Eight hours today.
*pounce hug* offered if welcome!
I hope this finds you well. I saw the very kind, welcoming, and encouraging words you left back in April when I stopped by and I just wanted to say hello, again, and thank you. It lifted my emotional well-being to read your response and I am grateful for that moment of compassionate outreach.
Over the weekend I attended (online) the FtBConscience conference, all three days, and was able to see many excellent panel discussions and participate in the chartroom conversations, as well, and was very pleased to see that format available as an alternative to meatspace conferences that can be cost-prohibitive, distance-prohibitive, accessibility-prohibitive, or sometimes just introvert- . . . well, not exactly prohibitive, but introvert-challenging :)
I say that, of course, as both an introvert and also wanting to acknowledge that challenge is not always a bad thing, and also that I know very well that as an introvert I am very capable of meaningful human interaction in boisterous, crowded, dynamic settings. My finances, just now, though, sometimes make travel harder.
Regardless, it was an excellent event with diverse topics and panels, and overall a very good sense of welcoming and exploration and information and fun. As the weekend unfolded I recognized the occasional Pharyngula comments section name, and I thought of you and wanted to say hello!
I am doing a little better in my life on some things. I have been getting good counseling support and learning to pay better attention to my emotions and mental health, and learning that I can still be a skeptic and atheist and still learn to trust myself in emotional spaces. I have been making progress toward my PhD, and learning that I do not want to be an academic and researcher. I have been re-learning that it is totally o.k. to love things like fiction and creative writing, especially when they make me feel more fulfilled and happy. It looks like I won’t be pursuing a social-science career, but I still want to try and think scientifically, and am starting to recognize that I want to also pay attention to how I feel. :) Not entirely sure where I got the idea that I couldn’t trust myself in my own emotional spaces, but I am learning. As ever.
I still lurk occasionally at FtB, and want to regain a greater level of involvement there, with time, as part of my own work to value my experience and engage not only intellectually but emotionally with the things I am interested in and care about. Thank you for telling me about the lounge. It’s funny. In a way, when I look at Thunderdome (and the lounge, too!), I think, “Ah, yes. Pharyngula! It’s great, even when sometimes I feel scared. I have yet to stop learning there.”
I hope you and your loved ones are well. Your recent embroidery work looks beautiful, very striking, and intricate. 8 hours! Wow! The fantastic and resonant contrast of the brilliant red amidst the deep black is so rich and strong!
As usual, I have waxed long, but I send greetings and support and a *stands with*. Take care.
Comment by Desert Son, OM — 2013/07/22 @ 2:13 am
Hallo, Robert! It’s great to hear from you again. I’m really happy you attended FTBcon and had a good time – I’m not set up for any of that stuff, maybe I will be next year. I think it was a very good idea too, especially for those of us who are seriously on the introverted side. At least with a virtual con, you can retire if you feel the need to do so, without hassle and without having to explain yourself.
Fantastic news that you’re getting good support and busy connecting all the bits together. I’d say that an academic or research life isn’t for everyone. Your thoughts on the matter remind me of Carl Sagan’s early works (two of which I’m re-reading right now, Broca’s Brain and The Dragon’s of Eden). Curiosity, passion, and a basic love for all aspects of life and individuality are great and wondrous gifts. I think a person can be science-minded, which of course includes skeptical and critical thinking, along with an incurable nosiness about the how and why, and still be happily immersed in creative pursuits or hobbies. I suppose it’s old-fashioned now to speak about “a well rounded person”, but I think there’s value in that. Do you have any thoughts as to what you do want to do with your PhD? Or is it more a matter of obtaining it, then doing something else altogether?
I think a lot of us deal with not trusting ourselves in emotional spaces. Lots of reasons for that, about as many as there are people. Emotions are tricksy, and the damn things can sneak up on you in a bad way sometimes. It can be easier to take refuge in non-emotional spaces, and if you do that long enough, you have to re-learn a lot of things. Been there, done that. I look forward to seeing you back at FTB and Pharyngula, even if it’s just here and there. I’m afraid I’m not there much these days, too much work, but I still love Pharyngula and most of the commentariat, even when they’re being exasperating.
Everyone here is quite well and happy. Right now, I’m being terribly lazy and should get some work done. Yes, I definitely should. Whether or not I’ll do that, well…
Comment by Caine — 2013/07/22 @ 1:10 pm
Hi, Caine! Great to hear from you, too! You are so right about the introvert-advantage of the online convention. There were several people who reached their allocation of daily spoons and would periodically sign off to take care of themselves, and it was very welcoming for the participants. It struck me as a terrific way to host an event (though I confess I do like the meatspace versions, too).
Thanks for the notes about Sagan’s early work. I really love Sagan’s efforts on science education and popularization. I remember as a young child one of the first television programs I ever watched was the PBS series _Cosmos_ with my folks. I was in awe. Still love space science to this day (I have a framed picture – reproduction, not an original, obviously :) – of the Earthrise seen from the Apollo 8 mission. One of my all-time favorites). I should definitely sit down with Sagan’s written works some time. He always struck me as someone genuinely passionate and in love with not only the science itself, but also the human urge to explore.
Re: my PhD, right now I want to obtain and then do something else. I’m thinking of getting back into editing again. It might be that a science or social-science or medical journal might hire me (my current focus is in medical education, including use of simulators as teaching and assessment tools). It might be there is some “place-holder” job that would work, as well, and allow me to find fulfillment with other outlets. My heart is in creative fiction, storytelling with the printed word, and I know sometimes those are dime-a-dozen dreams, but when you love what you love, well, I figure even if I never get published or anything, I only have about 40 years left (controlling for all else), might as well do something I love. Thank you for the encouraging words.
You mentioned having much work occupying your days. I hope you find the work is rewarding. I was very glad to read that you and yours are well and happy, and I hope such continues for you and loved ones, rats and horses included (and sometimes especially). :)
Comment by Desert Son, OM — 2013/07/25 @ 10:32 pm
Wow – I think there’s a lot of room in medical education for tons of passion, enthusiasm, creativity and empathy. I expect it’s like much of education, and it goes flat, rote and boring all too often. Sounds exciting to me, but I find most things exciting. I think writing is great, too, and why not write? These days, with digital publishing, it can be easier to get your stuff out there. You never know until you try, eh?
Yes, I find my work rewarding, if oftentimes tedious and annoying too. Well, it is work. :D
Comment by Caine — 2013/07/26 @ 5:28 pm
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