One reader's rave

"Thanks for the newspaper with your book review. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this terrific piece of writing. It is beautiful, complex, scholarly. Only sorry Mr. Freire cannot read it!" -- Ailene

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

17 September 2012: After a period of less focus on my social anxiety disorder, I've started going on the offensive again. The day before my birthday, I decided to cancel the Web part of my wireless service, and also stop taking printed matter with me when I leave home. I did this because these temptations were too strong and were diverting me from taking advantage of opportunities to make conversation and meet new people. This was shortly after deciding to be more selective about things I do after dark, particularly during the week, because I wasn't leaving myself with enough energy even to think of going clubbing -- with the added disadvantage that getting home late often meant not having time and energy to prepare meals for the next day, and ending up spending more on vended food.

The effects of my choice are starting to show. I made good small talk with several attractive women this morning. This included making remarks when I previously would have fatalistically though tthat "the moment had passed." I'm feeling pretty good about myself.

Over the past few months I had four dates with the same woman. The fact that she approached me and suggested we date doubtless did something for my self-confidence, but I think my willingness to break it off with her a few weeks ago (she was only interested in being "friends") probably did more. That would explain the steps I've taken subsequently and the progress I'm now showing.

18 September 2012: I talked with Jim again today. I really appreciate the way he's able to give me frank advice and criticism, like about the importance of eye contact -- not breaking it for extended periods while accessing memories, for example. It's kind of like having a therapist without the fees. Actually, it's kind of like having a parent -- one who involves himself more than mine often did.

I've made some more small talk today. While eating lunch I did some intuitive-type art (as opposed to the highly analytical "math art" I've done more of in the past), featuring oft-outre organic figures as it tends to when I do it. I put my logo on it as a signature and will put it on my wall (or rather a copy of it, as I just ran several off here at the library).

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The radio show Studio 360 asked if listeners had some song, play, book, etc. that changed their lives. This reminded me of something I'd been thinking about already recently (having in fact borrowed a related item from the library in this connection), so I submitted the following as a comment:

At age nine I read Lincoln Barnett's The Universe and Dr. Einstein. It was only my third sizable book, and it came at a time when I was distressed by disorder in the family's situation and a feeling that my parents weren't paying attention to me. I was also starting to get alienated from my schoolmates. I was very moody that year and talked a lot about killing myself.

Although my previous couple books already suggested an intellectual bent, I think that deepened with this one, as the idea that the Universe had a more beautiful, symmetrical order below the surface of things deeply appealed in these circumstances. The significance of this book for me may also be suggested by the fact that it was the first book (or anything else) that I mentally associated with a song that was on the air at the time -- and associated it with another one when I reread it the following year.

On the subway today, a girl sitting next to me was getting repeated calls, evidently from her boyfriend. She asked him why he kept "acting like you think I'm lying" -- it seemed he kept asking where she was and where she was going, even after she'd told him. I thought I really should tell her that this sort of jealousy is a bad sign and is predictive of abusive behavior. I tried to screw up the courage but hadn't managed to by the time we both got off the train and went in different directions.

This is just the fourth day since I decided to cancel mobile Web service and stop taking reading matter with me when leaving home. It's already been conducive to my starting conversations in a couple other cases. But here the fear that I'd be told to "mind my own business" still inhibited me.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I mentioned yesterday that I'm cancelling my mobile Web service. For the same reason, I won't be bringing reading matter to work. I may need certain information from the weekly papers, but I'll wait till after work to pick them up and read them after I get home. I tried something similar a couple years ago, but retreated from the discomfort in a couple days. This time I'm deploying the commitment-and-consistency principle (by publishing all this) to prevent that.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Having mobile Web has cut across my efforts vs. social anxiety disorder. So I'll be cancelling that service tomorrow. I'll keep multimedia for person-to-person only.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Dear Prudence

I've been listening to the second disc of the White Album. I don't hear this song the same way since learning about its origins a couple years ago at the cultic studies conference. Now it has a somewhat sinister undertone.