America, Day 11

Another fortuituous day, May Day. Time for church, which I was quite looking forwards to. I never thought the day would come that I would actually be LOOKING FORWARDS TO GOING TO CHURCH. But then again that was before I discovered a church like this.

The sermon was on pornography. I really admire the minister for not shirking such a difficult and potentially controversial topic. She went through the S word, the G word, and the P word without so much as a blush.

I went up to her later and thanked her. As I said to her, as someone who has both used and abused porn, I can see it’s great potential for both good and evil. Like most things. I’ve needed it in my most darkest of days to stay alive, but it’s also been pretty destructive to both my mind and body. Another thing I’m happy to give up and have a healthier relationship with.
Getting used to the difference between church services…for instance, they don’t clap in this church. Also, they link hands at the end.

Look, a festival! Not really. This is that time of the year that the special interest groups try to get recruit. Turns out the church doesn’t often do this, only once a year to be exact. Must be because I was here. I feel so special.

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More pictures of stuff :

I like the flags. Why water, though? (水)I guess it’s the most neutral of the 4 (or 5, if you’re Oriental) elements.

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Chatted with many friendly people, some of who came up to me, and told some of them about my book and my blog. I learnt that Sacramento is famous for tomatoes and is also called Sacratomato. It’s a sign, I tell you. Good time for me to blog more!

One of the booths was the labyrinth, a time-honored tradition in which someone walks through the twisting walls in order to gain perspective, clarity and other things besides. Sounds like exactly what I need at this time. I walked it and while doing so I was reminded of the books of Amber and Corwin’s walking of the Pattern…which not-so-coincidentally I read while I was in California, 21 years ago.

I could find my way to the center but I couldn’t find my way back, so I just walked in a straight line past everything – cutting the Gordian knot, as it were. That’s how I got to this point, after all.

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Also, vikings. It was for a camping trip. Any camping trip with vikings gets my vote.

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My best viking impression. Pillage their women, rape their villa…wait. I’ve gotten it the wrong way around.

I must say, I really really like this church. I liked the Mount Diablo one as well but this feels…friendlier? If I stayed there I would totally come to this church all the time.

Time for lunch. My hosts brought me to an Ethiopian restaurant. My first time eating Ethiopian food! Which is more than a little Indian in taste and texture. Delicious though.

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Was aware of a slight pounding in my temples while eating which I recognize as…a hangover. Whaddya know! More new experiences. It wasn’t as unpleasant as I initially thought.

More attacks of the past while in the car. But I think it’s getting better. Slowly, I think, the whys start to fade. Why am I not here yet? Why is it taking so long? Why did I have to suffer so much?

So many, many old patterns. I think back to one of my most reliable of blades, the mighty Occam’s Razor. Why does it take so long to heal, why do the scars run so deep? Because neurobiologically speaking, I’ve thought these things and my mind has run on these tracks for 2 decades. As my therapist often tells me, that is enough time for highways of neurons to form, layers and layers of connective tissue that I can’t expect to go away overnight. In recovery there is the physical brain to be aware of as well.

One step at a time. We’re getting there. 前へ進め、あるくのような速さで。(Move forwards, as if at the speed of walking.)

Walked into a random video store and my God, it looks EXACTLY like 21 years ago. The games have all changed but they’re arranged in exactly the same way. There are still VHS tapes! Wut. Expected more nostalgia and feels but there wasn’t that much. Which I’m actually kind of grateful for. Excesses of emotion can be very, very draining. And I think I’m past the OMGWTF stage of my healing.

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A nice garden I saw. And some pictures of the town.

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Went for a scroll down Sacramento River. Isn’t it beautiful? Everything I’ve seen so far has been nice.

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Beautiful clouds. I have like 20 pictures of them but I can’t post them all here. Here are my chosen best picks.

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Oh look, long grass. Doesn’t it look like you could find a Pokemon or two in them?

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There was a little grassy path that I walked down to see what was at the other side. It’s the kind of place you’d expect to make a sharp left and find a chest with 2 potions and 500 gold.
I always remind myself that everything I see in games usually has some basis in real life.

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We came back and had a snack and had more philosophical discussion, and then…we went on another walk.

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I love sunsets.

Sunsets…they sometimes make me think of this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnWmUmZz0Wk
probably my favorite sunset in a video game, in a lifetime spent playing video games. One of the last games I played before leaving California. It’s no wonder I am remembering it now.
Once again we talked about many things. Transcultural issues and jobs, mainly. How some jobs (finance and psychology sprang to mind) required degrees and some others often didn’t. How some things could be done remotely and others couldn’t. The demon inside still wishes me to decide, but I don’t think I can do that yet. I remind myself once again that decisions do not equal security.

The issue of money. For more than a decade I spent less than 500-700 dollars a month to pay for everything – food, clothes, bills, therapy. Not quite poverty, but not exactly a millionaire’s lifestyle either.

I’ve lived that economical existence for so long that it’s like I don’t know any other way to live. But if you were to ask me what I’d like to buy I don’t think I would be able to tell you. I also remember when I was younger and so anti-consumerist I actually wanted to join an antitrust organization at some point. All that I wanted – freedom, love, healing – couldn’t truly be bought with money. I’m not even sure what it means to me now. More things to redefine slowly I guess.

Also the issue of insurance, so different in Singapore and the USA. I remember people exhorting me to buy it in the former and how it is well-nigh essential in the latter (even with Obamacare) Wow, if insurance could pay for mental illness I would have taken out 6 policies ages ago.

How different it is to be considering things at 33, at 19, at 65. Coming from different worlds and with different goals. So much else to say but I don’t want to have 2 more pages of musings. (there is enough in this blog as it is!)

What a privilege it is to do our taxes, to pay our bills, to have to worry about such mundanities as parking and groceries. I remind myself every day – at least no one is trying to kill me anymore! All this time everyone lived in the real world, and I lived in Afganistan (or at least somewhere very similar)

No matter what happens, no matter what obstacles there are, at least it is not the great pain that threatens to overwhelm and consume and destroy me utterly. Life isn’t fighting anymore…it’s life. And for that realization I have endless gratitude.

Went to bed early. It’s been a long day and I have a train trip tomorrow.

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