consciousness devoid of ego and identity. A central observer. Sort of an anti-self that's paradoxically called the Self? IDK. It's been bothering me that I can't conceptualize it properly because I disagree with how it's usually presented. Maybe they just word it wrong and I'm missing the point/circling back to it with the whole consciousness thing. I mean, I see us as the identity layered on top of our one shared consciousness, sort of the self on top of the awareness. That's because if none of us are controlling the body, it's still conscious and has some ability to react to things, but it totally lacks an identity or anything else associated with personhood aside from that sense of "i." It's nobody and lacks identity, but it's aware. I think maybe that's what's meant by the Self in IFS? That's my best guess, anyway. It's complicated. But hey, acting as though it's Something without having to know what and just having parts step back until we feel Appropriately Curious and Compassionate and Connected and all the other Cs lets us actually do the work and improve ourselves, so it works!

Oh- for anyone that wants to read up on IFS and maybe do some self- therapy with it, we can recommend Self Therapy by Jay Earley. It's a really good intro to the process of IFS without being overly complicated or dense to read. And yes, this therapy works for folks that don't share a head too ;) Everyone has parts, even people that are the only person in their head. It's how minds develop naturally. The difference between a singular person and someone like us is likely how those parts are organized and whether they share an identity as the same person. Sometimes parts can develop their own individual identity. Other times, a group of parts will split off as their own identity and function as their own person too. Or they were never the same identity to begin with and developed alongside each other as different individuals. Lots of ways this can happen, I think, and that's not even getting into spiritual experiences and explanations, or other theories. Lots of ways to frame it!

Anyway, IFS is pretty good for doing your own therapy if you need to, and it can be pretty powerful for some. It's always better to do work with an actual therapist if you can, but that's not possible for everyone (us included) and sometimes you have to go your own way and DIY your own therapy. Finding ways to do that is the hard part. It gets easier the longer you do it though, and the more research you do on theraputic practices and paths. We have a hodgepodge of a bunch of modalities that's helped us a lot when tackling our own issues and trying to heal from things, especially trauma. Sucks that we have to go it solo, but it is what it is. Mental healthcare around here is crap.

Sad thing ahead- self-harm mention, implied sui. Don't worry, it's not about us! It's about a friend of ours. We're doing pretty okay right now :)

Our friend had a rough night last night. Broke his self-harm-free streak of 3 months :( We went over and were there until almost 1 am when his partner came home. He was doing better when we left than when we got there but still, it was sad to see him hurting. I don't want him to think "oh no I made them sad" if he somehow sees this. That's not it. It's that we want to see him happy and we've been there, so we know how much it sucks and yeah. I hope things get better for him. We're doing what we can to keep him going and help him find help, but the mental health care around here is sparse and the pandemic's made it impossible to find an open therapist. He's said he almost wants to stop trying because it feels like no one wants to help him- not true, we do and I'm sure the therapists do, but they just don't have the time in their days. Here's to hoping someone opens up instead of us getting a phone call from his mom one of these days that something happened. :(



17 december 2021

Doing pretty okay today, especially since we have a project idea to keep busy for the next few weeks. Going to try to figure out a very simple local chat client so we can talk back and forth with Kaz more easily and have a record of it. Been meaning to figure out how text conversations are stored, so this will be a good chance to do that. If anyone happens to have any advice on how to store chat logs (no internet access, all local), it would be very appreciated. We have no idea what we're doing there, haha. Going to do some research but any advice helps.

Classes for next quarter have started publishing their schedules already. We're in for it. It looks like there'll be a lot to do, and I'm hoping it's not too much. On the plus side, we definitely won't be bored or have nothing to do. Have to look at the upsides to things!

A little restless/anxious today, not entirely sure why. We don't have anything pressing to do (other than wrapping gifts! Make sure we do that, brain!), so that's not it. There's still some unresolved identity stuff and that could be it. Hard to say. We'll figure it out, probably stay up late having Moments until it's taken care of. Identity is hard.

Right, code is on the brain, so off to go read about chat logs and databases in Python we go.



15 december 2021

Well, finals are over and we're on break now. I don't know if we wrote about the whole AWS fiasco, but our college site for classes was down for seven hours because Amazon Web Services servers on the other side of the country decided to crap themselves on finals day, so it was kind of a frenzied rush to get everything done on time. Good grades though, so at least it worked out well. And now that's all done for the month.

So we're on break. Haven't been doing too much, mostly working on making gifts for friends. We do most gifts by hand, so there's a whole process of getting them done on time. Most of them are ready now, just one or two more to put together. Lots of hand-bound journals this year, some needle-felting, one plushie, and going to make some kandi for a few people. The elaborate kind of kandi. It'll be a day's project each for sure. Thinking cat ears and a mask at the moment. Maybe a mask with cat ears? I think we could pattern that.

Otherwise, it's been trying to keep ourselves mentally afloat. When we have a break, it tends to go one of two ways: either we wind up very happy and relaxed, or our brain sees that we're free and decides to hit us with a few mental buses. This time's definitely the latter. We probably need more distractions to make sure we stay sane enough to function when break lets up, but in the meantime we're trying to process and work through things. It's messy and it honestly hurts, but it helps a lot when we manage to get past an issue, and it's not like the brain's letting us do anything else anyway. Annoyingly, the insomnia's acting up and getting involved too. Awkward combo of being up at 4:30 AM trying to beat down panic with a stick for no apparent reason. We're hanging in okay though, just really wish we could get more sleep. We're tired.

Semi-vent ahead about identity, integration, and a whole lot of emotional issues. No obligation to read, but it does explain a lot about how we're doing and was written with a reader in mind rather than for ourselves. But don't read if you're not up to it, okay? Put yourself first. You matter.


Big things right now are ongoing identity issues and home stress. Identity issues are because there's been an ongoing process of integration and, if we're honest, fusion over the last few years. We properly confronted that pattern recently (we hadn't chosen any of it, so it was jarring to notice it was happening all this time) and it's been messing with us because recognizing it was like giving it permission. We were at probably... four, five, maybe six people that weren't quite people. Recognizing it and coming to terms with it has brought us down to two people, one of which is part soup that's not quite a person, and the other of which is a group of a few parts who have been clear this whole time that they'd prefer to stay separate (and we intend to respect their wishes). The part soupiness is what's messing with us because it's as though suddenly what identity there was just dissolved and now there are just a bunch of parts sharing something that is and isn't personhood. All parts of the mind, but no real shared self beyond "we're in the same mind." It's incredibly messy and confusing and a little distressing if we're honest. And we haven't even poked into what's going on with the parts that were most connected to our subconscious, where they went, or what memory issues are like at the moment, or quite a lot of things. We're just trying to relearn how to interact with ourselves when many of our parts no longer want to be treated as true individuals. Do you know how hard it is to consistently work with someone that doesn't want a name but insists you work with them? You can't get their attention with a name or anything. It's rough. We're trying to reconstruct a sense of self out of the part soup and it's difficult. Maybe we should ask Kaz (other remaining person) how they managed it. They're the result of two people merging a year back and it took them a while to reconstruct a self too, so maybe they have some advice for us.

It's both overwhelming and comforting, though. There's comfort in the closeness that comes with it. We're all still here, but much more closely integrated and connected. And we've always sort of seen ourselves in a yin-yang relationship with Kaz, so having there be two person-entities like this is... strangely soothing? We know they'll be there for us, and we're trying to learn to better be there for them. It's a lot more manageable and workable than it was when there were many more people here. Most of the overwhelm comes from in ourself (part soup) because we're still trying to figure out who the hell we are now. It's like trying to construct a house out of LEGOs, but all you have are the little 1x2 bricks in random colors, and there's no manual or guide or reference photos. But that house has to be up to earthquake code and livable and good enough to survive in, and no one tells you how to make a house at all. It's just assumed everyone already has a house and therefore no one needs to build one from scratch out of all the little pieces. And then there's also the issue of the "pieces" fighting with each other now that they're close enough to really come into conflict. There's been a lot of infighting in here, and a lot of struggling to make sure all of our parts feel heard and respected, even the ones that aren't as well-liked. They're important too and they have a significant role. There's a lot of fear and anger going on that we're trying to process because we have access to it now.

I think that's one of the big challenges, actually, is that our emotions are less segmented. Most of us never had to deal with anger, or deep grief, or shame, or fear/panic. Some of us are still stuck living mentally in the past, or in crisis mode, and now it's everyone's problem instead of just theirs. It's like being beaten by a rainbow. Different parts have different fears and experiences they'd rather not repeat, and with the big dissociative barriers between them coming down, suddenly those fears are all exposed to each other and often come into conflict. How do you reconcile a part that protected you by hiding and avoiding people with a part that protected you by being hyper-social and forcefully optimistic all the time, both of them protecting you from the exact same person and believing the other one is in the wrong? And then reconcile those two with the part that protected you by being angry and standing up to that person when it was impossible to take any more from them, and the part who feels deeply ashamed that they feel hurt by that person, and all the other emotions and responses that come from a family relationship where no one meant to hurt anyone else but did deep harm anyway thanks to generational trauma and mental health issues and all kinds of factors out of their control, so you can't blame them but they still hurt you badly enough that you know instantly walking in the door when you come home that they're angry, and that's all it takes to make you feel small and helpless again? Ugh. Sometimes I think being more integrated at this point is almost more difficult than when dissociative barriers were higher. It's so much to try to process and reconcile, and parts work is both easier and harder because of it. We can actually get at those issues now, but we're completely on our own in dealing with it, and these issues are deeper rooted and more painful than the ones we could get to when there were major barriers blocking us off from each other. It's hard to make sense of all these conflicting parts as being part of me, as there being a me at all now. But there definitely is a me, and they're all me. And that hurts a lot to recognize. It's painful. It means seeing what happened and that I'm hurt. I can't deny it now. It's my problem and I'm not blissfully unaware of it like some of us were, and we're struggling with a lot of shame for being hurt when no one meant to do any harm at all. They tried their best to be good parents. They love us, genuinely. It's just that their own parents were shitty, and their grandparents were REALLY shitty, and so they never really learned good parenting and are coming from a perspective of trying not to do what their parents did to them (or trying to emulate it partially) and struggling with mental health issues on top of it. I can't blame them for any of it. They did their best. It's just that their best left us afraid of them. I know that Kaz knows all this and they're just sort of resigned to it, bitter, but for me it's not something all parts of me have ever had to confront. There are whole parts of me that exist solely because recognizing that someone was hurting us when around them would have led to more pain, so they couldn't ever know about it. It hurts for all of me to see it. I think that's the real reason we're struggling to adapt to this. There's so much pain we weren't aware of that we're finding now, and have to deal with. And we're on our own. We don't have a therapist, and there are no open ones in our area (we know because we tried to help a friend find someone recently, no luck) or with telemedicine. As usual, we have to figure out how to cope on our own. We do research and find what we can but it's still a lot to have to work through solo.

And then there's the identity muck. I'm a we. I have parts of me that are as important as me. I can't ignore them most of the time like most people seem to, because they're all hurting and in conflict and very conversational without being their own people. It's weirdly difficult to wrap our head around that. Some of us really hate it when things can't be categorized and those parts have been in a frenzy trying to make sense of it all.

So, yeah. It's a lot. Probably going to spend most of break trying to relearn how to have a self and be functional within ourself, and trying to cope with emotions and everything. It's tiring but important. And it is healing for us, if painful to get through. It comes out better on the other side.

Going to go write out feelings now. This brought up a lot of unexpected emotions.



09 december 2021

Doing pretty okay today. Spent four hours needle felting a dog for our dad's Christmas present, came out pretty good. That's just about all we did today, actually. Turns out that four straight hours of intense focus while stabbing wool is enough to mentally wipe us out for the day. At least it's done. We were worried about not getting the motivation to make his gift in time for the 25th.

Right, everything below here is a little venty and maybe a bit personal. Feel free to read, just know what you're getting into and that it might not be a fun read.


Still reading? Alright, time to pour my heart out in public. I don't do this a lot, but I need to lately and I trust town.

For clarity if we happen to backread: Kaz typing. Hello again, town, been a while since I bothered to slap my name on my writing. It's only here because the context matters.

So, there's been integration happening unintentionally for us. It's not a bad thing and some of us even think it's outright good, but it's a significant change and very few of us deal well with change. Integration in the sense of "lowering dissociative barriers to increase communication and decrease amnesia" is around the board a good thing, but it's coming with the fuckery of "integration in the sense of dissolving boundaries between system members, resulting in partial to complete merging of identity and selfhood." Look, let me put it like this. Imagine that all the stuff that makes you "you" is getting incorporated into someone else, and some of the stuff that makes them "them" is getting incorporated into you. There's not a strong boundary there and it keeps getting weaker until there's no you or them. It's all just you, but it's not the same "you" as it was. That "you" is there, but it's just part of you and not distinct from them anymore. Wouldn't that fuck with your sense of self and identity, knowing that you're not you in the way you always knew yourself as? Wouldn't it scare you just a little to see that changing without your choosing to make that change? To see yourself just becoming part of something bigger rather than your own entity, all without you asking for it to happen?

Welcome to my world for the last two months. It's screwed up and I'm scared. But I can't stop it from happening, just delay it and cling to what I can, hope that maybe it's enough to stay my own person instead of just being another part of whatever the hell our brain is made of. I really, really don't want this. And people make it out like "if you don't want to fuse, then you won't fuse," and it's not like that. Sometimes this shit just happens and you're stuck trying to live with it.

What really fucks me up is that the others are totally happy with it. We used to joke that if we ever wound up fusing, we'd make a tulpa (headmate, system member, whatever), but it wasn't a joke. And now that we're actually having this shit happen to us, they've changed their minds on that. They don't want that separation, something about multiplicity within the self being enough for them. But I want that separation, and I feel like they're not hearing me. I don't want to be just another part. I don't want to be steamrolled or buried by them pushing that on me. I want to stay my own person, but I feel like I can't, like I'm hurting them just by existing. I mean, it's already sort of happening. The boundary between my self and their self is nebulous on a good day. My brain stuff is mostly their brain stuff. They've taken on my interests, some of my traits, my emotions, some memories. There's very little that's mine alone anymore, and none of it justifies me being my own person except for that desire to BE my own person. I swear that's all that's holding me separate, is that I'm a stubborn, scared bitch who won't let go and accept what's happening. And they keep trying to persuade me. I DON'T WANT THIS. I don't think I can be much more clear about it. They make the argument that no one has gone away or been buried, that they're all still there as themselves and are just part of our mind instead of being in their own little bubbles. That it doesn't erase identity or self, just kind of... I don't know, shares it? And I hear them on that. I understand what they're saying. I still don't want it. I know I wouldn't be heard or seen as myself as just another part. I wouldn't be understood by them, let alone seen by anyone outside of us. They hardly listen to me as it is.

What sucks is that it's tempting. I know they're right. I know that it wouldn't erase me and I'd still be there, just differently. But I can't let myself let go of the fear. I don't want to unperson myself (horrible way to put it, but it's the best I can come up with). I don't want to be lost in the noise. And I'm scared of what it would mean for us. We all agree it would make us a median system, because we're pretty damn sure that even as parts of one mind, our experiences don't match up with singular experiences of self. There's still a massive multiplicity within us that goes beyond what's typical for subpersonalities. Maybe. We need to ask more people how they experience their parts of self. But we're afraid of not being understood, or not having a community to talk about atypical experiences of consciousness and self with, of being rejected from a few spaces we really care about just because we're median and not multiple. I mean, for fuck's sake, other people get harassed out of plural subcommunities over this. And I know there's more to it on my end, that something in particular is scaring me about integrating into the part soup. I just can't get at what it is right now. It's blocked off like our memories can be. I know it's there, but I can't see what it is. Feels like banging myself into a black wall.

I'm just very scared. And it takes a lot to rip that one out of me. I'm more the angry type, and definitely not one to admit that I'm weak or vulnerable. But I guess I'm not who I thought I was. I'm fucking terrified. I don't know what to make of it, or how to deal with this whole mess and come to terms with it. I want to feel able to be a part and be close to the others. They seem so much more peaceful and present like that. They're communicating more. But I feel like I can't and I don't entirely know why, and I hate that I'm caught in this spot. I wish I could just let go without all the pain of fighting this. I know it's right, but I can't. God, I wish I knew why. Then I could actually do something about it. I hate that the fact that I feel like me is the problem. I don't share a self with the rest of them. They've all come to share a self, a "me." They talk to each other as different parts of that self now. And then there's me in the corner with my own self despite having absolutely no good reason to have one. I don't get it. I'm so tired of this shit and being conflicted. I wish I knew what the right thing to do was for sure.

Right, I'm stopping now. I'm just going to loop sentiments otherwise.



08 december 2021

Just finished finals- horrible timing on that. It turns out that the platform our college uses for online school relies on AWS, which had a catastrophic outage today. Had to wait seven hours before we could take our finals, which made them a stressful and unpleasant time crunch. Did get them done, so here's to hoping we did well and weren't screwed over by something out of our control. That wasn't a fun time at all.

Still musing over identity and person/parthood. Kaz makes things a muddy situation because they see themself as a part and a person at the same time, whereas the rest of us are clear-cut parts at this point. Some of us are very upset because they have a tendency to organize everything into categories, and Kaz defies their categories in a way that just bothers them/us to no end. It's a good and bad thing, I suppose. It's messy but forces us to confront that tendency. Also causes a lot of arguments. We're working on it. Also trying to figure out memory a little since we're not sure how bad it is, or if it's improved.

Very tired and kind of strained mentally right now thanks to the whole AWS issue with finals. Curse you, Amazon, for all kinds of reasons! This is why decentralizing the internet is a good thing!

Also working on making a plushie that represents all of us. It's a big patchwork of different fabrics that parts of us picked out. Should be interesting, if tedious.



03 december 2021

Hey! I know it's been a bit, but it's been busy with finals and we've been knee-deep in introspection lately trying to figure things out, so we haven't had much energy for feels. Good news, finals are this upcoming Tuesday and we have energy to write this up right now and update on things.

First up, we've almost got our associate's degree! We're just two quarters away and are starting on the paperwork for that. Very happy about it because we can finally get started on the cybersecurity bachelor's.

Second, we've been doing a lot of thinking lately about ourselves and our experiences of our mind, how we relate to one another, etc. System stuff. We'll try to make this make more sense for folks that know absolutely zilch about plurality, but it is a bit of a complex topic, so no worries.

So, plurality is the state of being more than one person in the same brain. The entire collection of entities in the same brain is called a system. Tada, the basics for anyone not familiar with that already.

Plurality 201: not all systems identify as completely different people in the same brain. Identity can overlap, so you could have a system that identifies as many parts of one person, or as different aspects of a single identity. It can get quite messy and isn't always clear-cut, especially since non-plural people have parts as well. The big difference there is whether those parts have agency and some degree of independence of self. For a non-plural person, they are their parts. End of story. Most people hardly even notice their parts because they're so seamlessly integrated into the whole of their self. The most you see is things like arguing with oneself, being conflicted, behaving differently in specific contexts, or being at odds with your past self's decisions. The key is that they are all still you. You are still your parts. In contrast, a system made of parts tends to be a little more individual in identity. The parts themselves are noticeable to the system and have strong influences on behavior and self. There might be memory and skill differences, or compartmentalized traits. Parts talk to each other and can take control of behavior at different times. In some cases, they're remarkably similar to a non-plural person's parts, but there is still a fundamental difference in identity such that they do not fit the mold of "one complete person in one brain" and are therefore plural. They are "more than one."

Recent introspection: we've been integrating without realizing it for about a year or two now. We used to be very separate and individual, and functionally we were separate people in the same brain. The barriers holding us separate have been gradually breaking down over time. We didn't mean to do this, but it has been happening and we've had to come to terms with what that means for us. We're all still here, but we are parts of one larger mind rather than different people now. We're what's called a median system- a system that falls somewhere in-between "only one person in the brain" and "at least two separate people in the brain." It's complicated and hard to describe, but we did come up with a metaphor when explaining to a friend. Before, we were like a bunch of separate stages, each with their own plays and actors. Now, all of those plays are happening together, at the same time, on the same stage. All of the actors and plotlines are still there, but they're part of one larger thing now as well rather than being separated. We still exist as ourselves like we always have, but we're much closer together now and the lines are blurrier. A lot of our parts don't want to be singled our or identified anymore, just spoken to and heard. Those that do want to be singled out to speak as themselves externally are still parts of our mind, playing their role on the single stage, just with a little more elaboration than most of us have now.

It's been weird to realize this. We didn't choose integration and always said we wouldn't actively pursue it, so realizing that it's been quietly happening for at least a year has been a lot to process. It's ultimately a positive thing to realize, but it's a lot. We don't know how we're going to end up in the long run, but we have to accept what's happening and work with it. It'll be okay.

We did write an essay on this if anyone wants to read what it's like and why it's been a lot to process: https://owlcollective.neocities.org/articles/plurality/integration.html

So... yeah. We've been doing a lot of thinking about identity lately. We're a singular "we" or a plural "I" now, and that's a hard thing to try to conceptualize and understand. We're working on learning new ways to interact with ourselves and grow. Here's to continued progress.



17 november 2021

Doing okay today. Still feeling off but it's better than it was yesterday, so that's good. Been keeping busy too. Went on a bike ride earlier, did a bunch of class assignments that got dumped on us with no warning, did... something? I know we spent a while looking for a tire pump (funnily enough, it was velcro strapped to our bike the whole time). I feel like I forgot something important in there, not sure what but there's just this feeling that I'm missing something. Oh well, it'll pop up if we really need to know it (hopefully). Oh, wait! We meditated in a park partway through the bike ride. Maybe that was it. It was nice and I think it relieved at least a little tension. Winter break is much-needed at this point. We're overstressed to the point of nightmares making a reappearance. Ugh. Really hate our dreams lately.

Been working on a battlejacket with Kaz and that's coming along. They added 6 handmade patches last night! Hopefully they can figure something out for the back patch since I don't think they have a plan for it yet. We need to get screwback studs sometime too but it's hard to find exactly what Kaz wants there. It's a comfortable jacket luckily! And we feel safer with it on. I wonder if that's from Kaz being closer to front, or if it's just the social protection of wearing a jacket with patches on it. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mess with the guy in a battlejacket.

I still feel like I'm forgetting something, so I guess the meditation wasn't it. Ugh. I hate this feeling. I hope I remember soon. I don't think I'm the guy who usually writes feels but I don't know. I feel younger than he is, and more... something I can put into concepts but that doesn't translate easily into words? Self metadata or something.

Anyway! We're alright, just stressed and tired. Same as usual I guess! We'll pull through as usual. Just have to keep moving.



15 november 2021

Doing a fair bit better today. Distancing from some people and how often we talk to them (no one here, it's folks we know in other places) has helped at least a little bit, and partially indulging not masking yesterday kind of helped too. I wish we could take that farther safely. Sometimes I wish we could be semiverbal or nonverbal, or let ourselves not give a shit about social norms and just exist. Again, we're failing at seeming normal no matter what we do, so might as well. It's just anxiety-inducing because of some very bad past reactions.

Knocked out the whole week's classwork, so we have some time for much- needed stress relief. I'm hoping the wind doesn't kick up so we can go on a bike ride today. We need the exercise and the weather hasn't been cooperating.

Freezing up a lot today, don't know why. Guess we need to keep taking it slow and being gentler. It's annoying to have to struggle to start moving again when we stop for more than a second, but oh well. We've dealt with it before and know how to get ourselves out of it. "Move a pinky" works well. It's like when we stop moving, our train of thought stops too, and we get detached from our body and surroundings and silently stare into space for anywhere from a few seconds to twenty minutes until we can knock ourselves out of it by moving literally anything voluntarily, which is harder than it sounds. There's a reason we go for a pinky instead of an arm. Also helps if we just force ourselves to keep moving something at all times when we get like this because as long as we're moving, we don't freeze. It's just frustrating on days where this happens because we lose a fair amount of time just standing there because we can't make ourselves move and keep losing our train of thought or thinking nothing at all. It'll pass within a few days like it always does. It's a stress thing, I think. We've been feeling strained and raw inside lately and that tends to bring this on. So does pushing ourselves too hard and passing the limit of how much we can take. I guess our brain is in power saving mode, haha.

One of the kids has been more active lately. Everyone here has, really, but one of the kids in particular has been coming out and writing about things that happened in the past that are bothering her. Someone else is mad that she's doing that, and it's a whole mess. And I've been around less because of stress, so the others have been picking up a lot of the slack in daily life. I think Kaz is happy to have more time out at least. We're in a rougher state than usual though and I've been hesitant to admit it because the implications scare me. Don't worry, we'll be alright and we're in no present danger. We're just struggling right now and trying to deal with things we haven't let ourselves think about because they hit like a truck.

Oh, you guys might like this- we have a tiny moss garden in our room :D It's lovely.



14 november 2021

Kind of an off day. We pushed ourselves a bit too hard last night and that always has consequences. Luckily, there's nothing super important that needs to be done today, so it's okay to be kind of out of it and overly sensory-sensitive. Sometimes there are just days like that and all we can do is ride it out.

Watched an interesting video about 4D and 5D regular polygons (the word wasn't polygons, but we can't remember the actual word) and how they're discovered and modeled. Hard to wrap our brain around but interesting nonetheless. A bit sad about it though because we were rambling excitedly about it to someone last night only for it to turn out that they weren't at all interested and only listened because we started talking at them. That hurt. It's tiring when people don't say up front that they don't want to hear something or don't care about it. It would save everyone pain if people just said they didn't want to listen and everyone moved on. It still hurts, but less than finding out after 5-10 minutes that they were only humoring you and didn't actually care about any of what you were saying, that they were pretending to be interested. That makes us feel like we were being annoying and bothering them, and that no one actually cares about what we say. I know at least some of that reaction is thought distortion and that people do care about at least some of what we have to say, but it's like a gut punch in the moment and hard to really believe it until later. It's at least easier to move on when they get it over with right away since no one's time was wasted.

Bit of a vent ahead, reminder that there's absolutely no obligation to read any of it. Prioritize your own mental health, okay?

I'm more upset about all that than I should be, probably because 1) we don't really have anyone we can talk about complex interests with and it's lonely, and 2) it's an ongoing pattern of social failure where we think we're doing well and engaging people, only for them to turn around and make it clear that we're actually being annoying, weird, or otherwise not doing well in holding expected conversation. It's exhausting and isolating when every attempt to reach out to neurotypical people (so, you know, the vast majority) ends like this, where we're treated like we're intentionally trying to annoy or bore them, or like we're children being humored instead of adults doing our absolute best. All of our energy goes into trying to blend in and appease people, and in the end it doesn't make any difference. Sometimes I think we should just stop trying. It's a waste of limited social energy and doesn't make a significant difference in how we come off to others no matter how strictly we monitor everything we think and do. We can puppet our face and body to look normal, talk about things we don't give a shit about because it's expected, struggle to keep up with group conversations without being overwhelmed or accidentally interrupting, never talk about things we care about because it seems to bore or annoy people, etc. and it gets us nowhere. We're still not socially acceptable and come off as weird, creepy, obsessive, childish, rude, or other various faults. Sometimes I think we should just stop trying and let everyone else put up with it, seeing as they apparently already do. All of this isn't a problem with other neurodivergent people, which is a relief since that's the vast majority of our friends and the only people we actually feel safe talking to. But with neurotypical folks, there's no rest or relief from trying and failing to please them and meet expectations that make no sense. So why are we bothering? Maybe we'd be better off shutting up around most people, or not bothering to try to please them and mask everything about us just to feel like maybe we belong somewhere. It's so tiring and I hate it. But stopping feels dangerous and scary because we've been hurt for not masking many times before. There's no winning here. We get hurt or rejected or told we're not doing enough either way. I guess if it's going to happen either way, it would be better to stop trying and let whatever happens happen.

Sorry for the vent. Had to get that out somewhere. We've been thinking about social interaction issues and friends a lot lately. We're... not exactly in a good position there, and we don't know how to fix it. People are scary and the ones we trust turn out to be hurting us half the time. I just want to feel safe around people for once in our life, like we don't have to force ourselves to appeal to everyone or else we'll be hurt and rejected. I'm sick of it. It makes me angry and upset that nothing we try seems to make a difference, and that a healthy social life seems almost unreachable. There are a few rare gems we know, but even then we don't have nearly enough contact and they're busy with their own lives. It feels selfish to want to be around them more when they're so busy. And it feels selfish to realize that we don't seem to see social interactions and friendships like other people do, that as usual we don't understand the construct of various types of relationships. We're aliens stuck with a species we don't understand and it's isolating.

Ha, I apologize for the vent and then I proceed to vent more. Whoops. I'll stop now. We'll be okay. This happens a lot and we always make it through one way or another.



12 november 2021

Successfully figured out the /usr/lib KDE autostart nonsense. It turns out that not only does KDE chuck .desktop files in /etc/xdg/autostart like everything else, but it also makes a whole new autostart directory in ~/.kde4/share/autostart. Full of identical files to the ones in /etc/xdg/autostart. Ugh. Added management of those to the script and now Sway isn't being stomped on when we use it, and the files are restored and work when we use KDE. There's nothing that's running without us wanting it to run now. Success! Next step is telling Pacman to leave one group of those files alone to make management easier (probably the /etc/xdg ones).

It absolutely dumped rain yesterday. There hasn't been that much rain here for years. It was impressive, but I hope that winter isn't like that. We're screwed if it snows like it just rained.

We're doing okay. Kaz has been out much more recently, which I don't mind as much as I would have expected myself to mind. I think I'm just tired of forcing myself to do everything and it's a welcome relief to share the load. They're one of the people here I actually trust enough to handle life without making us obvious to people who don't know and without being a safety risk. Being social is a bit of a balancing act because we can't be out everywhere, and it's hard to hide being someone different than a person is used to seeing. And the skills and preferences difference makes it challenging because if someone is trying to get through our daily life without knowing the needed skills, they're screwed.

I'm just tired right now for a lot of reasons related to who I am. We're working on it.



11 november 2021

Good news this time around! We're very close to getting our AAS, looking at September or so. It'll be onto a BAS in Cyber Security next. Next quarter is either going to be really interesting or really dull since we're down to the last handful of classes we need to take. Here's to hoping we don't burn out.

Been working on a personal project. We like Sway and Wayland a lot, but not everything we need is supported as of now. We've been using a second account for KDE on Xorg to get around that, but then our files aren't in easy reach. Yesterday, we started scripting what's basically a very lightweight display manager to switch between Xorg and Wayland on one account. It's working, though there are still one or two KDE programs we're trying to track down a way to kill them or stop them from running over Sway. They're all in /usr/lib and pkill isn't working. Can't quite figure out how to stop them without htop yet, will work it out eventually. For now, I'm just happy it works and annoyed that KDE seems to think it's the only desktop environment on this computer. /etc/xdg/autostart has been a serious hassle to deal with.

Classes are going well, not much to note there. Personal life is a little strained and stressful but nothing we can't handle, more realizing that most of our relationships with people aren't exactly healthy. We have a nasty tendency to play therapist for people we care about that we're working on. We can't keep doing that.

Life is... going, I guess? There's not too much to say otherwise. It's a daily grind right now and the interesting things would give away our exact location. Big Internet no-no. We're not risking that.

You're loved and enough as you are <3



02 november 2021

We're still around and pop in almost daily to do botany, so no worries- we're here. Just low on energy to answer emails and do feels. Life has been hectic and we're trying to work through some internal issues we have with how we relate to each other (some of us are too controlling of everyone else, others have unresolved mental health issues that are influencing their interactions, etc.). We're alright, just tired and working through things to be better people to one another.

Also struggling a bit with making important lifestyle changes to make sure we stay healthy in the distant future. Managing to exercise more and enjoying that (hooray for bike rides being tolerable and fun!), but dietary changes are a brain riot. It feels like too much change, too fast, even though we're taking it slow and easing into it. The prospect of more change is overwhelming but we need to do it to ensure we stick around, given recent lab results and our family history. It's a lot for us to deal with even if it's not a lot for other people. Our brain throws a fit over changes that it shouldn't have a problem with according to everyone else. Gotta love "insistence on sameness" and "rigidity" and "resistance to change" that comes with being autistic /s. It's a perpetual problem and very frustrating for everyone involved. We WANT to make the changes. It's just terror-inducing and makes us want to jump out of our skin because it's intolerable in a way we can't describe. Large or sudden changes feel BAD even when we want them and they benefit us.

On the upside, biology class is finally making more sense. We've pulled up out of raw chemistry and are talking DNA now. Something we're pretty familiar with! Hopefully that frees up energy for other things since making sense of the chemistry has been draining us.

Ongoing projects: battlejacket patch making, trying to finish a song or two, tweaking a Python program made for a final (we want to add a word typing game if we have the time), and building a few towns in Minecraft. Self-improvement stuff, if that counts. See also, mapping ourselves out properly because we need to keep better track of people inside.

To do: GUI PluralNotes, learn melodica properly, practice bass more (we're trying to play Hysteria by Muse, and we need to get up to tempo), make more bread



25 october 2021

We're still alive! Just been bogged down by classwork as usual.

Good things first. We've started biking again because we really need to get more exercise and get in better shape. We've only got one body and we need to take better care of it. Biking is one of the few exercises we can actually enjoy and not feel like we need to rip our skin off or otherwise suffer through. Here's to hoping the weather keeps cooperating.

Haven't been doing too much tech-wise lately, mostly because we don't have the motivation yet. We need to start on the GUI version of PluralNotes but the time will come eventually. Would also like to start trying to slap together a simple TUI game at some point. Right now, we're just trying to make it through the quarter and wrap our brain around biology, which is still just chemistry but squishy. Chemistry was never our strong suit.

Been feeling sort of off lately, not sure why. We probably need to dig something up and process it but again, it'll happen eventually. We just need to keep moving until it does.

Trying to decide what to do for Samhain. It's coming up and I'd really like to do something but I'm not sure what yet.

We're trying to keep better track of the inside of our head again. Nothing fancy, just basic information about peeps so we can have that on hand and help ourselves better. The challenge is getting everyone to make a page, which means not only making sure they have time in front, but that they know they need to make a page and have access to the template and supplies. It's the second part that's the hardest. We can leave a note or try to reach them from the back, but they have to both see the note and decide to do it. A lot of the kids don't choose to follow through because they're too scared or upset about things and don't have the energy to spare to make a page. We'll have to figure something out that either lets them do it or lets us do it with their instruction. I'd rather they make it themselves, but sometimes we have to make do. At least it's easier with the adult folks since they understand why it matters in a different way. The kids don't tend to think long term.

We're doing alright. Tired and a little frazzled, but mostly happy.



17 october 2021

Making bread today! It's a quick-rise bread that's for a biology lab, oddly enough, but I'm not complaining. Bread is bread and it's delicious. Nothing else to really note, doing okay, sleep schedule is screwy but it'll get fixed. The house smells amazing rn.



13 october 2021

Doing pretty alright today. Been in a bit of a weird mental state lately, but mood has been mostly okay thanks to relentless avoidance. I know exactly why we've been feeling off, and I'm intentionally not letting myself deal with it until the time comes because otherwise it's going to be much worse. We have to deal with a major, longstanding phobia this Friday and we're really not looking forward to it. It's a medical trauma thing- don't worry, we're physically fine, just a routine check that's still hell to deal with every time. I'm just hoping it's quick so we don't have time to properly panic about it. The longer we can make it without processing the situation, the less likely our brain is going to flip out and make it worse.

Does remind me that we accidentally conditioned ourselves as a kid because of this. We tried using a kitten poster as a calming influence by intentionally conditioning ourselves to feel happy and calm when looking at it. It helped a little, but we accidentally re-associated it with the phobia and couldn't look at it without being afraid for a few months. Same goes for songs we listen to more than once while it's happening. I guess if we ever need an aversive, we have one ready to go. There's nothing quite like extreme terror to make you stop doing something.

Other than that, we're doing okay. Chipping away at a big project build in a Minecraft server, currently working on some apartment buildings. Excited to decorate since that's my favorite part. Classwork has been going well and I'm feeling confident about this quarter. It's finally cold enough that we don't need air conditioning, which is nice because those are way too loud and the noise is stressful. Heaters are nice and quiet. Our cats love them, too. It's adorable to see them rolling around by the baseboards.

Hey, whoever's reading this- thank you. You're appreciated. You're enough as you are, and you deserve to be happy. Go eat something if you haven't yet and make sure you're not dehydrated, okay? Take care of yourself.



09 october 2021

Not much going on today. Need to do some small checks on the Minecraft server to make sure everything is working as intended after a tweak last night, but otherwise there's nothing we really need to do. Probably going to make some music and draw since we're feeling creative today.

It feels like I'm missing or forgetting something important and it's bothering me. This happens a lot, and it's always frustrating because it feels like something should be there, but most of the time there's nothing at all. There's nothing on the calendar or in our alarms, so that's not it. Classwork is all done for the next week since we make a point of getting as far ahead as possible. We need to make more jacket patches, but that's not pressing enough to set this feeling off. We've eaten, are hydrated, slept decently, and are physically fine. I don't think there's anything friends are waiting for from us. I have no idea what's bothering me like this. It'll hit me eventually.

Sexuality/gender/loneliness vent below.

Been thinking a little about gender and sexuality lately. Not gender itself, but presentation, and not sexuality itself but long-term concerns related to it. Most of us are aromantic and the rest are aro-spec, so I've been worrying that we'll never find someone to spend our life with and that we'll be alone. It sounds ridiculous because we have friends, but there's this pattern with our friends leaving us or drifting away after two or three years. The most recent group wins the award for the longest anyone has stayed with us, since it's been... four, five years? Six for one of them, which is incredible. I just worry that everyone is eventually going to get tired of us and leave like people always have. It's not a sensible fear and they show no signs of doing this, but it's been a very consistent pattern in our life and I still worry about it. And that's not even getting into the mess of wanting a nonromantic life partner that's fine with a truckload of weirdness, being with several people in one body included. The prospect of finding anyone comfortable with everything weird about us is really daunting and I'm scared that person doesn't exist. The only people we've found that we could see living our life with are both taken by each other, and while they're polyam and we're open to that ourselves, that just didn't feel right when we all tried and we mutually broke it off. Now we have a very nebulous maybe-QPP with one of them and no idea what to call the other, but hey, they're friends if nothing else. It's just messy. I wish it could be simple and that we were alloromantic so we could just date normally and find someone, but we're not allo and our ideal "relationship" isn't something most people would call a relationship at all. FWB, maybe, but with everything in-between friends and benefits not included if that makes any sense, and with the benefits being a sometimes thing because of the ace people here. Or a D/s type relationship is also an option, but again, finding the right person is a major barrier and we worry that they're just not out there. I'm scared of always being the third wheel, weird uncle, gay cousin friend to everyone and never truly being close to anyone because they all move on when someone better comes along. I think the others are less worried (except Kaz, who has also been worried about it but is putting that aside to talk me out of the occasional tailspin).

And then gender thoughts. So, collectively we agreed to present as genderqueer. We all have our own genders within that, but genderqueer sums us all up in one way or another, so it's comfortable for all of us. That's fine and dandy, no issues. Since top surgery, we're able to play with presentation without feeling dysphoric about it, which is fantastic, but has also made us increasingly aware of how binary people think everyone is. We wear a headscarf and people think female unless they see a beard, in which case they think male until we wear a skirt, at which point we're a gay man and a threat. With a mask, we're female with either a headscarf or skirt, but replace the scarf with a bandana and wear shorts and suddenly we're male. Even when we manage to confuse people, they still pick one. On the plus side, we're a gender shapeshifter now, which is fun. Even with a deep voice and flat chest, we can still choose how people see us as long as the beard is covered. But it's not what we want. We want to give off so many signals that people are confused; androgyny through extreme gender signalling as both male and female and nothing at all. We want to be the man in a dress, the woman dressed as a man, the enigma that people can't make gendered heads or tails out of. But people think in the binary, and we're trapped by their perceptions one way or another, and the fear that someone will hatecrime us for being the man in a dress is ever-present. I wish people didn't try to gender each other on sight and just asked. I hate how normalized it is to instantly decide someone is female because of their body, or male because of their body, or either because of clothes, but never anything in the middle or beyond. It's exhausting and frustrating.

But hey, at least we come off as incredibly queer to those that know the look. That's a plus in my book. If we set off someone's gaydar, then we're doing it right. Skirts are also the best thing ever now that we're not dysphoric wearing them. They're so comfortable! And some have pockets! You just have to look for ones with good pockets. I can recommend the brand Stretch is Comfort, as not only are their skirts super soft and have big pockets, but they also stock in plus sizes up to... I think it was 7X? Not often you see that, and a good sign. We don't need anything bigger than a Large or XL, but just seeing cute clothes made for bigger folks is lovely because our mom is heavier and it's so hard for her to find clothing she likes. So hey, good clothes, can recommend! They are indeed stretchy, great thick elastic in the waistband and stretchy fabric for the skirt. Makes it even more comfortable. Major kudos as well, because we're very short and this is the only knee-high skirt that was actually around knee height on us.



05 october 2021

Hey, Kaz here. I'm excited- finally getting to work on my battlejacket. I've been wanting one for years and we have the jacket, but we're finally getting down to the patches. Making our own for the most part, here's to hoping they come out decent.

Not much to report otherwise. College is college. Biology is hard because chemistry is weird. Life's alright.



02 october 2021

Busy week again- this is going to be one of those quarters where the work just keeps coming, isn't it? At least it keeps us busy and happy solving problems.

CS101 is... weird. The professor has an assignment once every two weeks or so- just one assignment. That's it. That assignment is a coin flip between two different things: something ridiculously simple like "make a list in a .docx document," or something along the lines of "write at least 200 words on why AI is going to kill us all." One of his prompts was straight-up a voting conspiracy theory. This doesn't feel like Introduction to IT. It feels like Introduction to Tech Conspiracies with a side of Office and basic computer usage. It's just bizarre. He's not teaching much at all, just plunking random assignments down and waiting. On the plus side, there are some very interesting people in the class. Two other Linux users, one of whom self-hosts quite a lot of things on his own home server, and the other being deeply familiar with Debian since he's used it for the last 15 years. That's the first time we've seen other Linux users around here! There's also a 60-something-year-old woman who's doing a career change into IT after having worked at a bank for all this time. Kudos to her!

The other two classes are the ones that keep us busy. Introduction to Programming (in Python, haha- still ahead of the game there) and General Biology (more like biochemistry). Biology in particular is brutal. It's chapter three out of twelve and we're already going into the nitty gritty of protein folding, the structure of DNA, and how enzymes chemically work. Good thing organic chemistry mostly makes sense. Our issue is that we struggle to remember the core chemical formulas for common compounds (like an amino group, carboxyl, etc.). We should really pick a study day and focus on trying to remember some of those. I think it'll help.

We've been doing alright, mentally. Kaz has been much more active lately, which I really appreciate because classwork wipes me out. I keep meaning to get them a patch for their jacket as a thank-you, but I'm not sure what they want. Maybe I should have them draft up a wishlist. We're all making some progress on not yelling at each other or burying each other in criticism, though when we're stressed, that falls apart quickly (and god help us if someone makes the kids freak out- then it's verbal blame war).

Oh yeah- we made a wrist rest and gave it a face. It's adorable. Think of a rock, give it a face, and that's probably pretty close. It's kind of sock monkey-ish as well. It's already been a great help when typing.



25 september 2021

Sorry for being quiet lately and not responding to emails- we want to, but fall quarter started up and we're absolutely slammed with classwork. The professors aren't holding back this quarter :')

Been doing okay, just very busy trying to get everything done before the deadline, and very tired from doing that. Not much energy left for being social. Hopefully we can respond to some people this weekend.



18 september 2021

Happy to say we knocked out a little over half of next week's biology work ahead of time, so that will make life easier on Monday when two other classes kick in with their own workloads. No idea what to expect, haven't heard from those professors at all and we've never met them. The most we know is that we needed to set up a Windows VM thanks to a course description- that's up and running now. I'm shocked that the Windows ISO hasn't been updated since 2016 (not the one that comes with all the programming goodies- the regular one). 5 years is a really long time to not update that. Irritated that any space on our computer is going to Windows, but oh well, it'll come in handy since most people out there do use Windows as their OS. Nothing against those that do, we just really aren't fans of it personally. Use the tool that's best for your job.

Lots of anxiety lately, mostly over the ever-growing to-do list. Just need to keep knocking things out and moving forwards, one at a time. It's all we can do. Doesn't leave much time for anything else though.

Just realized that technically we do touch type on QWERTY- we got so good at point and pecking over the years that we do it without looking. Still learning Colemak DH because that's bound to be better for our hands than using our index fingers all over the board. At worst, it gives us options.

Speaking of us, still working on not being godawful to each other. It's a long-standing maladaptive habit that kept us safe before but just hurts us now, but breaking years of bad relations is hard and almost as painful because it's required us to confront the core reasons we lash out at each other, and those reasons don't tend to be pleasant ones. Here's to hoping we can keep up the current progress instead of falling back on old habits when class really kicks in.



14 september 2021

Nothing much going on this week, which is good because there's a lot going on next week when the college quarter starts. We're taking the time to unwind as much as possible and work on fun things. Minecraft server is coming along nicely, working on a large town build and it's shaping up to look good. Typing out the daydream history is another project. So is working on touch typing speed, which works well with the daydream typing for practice.

Thinking we need to do a system census or something to get all of us on the same page about each other, because it turns out we're still missing a lot of information. There's today's project, starting on that. Kind of shocked how much we don't know about some people here that we really should. It's a bit sad. We share a brain but I couldn't tell you some very basic information about some people, while others I know quite a lot about.



12 september 2021

Doing alright today. Minecraft server is up and running, and we managed to get our friends on it, so that's one goal knocked out. I feel like there's something else we're supposed to do that I'm forgetting, but I can't remember whatever it is, so maybe it's just anxiety. I'll check the calendar just in case.

Not much to do today otherwise. Typing practice (that's coming along well!), maybe some digital art. It's a rest day, I guess. We need to fix a bug in pluralnotes but I think we're too distractable today for that to get done- hard to focus on things right now. Oh, typing out daydream history, that's another thing that needs doing. We've daydreamed in the same world every night for years and have started writing down the history of it finally because it's a waste of good stories not to write it down and that was bugging me enough to buckle down and start doing it.



11 september 2021

Having an alright few days- bit of an anxiety wave, but not unmanageable. Plus we have a project as distraction. Threw together a LAN Minecraft server on the Pi and it works better than expected, especially using Purpur to further optimize. Really is painless to set it up, just make sure you've got a recent enough Java runtime, run the jar with that, agree to the EULA, tweak the config if desired, and run the jar again. Boom, server. Glad it was that simple. Now to try to convince our mom to allow port forwarding. We live with her because college is expensive and we struggle to be independent thanks to executive functioning issues, so anything like that has to go through her, and her initial reaction wasn't positive but also was still in the realm where we can do research to show her that it's okay. Would like to make the server accessible to a few close friends (whitelisted) when they're not on the LAN.

In other news, one week until the college quarter starts, and biology looks like it's going to be brutal. More chemistry than biology. Should be interesting. No idea what to expect from the other two classes yet since the professors have yet to provide any information, but the biology professor is ahead of the game and put information out last week. She seems very kind.

Been trying to write out the history of our daydream world (also called a paracosm). It's an endeavour- this world has been going night after night for at least a decade of our life, almost certainly longer. I'd guess it's closer to 15 straight years now, and the in-world history is in the realm of centuries. It's a lot to write out but I want to have it down somewhere. It's worth writing down and it means a lot to us.

Oh, typing speeds are also on track to reach our goal of 30 wpm by the 20th. Currently around 20-25 wpm, closer to 25 most of the time when not distracted. Should be able to hit the goal, no problem.



08 september 2021

Not going to lie, yesterday was terrible. It just kept getting worse and by the end of it we were past the point of breaking down and into the realm of "I can only feel happiness because anything else is dangerous so I shut it down." It's not a good kind of happy when you're locked into it to not feel like shit.

Here's to hoping today is better. We have a cavity filling (ugh), but otherwise it should be uneventful.



07 september 2021

Broke 20 WPM in Colemak yesterday- I'm pretty confident we can make 30 by the time class starts up again, which is the goal so typing isn't frustratingly slow. I'm happy there's progress.

Bit miffed today because of Discord server moderation duties. We admin the server, so we're kind of stuck in that role, but god some of us hate moderation with a passion. It's so frustrating because no one is ever happy with anyone else and there's no way to please everyone. It bothers us. We're people pleasers on a pretty deep level and it's frustrating to be unable to please everyone, and everyone is always asking for things we can't give them. Not to mention running relay in conflicts and acting as middlemen, which sucks on so many levels that it's not even funny. We do that enough with our parents already tbh :') Really tired of being the "everything guy."

Well. On a happier note, we should be getting a referral for a psych eval today for a formal autism diagnosis. We have an informal one from our last psych, but we need a formal one for supports and we do need supports to get by in a workplace (not to mention the eventual day that our parents aren't around- I dread that day because we really aren't able to take good care of ourselves on our own at the moment). So it's a step in a needed direction.

Our cats are adorable right now. Curled up sleeping on the couch. They're absolutel babies and I love them.



04 september 2021

Touch typing learning is going well- we finally have the keys memorized, so from here it's just a matter of practicing more. Currently hanging around 14 WPM, which is actually a lot of improvement considering we started at 5 WPM the day before. Here's to hoping we keep up steady progress, even if it's only small improvements at a time, and that we keep a high accuracy! Hanging around 98% accuracy and I'm happy with that. Most of the goofs are either briefly mixing up our fingers or holding a key down too long, or sometimes mixing up where periods and commas are. I'd switch them on the keyboard personally but I don't want to do that.

I swear we know too much about typing at this point. Research galore. :')

Doing okay. Had a string of nightmare nights and anxiety, so something's going on there, but we can deal with that. We're not in total panic mode yet, just the ol' "something is definitely wrong even though there's absolutely nothing wrong" mode. Ugh. I think we have too much time to think right now.

Oh yeah, tweaking the Waybar again- I know, I know, but it was needed. It was a bit too cluttered, so we tidied it up while keeping all the key information there. Might color code workspaces while we're at it, seems helpful. We keep thinking we should do more color coding to make it easier to see things at a glance.

The weather outside is finally tolerable! About time we didn't feel like our skin was boiling off, haha.



02 september 2021

Spent today doing some bash scripting- we decided that it was well past time we learned to touch type, which while in itself that doesn't need any scripting, we wanted to learn Colmak dh since QWERTY never made much sense to us and we might as well since there's no muscle memory to fight. While there is a map for it already there, we had to throw together a script to make it switchable between Colemak dh and QWERTY because our password times out if we're too slow and it's quite long, and we're on Sway so a little DIY was needed. It works now exactly the way we want it to! We can toggle between the two at will. Currently typing this very slowly on Colemak. Happy with the progress given that it hasn't been very long and we're already improving in a way we can notice.

Didn't get a lot of sleep last night between insomnia and accidentally locking ourselves out of the computer with Colemak- we did manage to get back in but it was a scare. That's why we spent today making it switchable, to avoid that happening again. Problem solved. Very tired today but worth it!

That took so long to type :'D



01 september 2021

Doing okay today! Saw a friend, found out our sister has really bad social anxiety (welcome to the family, we're all mentally ill), and messed with synths some more. Had a few deep talks about mental health in general and a little about social habits and tendencies. Ate a fajita with WAY too much lime- I swear it tasted like biting a lime. Good thing I like lime, but yikes.

Still trying to figure out how to improve in-system relationships so we aren't yelling at each other and cussing each other out all the time. It's pretty bad. It used to be adaptive I'm sure, but now it just hurts everyone. We don't talk about it a lot because it's vulnerable and it's hard to admit that you don't get along with the people in your own brain, but it's a real issue and we need to work on it. The main question is how when half the people here don't see the point or don't want to. It's hard to change when you're still convinced that you're going to be hurt at any given moment and lashing out is your best option for preventing that. We need to work on that, talk about maladaptive coping more and get through to everyone that things are better now and there's no need to insult people to stay safe and be heard.

Content warning below for talk about depression and suicide. Don't worry, we're okay! It's about a close friend we've been helping find

mental health resources for a month or two with no luck.

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Really worried about a friend. He's been struggling with depression for ages, and he almost attempted this last weekend. We've been doing all we can to help him stay afloat (and no, he isn't using suicide as a manipulative tool, we know the difference) but there are no therapists around here that are taking new clients, and he's starting to give up hope. He needs help and no one is giving it. We need much better mental healthcare around here. Probably going to check out telehealth next and see if anything is open there outside of the local area, but I doubt there will be many openings there either that accept insurance. He can't afford therapy or medication without insurance.

It's just rough. He's our closest friend (which is saying a lot) and we don't want him to die. It hurts me how much he's hurting at this point without access to help. I hate that we're running out of things we can do to help him at all. I hope someone has an opening soon for him.



30 august 2021

The pocket operator synths are great! They get pretty good volume despite being the size of a calculator, and you can chain them together and sync them that way. Sound variety is impressive and quality is great. The Robot and the Arcade in particular work great together with the Arcade handling the backing track and the Robot doing the melody live. Definitely going to be making music with these! Here's the link for those interested: https://teenage.engineering/products/po

I honestly love that they're metal. It feels like it's somehow more intimate with the hardware without a case? I don't know how else to put it, hopefully that makes sense.

Doing okay today. A lot of anxiety lately because we're heading towards a psych evaluation for the autism diagnosis and as much as it'll help, anything psychiatry is is terrifying to us thanks to bad past experiences. We keep worrying about it. It'll probably go fine and be alright, but there are one or two things we're nervous about because of the good ol' fear of judgement.

Otherwise pretty alright. Did some Vim customizing and tried some plugins; vim-airline is nice. Think we're keeping that one.

Kind of in a weird mental state again with things not feeling real. It'll pass, just have to keep doing things and moving forward. Definitely not going out for a walk like this though. I don't want to feel like I'm teleporting every block or two because the memories aren't being stored or something. It's trippy and scary and uncomfortable. So home we stay. Maybe we'll work on music some more. That's always fun.



28 august 2021

Excited for tomorrow! We'll be picking up some itty bitty synths from an acquaintance at a local makerspace, and it'll be our first chance to play with physical synths. Looking forward to it! In particular, excited for the PO-20 Arcade; it's a good chance to get better at making chiptunes. Also picking up a bunch of Atomic Robo comics, which is exciting because we used to read those a lot as a kid. Our dad would bring them home from work every few months when a friend let him borrow them. It'll be nice to see if they're as good as I remember.

Also spending time with family tomorrow and hopefully helping our uncle with networking. There's definitely going to be some research for that, haha, but we'll figure it out. It's a good chance to learn. He knows even less than we do, so it's a learning experience for everyone. We've done a little here and there but nothing fancy, just troubleshooting wifi issues.

Tweaked our Waybar a little more for added functionality. Pluralnotes is now launched via an icon in addition to in terminal, so we can get to it with less energy use. It seems silly since we can just type the alias in a terminal, but some days we need to get to writing a note with as little effort as possible and this should help.

Doing much better today, whoever wrote the note yesterday was right. I think getting enough sleep helped.



27 august 2021

Not a very busy day. A friend of ours decided to switch to Linux (Mint, to be specific) after trying it out in a VM, so we helped him start to get his bearings. Kind of an odd situation since he's familiar with some things that were hard for us, and totally new to things we considered quick to pick up. Glad he likes it though. You know it's a good fit when someone uses it for a day and then sends you a message out of the blue saying "SCREW WINDOWS!!!!!"

Been feeling scattered today. Spacy, not really quite here. I have a vague guess as to why but I don't know- my guess is that it's because of upcoming medical and psych things. We're on the path to a full neuropsych evaluation to get a formal autism diagnosis so we have the paperwork for accomodations and supports, which is a good thing but also terrifying because we haven't exactly had good past experiences with psychiatry, and this is a 3-4 hour evaluation of everything. Plus: if we have a problem or divergence, it's probably getting spotted. Con: that's four hours in a situation that's scary even to think about. It'll be worth it hopefully. We can't get by in a workplace without accomodations. It doesn't end well. Then on top of that, we have a cavity filling in a few weeks (ugh...) and found out that the yearly blood draw is coming up, the latter being an extremely stressful event for us thanks to a phobia we still haven't overcome. It's been well over a decade of working on it and we're only recently able to touch our inner arm without freaking out.

Oh, and we ran out of instant rice today. It's a tiny thing, but little unexpected things like that can throw us off pretty bad. That was going to be our lunch today and we were looking forward to it. It broke the schedule and our brain really doesn't like routine breakage.

Otherwise okay though. Was happy earlier, danced to some music while there was no one to watch. I'm a horrible dancer but it's fun :P Just kind of in an odd mood right now that I don't have the right words for. Stressed out and something else. Just don't feel like much is real tbh, I know it is real but everything is just distant and feels the same as playing a game or watching a movie. It doesn't feel like things are actually there just a few inches away, like it's just a bad projection. Derealization is unpleasant.

We'll be alright, don't worry. This happens and we just live with it. We'll be perky and upbeat before you know it and it'll be like this never happened at all.



26 august 2021

Discovered the wonders of nwg-shell today, specifically nwg-dock, nwg-panel, and autotiling. Especially happy with panel since that's the one thing Gnome has that we really like; may or may not use the dock (will remove it if not), but drawer is definitely being used and autotiling is nice since it's how we divide things up anyway. Things look nice, it adds some functionality, and it still runs lighter than a DE does while working beautifully. Happy with it!

Probably not going to use the dock now that we think of it, so away that goes, but the rest stays.

Not much to report about today. Got a reasonable amount of sleep, talked programming with a friend, and ate a bagel. Oh, and got some more skirts so we're not stuck wearing the only long one we have. Otherwise, I don't remember anything really important about today. It was a relaxing one, I think.

Hope you all are doing okay, or at least passably okay.



25 august 2021

Doing pretty well today- had a dental cleaning and that was deeply uncomfortable as usual, but it went alright and hey, no new cavities! Hooray for teeth health!

Spent a bit of time tweaking our tilde website; the theme is totally different now and the feels page actually looks okay now. It's much cleaner and better-spaced, that's for sure. Had to toss Gruvbox dark on the site because we adore the color scheme and it looks good on a more minimal site. We're trying to keep the tilde site on the simple side when it comes to styling because minimal sites are just nice. There's no clutter or fuss, just information laid out cleanly. The modern web is so busy that it's refreshing to see something simple and straightforward. We could go even simpler tbh, but we do like a little styling and I think it makes it easier to read.

Spent a while yesterday trying to get Prison Architect working. The issue turned out to be that it was trying to use ALSA and not detecting the device because Pulse was using it. We added two lines to the startup script and that fixed it. For the record, these were the lines we added:

export SDL_AUDIODRIVER=alsa export AUDIODEV=pulse

Problem solved and it runs great now, no issues.

I look through feels and I'm struck by something. People are unhappy. It's really common on the town to have mental health issues by the looks of it, and a lot of folks seem to get bogged down by life. We're no exception, but it just stood out to me. We're all living our lives and struggling, and we all want to feel seen or heard and understood. I think a lot of people feel alone when they're not.

Still been thinking on religion and spirituality. I'm falling towards my previous answer again: take what works and seems correct, don't take the harmful parts or those that don't feel right. Trust your gut and don't feel tied down by strict rules. At the end of the day, it's your interpretation of any teachings and scriptures, and your beliefs are up to you. If there is a god or gods out there, and they are truly good and just, then they will understand that you are doing your best and mean well. And if a god sees your efforts and decides that they're worthless and that eternal punishment is the right thing to do, then such a god is not truly good and just, and is not deserving of worship. I believe that a truly benevolent god is forgiving and understanding of mistakes and attempts to do good, and that doing one's best to be a kind and loving person is enough. I think that being punished for not finding the "correct" god is cruel and unjust because even if someone's religion turns out to be untrue (and there's no way to know that as of now), they were still doing their best to do what seemed right. Same goes for punishing someone for being atheist. Or for rewarding a religious person who used their beliefs to hurt others- that seems wrong as well. I think that as long as one is trying to do good and be kind to those around them, then that should be what counts if god is truly benevolent and loving. And if that's not what counts? As horrible as an eternity being punished sounds, I'm okay with suffering if I know that I did my best in life to be loving and kind towards others. It would suck, but if a god wanted to toss me in hell because I didn't choose them out of a bajillion options despite otherwise doing my best, that's remarkably petty of them.



22 august 2021

Spent yesterday solving the age-old problem of skirts and dresses almost never having functional pockets- it's been the biggest barrier to us wearing them since they don't give us dysphoria anymore (thanks, HRT! Amazing what a beard and deep voice can do). We took the suggestion of a friend and sewed two little pocket-bags with belt loops. They're about palm-sized and have zippers so things don't fall out, and they loop around a belt so they can be worn as external pockets. No need to modify clothes, and they're reusable between different outfits! Bonus, we now look like a fantasy NPC and it's glorious. Would recommend as a project if you can sew and need pockets. They've been very usable thus far and are pretty non- obtrusive. We were even able to make use of the handles of an old, broken laundry hamper for the belt loops since they were sturdy and rough enough to have a grip on belts. We've been slowly repurposing parts of that hamper since it's not usable for laundry anymore.

I honestly want to make more of these pockets. They're fun to sew and very practical, so it's a good project. Takes about 2 hours per pocket at the moment since we handsew things- sewing machines are scary. I found it easiest to sew all four sides together while it was inside-out, then cut the hole for the zipper and turn it right-side out through that. Cutting two small holes in the back for the belt loops makes them feel more sturdily in place and just looks better on the outside. Two pockets have enough room for everything two pant pockets usually hold.

Been doing alright. Short on sleep and tired, but otherwise pretty okay recently. Kind of all over the place though. Focus is in short supply without a big project to direct towards, so we really need to find something.

Oh, got a laugh yesterday- the required introductory programming class we'll be taking when fall quarter starts? Guess what language we'll be learning. It's Python. I think we're ahead of the curve there :P I'm hoping we can learn the proper way to do things though, and get better at it.



20 august 2021

Kaz was right yesterday (contrary to their expectations, I did read that :P ). I need to think about spiritual beliefs in a lot more depth rather than a passion-dive like I learn most things. I've got a lot of thinking to do and honestly I'm still torn between my current beliefs and the ones I'm considering. It's messy and I wish I could just pick a middle ground where both are okay at the same time, but one strongly discourages the other and that doesn't work. And it feels wrong to pick and choose, you know? I don't feel right taking only the parts of a religion that I like and not the ones I don't, especially when said religion is also explicitly against people doing that. I don't know what to make of it and I think this is something I'm going to be wrestling with for a good while.

Let's see, other life news... still trying to make a desktop wallpaper that I'm happy with. Getting closer, but it's still not right. I want pretty but not distracting, which is a surprisingly hard balance to reach. The last one was very close but I was bothered by the circles I put in the foreground. People kept asking if clicking them did anything (which might be a neat project, but not something I would use). I need something like that, but without something that sticks out so much that people ask if it's clickable. Something to keep playing with until I get it right I guess.

Lots of anxiety recently, probably because of a mix of spiritual questioning and social things (no one on town, don't worry, it's a friend on Discord that has us a bit tense). And not having a huge project to plug away at. Trying to come up with something new to program, and I still need to add one or two things to PluralNotes when I have the energy/motivation to ram the brain in that direction. I should make that Pacman game, but I still feel like I'm not ready for that, so another Python project first. I want to play with ncurses or non-terminal GUI, figure that out. I kind of want to make a "texting" application for plural folks since that's been a comfortable means of communication for us (pseudo-texting). It would be a good way to figure out how to store conversations and things like that, too. I don't know what good practice for that is, need to do some research on it.

It's horribly smoky here. The air is bad enough that outdoors events are being cancelled. I hope it doesn't get in the house like it did last year. That was uniquely hellish. Our lungs like to freak out over irritants to begin with and it feels horrible to breathe outside right now.



19 august 2021

Didn't sleep well at all- just couldn't be tired and get to sleep. Passed out somewhere around 6:30 or 7 AM and just woke up at about 2 PM. I swear our sleep schedule is drifting. I'm exhausted right now. I think part of that is we need to eat and drink something, but I'm still very tired at the moment. Not much is going to get done like this.

I've started questioning my spiritual beliefs. I've been learning more about Islam by asking some Muslim friends because it's a big gap in my knowledge, and it feels like it clicks in a way religion hasn't before. I need to think about this more and gather more information because I feel very torn. I know at least one of the others is also interested, and at least one is opposed to the idea of possibly converting, and that makes things more complicated on top of the usual "what beliefs feel right to me, what sort of deity do I think exists, does this religion or belief make sense to me and feel like something I want to believe/like the right choice?" A lot of Islam feels right to me, but at the same time there are some relatively minor parts that don't, and there are parts of my current beliefs that feel right as well. I don't know what to do other than keep thinking on things and figuring it out. It'll turn out all right in the end.


I'd normally chuck my spiel in at the end (schpiel? I've only ever heard it pronounced, not spelled) but it's relevant to the last paragraph and I feel like I should interject here and get it over with. For clarity, Kaz typing, not the last guy.

I can respect questioning spiritual beliefs, but I don't think Islam is the right choice. I respect it as a religion but I don't think it fits him or the rest of us. I think he's seeking comfort and structure, which is fine, but that he's also looking at it in a biased way that'll fall apart. There's a reason we aren't a part of any organized religions. They feel too controlling and forceful, even the ones that are supposed to be peaceful. They tell you what to believe and how to feel instead of asking you to question, and that's a dangerous way to go about things imo. If you can't ask questions, you can't evaluate where you're at or find something better. Yeah, Islam has a loving god who isn't going to chuck everyone in hell for existing, or do something off-the-wall. Neat. But that's not enough for a belief system to feel right, at least in my opinion. The rest has to be right too. A loving god defines a hell of a lot of religions and I think he needs to ask a lot more questions about the beliefs as opposed to the practices. IDK, I just think he's not really mulling it over enough and wants to dive in the deep end like always. The guy doesn't do things halfway, haha. He gets something in his head and takes off sprinting towards it, even if it's a questionable idea. It's gotten us in trouble before.

Okay, maybe I think Islam is... okay? Definitely elements of it are. But again, he needs to think about it more and really consider what it means to convert, what beliefs he'd be giving up that he considers a core part of how he sees the world. He's got quite a lot of pagan beliefs (as do I, though idk how different we are there) that are major comforts for him, not to mention the whole witchcraft thing. Islam is pretty explicitly against that and he hasn't really considered that. Really, I'm just yelling at him for not thinking this through enough. Sure, consider converting, but also weigh that against our life and consider whether it feels better than our current beliefs. And consider the bad parts too, the aspects that you don't like or disagree with. Figure out what you want to do with that, because there will be things we disagree with for certain, and what do you want to make of them? You can't just discard them. They're there. You have to find a way to either change to accept them, or rationalize them away and try to make peace with doing something you're not supposed to, and it's not a good situation. I mean, for crying out loud, tattoos. We have more planned and find body customization to be decently important as a way to mark where we've been and who we are, and that's a hard no from Islam. There's more. Think those things through too instead of idealizing, okay? Give it the full thought a decision of this weight deserves. This is a big life change to consider and it needs a lot of thought with minimal bias.

Alright, that's my lecture done. He's probably never going to read it, haha. I'll chuck it in our personal notes and hope he sees it there if he doesn't look here. He should see it there at some point, especially since I think he knows I'm writing this. Maybe.

Anyway, I'll let you get back to reading the rest of what he wrote. He wrote it all in one burst but I just wanted to shove this here so it was right next to the context.


Found out that a collective member we thought had integrated into someone else is still around as himself. I'll be honest, not sure how to feel about it. He was out the last two days and repeatedly expressed not wanting to exist and being depressed. I'm worried about him. Trying to help him as much as we can and it's hard because he doesn't believe he deserves to be happy. Depression is a tricky thing. He also completely missed the last 8 months of our life, so that's one heck of a catch-up to do. He doesn't want to know most of it though, and with 2020 being what it was, I can't blame him. I think most of us have half-blocked that whole year out after March.

He updated our personal site. Good changes, kudos to him. Added his own page, a page for someone that definitely wouldn't write their own but is okay being listed (and frankly should be listed), and tweaked an explanation on the About page to make it make more sense. Oh, for clarity, not our town site. Our Neocities site. That could get mixed- up but the Neocities site is linked from our town site, so you'll get there eventually.

He found a song that gets a strong emotional response. Good music too. Unfold by Porter Robinson. Not what I usually go for but I like it.



17 august 2021

Tired out, but it's done! Managed to get the notes utility onto the AUR successfully, which makes this our first time uploading anything to the AUR. It's documented decently, but a bit thickly and we had a hard time making sense of things. Managed it though! Tested it and it installs properly and does what it's supposed to, so we can celebrate our first PKGBUILD knowing it works. :)

A friend was also incredibly kind and helped fix issues with Windows compatibility to get it working as intended on Windows, and they went the extra mile by contributing a .exe file to the release! Enormous thank you to them. I don't think they're on the town unfortunately.

I'm just really happy everything works. We've been pouring time into it this week because classes start back up in a month and we want to have it mostly good-to-go before then while we have the time to troubleshoot. We'll be doing a programming 101 class (haha, think we have a head start on that) because it's required to take other compsci classes, so we won't have as much time for personal projects. Also doing an introductory IT class because that's the other requirement to take anything else, so we'll see how that goes. And then biology's the last class for next quarter because we really need to knock out the lab classes for our AA. Been holding off because of the pandemic, but with vaccination it feels semi-safe to go in for labs only. Otherwise still entirely remote classes. Would put off lab classes longer to be safe, but we're out of non-lab classes that are required and that we could take remotely without frying our brain.

Been doing pretty okay mentally still. Hesitantly calling this a good period? Had a surge of anxiety last night but that's pretty standard for us. Something about being alone at night lets the brain bogeymen out, haha. I think it's because we have permission to feel things since other people won't see us, meaning there's no risk of being punished for it. Holdovers from childhood I guess. Never been allowed to have negative feelings around people, so we don't.

It's still godawful hot outside and inside. Air conditioners can't keep up with 100+ F heat and it sucks. I think our room is the only place in the house that's under 80 F, and that's because it's tiny and well-sealed. It's supposed to cool off by Wednesday but I really doubt it.



15 august 2021

Got some new plants today! Spent all day cleaning our room, and there was space for a few more succulents, and the local grocery store was having a sale, soooo... I have no idea what species most of them are because the store didn't label them, but one of them is absolutely an aloe vera. Probably our favorite species of succulent if I'm honest :) The plant corner is looking great.

Rest of the room looks much better as well- it was very needed. Finally found places to store headscarves, so that's nice. Set up a spiritual space while we were at it since we've been wanting a little altar and now there is one. Re-hung the trans flag in a better location since above the bed really wasn't working. Set up a hook for our USB ring and other hangable tech supplies. Moved a bunch of wall art around and replaced the negative-feeling ones with happier art- it makes a difference! Under the bed and in the closet is still a horrible mess but the rest of the room looks good and it helps. :) Just made the most of a burst of energy yesterday tbh, a good clean was needed.

Also found a tardigrade squishy :) ======__ / / | | _ ||__||___/= // // || \



14 august 2021

The first version of our terminal notes utility for plural folks is out! Everything is up and running- no encryption at the moment, but everything else is working. https://github.com/candlebrae/pluralnotes

I'll be the first to admit it's not the cleanest code and we're probably going to clean it up at some point, but it works and that's the most important thing. Functional code! We'll give it a bit so folks can find bugs we missed (someone already found one related to parentheses in note names that we just fixed) before uploading the files to the town; would rather not have to update to add fixes in two different places. Yes, we could just scp the fixed ones in, but laziness :P

Currently struggling to freeze it all into one executable for even easier usage. PyInstaller throws errors galore and altogether fails to make anything or makes an executable that fails with the error that we're trying to execute a directory(???), and Nuitka produces an executable that fails silently and isn't even detected on the command line. I'm thinking it may have to do with improper project directory structuring, but we'll see. Also planning to get this on the AUR and figure out how that works.

Doing pretty well- this has kept us very busy and thinking for the last few days since we fixated on it and have been doing nothing else with our free time, which means we're fairly happy. As long as we keep busy, we tend to be alright. It's downtime that freakouts tend to happen because I guess our brain says, "oh, we have time now, let's process everything and suffer while we have the time!" So we keep busy and things are okay. No worries, we do make time to sit with things and have the inevitable freakout session. Bottling it up forever isn't healthy.

Starting on a doll repaint for a friend- something soft and delicate is the goal, should be fun. Eye makeup is the hardest part for me. Lips used to be, but once you figure out how to layer the blushing it's not too bad (though the teeth are still tricky). Eyebrows are also tricky, but we're getting the hang of that. Eyes, though? Getting them to look clean is hard, and they have to be clean. Messy eyes can wreck the whole face since it's what people see first, especially on a stylized doll with eyes that take up half the face, and you have to find ways to hide mistakes and brushstrokes. Thin, watered- down layers of paint, and chalk pastels, are the way to go. Takes ages to get a solid coat for the scleras though, and keeping clean edges on a rounded surface with watered-down paint is really hard.



13 august 2021

Made more progress on the notes utility! User management is now finished up, as is archiving notes of deleted users. We're starting on user settings now, which is slowly coming along. The challenge is changing only one line in a file that contains all the settings when Python apparently doesn't have a built-in way to do that. I'm sure there's a module for it, or failing that it's definitely been approached on Stack Overflow several times, so there's bound to be a way to do it that works. I'm just glad that user management is done- that's all the critical functions finished. What's left is things that improve the experience or improve security for those that don't have privacy on their computer (e.g. sharing with family).

Olympic climbing is really impressive.



12 august 2021

Happy news! Buckled down on the notes utility again and got quite a lot more working today. Finally got the pagination to cooperate, got regex search working, got note deletion and editing taken care of, and generally note creation and management is good to go! The main tasks left to do before it's in a release-ready state (though probably not a pretty state, but it'll have all the functionality) are finishing up user management, figuring out encryption and password-protection, getting export functionality going so notes can be backed up, and adding a user settings menu so people can do things like choose their preferred editor, configure the size of pages when viewing notes, and otherwise customize the experience. Next thing we're tackling is archiving the notes of deleted users, which won't take long at all. For notes in directory to be deleted, move note to archive directory. Not a complicated thing. Thank goodness, pagination was unexpectedly a pain, mostly because we're definitely still learning Python. Ooh, maybe we should color the text.

The meeting we were supposed to have today didn't happen. We haven't gotten a response email yet either. I'm beginning to wonder if the other person is okay- she was out with medical issues and had to postpone previously, so I'm worried that maybe she's having medical problems again. I hope not. She's very kind and I hope she's okay. We've been a bit on edge because not having the meeting threw off the schedule, but we did harness it to break procrastination and work on the notes utility, so not all bad!



11 august 2021

Currently waiting on someone for a link to a meeting that was scheduled about a month ahead of time for 1:00 pm today. It's 1:00 and we've heard nothing from them. Getting anxious that they forgot, ngl. We emailed to remind them half an hour ago and no response yet, but hopefully it's just a simple mix-up or they accidentally slept too late. It happens.

Not too much going on lately otherwise. Set up calcurse since we've been needing a calendar on our computer, really liking it. We have it set up so that clicking the clock on Waybar (which also includes the current date because time is hard) opens calcurse, which is pretty nice. It's a good little functionality addition that's gotten plenty of use already. Also finally switched over to Libreoffice from Only Office because Only Office is nice but lacks customizeability, and Libreoffice lets you change the color palette, bar setup, and just about everything else. It's neat! Just had to get the UI comfortable, still need to adapt a bit and figure out where things are but it should be pretty nice. Annoyed by the lack of tabs though. It can be gotten around with workspaces but still, that's a feature that can be found in most comparable editors and they insist that it's not possible (but I've yet to see anyone actually explain why despite looking for that).

It feels like we're stalling and coasting lately. I don't like it, but we're in between passions and there's just not much that's interesting to do. We need to buckle back down on the heavy work in the notes app but working up motivation is hard- we'll get there though.



09 august 2021

Switched to a top bar instead of a bottom one today- kept meaning to but never had the motivation to deal with a significant visual change. Pretty happy with it now that it's done! Going to take some getting used to but it feels more natural on a laptop and it's easier to glance at for information now (which is why it's there in the first place). It's got us motivated to see if we can add some color to the information so it's easier to read at a glance. Something we're finding very nice is picking colors and placement for ease of understanding in addition to looking pleasant- the more time goes on, the more ways we find to increase usability without sacrificing aesthetics. Going to play with Waybar some more and see what we can do. I think adding color to the battery readout and CPU temp would be a good start.

Goofed up and ate dinner 2 hours late last night, which would be fine if our brain didn't flip out when a routine is broken. You know when you're so hungry that you get emotional and it's like "feed me in 5 minutes or I'm going to cry?" Yeah. Not doing that again in the near future.

Also wound up doing some vent art last night because the late dinner threw us off and had to get that anxiety out somehow. It helped and now we have nice art. I swear that the things we draw to get emotions out where the motto is "it doesn't have to look good" somehow look better than the things we're trying to make it look appealing do. Maybe we should draw like that more often.

On a more positive note, we get to see a friend on Tuesday! Excited, I've missed them and they're very nice to be around. Kind of a gender presentation inspiration too. He's bigender and absolutely rocks it, and it's nice to see her mix things up and screw with gender norms. It's given us courage to do the same. That's a pattern, really- seeing people be authentically themselves gives people courage to do the same, whether that be us or someone else. It's worth the initial anxiety because not only does it feel nice to be yourself, but it helps people like you too.

Also, to all the folks questioning gender, we do see your feels- been there, it's rough but give yourself time and it'll work out. You don't need to latch onto any one label or be any particular way if you don't want to. Find what feels right, play around with it, and don't be afraid to experiment. You'll be okay. Figuring out gender really is a process but it's one that's incredibly worth it. It's like really seeing yourself for the first time.



07 august 2021

Doing pretty good today! Got a decent amount of sleep for once, so we've got energy to do things. Unfortunately, there's not much to do. We've been painting miniatures and working on the notes utility when we're in the right mindset for it, but we're kind of coasting lately. Really need to grab a project and go with it again, probably focus in on the notes utility and keep going with that. Been working on user management right now as a break from getting pagination working (getting closer, but it's not quite working yet and still figuring out what about the code breaks it), and we still need to tackle encryption. Talked to our dad about it and he seemed confident it wouldn't be too complicated to get working, so that's reassuring- he works in tech design and does some programming now and again.

Been feeling a bit bored with our wallpaper lately, so I'm thinking I invest a little time and make a bunch of variations to cycle through at regular intervals. Sounds like a nice way to change it up- little planned changes like that help keep us learning and moving forwards instead of settling into stagnation. Something something environment change. :P Funny how that works!

Oh! Also making a little clown doll with some clay parts and fabric. We have a soft spot for clowns because a friend loves them and got us to like them too instead of being "meh" about it. It's a fun project, currently need to sculpt and paint the faceplate.

So I guess there are things to do. :P

Been thinking about career plans lately. We're in college right now for a general AA, but what we do after that is kind of up in the air right now. We were planning on going vet tech, but the more we think about it and talk it over, the more we realize that it may not be the right decision. Don't get me wrong, we love animals and are fascinated by medical things, but other elements of the job would be a problem. The noise of animals barking and meowing (can't blame them), multitasking constantly, our issues with IVs and blood draws- which we're not scared of in animals but are still bothered by, having to work with people in a way that requires good social skills that we struggle with, being on our feet all the time, etc. There are issues with it as a career path for us. Is it still viable? Yeah, we could do it, but we've been wondering if something else would be better. Compsci is the other field we're interested in as a career, so we're starting to look into options for that and see what we could do in that area, what those jobs require, etc. Oddly enough, IT seems promising despite the inherent social bit to it because we're fairly good at teaching and adore solving tech problems. Cybersec also seems interesting, though we need to look into it more. We just need to do more research in general, maybe see if there are any job shadowing opportunities around here to see what the work actually looks like. We did that with vet tech, which gave us a good idea that we could do it but with some possible issues that would wear us down long-term. We just need to look at options in general while we still have the chance to.



04 august 2021

Had a pretty alright day so far! Cavity filling was nice and quick, maybe half an hour? Numbed in weird spots, but it's done now and they did a good job. Kind of sore but that's par for the course. :P

Planning on seeing if we can get OpenRCT working today, been wanting to and finally have incentive to make the brain cooperate and just do it. Should be fun! Always enjoyed building roller coasters and complicated constructions. It's just fun to make things. Would work on the notes utility, but we didn't sleep well last night and I know it wouldn't go well at all because we aren't thinking at full speed. It would be a tangled mess.

I could swear there's something else I need to get done today but I don't remember it. :/ Guys, this is why we write things down!

Oh, almost forgot! Our botany plant is flowering. :) Uncommon rainbow flowering fern.

Update- got OpenRCT working. Some kind person put the required files up :) Did some Vim practice before doing that since we need to learn more commands to move around and do things faster- it's pretty great for that. And hey, undo/redo work like a charm! A period repeats the last insert action! #G jumps to line #! Shortcuts :)

Also forgot to mention that we switched to alacritty for terminal since it runs native on Wayland- pretty happy with it! It is definitely fast, and tons of config options that are well-documented. Not too picky about terminal as long as it works and does what we want, but definitely appreciate all the options.



03 august 2021

Pretty uneventful day. It's godawful hot, but nothing much is going on, so not much gets done. I think maybe we cuddled a cat at some point? IDK, I don't remember most of today and I'm just here answering emails and chucking something in the feels.

Feeling kind of angry right now, not sure why. I just am. I don't know what pissed me off or if anything pissed me off at all, but I've got heartburn and some part of me deep down is really, really mad at the world. Oh well, so be it. It is what it is. It'll just simmer until it goes away. It doesn't feel like a "right now" kind of anger, more like an older one. It's hard to explain. Pissed off at the past, I guess? At the actions of someone years and years ago, and their continued choices in the present? I don't know. I'm making my best guess here. I just want to punch a wall but that's a very bad idea.

Supposedly have a cavity filling tomorrow. Ugh, mouth needles. I refuse to be around for that. Someone else here is going to have to take care of it.

Deleted a rant for comfort, but I think leaving a summary is reasonable. I got the anger out and figured out where it came from.

TL;DR: executive dysfunction sucks; also, I wish we could be more independent than we are without having a mental breakdown and burning out into being suicidal. We need a lot of support in daily life (crazy, I know- we can debug a kernel issue but can't make ourselves shower and have rather troublesome sensory and social issues) and I'm just tired of it all. I hate being stuck between "profoundly special needs" and "highly capable" because people only ever see one or the other. Either we get support for our limitations but have our strengths denied, or have our strengths recognized but no one lets us have supports.

The morning guy is probably going to wake up to do feels and be like "wtf happened last night?" but y'know what? I deserve to write my own angry feels and he can just deal with it. Nothing wrong with getting angry as long as nobody gets hurt.

Also, don't ask who I am. I have no idea. I'm not the morning guy, not the kid, may or may not be a part of Kaz but unsure about that. Identity is mush.

Also, "#d" in Vim is a lifesaver for deleting large chunks of text. 40-odd lines in a blink.



31 july 2021

The godawful heat is coming back- we're still well over 100 F and it's only getting hotter, and there's smoke starting to come in from nearby fires that'll just hold in all the heat until it passes. I'm fully expecting that we'll be sweating all week, but we'll live. Not our first time in the heat, and we know how to not die of heatstroke.

Not much is probably getting done in this heat- if we're up to it, we'll work on the notes utility some more, but odds are we'll noodle around and do easy things until it's less hot. Our poor air conditioner can't keep up. Today's also one of those days where thoughts just slide our of our head, so getting things done is harder. It's probably because we had a good, productive conversation with friends last night about trust and for whatever reason our brain doesn't want me to remember the details. They just slide away when I try. Means something sensitive was touched on, usually. I'm sure I'll figure it out sooner or later, read over the chat logs and try to hang onto it without flipping out. It's worth it most of the time.



30 july 2021

Had a pretty good day yesterday. Went thrifting, got some scarves, veiled in public for the first time (which thankfully no one batted an eye at), and I think we got something else done that I don't remember. Can say that veiling is less hot than anticipated, which is good when you live in a literal desert! Helps that we're using thin materials. It's a little bit sweaty, but not unbearable as long as our ears are uncovered to vent some heat, and you get used to it pretty quickly.

Oh, for anyone that used to play Toontown- found out that Toontown Rewritten exists the other day. It's free. Go get that nostalgia! IT HAS A WORKING LINUX VERSION. You can even grab it from the AUR if you're on Arch.

Not planning to do much today. Clean up one or two things around the house and relax for a while, that's about it. We agreed to voice chat with a friend to help them pack since they do work better when in a voice call, so that's taking most of the day. Happy for them- moving out is a big thing.

Finally started a Dwarf Fortress game after procrastinating it. So far, so good, knock on wood. Settled in a swamp on an island, and the farms are producing, albeit slowly. Need to ramp up production before winter hits.



28 july 2021

Big news first- we finally decided to start veiling.

Veiling is the practice of covering/hiding one's hair, often with a scarf or other cloth piece, but sometimes with hoods, hats, or whatever else happens to be available. This is something we've wanted to do for a while but were nervous about because so many people assume it means you're Muslim, which we aren't and don't want to mislead people. Veiling is a practice that's not limited to Islam- it's appeared in just about every culture in some form or another. It can be religious/spiritual, practical, personal, and just about any other reason. People do it for their beliefs, to protect their heads and hair, for comfort/privacy, as a show of respect, as a fashion statement, and many other reasons. It gets associated with Islam because it's fairly visible there, but that's far from the only veiling practice out there. In our case, we've wanted to do this for years. It feels deeply right to hide our hair for reasons I can't articulate very well. It takes a very visible part of us and makes it private and almost sacred to us, something very few people get to see. It feels important and like it just "clicks." On top of that, there are a few practical reasons- it helps keep us grounded and acts as a pressure stim, stops us from picking at our scalp (ah, dermatrillomania- I swear no part of our body has avoided being picked at), and prevents scalp sunburns. The main reason is making a part of our body private to us by choice, though. There's something that just feels right about it. It makes looking in the mirror more comfortable. As an added bonus, there's a lot you can do with fabric and style choice to change your appearance! Currently using a relatively small square in a common bandana tie with the ends tucked under, but there are a lot of other styles you can veil in. Using this one right now because it's godawful hot outside and there's no way we're wearing anything heavier. It's what, 105 F today? It was 107 the other day, and 115 a few weeks ago. This summer is one of the hellish ones.

Also, FYI to anyone else veiling- your local thrift shop probably has a lot of cheap, cute scarves. Though the objects in our local shop told a sad story today- breast cancer awareness headscarf, used hospital bed, and various medical items. If the person had a home hospital bed, that's not a good sign for their survival. Rest in peace, stranger. Cancer is hell.

In other news, we finally finished organizing our bookmarks onto a sub-page of our homepage, which is already making them easier to find and nicer to look through. Everything is nicely sorted by category and color-coded with navigation shortcuts at the top and a few sub-subpages to spread things out. Looks good, just need to tweak the CSS a little because the horizontal rules are way too bright and the whole thing could be improved even more. Regardless, it's working great and has what we need. Let us pare down the bookmarks too! That was much-needed.

Less happy news, our mom is talking about declaring bankruptcy again. I think she means it this time, which is alarming because a) she's our mom, and b) we're living with her to get through college. Whatever she does, we're sucked into it in some way. Frankly, we're scared at the prospect. I need to research it and see what all the implications are because I'm less scared if I have some idea about what's going to happen.



27 july 2021

Another little victory today! Finally got the brightness keys to work. It turns out that Wayland really doesn't like display managers and that somehow, using one stops the brightness keys from working even if the command is correct (which one of them wasn't- whoops!). Works like it should now, and we just log in on TTY and have it autostart Sway from there. Maybe it's less "pretty," but I'll take functional over pretty any day (and honestly I kind of like tty. It has a certain charm to it. Maybe it's the terminal lover in me).

Did not wind up making the phone call with the friend today because their parent is finally saying she'll do it, though she has a track record of not following through and we may still wind up having to do it. I don't mind either way. What matters is getting them the help they need/want.

Have to say, it's a weird experience to convince a person inside your head- not currently controlling the body but spectating- that you exist. Dude, I'm right here. I'm doing things. You're watching me do them and agree that you are not doing them. Apparently that's not enough proof when denial hits? It's a funky situation. Been trying for a bit now and slowly getting through to them because if I don't, that tends to cause issues when they front. Issues like deleting important records and information or "misplacing" things that help us function.

It's waaaay too hot here today. 100+ Farenheit, which is 38+ C for the metric folks. Ugh.

Pandemic talk ahead.

Half of our mom's workplace has COVID now. She's taking all the precautions and both she and us are vaccinated, but it's still very alarming. Most of those guys are chain smokers, drug addicts, and in bad health to begin with- oh, and a large number are anti-vaxx. So this is going to be messy at best and collapse the business at worst. Here's to hoping no one dies.



26 july 2021

Finally took the leap and reinstalled to encrypt our laptop- should have done that the first time, but oh well. Everything is set up the way it was now and much cleaner. Thank goodness for documenting all the changes we made and keeping good backups! Up and running about an hour after install with most of what we need. Worrying that we may have missed something but it doesn't seem like it. And if we did, we'll be reminded when we need it.

Felt really angry last night at a pattern in our life. Friendships turn into us being the caretaker of the other person without getting much, if anything, in return. We give everything we have until we break. It's exhausting but when we try to avoid it and keep distance, we don't feel any emotional intimacy with other people and it's lonely. I don't know what we can do about that. Either we don't connect or we connect too much. There's no winning. I know there must be some sort of middle ground, but we've yet to find it. On the plus side, that's the first time I've felt anger in at least a year, if not longer. I'm usually blocked off from that emotion. It was too dangerous to feel when we were a kid and I never had access to it as protection. But now I struggle to feel it when I need to, which means I struggle a lot with boundaries. Usually I just get sad.

Not much happened otherwise today. Anxious because we have a lot to do tomorrow, but I know it'll be fine and we can get through it all. Plus, tamales for lunch make life much better. I absolutely adore bean tamales. Honestly, I would eat the tamales even if they weren't filled with anything.



25 july 2021

Having a pretty good day today. Think we needed a break and to have some time to not worry about things, so this is good. It's nice to destress a bit even if we still have to help a friend through a tricky phone call on Monday and keep them going until then. Oh well, business as usual, might as well enjoy the weekend break!

Still chipping away at making a bookmarks directory webpage for our qutebrowser homepage, coming along nicely. I think it'll be pretty useful even for Firefox- makes it super easy to find our most important bookmarks quickly. It's sorted by topic/category, and color-coded within that so it's very quick to find a specific link (a problem we've had with the bookmarks bar- it gets muddled). It even has a navigation section so we can jump to different topics more quickly, which is a huge time-saver if we're only using the keyboard. Convenience is nice! May also see about adding a search bar for finding specific links within it since I know that's possible and it would save searching manually, but we'll see if that's needed.

Happy to say that our computer is still up and running after the fix- hasn't crashed again yet, knock on wood. Seems like the problem is solved! Longest uptime we've had in a bit and no problems as of yet.

Had a rough time sleeping last night, sort of stressed out and it's getting to be a sleep issue again. Tired enough today that hopefully we can get to bed early and fix our godawful sleep "schedule." Anyone else totally lose normal sleeping hours in 2020 and still don't have them back?

I feel like there's something I'm supposed to be doing or thinking about. It'll probably hit me at 3 AM or something, haha. It's always late at night that we remember!

Oh- botany's look button gave me a fun thing to do. Thinking of the words that rhyme with fern. Burn, learn, tern, yearn, adjourn, concern, and so on. Fun creative exercise.



23 july 2021

Still happy about the computer issue we finally found a fix for yesterday. Still running without issue right now despite some very heavy Firefox use.

Currently making a nice bookmarks directory for our qutebrowser homepage since there's no bookmarks tab there and we use it as a backup for when Firefox is borked or overkill. Honestly want to use it more, it's pretty nice.

Venting ahead, mostly about compulsive caregiving and a friend with suicidal ideation issues. No obligations to read anything.

Yet again, someone has told us we're the only reason they haven't killed themselves. This is the third time now and it feels like everyone we get to know does this to us at some point. It's intensely frustrating and stressful because we can't step away when this happens. These are our friends and family, and they're genuinely suffering when this happens. They mean it when they say that we're their only support. And we don't have other people we can lean on. We're stuck trying to play therapist and life support to mentally ill friends because we can't not take care of people when they need it. It's incredibly terrifying to step back. It feels like we're abandoning them if we do that. And today that same person posted vent art to a group chat that was very clearly suicidal ideation that was just one step short of drawing themself as dead. The pressure is getting to be too much but we really are their only support. Even their parents aren't helping them. We did our best to draft up a plan with them on how to get help since they do want help, but it has to be executed successfully. They're at a point where if the plan fails, I'm 95% sure they will attempt. It's too much. On top of that, our mom is outsourcing her work to us and using us as a second brain- which we're fine with, but it's a lot on top of this. At least the college quarter doesn't start up for another month.



22 july 2021

Spent some time with a friend today, helped them draft a plan for getting mental health issues addressed since their mom isn't doing anything to help. Hopefully it works out.

Still dealing with GPU-related crashes. It's getting really annoying now. Still trying to find a fix of some sort. It's been 3 days in a row this time when normally it's once or twice a week. Apparently this is an AMD GPU thing that just happens and is still trying to be pinpointed. Nothing has worked yet. Kernel downgrades, driver changes, firmware downgrades, changing kernel parameters, you name it. Just stuck with our screen freezing and going to black after a while. It's frustrating. May need to get into using qutebrowser as our main web browser because Firefox sets it off more often than most things (though it's not Firefox-specific). Been using qutebrowser a bit and it's alright, just miss bookmarks. The Vim bindings are nice though. Ugh, just tired of this issue. It's been months with no fixes we could find despite a lot of research and experimentation. It's definitely a kernel issue from what we've found, which means we're waiting for a fix. But it's near-impossible to reproduce intentionally.

Sway is set up the way we like it now at least. Looks good.

Update: Trying yet another fix that has worked for some people. Turning off GPU DPM, will see if that does anything. Some people had success with it and one guy thinks it's a power management problem, so we'll see if this does anything. Going to use normally and see if a crash happens since that's really the only way to test it. It's weirdly sporadic.

Hey, another plus side to this. We're getting good at finding obscure forum threads and messing with kernel parameters. Maybe we'll learn something. Also interesting: the GPU model itself is definitely relevant. Most people with this same issue (us included) have an AMD Radeon Vega and/or Ryzen CPU. Have yet to see an NVIDIA user have this issue.

Update: VICTORY!!! It still froze for a second, but IT RECOVERED THIS TIME! The active window was visually funky but the others are fine, and closing it solved the issue there. But the key is that we're still using the computer without a hard reboot! I'll take it, dangit! That confirms it's a power management issue, too. It was a few lines added to kernel configs. For the record, yes, the solution was in the Arch wiki. :') The lines in question for anyone else having this issue were: amdgpu.vm_update_mode=3 radeon.dpm=0 radeon.cik_support=0 radeon.si_support=0 amdgpu.cik_support=1 amdgpu.si_support=1

That's what we added this time and we're still typing right after a crash happened! I don't mind visual weirdness as long as the computer is usable; at least we can troubleshoot that without a restart.

But holy shit guys, this is exciting. We've been dealing with this interupting everything for months. It forced us to do hard restarts at least weekly because it would just crash to black with an unresponsive caps lock key and no tty access, all without any warning. It was annoying as hell and we've finally made progress after trying fix after fix from obscure forum threads. It's about time!

Time to go add this to the computer documentation notebook in case we ever need to do this again.



20 july 2021

Reviewing an interview transcript we did participating in a research study about plurality (which seems pretty promising!) and realizing that we say "you know" a LOT. Sometimes several times a sentence. Guess that's our filler phrase instead of "like" or "um!" Interesting to see our own speech quirks. There's a lot of rephrasing, and incomplete sentences are everywhere. It's not that different from how we write now that I think about it. Kind of funny how that happens! We did pretty alright on the interview though, transcript is accurate (though clearly generated electronically instead of typed out- typos, anyone?). We were worried that adrenaline threw off replies, but they're surprisingly coherent and do the job. Was also expecting it to be more stressful to read than it was- entirely forgot how nice the interviewer was.

Still trying to get brightness keys working on Sway. Both brightnessctl and xbrightness are refusing to respond to the hardware keys, and the keypresses are being registered so that's not it. It's a weird issue and we're going to go log digging to see if there's anything there. If not, time to trial and error for a bit before trying yet another utility to see if that works. Everything else is now up and running perfectly! Pretty happy with it. Just those brightness keys... ugh. Wish us luck.

Made the mistake last night of listening to Achilles Come Down for the first time- ouch. Luckily we're not suicidal anymore, but we used to be and it hit hard. Adding that to the list of songs that make us cry (which is a useful list for when we need to get things out). It's a lovely song though, just very emotional to listen to when you've been in that position on both sides. We had to talk a friend down multiple times as well. It's hard because we care so much and it's full investment. Sucks because we had to do it when we were 15 or so and had no idea what we were doing, but that friend is still alive and that's what counts.



19 july 2021

Had to do a little more Wayland-related setup because our screen wasn't locking on idle- yeeeeah, turns out we forgot to install swayidle. Whoops. It works now. Don't you love it when your tech problems are that simple to solve but really easy to forget to check for? Problem lies between computer and chair.

Pretty sure we're fixating on Dwarf Fortress. Hey, at least there's a chance we won't accidentally murder the whole fort this time. Last time, we almost managed to keep the dwarves alive until a hostile animal tried to get in via the river. Good news, the animal didn't last very long. Bad news, the dwarves engaged it while in the river. Good news, they didn't drown. REALLY bad news, their blood contaminated the whole river and didn't wash out, and there weren't any alcohol stores. Everyone drank contaminated water and things didn't last long from there despite attempts to salvage it. Fun was had. DF is very much a game of trial and error- mostly error, but some great stories come out of every failure.

Computer backup went fine until a screenshot somehow borked the drive. Ran ntfsfix on it and it's fine, no data lost. The screenshot has been deleted now just to be safe. This is why you have multiple backups, folks! We have a spare somewhere else just in case we urgently need our files if our main backup fails, and we're working on an automated backup system to a raspi server for security against "whoops, forgot to back that up."

Doing a bit better now. Some light exercise and a shower does wonders sometimes for mood, you know? That and distraction. The nightmare from last night is still unpleasant, but it's just memory now (even if it starts hanging over us a bit when we think about it- oh well, so be it). And we have a very sweet dog we can love on. She'd been systemically carrying all of her toys outside and leaving them there, which is hilarious.

Update: Turns out Waybar has scripts for the things we wanted to do already. Check your manpages, folks! Kudos to the Waybar dev(s), the documentation is pretty good. Commas will be the death of us though. :P



18 july 2021

Oh wow, does it count as a new day already? When is rollover?

Sway is still working well- brightness keys aren't cooperating but we're working on it and using the command line to change it in the meantime. Side note, cmus is a pretty great terminal music player. Been using it all day and it works beautifully! I wonder if we could get it to output the playing song onto Waybar?

The dog's been very playful today and it's adorable. She might be older, but she can still move! She keeps taking toys with her out the doggy door to play keep-away, and then overheating because it's hot out there.

Doing pretty good today- going to try out a few games that were recommended. Noctis and KeeperRL. We need something to fill time tbh.

In a bit of an odd mood today. Not philosophical per se, but something close. It's hard to articulate. I guess I'm just wondering about purpose and meaning.


Hi. I don't want to butt in but he said we could talk here. I don't know if I should put my name in here or what. I put a line there and I hope that's okay. I don't know what else to do. I don't know people here and I don't want to be a bother. I don't get to talk to people a lot.

I feel sad today. I don't know why. I feel like I'm failing people or bad even though I don't talk to anybody or do anything. I want to talk to people but it scares me because I don't think people will like me and I don't want to get hurt. People hurt each other a lot and it's not safe. But I'm lonely too because I don't talk to anybody and I don't know how to fix that.

Should I put my name here? I don't know. We didn't talk about this. I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I just know I can talk here because he said it's safe to. I feel bad because I kind of interupted him but I didn't decide to do that. It just happens. But I feel bad. He says it's okay but I still feel bad.

His music is really busy. I don't like it a lot. It's too loud. I should make my own music so I can play that instead of his. I think I'll go make it after this.

I think maybe I should say who I am? It's weird if I don't. Is it weird? This is kind of weird already but it's more weird if I don't. I go by HG online because I don't like giving my real name to strangers. I think names are really private. I like how people talk about the fae and true names. It feels like that to me. I use she/her and it/its pronouns. He uses they/them for other people but says I can call him a he. He's the one talking here usually. He does a lot of talking. I think he's scared to be quiet. He's scared people will leave him or not want him so he talks to try to make sure they don't.


Gah, I get yanked back by a phone call from a parent and see a whole ramble. That happened. Glad she felt safe at least? Bit of whiplash from that tbh and she's still hovering behind me waiting for the phone call to end so she can keep typing. I think it's cathartic for her to get things out. I wish I could help her with feeling safe around people, but that's a lot of bad history to undo and it's not a quick fix.

It's always weird to come back and find whole paragraphs you don't remember writing. Kind of trippy, honestly. You get sort of used to it but it's still weird.

...Going to tactically brush over the whole being scared thing because I don't know if she's right or not. :')

A few hours later- I'm cackling. I've been fighting with a .desktop file not showing up in wofi, finally found out that desktop-file-validate exists, and learned that .desktop files don't like tildes. Replaced the tilde, works perfectly. I spent a half hour on this, dangit! :'D


Depressing talk and suicide talk ahead- don't worry, we're not in danger of suicide and aren't suicidal right now, but the subject pertains to it anyway.

Aaaaand apparently today is NOT a new day yet. Rollover must be a wonky time. Would normally wait to write more but we had a rough night and I have to get it out. Nightmares about dying again, specifically of our sister murdering us with an insulin overdose (our sister is very nice in actuality, think she was just jammed in there as a placeholder person in the dream). Woke up exhausted and sad, bit scared too, same as usual for death dreams. Knowing our track record, we'll have a few more days of nightmares, so we're not going to be very well-rested for a bit. Oh well, we'll live. It just sucks. I'd really like to not dream about dying, especially not in ways with some pretty clear suicide overtones. Back when we were regularly suicidal, insulin overdose was one of the plans that was most promising, and if we'd done anything then it would have been that and then driving or walking somewhere remote so no one would stop it. We had it thought through in quite a bit of detail and sometimes it still bugs us.

At least we have good distractions today to hopefully shake this off. Picked up Noctis IV after someone we know enthused over it- the controls are horrendous but the game itself is really fun. Also getting back into dwarf fortress- wish us luck, we suck at not losing. That game is Fun in a whole other way ;) Also doing a backup today to save the new config files, which is taking ages- we have an automated script to do this, but sometimes it manages to screw up in new and interesting ways that force us to yet again fix the drive.



17 july 2021

Switched to Sway on Wayland today because it seems like a major disruptive bug could be Xorg-related, and we keep meaning to switch for the possible security improvements anyway. Definitely more tweaking to do- the brightness keys don't work yet, for example- but the basics are there and most things are running smoothly. Currently fighting with Waybar to get it to display free storage space since that's nice to monitor on a smaller SSD. That, and fixing the brightness keys. Using brightnessctl like everyone recommends and it does nothing, which is odd because it works in terminal and they keys definitely still work. Something isn't right in the middle. I'm just glad that we can carry over our keybinds. We have a certain way that we like them, and they were hard enough to get right the first time! Reminds me, we need to update our backups with all the new .config files so we don't have to go fixing colorschemes and CSS snippets again.

If anyone has any Sway/Wayland tips or things they really like to have set up, feel free to send an email and ramble about it or share configs! Part of how we do our own setups is looking at what we like from other people and using bits and pieces from others on top of adding touches of our own, and even if it's something we'll never implement, it's cool to hear about how people use their computers. There's a LOT of variety!

Honestly, feel free to send an email any time. We like talking to folks and it's more comfortable than IRC half the time since there's no rush and we can really think about it. Folks here have all been incredibly nice so far (yes, you! you know who you are) and it feels fairly safe here in town. People have been supportive and creative and just all-around wonderful.

Doing meh mentally. Kind of sad, not much anxiety luckily, just really tired and a bit blue. Going to keep trying to pull out of it and look for the bright sides of life. Play with the dog, make something silly, pop outside for five minutes and enjoy coming back into the air conditioning. Probably going to call friends and talk, since company helps our mood as long as we have the energy and are with the right people.

Helped a friend discover How It's Made yesterday. I'm surprised not everyone has heard of it! One of our favorite shows because we get to see what goes into common objects and how they work. It's fascinating, though I'm sure some people find it boring.

Oh, almost forgot to mention. No idea how it happened, but we must have done something to our thigh two days ago because yesterday and today it's been in godawful pain when we move in certain ways. Totally fine otherwise, but bending it upwards hurts. Less painful today, hopefully gone tomorrow. It's just weird because we didn't do anything to cause it afaik.

Note to self: go through package list and clean out ones we don't use much or at all. We're due for a cleaning session.



16 july 2021

Been dogsitting the last two days- the dog is such a sweetheart. Currently cuddled up by our feet being adorable. I think she wants the pasta we're having for lunch. Mmm, pesto. Needs more salt though.

Is it just me, or does salt from a grinder taste better somehow? It's weird. Same for pepper, though that's less noticeable. It's also weird that we use rocks/crystals for seasoning and it's totally normal. I swear we're always craving salt.

First harvest in botany today! Uncommon rainbow pachypodium was our first plant, on to the second. Kind of sad to say goodbye to the first one but that's just how plants are. Enjoy them and love them while they last, let them go when it's their time. Same for a lot of things, really. Everything dies eventually, and that doesn't mean you shouldn't love and care for them. It makes them matter more sometimes because it won't last forever. Things gain meaning when they're temporary.

Feeling sad and tired today. It's okay, not the catastrophic kind of sadness, more the sort that's like quiet grief or something. It's hard to describe beyond the sense that something is missing and we have no clue what it is. Just have to push through it and let it be felt, take more time with the little things. Going to screw around on a Windows VM and see if we can break it to learn what makes it work. Really would rather not use Windows at all, but again, kind of have to learn it properly for compsci. I heard Clippy's coming back as a paperclip emoji though. Used to love/hate the little guy. We're not that old, but apparently we're at a point where people have never heard of Clippy.



15 july 2021

Had a pretty good day today! Spent time with a friend and worked on configuring our spare laptop some more to optimize for using its touchscreen. We also started repairing and refreshing their stuffed animal, who hasn't been washed in almost two decades and really needed some help. It looks so much nicer even with just a quick handwashing. There's purple under there!

Not much else to report for today. Been a good mental health day and we're feeling pretty good. Hopefully this weekend we'll be able to get a lot done; planning to play with virtual machines some more and see how much we can learn about Windows (ugh) by screwing with it and poking around. We're going to need to know it well at some point if we want to go compsci, so might as well start now, especially when we're starting basic compsci classes in the fall that are needed to get to the more difficult ones. Not expecting to learn a ton from the basic ones, but you never know!

Anyone have tips to make Windows not godawful slow in a VM? It's been obnoxiously slow so far. Still usable, but annoying even though it has plenty of resources to work with. Maybe we're missing something obvious that would help. Using KVM and virt-manager iirc.



13 july 2021

Well, it's been an... interesting day, let's call it that. Not going to get much done, but that's okay. We need time to process things.

Possibly depressing mental health talk ahead, specifically regarding questionable parenting. No pressure to read.

We're finding out that a few more things our parents did raising us weren't normal, which isn't really a new thing but still not a fun realization to be having. I still can't really emotionally process it. It's more of a "huh, weird." If I think about it too much, then it comes right back and sets off emotional overload until it's too much and I shut down, and it's hard to think about it non intellectually at all even though I probably need to. Especially since I know other folks in-head have been stuck in those moments and could be helped if it's at least partially processed. It's just a lot, you know? There's a reason I don't remember the emotions of it at all by default, and why the worst of it is totally inaccessible. I still don't quite believe half of it happened or wasn't totally typical, and I feel bad for even considering it being abusive behavior because these are our parents I'm talking about. It makes me feel like a bad kid to realize that their behavior is something other people look at and call abuse, intentional or not. I struggle with that. On one hand, they did their best (I think). They were working with a chronically ill autistic kid while dealing with mental health issues and abuse histories themselves. I mean, our mom emancipated herself when she was 17 because her dad was a drunk and her family fought all the time, and her mom refuses to talk about her childhood (though we do know she was abused as a kid). It goes back a ways. But on the other hand, it's not an excuse for how we were treated, and it's definitely not an excuse for blaming us for that treatment and refusing to change their behavior or seek help for mental health issues. A kid isn't a therapist for their parents- we know that much for sure. But it's hard not to feel guilty for not being able to handle it because of how often we were shamed for being "sensitive" or "selfish" for not wanting to listen to mom ranting about how we were probably going to be homeless because our dad was horrible to her (which he wasn't- we've talked to both sides here, and our dad had solid evidence from the divorce paperwork to back him up), or not wanting to be an emotional prop, or wanting affection and to be listened to. It feels like we're not allowed to have negative emotions, or that it's outright unsafe to have feelings in front of people. Like making anything about ourselves makes us horrible people. Honestly, we feel bad for venting in feels but it's more manageable online since there aren't any faces and no one has to read anything. It's not burdening people if they're free to ignore it.

We really need to process things that happened but it's hard when it feels like being emotionally stabbed every time. It's easier to start when people tell us "no, that's not normal, what the fuck?" about things we thought were normal because at least then we can confront it and realize that yeah, it hurt us and fucked us up one way or another. But it's still hard and exhausting. We don't have a therapist to help because mental healthcare here sucks, so we have to keep doing this solo and make what progress we can.

And then on top of that whole mess, two people at our mom's workplace have COVID and they've been in contact with everyone else. Lovely. We're high risk. Vaccinated, but still high risk.

Sorry for the negativity. Hope the ASCII cat helps.

./_/. {0 w 0} ( \ ( ._Y_/_c)/



12 july 2021

Had a pretty good day! Managed to get to bed early for once and that helps a lot with mood, though we also woke up earlier and struggled getting back to sleep. Oh well, still more hours than we've been getting. I'll take it. :P

Haven't done much today. Worked on our site, made some tweaks (the non-tilde site, to be clear, though it is linked to on our tilde site) for clarity and added to the FAQ a bit. That's just about it. Planning to take it easy and play some games for the rest of today after we finish helping a friend troubleshoot problems on a Mac. It's a weird issue- winebottler mucked up an application and now the computer has symptoms of not enough free RAM or CPU, but the system monitor shows that neither should be a problem. They can't delete the application because it's "running," but nothing shows up on-screen and the system monitor doesn't even show the process. Cloudd is also using way more CPU than it should be, which is odd. A restart successfully deleted the offending application but the computer is still slower than it normally is, and the cloudd process is normal now. Maybe it's I/O issues? Unsure, getting more information and trying to figure this out with them. What they're describing sounds like a CPU issue, really, but there's plenty free, so it's strange. Aaand they just told us it's back to normal a few minutes after restart. Well, at least it works now! Hopefully that's the end of it. Funny how often a hard restart works.

Also need to work on this week's song tonight. It's coming along very nicely, should have no problem making it polished. Just have to come up with a way to end the song is all. Endings and beginnings are always the hardest part!

Tomorrow, we need to set up a Windows virtual machine for compsci in the fall- they'll probably want some Windows-specific things at some point, so might as well get it set up. Really not fond of Windows, but we'll use it in a VM if we have to. It's just really heavy and frustrating compared to Linux. Does it really need to use half the RAM just to idle? What's it even doing with all that? Maybe we should muck around in the VM and see what we can learn by digging into it. Never considered ourselves a Windows "poweruser" but hey, we can probably pick things up with what we know now. Still glad it's only in a VM though. Good for those that use it and like it- all the more power to you, use the tool for the job that you like most as long as it works- but it's really not for us. Restrictive and the telemetry creeps us out considerably (looking at you, advertising ID).

Wonder if we could run 11 in the VM? The hardware is definitely "too old" for the minimum specs, but who knows? Could work. Curious about whether that would work or not now. What does an OS detect as far as hardware goes when in a VM?



11 july 2021

Doing pretty okay today! Had a bout of bad anxiety but after that cleared, doing a lot better. Tackled the notes utility again and made a little bit of headway, though sorted() is fighting us. We'll work it out. The most important part is that we have an idea of how to proceed now.

A game we've been excited about it in playtesting- Lords & Villeins. Got in on the playtest group! Already spotted a few bugs and reported them. Pretty nice as far as base builder/management games go, a little bit of micromanaging at times but not bad. Unfortunately doesn't run native yet. Made the case for porting it to Linux to the devs, here's to hoping they hear us out on that. They had a Linux-compatible demo early on, so it's not ridiculous to think about.

Other than that, didn't do too much today. Managed to crank out last week's song a half hour before the deadline yesterday, so there's that. This week's song is promising so far, think we're going to be very happy with this one. It's been hit or miss making a song a week.

Been emailing back and forth with a few tildefolk- hey guys, it's appreciated! Everyone is very nice and there are plenty of interesting conversations to be had. Nice to finally feel like we're connecting with people here.

I keep meaning to push for other people in the brain to talk more here. It's been mostly me because people are either shy about introductions or feel awkward butting in on a conversation. They want to, but it's one of those areas where social rules are unclear and we haven't learned how to handle it properly. One of these days I'll just say "hey, the feels are yours today, go nuts." That should break the ice. Once or twice they've wanted to add commentary to my feels but that also feels (haha) awkward because it would be like a dialogue as a blog post? Never really seen that outside of plural circles and we're nervous about it. It'll happen eventually.

Maybe we could section up the feels so that we've each got our own chunks when we want to write things? Could work. IDK, it's messy to figure out the social rules of this sort of thing. Normally we hide outside of plural spaces.



10 july 2021

Doing a bit better today- not in panic mode at least. Been a few surges of brain screaming but mostly holding it together today. Probably because there were no nightmares last night- we've been plagued by them this week and not waking up on edge was nice. Helps a lot with feeling okay when you don't start out struggling, you know? Hopefully that keeps up.

Spent half an hour walking today- treadmill since it's way too hot outside. Jogged for a very short time too. We have no endurance for running but can walk for quite a long ways, and we need to get that cardio tolerance up. Little bits at a time. A minute of light jogging is a good start. The walk was nice- powerwalked for about half of it and it felt good to move.

Been sort of scatterbrained today. Feels like our mind doesn't want to hold onto anything, and it slips away as soon as we think it. Lots of spacing out. The good news is that we're used to it and know how to deal with it by now. Perk of sharing a brain: brainmates can snap you out of a empty-brain haze by redirecting you to something and talking you through it. We might fight a lot and have a hard time getting along, but we do support each other sometimes like this and it's getting better a little at a time.

Being plural is like... do you ever talk to yourself in your head? Imagine that the other half of that conversation is entirely out of your control. They have their own ideas and preferences, their own sense of self, instead of just being a part of you. It's like having roommates but the room is your body and you all have to share a life. Imagine having an identical twin who you shared a life with, where you switched places to do different things and no one was the wiser despite you being very different from each other, but you don't have your own lives and only one of you ever leaves the house at a time.

Watching someone else pilot your body and do things that you didn't tell your body to do, feeling your arms move on their own. "Waking up" somewhere you don't remember going beyond maybe a fuzzy sense that a car was involved, and having no clue why you're there or why you're cooking rice for someone whose house you keep showing up at without explanation. Going on a walk and hearing people crack jokes and comment on what you're doing inside your head, trying not to laugh because of something genuinely funny they said. Knowing these people either more intimately than anyone else, or barely at all because they don't tell you anything useful about themselves and you can't talk to them. Feeling afraid for no reason because the kid inside your head is paying attention to what you're doing and is mentally "close," so their emotions leak onto yours and you wind up being confused about where it's coming from. Having to talk that kid out of a panic attack over something that has no effect on you, feeling bizarrely fine and yet freaking out at the exact same time. Struggling with gender because you're nonbinary but your headfolk are other genders and it gets mixed up all too easily because you're all using the same brain and things inevitably leak. Not knowing who you are half the time, just who you're not. Asking someone in your head, "hey, can you take care of work today? I'm not feeling great," and hoping they're feeling nice enough to do it. Having funky inside jokes that no one else will ever get. Never being alone, but somehow being lonely anyway. Trying to help a brainmate work through problems that no one is equipped to handle because there aren't any therapists in the area that are willing to work with more than one person in the same head, being forced to learn how to fix yourself. Being told that you're a murderer or monster or shouldn't exist all the time by strangers and friends alike, everyone thinking of your existence like it's a bad Hollywood horror movie or pity flick. Having absolutely no privacy, getting comfortable with using the bathroom while someone in your head goes off on a rant about why "The Game" (sorry) and Rickrolling are technically infohazards- yes, that happened and became an inside joke. Finding drawings and notes you didn't do that have the nerve to be better than your own art. Fighting over lunch because you want pizza, but a brainmate really wants bagels and hates your favorite kind of pizza, and the kids always want candy or something so sweet that it makes you feel sick. Fighting over career choices because you can only have one and all of you are going to have to deal with it. Struggling because a skill you really need is gone without warning even though you did it just yesterday. Having a really wonky relationship with your brain, trying to talk to parts of it that don't have access to words so you can start trying to process something that's been buried for years. Just trying to exist when you have to share everything about your body and life with other people who never asked for this. Loving and hating those people for being there at the same time. We're closer than we can ever be with someone else, yet blocked off and fighting all the time because of so many different interests. It's a lot.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad and our experiences aren't universal- some plural folks have bo memory issues and get along beautifully. And we do support each other when we remember to stop yelling and getting mad at each other for not being perfect. We're getting better at getting along as we keep working on things and helping



09 july 2021

Today was a sewing day. There's a doll we've been working on that really needed better clothes, so we made her some overalls and socks. FINALLY made a pair of socks that fit correctly! Have always gotten it wrong in past attempts. They're surprisingly hard to size correctly.

Huge thanks to all the people that sent an email with pagination advice- think we have some idea what to do now and can tackle the issue properly. You all are incredibly kind to help out and suggest ways to go about it, and everyone gave essentially the same advice (which means it's likely the correct way to do it!). Also got warm and fuzzy feelings knowing people care even when they'd never talked to us before- thank you for that. Our mental health has been on a dip again and knowing people care helps. A little kindness is all it takes some days, you know? Doesn't fix everything but makes life a lot more tolerable when everything feels horrible. Honestly think that human interaction and support is one of the best methods of preventing some mental health problems, especially depression (though sometimes it's just chemical wonkiness- no shame in taking meds if they work, folks!).

Mental health talk ahead, no pressure to read. Only if you want to.

It's mostly been anxiety and emotional flashbacks acting up recently. It's still weird to us that most people don't feel 24/7 like they're either about to physically explode from tension or feel nothing at all. What do you mean, people have normal levels of emotion and aren't terrified to death all the time even when they know they're 100% safe? With emotional flashbacks it's pretty easy to say "yeah, this isn't normal" but the constant anxiety doesn't stick out like that. And even then, sometimes it's easy to think other people get stuck in the past all the time too. To think yeah, everyone randomly feels like they're 6 and panicking sometimes, or that we're just being dramatic or looking for attention even though things usually only hit us when we're alone because it feels too unsafe to be that vulnerable around people, so it gets stuffed down or hidden under the surface until we're alone and unobserved. It's shut down the second someone is in the room, one way or another. It's not fun to sit there trying to act normal when there's a little kid in your head that's in full freakout mode because they're stuck remembering medical trauma or something. Feelings kind of leak when you share a head and are aware of each other to some degree, and you can block it out but not always completely, and blocking it out just makes things worse but you have to do it just to get through some days. I'm so tired of having to hide it but there's a wall in the way and it's not safe to be that vulnerable. It makes it worse.

I'm tired in general, honestly. We haven't been able to sleep until the wee hours of the morning because the anxiety is too bad to relax enough, or because we get slapped with a wave of strong unpleasant emotions that aren't even remotely applicable to lying in bed. We've been drawing and making music to cope and that makes it bearable, but still not enough to sleep. But pulling out of this needs us to sleep and take care of ourselves physically, and just... ugh. Catch 22. Hoping this passes sooner rather than later. It's usually a week at the shortest and has lasted months in the past, so here's to hoping this is a short one. It hurts me to think that this is our normal, but to anyone who doesn't have mental health issues this reads as "wow, you're fucked up in the head" or something. This shouldn't be normal for us but it is. It shouldn't be normal for anyone. It makes me really sad that we never got to experience normal. I just want to be able to relax for once instead of always being on edge and afraid of nothing at all. I want to feel like I exist, here and now. I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and see my face instead of something more akin to a distant cousin- I want to be able to recognize my face as mine. I want to be able to calm down and feel safe. I want to feel safe being vulnerable in-person and not paranoid about what people will think. I want to feel like I actually aged past my teens and be able to function properly as an adult. I want a lot of things.

It's better than it used to be, at least. Now we can at least say that reality is real without having to smack things to check if they're solid. We used to be so out of it and detached that nothing ever looked or felt real, just a constant dream. It still feels like that sometimes but we know we're awake and alive. And hey, we're slowly making progress on defusing some triggers. We can sometimes touch the insides of our arms now as long as we don't think about it. Still hellish at best if we think about it or feel any pain in that area, but it's better than having to be held down in the past to let someone else touch us there. And we didn't throw up or pass out last time our blood was drawn, which is a massive achievement given that the local laboratory knows us for passing out and throwing up to the point of being prepared ahead of time. Vasocagal syncope from a panic reaction is a bitch sometimes. It's a small bright side when you're in a mental rut but it's something.

Does anyone else on tilde.town get it, even a little bit? Worrying now that people will read this and just think we're nuts. There's bound to be someone that gets it, right? Someone that's been there? I don't want to be alone.

I'm going to go draw now. Starting to feel a bit foggy and that's a bitch when it kicks in. Better to try to get the feelings out before they get shut down.



07 july 2021

Spent a little time with friends today. We were all tired, but it was really nice to see them anyway.

To anyone viewing on the web- we manually wrap with new lines because ttbp isn't doing it for some reason. Hope it doesn't make it too wonky to read! Probably need to fix formatting with a little CSS for web reading. We'll check today and see. Just checked- looks fine. That's a relief! Good writing, dev.

Otherwise nothing of note today. Went to work on the notes utility and got stuck on pagination again. That's the next big thing to tackle, really. Never done it before and have no idea how to approach it! It's probably really simple and we're missing something obvious. Anyone reading this who knows how to do this in Python 3, an email on where to even start looking would be nice. Basic web searching isn't getting us anywhere. How do we break the contents of a directory into pages so that they can be sequentially navigated through? We need to sort it by date, too, and assume a large number of files to sort.

To be clear, not demanding emails or anything. Sorry if it comes off that way. Just hoping that maybe someone can offer advice on what to research. No pressure to anyone at all.

Slow brain day, been kind of out of it and tired. It happens. Good day to be gentle on ourselves and take it slow. Found some nice videos of hoof trimming and dog grooming, have been enjoying those.



05 july 2021

Had a horrible time getting to sleep last night- think it was around 8:00 am before we managed it? Thanks, anxiety. Remarkably functional given we're running on 5 or 6 hours, probably going to crash and burn later.

Planning to work more on the notes utility today. Current goal is setting up note editing and searching, which means finding a way to filter a list of files into groups of 20 (or 10, or 50, or 100- that's going to be a setting later) and display them one chunk at a time. Haven't had to do that before and no idea how to go about it in Python- if anyone knows, please email us here. Help is very appreciated. Will be doing our own research to learn it but it's entirely possible that we do it incredibly badly. Same goes for fuzzy finding.

Hm, maybe we should put note editing and viewing in the same submenu? Might make more logical sense since it's going to be the same view, just with one opening and editing the file and with the other opening and viewing them. Not that different. Probably more user-friendly too.

Oh- editor environment choice works beautifully, forgot to say earlier. If there's an environment variable, that's used. If not, currently it defaults to nano but we should really implement a "what editor do you want to use?" question and put an option in settings.

This is honestly a really good learning project for Python, especially when it comes to file management with it.

Outside of tech, fireworks are already starting in little bursts. As early as 2pm. It's daylight, people! What is there to see? Is it that hard to wait? It was one of the illegal ones too. Terrifying.



04 july 2021

Worked on the notes utility again finally, figured out how to open files in an existing editor. Probably better ways to do it but os.system is all we could find that reliably worked, so we set it up so that it checks if an EDITOR env variable is set. If it is, it uses that. If not, it defaults to nano for Linux and Mac, and Notepad for Windows. In the future, we'll have it query what editor someone wants to use on first login, then allow it to be changed in the settings. For now, this works, and implementing that later won't be an issue since it's set with a variable to begin with. Would also like to implement a means of checking what editors are installed and presenting those as the options- would be neat. May be stuck checking for common editors but maybe there's some way to query it? Who knows? Would be neat. Probably not, but we can dream.

Also shortened and tidied up the code a bit, cleaned out some redundancy that really didn't need to be there. Figured out how to get variables to work across files, so functions are being moved into their own files where reasonable, and doing so is helping us spot things that could be fixed or significantly improved. Still probably going to look back at it later and cringe, but oh well. At least it's commented. We learned our lesson there a long time ago with JS. COMMENT YOUR CODE. Your future self and/or other maintainers will thank you when they know what that variable does and why you wrote it the way you did. Much better than playing the game of "well, let's delete this and see what breaks" and hoping it only breaks something small and specific so you know what it does.

Still perpetually confused by "foo" being a thing. It's such a strange, unhelpful filler. It doesn't help you know what goes there, just kind of fills the space. That has its uses but we usually don't see it used helpfully.

Gruvbox is making this a joy by the way- it's amazingly readable without eyestrain. Massive improvement over Nord (as pretty as Nord is). Really love the green in particular. It's so pleasing.

Not much else to say at the moment. People are still shooting off fireworks and it's not fun. Way too loud and hard to get to sleep, and it's not even the 4th yet. And it's a fire hazard to boot between the heat wave and everything being dry to begin with. Honestly don't get the appeal.

Oh, and to fellow LGBTQ+ folks- happy Wrath Month. :P It's also disability pride month, so that's neat.



03 july 2021

Changed our computer's color scheme last night. Nord is pretty, but it was hard to use in terminal and when programming. There wasn't enough contrast between colors for us and it just wasn't working as well as we wanted, so we went looking for a new palette. Tried Solarized since people seem to rave over it, but it just made our eyes hurt. It's way too vivid for us. Finally settled on dark Gruvbox and absolutely loving it. It's much easier to see colors without straining and it actually feels okay on the eyes. Not painful or hard to look at. Oddly comforting and cozy too! Think we'll be sticking with Gruvbox for a while to come since it's really readable and easy on the eyes.

Really need to get back to working on the notes utility but we're procrastinating because it turns out that opening an existing editor in Python3 isn't nearly as straightforward as BASH. We could just hardcore one editor in, but we want this to be customizable and relatively portable, so ideally we set the default to the user's set preferred editor in the OS and allow them to select alternatives in the settings as long as they have them installed (which requires figuring out how to check whether they're installed). Probably going to comb through the Feels code and see how it's handled there since it's pretty nice and might help us out with figuring out how to do this.

People are already starting on fireworks, ugh. It's not even the 4th and last night was bang after bang outside. Tomorrow night is going to be loud.

Our plant in botany is flowering! First one, so it's exciting. Uncommon rainbow pachypodium. Need to look up what a pachypodium actually looks like now.



01 july 2021

Happy July!

It's finally starting to cool down in the house. The air conditioner is starting to be able to keep up with the heat, and it's an enormous relief. Still too warm, but not having to constantly bunker down in the basement to not feel like we're suffocating on the air.

Haven't done much with tech or anything really the last week because it's too hot to think or do anything CPU or GPU-intensive. Played more Starbound as distraction- currently terraforming a planet to be entirely flat for building on. Really need to get back to work on the notes program but that requires it to be cool enough to think without being exhausted- getting there! Please let the temps come down before the 4th. We're in the USA and it's going to be a major fire hazard- we don't do fireworks ourselves because they're way too loud for us, but a lot of people here do, even the illegal ones. There's definitely going to be a fire in this heat.

On the plus side, we finally configured our side laptop with Debian so that it both looks nice and works well. The challenge there is that it has a touchscreen, so we had to pick themes and set up the panel with big clunky fingers in mind. Wound up going with one XFCE panel on the left side, vertical orientation, with two rows. Whisker menu, time, common application launchers in two rows, space, system stats and logout buttons. Works like a charm. Definitely different from what we usually go for but honestly, it's kind of nice. Might have to go with side panels more often. Our main laptop is running i3 and i3bar so that limits it a bit more- would look into polybar but honestly, i3 bar does everything it needs to.

Thinking about changing our main laptop's color scheme though. We love Nord and it's very nice to look at, but there's just not quite enough contrast. Going to look at other popular color schemes, see what they do well, and probably roll our own from there. Or use a popular one if there's one that perfectly matches our needs. Definitely want to stick with cool colors, so Gruvbox is out. Also want to keep a dark theme. Considering Solarized but unsure if that has enough contrast. Going to need to look around and explore options.

Wow, that makes it sound like we change color schemes and appearances a lot. We don't. Usually we find a good one and stick with it for months unless it's not working. Nord is sort of working but again, the contrast is a little too low. It mostly becomes an issue in terminal. Maybe someone's made an increased contrast Nord colorscheme for terminal? Worth a look, or trying to tweak it ourselves. Probably easier than changing everything.



29 june 2021

It's way too hot here and we have another week of this. Summer is horrible. It's supposed to be 118 F tomorrow (47 C iirc?) and may get hotter before this heat wave finally breaks. Even with air conditioning and fans running as high as the breakers will tolerate, it's easily 80 F in here and it's horrible. Can't get anything done and we're irritable. The heat is all you can think about. It's godawful and the fan air and heat and noise is keeping us very uncomfortable sensory-wise. Ugh. It's just way too much.



27 june 2021

Sometimes we think about the importance of being openly weird. Aside from being both rewarding and punishing (some people are far too cruel), it matters because it shows others that being different is okay, and shows people with the same differences that there's nothing wrong with who they are. It shows people that they're not alone, and that being who they are isn't a bad thing. It's also interesting that the same differences that people mock become what people respect most once you get over a certain threshold of being authentic. For whatever reason, the weirder you are, the less people make fun of it (but the harsher that lesser harassment becomes).

Back to your usual feels content- got some work done on the notes utility. Decided to just get user management done before working on the actual note creation and management. That's going well; currently working on deleting users, which is only proving tricky because we need to move all the notes to a different directory before deleting the user, and we haven't done that with Python before. Does the os module take regex as arguments? Probably some way to do that. It's that and/or a for loop. Probably doing this wrong but we'll figure out the right way eventually.

Spending time with grandparents today. It's godawful hot outside, so hopefully their air conditioning is working. We're going to suffer if not! We're supposed to get above 100 F this week, 118 F on Tuesday. We hate the heat, so this isn't going to be pleasant.



26 june 2021

Doing well today! Spent time with a friend yesterday that we haven't seen since 2020 started. It was really nice to see them again, especially given they'll be going off to college soon and won't be here until summer and winter breaks. Hopefully we can keep in touch.

Not a lot of tech news, been low on energy by the time we're free to work on the notes program. It's getting there though! Menus are just about done. Just need to add functionality and figure out how to open an existing editor with Python. Ideally we'll prompt the user for their preferred editor on first run, then let them change it in the settings as desired. Extra-ideally, we'll do the same for each pseudo-user so each can have their own preferred editor- should be able to store that somehow and it would be a nice quality of life option so that different preferences are respected. We also still need to figure out password encryption.

In terms of fun things, we've gotten back into playing Starbound. Currently working on a large complex that we'll rent out; it has a tree farm incorporated in it, and it's practically built itself with that. Will be making tree farms from now on. The only limiting factor now is plant fiber, so we need to get a reliable source of that going.



23 june 2021

Got more work done on our notes utility- working on extending it to accept multiple pseudousers (is that a thing?) so that it works well for plural folks. That way, everyone has their own notes folder and one big shared one. Working well so far, figured out disallowing whitespace and empty strings and everything is good so far. Going to need to figure out how to encrypt folders with a password so that personal folders can be kept private- never done that before so this will be new! Well, all of this is new. First time properly using Python3 for something! We keep forgetting to add colons at the ends of various statements. Anyways, we need to look into password encryption and directory encryption since the program will be running on one user but will need (optional) password encryption of its notes directories. Both for inter-pseudouser privacy and password security given how many people reuse passwords. Don't want to accidentally expose those!

Dental appointment tomorrow for cavity filling. As usual, the needle bit is the worst by far and we're terrified of it, but it's fine after that. The numbness is annoying and honestly between it and the needle, we wouldn't mind not numbing up, especially since we've had one done where the numbing failed thanks to wonky nerve anatomy in our jaw. They couldn't find the right spot last time so we didn't get numbed where we should have been. Didn't hurt much at all tbh, we've dealt with worse pain.



22 june 2021

Nothing much to note today. Spent much-needed time with friends, checked notifs, and did nothing in particular. TBH the break was needed.

It will forever be funny to us that however the time is set, today is still yesterday. Went on a walk and picked up some food today. Was nice to get out, but it's already getting intolerably hot. We'll be inside as much as possible this week. Food was good though!



19 june 2021

Started porting the BASH notes script into Python, which is a good challenge because we don't know nearly enough Python to do it. So we're learning as we go. Wrote the whole thing out in pseudocode so we know what we need to do- just need to find the language to do it. Bonus, this makes it so we can make it portable across Linux, Windows, and Mac instead of being Linux-only.

Also wrote a short BASH script yesterday to automate backups so we don't have to do it manually every time. Should save time and frustration, and it'll definitely help make sure we back things up more.

Finally started sort of learning touch typing. Easier than we remember it being as kids but also kind of frustrating because the key locations make no sense in relation to our fingers. It's also still really slow. We point-and-peck at above average speed so this is a major downgrade for now. But hey, we don't have to look.

Still feeling lonely and missing friends since they've been too busy to spend any time with us. Kind of think they're intentionally avoiding us but we know that's irrational thinking and that they are just busy. It happens.



17 june 2021

Remembered to switch the feels engine over to vim in the settings this time- forgot to do that last feels update and was too tired to go out and in again. So hey, vim!

We've been chipping away at the notes utility on our own computer. Working for the most part, and we've moved it all onto a bash script instead of functions in .bashrc since it's gone beyond the scope of one or two one-liner functions. It needed some proper logic and quite a few if statements, an until loop, and variables. At that point it's better to just make it a script. Once we get it figured out in bash, we might rewrite it in Python as a learning exercise and to see if we can do it better with Python than bash. Already learning quite a bit though- finally getting into using awk a bit out of necessity since we need something more complex than find is letting us do for searching through notes and presenting a single note based on a set of complex criteria. Honestly this would probably be easier in Python at this point but hey, might as well use it as a way to learn more bash and scripting tricks.

Mental health vent incoming, no obligation to read it.

Mental health took a nosedive yesterday. Doing okay today, but we were in bad enough shape yesterday that Kaz had to keep booting us out of front for our own safety. Not a good time. Depression, our old nemesis! We thought you were gone! At least we remember how to deal with it. Thank goodness for having had therapy in the past. Mental healthcare for SMI around here is complete crap, but it's pretty okay for depression. Now if only there were a therapist willing to work with systems around here whose information isn't littered with red flags. We could use the help sometimes. We've basically been going our own with trauma and intrasystem relationship issues for 2-3 years now because no one in this area is open to treating systems because they don't feel qualified- which is fair, but really frustrating. People tell you to go to therapy for trauma, but what do you do when therapists refuse to even attempt to treat you? We've been bootstrapping our own mental health support and being each other's therapists, which is really shitty. It's hard to sit there and deal with someone else in your head who's flipping their shit over something that happened over a decade ago while trying not to let something similar also get to you and trying not to get depressed or freak out over what you're hearing from them. Usually it turns into a mutual freakfest while someone else keeps their distance and mentally does the equivalent of "there, there" backpatting. I guess we're just sick of not being able to get any help because the professionals around here are horrible with anything more than depression and simple anxiety. They just don't handle it well, if at all. Honestly we've been fucked up more by mental health professionals around here in a few cases and we're kind of scared of psychiatrists now because of bad experiences with them. Heck, we went to one when we were kids and despite being depressed enough to bite ourselves as self-harm, he just said we needed to go outside more. We played outside all the time already. Does that give you an idea of how bad it is here with mental healthcare? We've made more progress treating ourselves than we have in therapy or with medication. Ugh.



15 june 2021

So big news first- we've switched over to using vim successfully! Still getting used to having to enter insert mode instead of just typing but otherwise really liking it now that we've figured out basic commands. Can see why some people diss nano now. Nothing wrong with it honestly and it's still a great editor but we can see the extensibility of vim and the ability to hit fewer keys (no Ctrl key). Vim's downside is weird keybinds tbh, but they do start making some sense after you stare at them for a bit. We wrote a quick reference for ourselves that we can use on the command line that we should really port over to tilde.town. Will do that after we finish typing this out.

Also took the chance to make a basic notetaking utility for ourselves with a few simple BASH functions. Working well, though we'll have problems down the road with the notereading utility if we don't figure out how to implement a dialogue that lets the user pick between the files grep finds rather than spitting out the first result into less like it does now. There's definitely a way to do it, just haven't learned it yet. Something to figure out! If anyone here knows a way we could pipe filenames from grep into something that structures them into a dialogue that the user selects from, where the chosen file is piped into less, let us know. We're missing that middle utility. If we know what we should use, we can do the rest. We'll port it over to tilde when that's fixed, though feels does basically the same thing with a nicer interface. Wonder if we could get a peek under the hood of feels somehow? Would love to see the code. Maybe we should ask about it in the bbj thread for town questions. Get the feeling it could be useful for the note utility if we see how someone else did something similar. Kind of proud though, managed to make a nice search utility using find and learned more about it. Has a pretty good manpage and way more options than we knew about. There are options for time of last edit, whether the file is empty, who owns the file, case-sensitivity, you name it. It's cool.

Lifewise, finished up finals for the most part today. Painting might throw a loop and add one more discussion so we'll keep checking, but everything else should be done and good to go. That's some stress off our back. Now we get to stress about not doing enough with our free time and feel guilty for resting and relaxing. Still working on not doing that :'D Been a quiet brain day. Kaz piped up once or twice but that's been about it. I think we're all just tired and need a break to recharge. It's that, or we need to deal with something again to get the brain up and running. Sometimes we have to suffer a little with brain hell to feel okay, which is hard to describe if you don't experience it. If you know, you know.

Anyways, off to eat dinner, add to the "things learned" part of our site, and port over the vim reference sheet! Maybe find a way to make feels wrap properly too.



14 june 2021

Nothing much happened today. Got some sleep, which was much-needed. Started on a painting for fun, customized Firefox with userChrome.css more (ah, small tabs!), and just noodled around. We honestly needed the break and feel less stressed today thanks to that. Kind of hazy brained today but it's not terrible, probably because we overslept. That, or it's why we're not feeling so much anxiety. Who knows? It's brain roulette lately.

Not much planned for the week. Finishing up the quarter, so that's at least one essay and a test, but otherwise we should be free. Hopefully we can spend time with irl friends and work on learning Python. Thinking we're going to work on a console application for managing i3 config files in a more graphical way since that seems like a more reasonable starting project than a full CLI game, and we could use it. If anyone is interested, we could probably share it when it's working. We like making things and letting anyone freely use and modify them- open source is just lovely and it's nice knowing we can give things to others. The main thing we've made available was a homepage for web browsers that we did our best to make easily customizable, but hopefully we make more in the future that people can use! Also planning to find some smaller open source projects to contribute to and help out with because that helps everyone too. We get to learn how things work and how to fix issues, and the devs hopefully get an extra pair of eyes and maybe something to merge into main.



12 june 2021

College quarter is almost over, which means that we should hopefully get a break soon. It's needed! We're honestly stressed from classes and need some time to unwind that. Just have a painting to touch up and an essay to write and we should be done for the quarter. Haven't done much with the server yet- still trying to figure out Apache and a few networking snags (finally need to touch on port forwarding and figure out how to do that). Have to say that this is a fantastic way to learn more about networking and pick up a few skills related to that. Very good challenge and great brain food! We really need to get back to learning Python. Came across another project idea we could do to learn before we tackle the game- setting up a graphical settings menu for a window manager that changes settings in the relevant files via a dialogue with the user. Could be really nice, though we do just fine changing the files by hand and never really need to do it. Still a good project idea and could come in handy!

In non-tech news, we're doing okay. Still sort of off mentally, but it's better than it was and we should have the time to unpack the brain issues properly once the quarter is over. We need to sit down and deal with things. Nothing else really of note. Only interesting thing is that our grandpa is now a year older- he's 71 now. Happy birthday to him!



09 june 2021

God, we're tired. Didn't get nearly enough sleep last night thanks to insomnia and anxiety, but hey, maybe we'll sleep better tonight because of it. We really need to fix our wacko sleep schedule. At this rate, we'll be sleeping in another time zone! Trying to set up apache on our raspberry pi. Getting it to work on the pi isn't too hard. Making it so other local computers can see the site is proving difficult and while the documentation is great, we don't know enough to parse all of it yet. Guess we need to read up on web servers! On the side of getting things done, we did move the root filesystem onto a USB instead of the SD to avoid the pain of SD failure down the line. Was surprisingly easy to do it. Format the USB, use rsync to copy it over, and edit the fstab and kernel parameters to point the pi at the USB via PARTUUID. Done. We were expecting more of a problem, to be honest, but everything went smoothly. Ideally, we'll move it again onto an external drive in the future, but for now a USB is going to be better than a SD card for reliability. We really don't want a failed SD to lose everything after a few writes. The only writes it should need to do now will be kernel updates, and it should be much easier to recover from any failure given that all of the non-boot-related data is on the USB.

Writing a song a week is going well. It's week three and we're just about done with this week's song- just need to listen to it without headphones and tweak the sound balance so it doesn't sound like crap on a speaker. Honestly feel like this is already improving how we write music- guess we were out of practice from not writing so often. We used to make songs constantly but it petered out to once every month or two over the years. We really need to work on a painting for class but we're procrastinating because it's going to be tedious and finicky work at this point. We need to rework the lighting on a large chunk of the painting and detail some moss without overdoing either, and all while color matching a photograph as best we can. Doing well at that so far, but the lighting is going to be tricky since the foreground is backlit. It'll look amazing if we can get it right though. Also need to work on the tilde.town site again and keep prettying up the CSS. We have ideas now.



08 june 2021

Sorry for not writing feels in a bit, life got busy and we've been sort of out of it. Not too much to report other than feeling generally overloaded, but we did just start a fun project. Setting up a headless server on a RasPi 4. That's going well- have to start installing things to host and further tighten security, but it's all working and we can SSH in. Not a lot of energy or focus outside of short bursts, mental health took a dip and we're not doing the best when it comes to feeling like the world is actually real, or like we're real, or generally just existing. It's really unpleasant to feel like you're in an invisible box where everything outside of it looks fake. We know it's real, we're just detached enough for it to feel otherwise. It'll pass as always, just be rough until then.

But hey, we're learning networking tools somehow even with short-term narrative memory being shot. Yay, learning!

Huh, apparently today is still yesterday. Regardless, doing a bit better now. Figured out cron jobs and the server is up and running. Need to figure out how to share services now!



31 may 2021

Doing okay today- high anxiety but we're still getting one or two things done, so I'd say we're doing alright. Mostly finished Lotus's page on our website (not the tilde site) and did something else with the computer that we forgot. Been a bad memory day- bad day for being present in general, really. Way more spacing out than usual, same goes for forgetting what just happened. It's like there's a bigger gap between short-term and long-term memories right now, probably because we're alone for the day and there's no one around to kick our brain into "pay attention to everything" mode instead of "let's not exist today" mode. Brain's too hazy to get things to type beyond right now. It's like thinking through a cloud where we forget anything before the last sentence or so.



29 may 2021

Housesitting today- feel bad for the dog, she's been sitting by the door all day waiting for her owners to come back. It's been hours. She really loves them- glad they're only away for the weekend.

Making a Windows virtual machine for a compsci class that requires Windows- going to try an amelioration script to get rid of crap, see how that works. Worst case, it's just a virtual machine and can be redone, especially since the class doesn't start for a while (we just want to be ready ahead of time). Have to say this is really confirming that Windows is godawful. It's so slow! There were 7 visible options for telemetry that we had to turn off! The installer looks like it's from Windows 7, but it's for Windows 10! It's eating all the resources we give it and it still wants more. This is ridiculous. Took a full 10 minutes for the installer to stop loading. Honestly wondering how we managed to use Windows for so long. It's so frustrating.

Finished taking data for communications class- now we have to write an 8 page minimum paper on it. Fun /s. At least it's useful information for once that we can actually use in life.

Not much going on other than that; uneventful weekend of housesitting and loving on a sweet dog that misses her owners. Hopefully she'll feel better when it's peanut butter time- her owners fill a dog toy with peanut butter that she works to get out every night and it's the peak of her day. You should see how excited she got when her owners showed us what to do!



28 may 2021

Very tired today- had to do a lot and it drained us. Ran out to get supplies for the weekend- we're housesitting for a friend and they don't have vegetarian food options, so we had to run out and get food for that. Then classwork- it's the end of the quarter, so we're swamped. Helped a friend with a math review, which was tiring but successful. We need to finish Lotus's page on our website but that needs custom assets that we still need to draw up. Also need to troubleshoot the CSS for our tilde site. It's all personal projects but we don't have time right now- it's a mad rush thanks to college. We have to register for fall quarter tomorrow or at least soon, too, so that's a bit more stress. Should go do that after we finish typing this. Looking forward to taking a break this weekend and taking care of our friend's dog. Dogs make life better!



26 may 2021

Popped over to EndeavorOS today because we got fed up with Void and wanted Arch back, but we honestly didn't feel like doing a manual install and doing all the troubleshooting again. Endeavor installed flawlessly, wifi seems to be working as it should, and everything is installed. Bonus: We've been wanting to try a tiling WM and Endeavor offered i3 gaps as an option (standalone or alongside a DE), so we decided to go for standalone i3 and see how we liked it. Long story short: We LOVE it, holy shit. Now we get the hype. We had keybinds to tile XFCE4 and used them constantly, and having our WM do all the work for us is amazing. Customization is pretty intuitive (though we already borked it once- whoops! Luckily it makes itself easy to fix by giving error logs when it breaks) and all the things we wanted on our panel/bar were already there, so we just need to make it look pretty and fix the time so it's not military time. We prefer AM/PM most of the time. This is also giving us a chance to really use workspaces, and have to say they do everything we did on one screen but better for a tiling WM. It's nice! We've almost got importing our ssh keys and fixing permissions down to a science now. What is this, time number 3? We have them backed up to a few places just to be safe. Interestingly, suspension wake bug followed us, so we're thinking it might be a hardware issue or a new packaging issue. It's a problem either way. Today it outright froze the screen and we had to reboot to fix it. Hasn't cropped up again after that but it has us wary of closing the laptop lid. Hopefully we find the problem soon.

Worked on our website more yesterday- Hider Girl got a page. Next thing to add is Lotus's page since ae's being very clear that ae wants one. Other than that, nothing interesting happened today. Started a painting for class and have no idea where we want to take the colors, but maybe primaries only? Could be a neat look, though contrast will be a trick. We have to have this finished by Friday too, so it's going to be a mad rush to finish everything. Did some work for philosophy class- talking ethics now, which is going to be a mess when people start to disagree in discussions. Lots of talking in circles with no resolution, which is both a reason we like philosophy and don't like it. There's no right answer and most arguments have value, but there's no action to be taken because there isn't a right answer. The problems happen when people think there IS a right answer and act accordingly when the whole point of philosophy is thinking about things that don't have an answer. The class's professor summed it up nicely: "as soon as it has a definite answer, it stops being philosophy and starts being science."



25 may 2021

Void is still working well. Have some tricky visual glitches going on with XFCE4, but it's nothing that gets in the way or causes any problems outside of being aesthetically off (and frankly, we could build an aesthetic around that). The power manager is ignoring some of our settings, which is the most annoying bug and the only one that actually causes minor issues. The less critical issues are that our cursor displays as the default outside of GTK applications, and a visual glitch upon waking from suspend (fullscreen rainbow noise with some color distortion from the desktop). Luckily the noise goes away very quickly and we can log back in without issues, but it's perplexing. It only started happening after we installed all our applications, so one of those is probably to blame. The mouse cursor happened from install onwards, and we're guessing there's an issue in a config file somewhere from Void. It's getting reported to someone if we can figure out what's causing it or put together a decent bug report with what we can find. Outside of those few issues, no computer problems and somehow our internet download speed almost doubled. Every other distro we've used has had noticeably slower download speeds than we're supposed to get even after we intervened and got improvements on the base speed, so it's a nice surprise! The package manager is also fantastic and- dare we say it- may even be better than pacman. We do miss the AUR though. We have heard that it's easy to compile packages on Void- haven't looked into it yet because we haven't needed to, but it's good to know.

Started building a static website for a friend today! They're liking it so far, so here's to a new side project. Website making is fun.



24 may 2021

Was up late last night switching our computer over to Void Linux from Arch- we tried it in a spare laptop and really liked it, so we decided to switch over. It's nice to have something that has what we like about Arch without the parts we dislike. Running into oddly specific XFCE4 problems now though. Cursors won't change outside of GTK applications. Upon waking from suspend, the computer is unlocked for about a second before it locks itself and prompts us to unlock it (better than rainbow glitch hell thanks to bad configs we imported, had to delete them all and start from scratch). It's a few little graphical issues like that. We'll report them as bugs if we can't find a fix. Once we fix the little issues, think we'll be pretty happy with Void- and even then, nothing critical is broken. It's all working. Also see why people praise runit now- holy crap, it's fast. Manages to beat our Arch install in boot times by about a second, which is impressive for an already sub-10 second boot. Getting used to different commands is a bit of a pain but worth it. Honestly, we don't have strong feelings about systemd, but we haven't looked into why other people do yet.

But hey! Successfully using our ssh keys on a differently-named user! Learned a bit about ssh file permissions in the process. It's pickier than expected about permissions- only root or the owner can be allowed to access the config file and private key for ssh to work. Smart!

Worked on our website for a while yesterday (not the tilde one, Neocities). Kaz wanted a page for themself and we're working on improving equality of collective members, so you'd better bet they get a page if they want one. We'll admit we (peeps) didn't particularly want to because Kaz's preferred aesthetic is... decidedly not ours, but it's not right for us to dictate what they're allowed to do and we're working on being less controlling of other people in the collective. It's a lasting problem of ours thanks to having been in control the majority of the time for years, but it's a problem now rather than a protection and everyone here deserves the chance to do what they want so long as it doesn't hurt our body. Us being control freaks doesn't let them do much at all and it's just not okay for us to try to control them. Started doing a song a week with a few people thanks to an IRC chat. Finished a rough draft of it two days ago and now we need to edit it so it's ready by Thursday. Having fun with this!

Outside of tech: there's this squirrel that keeps hanging out on the front lawn. It's always the same squirrel as far as we can tell, and he's eating the seeds falling out of the trees. We really want to name him. He feels like a Fred, or maybe a Carl.



22 may 2021

Had a thought for a great project to learn a programming language with- Pacman, but the ghosts can go through walls. Bonus points if they have line of sight but can't see through the walls, just pass through them. They'd have a lower chance of going through a wall than in any other direction to keep it somewhat fair, but not so low a chance that it's infrequent. We're learning Python and as far as we can tell, this should work! Need to figure out how CLI games display though, have never made anything dynamic for the terminal before. Just static one-off scripts in BASH. We've been needing a project to fuel us learning and this should do nicely!

Tired today. Spent time with a friend and while we love being around people, it's draining. Worth it but we need a nap now. Other peeps have been pretty quiet today. Kaz was out for a bit earlier but otherwise we've been frontrunning all day. We wish we felt safer taking a break and letting someone else here take the reins but we're paranoid that things will go wrong and we'll have to fix it. It's silly because the others expect us to fix our own mistakes and we expect them to fix theirs but it's still a worry of ours.



20 may 2021

Going to go with plaintext for now, might use html another time but for now we need to figure out how this works.

Hello world! Quick introduction: we're the Owls, a plural collective of geeks, nerds, and weirdos. We got accepted into tilde.town yesterday and we're still feeling around and working out how things work around here. Have to say we're glad we've gotten friendly with the command line already! It's coming in handy. We're starting to prefer CLI on our own laptop at this point anyway, so this should be a great way to learn even more and maybe find some handy tools. Wait, does plaintext wrap properly or is this going to be offscreen hell? Guess we'll find out.

Thoughts from today:

Cats have been fed. Went and read feels from a bunch of other people, and... honestly there's one thing in common. Based off those feels, we're all struggling or unhappy right now. We're all fighting our own battles. It's sobering to be reminded of that, you know? We always think everyone else is happier than we are and that they all have it figured out, but in truth we're all pretty miserable- but also happy in our own ways. Everyone has their own problems and their own little joys and it would do the world good to remember that.