I reviewed Diablo III last time. It's still that immersive. I've got my barbarian character up to 20th level roaming the desert. He's stalled at a boss I haven't figured out how to kill, so I'm bouncing around bringing the other nine characters up to the same level and getting very familiar with Act I.
The only down side is that with the game hosted on their server, when they do maintenance I can't play. I won't get the game back till 1pm today. Also, because they're hosting it on their server, I can't do what I still do with Diablo 2 and start new characters any time I feel like playing the really easy bits at the beginning. I'd have to delete characters to make room for the goof-off ones.
Also, back in the day when I played on BattleNet and started characters to play in shared games, they get deleted if I don't play for six months. That could get seriously annoying over time. I go for months without playing and then skim through all the old character list basically deciding if I'm going to play in Nightmare with a past winner, or which of the acts I want to poke into with which character type.
I come back to "abandoned" characters sometimes after years. So there's good reason to keep Diablo 2 loaded on the machine as well.
I guess nothing's perfect. It's just frustrating the servers are down, that's all. I'm sure I'll get creative again in a few days, don't know how long it'll take but there will come a point it's not all fresh and exciting.
The book is actually ready for Nonny. It just needs one more read-through to filter one more time for name changes and goofs and prose polishing. I finished the major changes before even installing the game so I don't feel bad about the time I'm putting into it now. This is very much an earned vacation!
I've also been doing a lot of deep thinking, getting myself sorted out finally. Now that I'm here in San Francisco it became safer to get a therapist to work through my PTSD issues. I have quite a few of them. Call it 50 years of continuous trauma before I got surgery including half the surgery and its recovery.
Julie is fantastic. She's a strong, butch woman with short iron-gray hair and a big wide smile. She understands about the physical issues. I've got three major filters for therapists, if they don't Get It about any of the three I have serious problems.
1) Yes, I am physically disabled. All of my body language is distorted by my crooked spine and mismatched different sized on left and right skeleton. I can read body language well enough but I've been told by some knowledgeable people that my physical symptoms can look like the side effects of long term dependency on antipsychotic medication. Using the power chair to get to appointments helped with communicating this.
2) I'm transgendered. Therapists not familiar and comfortable with transgender don't understand that I'm male. They project a ton of reactions and feelings and thoughts on me that have never been there. They assume these things and ignore, discount or discourage anything real in my reactions. This kind of therapist is the worst, because they're treating my better qualities as flaws and ignoring my problems in favor of made-up ones. At best I wind up having to spend the entire course of therapy educating the therapist instead of working on my problems.
3) Religious outlook and moral values. I'm pagan. I do not have Christian values or even many relict Christian values. I've drawn my worldview from a wide variety of different cultures and thrown out most of Christianity's ideas of right and wrong. There are a few areas of overlap. Real basic ones - murder and theft are wrong in that order, rather than the other order as some conservatives seem to expect.
There's huge cultural barriers with a therapist who doesn't understand my coherent, solid world view. I don't feel shame or guilt about things that I don't think of as wrong, like having had a wild youth. I'm rather proud of the fact that my broad, varied, experimental sexual youth was also sensibly mostly safe-sex and I have lived by my sexual ethics. They bear no relation to the Christian ideal of monogamy marriage-and-kids.
I don't have a lot of shame over a lot of things and don't have the Original Sin viewpoint that people are inherently evil unless some church whips them into being moral. For a long time I didn't even call it morals, I drew a semantic line between Ethics and Morals because my ethics personal. I decided them and I stick to them and adapt them as necessary when those sticky decisions of right and wrong come up in the world or my consciousness gets raised. Morality I thought of as the hypocritical consensus of society, a corrupt thing that could not be trusted to guide decisions of right and wrong in a shattered, dysfunctional culture.
Now that I'm in San Francisco, I'll go ahead and call it morality. My ideas of right and wrong are pretty close to those of my city. I'm part of the community here in ways I never was back in other cities and places I lived in. One of the sad things about having had so many bad therapists, many of them causing immense damage, is that none of them - not even the two previous good ones, ever said what Kitten did.
"Why don't you go ahead and move back to San Francisco even if it costs more to live there?"
Oh, that is a fourth filter I ran into with therapists.
4) Poverty. There are a lot of therapists who may even get past the first three filters and cannot grasp how far down the economic spectrum a white person can slide between physical health issues and discrimination. They don't get it. They assume I could just go out and get a job, that I should want to go out and get a job, that I've got middle class lifestyle assumptions the same as theirs. They have a good job so they don't understand what happens when other necessities are balanced against rent.
They suggest things I can't afford and think that it's a psychological problem if I have financial limits. They can't imagine how I could live in the ways that I do and survive the things I've survived and don't always respect that.
There are so many critical areas of miscommunication that go on with therapists that it's vital to find one that understands your context. A bad therapist does much more harm than good.
Time and again I wound up seeing therapists with the intent of dealing with old issues, only to start going into a slow decline because that therapist's blind spots sap my morale. When a therapist is steering you in the wrong direction for your life, it can take weeks or even months to figure out that's what's going wrong. When it's going right, it's sometimes painful as I dig into areas I'd rather not deal with and face sides of myself that I don't like. It's easy to mistake the friction of cultural conflicts for that kind of pain and keep going way farther into bad therapy than I should.
As a child it wasn't voluntary. There was literally nothing I could do but resist and keep holding my identity boundaries against the assault of trained adults with an agenda that went against my health and my real needs. Later on, I tried repeatedly to find good ones on my own because my life's been that hard all along - and so few of them got it, got any of it.
Betsy was a gay-friendly marriage counselor in Chicago, not a psychologist or psychiatrist. She was good at it and helped prepare me for breaking up with my ex - she saw the relationship was over years before I let go. I was afraid to lose him because he was the only human being in my intimate circle at the time. I had friends and acquaintances but no family or people as close as family except him.
Roland was a therapist I saw in New York throughout the years I was homeless. He was black. It made all the difference to his perceptions of poverty and discrimination that he experienced it himself. He did more than anyone else to help my transition. He helped me sort out how much of my problems were internal, PTSD issues, scars from previous traumas and how much were just current existing traumas in an unlivably rough situation. One of the things he was researching was the specific pressures and adaptations of artistic work.
His view included the idea that introspection tends to turn over and rip apart a lot of the everyday dysfunctions and bad attitudes that most people don't even pay attention to or get hurt by. It makes sense to this day. I can't count the number of people who told me "You think too much" about almost anything. Yet I have to in order to paint or write well. I have to look at what's really there, from many points of view to show them from different characters instead of narrowly from one point of view.
Julie's as good as those two were. I've got high hopes for this. On the list, she's a strong adherent of Integrative Medicine and we will be directly tackling my fibromyalgia symptoms, trying to reduce them and maybe even retrain my autoimmune system to Non-Emergency Health. She shares my idea that one of its causes is just the unreal levels of stress I put up with through the first fifty years of my life.
With her, my goal is to get used to living well in a happy place where I fit in and I'm pretty much in step with the community. I like it here. The things I gave up to be here are mostly things I don't care about in teh first place. Like having a car. I didn't want a car so much as I wanted independence. I didn't want a house so much as I wanted a clean room and a happy cat.
Now she's done the paperwork and my happy cat is a prescription strength, official Emotional Support animal, not a pet but the necessity he is in my life. I rate him on that priority, he eats before I do. Now the city does too and I won't be as limited in my housing choices. She thinks practical like that - she even suggested it before I brought it up as soon as I described my relationship with him. Yes, my cat's in my intimate circle.
So far it's going well. Monday we got into some deep emotional territory, we're starting to get past logistic stuff into the things that need to be dug up and aired out. Most people try to get rid of their dirty laundry. I'm a writer. That means beyond just dealing with it by getting rid of it, I need to get it cleaned up, washed and folded and packed up neatly into the bins of Cool Things To Write About. Not one of the troubles I've faced in life is unique to me, all of them make good story. So I can't forget. Just get grounded into here and now to understand my life is different, those conflicts have diminished to a human scale.
Aw bugger. I just came out to LiveJournal again. I had years ago when I got my surgery but I'd let it lapse as I picked up more readers from my art groups, where I'm not really out.
If you didn't know, now you do. Add that to the list of assorted physical defects I had to struggle with. I was always the guy you know me as, but there were some nightmare years especially in childhood when that looked like a monster because I got stuffed in a dress and people expected me to think and act and feel like a girl. It was as ludicrous as you're imagining.
It was more painful than I can describe. The closest thing that comes to it is that Twilight Zone episode about the man who got shunned and people literally acted like he didn't exist. That's essentially what it was - whatever I said or felt or thought, people ignored that and answered the lines that they thought I'd said. Sometimes helpfully cuing me to what I was supposed to think or feel.
Lot of long stories there, but I had surgery in 2005 and am now legally male and look decent if I was to go swimming or whatever. Still no life partner but I didn't exactly have much opportunity in the past decade and right now I want to get my head together before I look. That way I won't wind up with another dysfunctional relationship. Being single is far better than a bad relationship.