It's upon us again. That horrible time of year where the shrinking of daylight hours couples with cooler temperatures to end the seasons of living and move into the seasons of dying.
I am trying so hard. I am always trying so hard. I am just trying to stay afloat. It is so hard.
I want to live in a place of eternal summer. Eternal sunshine. Eternal warm embrace of life-giving sunlight.
I don't know how many more years I can do this. This cold. This loss of light. This loss of life.
It is so hard.
When will it be too hard?
I got my flu shot yesterday and I spent half of today wondering why I felt so groggy and out of it. Ah, the price of moral superiority, but also ensuring our herd immunity remains intact.
I hate having my period. Though it did occur right at the nadir of my emotions and maybe I'm not so much bipolar as I have really bad PMDD. Who can say? Either way I know that it's a thing I need to get under control cos it's annoying and exhausting.
I tried watching part of the hearing regarding that orange ding dong and his call to Ukraine's president earlier this morning. It did not do much to improve my mood and I'm trying really hard to be better about my mood. I am walking this tightrope of wanting to be informed while knowing that diving too deeply into the news cycle just deepens my own anxiety and anger, both of which are clearly things I'm trying to step away from. I don't really know what the solution is. Trying to find a balance is hard. Who'd've thunk it?
In POSITIVE AF NEWS: I PASSED MY COMPS. My literature review for my doctoral thesis is done barring some edits my committee would like me to complete. But like, that's 1/5 of the damn thing and that is really really exciting. Next week I find out what is in store for phase 2.
The A/C in my room at work isn't working, which is...not ideal? I'm trying to just tough it out because it's gonna be cold out soon and then it won't matter. The heat seems to be working fine.
In other news, I'm supposed to hear back about my literature review from my thesis advisor today and I'm terrified. Both for if I do well, and if I do poorly. I have really enjoyed this time off, and I don't want to get back to work, but I REALLY don't want to have to do it all over. I just want to be done.
I'm still in a crabby headspace, which is not ideal, but I'm maintaining perspective well enough right now. I want to badly to be able to anticipate and then actually head off my blow ups. Keep working, right??
I wish I had more to talk about, but I guess this is all. OH I did discover a cute little idle game called "Tsuki" that I'm really enjoying. Just a little bunny running off to live on a farm and indulge in a peaceful, slow-paced life. It's all I want irl. Go figure.
Anyway, the work day is almost over. I'm going to do some focused breathing and then get ready to go home!
I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to get a free subscription to calm dot com becuase I am an educator. I'm trying it out but boy oh boy am I terrible at relaxing without distration. I guess that's why it's called a "practice."
I'm trying very hard to follow the Ring Theory advice of not pushing my anger and hostility toward things people do onto people who are just trying to do those things in order to make it through the day.
It is SO HARD.
I am such an angry person by default, and I don't know why. Like, my parents are both angry people, but they're not particularly thoughtful. My siblings are neither angry nor thoughtful. I'm both furiously angry and furiously thoughtful all the time. And it is exhausting.
Right now I've gotten myself to the point where I am super-careful about my feelings 80% of the time but that means the other 20% I am blowing up like a powder keg. It is not ideal.
I kid/don't kid about being bipolar. I took a psych inventory which indicated that my inability to land in legal trouble precludes me from that diagnosis, which I thought was odd. However, I do recognize that I tre target="_blank"nd to the more hypomanic side of things, though this rage.... Idk.
I am going to leave this on the positive note that I got a lot of work done for work tomorrow. I did break my "no work at home" rule, but I did it because I wanted to, I had the time, and I knew it would save me stress tomorrow. Jake is working on finishing up the last song for our new album and I just didn't feel like playing video games. (Yeah, I don't know who I am anymore either. Ha!)
You ever have one of those days where everything is going really well, and honestly you're pretty set up to be successful but everything also just feels off? Yeah, I'm having one of those.
I'm looking forward to taking Friday afternoon off of work. I made the executive/professionally beneficial decision to play nice at my immediate workplace by coming in the morning, but opting out of our horrifically boring training done at the more widespread level in the afternoon. *shrug*
I can't help but also feel like I'm coming down with a cold and honestly, it's due. I've been working really hard at not feeling stressed out mentally, but that doesn't mean my body doesn't still feel it. Something to keep working at, I suppose.
I feel like I have more to say, but I had to work until 8 pm last night and I'm still recovering. 8 pm is normally when I'm cozied up in bed, and I didn't even get home until 8:15, and then I had to shower and everything just feels off.
And my oldest cat is not feeling eating. She will lick the flavor off of her wet food, but she won't chew. So that's a lot to deal with. Just trying to take one day at a time.
I'm struggling with the feels today, still. I am trying to get better at noticing my mood cycles. Which is something I feel like I say a lot, and usually in the aftermath of an angry/bad episode. But I really do mean it.
I'm taking my week of no posting as a bit of data. And the fact that I'm still having trouble being consistent as another bit. This will help me to be better.
And today was actually pretty damn good! I got a lot accomplished at work, and things went more smoothly than I'd anticipated, and that was all lovely. I helped out a coworker by having a conversation with a person that was causing them problems, and I think it will all turn out okay.
I'm at work late today because reasons, but that's all right. I have things I can prep for the rest of the week, and that's exciting. Both that I know what I am doing for the rest of the week, and because hey, I've got the time to take care of it and not have to worry about it in the morning.
So I'm gonna peace out and do that, gonna try to keep this good mojo rolling.
Welp, Jake has finished 9 songs for toadlilies next album. I am very excited!
I spent a good chunk of time today recoding a bunch of website stuff on here, for toadliles, and for our darkwave project. I'm pretty pleased with out they all turned out.
I am also stoked because we're finally gonna have a live drummer. They're gonna go back and record new drums for our previous toadliles stuff, as well as the new album. It's gonna be so dang good.
I'm still plugging away at writing lyrics for our darkwave stuff. Maybe I can get some mouth sounds recorded this week since Jake's nearly finished with all of his stuff.
Hello online journal. I haven't forgotten you.
It's kind of funny actually. I've been a mess all week emotionally. Just angry and irritated and I think it's because I had the audacious notion that putting you aside would be okay because I'm all caught up with outside-of-work work. Turhs out I was wrong.
Anyway, to the meat of the post: writing lyrics is hard.
I'm working on lyrics for the darkwave project that Jake and I have been tinkering around with in our spare time from both toadlilies and corporate//astrology . I love it so much. I even have lyrics finished and recorded on one of our 9 tracks. 6 of them I have put moody keyboards to, and 3 I am working on. I love it a lot. But daaaaaaaaaaamn words.
I'm not terrible at it, but it does not come easy. I have words written for 2 other songs, I just need to find time to put them onto the tracks. I think they're good? I mean, I don't care if they're works of art. What I care is that they'll fit the tone and sound of the songs.
I am not going to post any of them here or anywhere. I'm closed off a bit in that arena, I suppose. This is a profoundly personal thing for me and while I like stretching myself I also don't actually want to talk about them? I suppose presuming folks were to find the music good and whatever someone might ask me about them, to which I would say "Sorry, none of your business," or I guess more kindly, "Take and give whatever meaning to them you want. Unless it's something nice about Nazis. Then go fuck yourself."
I did it.
The literature review is dead. Long live the literature review.
This was after I had a massive panic attack because I misread the instructions for my paper and thought it was 40 pages IN TOTAL, not 40 pages JUST FOR THE BODY, and I had undershot the requirement by a good 12 pages. Thankfully my advisor said it wasn't a hard and fast rule, and that as long as the content was sound, I'd be fine.
Right now Jake is giving it a once over, and then I'm sending it off to be destroyed by my thesis committee.
(I hope they don't hate it.)
I am happy to report that today is going very well in paper-writing land. I am up to 32 pages from 17, and I still have 2 sections left to complete, not to mention revising the damn thing.
But hey it's only 4:30 on Saturday. I'm planning to get one more section finsihed, and then I'm going to do my conclusion and revisions tomorrow. The last section I plan to do today is one that should be fairly straightforward. I have a feeling that I'm going to fall probably 3-4 pages short of 40, but that's where the conclusions and revisions for tomorrow will come in.
Mostly I'm amazed at my recovery time mentally from how awful yesterday was. I am doing my best to let anger be anger and then be well the fuck on its way. I'm not letting myself post a lot of things that I am angry about because dwelling makes you angry longer. Which hurts your mental health and by proxy your physical health in the long run. I know I sound like a broken record, but this is So Much Easier without all that fast-web noise and interference.
And hell, when I say "this" I mean both getting this damn paper done AND managing my assbutt tendencies toward negativity. I have way less places to fuck around and be distracted from this paper. And the things that do distract me now feel more bad, but in a way that gets me back to work instead of reinforcing a negative feedback loop of task avoidance. Which then means I'm being less of a negative assbutt cos there's no one to listen to me scream into the void about my crabby ass feelings, which is a whole other feedback loop.
So yeah, I think I've earned another break. I'm gonna go take a walk, eat some vegan ice cream, and then settle in to finish off this last new-material section of this paper.
Can't wait to be 1/5 done with my doctoral thesis by this time tomorrow!
I am tired as heccccc. And today pretty much just sucked.
It's weird because my work day didn't actually suck, per se, but every god damn thing that didn't include my actual work sucked farts.
I'm trying to let it go but meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
That being said, I made big strides on one of the longer pieces of my lit review I have left to finish. I am not going to finish it tonight, though. My eyes are crossing, and all of my printed copies of my research are in a different room. I am too emotionally exhausted to pull an all-nighter, and I want to get cracking earlhy tomorrow to see how far I can get. I'm a morning person by nature, and I know that early riser energy will get me through the remainder of this.
What I'm REALLY hoping is that I can get the whole damn thing finshed, rough-draft-wise, tomorrow so I can focus on refining the fuck out of it on Sunday. I really don't want to take Monday off for it, and I REALLY REALLY REALLY don't want to ask my advisor for an extension.
Honestly, I think I'll be okay, but I'm gonna go ahead and hit the hay now before I accidentally stay up too late and end up blowing my entire Saturday by being tired from the jump.
Took yesterday off from writing cos it was my 20th relationship anniversary. More than half my age at this point. Heccin' cool.
Unfortunately I am still struggling mightily with this paper. I don't know quite what to do. I mean, I do in theory, but getting it out of my head is awful. Every time I sit down to work on it I putz around and give myself a thousand excuses to "just do it tomorrow" but I'm running out of tomorrows. Even now I'm like "you have all weekend. How can you not write 23 pages in 72 hours? You can do that easy peasy."
This week has been stressful for a lot of reasons, but really only one reason which is that through the weekend and up to about now I've had my period and I suppose "duh" this is obviously the source of my short temper and lack of clarity or focus. I've been really cranky this week and it is not fun and it just makes everything 100000x harder.
I already skipped 2 days of work on this, one I don't remember why, and yesterday because it was our anniversary. And I feel guilty as hell, which is not helping me to be calm and focused at all.
I hate being stuck in a hole like this because it's my own making and I'm feel like every attempt to get out just digs me further in. Do I take a break tonight because I'm in such a toxic headspace I know that I won't get anything done? Do I force myself to stare at these fucking word documents for hours fruitlessly cos then at least I can say I didn't avoid trying?
I could cry, but that's not productive.
Mostly I'm just so god damn ready to be done with this degree. In my head I'm done. And that doesn't help anything at all.
I think I'm going to sit back, watch some ASMR, try to calm down, and make a plan for this weekend. Making a plan is productive, but low pressure, which I think is a good middle ground for the headspace I am in.
I need to remember that I bought myself an extra day before I have to do Things next week at work, so I don't really need to worry about anything other than this paper until Tuesday.
Just writing this all out and considering the calendar has made this whole thing less blech. Still a lot of blech, but it's workable.
I can do a weekend with less sleep than normal. And honestly, if I get a lot done tomorrow and Saturday I can still pull off a mostly-restful Sunday. I can do this.
Yesterday was really rough.
I couldn't get anything to go right for my lit review. I had gotten SO MUCH done on Saturday that I thought for sure I would maybe even finish it yesterday. As it was I didn't get anything done.
I am trying not to be mad at myself about it, but it's hard. My plans for how to go through the next 6 days kind of went out the window because I had presumed I'd be farther along than I am.
It's not the end of the world; the paper isn't due until the 9th of September, but it also sort of feels like the end of the world because it just does.
I will say this: I am glad as heck that I am not on the fast-web anymore. In those times I would have taken all of my frustration and irritation and blown it up on things that have nothing to do with my feelings all over the web and in everyone's faces. This time I had to just kind of swallow it all down. But that's actually good!
Why is that good? There's a lot of research about how venting your anger actually makes it harder to realign back to a neutral or positive feeling. This isn't to say that bottling up feelings is good, but wallowing is also bad. And that's what fast-web does to me, it lets me wallow. It lets me dig up every perceived slight I've ever felt about anything, even things I'd let go ages ago, and lets me dig right back in to those feelings of anger, frustration, and injustice. How ridiculous!
I've also been working a lot at mindfulness and I've been thinking a lot about Susan Silk and Barry Goldman's writing about Ring Theory . There are a lot of things that I want to gripe about but there's really no point often, and as often as not the person I'd be griping to would be in a circle interior to mine, and so complaining to them would be a really shit thing to do on my part.
So anyway I took yesterday off from writing (after failing at it for 6 hours, and at Jake's behest) and here now I've given name to my feelings and let them go and I did it without hurting anyone's feelings.
I think, maybe, now I can write.
I got over half of my lit review finished. I have 5 sections to go. I think I am going to call it a day on this. It is 16:00 and my brain feels like it is going to leak out of my skull.
I'm not worried about getting it completed in the time frame. As it stands I can get 3 sections done tomorrow, one on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, and that leaves me Thursday-Sunday to do any edits. I am worried about hitting the requisite page count. I'm looking at 5 sections left to complete and I'm only at 17/40 pages. That means roughly 4-5 pages per section. I know that isn't going to happen. I am thinking I can maybe average 2-3 pages per section, which is going to put me around/slightly over 30. I am waiting until I am done with my first rough draft and round of edits, but if I'm not looking at 35 by Friday night I'm going to have to email my advisor and find out just how deadly it is to be significantly below the strongly suggested 40 pages.
For now I think I'm gonna scrounge up a snack and then maybe start on the Dark Crystal series on Netflix .
I probably shouldn't be updating here midday. I can feel that I'm kind of using this as an excuse to avoid working on my lit review. BUT I am making some headway, and that is good and important!
As it stands right now I have 6 sections entirely finished and 8 sections to go. I am already decided on which section I am tackling next, and I'm looking to be halfway done (7/7) by 13:00 today. If it takes me 1-2 hours per section I could conceivably have it done this weekend. I will DEFINITELY have it done before next weekend, which is a whole 2 days prior to the due date.
I'm trying not to think too much about how much time I have left to get it done (both a lot of and not enough time) because I know that will convert into a procrastination behavior.
Instead I'm thinking about all of the things I will be able to do once I'm finished and I have loads more free time. I want to get back to my clarinet. I want to get back to working out. I am going to be finishing up the workout program I started in June, back when I had all the time in the world to take care of myself. I have to remember to make a section for that in my tags. I think it's an important enough goal and topic to add to my tags. I also can't wait to get back to making more music.
I am going to be concentrating on making each post on here topic-specific, both because I don't want to have entries with multiple tags, and because I'm really buying into the idea of intentionality. I really like that I have to take the time to enter new lines of code on my archive page, my tags page, and my main page (where you can find links to my most recent posts in both the "create" and "consume" categories. It makes me consider what I want to post, if it's valuable enough to merit more than a fast-media style post (which I am working hard to move away from), and honestly whether it's worth writing about at all.
Honestly the fact that I've been writing as much as I have each day, with mostly deliberate, single topics in mind, has been such a relief. I feel more like a real person than I have in a very long time. I'm piecing together ideas for my lit review more easily because I'm not trying to hold 15 small thoughts up at once like so many spinning plates.
I know that not everything works for everyone, and that everyone hates that white girl who does a thing for 30 days and then says it changed their life, but every day away from social media is a day I am so profoundly grateful for.
People aren't sound bites. I'm glad I'm not a part of that economy any more.