Here On The Inside

Published February 5, 2021
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At the beginning of their relationship (and eventual marriage), my well-read father told my mother there were certain books that she should read if she wished to understand his inner person. One of them was Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance. Others may have included Atlas Shrugged and The Seth Material, but these are ambiguous and unconfirmed. I went on to also read all of these and more, including most of Rand’s works and the entire Jane Robert’s/Seth canon.

Earlier in his youth, my father also became a big fan of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame. This appreciation stuck with him for the rest of his life. I think, in many ways, it served as a sort of nostalgic link to the past. It’s no surprise then that I spent hours listening to Tull through casual exposure and intent exploration. I think that Jethro Tull and Rammstein were probably his two favorite bands, as he’d listen to the latter while reloading ammunition in the basement during his alone time. On a side note, we had no idea until less than a year before his death that he spoke German fluently. Such was the man.

My Soul Song

In the same line towards understanding my inner person, there are songs and art pieces out there with a special place in my heart. These rare pieces are what I call “soul works.” They are works that speak to or express some part of my “soul.” They last over time, never changing (thus their rarity), and represent some aspect of my life that I identify as core to my “sense of life,” as Rand might put it.

The first song that achieved this tremendous personal honor was Inside by Jethro Tull. Here is a video from YouTube so that you can fully understand and appreciate what I’m referencing:

Lyrics:
All the places I’ve been make it hard to begin
To enjoy life again on the inside, but I mean to.
Take a walk around the block
And be glad that I’ve got me some time
To be in from the outside,
And inside with you.
I’m sitting on the corner feeling glad.
Got no money coming in but I can’t be sad.
That was the best cup of coffee I ever had.
And I won’t worry about a thing
Because we’ve got it made,
Here on the inside, outside so far away.
And we’ll laugh and we’ll sing get someone to bring
Our friends here for tea in the evening
Old Jeffrey makes three.
Take a walk in the park, does the wind in the dark
Sound like music to you?
Well I’m thinking it does to me.
Can you cook, can you sew? Well, I don’t want to know.
That is not what you need on the inside, to make the time go.
Counting lambs, counting sheep
We will fall into sleep
And we awake to a new day of living
And loving you so.

When I first heard this as a child and understood its lyrics, it immediately moved and intrigued me (much like I was later upon seeing Closer by Nine Inch Nails and Dragula by Rob Zombie on MTV). It became apparent to me early that I didn’t exactly live in the same world as those around me. Coming from the future might have something to do with that. What I mean is, by varying degrees throughout life, I’ve most definitely been apart from the rest, living in my world, by my thought process and values unaffected by the usual forces around me.

The Outside

For example, I attended the Presbyterian church and its vacation bible study camps as a child, which my mother helped organize as an elder. Despite their best efforts, I never really believed that I inherited any original sin. As I read Genesis and had the origin myths explained to me, I found it so sad and unbelievable that an omnibenevolent being like God would do such a thing. It didn’t make sense to me. I never mistrusted my judgment due to this, resolute in the idea that I knew how to do good, and so anything I was willing to do must be good. In fact, as a youth, I proposed that Judas wasn’t suffering eternally in hell but rather was in heaven as a deserving disciple precisely because he was instrumental in bringing about the crucifixion that supposedly saved us all. God must’ve known, being omniscient, what would happen and how it had to happen, and without Judas’ moral sacrifice, it couldn’t happen.

I remained undeterred from my judgment as I grew older and became sexually aware (which was very early). I had absolutely no reason to feel guilty when my interests shifted from heterosexual to homosexual; after all, if it were wrong, I’d have a tangible reason to feel guilty, wouldn’t I (and thus not do it)? I never once thought I was performing some egregious act simply because other people didn’t like it or some authority said it was terrible. Even in my fear that others wouldn’t understand at all, I never once hated myself because of what I felt or believed because I knew that if it were wrong, I’d know.

Later, philosophically and politically, I was the same. I lobbied various philosophical arguments and propositions to my wise and intelligent older brother from nine onwards. Never chastising me, he patiently showed me the errors in my thinking with logical recourse without ever introducing any articles to take on faith and reinforced my method of reaching conclusions and my debating skills. Because of this, I always stood apart, sometimes dramatically, from my teenage peers’ popular theories and beliefs and now my adult peers. I never once gave in to social pressure to bend my views or sanction what was logically wrong.

I never gave in to any pressure to conform to any values of my family I didn’t share. I never gave in to any pressure to conform to my classmates’ values. I never gave in to pressure to lay out my life and lifestyle in such a way as to please others. I’ve never given in to any pressure to conform to anything.

I’ve never once questioned what brings me joy because I know that it wouldn’t bring me joy if it were bad. That’s who I am and who I strive to be. When I built and put on a full-body costume resembling an animal and then paraded it (literally) around town, it brought me so much joy. It was a profound expression of part of who I am. To many, I was making an absolute fool of myself, demeaning myself, and hindering myself in some way for reasons they could not fathom. Why would anyone want to go so against the grain of society’s judgments, particularly someone as intelligent and with as much integrity as me? But the reality is there’s nothing objectively wrong or illogical in putting on a silly performance for your’s and others’ amusement. I’ve never been more full of the joy of life than when I was in costume. I’m not hurting anyone, so isn’t that reason enough?

Just Like This

I want this to serve as a contrast to the experiences I’ve heard commonly expressed by my acquaintances. I’ve discovered that many individuals suffered at great lengths throughout their lives due to doing the opposite. Instead of trusting their judgment and who they are, they listened to others’ edicts and judgments.

They learned to repress, squash, and second-guess their judgment because they were told by those they trust, socially, philosophically, ethically, or religiously that they are inherently flawed, evil, stupid, and plainly don’t matter. So many gays hate themselves, so many individualists hide in resentment, and so many flowers never bloom because the errant nail must be hammered down. It’s a sad injustice.

Unlike many other self-professed individualists, I never had to “unlearn” any of this. I’ve always been like this, never betraying myself. Rand’s works, and other treatises on individualism, didn’t “open my eyes” at all. They reaffirmed and gave additional logical support to what I had already known and successfully practiced since childhood. And precisely because they often so perfectly fit some of my long-held beliefs, I continue to question them to this day.

The Inside

Because of who I am, coupled with my absolute resoluteness to follow and trust my nature and judgment, I live in what I call both the “outside” and the “inside.” It is the “outside” because it is “unlike the rest.” I first began pursuing the idea that there was an individual glory in “never making it where everyone else did” (quoting a poem of mine) in high school. I rejected striving to be valedictorian but instead pursued my own self-made goals.

This honor was expanded upon when I chose to embrace my homosexuality and establish my life with my husband, eschewing the idea of fitting into heteronormative society (a much stronger entity at the time) or producing our own children.

I elaborated this idea further when I decided to embrace my furry vision and pronounce that someday I would become a real-life furry to my parents and others. I publicly display myself in a costume and even proclaim that I will live as a costume (yet to be fulfilled) until I can achieve true phenomic freedom.

I choose not to participate in the modern workplace (I have no “career”), to strive towards the “normal” goals of career and family, to engage in the petty choosing of sides and partisan politics, to care about fixing or saving the world at large, to embrace self-delusional passive-aggressiveness masquerading as enlightenment, to see myself as superior to others in any way nor become misanthropic, nor to strive to get to where everyone else is going.

I have taken to heart the idea that “you create your reality,” and that’s exactly what I’m continuing to do. I’m so far removed in many ways from the concerns of your average American that I have dubbed where I am the “outside.” This position doesn’t make me better in any way, just different. I’m not alone.

At the same time, I call it the “inside,” much like Tull’s song. On the “inside,” my husband and I live and think by different values and different rules in our insular little world of our creation. We’ve constructed our ethics and live our daily lives precisely the way we want. What matters on our “inside” is your virtue and the appreciation of life unadulterated by the prejudices of modern society and its misguided, often vacuous, values. There’s no religion, and at its emotional core, no philosophy, just pure and unique consciousness appreciating the good. Others’ thoughts and actions have no bearing on us, and their unfounded criticisms and ridicule fall on confident deaf ears. Our lifestyle isn’t dictated by companies, products, consumerism, social pressure, social media, labels, stereotypes, nor politics, just us. I rarely read headlines or news articles or listen to pundits because they are often trivial and don’t matter in the long run. I live in this impenetrable and ethereal “inside,” constructed by my disregard for that which doesn’t matter to my life and my decisions, and I always have.

From this “inside,” I observe the outside world. I watch the possibly unfortunate souls caught up in all of those things. From this “inside,” I make my pronouncements and judgments of objective reality and behavior. This “inside” can’t, as Victor Frankl wrote, ever be taken away from me.

From My World To Yours

It is from this “inside,” my world, that I unabashedly post holiday greetings such as this:

That’s me in my hometown at approximately 2:30 AM the day after Christmas celebrating the holiday season. I chose this odd hour because I wanted a relatively peaceful outing and nobody else in my beautiful pictures. This Facebook/Instagram post was my holiday greetings/card to everyone (as I’m really, really bad at sending those out.) This type of goodwill is who I am. No apologies.

The head is all that remains of my old Willy The Red Husky fursuit, now about seventeen years old. He had his own channel of videos that have been slowly reduced from their complete one hundred and one because of copyrighted music. His most famous and best-produced video is one parodying a popular song by musical artist Mika:

My husband and I celebrated Christmas earlier that evening with our homemade dinner: honey glazed ham, glazed honey carrots, salad, and deviled eggs. It was our first Christmas that we spent on the “inside,” and it was extraordinary. We have gone to my clan’s various homes for other years to do the holidays together, but COVID reduced the gathering to a Zoom meeting this year.

During the Zoom meeting, I ended up asking my electrical engineer brother about a project on which I’d been working. I have a TRS-80 Color Computer III that I love (along with a TRS-80 CoCo II 16k). I love it so much it’s souped-up like an old car with 2 megabytes of RAM, an HDB-DOS cartridge that enables a DriveWire cable to hook up to a Raspberry Pi 4. The Pi serves up two virtual disks, one with Nitros9 installed and one a gigabyte large for all other data. I hooked all of this up to an HD monitor I purchased from Best Buy for good visual clarity.

One problem is that the coaxial (RF modulation), and composite (RCA/RGB), cable ports seem to be geared towards previous models of the Color Computer because the visual integrity of the display nowhere near matches the resolution defined inside the machine. When booting into Nitros9, the device accesses higher resolutions than these older machines’ capabilities, and the text became almost entirely illegible. I could only read it to any degree when I placed it as black against white.

I discovered compatible devices for the CoCo I and CoCo II for connecting the devices to VGA monitors through some research. These were unfortunately incompatible with the GIME chip of the CoCo III. I finally came across a Hack-A-Day project that showed me a way, but I had to do it myself.

I got all the supplies, but I was still a little unsure. Though I have created a circuit in the past, I wasn’t entirely sure how to make this one. I asked my brother n00b questions like, “Do I just stick the wires in the holes of the pin connectors?”

Finally, I did get it to work, and here was the result:

I’m hoping to develop a TRS-80 Color Computer III game and expand on that endeavor here, now that I can read the text. I also plan to build another fursuit this year, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, start thinking about your inside and how you might create your reality.

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