I'm hoping that writing this will do me some good and not just open a Pandora's box of downward-spiraling depression.

I found out two days ago that my cousin committed suicide. He was 29. I hadn't spoken to him in years; he'd gotten involved in violence and possibly drugs, and I didn't want to be involved, even halfway across the country.

But we used to be close. He didn't have any sisters, and I didn't have any brothers, so he called me "Sissy," short for sister. When we were young, everyone called him "Lucky." But he wasn't lucky. He got dealt a really shitty deck of cards. His dad was an alcoholic who beat him. I don't think his mom ever finished high school. She meant well, mostly, but he was spoiled by her. He never learned to rely on himself, because she always bailed him out. They were poor, what some would call "white trash." He had ADHD and Crohn's disease, so he didn't do well in school, and he was sick a lot. Bipolar and migraine run in the family, and it's not clear whether he had either. They lived miles away from anything decent or interesting and all he longed for was to get out. He was friends with a black girl in a very racist town. He dreamed of going to LA to be an actor. Once he sent me a drawing of robots with a few lines of dialog.

He was the youngest in the family. His oldest brother joined the Marines and was on his 3rd wife before he returned to civilian life. The middle brother got a girl pregnant at 16, married her, and became addicted to heroin. As far as I know, he's still a junkie.

He was told repeatedly, mostly by my grandparents, that he wouldn't amount to anything. Unfortunately, I was held up as the shining example in the family, because I'd finished high school and didn't get into trouble. But I'd had a solidly middle-class upbringing and supportive parents. Still, he never seemed jealous of me. He idolized me, and thought I had all the answers when in fact I was just a fucking confused teenager.

His mother died suddenly one day of a brain aneurysm when I was in college. Lucky was devastated and attempted suicide then. He was briefly committed to a mental hospital, but since he was an adult, he could sign himself out after 72 hours. Within a year, his father died of a heart attack. The oldest brother tried to hold things together, but he was living in another state. The middle brother sold everything in the house that was worth anything in order to be able to buy drugs. I don't know what Lucky did during this time.

He called me from San Antonio once, or maybe Denver, asking for money. Because I suspected drugs, I didn't pick up the phone. Later, he called me to say he was getting married, but that was years ago, so I don't know if he ever did. Records show that he'd only been married a month when he shot himself. My mother heard his wife had just left him. So he barricaded himself in his house with a gun, and shot himself when the police entered.

I really don't feel any better now. I am angry. Everyone failed this kid, including me.

I'm, like, engaged n' stuff

So yeah, I got engaged and graduated this past weekend. WTF? I'm still in shock. It doesn't seem real at all.

complete freedom

I'm writing this down because I don't want to forget the feeling of complete freedom I had today, nor how I got there. Over the last couple days, I listened to a podcast, Zencast 103, titled "Nothing Worth Clinging To." It's the same message of non-attachment that Buddhists repeat all the time, but this time it really got me. I began thinking about my own life, and all these decisions that are going to be made in the near future, and I realized that it doesn't matter what the outcome is. None of the possible outcomes is worth the stress of worrying about. Life is too short and the cost is too high.

The other thing I realized is that I have the freedom to completely be myself. The cost of potential rejection/disapproval from others is nothing compared to the lifelong cost of submerging myself into what others expect of me. I don't need validation from others; seeking it is what causes suffering. Meanwhile, I do injustice both to myself and others by concealing my real self.

There is nothing stopping me but me. I am completely free to love and live. I am completely free to be me.

The Groom broke my (BACK) DOOR

Seen a block away from my house. I have no explanation.

UWM discipline could grow

JS Online: UWM discipline could grow

The local paper did an article on the subject of the "URGENT" e-mail I mentioned awhile ago. I've since found out that asshat Samantha Prahl has a reputation for being a drama queen, and the forum she advertised clinches it:

But students who spoke at the forum said it would be unfair for the university to punish them for off-campus misconduct.

They likened such a move to double jeopardy and expressed fear that university officials would start dictating other aspects of their off-campus behavior, such as clothing. (emphasis added)

You've gotta be shitting me. Someone really thinks that UWM officials have the time to police our CLOTHING choices? I see people on campus wearing pajamas, for fuck's sake. As long as you don't show up in a Nazi uniform, no one gives a shit what you wear.

Tracking down a scent

There's a smell in my (home) office, and I cannot track the damn thing down. I've taken out the garbage, moved the litterboxes to a different part of the house, opened the window, sprayed air freshener, and vacuumed. Finally, I changed my clothes. I still smell it. It doesn't smell like anything the cats/dogs would have done. It doesn't smell like something's burning. It's not old food. It's not coming from outside. It's not even particularly bad, just annoying (if that makes sense). Like a spice you don't particularly care for - if you worked at Cinnabon or Starbucks I suspect you'd eventually get sick of the smell.

Mostly, my office consists of books, papers, and electronic stuff. The futon actually smells good. There's no dirty laundry.

Gah!! I may just have to pack up my laptop and head to school. This is like some sort of psychological warfare.

Recent top queries related to my WHAT?

Google says these are the top queries that related to my most recent search terms. All I have to say is, wtf? Apparently someone's been using my account to look up draft pick news or something (and it's not the boyfriend). I've never even heard of Cary, IL.


Hey, I'm a Scorpio!

From a French anti-AIDS campaign. Found here, via Metafilter.

Latte Art

One of those sites I stumbled on while procrastinating.