Tag Archive | personal

Frayed beyond Frustration

I’ve been having a really hard time for the last month and a half (or more, if I’m honest, possibly back to early October). I’ve been trying to decide if it’s my own personal form of SAD (based on it being Death Memory Season1), or if it’s something else.

For example, I make decent to very good money currently. I still worry about bills, because I’m wired that way; but as long as I don’t splurge every single month on frivolous (read: unnecessary) items, I can pay my bills including extra on my credit cards. That means I’ve been paying down one large credit card, and trying to keep the others at minimum. I’ve been doing slightly odd (for me) things with multiple credit cards to keep my credit up, based on advice from bankers and loan advisors. My credit isn’t as trashed as it once was, when I was the victim of identity theft, but it’s still a little weird. I still get calls based on that thief’s name actually being very close to mine. She’s changed it since, as have I, but it doesn’t really force the credit bureaus to behave.

Why is this a problem? Well, even though I make a decent wage (more than fair, because of various perks), I feel sort of trapped. I’m not in a field that I consider “mine”. I actually work in a field that I don’t particularly enjoy, at the moment. I am not a numbers person, but I’m working with them. Sometimes, I can trick my brain into thinking I work in computers, or with databases, or with any number of adjacent fields – but I’m not really, and sometimes my hindbrain narrows its eyes at me as if to say, “Hey. Wait a minute… Is this what we wanted to do when we grew up? Because I don’t think it was even on the D list…” And my forebrain has to play Jedi mind tricks.

In general, I really like my co-workers. We go on cool trips together! We make each other laugh! I don’t really ever forget I’m older than all of them, but some of that is my own hangups more than anything they do intentionally. But there have been a non-zero number of times lately where I don’t feel listened to. I will report an item verbally and in writing, but somehow, sometimes even within the hour, the information is requested again. It’s most annoying when it happens within minutes.

And after the last week or so, I’m beginning to think that is the thing besides my personal SAD that is making me particularly grumpy. It was especially galling the other day to be told by my manager that she was listening, she just didn’t retain the information! It’s making me really question my usefulness, effectiveness, and importance. Because at this point, I’m concerned it truly is me! My communication skills have just deteriorated that badly!

On the other hand, I really don’t think they have. Usually, the people hearing but not actually listening and retaining that information are also dealing with a lot in their own lives, and are just very distracted. And I want to be empathetic and forgiving of those problems. Everyone is human and should have their own lives outside of work. I just find my patience is frayed to shredded about that. I’m not forgiving about it. And I’m therefore mad at myself for not living up to my own expectations.

I haven’t figured out a solution for this, other than to vent on twitter occasionally, and now on a blog. I would like a change to see if that would help, but I can’t (and really, don’t see the need other than this thing) job hunt. I wouldn’t be able to find another position of comparable level at this pay scale, really. Base salary? Sure. But not actual take home pay. So I am not sure how I’m going to fix it, in the long run, other than continue to take very deep breaths and try desperately to weave my patience back together every weekend so that there’s some semblance of it, no matter how patched, come Mondays.

1. Death Memory Season: September – lost my youngest maternal aunt at entirely too young of an age, also first marriage had a BIG ending step of actual physical separation; October – lost the first cat I raised personally from a kitten, basically my baby boy (I’ve got another baby boy, and I’ve had other cats, and this was the second cat I helped raise from kitten ever, but he was MINE); November – dad really took a downturn with his cancer; December – lost both mom and dad (in separate years) in mid and the end of the month. I adore the fall, I really, really do. And autumn through early winter means 3 of my favorite holidays, but damn it’s hard for my emotional memory.

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My body doesn’t work like that

So there’s this thing that happens with the current exercise fads, where you’re told, “oh, you’ll get addicted to it! Your body will start feeling so much more energized if you just set up a regular habit of exercise. And then, when you do skip a day in your schedule, you’ll feel all dragged out and horrible. You just have to be patient and keep it up!”

Bullshit.

That does not happen for all humans. It especially does not happen for me. I loved fencing in college, even though I was never destined to be very good at it. (I’m too small. So while I can be limber and quick and get in under a longer-reached opponent’s guard; if the longer-reached opponent is better than me at defending, I will almost always lose.) But not once, in the entire semester, did I ever leave class feeling energized and better about life from the exercise itself.

I always hurt. I always, always was tired once I stopped babbling about hitting a mark I was excited about hitting. My brain might be energized about reaching a goal, but it’s not at all the same thing. My body doesn’t generate good chemicals from intense exercise. It generates lactic acid and all sorts of other very normal things that make my muscles hurt. And now that I’m older? My joints don’t appreciate repetitive motion particularly either.

I really loved archery too, but that wasn’t a particularly exerting sort of exercise, as we focused more on accuracy than pound weight, and I don’t think I ever got heavier in bow class than about 35 to 45 pounds.  I’m small, and my upper body strength wasn’t (and isn’t) there. (Unlike my leg strength which gave me yet another advantage in fencing.)

I liked bowling okay, and I did all right with weight training and power walking (yeah, that was a weird combination class). But again, I never got to the point that all of these exercise gurus claim everyone reaches of the pain being overridden by the pleasurable hormones and other body chemicals. And that’s when I was in top shape as a young person.

Part of me will always believe they’re outright lying, and some people are just more susceptible to believing it, or don’t want to admit that they feel like crap still. But being older, I’m more inclined to suspect it just doesn’t work that way for me specifically.

do get a boost out of playing in water. I will get tired, and if I swallow enough water I will really hurt, but it will never be enough to make me hate water.

I got a lot out of Tai Chi, and I’m somewhat sad that apparently the instructor style matters to me a lot. So I still haunt a yoga and tai chi page in the hopes that I will see a new instructor with a similar vibe teaching a time I can take. I did feel better after those classes, even though I also hurt; but for me that had more to do with certain meditative aspects of the practice.

But running? Weight lifting? Biking? (Let alone the team sport of indoor soccer.) Anything heavy in cardio, basically, and I’m a miserable, sweaty, over-heated mess who is focused on getting it done with as soon as possible so I can eat chocolate or red meat for a better morale boost.

You guys do you, with your boot camps and other gym type activities. Seriously. If you love it? More power to you. But please quit with the one-size-fits-all rhetoric. On the one hand, it makes you look like a liar. On the other hand, it just makes the people who it doesn’t fit feel even more broken.

And I’m pretty sure you’re not all assholes.

My heart

My heart is made of sweet words: whispered, giggled and shouted;
with soggy bits where tears seeped in and found the cracks and crevices.

My heart is made of fur: long and silken, short and coarse, baby fine and bunny soft;
with purrs that run ragged, silver, rumble and holes of black and white.

My heart is made of memories: rioting with laughter and curses;
scented with coffee, tea, flowers and balsam; and held tight in a squeeze.

My heart is full, and yet broken;
because of all that it has, and all that is gone.

The singular ‘they’

I love singular ‘they’. Back in 2016, the American Dialect Society named it word of the year. And we all use it all the time. But that’s not why I’m so excited about it right now. I’m excited because it can help researchers, particularly if they’re working with qualitative data and thus with very small […]

via The bonuses of singular ‘they’: anonymity and bias avoidance — Everyday linguistic anthropology

I’ve used the singular they in speech for as long as I can remember. Every once in a rare while, I feel as if I’m being a bit ambiguous or that I might sound professorial/literary – but saying “one might often think one’s mind is set on a topic” sounds much sillier. And Using ‘you’ has occasional unintended consequences: a reader might feel attacked, or if they aren’t actually someone who can empathize with the generic you, they might feel even more distanced from the topic. I have been having a very hard time with why some people have such a hard time with other people wanting to take the singular they and use it as a personal pronoun. It’s already used!

Anyway, neat blog for other good reasons for the use of the singular ‘they’ to keep propagating and become even more common.

Thoughts collected but disorganized

I’m here. I haven’t been blogging much, and I’ve only written a bit else-web on other topics.

I miss internet people/connections in general, and a few people in specific. I have reached out, but only through the forums we generally connected in. The thought occurs to me that I actually have other avenues. But the way the world is makes me wonder if I’m intruding or crossing boundaries by taking advantage of them? I enjoy getting postal mail. You know, the old sort. Cards and letters with stamps. I’m not as good at sending it out. But I try and I have. It’s so terribly slow though. One thinks of calling, but then time zones raise their hands, clear their throats, and I worry about disruptions to life and peace of mind. This is a failing on my own part, likely, feeling as though people would rather I only be available when they want/need me, but that I hide neatly tucked away in my box until that time. Knowing that’s likely the case doesn’t actually reassure. Because what if?

I read a review the other day of Anne of Green Gables and how she could be read as bi-sexual. Or at least bi-romantic, with her love of Diana. And yet her equal love of Gilbert. And how that wasn’t what the author intended, and in fact, the review asserted, the author would be extremely upset because she herself thought such things inappropriate. And I have been dithering about exploring that rabbit hole. If it’s true, I will be so disappointed. Because what’s so wrong with that? I read it that way as a girl, I realized, when reading the review, even if I didn’t have the words for it, and connected on some level with it. Why take that away from thousands of people? Not that it actually does take it away, mind you. At a certain point, an author can intend all she or he likes, but what the reader brings to a work is also valid in interpreting and experiencing that work.

I have an odd relationship with summer. It’s my birth season, and my mother’s. But neither of us cared much in some ways for celebrating overly much on specific days, and while warmth is nice, being overly warm is not. At the same time, it’s still a break, in my head, because my father was tied to an academic calendar. And finally, it’s not at all a break, especially in my current job, because our general niche doesn’t find it that. It is one of the most challenging times of year in fact. And yet, we also typically go on a company trip in the summer. So yeah. Summer isn’t getting easier to deal with it, the longer I’m in my current position. I’m getting resigned to the stresses and volatility, in small ways. But I still dislike them. And I think they’re making me dislike summer.

I don’t know. There are other things. Those are the ones that are coherent and floating at the surface. I keep floating back to missing people. I miss playing on text-based roleplaying games. I miss being able to walk upstairs to visit friends on the 9th floor. I miss being able to call someone at all hours because we were younger and didn’t need sleep. I miss, in tiny ways, hanging out at conventions with a lot of people at once. I miss feeling able to set aside responsibilities as easily as I once did. I’ve always been a responsible person, who takes things perhaps too seriously, but lately, it feels harder to step away and breathe for a moment.

This is the part of being an adult that I understand people wanting to step away from. When they envy being a kid. Other parts? Not so much. I like not having to answer to someone for other things. For being able to say yes and no on my own terms. I just hate that as an adult my own terms have tightened down so much. I need to find a better balance there, as I’m the only one who can truly control that.

Is it Imposter Syndrome if it’s about myself?

Imposter syndrome is when you’re successful at a thing, but you secretly believe that someone is going to come and explain that they’ve figured you out, you’re a fraud, and they take away your ability to do that thing. Basically. In a very over-simplified nutshell.

Writers feel it, quite often (I say this based on the number of authors I follow who admit to having had some sense of the problem), but women are also large sufferers – especially professional women, apparently. I know young mothers who have worried about if they’re really a good enough mom, but I’m not sure if that quite falls under the same category or not.

My thing is, people somehow see me as confident in who I am, in a generalized sense. Now, usually, I attribute this to them not knowing me particularly well. They know a facet of me – Work Me, for example. Work Me often appears to either know what she’s doing, or at least know when she doesn’t know, and then she appears confident because she generally has an idea of who to go to ask for help.

But a couple of weeks ago, a fairly long term friend spoke the thought that I was not like other people, because I was confident. I knew who I was and I didn’t seem to care what People thought, and I was just as happy being me as pretending to be someone else.

I’d had a drink, which was stronger than I normally drink, and very little food, and I laughed at her, or at least, the assertion. She doubled-down. She was positive I was quire comfortable in my own skin, and I didn’t seem to have the desire to express bravada and drama in being more or less than who I was. It was reassuring to be around someone who was that centered in herself, she said. It made me feel safe and like someone that she and others could be themselves around.

I blinked and let the conversation move on. Because what else could I say at that point?How can people see me as confident in who I am when I don’t know who I am, half the time? I have doubts like anyone. There are moments where I’m confident, sure. And yes, I know how I feel about some topics. But I don’t profess to know myself particularly well on all things. I’m pretty sure I evolve and change on a fairly regular basis.

I try to be kind. I try to be the sort of human that a stray animal would trust, for example. Or that a small child who grabs a familiar color denim leg, upon discovering it doesn’t belong to their actual parent, won’t panic. They’ll simply look around for the correct leg. I guess that works for the centered and safe feelings she described? But I have serious doubts about other basic aspects of myself almost daily.

I worry that I’m honest enough or perhaps too honest. I worry that I’m too optimistic, but then perhaps I’m too negative, and I don’t achieve the middle ground realism that I want. On the other hand, a little bit of rainbows and sparkles can’t be so bad … can they? I wonder if I always recognize my inherent privilege in being a white cis woman, but then again, when in certain states, people will speak Spanish at me and assume I understand it. (I do, if they’re slow enough and enunciating very carefully, but no more than a 5 year old might. And it’s not because I was raised speaking the language. It’s barely a second language.) I worry that I come off as cold, or too warm. I worry that my sense of humor is so twisted as to be outré. I worry on a semi-constant state about something in the way I interact with the world at large, or don’t and perhaps I should

I suspect in some ways, that this is part of being human, and maybe a feminine human, and maybe a feminine human who reads and thinks quite a lot. I also suspect it is an aspect of living in my head more than perhaps others do. I know though, that not all humans behave this way. I’ve got enough friends who I’ve asked tentatively that don’t have this in common with me. They aren’t all men. (Although quite a few are.) And quite a few read quite a lot.

So I just don’t know. I wish, sometimes, I could experience myself as they do. I don’t know if it would help, exactly. But it would be interesting to see. As it is, I get startled almost every time someone says something nice about myself. It’s not that I think I’m a horrible monster or internet troll! I just don’t necessarily think I’m worth acknowledging in thanks, either. I feel very much like someone who can fade into a wall and disappear unnoticed.

Which could easily lead into another blog post about other things. For now, I think I’ll just wrap up by opening this to you readers: do you ever have that dissonant moment, where you’re told something about yourself, and you don’t recognize the person being discussed AS yourself?

Permissions and Restrictions

I’m allowed to tiptoe out of the gate.

They don’t mind that.

It’s within the rules, you see.

What rules?

Oh, you know. The Rules.

Don’t dress too loud, or too flashy. It draws attention.

Don’t move too fast, or too well. It draws the eye.

Don’t be too loud. They might hear you.

Don’t feel too much. They would be uncomfortable.

Because it’s really all about them. And if they don’t have to see you, hear you, think about you… then they don’t really care.

It’s all about how you can steal moments that mean something, but within the cage.

It’s all about how you eventually make yourself so very small, that they forget you exist to the degree you once did. You’re simply what they’ve made you. What they need you to be – or not be. What use you have.

And eventually, they get distracted by some other shiny, loud, emotional thing.

And you can tiptoe quietly through the gate.

Into the light.

Into the air.

Into the sound of beautiful, terrible, wonderful things.

Where you can slowly unfurl and grow.

And they remember, that their mouse was once a giant dragon.

That is when you have to decide: do you let them coax and woo you, to win you back?

Or do you burn them?

So that they never try to shrink you down to nothing again.