The Dismal Visionary

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Who can say?  Not I.  Not I.

2017 is nigh.

Food.
I am inspired to do low-carb starting January 1.   It’s coming out of my own desire to do it and not, I believe, out of this sense of needing to have a resolution.  Not out of habit.  It’s, instead, coming out of my own personal sense of needing to start the year working on myself because I want to see improvement.  I want my life to be better, goddamnit, fabulous, even.  Not choosing food to serve as an external release valve on all of my emotions.  Of wanting to be able to get myself moved out of this limbo.  I know that there’s a big event coming on the 9th where food will be funky.  I know my birthday is coming again.  Yet, I want to do this.  I want to have a year-end change.  It’s time to start pulling out the motivational picture albums, the MyFitnessPal, the FitBit or some form of pedometer and get to be excited about progress again.

So, I can’t do it all at once.  But water, cutting carbs, tracking food and posting daily on MFP about it.  That’s a path towards something.  You will see me doing that, failing, upset, excited, not doing what you think I should, working really hard, being all over the map.  But this is my intention.

I also pledge not to eat out more than once a week.  That’s mostly about money, but I also eat so maniacally, it’s a way to help myself, too.

Writing
Just to reiterate, changes are going to happen here because…they have to.  I can’t do another year of just posting moaning screeds.  It’s a waste of my talents.  I need to read.  I so need to be reading so that the well has something other than marsh water to draw on.  I can’t do better unless I do differently, so the post will happen in essence via MFP or me writing.  I will be here weekly to spaz and cross-post, but it won’t be like it is now.

That scares the everloving shit out of me.  I might accidentally just post. I don’t know.

Computer Time
The reading and the writing and the not just spending whole days restarting Civ IV games.  I have to be conscious of how much time I cede to this thing.  Even just waiting for people to respond to messages.  It’s endless at times.  I mean, I love it, it’s comforting, but it chains my ass to the bed for ages.  I can’t be chained like this forever.  Nothing is forever.

Love
Every day we start over.  The hand hangs out of the carriage and is grabbing in all directions.  But I am sure that I like myself better for just that little bit of trying I am doing.  So, I say how do you do, and I try and make jokes, and I try and express interest and comb my hair and buy (with gift certificates) new dresses and be cute and willing.  And we’ll see.

 

 

A Woman of Negotiable Virtue

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Oh, Fallen London, you are really the swell and dandiest, particularly with your free and easy gifts of the titles for posts.

I have about ten tabs open and I am feeling more than a bit overwhelmed, digitally, and in the good old analog braincase.  Let’s do this, please.

Thoughts and feelings, thoughts and feelings!  I now, essentially, have a second job.  With the caveat that I have to explain to my current boss tomorrow that halving my hours means I need a second job and that I’ve got one, at least for the summer and I need to shift things around to accommodate it.   I think this is fine.  I can just work full days there 3 days a week and work a day and a half at the new one.  It’s stressful, I suppose, for all of us, and I’m half afraid that she’d say, oh, I intended to put you back on full-time June 1, but I don’t financially get that as even being possible, at all, so…I am looking after me. She could also say, well, that’s too much of an inconvenience for me, so goodbye you, which is not really likely, but everything feels within the realm of possibility these days.

It’s only retail, it’s only about 25 hours a week with about what you’d expect to make doing retail.  It’s a stopgap measure to keep me in food and drink and health insurance.  This is not the excitement about it.  The excitement is it’s working in my mentor’s boutique clothing store, they trust me enough that it’s was about 10 minutes of chatter before we started laying out schedules.  They also want to talk about me helping with social media/copywriting…some things that I’m interested in doing anyway.  I know these ladies and I know their vibe, I know the town, and they care about me and my life, the role writing plays, and even the fact that I’m kind of at a mental crossroads.  They get that this is rough.   I feel immediately like, oh, wow, I can’t break this.  I can just be carried by it until I get a clue.

It’s also rough because once this all gets conferred and confirmed, I can’t tell my parents.  I can’t because we’ve agreed in the great High Council of this house that they don’t need to know, the little sister, the aunt, either.  This would only lead to histrionics and heaving sighs and phone calls about if we’re going to die in the gutter and other things I am starting to believe are not exactly likely. It is, in fact, our lives rather than anyone else’s and their freak-out doesn’t change the bank balance and perhaps, it would be good to be able to say, yes, this happened, but we got it covered.

But for now, no telling, no facebooking, certainly not until the current boss is made to know the plans as I see them.  I feel shitty because I’m enforcing this boundary of addressing my needs rather than martyring myself – the usual act of comfort.  I also feel shitty because this is a new schedule change I have to adjust to, a new place I need to make sure I’m giving energy and attention.

Overall, though.  This is good.

Bright as a Daisy

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Have no fear, we’re here, we’re really here!  Bright as a daisy, sunny as a buttercup.  Sentences at a time, but present and accounted for.

Your little turn of energy becomes mine and mine becomes yours.  Winds beneath wings and all that.  It is as simple as having chosen to begin.  You can spiral down and out, but you can also go up and in.  Ahem.  You can.  It is just a change in direction.  It is just a willing, scullery maid’s spirit.  There’s work to be done, but here we are to do it.  Even if we mouth the words, we know the words so there’s a start.

The new year is coming.  It is unavoidably nigh.   You can choose other than you chose before.  No one will hold your evolution against you, not really, not I think, if you believe in its necessity far more than you believe in the heartsick that others throw up at you when they’re frightened.

The habits already decided on are 10 minutes of physical activity everyday + 10 situps.   Will I get to the point where I can do 20 or a 100 every day? Gee, I hope so, but for the moment, we’re thinking 1×1 inch picture frames (thank you, Anne Lamott) and doing 10.

Interrogating my thoughts.  This is rather huge.  It is a habit that needs building, though.  Saying yes things are possible so often that you lean towards the assumption that you can get up and tackle your life, thank you Cheryl Strayed, you can frigging murdilize it as needed.  Rather than acedia, plodding, exhaustion and accepting nothingness.  You can’t get out of bed ever now?  Not ever, ever, ever?  What if you have to pee? What if you need to eat?  Someone will come, someone will encourage me, someone will bring me food.  No.  No, they won’t.  And even if they did, you wouldn’t like what they brought you anyway.

This is the sort of internal dialogue fight we have to fight 24/7 until we get strong enough to avoid the fighting entirely.  Right now I’m just getting ambushed all the time by oddball freak-outs.

If there is some secret inner vault where we keep the beliefs we hold dearest, contrary to what we talk about or espouse or intend, it is time to crack it open and let it be awash with light.  What lives after the lustratio deserves to remain.  We will walk the long walk, we will give up the pig and the ram and the bull and drive the evil spirits out. Look to the birds, let the gods call it as they see it from their side of the fence.

Enough with the blather.  I got up, I got food (and coffee), I have therapy tomorrow, I checked my email and made sure of that.  Then, my friends have made genius plans for Seattle that I am delighted to turn up and experience.  Yes.  We have to get out of bed at some point because the only people they fly horizontally, at least for my ticket price, are corpses.

Already Remembered

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Like the cat says, I need to think.

Diet/weight loss.  All of these pieces feel like they carry the weight of a year’s worth of focus and devotion.  That they deserve that much of my attention – I should apply each one as a diadem on my forehead and march about, tattooed and slavishly attempting to make my resolution fall within its boundary.  They are all interconnected.  Each issue joins arms and leans on the others to make the walls of my Fortress of Lady Solitude, one so tall and so precariously built that no King Kong and no gallant have ever dared to scale them. But the concepts and ideas I’ve used to motivate myself towards weight loss have never worked and for the first time, I’m starting to allow myself to recognize the serious implications that will arise if I don’t change my ways.  It’s a real Scrooge getting the three spirits situation.  Or it’s not, but eventually, that’s what it will come to.  My body is just wildly unhappy right now,  even as my mind hushes and shushes it. Things aren’t fitting as well or at all from top to bottom on me, things like my feet feel weird from time to time, I find myself avoiding standing upright for long periods and find I really have rare reason to.  That’s all insane and unpleasing and a bad path to be marching so gaily down.  Plus, it aggravates my brain’s power to be reasonable which I need nowadays.  I need badly to fight my daily fight with my own stupid anxieties and illogical insistences (not a word, but might be.)  AND you can do OKCupid until you’re blue in the face (or green as my case may be) but if you feel shitty and shifty and untouchable, well, the rare soul who turns up with something that isn’t asinine to say to you, all he’ll find is those same glacial walls.

I don’t want to be pickaxed open.  I want to lower the drawbridge, send down the braid of hair, run out of the castle and start looking myself.

This means that things I don’t want to do with daily exercise are going to be of equal importance to doing this page.  Every single day.  10 minutes of real physical activity and 10 situps to cap it off.  Every day for a whole year.  More being better, more will be done, but the line has been burnt into the sand before you.  There will also be as much food tracking as can possibly done.  Imperfect tracking is better than zero tracking.   These are the tactics that will change my life and haven’t been done in the past for just this reason.  I will have a body that is different to this one.  One that will register differently with people and that has frightened me into submission before.  But that is what is new about 2016, I know what I will suffer to get hands laid on me, to get eyes in my head, to get another’s words breathed into my neck and it’s a hell I don’t mind.

 

Manifestations

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We are looking ahead.  We are liking our new fonts.  We are building mysteries and unpeeling others.  We are going to go.

Step One.

Convince yourself that even if you are a Lovecraftian horror, you’re not the single worst Lovecraftian horror on the block. You don’t need to name names, but there’s somebody out there, face-wise, who you would not trade places with. Recognize that no matter how long you stare into the mirror and gingerly, physically alter your own self-perception, tomorrow morning you’re two steps backwards. Different body chemistry, different demand on your brain, a weird-ass dream when you’re pregnant and decapitating villains from a rope invisibility affixed to the sky is in your mind. You wake up and feel fucking awful. This is okay. You are building a muscle. It’s going to be weak for a good long while and it will shake when you use it unexpectedly for a more than a few moments. It will shake when it shouldn’t and you’ll think it will fail, and sometimes it will, because that sense of yourself in a positive light will fail. You’ve got all these terrible habits that tell it to be quiet, still, to not scare you with the failure that feels such a part of it, such a part of you.  

 But once you start to stretch it and work it, it wants to stretch and work. It activates and suddenly, self-esteem isn’t this joke you tell yourself about beauty queens and models, it’s this being that involves his or herself in how you experience the world. The time spent worrying about the negative impression you might be making on others – the self-esteem leans in and reminds you, gently, sometimes with a soupcon of snark, that you’re never going to see that jerk in the grocery store again. Or, you might, and if they have an opinion on your mismatched socks and want to share that with you, you can survive the encounter. You hear that and you straighten your spine and you let your shoulders fall free and you just got fifteen minutes back that you didn’t have to spend skulking and simpering and calculating a stranger’s untold disdain for you.

It’s sort of like having an administrative assistant for your inner bullshit. And so often, I think, when you have someone other than yourself involved in a problem, you take better care of it.  It keeps falling to front of mind. You force yourself to step up. You want to avoid disappointing them so you fight back.  If you can separate threads of personality inside, you can listen to some of these voices and take up some of their causes when you pretend they’re not my own. Maybe that’s not the best impetus for internal change.  Maybe you should be able to enact change because you deserve it.  

Ideally, yeah, you can synthesize the self-esteem AA and the motivation coach and the creative muse and the squishy stuffed animal of friendship and the Crone Who Knows and the WASP Who Won’t and all the parts and pieces of your psyche into a single, consolidated you. But first, I think, you need to know who is up there rattling in your attic and invite them for some imaginary tea. Or imaginary coffee or even just an imaginary census-taking. Try it.

 

To Hook a Duck

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Duck hooking and dump cakes.

Today was alright because it was rather screwy and oddball.  We celebrated my one year with Chipotle.  I got kind comments from a co-worker.  I didn’t fall on the floor in spastic seizures.  Manna fell from the heavens in the form of one high school boy who brings with him a retinue of other high school boys and girls who want to help us.  I saw an old friend who is going to take me out for drinks and seemed serious about this.   How odd to think I am in the position to have old friends.  She also brought a box of cupcakes with her.  My little sister is not at death’s door, but is able to postpone the colonoscopy for a month.  We are back to designing trees on Sunday and I don’t have to suddenly figure out how to make that happen.  I have a few episodes left of A Chef’s Life to watch.  I am current on Drunk History and the Voice.  I have listened to most of the new episodes of Answer Me This.  I have Bernie Sanders clips at the Democratic Forum to parse through.   I feel as though I belong to myself rather than anyone else and I feel fantastic about this. I can get five minutes of cleaning done and get another load of laundry rolling. Water has tasted really cool and refreshing of late.  Perhaps there is enough bread and butter for one last grilled cheese sandwich.  My friends are in the first nascent stage of planning a group trip to Seattle for June-ish, maybe.  Possibly to see one of those friends get married.  Possibly.  Otherwise, to eat and walk through the mists and wool gather.  Or drink and make dirty jokes and piss ourselves laughing.

This is really lovely.

Tomorrow is N7 Day and even though I have to go into work for a few hours, I am not letting anything but placidity rule the evening.

I have a faint idea of what to buy my mother for Christmas – or one small part of it.  I am singing the praises of Amazon Prime.  I think I know what I want to do here starting January 1st.  I think this entails starting a daily diet blog elsewhere and doing regular/irregular posting here to vent and sigh and rant and rave.  I think this also means I want to plan to lose weight next year.  I think I want to give up my birthday this year.  I want to give up the expectation of my birthday, its shape, its worries and inherent woes and be, full bore working on myself.  This means no concessions to cake and baked goods, no fancy dinner out that will threaten the system.  I always have a great first two weeks and then, I start planning January twenty-third and how it will exist outside of space and time and by the time I get to that date, I’m ravenous, I’m ready to genuflect before all of my big addictions.  It is a cycle that is so consistent that I have to stand in front of this particular truck to make anything change.

I think this is what I want.

Crow Eating a Persimmon

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Writing related to my therapy discussion today:

I am at my best when I can work on my own, but get regular feedback from others..
I will try to prevent times when I feel I can’t use my creativity to find solutions..
I will enjoy my work by finding employment where I can complete short assignments that help others get things done.
I will find enjoyment in my personal life through pushing my creative boundaries and expectations.
I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as writing, acting with empathy, being a friend, thinking creatively, being self-directed, being even-keeled.
I can do anything I set my mind to. I will complete my novel and write like mad for publication and myself everyday.
My life’s journey is.about integrating the parts and pieces of myself, overcoming fear and anxiety and taking hold of my worthiness. Once I do this, I benefit, the people I choose to have relationships with benefit, everything becomes gilded with joy because I won’t be closed off to the world anymore.
I will be a person who at 80, is  surrounded by people I love, my husband and a kid or two and their kids and then lots of different friends from all walks of life. I would like them to say that I loved each of them so much that they felt safe and inspired to do their own great things, make their own lives remarkable..
My most important future contribution to others will be that I will have broken down the barriers I have built around me and within me so that I don’t have to peer over them and call that connection. To have fought for a true self that will feed my work, relationships, and experiences so that I can express myself fully and don’t live in fear.

I will stop procrastinating and start working on how:

  • I often allow fear or thoughts of imperfection to keep me from completing promised tasks for myself or others. Work sits undone, waiting for a better, smarter person to do it.
  • I do things well enough to get by, but I let my drive for excellence get swallowed up by insecurities.
  • I reason my way out of eating better, being socially vulnerable, or taking important risks and I reason my way out of being upset about that when I know they are steps I need to take to have the life I want.

I will strive to incorporate the following attributes into my life:

  • empathy
  • intelligence
  • creativity

I will constantly renew myself by focusing on the four dimensions of my life:

  • Have exercise be a ritual, let it bring regular comfort and renewal to my body rather than a reminder of imperfect health.
  • Let the Faithful Light speak. Meditate and let her come forth fully and as loudly and as often as she likes.
  • Read and write. Trade other ways to spend time for creative pursuits. Fail at more things. Confront my fears at as many opportunities as I can. Reinforce my values and goals daily. Demand projects are completed before new ones begin.
  • Put myself in the position to meet people and not yoke that goal with the goal of falling in love and having a family. Let myself be available to imperfect partners. Recognize there is no shame in wanting physical intimacy and emotional support in this life.