career, personal, technology, writing

Yeah, I’m up.

It’s been a while since I made any entries to this site, and right now I’m not sure I should be writing. It’s well after midnight, and the events of the past day — well, they’ve been disturbing enough that, for one thing, I’m up at midnight (though several months ago, this would not have been “a thing”); for another thing, I just took medication about four hours late, which means I may just have blown tomorrow up where it comes to getting anything done.

To catch you all up: in the interim, I’ve gone off of one of the medications which caused me one of the most irritating side-effects I’ve had to deal with, which was slow incremental weight gain over a number of years. I had to be on it when I was working at the Library, because I wouldn’t have been able to handle working with the Public, without it. (I’m thinking that anyone who works [or has worked] directly with the Public, knows what I’m talking about.) But I haven’t had to do that for over a year, and I realized that now might be an opportune time to go through withdrawal…which I’ve done. I don’t think my mood tonight has to do with that, but my sensitivity to criticism and harassment may well have increased.

Concomitant with anything having to do with that medication is sleep disturbance. I naturally tend to get about four to six hours of sleep a night. On the medication I’m still on, I tend to get 12-14. The fattening medication was meant to help me be functional in the daytime, but due to the fact that I lost structure during Pandemic Lockdown, I was taking it irregularly, and hence I was regularly waking up at 4 to 5 in the morning. No, I don’t know why. That’s the reason I stopped, though: in addition to the fact that I’ve gained enough weight that it’s now disturbing for me to look at myself.

But anyway, I’m in a bit of a self-destructive, angry mood…which is why I’m still up writing when I know I should be in bed.

To get across what happened without pointing fingers…pressure has increased where it comes to getting a paying job, as versus working on the beadwork enterprise (which is much less efficient when it comes to earning money, and may be best as an avocation for an unmarried person). I’m not sure if it was intended to come off as it did, but it pretty well ensured that I felt like **** for most of the day. Especially as I feel like the vast majority of my life has been spent doing what other people have wanted me to do. Then they tell me to do what I want to do, which I have absolutely no practice at being able to tell, having been told what to do all my life, and they get upset when I don’t know already what I want to do.

Constantly pushing me about what I want to do isn’t going to make me know what I want to do. The only thing that’s going to help with that, is experience. I can’t make myself know what I don’t know, which is something I learned while trying to investigate the whole gender identity thing. Maybe four years from now, I’ll have a better idea; but in the meantime, we’re stuck with experiments. I’m sorry.

Anyhow. I’ve spent the vast majority of today attempting to line up at least one route of learning, which is in line with what other people want for me. We’ll see if I’m ever able to get into my email inbox. I couldn’t do it, tonight: I’m thinking someone at Admissions & Records has to manually approve something, or the server has to catch up. If it isn’t up by early next week, I’ll call in.

The reason I’m writing in to this blog is that I’ve realized that writing is one of my core interests and strengths…which I had started to develop, here. It seemed out of place to put it up on my beadwork blog, and I haven’t yet really committed to an archive of creative writing (though a long time ago, I did set up a spot, with — you know, a theme…maybe I’ll develop it and share the URL here once it’s built up. Personal writing and Creative writing are good bedfellows). You may notice that a lot of my older Pandemic writings are no longer visible; I still have them, but they aren’t Public, right now.

I’ve been in a kind of limbo between beader and writer and blogger. Being in business kind of makes self-expression a negative thing; but if I go into Writing, people will actually appreciate the fact that I can think and express my thoughts. That’s why communication exists, after all.

Of course, if I’m not financially dependent on the beadwork, that limitation totally goes away. Unless, that is — I end up in an environment where I have to conform, again. But it’s a very good question, to what extent conformity is valued in a world of thoughts. It’s certainly not the reason I got into Writing; the distance I am from that is so incredibly far that I don’t even know of an appropriate metaphor.

I mean…language doesn’t exist so that we can speak again the thoughts of the past, any more than Art exists to copy the “Old Masters” or Music exists to replay Bach over and over again.

Well…I guess if I’ve gotten anything out of tonight, it’s that I might actually have a chance at some of these jobs, at least in the future. I had been concerned with obtaining training in Computer Science: Information Technology was what I was overwhelmingly matched to, when I took a short assessment, tonight. Out of everything, it looks like what I can leverage most would be Web Development, Game Design, and Computer Programmer…

Or, that would be the interesting stuff. :) Well, Programming hasn’t really been that interesting to me, but I’ve never had a good class in it. HTML? CSS? I’m down with that. But that’s not programming; that’s markup and stylesheets.

I should add that I don’t know the mechanics (i.e. algorithm) of the assessment tool, so I probably should take its predictions with a grain of salt.

The thing is…I know a good deal about languages; human ones, I mean. The sheer opacity of technical language is…well, it’s a barrier. Possibly an intentional one. But human languages…I’m skilled with English, I can understand Spanish at times, and I’m interested in Japanese (and am learning to decode it by ear). That…sounds more like a linguistically-oriented person, to me. The thing is, much of my communication is through writing or media.

Which fits in well with the, “Artistic,” attribute I found pinned on me from the assessment. I also scored highly in, “Realistic,” and, “Conventional.” I don’t know where that came from; but maybe I would be a different person if I wasn’t harassed as a youth. I guess some of my habits are conservative (sewing, beadwork), but that doesn’t really reflect on my politics at all. What it does reflect on is concern over being forced out of a group for being different, which can cause a person not to acknowledge or express their difference. (Does fear of expulsion define conservatism?)

I did see job ads tonight which dealt with multimedia…which I’ve been wanting to get into, and may now be at a place at which I can. But do I need to understand how to edit video (.mp4), or should I be focusing on game scripting…? (The latter sounds more enjoyable, but the former opens more jobs.) I need to research more job ads, on this: I’ve been looking at Copyeditor positions, and that…looks very doable, to me.

It could be worth it to focus on translation, eventually…but that requires eventual facility in a language…and I’m still not sure where to learn Japanese beyond an introductory level, let alone where I can practice it.

Why was it that I originally wanted to learn Japanese? I know I was exposed to anime, manga, and video games…I also wanted to learn the roots of what had influenced me as a child. Hmm.

Anyhow…I seem to have calmed myself down. Maybe I can go take a rest, now…

art, book arts, creative writing, drawing, graphic design, psychology, self care

Sparked

I’m not entirely sure what happened, except that I recalled — after having had a mood crash not even two weeks out of classes — how much I had been doing before that class started in order to keep my mood stable. In particular…writing, and art. And not just “writing” as in “journal writing,” writing as in Fiction writing: particularly, literature. I was trained in Literature, but…let’s just say that what I have to say about the world could be construed as libel if I should hold too close to reality (but not yet close enough).

Last night I realized that what I might be seeking in that area was SF/F, or for the uninitiated, Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’ve…had a very long relationship with the latter, not knowing it was the latter. Kind of like I was writing a gender-nonbinary character long before I had ever heard of nonbinary gender. Not to get stuck on that — I have gotten tired of Middlesex and Left Hand of Darkness supposedly being about gender — but…I can see where this (writing) could sustain me for a while, at least, psychologically.

There are two large places where my desire to write is being hampered. The first is with not reading enough. Fiction, I mean. I have what is, by now, the same old story rattling around in my head which I have not set toner to paper to, yet. This is mostly because it’s underdeveloped, and a good portion of that lack of development has to do with its being “a nice fantasy” without real-world problems being interjected into it. I haven’t, that is, wanted to burden my characters with suffering of the kind I have experienced. Although that, overall…if I hold to that, it could lead me to some interesting worldbuilding places.

“That,” meaning, my own experience with trying to find enough pleasure in life to willfully drive it to continue…and then the relief from medication with antidepressant action which concomitantly has at times felt…false? The problem is that the pain seems real even though it’s a symptom of a known psychiatric disorder; a problem with wiring and connectivity and feedback, if you will. Runaway focus on pain like tracks ground into hard dried mud. The issue is that the thing I have the most pain over is the state of the world, and that is something I cannot, “fix.” Because I can’t fix it, I have to do what I must so that I survive, despite it. Outwit the thanatos.

In my case, I’ve opted for psychiatric medications over street drugs or suicide: over street drugs, because I was told that going on them would be the worst possible thing I could do for myself. Over suicide, because suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. At least, they say it’s temporary. People being ****heads, though…that’s kind of a permanent problem, I think.

I also know that death is likely to come far too early for me. If things are going well, that is, and life remains worth living. We do tend to hope that things will go well…

The second place where I’m sabotaging myself has to do with creating worlds and relationships which are more hospitable to life than this reality…which in tandem with my tendency to depression, means that I can prefer living in that world to living in this one. And I know that, and that is a problem. Or maybe knowing it means that I can guard against growing closer in my proximity to self-annihilation, while still receiving the benefit of rest which fantasy can harbor.

Of course, it does also seem that a whole LOT of people are close to self-annihilation right now. Not going to lie.

Anyhow, D had me (re-)watch a program on bookbinding, tonight, which got me curious enough to make a small maquette of a binding design. It’s really nothing…huge. :) Simply a way to take a horizontal format and place it on a shelf so that the spine still shows the title, author, publisher, without sticking so far out of line that it becomes problematic to store. As a person who used to shelve books — A LOT of books — and have heavy art books occasionally try to fall on them, I know that this is a fairly perennial problem. You don’t want to be in the Arts & Music Folio section when an earthquake hits, let me just say (although places which actually do have Folio sections are likely to be safer, due to specialized shelving units).

This is actually a reason I was driven to learn Japanese language: I had mostly been exposed to manga, not English comics. The entire flow of the page is different in manga — more often vertical in nature, and from right to left. This makes sense for Japanese language, which can be written vertically, and read from right to left when in that vertical format. It remains a problem for the English-writer who is inspired by manga but cannot write legibly and vertically at the same time. This is where wide-format books come into play, as English runs horizontally.

So basically: I now have puzzled out that three columns of 2×4 units (horizontal x vertical) for each page, laid out horizontally, makes a total spread of 12×4 units which can be used variously as a relatively standard-appearing comic grid (when divided into 2×2 squares), six columns of text, or text interspersed with images — the last two of which, I think I’m going to be using.

This is a different way of thinking about things, but it should afford me some rest from having to draw out an entire world, along with granting me the capability of inserting images by design. It also should give me the chance to play with InDesign…if I really cared that much about it. However: I have the materials for this. I know what has to be done. The next step…hmm. Hadn’t thought about the next step.

I believe it would be scriptwriting, possibly combined with storyboarding. I did start to take a class in this, but there were crazy high race tensions in that class, probably because the instructor was trying to seem anti-racist and…I don’t think they knew the point of anti-racism. Depicting diversity alone isn’t anti-racist. Trying to be anti-racist so you look more woke on the street isn’t the point of…

Let’s not go there. Wusa.

Anyhow. Scriptwriting, storyboarding. In working with a grid format, I would be imposing some limitations on myself, as in how long I can take to complete a thought, or what I’d need to put in place so the reader turns the page. Also: font size. Though I’m thinking of hand-lettering. (I do have an Ames Lettering Guide…)

I also need to be reading, more. At this point, I am wondering how much reading is going to take me away from the beadwork, and whether I’ll realistically be able to juggle reading, writing, beadwork, and library science. It seems I should be able to, at least so long as I don’t have a paying job…and developing skills in InDesign and Photoshop…that will be worth it, especially if I start looking for gig work as a writer.

Gosh, I…forgot I’d be writing all this…!

Maybe it would be best to work it out in text, first, and draw alongside, then see which one comes out as more dominant…

art, color, painting, self care

Sleepiness and swatch tests

Aw, man! Okay, so…my sleep schedule is bizarre, but maybe it won’t have to be, for much longer. It looks as if the heat wave has broken. Today the skies were gray instead of orange; that is an improvement. I also had to get out of bed in the middle of the night to change clothes, because it was so cold. Right now I’m writing this from bed in full pajamas, because it’s so cold.

Which is weird, when three days ago it seems like it was over 100° F. Right now, it’s 64° F, outside.

And I’m tired, even though I slept over 12 hours. It could be eye strain — I don’t think I’ve had a change in lens prescription in years. (I had to put off an optometry appointment because of the pandemic.) It could also be related to the smoke, or the fact that I am working at night and sleeping through the morning (although I went to bed before midnight last night, and woke up like it was morning, two hours later. Then I conked out at 3:30 and slept into late afternoon). It could also be because I missed the medication that I take for wakefulness…because I slept until 3:30 PM. That’s kind of a Catch-22, isn’t it?

A photo of four different Daniel Smith paints in various shades of green.
These watercolors are the four swatches in the top right of the immediately following image:

Anyway, my green paints and two new brushes came yesterday! :D I had to limit myself — out of enthusiasm, I have a tendency to overbuy (especially when I can’t see or test what I’m buying)…although now I know that painting is likely a good thing for me.

I have found that art is particularly…what’s the opposite of crazy-making? (“sane-making?”) “grounding?” for me. I’m finding watercolor to be also a relatively rewarding pastime in itself.

For some reason, I’m really into color; I can’t explain why, though…aside from the ability to witness how colors mix and merge. Painting has been an organic outgrowth of drawing, for me. I couldn’t cleanly, densely, and easily mix and dilute colors in drawing (the closest I’ve come to that is with markers), and nor could I have total freedom over the size and shape of my color applicator. That all changes, with painting.

A sheet of paper which contains all watercolor paints I might currently use, along with a freeform painting at the bottom right corner.
The left three columns are what is on my palette right now. Everything else either isn’t, or is a retry at getting a good gradient (or, in the case of French Ultramarine, a comparison with the other Ultramarines).

There’s something about the ability to achieve solid blocks of color and fluid gradients, that I really like. Also, the tactile issue is something that my sibling brought up — which could be why I’m not as drawn to computer art. The above swatches (and the little play painting in the corner) were all done with a Neptune #6 round brush. It’s really soft, and holds a lot of water. It will also soak up water if you dry it out a little before touching it to a pool of extra paint on your paper. For most of these, I was using the belly of the brush, not so much the tip.

I haven’t intentionally altered any of the colors here, though the light coming in the window was so yellowish and dim that I had to turn on overhead lighting today (when I took these photos and swatched out the four new greens in the upper right corner).

Right now I have about 45 colors which I’d consider using (there are some in the photo which are used twice). Of those swatched here, I’d eliminate W&N Mars Black (fifth column, third row) as Holbein Lamp Black (third column, seventh row) is smoother; and M. Graham Scarlet Pyrrol (fifth column, sixth row), as it granulates, and is very close to Winsor Orange – Red Shade (second column, third row).

Generally, I tend to prefer paints that have even dispersion and good flow…there are a number of paints I have which didn’t make it to this sheet, because of weird formulations causing a lack of leveling, or poor flow, or grains where I don’t want them, etc. This is just personal preference, however.

Gah, I’m tired. :) (Maybe I can go to sleep and wake up refreshed in 2-3 hours?)

Oh, right. I wanted to show you the Daniel Smith dot card swatches. The below were done with a very small flat…probably a Robert Simmons’ Sapphire, but I’m not sure and am too tired to look, right now. :) You can probably tell that I was tending to use too little water on my brush, for most of these…

Most of the Daniel Smith dot card set, painted out onto a sheet of paper.
Most of a Daniel Smith dot card (168 dots). I probably painted out more like 120 swatches (talk about tedious. No, I haven’t counted them.) There were four cards in the set, and I worked with approximately three.

I’ve swatched out everything here except for the special colors (like the Duochromes, etc., on the fourth card) and colors which I expressly knew were associated with asbestos (Tiger’s Eye, Burnt Tiger’s Eye [though I believe that in Tiger’s Eye, quartz has replaced the asbestos component], and Serpentine). I did, however, swatch out Kyanite, even though I know it’s fibrous by nature (I am not sure, but I don’t think it’s related to asbestos). I was curious. :)

What I find interesting about a lot of these is that a number of the gem colors (I suspect they’re PrimaTeks) are sparkly — particularly, Sugilite Genuine — though maybe I just got a lucky sample.

If I was going to add to my palette, swatching out both of these was a good idea, to avoid overlaps…a tedious, painstaking, good idea. :) It’s very apparent to me right now that I have a high-key palette going already…so maybe I shouldn’t really worry too much about getting bright colors. (I can always mix them down; there’s also the fact that the paints I’m using often seem to dull as they dry.)

As for the brushes…I ordered two, both Robert Simmons White Sable. One was to replace M’s very old and worn 1/2″ flat, the other was to replace a #8 Robert Simmons Sapphire flat that I killed, somehow. (The ferrule is loose. I only know of one way that would have happened. Never leave your brushes standing in water!)

Okay, I believe…that I am going to sleep now…

personal, self care

Hygiene, exercise, pride

I have meant to write in for the past couple of days, though in practicality, most of yesterday — after an emergency meeting and clothes and produce shopping — was lost to sleep. I still haven’t really begun this next section of my coursework, on Library of Congress Classification (LCC; a form of classification used mainly in Academic [College and University] Libraries)…but on the upshot, I’ve been taking care of myself better, now that the classes don’t hold my future on the line. That really is the silver lining to this.

Well…”silver lining.” These classes are optional. I shouldn’t stress myself out too much over them…especially since right now I’m seeing work in a Public Library as more within reach (as versus Academic). Or maybe I’m just saying that because learning LCC is HARD. The class I’m in puts it much more within reach than I would be on my own, but it still requires neuron growth. Neuron growth can be intimidating and uncomfortable, especially at the beginning of the process.

Instead of staying home to work on this, I went to the gym. I’m really glad I did. I see now why my prescribing doctor has wanted me to exercise: not only is it going to help me distinguish between “awake time” and “sleep time” (I was much more awake afterward than I would have been if I had stayed home to study), but I need to be getting activity in order to stop and reverse the weight gain caused by one of my medications. As well, the recent injury I’ve sustained is likely to be related to my current weight as versus the strength of my ligaments and tendons.

Today, then, I started with cardio and moved on to lunges and squats (a bit gentle, as I’m still healing), then to abs, and then I started spot-training my delts (shoulders), which was the only machine work I did today (I can lift 20 lbs. overhead; my deltoids are among the weakest muscles on me). I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve realized that it’s really OK for me to want to be buff again. It’s something I was discouraged from, a while back, and I’ve gotten to the point of realizing that the person who was discouraging me really had his own things going on that had nothing to do with me. There’s more to the story, of course, but not so much for public consumption.

Later that day, I went with someone to a makeup store, and got a foundation — which helps me feel better about my skin. Right before dinner, I took a shower and washed my hair (from the gym), and did a deep scrub on my face, followed up with an awesome moisturizer. That…is going a lot better, as well. I’ve realized how attractive it is to work out and be clean at the same time, and to maintain my self-care even when I don’t have to. It isn’t about other people, after all; it’s about me, and it’s becoming about how much I value myself.

That also means that I don’t have to be conventionally, “beautiful.” I can do what I want to, when and in the way that I want to.

So…I’m introducing myself to (or being introduced to) the concept of taking pride in my personal hygiene. I think it’s probably because I’ve recovered enough, and have enough spare time, to do more than the minimum to get by. I kind of wonder what it’s like to live with me while I really — for example — need a shower; and I don’t want to make my family have to tolerate that anymore. I want to be a person who is not a chore to be around, even with the people closest to me.

That much is said; more could be said about getting ready to face the day (basic hygiene — brushing teeth, washing face, showering, using deodorant) even when I’m not planning to go out of the house — or brushing and flossing, even when I know I don’t have to. People with my condition (separate of being gender-nonbinary) tend to have problems with self-care, and I am intending at this moment to break that stereotype. Of course, I haven’t yet started the routine…but I think it will be OK.

I want to use makeup again. And I’ve realized, that’s also OK.

Since school has ended…I’ve had the time and energy to put into things like being more social, and caring for my dwelling and my personal care. I did go to a meeting recently…expressly to be social, because outside of online and work and family, I don’t have much of a social life. That meeting is easier than most to deal with, because we basically all understand each other.

I actually had a kind of profound realization that I’m attracted to people who exhibit an unusual combination of gendered traits…and that there are people who very naturally exhibit (and aspire to) those mixtures. It’s possible that I haven’t had an intimate relationship (that I was involved in) for a very long time, because I am attracted to certain people, who both understand me, and whom…well, whom I can appreciate.

It’s different, that is, to be with someone who has no experience having a gender they are not seen to embody, as versus someone who can actually let me be me, and who can understand that what I look like doesn’t determine who I am; that even if others find my voice associated with women, that doesn’t mean I have to agree. Who understands that I don’t have to see myself as a man or a woman (or “boy” or “girl”) in order to exist, and to be worthy of respect and love. Actual love, not just being an object of fascination or possession or abuse.

Have I gone into this on this blog, before? I don’t think I have…

creative writing, personal, planning, psychology, spirituality, writing

Feeling a little heartsick right now.

I know I should get some rest. What I’ve been doing is scanning WordPress while thinking about one of the first people I fell for — hard. This was never quite requited, in part because I was barely out of my teens when it happened, and the guy I was crushing on was 25 at the time. I mean, it basically would have been cradle-robbing if anything occurred. And I was too **** shy.

This was one of those local rock-stars who every woman in the area (even the lesbian ones), flirted with.

It was hard, for me.

I haven’t gotten in contact with him for a reason I probably shouldn’t share…and I’m wondering if I should use this experience as fodder for fiction. It would enable me to write out my emotions without saying too much that reflects on others.

My main problem at this point is trying to figure out from what time the story is told. It ties in with what I had been talking about before with being unable to distinguish reality from stuff one’s brain creates…I know that if I place the story early on in my protagonist’s life, they won’t have the perspective to know what’s going on. That means the protagonist has to be mature and looking back/reminiscing…but from when?

Also: in my own life, I’m being reminded of what happens when kind people suddenly enter one’s life. I may be dealing with a current crush there, too. I…just don’t know what to do about it when it happens. Or when this later person reminds you of earlier people who had the same trait that drew you…which sounds like an appropriate time to start the story.

Friggin’ bodhisattva magnetism…

art media, comics, creative writing, creativity, sequential art, tatting

Stories and creativity

Sorry for being offline for a bit (about a week, for this blog). There’s been some stuff going on…though I don’t trust myself to remember a week’s worth of history, all right now. The good news is that I did complete my Dewey course, fine. Of course, though…the new course also just started, and I’m not particularly in the mood to study, right now. It is the third course of four that I have planned, and should help me if I need to do original cataloging of items in a College or University library (I’m interested in working at a Community College library as an introduction to Academic Libraries).

The other day, a work friend and I were talking about beadwork, particularly bead embroidery and loomwork. I have kind of gotten excited about the prospect of sharing bead-related joys with a friend. I would like to take some beads in to show this person…the thing is that I’m dealing with a number of impulses for media in which to create. I have tatting — which is new to me; beadwork; embroidery; sewing; and markers.

Ah! That’s right! I bought a set of alcohol markers recently. They’re basically artist-quality, though I went through the set and divided the cost into the amount. They’re Blick brand, and work relatively well. They did cost $44 for the set, but there are 24 markers in the set, meaning that each marker is $1.83 — a very good cost for the quality of these, at least if the tips of the brush tips don’t end up breaking off. (Generally, one can buy artist and illustration markers for between $3 and $5 each, open-stock).

The major thing with these is that I need to erase graphite underdrawings before going over them with markers. Otherwise, the graphite smudges. I was using marker paper for my trials, though, which means that the graphite had very little to cling to. Also, it helps when your fineliner has time to dry before you overlay it with marker!

I have a premise for a graphic novel series, though I’m still not sure of the primary conflict and range I should undertake for it. There are a few different stories I have in me: one is about mental illness, one is about intra-family racism, and one is about gender variance.

So…that’s a lot. I don’t think I’ll be able to pack it all into one story. I also don’t think I particularly should try to pack it all into one story, though I could link them all by putting them in the same universe (and have series crossovers or spinoffs). Right now, the story I have foremost on my mind is the one about experiencing mental illness, being unable to distinguish “fantasy” from “reality,” learning how to function, and the sacrifices that come with functionality.

The biggest problem I can see here is people asking how I know what I do; but that’s not really their business. There’s also the issue of what happens if I start to have an impact. I have not seen many books focusing on the inner experience of mental illness, at this point, but then again — after I graduated with my BA, I basically stopped reading fiction.

Ah, I also really want to get back to learning Japanese language. I have been exposed to animations and comics coming out of Japan (the challenge of reading them made them more interesting); also, selected comics like Deadpool or Trinity (though the latter was nonfiction, about the invention of the nuclear bomb).

Anyhow, I think I feel okay with getting back to my study, now. I’m feeling a lot better about it.

career, cooking, creativity, work, writing

Fear of repercussions for creativity

Alright. I’m sitting here typing because the two alternatives that have occurred to me, are to sleep, or to rearrange things. I’ve put all my craft books back on their original shelf, where they barely fit. There’s other stuff happening related to school and work that has been taking up mental space (applying for higher-status and higher-paying jobs I’m still overqualified for because the jobs I am qualified for are taking their time in getting back to me [or not]; plus graduation gear arriving; plus the Convocation video I opted-out of because online is forever), but it’s over for now.

I also was able to get back to beadwork, finally, but I now have that nagging, “I could be doing something better with my time,” thought, that I think grad school has driven into me. I’m thinking that this means it may be time to try and get some thoughts out. Writing is rarely a waste of time, for me, except when I run on longer than I need to…

Today I got to help make ohagi, which for the uninitiated is smashy sweet rice balls (I got to play the smasher) with sweet bean paste on the outside. They’re drying in the refrigerator right now…the bean paste (anko) was more like bean jam, so it didn’t stick very well. The rice balls are really nice, though. When I chew them I can make snapping noises — they’re that sticky. :)

Heheh, TMI. But it was worth it to help make the ohagi, because I got to do it with family. Hopefully, the anko will keep the rice fresher than would have happened if we had made daifuku mochi, which is a ball of anko covered in smooth rice dough (there are a couple of ways to make it, the easiest of which is by using mochiko, or rice flour, and sugar). Fresh daifuku are rarely good for more than two days, and after the first day in the refrigerator, they’re basically a loss because they dry out and lose their nice chewy texture. Ohagi are inside-out, though, so the beans will dry before the rice (and maybe make a protective shell, heh).

Anyhow…yeah, the creativity part. I’ve recently been dealing with not feeling very creative. By that I mean that I make things and I don’t appreciate them, because I expect more out of myself. I’m slower and less productive than I want to be, but I’m also really precise, and have trouble valuing what I make.

I’m not sure if this is a creativity issue or an expectation issue. I don’t know what I expect of myself. Except, maybe, that I’d have a better-paying job and know more than I do and not be so restrained, artistically. Or that I be actively reading and writing, or something.

I could be having an identity crisis right now, due to the fact that I’ve realized that being a prolific writer in my youth stemmed from a couple of sources which were not entirely healthy. Even now, I realize that I could talk about them online…it’s just that posting something online means in practicality that records of it are going to be around basically forever (or until someone outlaws third-party caching of, and making available, other peoples’ intellectual property on the Internet, which is likely not going to happen in a global system).

So…it’s less risky to talk to people about this in real-time and real-life. The thing is, I actually am being migrated out of the services that helped me deal with this, in the past, and I don’t have a large network of IRL people who would understand. What I’m talking about deals with hypergraphia, the compulsive drive to write; and the fact that in my youth I used the written word to live a life (or lives) I didn’t see the possibility of outwardly realizing.

While things are different now…after all, I’m not a child or teen anymore…I’ve learned through decades of exposure online that my inner thoughts aren’t exactly quotidian. When I was younger and writing for myself, it was a relatively safe space to explore my identity. But it’s different when other people can see that writing, and trace it back to an original author.

It’s fairly likely that my writing was symptomatic of deeper issues. The choice I can see before me is to 1) write like no one’s watching and possibly reap rewards (and punishments) for it, or 2) hold some topics and thoughts back, cause no change, and lose the reason to write. That essentially means I stop trying to make change and go along with everyone else, out of not wanting to be bothered with the responsibility or effects of my content.

What’s going on here, I believe, is that the area of my brain responsible for good judgment, is more active now than it used to be. I question what I put out into the universe more, now, than I did before — and stop myself from doing so, more often than I used to. I realize that some people actually aren’t creative enough to come up with some of the more horrific situations I can fathom. So if I don’t voice them, I just hope they never stumble onto those possibilities.

That’s one variable. The other, tied in with it, is the fact that writing what I actually want to write, will effectively stigmatize me. Of course, then I would likely get support from other people going through the same issues…but there is personal benefit to not letting people in on what they won’t (or don’t, or can’t) understand.

Being who I am, I know that there are a great number of reasons people can come up with as an excuse to direct violence at me. The thing is, keeping quiet about those reasons doesn’t stop the violence; in the absence of proof, violent people will make up reasons and excuses for their own hate and project them onto their victims, whether those reasons and excuses are true or not (they usually have less to do with the other person, and more to do with their proponent). What I’m learning, though, is that other peoples’ emotions aren’t under my control; thus other peoples’ emotions aren’t my responsibility, and nor are their actions (I can’t control those, either).

I’m also learning that I should pretty much live this life like it’s the only one I’ll get, because none of the other ones are guaranteed. I mean, I’ve gotten to the point where I question if it’s possible for a spirit to be consumed by another, and hence the afterlife even is not free of death, and we have layers of hells and heavens…but that’s something I’d be more likely to have talked about, around a decade ago, among people I knew who could actually understand it.

So while I know it’s pretty much useless to hide stigmatizing aspects of myself (those which I can, anyway)…it’s still tough, because I know that voicing them can negatively impact my ability to survive in this life. This is a major reason why I went into Librarianship in the first place: this arena is more tolerant than I believe most are, of differences and diversity. Which…you know, seems like a light thing, after all I’ve been talking about.

I’ve also been told that I deserve to have a voice. And if I can get my bravery up, perhaps I will have a voice, moreso than now.