August 2023


"I'm not doing well. This is the time of year when my dad died. I'm angry, I'm sad; I feel gross. I feel diseased. It's a beautiful day and I've spent my entire summer inside, rotting, horizontal. Everything's too hard for me. I'm pissed off."

That's the opening paragraph for what would've been yesterday's entry, had I not given up on writing and gotten back into bed. For the most part, the acute anger has passed, and now I'm just tired. I feel as though I have nothing in me: no energy, no drive. I've been sleeping a lot, staying in bed, flaking on everything, and generally being a waste of space. It seems I've swapped playing video games for reading manga— an equally useless endeavour. I hate being this way.

... I can see that I'm choosing to be miserable, and in fact multiplying my misery with the words I use to describe my current state. You can put a positive spin on anything, and even in times of great distress, everyone already has everything they need to be happy. I am aware of this. I can do better and, if I did, my mood would improve. So would yours, reader. We'd both have more fun with this diary if I lightened up even a little bit!

But that's a pipe dream, so just forget it. Right now I'm too addicted to bullying myself— and then pitying myself— to make a meaningful change. I want to spiral. I want to crumple into the dirt and decompose.

Eventually I'll get bored of feeling like shit. My despair will reach its saturation point and I'll be forced, once again, to choose between life and death: the stupid, annoying, loser-like choice that I have to make every fucking day. "Vivarism"— what a joke. If I had my wish, I'd have never been born.

A Moment

CardAce of Cups (R)


Today, the sky is totally overcast: temperate and mild. With all the windows open, it's nice and cool inside. And inside I stayed, rolling from my bed to my desk to my couch and back again— because, suprisingly, my laziness is not location-specific. No, not when all I do is lounge around. Even on the rare occasions where I'm forced out of the house, I think only of returning home.

It's very embarrassing. I wouldn't mind being so reclusive if my time indoors was better spent. After all, I think I'm predisposed to being a homebody, and I don't actually aspire to go out and do things just for the sake of going or doing. That's unlikely to ever change. But for the past two weeks, nearly every minute of mine has been sunk into video games.... It's such a NEET stereotype. I hate it.

Well, I guess I've been drawing a little bit... and I guess I learnt a couple things... and I have been working on Vivarism stuff, but they're really complex (and borderline annoying) pages that are taking a long time to complete. Because they're unfinished, it almost feels like I haven't done anything at all. I thought about just saying, "to hell with it," and publishing them as-is with a promise to polish it all up later, but... I dunno. Doesn't sit right with me. I think I'm too prideful, and too worried about being preemptively written off. Funny how I was just about to write, "I want to show only my best face to the world," when this entry should be called, Confessions of a Useless Hermit.

Ahh, but I was supposed to be consoling myself. Right. The fact is: I have spent a little bit of time doing a few things that were not playing video games. The other day, I even did some housekeeping. None of this is monumental, but at least I'm not totally incapacitated. Maybe before I complain about my behaviour I should remember the misery of being effectively bedridden, with only crying and tardscrolling to console me. Maybe being lazy on the couch is progress.

... I don't know. This feels less like acknowledging the truth and more like making excuses for myself. What's the point of all this? Why am I writing here again?

(Looks like I got tired and stopped here...)

A Moment

CardSeven of Cups
TimeWould-be sunset
Music"Say So"


Today, I woke up bright and early (6H!!), and had a fun if not uneventful day. But I felt so sleepy after dinner that I conked right out, and now I've woken up fully refreshed at 21H.... I guess this is another "up all-night" situation just beginning to unfold.

Anyways, I haven't been writing much here because I don't have much to say. I think I was trying too hard with some of my earlier entries, too, so I wanted to relax a bit. All August I've been ranting and raving... today, there'll be none of that. Or at least not too much, haha.

It's crazy to me that the month is closer to the end than to the beginning, now. It feels like just yesterday that I was designing and publishing this diary, but really it's been two whole weeks! And what have I accomplished in that time...? August was supposed to be (in my mind) about structure... routine... and, most importantly, applying what I'd learnt in June and July. Umm... when I think about it, I'm not sure I got anything done. Mostly, I just sat around— like always.

It's funny. A couple days ago, I was having this profound revelation where I recognised all the progress I'd made, and I felt so proud about what I'd done and my behavioural shifts. It was a nice feeling, a very congratulatory one. Now, I can't remember the specifics at all. What the hell was I so happy about? Beats me.

That's just how thoughts work, I guess. They're fast, and they slip away unless we write them down. ... is that what this diary was for? .......... Yes, lol, it is. I guess next time I feel like congratulating myself, I'll come here and subject you all to the worst of my programming: Flonne Gets Excited Over Nothing AKA Herself. Then my self-aggrandisement will be very cutely immortalised.

Ummm, what else have I been up to? Yesterday I saw the trailer for Inifnity Nikki, which appears to be a Nikki flavoured Breath of the Wild clone. Funnily enough, it seems that some guy who worked on BOTW is part of the development team here, too.

Though the landscapes look pretty interesting, and I like the character designs, overall the game seems kinda... boring...? The combat appears limited at best, perhaps even totally optional. And the world is totally empty! No towns, no NPCs, which doesn't bode well for the narrative. Right now, it looks like an overpolished 3D platformer— and that's it. Playable Momo, though!!! That's cute....

I'm guessing that the trailer had no text so that it could be broadcast to a worldwide audience without additional tweaking, so it's possible that there is more to the game that they just didn't show. I'm not holding my breath, though. It's totally typical for a Nikki release to be empty, sad, and not-fun. Still, I'll keep an eye on the game. I'm way more excited for Fashion Dreamer, but in my opinion, you can never have too many dress-up games!

Speaking of, I've been wanting to play some games that heavily feature unlockable costumes. Like some months ago when I played Sakuna, I had a blast collecting her different hakama and weapons. I don't know how to explain it, but it was just soooo satisfying to dress her up in a new colour! After searching up tons of different games, I ended up landing on the Atelier series: not at all what I was initially looking for, but promising nonetheless.

Atelier Annie was a childhood favourite of mine (remind me to add Hans Arlens to my husbando shrine) and I've always wanted to play more from the series. What I've gathered through rudimentary research is that the DS releases like Annie handle rather differently from the core games. I may be setting myself up to get disappointed. After all, the only other Atelier title I've recently tried is Sophie: the worst and most boring one of them all!!!!

Seriously, the first 30 minutes were absolute misery. Minor gripe: the world felt way too big and empty. Major gripe: the characters were uninspired, just totally forgettable, and the dialogue basically put me to sleep. Even worse that the very first "plot developments" (and I'm being generous in calling them that) are so mundane, so low stakes, that I felt no incentive to see what came next. Siiiigh... I just really like Sophie's character design. That's why I wanted to play!

She's so adorable in her big fluffy coat and boots and miniskirt, and I love her little bandana, too! Is it unwise to choose an Atelier game based on the looks of the protagonist?? Probably yes. (Ironically, if I had always chosen based on looks alone, I never would have picked up Annie.) But that's not going to stop me from playing Ayesha next. I was snooping around on the fan wiki and fell totally in love with Willbell, and the titular Ayesha is pretty cute herself, so I'm sure I won't mind her. That said, it's generally agreed upon by fans that Ryza is the best in terms of story and gameplay— and the protagonist is cute enough, I suppose. For some reason, the praise doesn't actually inspire me to play it. I want to save it for later.

That's something I've been thinking about recently: saving things for later. Delaying my actions. Lately, when I feel unsure, I take that as a sign to just sit in uncertainty and wait to make any decisions. This looks a lot like reclusion and procrastination, and I couldn't tell you for sure if it's actually any different. I'll sleep on it, lol.

In the meantime, I'm going back to playing Let's School! It looks like an unpolished MySims and plays near identically to the Kairosoft® mobile games to which I was addicted as a child. This one has definitely got me in its trap, but I can't seem to mind. I'm having fun. I'm passing my days leisurely, gently, and I've stopped crying so much.

This is just the way my life is right now. Slowly but surely, it will change. Eventually it will be so different that the me of today will seem a near stranger.

A Moment

There's real joy in getting the hang of a new game. The mechanics of Let's School! are pretty complex, even if you count out the design aspect. Funnily enough, the design is my favourite part. I want to create a really, really good looking school! Something both functional and aesthetically pleasing, you know?

I'm learning mainly through trial and error. I mess up a lot, and I don't understand some things, and right now I'm thinking about starting all over again with a new game. That's a lot of hours of playtime and in-game progress to abandon, but I have a sort of Zen mentality about it. Like it's fine. I'm not attached to any of this. I can just let it go.

I'm not sure how to describe this mentality without referencing the documentary film where I first heard of it. Kingdom of Us (2017) follows a mother and her seven children as they grieve their father's suicide, living on the same property where he died. At one point, the oldest son describes some Buddhist thing where you imagine everything you love being destroyed. Naturally, he pictured his home deteriorating and all his family dying. The point is to prepare yourself for loss— to grieve in advance— and (I assume) to let go of Earthly attachments.

I'm paraphrasing here since it's been so many years since I saw the movie, but even after all this time, the concept sticks with me. I wonder what it would be like to feel that way about everything. All my possessions, all my relationships, even my own life— it's all fine. I don't need to hold onto it. I can let it go. Thank you and goodbye.

Obviously, I'm nowhere near that point and I'm not sure I even want to be. (It's probably too hard to be enlightened for realsies.) Still, whenever I'm deleting my video game data, this is what I think about. Not kidding: every time I erase my Animal Crossing island, I remember Kingdom of Us. It's not at all comparable to losing a home or a loved one, but it's a place to start, yeah?

And we all start somewhere. I'll keep letting things go just a little bit at a time.

MoodJust Fine


Today is cloudy and warm, another summer day that passed by with me inside. It must be really great in here, too, because right now there are at least a dozen horseflies swarming in my kitchen. I may be one of those quirky internet people who claims to like bugs, but this morning I was paralysed by the sight of a single fly sleeping on the far wall. It took me ten minutes and a tarot reading to get myself enough courage to walk down the hallway!

I don't know what to do about it. I was already seriously grossed out when there were only three or four of them. I decided right then that I wouldn't cook dinner, lest I attract even more. Now that there are four or five or even six times as many— without my doing anything to draw them— I'm just at a loss. I feel all icky, and really sad, and I'm hungry.... I was brave enough to bring a couple clementine oranges back to my room, but the sugar will only sustain me for so long. We have leftovers, but I'm too upset to go heat them up.

I didn't want to open with this because it's so boring and gross, but it was at the forefront of my mind. I thought, "let me just write it out," almost as a purging effort. I think it's helped, and I can see how it's actually a fitting beginning for today's entry. The forefront of the mind is what I want to talk about today.

Lately, I have found myself "wandering off." I'll be going about my day, doing this or that activity, and then I suddenly realise I wasn't there at all. I was busy thinking, and while I was busy thinking, I had effectively disappeared, along with the present moment. The phrase "lost in thought" has never felt so real to me.

I'm also realising just how easy it is to wander off, how habitual. It happens all the time. I tell myself, "oh, you were thinking again," and a second later, I'll wander right back off. There's this ever-present temptation to go into my head and think some more— think about thinking, even.

Take, for example, when I turned into the hallway and saw a fly on the wall. I went back into my room to get my bearings, which began with telling myself, "I'm scared. That's just what I'm feeling right now. I'm afraid." No sooner than I acknowledged my fear did I begin singing Coldplay in my head. It happened so automatically, it took me a couple lines of the song to realise what I was doing. It was like reflexive self-protection. "Fear feels bad, I need to replace it with a good feeling— like singing!"

That's avoidance, plain and simple: resistance to what is. I don't blame myself for being this way, not even a little. After all, most everyone in this society has been educated to run from bad feelings like fear, to suppress and avoid them even at our own detriment. These days, I like to think of my emotions differently. All feelings, including the painful ones, are the energy of life moving through us. Sometimes that energy hurts, but pain is important, too.

So now when I'm afraid, I just acknowledge it, really, really gently. "This is a fearful moment," I say. No judgement, it's just what's happening with me right then. Right now, for example, I feel kind of nervous, dry in the throat, sleepy in the legs. I want to get up and stretch. I'm longing for a substantial meal. That's the energy that's in me at This Moment. In another moment, it will have passed.

Ironically, I catch myself wandering away from enjoyable times, too. Last night I stayed up til 4 a.m. because I was having so much fun drawing, I didn't want to stop! But even as I was having fun, my mind would stray into unpleasant hypothetical scenarios. "What if someone insulted my artwork?" was the most logical one, but my wanderings are not at all constrained by logic.

Most of the time, I was busy convincing myself that I'm hated by everyone I meet and scouring my memories for evidence to confirm it. When my memories proved lacking, I plunged even deeper into hypothesis: "What if she said this because this person told her that? And now they're feeling like this, which will naturally lead into that, and of course they all hate me."

It seems especially silly when I lay it out like this, but that's where I wandered off to. I found myself in a land of baseless assumption, fretting over things that I would never be able to confirm or deny. It's times like that when Byron Katie's The Work proves most useful. Just asking myself, "is this true? Can I know for certain that it is really, really true?" is often enough to snap me out of it.

I didn't do The Work last night, though. All I did was realise I had wandered off, return briefly to the present, and invariably end up wandering away from it again. So even though it's becoming easier for me to notice that I'm gone, I've yet to figure out how to stay.

Hmm. Maybe The Work would help with that. In my experience, it's a great way to swiftly and gently take a thought to its conclusion without getting lost inside it. I linked Katie's website above, but I'll reproduce the Four Questions here, as well:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without that thought?

I really like this method. First of all, the questions are so short and easy to memorise, I feel like I'm always carrying them around in a mental pocketbook of mine. Secondly, the process allows us to feed energy into our distress— the habitual, ingrained, addictive reaction— by entertaining the thoughts. Like that, it's comfortable to begin.

Plus, it doesn't deny anything. There's no scolding. You thought what you thought and there's nothing wrong with thinking it, and maybe you'll feel better if you examine it closely.

And though that close examination, The Work ultimately dissolves distress by illustrating how unhelpful it is to cling our thoughts as if they were statements of fact. It does it all in context, too, which makes everything feel very real and pertinent. Unlike any generic platitude, it's different every time: totally personalised.

So, yeah, I really appreicate The Work. Thank you, Katie, for sharing your insights with the world, and totally for free! I suppose I'd like to consult her method more often. By the time I get to the end, there's always some kind of shift in my attitude. It becomes very clear what a waste it is to carry on worrying and fretting and making stuff up.

Let's go back to my fantasy where everyone hates me. I'll go through The Work right now with that very real train of thought, focusing on this phrase in isolation: "All of them got together to say mean things about me."

  1. Is it true?

    It could be. But I have seen no evidence of it, so— from my perspective— it's basically untrue.

  2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?

    I can't. Assuming these people hate me, they would never let me in on their private conversations, would they? There's no way to confirm or deny it, to know what was said or why.

  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

    I feel hurt, like I've been forcibly exposed and then punched in a soft spot. Then I feel scared, like I want to curl up into ball, or I feel angry, like I want to gnash my teeth.

  4. Who would you be without that thought?

    I would be kinder and freer, more forgiving and more human. Instead of assuming the worst of other people, I would trust in their basic goodness. I would carry on with my life, unfettered by private criticism, and enjoy myself.

The last question is my favourite. It's a nice way to imagine a better future for yourself, to visualise what you want without explicitly saying anything about desire. I guess that's because you'd only do The Work with a thought that you would rather leave behind, right? Hmm... now I wonder what it would look like if you used it to examine a "good" thought, a pleasant one that you actually want to hold onto.

Maybe I'll try that sometime. My joking suggestion to myself was to use, "Sans (Undertale) loves me," but I don't think The Work is equipped to examine the private thoughts of a fictional character, LOL.

And anyways, I'm realising the limits of The Work in general. It's great for pulling myself out of pessimistic spirals and painful assumptions, but what about when I've wandered off into decidedly neutral territory? For example, just now I got up to get myself some water, and my mind strayed to some recent conversations. Really mundane memories.

I guess I'll just have to try some different things and see what's most effective. Right now, I'm just really tired of writing this.... Truthfully, this entry has spanned two days, as I'm finishing up on the afternoon of the 15th. When I went to bed on the 14th, I was barely halfway done. Why am I writing so much and for so long? It feels unsustainable— or is it my fault for not pacing myself? Sometimes I really enjoy writing this way, but today, I feel bored and annoyed, "sick to death." I'm going back to bed.


  • Opening the window to cicada song
  • Warm pillowcase fresh from the dryer
  • The thrilling world of CSS specificity
  • E-books
  • Orange peels
  • Nowhere to go, no one to be

I'm tired...

CardPage of Wands
MusicLeche (2010)


It's a bright, shiny, hot summer day. I contemplated walking to the beach, but on foot it's an hour-long trip, so here I am at my desk instead. There was a strong breeze and the air was nice and clear, ripe with cicadas, and there are still so many flowers in bloom. During my brief foray into the world, I was sweaty and kind of upset, but the beauty of the day was undeniable. Summertime really is something special.

Today's entry discusses sexual violence and cults. To skip that part, CTRL + F "my expectations of Buddhism" (w/o quotes).

Yesterday I read the Phase 2 and 3 reports published by Project Sunshine, a healing initiative for Shambhala Buddhists who were sexually victimised by leaders in the community, including the head of the whole organisation, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. This guy is supposed to be super compassionate and wise, so enlightened that you're ostensibly meant to picture his face while meditating, but in reality he's a rapist and a drunk. To describe my feelings, "disillusioned" is not strong enough a word.

I didn't know this guy's name until yesterday, so it's not he who has fallen from grace in my eyes— there was no grace from which to fall. No, this shock and upset is mostly about Pema Chödrön and her teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the latter of whom was a lot like his son: a rapist and a cocaine addict. Everyone knew this, but nobody did anything. In fact Shambhala was intentionally organised to enable abuse, silence victims, and deny accountability.

In short, it's a cult. Matthew Remski has written an article for a Canadian journal called The Walrus that details the whole story, if you're interested. It's a great piece of journalism: well-researched and beautifully written; I learned a lot.

Ugh.... I'm shocked, yes, but somehow not all that surprised? Over the past year, my man-hating has calmed down a lot, to the point where I usually consider men to be human beings, but this sort of thing makes me reconsider. "This is just what men do," I thought. "How foolish to believe there were any good ones!"

After calming down from the initial rush of horror and disgust, I remember what I knew before: such generalisations are largely unhelpful. And it's not like I have to deal with "all men," anyways. Just some men, on some occasions. (But if the patriarchy was a guy, like just one guy with a name and an address, I would absolutely be mailing him anthrax.)

I think my expectations were too high, too. Of course, I did not think that Chödrön or Rinpoche were perfect. That would be silly, considering both of them readily admitted to character flaws and described some of their struggles in life. But those were mundane confessions like, "sometimes I feel furious at my children," not "I torture living creatures for fun." When comparing a messianic public image and a private life of abuse, the contrast could not be any more stark. In this case, I was intentionally misled.

But to address my own culpability here: my expectations of Buddhism itself were too high. Really, I read one entry-level book and thought, "this is it! This is how I can save myself!" In that very book, Start Where You Are, Chödrön herself warns against exchanging one worldview for another. I can't remember what exactly she meant by that, but I interpreted her message like this: rushing into an idealogy, trying to absorb and conform to its teachings, is yet more distraction from experiencing your real life. And those experiences are the real learning.

Something that caught my attention in the Phase 2 Report was this quote from Dr. Elizabeth Monson:

For Buddhism to succeed and thrive in the west, we also need to recognize how so many western Buddhists these days come to Buddhism from abusive backgrounds and with unresolved trauma. Many times, not knowing any differently and being seduced by the idea that meditation and embarking on a spiritual path is a cure-all, some people believe that Buddhism, Buddhist teachers, and Buddhist practices can heal them of emotional turmoil and psychological torment. In my experience running and teaching in a Dharma vessel, we are seeing more and more persons entering the Buddhist path with pre-existing trauma and/or childhood abuse.

Needless to say, she read me for absolute filth. For the past couple weeks, I've been contemplating quitting trauma therapy and practicing Tibetan Buddhism instead. I'm eternally grateful to have learned the truth about Shambhala before embarking on any communal practice. Of course, this doesn't erase my personal dissatisfaction with therapy, nor do these crimes discredit Buddhist teachings as a whole. It's just... really good to know. I'm a big fan of information; I always want more of it.

So, in the spirit of gathering info, I'm researching the other communities/practices/idealogies that I recently discovered: Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and Focusing. I gave these things my endorsement— or at least I was really, really, visibly excited about them— so I feel it's only fair to share my findings here. This is as much for my own learning as it is for anyone who was inspired by my diary to explore these ideas, too.

Let's start with NVC. Of the various criticisms I read, this thread, "Is NVC a cult?" on the City Data Forum is my favourite. OP is a woman frustrated by her low quality conversations with a long-time friend, the degradation of which she attributes to the friend's use of NVC. There's some interesting back and forth here— lots of people chiming in, from people trained as professional practitioners, to people who tried it and didn't like it, to people who ask, "what the hell is NVC?"

For those who are similarly wondering, "what the hell," here is a brief overview: Nonviolent Communication, AKA Compassionate Communication, is a langauge practice designed to facilitate intra- and interpersonal understanding. Its main goal is conflict resolution through active listening and empathic connection.

Basically, everybody gets in touch with their feelings, cares about each other's feelings, and agrees to find solutions that keep everybody feeling pretty good. At its core, NVC is about living and loving with integrity and agency. So far, so good. Nothing culty here.

Now, let's return to the criticisms. The dialogue on City Data exemplifies what I consider the major risks associated with NVC: unskilled, inappropriate, and inauthentic use. I'll go into each one, one at a time, to share my own thoughts and feelings about it all.

By unskilled use, I mean robotic regurgitation of phrases pulled from books and training tapes. An obsession with phrasing things NVC-style ejects you from the conversation, effectively ruining your chance at empathic connection. Just think about it. How likely are you to hear someone else when you're busy thinking about what you want to say? And how likely are you to be heard when what comes out sounds so stilted, forced, and unconventional?

So the struggle, it seems, is in balancing your prior learning with your present experience. It takes serious effort to Be Present and Open and Mindful while also remembering the finer details of the new-fangled communication tool you read about last week. It takes effort and practice, and patience from all parties. Honestly, I'm grateful to have been speaking to basically no one when I discovered NVC. For a week or two, I was very suddenly very annoying. (Shout out to Pomme who is still putting up with my weird questions ♥)

Even now, my usage is still clunky, but this is a skill like any other: it must be learned. I've heard (anecdotally) it takes about six months to fully grasp and integrate the practice into your daily life. I'm assuming that projection is for really dedicated students, too, which right now I am not. Personally, I think it's worth it, but the time investment is another common criticism— which ties into the issue of privilege as well. Most people are impoverished and illiterate. They don't have the hikineet luxury of sitting on their asses all day, reading self-help books.

They probably also don't have time to entertain my weird questions or awkward phrasing. All the more incentive to really learn and do my best. In the meantime, NVC Founder Marshall Rosenberg often said that your goal in life should not be "perfection," but to be "progressively less stupid." I love that little aphorism so much, I've thought about putting it up on my wall. Indeed, I'm getting less and less stupid every day!

Next on my list of risks, I cited inappropriate use of NVC. This is pretty similar to unskilled use because I imagine it's a problem that mostly afflicts beginners. After discovering NVC, there is a temptation to talk like that all the time. Not only is it a new and exciting way of living, aren't we always supposed to be tuned in, alive, and empathetic? Every conversation seems like an opportunity to practice!

But when you don't know what the hell you're doing, and therefore focus more on Nonviolent Communication rather than plain ol' communication, your conversations suffer. This seems to be what happened between the poster on City Data and her friend.

For context, NVC places a lot of importance on hearing people and letting them know they've been heard. This is mainly done by parroting back to them or summarising what they've said. In my experience, this works fine with people who are prone to rambling/ranting/one-sided conversation— probably because my interruption barely registers. It's also very useful in deep, feelings-focused talk, where the primary purpose is helping someone to feel important, validated and loved.

But, uh... I dunno about you, but most of the conversations I participate in carry on for totally different purposes. More often, they're for exchanging mundane information (e.g. where are you, what are you doing, when will you be home) or for entertainment and lighthearted companionship. Those kinds of exchanges necessitate novel responses. It's all well and good to let someone know I was listening, but I can't just stop there. If I want the conversation to progress, I have to respond to inquires made and make new inquiries of my own.

This is really, really, REALLY basic stuff, like Talking to Living Creatures 101, but it's not impossible to forget. I used to describe myself as "an excellent conversationalist" who was "naturally empathetic," and picking up NVC made me forget, too.

To make matters worse, most of my talking is done over text, which makes parroting even more obvious and probably even more offputting. Someday, I would love to learn more about spoken versus written communication, especially in the context of NVC (assuming any such discussion exists). I really wonder about that!

For now, all I can say is that I love how obvious NVC tactics tend to be when they're written down. This thread on Hacker News has some great examples— and some more compelling arguments for and against NVC. One detractor, uk_programmer, was met with this lovingly formulaic response from llamataboot.

I wonder, did uk_programmer know enough about NVC to notice? He seems to have responded pretty genuinely. And just for the record, I think llamataboot was being totally genuine, too.

This segues perfectly into the final risk I mentioned today: inauthentic use. I'd call this the greatest risk of all, the most insidious and most perverse, not just because it defies the heart of NVC, but because it is actively and intentionally damaging to others. When I say "inauthentic use," I'm talking about someone using Nonviolent Communication— both the language style and the network/community— to abuse others.

Most of the articles I linked at the beginning complain foremost about this problem. They offer examples of people who are not really listening, don't really care, and dress up their displays of power and subjugation with NVC lingo. At its most formal and formulaic, NVC could very easily be used to talk circles around someone who has never heard it before. Unlike the unskilled newbie who would prefer not to confuse their audience but lacks the competence to do so, in this case, the disorientation is 100% purposeful and malicious.

Even worse, NVC could very easily be misappropriated for use in DARVO: deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender. At its core, NVC emphasises choice and personal responsibility. One of its key tenets is that your feelings are not caused by other people, but inspired by them. For example, getting flipped off in traffic, one day, might make me totally enraged. Another day, I just laugh it off.

The difference is my reaction. It all comes down to what I said to myself: about the person who flipped me off, why they did it, what it says about me that I was insulted by a stranger, what it says about the world as a whole. My rage could come from saying, "what an asshole! I can't stand it when anyone thinks I'm a bad driver."

In contrast, thinking, "Why is the middle finger considered phallic? Why not pointer or pinky? It's all so silly!" might make me laugh. This perspective on thoughts and feelings empowers people to make their peace with reality. Nothing can change the fact that I got flipped off, but I am free to choose what I do about it.

The potential for perversion here is obvious. "I beat you with my fists and now you feel scared. Not my fault! You're choosing to be afraid!" This line of thinking has nothing to do with empathy or compassion— it's regular old victim blaming.

But even convincing displays of empathy can be dangerous. Imagine being beat up, and suddenly the guy who beat you is asking how you're feeling? And he's expecting you to answer honestly! As Real Social Skills wrote in an article I linked before, "when you have power over someone, it is abusive to pressure them to discuss their intimate feelings," (she says) because they may feel unable to refuse. I would add that these intimate feelings, once shared, could very easily be weaponised against the victim.

In short, anybody can use the language of so-called compassion, but holding compassion in your heart is a totally separate and arguably even more important thing. Abusive people love systems like Nonviolent Communication because speaking the language is a great way to appear virtuous while really being the total opposite. There is a whole subclass of abusers who learn pop-psych and infiltrate wellness groups to better hide their emotional instability and convince their victims to stay.

And in a dedicated community, there are plenty of potential victims to choose from. I imagine that, like Western Buddhists, most people who seek out NVC have unresolved trauma and maybe even a tendency towards codependency. (Raises hand, lol) Statistically speaking, if those complications are not addressed, then chances of revictimisation are high. Higher still in NVC culture where all members are encouraged to see the best in others— even when they harm you.

... I have been writing this for more than 6 hours now. This is probably the longest diary entry I've ever written— EVER!— and there's still so much more to say. I'm not done discussing NVC, and I haven't even begun to touch upon Focusing. Yikes.

Ahh... let me just try to wrap up real quick, though unfortunately my "wrapping up" is just the No True Scottsman fallacy. Bear with me, here.

As glad as I am to see some alternative opinions on Nonviolent Communication, I feel like a lot of criticisms I read are directly addressed in the teachings themselves. On several occasions I read things like, "NVC has no framework to address this problem" or "NVC advocates for [this and that harmful thing]" when I know for a fact that it advocates for the opposite.

Not one of these critics said anything about restorative justice: a glaring omission, I feel. And there's so much emphasis on people being forced to do things— forced to speak in a certain way, or for a certain length of time, or forced to speak to at all. I'm upset by this because it denies agency. Other people absolutely can (and do) pressure us to behave in certain ways, and, even when it masks itself in NVC lingo, this kind of pressure is not compassionate and it does create painful situations. People need to be held accountable for their attempts to hurt, dominate, and control others.

Really, all people need to be held accountable for everything they do. At the end of the day, we alone are resonsible for our thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions. Sometimes, others pressure us and, for any number of very rational reasons, we choose to give in to that pressure. It happens to all of us— to the best of us! Seeing it as a choice that we made empowers us to choose differently next time. The choice might end up being "stay away from all those NVC nutjobs!"

This ties in very nicely with another very, very important part of Nonviolent Communication— and mindfulness and serenity as a whole. (Rosenberg didn't make this up— in fact most all of NVC is age-old wisdom repackaged for 1980's pop-psych hungry Westerners!) We must understand that we have absolutely no control over another's actions. None whatsoever. Not even a little bit.

We can delude ourselves into thinking we've played somebody like a fiddle, but at best we can only coerce. Ultimately, everyone makes their own choices. The same way someone has to choose for themselves to take your well-intentioned advice, you'll see that yelling "stop!" usually won't inspire a rapist to quit raping you. That's very visceral, so I hope it was worth it to make my point. What I'm trying to say is that someone who abuses you (meaning: a prolonged pattern of mistreatment) has made the choice to do so, and as victims we, too, have choices to make. Those choices are rarely easy, but they are ours. I'm going to own mine.

A Moment

Ugh.... that's enough for the day. I started writing early this afternoon, and now it's almost bedtime! I've run totally out of steam: no moments to share today. Haven't we gotten enough for Dr. Flonnes's wisdom?

Lol jk, but I really am pleased with what I've written. It seems that whenever I write about NVC, I get totally worked up and go on and on for ages. The scrollbar on today's entry is so tiny... ahh!! Yikes!!!

Hmm... you know, initially these little boxes were supposed to hold really delicate, precious, memories and moments that were meaningful and beautiful in a very ordinary way. So far, it hasn't turned out like that. I've been proselytising instead. Not sure I like how much I've been doing that... and today's entry like the super extended uncut version of exactly that: Flonne the Acolyte of Nonsense ranting about agency. Again.

Hmmmm.... Well, I'm less pleased now that I've reflected. I think I will just post this and head to bed, see how I feel about it tomorrow. In any case, I had lots of fun reading and writing and researching and stuff. I see now that even though it's not creative writing, my diary entries are a way for me to engage with the craft, too. After all, I put a lot of effort into them. I take my time, editing for concision and clarity as I go. I imagine that, if I compared snapshots of my online diaries over the years, I'd see some obvious developments in my command of language.

Oh here we go, again. It seems now we've tuned into Flonne The Egoist Show! Enough!!! I'm going to get into my bed and snuggle up with my blankets and my teddy bear and that will be it for today. Goodnight everybuddy.

CardTen of Wands (R)
TimeAll day...!


Today is my favourite kind of day: rainy, chilly, and green. It was drizzling when I woke up, and as I write, the downpour continues. I opened up my windows to savour the sound, but there's some commotion in the neighbourhood now— people stomping about— and in the house, too. At first I wrote "even with distractions, I can be at peace," but right now, that's only hypothetically true. In reality, I put on my headphones and turned up the music to drown out the world.

.... Ahh, in the end, all that energy and noise was so disruptive to me, I couldn't write at all. It took me two hours to produce two paragraphs, the latter of which I scrapped once I realised it was whiny nonsense. Pity that my headphones don't cancel noise. But it's all over now; even though it feels real as I remember it, any time I want, I can step out of the memory and into the present.

There were lots of little things I wanted to write about today. Let me make a short list so I don't lose my place:

  • Web hosting stuff
  • Fashion Dreamer for Nintendo Switch
  • The... the piano scene from Stoker (2013)???

Alright, let's take it from the top! You may or may not have noticed, but with my last update, I directed the "ENTER" link on my index page away from Neocities and towards my new domain: I did this quietly and without putting too much thought into it. Before, I was waiting until I had rewritten the "greetings" section on the homepage, but since then I've decided to leave it how it is. And now that I have no immediate plans to change it, I thought, "what am I waiting for?" and just went ahead and did it.

Perhaps it was motivated by the fact that, for a moment there, I was really thinking "I hate Neocities, it's too frustrating and I don't want to use it anymore!" These feelings were inspired by the inconveniences I faced when uploading assets and updating pages using the in-browser Neocities Dashboard. I won't go into details beacuse both times I tried to lay out my complaints, I felt increasingly anxious and agitated, like throwing a digital tantrum in slow-motion.

Basically, for the past several years, I'd been using WebDAV/Cyberduck to manage my website, and so I didn't have to deal with any of that. Since reverting to a free account, Neocities kicked me off my WebDAV connection. I'm actually apalled that they lock that behind a paywall— or at least claim to. This morning I discovered I'm still able to connect via WinSCP: a lovely, user-friendly, time-tested program. In fact, I prefer it over Cyberduck, too.

So crisis averted! I'll continue uploading to my Neocities mirror, though I think my dot NET domain is like... the official Vivarism now...??? I'm not sure. We'll see, I guess.

I'd like to get comfy using WinSCP's Synchronise commands, and figure out what the heck I'm doing with my RSS Feed, too. As always, there's lots to do and learn. It's all rather exciting.

Up next we have... Fashion Dreamer!!!!! OMG!!!!! I watched the trailer and immediately fell in love. This game appears to be a spiritual successor to the Style Savvy franchise, though they've switched the core storyline from running a boutique to running an Inst*gram.

I can't say I'm enthused about the "online influencer" simulation, but I adore the other developments they've made. All clothing is free, your inventory space is unlimited, and you can swap between 4 different dress-up avatars at will! Without even getting into the breadth and depth of customisation options, this already sounds like dollmaker paradise!

I'm so excited to play this game. It releases on Friday, November 3rd— 88 days from now. Yes, I counted. Just three more months...! I may be waiting a little bit longer, though, since I don't intend to buy it. I'll wait until someone uploads the ROM and then play on my PC!

Hmm, and lastly we have... the piano scene from Stoker. I'm not sure I have anything to say about this except, "wow, funny how this was on my mind," as if it isn't always. Stoker is one of my favourite movies of all time because it has a totally unhinged female protagonist and the piece in question— "Duet"— is scored by Philip Glass of The Truman Show fame. (I'm certain he's famous for other things, but I only care about "Truman Sleeps." For the record, The Truman Show is my other favourite movie.)

I won't link the clip here because it's best seen in context. Is this an endorsement?? I'm not sure. If you want to watch it, keep in mind that Stoker is rated R for violence, and it explores some really disturbing sexual themes. Definitely skip this one if you can't handle incest. But, uh, if you can handle it... keep an eye out for the piano scene. And think of me, because I'm always thinking of it.

That reminds me: I started to make a manga "shrine" page the other day, which was fun but a little tough because my tastes are so... dark. I enjoy fiction best when it is painful, terrible, and weird. Maybe you wouldn't guess that based on the looks of my ultra cute and sunshiney internet playplace, but I guess it's less surprising if you're aware of my UNDERTALE-related shenanigans.

Aww, now I'm missing my original manifesto, written nearly a year ago. It doesn't get any more flagrant than that! The story has changed a lot since then and, truth be told, I'm much less fixated on dying by Sans's hand, but the weird/bad/wrong tone persists. Man, when am I gonna write again? For something I describe as my "life's passion," I sure don't do a lot of it. Sigh....

A Moment

Shame is my bed partner. For a long time, I was embarrassed just to be alive, so it didn't surprise me when today I laid down and felt ashamed of myself. "What's underneath that?" I asked, and I saw that I was disappointed with my actions and my position in life. There are things that I wish I did that I haven't often done.

Again I asked, "what's underneath?" and I saw that my disappointment came from a lack of gratitude. With unwavering focus, I looked only at the negatives, what I perceived as "lacking," and then compared this moment to an imaginary one where everything is better. Thankfully, that focus wavered long enough for me to step outside myself and observe.

Laying quietly, no longer ashamed, now curious, I saw how I overlooked all the wonderful things about my self and my life. Dreams deferred, huh? But it's so wonderful to have a dream in the first place.

I even glossed over the miracle of existence itself! Without life, without consciousness, there is no dreaming and no disappointment, and both are equally valuable. Shame and regret, like all forms of pain, serve crucial functions. Not only do they counterbalance pleasure, they indicate danger. Danger from the outside, yes, but more importantly (to me) danger from within.

I felt ashamed because I insulted myself. Then I saw my disappointment, borne of comparison and ingratitude. None of these things are in my highest good, none of them in accordance with my values, and the pain I felt was like a big yellow YIELD sign. "Slow down. Watch where you're going." I can't go backwards, but the essence of life is that we can always turn around, go somewhere new— that's vivarism.

CardQueen/King Pair
MoodGlad to be alive


Good morning, evening, night, some greeting appropriate to this time of day. It's 5 a.m.. After taking an impromptu nap yesterday afternoon, I've managed to play on the computer all night. I wonder, should I even attempt writing a diary entry in this state? To be honest, I was already fatigued at midnight but, against my better judgement, I stayed up anyways. Soon, the sun will rise, and the hour at which I'd been waking up will become the hour at which I went to sleep. Woe!

In the above paragraph alone, I had to correct 3 typos and 2 homophones. That's something funny about me— when I'm sleepy or not paying attention, I'll mix up homophones like crazy. "Right" and "write" is the most obvious one, but just now I did it with "soon" and "sun." Technically that's not a homophone, and I know that I wrote "soon" because it appeared earlier in the sentence, but still.... Take pity on my linguistically challenged brain.

Why is it always late at night that I want to write? Not just this diary entry, but in general. I've been wanting to write some Undertale fanfiction for... oh, I dunno, a whole year now, but for some reason "inspiration" only strikes when I'm shriveled up and half-dead.

Why is inspiration in quotation marks? I don't know. You'll have to ask Me-From-2-Sentences ago. Alas, she's not available right now. By the time you read this, she'll have already ceased to exist.

My computer playtime consisted of:

  • Decorating this diary. I made the basic layout a few days ago, so tonight was all about choosing images and colours and things.
  • Decorating my page. I am hotlinking images and stylesheets from my Neocities server as an insult to Mr. Kyle because it is convenient.
  • ...? What else did I do...?? My internet history says I watched Supernanny and ripped music from Cosmo Sheldrake's Bandcamp.
  • Wow. I guess that's it.

OMG. I AM SO FREAKIN' TIRED. The later I stay awake, the worse it's going to get, I think... Ahhh,.... I'm so sad. I was really enjoying waking up at regular morning times. Some days I even got up at 6! It was great!!!

I want to play Mario Kart. I haven't played in a couple days and I miss it. When I'm totally focused on the game, it's like I disappear into the screen. Eventually I realise that my whole body is tense and my hands are grabbing the controller super tight. That's my cue to loosen up. Tonight I haven't loosened up at all, not even a little bit.

My mouth is dry and sad but I'm tired of drinking. All night I've been craving cereal, but there isn't any. I want to sit on the floor and eat dry cereal by the handful. Don't you know food tastes better when it's messy? There is nothing more delicious than dry cereal on the floor at dawn.

Oh... there's the sun.....

Okay. I turned off the lights and opened the blinds. There's bird poo on my window. Why am I still writing this? OMG. If you think this entry is weird, boring, or jumbled, then trust me, it's even worse for me as the one writing it. I think I'm just really excited about this page...! I want to use it! I want to share it with everyone! It's so cute and colourful, really energetic!!!

As I've been doing since June, the design is based on my monthly card. This August, that would be The Emperor— though I also drew The Hierophant later on for some additional clarity. These cards are all about structure, learning, steadfastness, and.... I'm literally too tired to go on. I want to share the details of my design process but I have brain goo leaking out my ears.

(At this point, I went to bed. ~5 hours later, I'm pretty refreshed!)

Alright, here I am again, brain fully intact. Let me pick up right where I left off. The Rider-Waite Emperor wears an orange robe and, to me, he embodies surety, diligence, and well-directed passion. I also interpreted drawing his card at this point in my life as divine guidance to venture into the unknown, bringing with me all that I've learned over the past two months.

In this case, my prior knowledge is not a crutch or a safety blanket. I won't be hiding behind preconceived notions. Instead, I'll take it as insight: methods for learning more, suggestions on how to look closer, reminders to be as curious and as open as I can.

So I wanted an orange page! I thought it would be a nice contrast from last month's sedation in pale green and white. In the end, it's a lot less orange than I initially imagined, but even with the dark blue background, this page is the brightest on Vivarism. I know that for a fact because I had to seriously tone it down. Before, it was eye-searing. I'd tab away from this diary, and my homepage would look like it'd been intentionally desaturated. I hadn't realised just how pale my pastels were!!!

This bright, bright, cheerful, colourful energy is what I'd like to embody this August, but channeled through timely, scheduled, even ritualistic means. Staying up til 6 a.m. is a totally "failed step one" move, when the most basic of all human rhythms is waking and sleeping at a regular time, but there are 26 more days in this month. Lots of time to see what happens. Lots of time to Be Here.

One of the most important of the lojong teachings is to "give up all hope of fruition"— which basically means to relinquish all expectations, give away your belongings, and be modest about success. This is totally at odds with traditional goal-setting Western idealogy. I feel kind of conflicted— what am I supposed to do? Even self-help authors who teach detachment from outcomes still advise you to set goals. After all, how else would you know if you're heading towards what you want in life?

But there's that word that always troubles me: "want." I have a major complex about wanting things, asking for things, and basic human needs in general. That's one reason why NVC was so revolutionary to me. I am always asking myself, "am I allowed?" "Is this okay?" "Do I need permission?" In the context of goals, hopes, dreams, etc., I'm wondering if it's okay to want better for myself. Even more than that, do I have the right to define what "better" looks like?

Right now, I don't have the answers. If I stay stuck in my room all the time, I'm never going to find them. So... here I go, venturing forth. I'm trying to take it one step at a time.... I'm always saying that, aren't I? It bears repeating. I don't know everything— I'll never know everything— but I will say this with certainty: I can only exist in one moment at a time.

A Moment

Seemingly at random, I'm often afflicted by sharp pains. I'll just be going about my day when suddenly my body curls in on itself, panicking and locking down before I even realise why— and then I feel it. And it hurts!!! It's the sort of thing I want to run away from, shut off, numb, soothe— but I've found that it's relieved the quickest when I go towards it.

At first, it seems counterintuitive: "I'm hurting, so let me hurt more!" In some ways it is about fully embracing the pain, submitting to suffering, but it's not about pretending to like it or to want more of it. It's just an acknowledgement. Acceptance without resistance.

"Ow, ow, ow, that hurts, but fighting hurts more." Instead of curling up, I take a deep breath and relax into it, belly up and defenseless. Running away— rejecting pain— only makes it hurt longer.

These days, relief is pretty much instantaneous. It still takes a while to get over the more intense ones— it all depends on the severity of the pain. But as an example, the sort of thing that used to incapacitate me for five full minutes is now over in half a second.

It's nice. I'm not as afraid as I used to be. Bit by bit, yeah?

CardTwo of Wands (R)
TimeLiminal morning
Music"Jolie Coquine"