I want to talk about star death!
My last post made me think more what I was really talking about–being more “special” than a meteorite. Sometimes writing things at 1 am do not come out as polished.
Most people are familiar with the idea that stars are massive hydrogen fusion centers; making helium from hydrogen releasing tons of energy. But what you may not know is stars of significant mass actually fuse elements up to Iron.
What we see on the surface of our Sun and all other stars is actually a vast supermassive ocean of heated non-burning hydrogen.
Our star along with many others actually contain shells of fusion; zones where the heat and pressure have reached levels high enough to begin fusing the elements within to higher atomic masses. As a star ages, a significant amount of heavier elements accumulate in their zones until the heat and pressure again reach a high enough level to begin fusing the next shell. The force and energy from fusing the next shell causes the star to expand. Imagine millions of helium fusion bombs exerting pressure and all of a sudden millions of carbon fusion bombs go off, all more powerful and forceful than the shells above it.
The force of those fusion reactions pushes out while balancing the force of gravity. In effect, the star swells.
This cycle continues repeatedly down each shell of the star until (unfortunately for the star) it reaches the element Iron. As we found out earlier, the heat of the fusion reactions from the shells above release a lot of energy, in fact more than the energy required to fuse it. But the energy needed to fuse Iron is actually more than the energy released from the reaction. This spells the death of any star within seconds.
By this time the star has swelled immensely by sometimes billions of kilometers. The reaction of Iron fusion causes a deficit in the energy of the core of a star; as Iron fusion reactions absorb the energy of the surrounding fusion shells, depleting the core of enough energy to sustain fusion. This causes the outward pressure of fusion to drop instantly, causing the core to collapse.
It is within this brief moment, the few seconds of collapse, the last breath of the star’s life, that every element beyond Iron and Nickel are created. The force of collapse is so great, the heat and pressure from this instant alone are significant enough to fuse most of the elements past Iron, and everything else that we have around us today. The core then rebounds, sending a massive shockwave outward. This is what we know as a supernova explosion.
I said in my first post that at least two stars had to live and die before our Sun came into existence. In reality it could be at least one because one supernova explosion was needed to create all the elements we have now beyond Iron before the creation of our Sun could happen. But in the early universe, hydrogen was the prominent matter source everywhere. More than likely, a supermassive star–which typically live on the order of a few million years to a couple billion years, and keeping in mind the age of the universe at approximately 14 billion years, it makes sense that at least one supermassive star lived and died, providing a portion of the material for planets and life, while another star much like our Sun (which tend to live longer) lived and died before it but after the first. (This also supports the idea of nebulae in star formation. Stars are born by sweeping up enough material, then die spewing matter in all directions to be used in the life of another star.)
Our Sun is a typical main sequence star, meaning it is neither too massive to die as a supernova and neither too small to fall in the red M region and fizzle out as a brown dwarf (at least not immediately). Our Sun most likely will swell as usual, but not attain enough energy and pressure to begin fusing Iron* and explode violently in a supernova explosion. Most models predict it will recede from a maximum diameter of about the distance we are from the Sun**, and live for billions and billions of more years as a white dwarf until eventually most of the heat will have escaped and it will be a lowly brown dwarf at last.
*Some evidence suggests our Sun will only make it to carbon fusion before it dies.
**Scientists can’t seem to agree completely whether we will be absorbed into the Sun, or if we will just be fried for millions of years before it begins to retreat (which depends whether it will swell past our orbit).
I once thought having a meteorite would connect me to the universe. Owning a piece of something that probably travelled for millions of years before ending up on my night stand gave me a sense of unity with the medium which birthed all things. But I suddenly realized that I myself am made of something far more amazing. The protons that make up the space I inhabit, after exploding into existence from an infinitely small point, spent the latter part of 14 billion years fusing with other protons in the hearts of a minimum of two stars (probably more), before ordering themselves in the elements and bonds that make up what I am today.
So in a very real way, I am more special than a meteorite; from the universe the particles that make me who I am became what they are through a more beautiful and interesting way.
We tend to view outward from our perspective; compartmentalizing the space around us as different from everything else because we think we understand it more like it’s better in some way. However, the very nature of the universe and its creation is a humbling story about how very common and alike we all are to everything else. Everyone and everything in the universe started from the same thing; every star, every amoeba, every floating piece of iron and rock are all made from the same thing.
Whether life is a statistical manifestation of the nature of matter, or an undiscovered driving force in the universe is too complicated for 1 am.
Just spent the last 2 and half days redesigning my theme from top to bottom. I kept the same basic layout but I think it’s a lot more streamlined and clean.
This is also the first time I’ve had to use CSS x)
Exploring psychopathology this semester has been an interesting journey. Unearthing the many things that can afflict the minds of others has truly opened my experience and understanding of people.
For years I used to believe that there was something wrong with me. I tried desperately to comprehend every aspect of what made me an unhappy person underneath. I pieced together a lot over the years–however, the schism between then and what I know now only materialized within the last couple of months.
I wanted a name, a category, anything that would classify my feelings and confusion. I shuffled through attachment to depression, BPD, cyclothymia, schizotypal, anything that had something remotely close to what I was feeling. And while I could identify with some aspect of all of these conditions, actually learning the characteristics and distinguishing them from myself only then did I realize there is nothing wrong with me. At least with my head. It was a depressing realization to lack any kind of name to my feelings.
But then I realized that I was attributing the blame on myself. I wanted to know desperately what was wrong with me. When in reality, I am not the one to blame. I cannot search for the fault in me. It was not my fault. I was abandoned. My problems were crystalized by others. I was made to believe that I am the poison to which my afflictions stemmed from.
There is nothing wrong with me. I am not to be blamed and I cannot allow myself to partition as such upon me alone.
Recognize your oppressor.
"In these cases, INTJs tend to blame misunderstandings on the limitations of the other party, rather than on their own difficulty in expressing themselves. This tendency may cause the INTJ to dismiss others input too quickly, and to become generally arrogant and elitist."
Never has anything more explicitly described me before.
There are a lot of things I could address, a lot of things I could say, plenty to argue. One important point I think would be the best to talk about, is how much I really don’t want to write this. How much aggression, hate, and anger I have towards you without even the slightest of words having been exchanged with you in my entire life. At least that I can remember.
I want you to know though, that I’ve stopped blaming myself. I want you to know that in the 20 years I’ve lived, today I stopped hating myself. You were never around to blame. The only other person I could blame was myself and I didn’t realize until today that I unconsciously had directed every ounce of frustration I had with you onto myself. I realized today, after only three weeks of counseling therapy, that almost every occurrence of suicide, every time I hated myself so much, that I was just blaming the only person I could blame for you leaving me. You gave up on us, on me. You’re weak, and selfish.
I realized today that I needed to confront the people who’ve done me wrong and start blaming them instead of myself. You hurt me by leaving me. You could have stopped it all. You could have relinquished me from my pain. You could have been there. You could have done something. Said something. Sent something. Called. Tried. Anything. You died when you left. You past away just like my grandfather. I don’t know you at all. But I miss you like I’ve known you my entire life.
“I know you care. I know it has always been there.”
In my strength and in my stoicism and solidarity, there is a pain and a doubt. I have spent formative years, such formative years, hearing, being told, that an intrinsic part of me is fake. Impossible. A sham. That I cannot be in two worlds at once, that I am confused, or greedy.
It has made me…
It’s very interesting to me to read another person’s deepest thoughts and in this instance feel as if I’m listening to someone else talk about my own problems, as if you’ve walked a very similar path to mine to where it’s almost indistinguishable.
I understand. A combination of something similar to this along with a host of other issues and events in my recent past had led me to seek out a therapist who, in the last week has helped me see things in a greater perspective.
All of my childhood was a play. An acting role where I satisfied my family’s view of me all the while hiding my true identity. It wasn’t until high school that I started to feel more comfortable with not hiding it as much. But of course there’s always consequences. I ran into some conflict with my mother and my sisters with transitioning into a more confident person with myself in being gay and it’s taken me a long time to get to where I am today.
All that to say, as a young adult, we are forming our identities. We’re fitting in puzzle pieces to see how they work with our personality and identity, and the ones that don’t fit are thrown out, and the ones that do fit become part of us. Everyone fine tunes their identity at a different pace. I ran into some issues with dealing with my identity and how my future would look which caused me some emotional stress however, now that I understand that I don’t have to worry about betraying my identity if I find the female form in an artistically beautiful way, I can move forward with not arresting my stability by upheaving and questioning who I really am.
And in a literal reality sense, who ever makes you happy in the end, it won’t matter what’s between their legs. :) If you’re emotionally attracted to both women and men, then whom ever takes your heart away will make you the happiest person you’ve ever been.
I wanted to convince myself what I was bi when I was younger, just because “gay” seemed to be the more critical term that would garner the most rejection from my family. I was afraid and had little confidence in being happy in the future. But I came to terms with my sexual orientation and surrounded myself with competent nonjudgmental people to where even if my mom doesn’t support my relationships, I can feel safe in knowing there’s always someone who I can connect with and find that support with. :)
Mislead were you
To believe in such
That heaven will denounce
The evils too much
Placed your trust
In your heart you must
Adjust to the thrust
Robust the gust
Just before you combust
But at last it’s revealed
When at night you wake
From terrors of death
That reality is the God
Who governs the rational
Surrendered to its grip
I have no choice
But to hold my emotions
From killing me
How can I remain impartial?
The dire need to subjugate my fear left my heart at a stand still. The demons of past gave prejudice in return for my consolidation. Was I really about to let go?
My hand on his chest, I could feel the life giving force inside him at work. I felt the connection of our souls across the membranes of our skin. I tripped into his heart, unaware that I had stolen it when I left; and at check, discovered that mine had been misplaced as well. Though I knew the culprit; and in that moment, knew that we were at sync. Beating as one, I found that feeling I had forgotten.
I let go.
“What is it you want?”
Looking back into his eyes, words didn’t come. The innocent blue-green keeping my gaze. Still laying down, I looked back up at the sky, closing my eyes.
How can it be so simple? Any attempt to begin the thought process only flooded my brain with more reasons and logic behind everything, tiring me out before I could even speak. It’s not so simple. Living in a world with millions of colors can only make the most simple of choices seem overwhelming. I am not in part lazy or apathetic, but in the only twenty years I’ve been alive, every twist and turn of the universe only reveals a myriad of more complex situations and knowledge of life. Opening my eyes, I take a deep long breath:
“At every moment in my life, at every instance of that question, I’ve fallen into a conundrum of silence. When I’ve landed on one thing, another takes my attention. Nothing is simple. The universe is so amazingly complex. I can never wrap my head around anything.” My heart starts beating faster in my chest. “But—” I turn on my side towards him, “if there has ever been something more absolute, more resounding, so crystal a message from the universe, something I’ve never had to think about; it would be that you are the only thing I could ever want with such magnitude, nothing has ever been as direct in my heart, that I could never live another day not in your presence.”
Capture his heart and pray
Look into my eyes and say
That you want the sun
More than you want to run
Look at those precious eyes
The slender mix of dyes
Can kill even the most prepared
For none other have compared
Give it to him
Wrapped to the brim
You’ve met your soul
He’s made you whole
I can hear on the horizon
And remember the times when
We promised to ourselves then
That we’d love until the stars came and
I choke and descend in
The grace I’ve gained and
Pretend I’m alright when
All these things collide then
I remember the gift..
You gave first
Wrapped to the brim
We shared a moment
This is the first time posting something like this to this blog in a very long time.
But there’s some things that I’d rather have known than hidden away in a private space.
There are several realities in my life that have influenced the birth of this moment, each vastly different than the next.
My given personality, without fail, tends to absorb impending emotional currents through its diamond exterior and shelve it for archiving without ever dealing with it on the outside. It’s a defense mechanism that’s being in power for the whole of my life. I’ve thanked it dearly and I don’t regret it’s existence because it’s saved me on plenty of occasions from more enthalpy of the given occurrence. It is my friend. I’ve come to rely upon it as a character of my own security. I’ve only realized lately, however, that the unhealthy state enacted upon the foundation of its principle has lead to a whole host of other problems that are manifesting only now.
The foundation of its principle rested on the fact that I didn’t need to share anything with anyone because everyone is a threat. The perpetual continuum has always been that I was afraid to let anyone know that I was gay because of course, the security of the love of others is a fundamental guiding force in the health of most people. The rejection of others outweighed the potential benefit of being honest. This mechanism drove my subconscious to shelter damage from my psyche and therefore gave birth to the diamond exterior.
As the years progressed, it became stronger and I just continued funneling emotions into that crevasse, buffering pain from experience. I became exceptionally good at pretending and manipulating people into believing what ever I wanted them to believe about me.
However into my late teen years, as the secret got out and I released the pull to control every aspect of myself around others and I began to feel confident that others would like me, I softened. Eventually it circumnavigated to my mother and I confronted her. Facing her rejection, her plea to always care for me meant very little in that moment, and even now, though I somehow always expected support from her, and even though I still lie to myself today that she doesn’t care for me, psychologically what I really want is her support. Placing my trust in her to have it taken away was difficult but I converted hatred into a subconscious repudiation of her.
By this time, stress and emotional conflict took a marginal toll on my security. This is around the first time I noticed an occurrence of a separate train of thought. This is the only time I’ve even confronted this about myself and I think writing about it will help me understand it better. The best way to explain it is another part of me siphoned off to become it’s own. Where I loved myself, where I could feel comfortable with my future, where I could dream of looking into my husband’s eyes and seeing myself and be happy about that happening to me someday, this part of me couldn’t. Where I saw happiness, it saw hatred. Where I wanted love, it wanted revenge; and sadly it goes down from here.
To pretend that I didn’t have a problem was in my case, only fooling myself. I however, like any sane person, did not want to admit that I might be crazy. To perpetuate things even further, it named itself Brian.
That was all I knew however. I felt it’s name, but never talked to it. Where in normal situations, random feelings of hatred and pain entered my mind and I did not know where they came from.
I attributed it to stress. When situations arise in people who cannot overcome them, under the right conditions, a defense mechanism can be born. In most people it’s called Borderline Personality disorder and/or Multiple Personalities. I however had neither, only precursors. But the warning flags did not go unnoticed by me.
This all manifested within 6 months and plateaued around the late to ending of 2011. Thankfully however, something magnificent happened in my life. I met the most perfect human being who had ever given me notice. He immediately became the sole reason I was happy to wake up in the morning. He became a stable vantage point for perspective in my life. Though a problem with my diamond exterior caused some emotional confusion within me. Another problem had begun to manifest.
This time however, things were less psychotic (satire). I began to undergo what I can describe as the first minor occurrences of Depersonalization. When asking myself how I felt at any given time, I could point to happiness but could not understand the steps I traversed to get there. I could feel myself smiling but did not comprehend why. The only indication I judged from, was my heart beating rapidly when I was around him. This told me I was happy and falling in love with him. But I could not pinpoint the source of my happiness.
Gradually however, as I fell more and more in love with him, I began to understand where it was coming from. I gained a more personal sense of self in the months leading to August of 2012. The effects of Depersonalization were slightly reduced; even though I felt as if I was in the backseat to my life, the emotions I were feeling softened the grip of my psychological problems. I’m thankful everyday for the love and indirect help I received from him through this time because when the end of July came, everything changed.
The passing of my grandfather leveled the geography of my security and I reverted back to my old diamond exterior for protection. Sadly it worked very well. Of course I broke down at a few moments when I was particularly vulnerable, but never fully dealt with the pain. I kept it under check deep down. The nightmares of him passing began about two months after, and it’s very difficult to look at a picture of him. He looked me in the eyes when I said goodbye and kissed him. I helped dress him right after he died. I watched him enter the furnace. I cried on his tombstone. It wasn’t fair what he went through.
The whole ordeal and these months after have left large gaps in my defense. Everyday it becomes harder and harder to prevent everything from collapsing. Every morning driving to school I think about everything I’ve just talked about and my heart starts pounding uncomfortably. Depersonalization came back full force, it’s a toss of the dice whether one day I’ll feel in control of my experiences, or be at the mercy of autopilot. And even then sometimes I can regain control and feel like myself though that’s not always reliable.
In the end however, when all is said and I’ve written every detail, I come no closer to tranquility. What terrain I cover can be lost just as easily.
I am however, being more negative than I really feel. I have overcome so many things that I’m surprised of where I am. 4-5 years ago I would never have postulated that I’d be where I am today. I would not trade anything I’ve experienced and I regret absolutely nothing. Time moves in only one direction. Wasting any second of it feeling sorry for myself or wishing things were different is the greatest sin I or anyone could ever commit in my opinion. Everyone has something they need to overcome. I believe it’s a part of the way the universe works. I am gradually overcoming mine.