EWS on Ice

Art on Ice from the Snow Collection

I guess you knew that this moment would come. I am finally done with my lab work and have begun writing up my thesis. The deadlines for the submission of the chapters are tight. Therefore, I won’t be able to post regularly. The posting is quick but the writing and revision take up a lot time, as you know my fellow bloggers.

I have a lot to tell you since my last Winds of Change post which was roughly six weeks ago. Such a lot of stuff happened during this time. I have grown in so many ways.

But because time is my most precious commodity now, the Winds of Change update will have to wait until January next year. I also won’t have time to keep Music Monday, Reviews, Rambles and the other content categories of Eleazar’s Writing Space going regularly. So, until January 2015 Eleazar’s Writing Space will be on ice.

On a side note, I was pretty disappointed in my last post. The poem is quite putrid by my standards. And I want to provide good quality content. So, instead of producing mediocre posts while I spend all my creative energy in writing my thesis, I decided put this blog on ice.

 

Until next year, may all go well with you and God bless you in every way He can!

E

 

Winds of Change: 295-272 days to go

It’s been quite some time since I last posted, eh? Well, I’ve been working on my thesis and finishing up the last couple of experiments in the lab. Quite a lot of stuff happened since my last post but for the sake of time and brevity I won’t get into those things now. You should know by now that I will get back to the events and the self-discoveries in the near future. I’m a rehasher, a cud chewer. 🙂

Where do I stand with my thesis? I’m still writing and reading up for the literature review. At the same time I am processing my data, fitting equations and thinking about what to say. The latter I find difficult to do since I like seeing the big picture before diving into the details. I have seen the big picture but am struggling to hash out the details, i.e. making the equations fit the data. (My project has a computation component.) Next Friday will be my last day in the lab so that I can focus on writing up my work.

On the porn front I don’t know what to say really. A couple of weeks ago I was in a let’s-just-get-it-over-and-done-with mindset. I just wanted to be done with stuff. So, I dived in and looked for the skimpy underwear that I subconsciously looked for. Suffice it say, I started wading through sewage. My reflexes were active so as soon as I saw some junk I averted my eyes and exited the page. All the bullets I was dodging got too much for so I decided to call of the search. I chose not search through the sewers of the Internet for a strapless leather penis pouch. Although not extreme, it could only be found on the extreme side of the underwear world. And I was not going to jeopardise my porn abstenance any longer. I have not been back since.

I did, however, purchase a c-string and a pouch thong to see how comfortable they really were. The c-string I bought because it can be used while sunbathing (to protect my goods). The pouch thong I bought to see whether it hampers erections and how painful having an erection in one really is. I can satisfactorally say that the pouch thong impedes erections and isn’t painful to wear at all. I was worried about developing Peyronie’s Disease though but did not. Using the bathroom with it was also fine. It was the first thong I ever wore. I purchased three skimpy underwear so far. When I work again I will order two more.

With the let’s-just-get-it-over-and-done-with mindset I also expanded my Flickr favourites album to include photos of non-sexual activities I’d like to do naked one day. To achieve this I had to go back on my resolution to not search for stuff with the words naked and nude in the search string. I saw some unwanted pics which either I literally closed my eyes to and scrolled on or exited the search completely. To be honest, I found the fact that I was search for “nude hiking”, “nude kayaking”, “bare boating”, etc. a little disturbing but I knew that if I didn’t get it over and done that I would want to search for those images again. Why? Because those are my dreams. I kept thinking about doing those activities naked so that I don’t forget that I’d like to do them. So by adding them to my Flickr Favourites album I wouldn’t have to remember that I’d like to do those activities anymore.

I hadn’t been on Flickr for three full weeks until last Friday (277 days to go (DTG)) out of stress and the impractically of going on a short hike while it rained outside. I needed to clear my head while contemplating a data processing problem. It felt good to back on Flickr but I felt so bad because I broke a promise to myself, a resolution. I also returned to Flickr because despite the glimpses of frontal nudity I got during my non-nude searches, the landscapes and activities I search for relax me. I didn’t stop looking for photos though. The same searches I had done on Flickr—that is, “hot tub”, “hot spring”, etc.—I searched for on Twitter. And there I saw some dirt. Twitter is not a good source for water-related images. They Twitter searches shocked my sensibilities so I’ve classed photo searches on Twitter with Google Image Search, Tumblr and Experience Project: a “No Go” zone. So, I’m back on Flickr.

The two questions I noticed myself asking are (1) “What images will Twitter produce for these search terms?” and (2) “Does this [Flickr] user have more photos like these?” Question 1 I don’t have to worry about anymore because I’m avoiding Twitter searches. Question 2 I am training myself to not explore. I take it one day at a time.

Art-wise, I finished Witness: a new perspective on the New Testament church and will post the book review on Friday, 11 July. I also finished Bloody Valentine by James Patterson and K. A. John. The review of that book will be published next week Friday, 18 July.

One last word: I can’t wait for the summer! It’s extremely cold! I don’t mind the rain. In fact, I love rain. It’s the cold, I mind. But what would winter be without the cold, eh?

Ciao!

Winds of Change: 316-296 days to go Part 1

I don’t even want to count how many days it’s been since my last post! This post has definitely been long overdue. I don’t know what it is with bloggers and thesis or dissertation writing. Despite our best intentions our thesis just seems to take up most of our time. We seem to channel all our energy into the work.

However, I must admit that it’s not only my thesis that’s been keeping me busy. I’ve had to confront a couple of character defects and inclinations during the past few weeks. I tried posting a couple of times but I guess I just wasn’t ready to post yet.

My accountability partner and I spoke for the first time in two weeks last week Wednesday when I had 300 days to go (DTG) to reaching a year of abstinence from pornography. I brought him up to speed and told him what I will share with you in this post.

But first, my dad’s eldest cousin died on Wednesday (300 DTG). We weren’t particularly close but I loved him. I was pretty shocked when my mom shared the news with me although I didn’t show any shock. My heart was quite heavy on Thursday (299 DTG) and Friday (298 DTG) to the point where I didn’t feel like doing anything. That all changed on Friday night.

My family was out so I had our home completely to myself. After putting on some worship music, I settled down. It was in that moment of resignation that I broke out in tears. The sense of loss could not be contained any more. I knelt down in prayer, thanked God for my cousin’s life and His Son’s life and cried for a while. When I got up from there, I felt so refreshed, so new, so consoled.

It’s amazing how grief affects a person. We’ve had deaths in our family before, but this was the first time I cried so wholeheartedly.

On Thursday and Friday (299 & 298 DTG) there were moments when I longed to look at porn or at least search for it. But thank God I did not seek comfort in the arms of lust. Yet, being in a I-just-want-to-get-it-over-and-done-with mindset and having searched for photos on Flickr about stuff I would like to do naked (no frontal and non-artistic nudes) for said reason, I tried to come up with all sorts of situations (excuses) in which I would like to experiences sin ropa. But after searching for photos with the string “morning+sun”, I quit. I would like to photograph a male nude (actually, I’d like to be the male nude) standing in the door with a cup of coffee as light from the morning sun streams into the room, lace curtains breathing in the wind as sunlight bathes his body in warmth. I didn’t find that photo but I found a similar one. I saw other nudes during my searches to which I just closed my eyes either skipping passed them to get to the photos I wanted to add to my collection of landscapes, cityscapes, nightscapes, and other scapes or exited the search to start another or to work.

The I-just-want-to-get-it-over-and-done-with mindset was brought about by my renewed interest in skimpy underwear—the male c-string, to be exact. I read reviews and comments on the garment to find out how comfortable it was. Is it painful to get an erection in one? And how practical is it really? How does it affect one’s urination routine? But the blogs and website provided no answers. I also checked out local online retailers of the male c-string to keep abreast with the prices and stock availability. I really wanted to buy but couldn’t bring myself to because of my present lack of income. But my frustration about searching for the c-string and not wanting to increased to the point where I decided to use some of the money I have to buy it. The male c-string is on its way.

Shortly after this, I decided to just get the skimpy underwear searches over and done with. After much thought and prayer I realised that there was one particular skimpy underwear I wanted—a strapless leather penis pouch. I saw it during my “men’s locker room” days (you can read about it here). Unfortunately for me, the pouch is so deeply buried in filth that after some censored exposure to extreme erotic underwear I just gave up. I decided that it wasn’t worth my time, effort, purity, and integrity to wade through the sewers of the Internet to find a hidden gem. I’d have dive very deep while its location is unknown. I thought I remembered the website where I saw it many, many years ago, but when I checked it out, it turned out not to be.

But, I wasn’t done. There were other thongs that I liked so I set out to find and add them to a watchlist. During the years, I developed a sense (of sorts) of knowing when a piece of underwear might be too risqué without having previously seen it. Because I wasn’t interested in how the undergarment looked per se as its description sufficed, I covered the photo with my hand. And I knew what I wanted.

So, when I went to the website on which I purchased the male c-string, I looked through the men’s underwear section for the type of underwear I would like to try. I favourited them and bought one. It came on Friday (298 DTG). To keep my mind from wandering I focused on my goal which was to find tight fitting, pouch undewear so that I can test their level of comfort and practicality for day-to-day life.

From this search I learned that I like underwear with form enhancing pouches that are slightly see-through and elastic. I have a few pairs of long johns that do not have pouches. I remembered now that prior to buying them I looked long and hard at the models on the cover of the boxes in which the long johns were packed to see whether the long johns had pouches. None of them had. So, I settled on the pairs I bought. Back then I thought that I was looking for a neurochemical hit, that I was being pervy, but now I think I was just unaware of my preference for underwear with pouches.

At this moment I have one thong among my collection of briefs, boxer briefs, boxers and long johns. I still prefer to “hang loose”. I wonder what a future girl friend or wife would think if I told her that I like wearing thongs. But, that’s for the future.

I will write a review on the thong and the male c-string. Whether I will post them on this blog is another story.

I celebrated my second masturbation abstinence anniversary on Wednesday (300 DTG)! To celebrate it, I hiked a trail close to campus and bought some ice cream the next day (299 DTG).

To be continued . . .

Winds of Change: 323-317 days to go

Today I have 316 days to go (DTG) for a year of abstinence from pornography. I am also 16 days away from celebrating my second year of abstinence from masturbation! The post that follows was written yesterday to summarise the whole of last week. In it I discuss my thesis, nudity & nudism and some other things.

Please remember to take part in the poll. There is only one week left and so far only four people responded.

I’m sorry that it has come to this, but my time is not my own anymore. I’ve been working late this whole week and have been too tired to write every night. So from now on, until my situation changes, I will post once a week.

Changing approach

I realised today (318 days to go (DTG)) that the reason I struggled with writing my literature review is because I’m trying to make my ideas fit into a mould that is foreign to me. It’s not my style. Let me explain. My research is based on previous student’s PhD and MSc theses who wrote his literature review in a certain way. I’ve been trying to copy that format with great difficulty because my writing style leans more toward narrative writing. He described the biological big picture of his PhD thesis and then the individual elements he studied followed by the theoretical framework he applied. But, my natural inclination is to describe the individual elements as I encounter them during my description of the big picture—as you would do when relating a story. When introducing a new character in a story, the story teller usually gives a brief description of the character as well as some background information. That’s how my articles were written during my internship.

So, tomorrow I will go to my co-promoter and ask her opinion. But, my literature review has been a laborious exercise up to now. And I usually like reading and writing review articles.

My experiments went well last week. We have to repeat one of them though. During a meeting I had with my promoter (a.k.a. my professor) on Friday (319 days to go) I saw while we were going over the results that he was giving me advice on how to write up that experiment in my results chapter. I don’t know why it didn’t register before. I was most probably trying very hard to decode what he had asked me to do in terms of future experiments.

During Friday’s meeting, he asked me to do a calculation but my mind went completely blank. I really struggled to do it. I didn’t expect him to ask me to calculate something—a very simple thing, I might add—on the spot! Nada. Nought. Zilch. Nil. Absolutely nothing went through my mind. I did try to answer the question though but my answers were all wrong! Surprisingly I didn’t feel like a failure.

Fatal attraction to complexity?

During this week I discovered that I am drawn to complexity. Nudism offers a lot of complexity because it and the nudity it celebrates affects a person and society on so many levels. Some keywords associated with the philosophy are freedom, health, sun, surf, acceptance, confidence, body image, non-sexual, sexual, perversion, moral, amoral, immoral, choice, judgment, legal, and self-control, to name just a few. As you can see from this list, nudity engages us in the religious, moral, legal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, health, and political spheres all at the same time. Which sphere is more affected depends on the situation in one finds oneself and the values with which you judge nudity. As I have said many times before, even ad nauseaum, I am not a propounder of social nudism because it breaks the gender segregation taboo which I believe is a moral principle. And even if the gender segregation taboo is not a moral principle, I cannot in good conscience break the taboo while I retain membership in a church that upholds it. It would be hypocritical of me. And I am not a hypocrite.

You can see how easily a discussion on nudity and nudism can let me go on a tangent. So, what I wanted to say is nudity and nudism are complex topics which my mind is drawn to in order to figure them out. I am inclined to dissect the issues they create and those that created them in all the spheres of life. This would ultimately make me an expert in nudity and would lead me in the direction of gender studies which I also interests me. I just decided to stop gathering information. I have other complex things that need my attention.

So, after I decided to quit studying nudism and the body taboo, I read some more articles on it. I also contacted nudist organisations in my area to ask if they know of any places remote, unofficial, nudist-friendly places where I can skinny dip and sunbathe nude without having to worry about shocking people and embarrassing moments. I am still waiting to hear from them. I also contacted places I would like to vacation at in the near future to hear whether the owners or managers are okay with nude sunbathing and swimming. The owners did not have a problem.

I felt uncomfortable contacting owners of holiday accommodation asking them whether it’s all right to sunbathe, swim and lounge around nude. I didn’t want them to think that I was a nudist. And I worried how it would impact my witness for Christ. So, I just decided that I wouldn’t ask owners about this anymore. It gives the wrong impression. I asked the owners if they permit these activities because one nudist on an online forum had said that it’s a good idea to call the management of your remote, unofficial nudist-friendly accommodation and alert them to your intention of being naked during your stay there. I’m not a nudist, won’t be naked all the time and don’t want to give the wrong impression so I won’t be contacting any more owners or managers.

Library expansion kit

On my way home from school on Friday, I picked up three books at a discount store for US$1.00 each. One book is Simon Cowell’s autobiography while the other two are novels: a literary fiction novel of a Muslim guy and a story about a man who runs away when disaster strikes or when he messes up. Today (317 DTG) my uncle lent me John Grisham’s The Innocent Man which is based on a true story. I have to finish Jack J. Blanco’s Witness: A fresh look at the New Testament church and its book review as soon as possible.

One step closer

Today (317 DTG) I also bought steel wire for my future sculpting endeavours. All I need to buy now are calipers, wooden planks, clay, foil and masking tape. I’m pretty excited. I will tell my parents about my desire to sculpt when I go to buy the planks. Clay will be the last thing I will buy.

In summary

Not much happened between Monday (323 DTG) and Thursday (320 DTG) except for me analysing data, preparing a report for the meeting with my professor and figuring out things related to nudism, as already discussed.

I had a wet dream yesterday morning (318 DTG).

Winds of Change: 338-332 days to go

It was with great trepidation that I went to campus on Monday ( DTG). I was afraid of the reception I would get. I was not looking forward to experiencing my professors’ displeasure. For this reason I have not spoken to my co-supervisor yet.

There isn’t much to say about my lab work really. My professor sat me down and explained to me how I should go about analysing my data. I sent him a copy of the data file. I’ve been analysing the data ever since. The data analysis process involves some programing. I’m not good at programing but I have some proficiency in reading and manipulating (existing) code.

The data analysis and the mini-campaign occupied me a great deal.

On the porn front

I’ve been longing for the mountains, pools of water and sunlight bathing my entire, uncovered body in warmth. I have already decided where my next solo retreat would be. I would like to socialise with people there but am afraid that something bad might happen. But, I know that God won’t let bad stuff happen to me unless He sanctions it and even then it will work out for my good as He promised.

Throughout the week I had some difficulty with impure thoughts especially on the days following a positive response to the preacher’s appeals.

Winds of Change: 365-361 days to go

Let me start off with a short disclaimer. This post might turn out to be a little morose since that’s the turn my life has taken. And I know that we humans don’t like reading dark, sad, self-deprecating prose (poems seem to be fine).

The thing that caused me the greatest amount of sadness is not the failure in my porn recovery programme I experienced a week ago. The greatest source of sadness for me is looking back and seeing the bad choices I made in my study programme. I made some pretty poor ones.

  1. I embarked this programme knowing that I did not possess the set of skills needed to make a success of it. The programme requires me to program computer models.
  2. I did not take the time to evaluate if this study was actually what I wanted to do. I wasn’t.
  3. I became notorious for breaking stuff even though I was not the one who broke them. I merely reported. Although I had my fair share of breakage. I broke a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) machine when I left the pumps on water for two weeks. I forgot that they should be left on methanol if they remain idle for such a long time. The pumps rusted. We waited three months for the technician to come and fix the machine.
  4. It seemed like a dark cloud hung over everything I did and that people always scrutinised and judged me badly. Of course this wasn’t true but that was my reality.
  5. Whenever I dealt with the drug discovery realm I became energised while my field of study drained me. There were certain experiments that gave me energy, but then I would soon lose my fire.
  6. Because of this cloud that seemed to follow everywhere, I never felt at home in the lab. I always felt like I belonged somewhere else. I had bought into the belief that things should just come come naturally or flow if you had talent and were meant to do something. This was not the case in the lab even during undergrad.
  7. I became lazy with updating my lab book. Don’t let me get started on this point! Principly-speaking, I have two record books: a note book in which I recorded all my activities in the lab on a daily basis and a lab book which is the official, prettier version of the note book. I’ve kept the former up to date but not the latter due to the cloud that hangs over my head.
  8. My pride and my desire to be intelligent–false bravado, if you will–kept me from asking for help when I should have and caused me to ask for help when it wasn’t necessary.
  9. When my MSc class was given to option to choose to remain on the old system where you’ll only be graded on your thesis, I chose to be on the new system. In the new system, you are graded on your lab book, progress report presentations, defence, thesis, and a couple of other things. I feel stupid for choosing the new system thinking that it would motivate me to excel. The choice had the opposite effect. The pressure on me makes me want to run away.
  10. I just feel like I have a bad reputation in the department and that I am incapable of changing people’s perceptions. Because no matter what you do, people will always think the worst of you. (I’m using a lot of superlatives . . . )
  11. All of these choices and perceptions culminated in losing the respect of my supervisors. And that is the hard pill to swallow for me.
  12. I’m also worried that my thesis won’t make the cut. In my opinion, the number of aspects of my thesis resemble an undergraduate science project. I don’t have a lot of positive results and need to do three kinds of experiments with good results to have a solid thesis. Therefore I need time in the lab and for the organisms to grow well.
  13. Another reason for the preceding worry is that the subject of my thesis forms part of a larger work. Because my study is a subsidiary of the larger study and was partially (and could easily have been) covered by another student, I feel as if my study is almost worthless. I’m afraid of talking about this view because I fear how it will be received by my supervisors and support network. They might think that I am narrow minded, unintelligent, or stupid for thinking like that. I’m also afraid of being right. The rock and the hard place.

I’ve felt like quitting my master’s programme many times, but because I see myself as a fighter I push through. There’s no doubt about it, I’m a people pleaser. I’ve made peace with that fact. So, disappointing my supervisors saddens me greatly. Yet my disposition to prove myself and to work autonomously seems to counter-act my people pleasing disposition. More often than not, I am caught between a rock and a hard place, not knowing which principle to follow. My analytical mind goes into overdrive as I play out various scenarios to determine which course of action will be best. I pray to God and ask family and friends for advice, but only when I can’t find a win-win scenario.

(I’m trying to keep things light here.)

I’m still not done with my literature review because I’m still figuring out where I will go with the computational part of my study. This worries, saddens and stresses me because I disappointed my supervisors again.

Where do I go from here? What do I do?

Writing is my passion. I’m not a good fiction writer because of my decision to not read fiction. But that all changed a few weeks ago, when I realised that not all fiction is bad. I guess the reason why I was drawn to erotica (which involved sex and/or embarrassing moments) was due to the story element. So, I never stopped reading stories. I just stopped reading the good kind of fiction opting to fill my mind with bad, filthy fiction. Now I am learning to read, analyse, and write good fiction.

I’ve also decided to become a technical writer. It offers more career options than science writing. And I’m definitely not science journalism material. When the pressure becomes too much, I zone out, my performance drops, and I read up on topics that interest me. I run away for a time. I lose my fire.

I took time out to flesh out my dream to be a published author. Initially I thought of publishing devotionals, short stories, op-eds, and book reviews on a website under my real name using social media to attract traffic to the blog.

Yesterday (day 362), however, I realised that it’s a lot of work and that it’s not the best way to get your name out there. So, what I will be doing is write those pieces and submit them to websites and blogs for publication. They will be rejected, that’s a given. But the whole process will train me to be a good author of non-technical writing.

To write good fiction I will have to improve my ability to write descriptively. I always sucked at descriptive writing even at school mainly because I didn’t understand its importance in narrative writing. I’ve always been good with plots. (There I go tooting my own horn again!) I don’t know whether I’m a plotter or not, because I enjoyed sitting and seeing the plot develop as I wrote.

Amid all the uncertainty of the future, of my failures and successes, perceptions and attitudes, three things are true: (1) I want to be a widely published, well-renowned author of fiction and non-fiction work; (2) I want to bring glory to God with my talents and abilities; and (3) I want to inspire, encourage, and uplift people through my writing as well as make them laugh with my wicked sense of humour–believe it or not.

Although I don’t have answers to all my question and although I don’t know where I will find myself in 10 years’ time, let alone knowing with who, I know that God will work things out for my good and that of others.

Winds of Change: Days 185-187

This entry was written last night (day 187).

I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately but this period in my life has been pretty stressful. (I risk sounding like a broken record.)

(Pre)Occupations

I write tonight because I found resolution. The mini-campaign my team and I are coordinating has been postponed and will now take place in May. All the speakers for the week were set until one withdrew last night and a second one this morning. We did not have a pianist and the guest artists did not confirm. So, the “faithful” team mates held a short teleconference where we decided to postpone it. The matter will go to the church board on Sunday.

I have a good feeling about the experiment I did on Monday (day 185) even though I had trouble adding the right amount of cells to the mixture. (The procedure is too technical so I won’t bore you with the details.) Today (day 187) I analysed the samples I took on Monday.

Yesterday I went to work where I struggled to focus because of the mini-campaign. But I did get some work done.

On the porn front

The wish to be naked in nature, to escape from my circumstances grew during this period, as has my awareness of the existence of sexual images. I came pretty close today to look at porn but by God’s grace I did not. Over the past couple of days there were many times when I told myself, No, I won’t look at that. No, I won’t search for that because my AB (short for abstinence) is important to me. I don’t want to fill my mind with that filth.

Let me honest here and say that I did search for tips on how and where to do the following activities nude: kayaking, canoeing, hiking and skydiving. And I performed group searches on Flickr to see what group names would appear in the results. I did glimpse some frontal nudity pics next to the group names but, while expressing dismay, I closed them with my hand, or fingers depending on the size, because I did not want to see such photos. With kayaking my question was, and still is, how do they get it right to disrobe on top of or inside a kayak without falling into the water? (If anyone knows the answer to this question please inform me.)

I performed Flickr photo searches looking for more pics in the line of those featured in the 10 Flickr Favourites post especially the skinny dipping types. I would really love to skinny dip, hike and kayak nude–alone or with friends (because the gender barrier). But I have resigned myself to the fact that such communal activities won’t happen. I also grew tired of the Flickr searches because it was a fantasy that I was creating and that never solves problems.

Therefore, to prevent myself from jeopardising my AB, I decided to respect Google’s SafeSearch by not searching for anything it won’t allow.

I don’t know whether I broke my porn abstinence during this period. The desire to look at sexually stimulating images (porn) was there but I never acted on that desire. Yet I question my interest in unobtrusive nudity. I understand that non-sexual nudity and the kind of images I collect (landscapes with the following elements: mountains, bodies of water, reflections, and colours of sunsets and sunrises) symbolise freedom, peace, nature, quietness, relaxation, escape, serenity, communion with God, and that they are an expression of my creativity since I strive to photograph such moments. Yet it feels like I’m placing a lot of emphasis on expanding my collection.

Did I pray at all during this whole “ordeal”? Yes, I did. I prayed a lot. I claimed Christ’s promises especially the promise St. Paul records in Romans 10:13. I asked the Lord to help me figure out what’s going with these Flickr searches.

Maybe I should just close that account since it’s causing me such a lot of grief and distress? I don’t need that in my life. So that instead of using my creativity to find beautiful pictures, I will use it to make my own and see in what novel ways it will “manifest” itself. (Some heavy personification there!) I think I will do that.

. . . or maybe not. But what I will do is stop searching for stuff with the words “naked” or “nude” attached to them even though I have questions and they are stuff I would like to do. The practice adds ambiguity and complications to my life which I definitely don’t need. It is now a principle of mine.

Winds of Change: Days 159-160

Following are the entries for yesterday (Thursday) and the day before (Wednesday).

My sculpture book came today (Day 160)! Nothing could wipe the smile off my face when I saw the package in the car as my sister and I went to church for a rehearsal. I opened the package as soon as I saw it. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a book on wax and plaster sculpting written by Robert McDermot Miller entitled Figure Sculpture in Wax and Plaster. The sculpture forums I consulted all said that this was the book to get for beginner sculptors and it is. He explains the process of sculpting from A to Z in very simple terms with figures.

It was quite turn around for me emotionally since my day started in dismay. I woke up again to find myself masturbating in my sleep. I didn’t get near to climaxing, but I really didn’t want to masturbate in my sleep.

I don’t know but ever since I read Ransom two weeks ago, I’ve been restless and unsettled.  When I got home this evening, I went on my knees and begged God to help me and to remove this–for lack of a better word–miasma from me and to fill me with His Spirit. Almost immediately the cloud that fogged up my mind and made me incapable of conceptualising (future) sculptures left. It was like the warmth that you feel on your skin when the sun is not hidden by clouds anymore. I was free to be myself in God again.

My boss and a senior colleague helped me find a topic for one of the three articles/target audiences I must write. So the topics of all three articles are sorted.

Yesterday (Day 159) was uneventful emotionally. I am now a registered student at my university. The whole day was spent on processing my data to check their quality. I didn’t finish so I will have to go in next Sunday–not Sunday coming. My brain was fried from all the thinking I did. I am grateful to my professor for helping me with the registration process.

Winds of Change: Days 61-62

Bath house cultures

While reading about the various bath house cultures around the world on Wikipedia, I came across an interesting little tidbit. Many times I have bemoaned the fact that in the West bath houses are associated with licentious sexual practices. It is a sweeping statement because the Finns, Germans, and (I say this under correction) Russians are Westerners too; and bath houses are a non-sexual, common enterprise in these countries. So, I apologise for making that generalisation.

Secondly, I learned that in the English-speaking world the Crusaders brought the bath house concept to the British Isles upon their return home. These British bath houses soon degenerated into brothels and were closed only to be reopened two centuries later due to a cry for more sanitary living conditions. However, the association between brothels and bath houses were established in people’s minds and remains to this day. I think that says something about native English-speakers.

Positively negative

So, today I was stressed, not to the point of having a panic attack, but stressed enough to think negatively. When I’m stressed I think that important authority figures, like my boss or professor, are displeased with the quality of my work, that they have a low opinion of me, and that they are angry with me. So, when I saw my boss today I was amazed at how friendly she was. She wasn’t displeased with my work at all. In fact, she would rather have me focus on the audio engineering side of my job than do that and write an article for our website. The audio engineering project has to be done by mid-December. We are recording a health talk show on one of the major diseases affecting the world. It’s only one series of 13 episodes which will be recorded in two languages. That’s a total of 26 episodes. So, I have my work cut out for me.

I know my professor has a bad opinion of me and I don’t blame him. My project is involves some (complex) maths and I’m not very good at it. (I’m a sucker for challenges because they give me the opportunity to learn and grow.) And I feel as if I’m not one of the brightest students in the group. But, that’s beside the point. There is a disconnect between him and me. Why? I don’t know. Ever since I started my job, I did not contact him as I should have. But, never once did he e-mail me, or phone me to hear why I am so quiet or if I’m enjoying my job. That saddens me a little.

While I was still in the lab I often wanted him to converse with me on a personal level like he did with his other students, but he never did. I often saw us walking to the cafeteria together to buy coffee and to chat about stuff, but that never happened. The lab manager picked up the dynamic (or lack there of) as well. I’m not a bad student. In fact, I poured my heart and soul into this project, but I didn’t feel as if he was supporting me as I wanted to be supported.

This post will be too long if I were to tell you the ins and outs of my MSc project. And, yes, it does seem as if I’m contradicting myself because the other day I said that I am lazy and now I say that I’m not a bad student. There is a reason for my apparent laziness which we’ll get into in a future post. My professor did begin to interact with me more before I started my job.

Withdrawal Symptoms

I had some impure thoughts today and felt a faint desire to look at porn, but I resisted them. I spent some good time with God this morning as I sorted my stressors.

Winds of Change: Days 23 and 24

This post is about some of things I experienced on Sunday (Day 23) and today/Monday (Day24).

Grabbing a bite

My sibling and I went to our denomination’s bookshop to get some books we had asked them to set aside for us. We took our cousin (with whom I had a sexual relationship) with. My plan was to have breakfast with him to ask him what his relationship with porn and masturbation is. I would like to make the resources available to him that are a great help to me in my fight against these evils. But, when he heard that my sibling and I were planning on visiting the bookshop he asked whether he could tag along. My chance to have a serious conversation with him was taken away.

When we got to the bookshop, we found it closed. It’s only open on the second and fourth Sundays in a given month. And yesterday was the fifth Sunday. So, after some deliberation and being invited to the vegetarian restaurant by its owner and chef, we decided to have breakfast there. The restaurant is across the hall from the bookshop. My cousin and I had tofu stir-fry while my sibling had a chicken enchilada. We had a great time.

After that I went to the lab and tried to do an experiment but there wasn’t any liquid nitrogen for an important step. So I postponed the experiment until later in the week.

At work

Work was hectic today. But, God gave me strength. I was tempted to believe that my life is hectic but then I realised that it isn’t really. What happened at work stayed at work. It doesn’t have to colour the rest of my day, my interaction with my family or my studies and how I respond to any mishaps and disadvantageous situations. When I do bring work, I only bring that portion of work home not the troubles I experienced during that day. That is the attitude I have chosen to adopt. It makes things less stressful.

A prayer for protection

Frank, my accountability partner, sent me a prayer for protection. After reading my last few posts, he thinks that I am under a spiritual attack. And I tend to agree with him. I mean, I’m moving closer towards where God wants me to be–near to Him. And Satan isn’t happy about that. Today when I wanted to write an encouraging piece things got really busy and I couldn’t get to it for at least an hour or so. When I did get back to my desk, I wasn’t at peace or in the mood to write. But, I had the burning desire to write. So, I prayed. Instead of praying my usual prayer asking God to calm me down so that I can write, I asked Him to help me write regardless of how I felt. The distractions didn’t stop but I did finish writing the piece, for which I’m grateful.

And yes, I did pray the prayer Frank sent me although I didn’t recite the exact same words. It’s the spirit of the prayer not the letter that counts.

Bible study

With regards to Bible Study, my church began studying the (heavenly) sanctuary this week. We will be studying it from now to the end of this year. I’m pleased with this move since it’s a topic that always fascinated me. The historian and theologian in me rejoices.

Withdrawal symptoms

I didn’t notice much withdrawal symptoms other than being somewhat negative.

And that’s my day. 😀