Can’t sleep snowflakes will eat me.

Complete side note.

I’m beginning to understand a lot about myself lately (probably the result of the meditation demands of my new group). As much as I try not to show it, I have a lot of anxiety and pent-up fears. I suspect that this is what living a life “on the spectrum” can do to you, my apparent high-functioning notwithstanding.

Part of my ability to function with “farmers” is my exact ability to hide hunter instincts when they don’t suit, although they are there. And the downside to being a hunter is you are always afraid there’s something bigger than you out there with you in mind as dinner. I’ve been observing a lot in housecats their awkward position as predator AND prey (given the small size of felis silvestris) and how many of the behaviors we find rather adorable about cats are actually ways of them dealing with that conflicting instinct. The love of high places. The sleeping in boxes. Raven’s fear of the Grabby Ape.

Medications are wonderful things. One happy accident of some of my recent problems is I got put on a sleep medication that has anti-anxiety properties. Well, that, and maybe the aforementioned meditation is helping as well. I can start to see how anxiety plays into my reactions and interactions, and that I’ve spent a lot of my life in a state of fear.

Maybe that’s what L. has been trying to tell me all these years. I have nothing to be afraid of, after all. I live in a time in history where war is rarely at my doorstep, crime is going down all the time, and (for the moment) I live in a place with freedoms and employment opportunities so that I’m well fed, well medicated, and more or less warm. Day to day, hour to hour, I really have nothing to worry about.

But I still can’t sleep. Snowflakes will eat me.

Emotional day at the doctor’s office…

Once and a while you get a diagnosis from a doctor that seems obvious in hindsight.  “Of course I have this disease, it makes perfect sense because I’ve been feeling this way for months/years” and you wonder why the hell you wasted your time. As you age, these sorts of moments come more often, as our bodies do fail in frighteningly predictable ways after whatever warranty expires.

Sometimes these routine diagnoses are just one more tickbox on your medical chart… they don’t mean anything long term.  They don’t change a thing: you are still in pain, still limp that way, still can’t do what you wanted to do.  Or, you’ve already overcome the underlying cause, either through simple adaptation or lifestyle changes.

One in a thousand of us get a diagnosis that angers us.  “All these years I’ve been trying to tell people that something’s wrong, and nobody’s listened” is the feeling you get.  You have something like fibromyalgia, for example, that has no obvious signs or symptoms other than your perpetual feeling of malaise… which let’s face it, is very difficult for a doctor to measure with a ruler and write on a chart.

If you are unlucky you get all of these things in one doctor’s visit.

Today was that day for me.  I’ve known for a while I have something going on with my heart, and I’ve heard the Latin-rooted words surrounding my basic cardiac conditions bounced around without ever really understanding the deeper meaning.  As I’ve been recovering from heart surgery I knew that the rest of my life I’d be having to watch the ol’ ticker, ever mindful of things like sodium and cholesterol intake.  But I guess it was when the nurse educator handed me the packet from the Adult Congenital Heart Association that I truly understood the implications of the simple fact my (now) regular cardiologist was stationed in the Children’s Hospital.

Regardless of my weight, regardless of my poor dietary habits, regardless of how much exercise I got, and regardless of anything I could have done I’d be sitting here talking to a cardiologist.  My heart attack wasn’t completely my fault, and why I’m here in this doctor’s office is not because I’m a fat fuck… it’s because I was born with a genetic heart condition that would have lead me here at this point in my life regardless.

True, I could have eaten better.  I could have pushed myself to exercise a bit more.  But I’m here not because I had a heart attack.  I’m here because I have a fucked up heart valve and a aorta that’s way too big for its britches.  Even if I maintained a perfect 130/80 blood pressure we would likely be having this discussion today about fixing my broken heart valve and ensuring my body’s major artery doesn’t erupt.

And then I got angry.  I got mad at all the people over the years who’ve belittled me because of my weight.  I got angry about the countless PE coaches who pushed me to the point I couldn’t breathe, and blamed it on my laziness I couldn’t run anywhere near as far, anywhere near as fast as any of the other kids.  I got upset over the countless doctors who never bothered to investigate my claims over the years that I often get exhausted when I shouldn’t, and that even short sprints or moderate aerobic activity are difficult for me to do.

“They didn’t know,” my inner voice tries to say to soothe my anger.  And that just makes me angrier, because (often as I gasped for breath) I tried to explain that I just couldn’t.  Even as a young adult when I was empowered to do something by society I never got any doctor to seriously hear my claims that it’s difficult to exercise for any length of time.  They just penciled in “morbidly obese” on my chart and that was the end of it.  No primary care doctor ever ordered the echocardiogram that would have shown the bicuspid heart valve clear as the nose on their face, and maybe I could have worked on building my stamina at a young age when it’s likely I could have trained my circulatory system to compensate for the shitty heart valve.

“They didn’t know.”  How many teenagers struggle with the same thing I struggle with every day?  How many kids gain weight because they can’t exercise like the other kids… simply just can’t keep up… and deal with the endless taunts and jabs of classmates?  How many kids deal with it poorly because they have something “else” wrong with them?  They’re gay.  They’re smart and/or eccentric.  They’re a minority.  THEY’RE ALL OF THE ABOVE.

How did I survive my youth?  “They didn’t know.”

They didn’t know how how hurtful those words were.  But the Hunter remembers.  And up swells all the feelings of inadequacy, all the struggles, all the pain.  But the Hunter also stops himself and feels an odd sense of pride that he HAS survived.  Regardless of how much it hurts, he wakes up every day with hope that maybe today will be better than the last, or at least not worse.

I’m still out there searching.  For food.  For shelter.  For mates.  And the Hunt continues, and for one more day I have avoided the arrows of the Great Hunter that hunts us all.  And I guess that’s better than all the hurts, because it means I’m stronger after all… just not in the way that others can always see.  And I want to join hands with all my friends who struggle with similar issues and give you all the biggest hug.

And have us grunt together.

Why is there famine in my heart when there’s plenty on the table?

Last month, I made a post about the Hunter within me.  How it manifests in thoughts and actions.  And how even in an environment of relative plenty I feel impoverished and hungry.  I made that comment almost as an aside without realizing what was there.

I’m beginning to understand why.  The food we’re given is poison to the Hunter, and he knows it.  He picks at eggs that come from malnourished chickens, and begrudgingly eats potatoes full of antinutrients and partially defused toxins.. fried in vegetable oil that is full of Omega-6 fats.  He looks around for food he can eat that will make him whole, and is discovering that even what is supposed to be the “right food” is so deficient in the vitamins and fats his Hunter mind and body needs that he eats to survive, not to thrive.  He is sick, he is tired, he is dying under the weight of corn-fed animals slaughtered for meat and corn syrup poured into everything else.  The Hunter craves food that is healthy, food that nourishes his body, his mind, and his spirit.  Instead, all that he is fed is inappropriate.. quite literally bird seed and feces.

I could go on for pages about this.  I’ve ranted privately, and tweeted publically, about all the sloppy science and outright lies we’ve been told (example: did you know that there is very little evidence that shows cholesterol causes heart disease?  And in fact, cholesterol actually has net positive effects on cardiovascular ((Horwich, T.B. et. al, “Low Serum Cholesterol is Associated With Marked Increase in Mortality in Advanced Heart Failure”, Journal of Cardiac Failure vol. 8 no. 4, 2002, pp 216-224)) ((Jacobs D. et. al., “Report of the Conference on Low Blood Cholesterol: Mortality Associations”, Circulation vol 86 no 3, September 1992, pp 1046-1060)), but more importantly, mental health?  And that cholesterol is actually needed by our brains for neurotransmitter function, like seratonin absorption? ((Engelberg, H, “Low Serum Cholesterol and Suicide”, Lancet no. 339, March 21, 1992 pp. 727-728))  Yes, my friends who take SSRIs: that low cholesterol level your MD is proud of and prescribing medication to maintain may be making your depression worse.).

There are no easy answers.  As I discovered early in this search for knowledge, there’s a lot of entrenched “common sense” that is outright bollocks.  Many of you in my circle of friends have bought a whole lot of bullshit.  Conspiracy theories aside, the Food Establishment wants to keep you dumb and confused.  The foods they are feeding you are cheap to make, can be sold to you at considerable profit, and controlled as commodities by megacorporations and governments to rape both the planet and our blessed farmers who toil on Her surface.  By making statements like your form of diet is “better for the planet” you are in essence saying “this form of rape is more acceptable.”  And I’m not just looking at vegetarians here, although from my perspective as the Hunter you seem especially silly in this regard.

But, fundamentally it is still rape.  You don’t know any better, so as much as the Hunter wants to rage, he is just beginning to understand.  And he is beginning to feel sorrow for his world: a world that takes away individualism, replaces it with empty promises of a better tomorrow while virtually guaranteeing there will be no tomorrow.

One of the books I stumbled across in this quest was The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith.  Even though I never had the notion of vegetarianism as a “save the planet!” perspective, she utterly shatters any hope of me ever accepting that viewpoint.  She also rearms my feeling about eating “paleolithically” with more hard evidence that the modern diet of corn, potatoes, and other grains is fundamentally unhealthy.  But the strongest words of all were the ones that spoke directly to the Hunter within.

Somewhere inside you is an animal that wants to eat. There’s no dishonor in that animal. She’s the same animal who wants to curl up around her sleeping beloveds, to keep them safe and warm. She’s the same animal who comes alive at the smell of rain. She’s an animal who belongs here.

She’s four million years old. She’s in the shape of your teeth, the empty bowl of your one stomach. She’s in your stalwart heart, a hundred years strong, surrounded by animal fat. She’s in the folds of your brain, and the messages they can carry. Across four million years, these folds grew exquisite, until the messages needed an answer. Your animal found language, art. She answered. She drew what mattered. Go look. The pictures are still there. She left them for you: take, eat, this is the body we have made, predator and prey together. This is the pact, the prayer, our true first communion, not wine but blood: we are all part of each other.

Bow your head and take aim. Then take your turn.

This Hunter may finally be ready to take his. For the sake of brotherhood, for the sake of this planet, for the sake of the millions of years of evolution that has created every one of us, I hope others join me.

If you’d like to follow along with my “journey”, here’s a brief reading list.

  • the aforementioned The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith.
    Written from a feminist perspective, so some of the feminism might be hard to swallow for us men.  Very well researched, with tons of references and cites.
  • The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight… by Loren Cordain
    Written as a diet self-help book, and sometimes hammers a point into a fine powder, but a great launching point for research.  It’s worth buying just for the bibliography and citations.
  • The New Evolution Diet by Arthur deVany.
    Another look at the Paleolithic diet perspective.  Written more as a narrative of one man’s journey than a “how-to” book, but still very meaty and cite-rich.
  • Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand
    While not strictly written along the lines above, it is the book that is almost single-handedly responsible for getting me to question the mainstream “environmentalist” movement’s motives and ideals.  If Lierre Keith is written from the perspective of “burn it all down, civilization is a cancer” this book proffers the perspective that civilization and the environment can, in fact, peacefully coexist IF we are willing to accept the lessons civilization’s failures are teaching us.
  • Almost forgot this one.  Watch the movie King Corn.  It will sicken you how we’ve taken formerly proud citizen-farmers and turned them into corporate wage slaves.


I admire Summertime, my cat.

Yesterday, she managed to catch and kill a mouse that I knew had been scurrying about in my apartment.  And, as I was cleaning up the mess of blood and bone on my kitchen floor, I came to a conclusion about my beloved pet.  My sweet, adorable little ball of fat and fur that I cuddle up to on cold nights and have long, goofy conversations with is a killer.  I’m only spared because I’m bigger and viewed as a surrogate parent.  It is not my status as an “apex predator” that keeps her calm and docile in my presence… I’m more of a passive god-like being who does all the hard work (hunting for food and protecting “the pride”) for her.

But, as the occasional dead mammal or insect reminds me, she (even in her docile, “domesticated” state) is still a quite capable hunter.

And that’s something to admire.  I see it in her facial expressions looking out the window.   I see her lusting after birds and squirrels outside.  I see her instincts at work when she plays with me, chasing after a fur-covered catnip mouse.  Biting it at the neck, raking her powerful back claws at its belly to evisceration.  And after play is done, she sits on my lap purring, content with her role as a companion animal.  She’s safe and warm inside this tall pink monkey’s cave.

She has had the opportunity to leave.  Even now in my ground-floor apartment, I’ll leave the window open on warmer days.  So far, she doesn’t want to go anywhere.  When I lived in a suburban house and she had access to a large yard, she’d go outside on the pleasant days and play a little… but mostly wanted to sun herself on the cool grass, a pleasure I’d sometimes share.  On those winter days when I’ve opened the window, you can almost see in her facial expressions the thought process.  “Yes, I COULD go out there, but why would I?  It’s warm in here, and that big clumsy ape will kill one of those weird round things and give me the meat anytime I want, so.. *purr nuzzle* Hey, daddy, would you mind killing one of those weird round things now?”

She’s still a hunter, and even though she’s the result of thousands of years of passive domestication she still holds on to her true “cat nature.”  Hell, the big clumsy ape isn’t dumb: it is precisely her true “cat nature” that makes her a good companion.  She kills the occasional pest, and is otherwise agreeable company.  Even her biological processes are compatible with the way I live.. she’s learned to poop in the place I designate, so I don’t have cat turds in my oatmeal.  (Part of that bargain is I pee in a similarly designated place, so there’s no monkey urine in her meat.)

I can also see in her eyes part of me as well.  I’m a hunter.  As a human being with ADD, I’ve been told to not view my neurological tendencies as a “handicap”, but as a different way of interacting with the world.  I am one of the last of my species.. a hunter living in a farmer’s world.  Like my cat, I look outside the window of civilized existence and see the “prey on the horizon”, although for my advanced primate brain it’s less about killing meat for food and more about a yearning to be on the move.  Finding better sources of food and water.  Perhaps a nicer place to curl up and sleep.  And always on the prowl for more mates.  Definitely more mates.  Hey, in addition to being a Hunter, I’m also male.

Presently, I balance the desires of the hunter with my human need to be a functioning member of the society I was born into. I do not have any Hunter skills (at least, none I’m consciously aware of).  I have a skill that requires sitting in one place for long periods of time and interacting with a hunk of plastic with a wire coming out the back.  Not exactly the lifestyle my Native American ancestors would envision as “successful” and “rewarding.”

Yet, I find the frontier in the electronic world to be just as stimulating as any geographical frontier.  Like my cat plays with a catnip toy to keep her Hunter self amused, I explore Google Maps and Wikipedia, and keep a perpetual electronic watch on Reddit and Fark. Those who’ve been in my home have seen the constant stimulus: everywhere you look there’s a LCD display with some RSS feed or info-graphic on it.  I’m most comfortable in an environment where I’m constantly being bombarded by stimulus, and if there’s one thing on the electronic frontier.. it’s stimulus.

In the wild, my Hunter skills would be valuable.  Being a Hunter is a constant state of distraction, where every potential distracting detail demands split-second re-evaluation of your world.

What was that sound of a branch breaking on the ground?  Predator, or prey?  Or maybe a mate?  Now there’s movement over there.. but whatever it is it is too small to eat, eat me, or fuck.. so never mind.  Hey, that bird call sounds familiar.. I’ve heard those birds around water.  What direction is it coming from?  I’m thirsty.

This is what life is like inside the Hunter’s mind: all of that could have been in a split second, my body moving towards the bird calls even before the thought process has bubbled up to the awake mind.

Increasingly I feel like I’m sacrificing my birthright as a human being to be part of a society that holds different values.  I often feel like I see things that others can’t.  I can smell the foul air in the wind, sometimes quite distinctly.  My natural instincts often tell me something is wrong.  My body feels undernourished, my mind impoverished, my spirit deadened.. even in the center of a surplus of food to eat, of knowledge and culture to enjoy, and millions of potential mates within my prowling radius.  I want to run.

Why is there famine in my heart when there is plenty all around?

Every day I take a drug that has the effect of allowing the Hunter to sit down for a minute and stop hunting.  In those moments where my hunter brain is still enough that I can think (without being bombarded by Hunter Stimulus) there’s an unnerving calm.  And there’s amazing productivity.  But often times it comes at a price.  There’s less creativity.  Time moves at a different pace.  I can almost feel the change.

This, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing.  The past year I’ve been taking drugs to treat my ADD have been a personal Renaissance.  I’ve gotten my feet back underneath me, and I’m re-learning  a lot of what it truly means to be me.

But it is also presenting me with a realization.  I have a birthright to be The Hunter.  It’s my true nature.  Regardless of how many pills I take or how I retrain my brain, I will never be The Farmer.. and it would be wrong for me to even try.


Not long ago, I started talking about following the “Paleo Diet”, and I got a lot of feedback.  Not all the feedback was good, but even in the bad there was something of value I could take away.  One of the “negative” points was, and I’m paraphrasing here, that I’m not a caveman, why would I eat like one?

My initial response to that was indignation.

I’m sure the friend who said that didn’t mean anything by it, but my response was very telling to me.  It was almost like something inside me was rebelling in that moment against the thought that I was anything but a hairy, smelly, feral caveman; knuckles dragging on the ground and monosyllabic grunts for speech.  My higher self (in a moment of non-caveman clarity a split-second later) said “Fuck you, buddy, maybe I am a caveman!”  It was almost an instinctive response, channeled through my layers of consciousness with considerable reverberation, only being amplified by The Hunter Mind’s need to defend his territory.

I now realize just how much of my true self came out at that split second.  There is, somewhere deep down, an “inner caveman feedle” that has been yearning to come out.

There are primal, very human needs deep inside me that aren’t being met by society at large.  Every once and a while, that part of me gets touched, and it feels wonderful.  It feels empowering.  It feels natural.

And I realize how many aspects of my life this manifests.  My diet (while not strictly “Paleo”, those are the foods I’m the most comfortable eating).  My spirituality (a blend of neopaganism, tribalism, and animism, with a huge dose of skepticism). My sexuality (bi, poly).   Even with all my affinity for technology and all my “forward thinking”, deep inside I feel like I’m a throwback.  I’m a very intelligent “caveman”, who has learned to put on clothes and “behave” with the “civilized farmers” out of necessity.

So, I want to substitute a different word for The Hunter.  I don’t really have the right word yet.  “Paleolithic human” is cumbersome, but it accurately describes exactly how I feel sometimes.

This increasingly looks like the beginnings of another life journey for me.  I want to find ways I can let the “paleo human” out, to let him explore the world the way he wants it to be.  To hunt, to eat, to explore the natural world in a way that allows those very primal needs to be met, while still holding on to the comforts of Neolithic civilization.   And, hopefully, to find other “Paleolithic humans” who are willing to show me the skills I haven’t learned yet to make me feel empowered.