Tag Archive | emotions

My Words Are Mine

There was another Super Ma’am freak-out this week, and this time from a black trans woman mocking a “no neck bitch” after she was called “sir” in a place of business. As many who follow me know, I spend a fair bit of my time attempting to refute the common anti-trans stereotypes that are so often thrown around, and it’s frustrating to see “my own people” willfully playing into those stereotypes instead of challenging them.

We do a great disservice to children by not teaching them the proper place of emotions, as they can be used for good or destruction. The power of raw emotion, and the critical importance of tempering them, is something that I discuss frequently, and will always discuss when the opportunity rises. An emotion can be either a fire that burns or a piece of steel to be forged. Isolating that emotion to a concrete building and letting it burn itself out is certainly a valid choice, but it isn’t my preferred one–instead, use the anvil of reason and the hammer of creativity to turn the lump of steel into a sword. Don’t let it be a fire that engulfs you; use it to create, like the song above, “Your Fall From Grace,” which I wrote while in the throes of anger–and it shows, being the most angry song I’ve ever composed. 

But more to the point, we need to discuss perceptions, word choice, and human interactions, because the “Learn your pronouns!” stuff has to stop. 

Anyone with even a passing interest in psychology or economics (the study of human action) will realize very quickly that words like “he” and “she” are selected by the user automatically, with little or no cognition put into them at the time of usage. From very, very early ages, we are taught when to use “he” and when to use “she,” just as we are taught when to say “please” and when to say “thank you.” No one has to put any thought into it to determine whether to say “please” or “thanks” when the occasion comes up; it happens automatically and without deliberate selection. When making a request, one says “please.” When receiving something, one says “thanks.” 

The power of the human brain is that it’s capable of shifting much of our interactions into auto-pilot like this. We don’t have to think about whether to say “hello” or “goodbye” when we run into someone, which frees our brain to think about other things (while it also controls our breathing, movement, heartbeat, and other necessary functions). Just ponder for a moment how exhausting it would actually be, when faced with any person, to have to dedicate any amount of thought to whether you’re supposed to say “hello” or “goodbye.” This is a useful feature, and one would hope that everyone would be aware of it, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Whether to say “sir” or “ma’am,” or to refer to someone as “he” or “she” is similarly automatic. When we ask someone to call us a different pronoun, we are asking them to dedicate part of their conscious thought to casual conversation–we are asking them to do work. We are asking them to throw a wrench into an automatic process in the course of a conversation and to instead deliberately ponder whether to say “hello” or “goodbye.” This is not an easy task, even for the most “woke” person out there, and we should never be upset when someone slips back into auto-pilot in conversation. Neither should we be upset when someone does it intentionally, of course–at least, we shouldn’t simply allow that emotion to burn uncontrolled in the forest of our life. 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many more times: I get called “sir” every single night at work, most commonly over the phone. Sometimes, though, people do it in person. As accepting as my co-workers are, and as visible as they are putting aforementioned deliberate effort into calling me “she,” the truth is that if I got bent out of shape and went on a wild, emotional tirade every time this happened, I wouldn’t still have a job. No one wants to work with someone so unpredictable, unhinged, and uncontrolled, nevermind that it would also mean that I regularly lashed out, chastised, and drove away paying customers. I work as a female and live as a female, and my coworkers are among the most accepting people I’ve ever met (realistically, probably more accepting than I am), but a lot of this acceptance is due to the fact that I’m not an insufferable cunt. 

That’s what this is really about, of course. While “he” and “she” are programmed into us at very early ages and are selected automatically and unconsciously, this doesn’t change the fact that the other person’s perceptions of me are what their brain uses to determine which to use. Rather than forcing that person to put in the work to consciously choose which pronoun to use, if am the one who wants to change their speech, then the onus falls onto me to alter their perception of me. If their brain determines I am more masculine than feminine, they will say “he.” If their brain determines that I am more feminine than masculine, then they will say “she.” Why does this need to be pointed out to any adult?

I am not entitled to make them think about me a certain way, or to make them use certain words when referring to me. This is true in general, but it must be recognized in particular with those people who intentionally use the non-preferred pronoun. 

An ordinary occurrence, to be honest. Also of note: there is no chance I’m going to be kicked from LRN.

But, as mentioned previously, why would I give “Pussy ass leftist” the power to make me upset? This would require that I care about his opinion, and I don’t have the energy to care about the opinions of random dipshits. Who does? There are a few people who could genuinely hurt me by intentionally misgendering me, and they’re the people least likely to do so. They may still slip occasionally, but if they can make the effort to call me “she,” then I think it’s only fair that I make the effort to adjust their perception of me, and to overlook any accidents. It’s generally called “being an adult.” 

I firmly believe that the greatest threat facing western society today is that we have stopped teaching people how to temper their emotions, or the value of doing so. What else can I think when congressional officials talk of being “morally right, but factually incorrect?” What else can I think when a person sees a photograph of coal miners, acknowledges they are coal miners, and then writes a lengthy article about how upset they are about the “blackface,” despite acknowledging that it isn’t blackface? What else can I think when, following the election of Donald Trump in 2016 on largely jingoist slogans and emotional appeals, there was an onslaught of people recording videos of themselves crying and flipping out, and sharing them for all the world to see? This is the Era of Unbridled Emotion, and that’s dangerous, because emotion has not ever been a valid pathway to truth. Feeling something is true won’t make it true. Emotion doesn’t keep the jet in the sky, or the automobile moving. 

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” they say, and we similarly see this playing out in New York following its Minimum Wage increase, with restaurant owners forced to raise prices, and customers shocked at how much more expensive it has become to eat out. The result was both predicted and expected: fewer people eat out, so some of the wait staff is fired. After all, the Minimum Wage is a direct price floor on the cost of labor, and price floors always create surpluses; a surplus of labor is called “unemployment.” When you raise that price floor, you simply get… more unemployment. This is basic economics, but many adults today simply don’t want to hear it, and instead truly believe that their feelings on the matter, that “everyone deserves a ‘living wage,'” will somehow make all this work out. 

I digress.

An emotion is nothing more than an internal reaction to external stimuli. It is our own proclivity and inclination that determines our reaction to the external stimuli, and even if we can’t actually change how we feel, we can and absolutely should limit the scope of those feelings in our behavior and beliefs. It isn’t easy, but I don’t know why anyone thinks that it should be. It’s supposed to be more difficult to resist animalistic impulses and overcome them. But it isn’t just for “the good of society” that we need to relearn this art; it’s far more important than that, because…

Controlling one’s animalistic tendencies is what it means to be human. 

 

Emotional Attribution

“No one can make you feel anything.”

One of the people who has greatly influenced me said that to me once–actually, he said it several times. It didn’t take much introspection for me to realize that he’s absolutely correct: emotions are internal things. They are internal reactions to external stimuli. While we lack control over the external stimuli, we have full and total control over our reactions, and we are not at the mercy of our emotions.

How many times have we heard something like, “That makes me so angry,” or, “You make me so sad”? I’m sure we’ve all uttered similar phrases, and I know that I have, yet the truth is that these statements are incorrect. It would be correct to say, “I react angrily to that,” and, “I react sadly to you.”

Saying something or someone “makes us” feel an emotion is a convenient way of pretending like we’re victims, and an insidious method of passing the blame from oneself to the external stimuli. “You make me angry,” after all, is a statement that carries some kind of implication of wrongdoing–the person is doing something they shouldn’t be. This usually results in a misguided apology: “I’m sorry [for making you angry].”

In fact, just moments ago I sent an email to a colleague about how a cop parked beside me made me nervous. In the email, I corrected myself: “I react nervously to the external stimulus of a police officer nearby.”

Because the cop didn’t make me nervous. I’m fully aware of what the police are: they are footsoldiers of the state, its lowest level enforcers. They are pirates and thugs who inflict their violence and evil openly, and nothing more than that. Yet despite all their immoral power, they cannot make me nervous, because they cannot determine my internal reactions. Through all their aggression, theft, malevolence, hatred, and murder, they cannot make me feel anything.

Believe it or not, I’m going somewhere with this, and I’m going to show many ways that this manifests and, often, contributes to the Victim Complex dominating western society. I like looking for underlying causes, and this is certainly one; the misattribution of internal emotions to others obviously has ties to the Victim Complex. Instead of properly taking responsibility for how one feels, it is blamed on others, and it is demanded that others change their behavior, instead of the “victim” changing themselves.

Over the weekend, I read this:

This is curious for a number of reasons. First, there’s nothing “annoying” about being trans. Whether one feels annoyance over something is internal. It would be more accurate to have simply stated, “I’m annoyed.” Nothing can make her annoyed, after all. That’s an internal feeling, and she controls it. Or, at least, she should, rather than letting it control her.

Next, she assumes that she knows how others feel. And what do they feel? The need to compliment trans people so that trans people feel validated. Good god, it’s such a mess of confusion, arrogance, and presumed omniscience.

How does she know that other people “feel the need” to compliment her appearance? Perhaps it’s just a “want.” While it’s obviously one or the other, since sans aggression people always do things they either want or need, it’s quite presumptuous to assume that others need to compliment her appearance. Notice, however, that she didn’t say that; she said “feel the need,” because it’s too easy to be called out saying, “…people need to compliment your appearance…”

It’s simply a euphemism that masks the presumptuous nature of the statement. If she’d said “need” instead of “feel the need,” I daresay she’d have gotten much less support. Regardless, she claims to know what others feel, and what they feel is “need.” How does she know this? Has anyone ever told her, “I feel the need to validate you by complimenting your appearance”? Bloody unlikely, but possible.

She doesn’t stop there with her omniscient assumptions, though. She goes even further and asserts that what they feel is the need to make her feel validated. So she knows what they feel, she knows what they need, and she knows what they want to “make” her feel. Quite a powerful bit of mind reading, and all based on the errant idea that one can make another feel anything at all.

It’s curious that she’s assumed others want her to feel validated, a sentiment she implicitly rejects; she didn’t say it, but what is “incredibly obvious” is that she rejects the notion that she needs validation from compliments. This rejection causes her to reject the compliment.

What Does She Want?

I’ve recently come face-to-face with the SJWs who have invaded libertarianism, and this is clearly one of them. The overall sentiment of her message is that she’s offended by compliments. Of course, that’s not quite the case. She assumes that she knows why people are complimenting her (attributing emotional needs to them in the process), and what she is annoyed/offended by is not the compliment, but all the things she has assumed about the person giving the compliment.

She’s not necessarily offended by being complimented. She’s offended when those compliments are given by needy people who want her to feel validated by the compliment. How does she know this is what they want? Either she has the gift of telepathy or she doesn’t know, and I don’t believe in telepathy. So she will assume this or not by whatever arbitrary internal reactions she has; if the mood strikes her, she assumes you’re a well-intentioned person motivated by the need to make her feel validated. Maybe sometimes it’s “just a compliment,” but we can’t say. In fact, only she can say when she chooses to interpret a compliment as a kind gesture and when she chooses to interpret it as a well-intentioned person fulfilling their own emotional needs. After all, it is her interpretation.

This would be fine, really, if she understood that it was solely upon her how she took the compliment. Even if the person meant it in such a way, it’s still solely upon her whether she accepts it as anything more than a nice word, and still solely upon her whether she reacts with annoyance.

This is the essence of the SJW, though. If you tell her she’s ugly, she’ll be offended. If you say she looks like a boy, she’ll be offended. If you say she is mentally ill, she’ll be offended. If you say she looks pretty, she’ll be offended.

Being perpetually offended is not a skill.

Having been dealt a hand in life that didn’t allow me the luxury of feeling sorry for myself by painting myself as a victim of actual fucking kindness, I have never seen much point in being offended.

Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s a “thing” to compliment trans people. I’ve experienced that countless times. Whether such people want me to feel validated or what, I don’t know. I’m not Jesus Christ. I have never asked what they want, even when they say things like “…in my experience, trans people could use a compliment…”

Who doesn’t appreciate a compliment?

I could assume his motive was simply to make me feel validated, but that doesn’t really seem to be the case. When men compliment other women, is it an attempt to make the woman feel validated? And here we’re getting to it, aren’t we? The answer is usually “No.” Often, it’s to make the woman feel better after having a bad day, reminding one’s wife that she’s beautiful, making her smile, or any number of reasons that have nothing to do with validation.

And that’s just it; that’s precisely it. “I’m trans, so if you compliment me, I’m going to interpret as you feeling the need to validate me, and that’s offensive.”

Her words suggest that she’d like to simply have no one speak of her appearance at all. You can’t tell her she’s ugly; you can’t tell her she’s pretty. It puts anyone interacting with her into a lose/lose situation–no matter what, she’s going to be offended. I would venture the assumption that she would say that she wants to be treated as any other woman, but that can’t be the case–you are allowed to compliment a woman’s appearance without it being interpreted as an attempt to validate her.

She doesn’t want equality. Like so many of the SJWs, she pays lip service to equality, but what she actually wants is special treatment–you aren’t even allowed to compliment her. She *sigh* wants to be treated like a special snowflake, handled with kiddy gloves, such that even complimenting her makes her into a victim.

And if she reads this, she’s surely unfriended me by now. It doesn’t matter; I warned people Saturday morning that I was no longer going to just ignore posts like that. It’s so blatantly wrong.

We are not victims, and we don’t have to choose to be victims. No one has the power to make you feel anything, and no one has the power to make you a victim. You’re only a victim if you choose to be. Until you give in, you’re a fighter, not a victim.

So fight.

Take control of your emotions and recognize them as internal reactions that you control, and that no one else can control. Self-ownership includes one’s emotions. Don’t surrender them. We’re not pathetic animals controlled completely by emotional impulses that we can’t affect. We can affect them; they’re our emotions, and no one else’s.

When Scientists Become Pimps

Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye–

I’m looking at you.

I see you; I see what you’re doing, and it needs to stop. Your scientific credibility isn’t a whore for you to pimp you to lend weight to your political positions. There is no correlation between physics and immigration, yet that hasn’t stopped Michio Kaku from coming out and discussing how Trump is wrong about immigration*. The headline for the article? Why, of course! “This celebrated scientist says Trump is wrong!”

And? This celebrated scientist knows no more about immigration than any layperson who has read a few articles or books on the subject. But because he is a “celebrated” physicist, as there’s no such thing as some generic “scientist” except as a catch-all term for people who study a hard science, the media and the public treat his political position as though it has scientific weight behind it, as though being able to say “I’m a celebrated physicist” makes his statements about economics, government regulation, or immigration any more worthy of being accepted.

While obviously, Kaku, Hawking, Tyson, and Nye–and others, of course–it’s not your fault that the media chooses to treat your words in this way, but you know they do, and you know the public does. You know that if you say something about economics or the evils of capitalism–as Hawking has done–that your words will be taken to be truth as a given, and from there will become popular arguments for or against whatever it is you’re advocating. In this way, you have sacrificed your integrity. You have turned your scientific credibility into a whore, to be pimped out at your leisure in support of whatever Popular Opinion of the Day you think will help you sell books.

Don’t bullshit me, man.

There’s a reason that virtually every popular YouTube personality through 2016 came out in support of Bernie Sanders, and the reason isn’t particularly hard to see. Hell, half of those YouTube personalities couldn’t give a single, solitary reason, when confronted, why they supported Sanders. Yet they supported him anyway. Why? Because it was the popular thing to do. They’d have lost subscribers for coming out in support of Hillary or Trump–Stein and Johnson became more or less neutral. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, where your words circulate the most, are overwhelmingly dominated by younger millennials, the same people who cast their lot in with Sanders whether they had any articulated reason to or not.

You’re doing the same crap. It doesn’t matter to me if you can pseudo-rationalize your positions, but I’m willing to bet that most of you can’t. Why? Because “scientists” today, as a class, have totally forgotten what the Dunning-Kruger Effect is, and seem to think that being an expert in physics makes one an expert in economics, politics, and the nature of the state. This, of course, despite the fact that all hard sciences are increasingly specialized, and a scientist in one larger field–say, “physics”–may be only marginally less ignorant than a layperson on some subfield–say, “plasma physics.”

Oh, here’s a shock for you: Bill Nye is pro choice. Well, I’ll be! Who would ever have guessed?

And while I’m pro-choice, too, I’m not out there pimping what little scientific credibility I had–because, let’s face it, Bill Nye is an engineer without an abundance of credibility to pimp out–to cast my lot in with a political side in the hopes of rekindling or enhancing my popularity. When I say something about abortion, I give fair treatment to the other side, and provide a logically consistent explanation for my position. I don’t say, “Hi, I’m Bill Nye the Science Guy. Here are some scientific facts interwoven with arbitrarily defined concepts presented as scientific facts, which combine into a pro-choice position. Good luck separating the arbitrarily defined concepts from the actual science, because I’m going to present this information in such a way as to make them indistinguishable to a layperson. Why? Because I’m Bill Nye the Fucking Science Guy, and if there’s anything worth pimping out for popularity and fame, it’s scientific credibility.”

You remind me of the left-wing media. And I’m curious, actually, whether the four of you would even admit that the dominant media outlets lean hard to the left, with the sole exception of Fox, which leans hard to the right. John Stossel recently wrote about his time at ABC, and reported that he was the only one who was stated to lean any direction; everyone else insisted they didn’t lean at all. Except they did–they leaned hard to the left, and they continue to. But that sort of bias is common–we know people don’t generally see or acknowledge their own biases. My father doesn’t think Fox News leans to the right. A colleague of mine thinks that Fox News is probably “as close to fair and balanced” as any media outlet is. They’re wrong, of course. Fox is right-wing. There’s nothing fair and balanced about any of it.

I would be fucking floored if the four of you didn’t honestly believe yourselves to be neutral politically. But you aren’t. You’ve jumped on the left-wing bandwagon. You’ve engaged in too much “What does my gut tell me about this?” thinking. You’ve mistaken your emotions for rational positions. And even if, by some freak chance, you do end up saying something that isn’t demonstrably false, you end up being right for the wrong reasons, which is only a little better than being wrong for the right reasons.

So here’s what you guys should do–I mean, assuming your scientific credibility and integrity are important to you. You should use some of that fame and popularity you’ve acquired by jumping on leftist bandwagons to remind people that, when discussing areas outside of your expertise, you are no more or less knowledgeable or insightful than any other layperson. You should take the time to remind the public that education and intelligence aren’t necessarily the same thing, and that holding a doctorate doesn’t mean you’re one of the smartest human beings alive.

Maybe you’ve studied some of these matters. That would be fantastic–but it would also show in your words and actions. For example, we know that Hawking hasn’t studied capitalism; he doesn’t even seem to know what capitalism is. However, this has not stopped him from repeatedly waxing on about the evils of capitalism and how it will bring about the destruction of humanity.

But no. He’s not biased at all. That’s totally not an alarmist, radically leftist position based on gut feelings, assumptions, and ignorance. How could he be biased? How could he be an alarmist, radical leftist basing his statements on gut feelings, assumptions, and ignorance? He’s Stephen Hawking! He’s a scientist! Surely he knows what he’s talking about!

* And yes, I agree–Trump is wrong about immigration. But the reason Trump is wrong about “immigration” is that “immigration” is an arbitrarily-defined concept based around arbitrarily-defined borders that don’t exist in the real world and that serve only to divide people. Borders are human inventions; they aren’t real. We simply treat them like they’re real, and they end up doing tons of damage. Trump is wrong about “immigration” because there’s no such thing as an immigrant; there’s only a human being who decided to exercise his innate right to travel.

 

Atlas Must Never Show His Back is Breaking

I’ve been a bit shaken for about ten minutes, since I remembered suddenly that I had a dream about my mother last night. I don’t remember what that dream was really about, but it was significant, and I don’t often dream about her. Why should I? She’s been gone from my life for 17 years–well over half of my life, since I was 12 when she vanished inexplicably in the summer of 1999.

I told my sister last week that I plan to file the paperwork to have her officially declared dead. That’s long overdue. We need to put this matter to rest. While my sister agreed, I also realized by her tone and how she put things that she isn’t convinced that our mom is dead. Even more unbelievably, she believes the story that she “left with a truck driver named Tim” and thinks that our mom probably was murdered some time after that.

No. No, my poor, denying sister. Our mother was killed by the man she was living with, the one who put out the statement that she “left with a truck driver named Tim,” the one who was suspected of killing his parents, and the one who just got out of prison for killing another woman in Arkansas. It’s not exactly rocket science. When I said this, she remained unconvinced. I tried explaining that the murder was 6 or 7 years old when D. was finally arrested in Memphis and charged with it, and that it takes a lot of overwhelming evidence to find someone guilty of murder 6 years after the fact and then to sentence them to ten years in prison.

I wasn’t aware of how broken our justice system is until I began looking into that. Apparently, ten years is a huge sentence for a murderer to receive 6 years after the murder, and it’s apparently really hard to get a judge to be that harsh. How amazing. You can kill a human being in the state of Arkansas, live free for six years, be sentenced to only a decade in prison, and then get out on good behavior without even serving that entire sentence. While no sentence would ever have brought justice to the family of the woman he killed in [withholding the location to protect my identity–we are talking about a murderer, after all], it’s a damned shame that you can serve only about 75% of a weak sentence for murder.

My sister wants to apply for the survivor benefits that would have been due to us if her body had ever been found. I don’t really agree, because I don’t think I should be given money because someone murdered my mother. In hindsight, from that point of view, though, it’s good that no one ever found her body–our father would have ended up receiving the checks, and would have spent it all on drugs.

I’ve often felt guilty for using this story as such a major part of Dancing in Hellfire–for which it seems I’ve found an agent!–but I vastly prefer that over having the state write me checks. I’d rather tell the story in a fascinating, emotionally jarring way and earn money through the story-telling than have it gifted to me after other people were robbed to give it to me. But I no longer feel guilty, because my mother’s story is my story to tell. In fact, there is no one else who could tell it.

Even knowing as I do that she is certainly did–see above–does nothing to bring me closure on the matter. How could it? Her body is buried in the woods in some random place in Arkansas, rotted to the skeleton, forever lost. She has been given no memorial, no tombstone, and no real burial. These are things I intend to rectify. I will talk with D. somehow, and I will do everything in my power to convince him to give me the location of her body. Perhaps I can work with law enforcement to promise him immunity from prosecution. I don’t care. There’s no chance of having justice delivered anyway. For 17 years I’ve lived not knowing whether my mother is alive or dead–there’s no way to bring justice to that. So why bother?

But even if that can’t be worked out, I’m going to arrange a memorial service, difficult though that is to process and think about, once she is declared dead.

I don’t really want to do that, though. I don’t want my dad and grandmother there. I don’t want them patting me on the back or pretending to express sympathy. They didn’t show any goddamned sympathy seventeen years ago when she vanished. They would come, but it’s got nothing to do with them. It’s between me, my sister, and our brother. And our brother is dead, so it no longer involves him, either. He was killed in a car wreck about a year after we reconnected with him, after about five years of estrangement because he wouldn’t come to see us–because we asked “difficult questions about mom.”

So he wouldn’t deserve to be there, either.

No one on my mom’s side of the family deserves to be there. Her own mother would, but she’s dead, too. Her sister, my aunt? Hell no. My aunt knows exactly what happened–she knows damned well that her ex-husband killed her sister. She’s known it all along; everyone on that side of the family knew it all along. It’s the great elephant in the room, the sleeping dog that no one dares to wake. It would be an insult to have them there.

It’s ultimately between my sister and me, and, honestly, that would just be more awkward than anything, because we don’t share emotional moments. We’ve only hugged once in our entire lives, and that was awkward. How could we be comfortable showing emotions, after the bullshit we went through as kids? We trust no one with our emotions, not even the other. Then you have just me and my sister standing around, probably with her husband there, saying goodbye to a mother that isn’t there, in spirit or in death. It would be pointless, as neither of us would be willing to say what we were really thinking, and neither of us would be willing to shed a tear over it.

Carry on, weary soldier. Carry on.

Atlas must never show that the weight of the world is breaking his back.

Study on the Effects of Estradiol, Part 1

Many people refer to me as the most rational and empirical person they know, and that’s a statement I can agree with. Through most of my life, it’s been a specific goal to allow emotions to impact as little of my decision-making as possible. In the course of this, I have entirely eliminated religious beliefs, socialist ideologies, and many other tendencies. Arguments with an emotional appeal have no impact on me at all, and it’s because my emotions don’t impact my position on something. We can see this in the abortion debate, with people insisting that this is a human being that is murdered, and the way that this claim has absolutely no effect on my position. We can also say this in Pro Minimum Wage arguments. “Everyone deserves a living wage!” has absolutely no impact on my position, because I know that an emotional idea like that doesn’t translate into sound policy. An irrational motivation leads to an irrational conclusion.

It’s a key part of Nihilism, in fact, and Nietzsche is often cited as being cold and emotionless–a label that is ignorantly applied to Nihilists such as myself today. This is merely a misunderstanding, however, as I’m more emotional than the average person. Because of emotions, I dropped my entire life and moved 2000 miles a year ago. So when I say that I don’t let emotions impact my decision making, that’s not true; I merely don’t let emotions affect my beliefs and conclusions. Nihilists are as emotional as anyone else (and in my case, perhaps more emotional); the difference is that a Nihilist carefully and rationally controls what their emotions are allowed to influence.

I didn’t do a podcast last night, and there’s a good reason for that. Aside from the fact that I got distracted by some transphobic douche on twitter, the truth is that I was terrified.

A few weeks ago, I began watching “creepy” videos on YouTube. Things from people like Mr. Nightmare and other notorious channels; horror movies have always been something I’ve loved, and I’ve watched probably thousands of such videos on YouTube with no ill effects whatsoever. However, I recently found myself unwilling to even turn on a light at night. The only light I would use was my bathroom light, for some innate fear that any other light would effectively serve as a beacon to “whatever is out there.”

This is very curious, because I know there is nothing out there. When I made the trip to Vegas, I stayed in the very back of a cheap motel in a shady part of Amarillo, and I did it without blinking. I’ve given countless rides to hitchhikers, and that has bitten me in the ass more than once. I used to allow a homeless man to come and stay in my home on cold winter nights. I don’t mention these to make you see me as altruistic, but because all of these are pretty reckless, devil-may-care things to be doing. I could add many others.

I live on the edge of a town. When I say “edge,” I mean exactly that. The property is rural, out of the way, quiet, and private–perfect for a transgender person in an area not particularly kind to transgender people. There is one house nearby, and it is lived in by a normal dude. On the west and north sides, I am surrounded by a field that is bordered by an untamed forest. I have a 38 special and a sawed off 12 gauge shotgun that is exactly the minimum length allowed by state law–I rationally know that I am fine, both because there is nothing out there and because I am more than armed. My shotgun is cradled on a shelf above my bed, and beside it sits a knife.

It’s not paranoia that causes me to do this, but common fucking sense. There’s only one exit from my bedroom–if I get caught in there by some invader, then there is only one way out, and that way out is through the assailant. So I merely have the tools necessary to go through the invader if required. It’s not because I think it’s likely to happen. I have nothing worth stealing, and there are 4 dogs that will make me instantly aware if there’s a human outside. While one or two routinely bark occasionally during the night at deer, coyotes, and wolves that happen to stray too close to the property, all 4 bark at humans. Dogs are curious like that. It’s also worth mentioning that these aren’t my dogs, but they do stay here with me. Long story. But they’re more or less just there.

It’s also true that Mississippi is not particularly friend to gay people, and certainly not to transgender people, and there’s always the possibility that someone learns the wrong pieces of information. It only takes one jackass to half-jokingly say “We should kill that faggot,” and then all of his friends will laughingly agree. The next thing you know, there’s a veritable lynch mob pulling into your driveway. These things happen, and on late nights after a few beers it becomes hard to predict what such people will do. Jokes get carried too far all the time, and peer pressure is the most underestimated force in American society.

But things have changed. I can no longer watch such creepy things and then be okay. It latches itself to something within me and refuses to let go. I have become terrified of turning on a light at night, for fear, as I said, that something “out there” will see it. I verify that all of my curtains are drawn, but I’m not convinced that all of this is to keep people from looking in. I think it’s to keep me from looking out. Because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that any fear and worry that I feel will be dispelled the very moment that I look outside.

It’s like my imagination constructs some creepy-video-informed idea of “what is out there,” and that imagining is allowed to fester until I look outside. It’s almost like that imagining is hesitant to die–abolition of the fear is never more than a few seconds away. Pulling back the curtain and looking is all that it takes, but I can almost never force myself to do it. Because what if…? What if I look and see that the imagined “out there” is what really is out there? What if I peel back the curtain and am met only by a grinning, maniacal face at one in the morning?

It’s that prospect that ties my hands and keeps me from looking, thereby allowing the imagined bullshit to grow to the point where I refuse to turn on lights, where I sit at two in the morning, scared to make a sound, telling my cats to knock off their rambunctious playing. It doesn’t matter that I know there will never be a haunted vestige of the devil himself staring back when I peer out into the world–no amount of reason and rationality can defeat this more primal fear of the unknown, and the obvious behavior of someone trying to shield themselves from the unknown.

This is highly unusual behavior for me. And though I’ve stopped watching creepy shit on the Internet, and though I know from experience that the mind’s hallucinations will steadily decrease until I once more think nothing about turning on the light in the kitchen, it doesn’t change the situation now. There is no doubt that this odd cultivation of primal emotions and irrational responses is a side effect of the hormone therapy, and “increased susceptibility to emotions” is no longer just a random line in an article somewhere. It doesn’t simply mean that I will be more prone to cry in sad movies; it has the very real meaning that I am, for the first time in memory, genuinely susceptible to the fear that there is something in the dark.

There is a really awesome angled mirror above my bed (use your imagination why that mirror is so freaking awesome), and I also have not been able to force myself to look into it–a result, of course, of creepy videos where a subject before a mirror moves, but the reflection does not. I have never had any problem with that, and it’s something I’ve actually pondered extensively because of the odd way that mirrors work. After all, if you touch your ear with your left hand, then your reflection touches its other ear with its right hand. But the same result comes from using the front-facing camera, which is why my guitar videos show a left-handed guitarist despite the fact that I’m right-handed. It’s nothing of significance, and, again, I know that.

But I have no rational control over this fear. No amount of reminding myself that we literally know everything there is to know about the surface of the Earth (underground and underwater still contain some question marks, of course) will erase these fears. No amount of reminding myself that I’m a fucking Nihilist who is more than aware that we live in a rational universe will dispel the fear that something unnatural is out there, not at one in the morning when I have the lights off and am lit only by the gentle glow of a television as I watch something–anything–desperate to take my mind off the fear.

For the first time in… probably twenty years… I am afraid. And I don’t know what I’m afraid of.

And that’s what makes me afraid.