The only reason I care about taxes

is that I know beyond a reasonable doubt that none of my loved ones (including me, because I love myself to a certain degree) deserve fraud charges and insurmountable debts following them around.

I know there are other reasons to care, but I can’t pretend I’m one of those people who wants to uphold their civic duties or whatever. No, I’d rather not act like some uppity douche and say that I feel the need to pay for infrastructure and stuff so I can sleep at night. Maybe I’d give a shit if I was able to choose the materials and the contractors involved, but that’s not the point. I digress (maybe because I’m thinking about something boring, fuck, is it ever so boring).

I have three things that help me deal with this mess:
– an IRD number (committed to memory, because reasons)
– Microsoft Excel (I HATE IT SO MUCH BUT AT LEAST IT’S SOMETHING)
– basic accounting knowledge (a + e = l + oe + r)

Sadly, not all the people I know have these things at their disposal. They’re usually the types who will work hard to hone a creative skill in hopes that it’ll put food on the table and roof over their head, without being able to anticipate much else. I won’t lie, this only includes one side of my family (and anyone who knows my cultural heritage can probably guess which). So I’m the type who will offer assistance because I feel lucky to find it such a straightforward process.

– show me proof of assets (a) and expenses (e)
– same for liabilities (l), owner’s equity (oe) and revenue (r)
– give me time to tabulate the results
– provide me with the necessary forms
– sign those fuckers if you agree with my working.

I will only submit that information once per fiscal year. I can’t allow anyone to blame me if they signed something they might double-guess later; I’m only working with what’s been provided. I’m not going to chase anyone up for additional invoices, because playing at being an accountant sucks enough without taking on the squirm-worthy role of auditor as well. I have to draw the line somewhere.

If someone expects me to fabricate records, then I won’t help.
If the records I’ve been given figure out to be an incorrect simultaneous equation, then I can’t help.
If someone doesn’t keep their records and invoices, then I really can’t help.

This usually turns out well, but only if I lay down the aforementioned terms. It hasn’t always been easy, but if I care about who I want to help, then I’ll bear down and deal with what’s necessary to keep them from drowning on dry land, because I genuinely give a shit about their welfare. These people have enough problems without dealing with legalities that seem Kafka-esque to them.

And that’s why I’ll deal with boring fuuuuuuucking taxes. Out of love. Which also means I won’t accept payment for helping out.

…that’d just be another source of income I’d have to declare anyway, right? I’d rather not. ^_^

Miscellaneous IV: A New Nope

  1. Adam Driver was a pretty good pick when it came to deciding who should play Kylo Ren. I wonder if it might be the only role that people seem to remember him for, but it’s probably good overall because maybe he’ll get to do a whole bunch of new stuff because people know his face a bit better now.
  2. I was also really happy to see Domhnall Gleeson play Hux. Sadly, his presence couldn’t make me like that Anna Karenina film though, not even a little bit. I’m gonna be a dick and say that the movie was a bit of an insult to the book. Stoppard totally owes Tolstoy an apology, via séance or some shit. Or maybe it was a really good film and I’m just not really into the visual manifestation of the “romantic epic” genre… yeah, that’s probably it.
  3. I’m not as sad about David Bowie’s death as much when I remember that he influenced a lot of things that are still around and probably will be around for a very long time. It’s sad that he’s gone, but in a way, he isn’t. This is cold comfort, but a comfort all the same.
  4. I miss my aunt (my father’s sister), though. She was a total badass. She was her excellent self to the very end, making fun of overly patronising nurses and cheerfully writing “deceased – return to sender” on unopened letters from people and agencies she had little to no respect for. Damn it, I miss her a lot. That woman sure knew how to live life on her own terms. It’s such a massive compliment when my mother compares me to her, and I can tell that she’s really proud of me whenever she does that.
  5. I found out recently that my aunt (my mother’s older sister) has had one of her legs amputated at the knee. As much as I love her, I think she’s the opposite of my dad’s sister in the way that she doesn’t really seem to care about her health, and instead of fighting a chronic illness, she’s deciding to give in to it. I find that kind of thing really irresponsible, especially when I think of how many children and grandchildren she has, because they’ll all miss her when she’s gone. Sadly, nobody’s getting through to her, and it’s such a shame. I fear that when she’s gone, all I’m going to have is really terrible memories of her, because she has done and still does some astoundingly inconsiderate things to her loved ones. I love her, but she does not make that very easy.
  6. I feel like such a bad person right now, because I just realised I’m judging a loved one really harshly. Even if she does some really weird and bad things, I shouldn’t be criticising her right now. I need to be better than this.
  7. I don’t understand people who think non-human animals don’t have feelings. I feel that those people are the ones who can’t feel anything, which makes me want to punch them in the face, just to ask if they felt me do it. Animal cruelty makes me want to fist-fuck people in their stupid faces. I have to remind myself that punching someone in the face constitutes animal cruelty in a roundabout way, which would make me a hypocrite, and a violent one at that. STOP IT, ILENE. NO. BAD.
  8. I have no idea why I find Druidic horoscopes so hilarious, but I do. They’re even funnier when they’re grammatically incorrect. According to their philosophy, I have similar characteristics to a walnut tree. How can I not laugh at that? Cartomancy can fuck right off though; I don’t care how pretty the cards are. I will burn those decks of beautiful bullshit. This goes for all versions of that, not just the Druid stuff.
  9. I once had a counselor who tried to give me some kind of tarot card reading because she thought I needed a new direction in life. The only direction I was interested in was RIGHT THE FUCK OUTTA THERE. She later got in touch with me to say that her door was always open, if I chose to open my mind in the future. What a patronising thing to say.
  10. I once introduced someone to a group of other people as Oedipus Rex, because I wanted to imply that he was a motherfucker. I’m strangely proud of that insult, and I’ll use it again when it feels right to.
  11. Sometimes, I wonder if people will only truly appreciate Trent Reznor when he’s dead. Then I try to stop wondering, because I don’t want to think of something that depressing, and because people already appreciate him and his creative endeavours very much. I’d rather think about how nice it is that Mariqueen Maandig is involved with him not only romantically but creatively, because I believe that her influence as a female artist has added something very unique and enjoyable to something I already liked in the first place.
  12. When I was younger, I swore I’d change my first name as soon as I was able to. I remember saying this to someone I knew, and she said that maybe by then, I will have made peace with having my name and that I wouldn’t really feel right being called by any other name. I think she was right.
  13. I once owned ‘Come on Eileen’ on vinyl; it was bought for me as a prank gift. I thanked the giver for “making an awkward and expensive reference to bukkake in the name of trying to share a badly crafted inside joke with me”. I find the gift funny now, but I still don’t like that person all too much. I have my reasons.
  14. I have an issue of Empire that has an interesting cover article about Michael Fassbender; the spacing and typography of the title made it so that the letter ‘f’ at the start of his surname is almost completely lost in the binding, and I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe when I first noticed.
  15. I once lived with someone who thought Braille and Morse code were “pretty much the same thing”. She then proceeded to make fun of me when I asked her how she got this far through life without somehow knowing the difference, and she said something like, “Well, of course I didn’t know. I’d rather learn sign language if I was fucking deaf, you nerd”.
  16. Another previous flatmate asked me how many millilitres there are in a litre, multiple times. I then tried to explain the milli- prefix so she could avoid such confusion in the future, but the information never seemed to catch on. So I decided to have some fun with it, and started talking shit about how a centilitre is exactly ten centimetres more than a decalitre, which in turn weighs ten times as much as a fluid ounce, but only if it’s rainwater. She then said something like, “I don’t have to remember this stuff, because people like you can remind me when I need it”. I still laugh whenever I remember this.
  17. I always laugh really hard whenever anyone says “silly bitch” when describing anyone. I don’t know why. It just seems like a really hilarious word duo.
  18. I’m friends with a few couples and I’ve noticed something: if I tell a really stupid joke and only one of them laughs while the other one gets angry or offended (not only at the fact that they didn’t like what I said, but that their partner seems to like it in any way), then I can’t help but feel they’re a bad match. It’s not like every couple needs to have the exact same sense of humour, because that’d be damn near impossible, but if two people in a relationship can’t share a laugh, then they’re kinda fucked straight out of the gate. My parents are very different people, but they laugh together a lot. Even if one of them doesn’t understand the joke, they’ll just laugh at the fact that the other is laughing so hard at something they think is kinda weird. It’s adorable.
  19. My “fifty miscellaneous thoughts” type posts are getting way more in-depth than they used to be. Maybe these walls of text make me a bit harder to identify with because these thoughts aren’t as light-hearted as they used to be, but I can’t help but find it interesting that my writing style is changing. I guess this was bound to happen. I hope it’s a good thing.
  20. If you’re not going to take anyone else’s shit, then don’t give yourself shit. If you’d hate someone for saying something really hurtful to or about you, then don’t let yourself get away with saying similar things to yourself. It took me a while to internalise this, and things have changed for the better since.
  21. I think it’s kinda confusing how some people pretend to be really into something just so they can bond with other people who like the same thing. It’s nice that someone wants so badly to have something in common with someone that they’re prepared to do that, but it’s not worth it in the long run if it’s not genuine. Why not just admit that you’re not an expert on whatever it is, so you can ask questions about it and learn something? People seem to love being asked about what they’re passionate about, and I think it’s really nice to see how happy they are when they talk about these things. That’s a win-win situation.
  22. It’s sad when someone apologises for talking about something they’re really into. It makes me think that someone in their past told them that nobody cares and that they should just shut the fuck up, and that’s just horrible.
  23. I love when someone has a laugh that’s funnier than the joke that set it off.
  24. I like Stellan Skarsgård and his work. I think he’s really good at playing villains. I find it impressive how he can act quite terrifying, in a subdued kind of way. I find his portrayed brand of quiet aggression far more menacing than the overt expressions of anger that other actors employ. I also like how he once said something about how if there was a god who demanded constant worship, that fact alone would make them not worthy of it. I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment.
  25. I’ve been watching a few things about foley artists and how they do their jobs. They seem to be incredibly resourceful. Sound design is one field that seems to go unnoticed, until it’s not present, leaving people with a sense of unease due to the fact that what they’re watching doesn’t match what they’re hearing. That said, this sense of unease can also be used to great effect within art. The best artists learn these rules not only to obey them, but also so they can bend or break them in a purposeful way.
  26. The internet would be very different without Wikipedia. As much as it’s known for its pitfalls, like lack of accuracy, I still think it’s far better than some other encyclopediae because it’s so customisable. For better or for worse, it’s as subject to change as much as everybody’s thoughts and ideas.
  27. Some of the best things I’ve ever done have been out of spite, or the need to prove someone wrong. I find it funny how that can be a source of motivation, but it works.
  28. I think it’s cute how a floppy disk symbol can still represent a ‘save’ capability. Do children under a certain age even understand this? Same for how a reel-to-reel symbol can signify a recording, and how a rotary phone receiver can represent a phone call. I also find it interesting how an envelope symbol can still represent non-physical forms of messaging. That said, I think it may be wholly replaced by the speech-bubble quite soon. I’m ambivalent about that particular one.
  29. Whenever I find out that someone has an eating disorder, all I want to do is hug them and tell them it’s not going to be like this forever, and that they’re allowed to cry about it because the fear of food and how it’s metabolised is a highly distressing and frustrating thing to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
  30. Can we all please stop tacitly saying things like “plus-sized model” and just call them models? Because that’s what they are. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive about that differentiation, but it just doesn’t sit well with me. I can’t help but think that someone’s mass/weight/size shouldn’t have a bearing on one’s job title, unless it directly pertains to their profession or they feel it’s important that they acknowledge and represent that particular side of things.
  31. I recently found out that a tiger’s tongue is so rough that if one licked you, it would draw blood. I find that fact a bit scary and it makes me feel a bit nauseous when I think about it, but it’s impressive all the same.
  32. I think I’ve finally gotten over my phobia of being on or under bridges (gephyrophobia). I resented how unfounded and unnecessary that fear was, so I challenged it with graded exposure until I felt it didn’t affect me as much anymore. Maybe one day, I’ll feel resilient enough to challenge my arachnophobia. Not today though… fuuuuuuuuck. Baby steps.
  33. The existence of arachibutyrophobia (the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth) probably shouldn’t be trivialised by anyone, because we’ve all got certain physical sensations we simply can’t stand. I’m no expert on that area, but I know I wouldn’t make fun of anyone for it, that’s all.
  34. How do you describe the taste of salt without saying “salty”? Umami? Savoury?
  35. Textbooks should have more pictures. I think it’s just a little bit elitist that a lot of people seem to think that words are the most academic and elevated form of expression; that shit’s simply not true due to how wide and varied our learning styles are. Objectivity has its purpose, but subjectivity does too, and this should be acknowledged and included, for the sake of those who struggle with words. As verbose as I am, sometimes I get very frustrated with how something is phrased, and all I want to see is some form of diagram or visual example of it instead.
  36. As far as note-taking goes, sometimes I get so caught up with how I’m going to categorise my words that it affects the quality of the information that I’m trying to put on paper, thus rendering said notes worthless when it comes to referring back to them. It’s not good. It seems that good notes start in the centre of a page, rather than at the top.
  37. To anyone who thinks Latin is a dead language: I choose to believe you don’t really mean this. You don’t have to be a linguistics student (but it helps) to know better. I usually forgive this kind of oversight because not everyone takes etymology into account and that’s fine, but I can’t always pretend that such an errant declaration doesn’t annoy me. IT SHOULDN’T BOTHER ME SO MUCH BUT IT FUCKING DOES. Shit. I need to calm down.
  38. I miss Cobra Khan. Where’d they go? It’s up to them whether or not they wanna be a band anymore, but I just want to know where they went.
  39. One of these days, I’ll win a burping contest against my mother. I’ve got the quantity vote, but she’s got quality. That shit is loud. I have no idea how she can do it that loudly. Diaphragm strength? Fuck, I don’t know.
  40. I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never eaten cold pizza for breakfast. I’m not above doing something that lazy, and I really don’t care.
  41. I wonder if I’ll ever see myself as a proper adult, whatever that means. In the meantime, I won’t stress about it.
  42. I’m not sure if I can go twenty-four hours without cringing out loud at a memory or thought. I only do it when I’m alone, but it weirds me out that I do it at all.
  43. I’m tempted to see how long I can grow my hair, but something tells me I’ll get annoyed with it and cut it before I outdo how long it’s been in the past. Oh, well.
  44. I’m finally getting over this really shitty cough I’ve had for almost three weeks. Why is my immune system so shit? Oh, wait… never mind. Damn it. I really need to take better care of my throat.
  45. If I was a dog, I bet I’d be one of those Newfoundlands. Thick hair? Check. Prefers not to live in metropolitan areas? Yep. Anxious when not socialised enough? True, to a degree. Hmmm. I’m going to stop comparing myself to canines now.
  46. I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night without waking up at any point. That said, I really don’t want to take sleeping pills ever again. There are better ways to deal with insomnia, ways that won’t make me feel like shit during my waking hours.
  47. I feel the same way about anti-anxiety sedatives. They may work for other people, but not for me. I got to the point where I felt that the higher my dosage was, the more I needed them when they wore off. I now realise I should have weaned myself off them gradually, but I’m just glad I don’t take them anymore, regardless of how difficult it was to abruptly stop using them. Panic attacks are undeniably shitty, but I’d rather deal with them in my own way than be a grumpy zombie bitch who can’t really get excited about anything. I’d rather take drugs because I think they’re interesting, not because I feel I need them, because I really don’t.
  48. I once called bullshit on someone because they were going on about how they knew someone who died because they dreamed of something so shocking that it gave them a heart attack in their sleep. That kind of thing probably does happen because the human body is very complicated, it’s just that there’s no way you’d find out what the dead person was dreaming about in their final moments, or if they were dreaming at all before they passed away in their sleep. Some people will make up anything just to be the centre of attention. Jesus.
  49. One of these days, I’m going to stop feeling around for a light switch whenever I enter my room and I’ll just unconsciously know that it’s pull-activated.
  50. Where’s the cat? I need some kitty-cuteness in my day. CAAAAAAAAT.

Thinking about thinking for some reason I feel the need to figure out

Being a so-called “deep thinker” is both a blessing and a curse.

I mean, I know why I tend to overthink things – it stems from having to seek out and process a lot of things that my parents didn’t (and couldn’t) teach me during childhood. I unraveled a lot of lies I was expected to live my life by, mostly to do with religion, but not always. As caring as they were, they made the mistake a lot of parents make: thinking that feeding and clothing a child is all they need. I’ve talked to them about how mentally under-stimulated I felt I was while I was under their care, and the initial reactions I seemed to get involved implied blame for being such a “handful” and asking too many questions they couldn’t (or didn’t want to) answer. They are now very apologetic because they now realise what I had to do in spite of them, and that it required a lot of effort.

As much as that kind of thing annoys me, I knew I had to let it go. They were raised in families that didn’t value logic – the kinds of people who far prefer a comfortable lie than a difficult truth. They were mentally and physically punished whenever they questioned anything, sometimes to humiliating extremes. I can’t hold it against them that they were aggressively conditioned towards thinking that curiosity and introspection were characteristics to be beaten out of a child. All I could do as a child was try and fight back and let them know that I wasn’t going to be treated that way, and all I can do as an adult is accept that things were all wrong once upon a time in the family home, and be grateful that it’s all over now and that my parents are finally really caring people that I can rely on for emotional support when I need it.

I remember when I was maybe about seven years old, I asked my mother if she thought we’d eat so much meat if we had to hunt it down for ourselves. I was just thinking out loud, messing around the kitchen as I was “helping” her make dinner (read: talking about how school was and washing like, two plates or something), initiating conversation about something mundane. I remember there was a pause of a few seconds before she started shouting about why I needed to stop wondering about such stupid things and how annoying I was because I couldn’t shut my brain up. I fell silent, stunned at her outburst. She then slapped me hard across my face, so hard that the inside of my mouth bled, whilst making fun of me for being quiet all of a sudden, and then said that I shouldn’t get fed if I criticised what was being served.

It wasn’t the first time she hit me and it definitely wasn’t the last, but it was the first time I knew for sure that I didn’t deserve that shit. Before then, I blamed myself for the times they’d lash out, regardless of whether I did anything that made them angry. I barricaded myself in my room by pushing a wardrobe up against the door, and then I climbed into said wardrobe with a flashlight and a marker pen and drew all over the inside of it. I drew crosses, skulls, bunnies and cats, among other things. I tried to draw a dragon, but it ended up like some kind of centaur. I also drew both my parents with knives sticking into them (really badly, but you could mostly make out what I was trying to do), alongside sentences like, “if god isn’t dead, I will kill him” and “that wasn’t very Christian of them”. I then resolved never to treat any child that way in the future, because I couldn’t live with making anyone as miserable as I felt in that moment. I wasn’t scared of the concept of hell, because I felt I was already there.

I had a lot of things to think about as a kid, and sometimes I wonder if it’s because I had nobody to talk to. Maybe I wouldn’t be so introspective if I had a best friend to comfort or distract me, or an older relative to offer me advice – there’s no way of knowing that for sure. I just remember knowing that I needed to rely on myself to get through it all until I was independent enough to leave their custody.

I entered the working world early, by lying about my age on job applications and in interviews. I was already a very busy child, but I felt that if I wasn’t financially independent, then I’d never get out of the hellhole I called home. I knew I needed to do something about my life, and that it would probably involve working harder than I ever had before. My parents seemed to resent that I was paying my own way from such a relatively young age, and I loved that. They’d try and confiscate something if I annoyed them, only to have me snatch it back and tell them to fuck off and die because they didn’t actually pay for that. An average day in my thirteen-year-old life went like this:

– 5:30am >wake up
– 6-6:45am >deliver newspapers with my brother
– 7-8am >seminary (bible study)
– 8:45am-3:30pm >school
– 4-5pm >sports practice / debating team meeting
– 5:30-9:30pm >part time work babysitting or at the local convenience store-type thing
– 10-11pm >homework
– 11pm-whenever >non-schoool-related research and reading / actual spare time.

…and then I’d wake up and do it all over again. I woke up with my face pressed against a lot of open books during this time. Saturdays offered no reprieve – my brother and I were shipped off to various extracurricular commitments; things like netball, soccer, debating, track team, church youth group activities (community service and bible study, interspersed with the most hilarious and misinformed “educational” videos and lessons I’ve seen or heard ever), things like that. Sundays were, of course, all about waking up early to show how fucking virtuous we were as a family and sitting in a chapel for hours and hours whilst trying to ignore all of the viciously judgmental people sitting with us. I eventually got out of the whole church thing when I was about fourteen by pretending I had to work Sundays or I’d get fired – I told my parents that I wouldn’t have my work history be affected by someone imaginary. I’d then go to the museum, library or art gallery and wander around between those places until I could face going home to lock myself in my room again. I eventually got busted for not actually being at work during those times, but it worked for a bit.

I got through those days on auto-pilot, relying on muscle memory and a sense of hope that things would improve based on how much work I was willing to put in. I played nice enough with my parents to avoid punishment, distracting them with enough academic achievements for them to be proud of me; after all, how could they be mad at me when I was off impressing other people whose opinions actually mattered to me? What a thing for them to be able to brag about their “nerdy children” to other parents they knew. They lived through my brother and I to an alarming degree. I now have context as to why this happened, and I finally understand that my parents were dealing with mental illnesses of their own, but it still can’t make me forget.

What I really lived for was the refuge of my bedroom and the relief of being alone with something musical or literary or something of comedic value. I needed that time alone, and it was what got me through the shit-storm of my teenage years. Even now, I feel agitated by too much spare time, so I keep myself as busy as I can without bringing on a panic-related breakdown of some kind. This is when the tendency to overthink is a curse and not an asset – I constantly worry that I’m not doing enough, or as many things as I should, or that I’m too introverted and reclusive. So, then, I revert to that tendency to do something – anything – so mentally immersive that there couldn’t possibly be any room in my mind for any self-hate and anxiety. Most of what I do is so that I can silence the voices in my head. I know how fucked up that is, but this very tendency has made me who I am, and I mostly like who I am, most days.

Some days, I just wish I didn’t have to think so hard about it. But that’s just me overthinking the fact that I obsessively think so deeply about things that concern me. Typical, and laughable at times. It’s only going to end when I die or when I feel like it’s going to be the death of me, and I’m mostly fine with that.

Progress. I feel better now.