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.