I’m almost too tired to say anything, at this point: but I wanted to make a note to my future self. Future Self, don’t be scared of getting out of bed. Do rewatch and reread as all the videos and lectures you need to, as many times as you need to, for the Programming class. It shouldn’t take more than four hours.



Death, and sussing out evidence of Soul

Earlier, I began to read back through my “Blog — Roughs, Notes,” notebook. The sentiments I expressed in my last post are also recorded there, from almost exactly six months ago: January 13, 2018.

Some of the sentiments I also expressed in finding self-definition when immersed in a multicultural, pluralist society, is in the same set of notes. The series exploring this is named Cultural Location and Creative Context. The preceding link will send you to Part 3; Parts 1 and 2 are linked at the very end of that document.

I was getting excited; I forgot that 2018 is this year, so I thought I’d stumbled upon evidence from at least one year ago. No, it just feels like it was one year ago.

There’s something about time that’s unnerving. Yes, growth happens, but people (including myself) also age and pass on. When your social circle is largely family, that can be a scary thing (not to mention when you are without solid, “knowledge,” of; or, “faith,” in; what happens after death). I’ve been trying to spend as much time with people I especially love, as I can; because I know it’s limited.

At the same time, I’m supposed to be trying to become more independent. School is part of that, as is work. As is driving, for that matter, and cooking.

Just…sometimes, I lack energy, and it’s hard to actually…well, do things. I think the motivation is there, but fear and anxiety (and then, melancholy) also take hold sometimes and won’t let me move forward. Today was one of those days.

What I seem to have been doing, most recently, is inventorying myself — making notes as to where I am, mentally. Because some of this stuff doesn’t change, even if I want it to. The obvious thing for me to do about that at this point is to write it all down so that I can see who I am, as versus who I want to be, or who I think I should be.

The “psychic” aspect of my personal mythology* has come up again since I restarted creative writing. I’m thinking that the concept of, “time,” is kind of messing with me, though it’s also possible it’s one or another kind of intrusive thought: just the idea of the physical, being all there is.

(And no, I haven’t yet broken into my Sartre anthology, but I’m a bit struck by how he only lived 36 years. That’s as old as I am, now.)

I think that if I didn’t know better, I’d call it a type of demon. But there are things that look like, “demons,” which aren’t, and things that are demons that don’t at first appear to be (or which try to hide their status).

I’m not particularly talking about, “fallen angels.” I’m talking about things that screw up one’s psyche and life in a negative fashion. They do certain things like implant the idea that if you’re creative, people will attack you for it. Because creating is a holy act, and something dangerous to them.

If I’m being honest with myself and with you; the idea of death, out of balance, I do consider rather demonic, in a won’t let you go, haunting type of way. And I suppose…if I learned anything from Tarot (I didn’t learn all that much; the system’s mindset is — or was — kind of alien to me), it’s that each element can be either in balance or out of balance. It’s not death — or change — that is bad, it’s that my relation to it is not correct.

It could be that I’ve opened a gate by being honest with myself. Over the past week, I’ve told people about the, “psychic,” thing twice — although I wasn’t particularly looking for belief in or support of that, I’ve gotten it (to my surprise) both times. It’s just a given that in a certain part of my life, I did believe I was psychic, and in accepting that, had phenomena happen that would not have happened if I had cut the idea off at the knees and refused to entertain it.

So now I’m just dealing with sudden mental images of bodily decomposition. Are they random? I’m not sure. Where are they sourced from? Don’t know. But I do know that I probably shouldn’t worry about or focus on them, if I have a choice about it. One thing about spirits is that I haven’t known them to be entirely that tenacious.

What’s going on is called, “thought insertion,” in psychology — where some thought arises seemingly out of nowhere, and it feels like it comes from outside of you: that is, it is “ego-dystonic.” I’m not sure if being negatively emotionally disturbed by it is a criteria. But writing creatively does open a gate in my mind (a number of issues [discoveries?] arose after To a Spirit, meaning that it’s likely I started processing some unfinished business [or current business] by writing it), so it’s not unusual that something like this should arise.

That’s just what happens when I tune into my intuition.

And…the cost, for me, of tuning into my intuition is that if I talk about it everywhere, I’m just going to look a bit crazy. But I’ve been a bit crazy for a long time. 🙂 For the sake of employment, I’ve been trying to push it down and stop the thought experiments…but if it’s a core part of my identity, maybe I shouldn’t do that. Then I have a couple of choices:

  1. Speak about it with discretion, or
  2. Don’t worry about the opinions of others

Of course, if I go back to an identity as a creative writer, we’re kind of known for being a bit eccentric, anyway.

And what could I do, if I opened those gates?

*What I mean when I speak about “personal mythology” is stories we tell ourselves about ourselves in order to make sense of our lives. They may or may not be true, but often it is difficult or impossible to change or eradicate these core beliefs, even if we know they are not accurate to reality.

Worked on Folkwear #112 some more.

At this point, I am wondering if I should have taken a Digital Libraries class over the Summer as well as Fundamentals of Programming, which is straightforward enough to leave me a lot of time. Which …I should be using to develop my portfolio.

Today…I could really feel that I had taken medication way too late, last night. I wasn’t really up and active until after 2 PM, but that’s because (for those new to this blog) my medication is sedating and I took it at least three hours late. Sometimes it will knock me out until around 5 PM the next day if I take it at 1 or 2 AM. (For some reason, it affects me for around 17 hours when it’s late, less than that when on time. I think it has to do with Circadian rhythms.)

The good thing is that, due to tracking when I actually do take it, I’ve realized what happens when I try to stay awake by not taking it. If I don’t have anything I have to do the next day (like a class meeting or work), that day is often wasted asleep. Which…then, causes me to want to stay up and again delay taking the medication (if I’m finally awake at 5 PM, I hate to re-take that stuff four hours later and get knocked out again in an hour and a half). Which causes the next day to also be a wash.

Kind of a vicious cycle. On the bright side, when I take the stuff at 9 PM, immediately get ready for bed, and go to sleep when I’m tired, I end up waking at like 5-6 AM…so the loss of having a day only 5.5 hours long is basically…better than the alternative. And I guess I have a tendency to wake up earlier, too, though I can’t really predict that.

Having to do that is one of those things that will make me feel disabled for real, though.

I did see someone today I hadn’t seen in a long time, though I wasn’t up for talking, much (unfortunately). In lieu of working with the new leather project (on which I’m basically still in the design stages), I opted to go back to the trial garment (or toile) from the Folkwear 112 pattern (monpe). I did get a good amount of work done, though at this point I’m questioning why I’m doing all this by hand when we have a sewing machine.

Of course, in the finished garment, I would be using backstitch for my seams, not a running stitch. Backstitch is actually more satisfying for me to do, but I don’t really know why, except for the fact that it actually takes advantage of the fact that I’m hand-stitching. It could also be superior in a way to machine-stitching, in that it’s more elastic.

I’ve also realized that I was premature in cutting down my pattern pieces: one step of the pattern (the one I’m on) says to take different seam allowances for the different sizes — AFTER having cut out different size pattern pieces.

Since I’m sizing this up to a 16, I’ve had to go beyond what the pattern has written (if the instructions are accurate)…and now have no room for a seam allowance on the outsides of the legs. Even though I already added 0.5″ to the edges of the pattern pieces (which stop at Size 14 — I have the old version of the pattern). That adds a total of 1″ in diameter. The seaming instructions would add another 1″ in diameter, making an additional 2″ in diameter, total.

I do have one option, since this is just a toile, which is to just whipstitch the edges of the fabric together (or something), then try the thing on and see if it fits. The only reason for me to be making a toile is to learn what is being asked of me and to fit the garment, that is. It doesn’t have to look nice. Or last.

Speaking of which, I found that a certain stitch I was using on a patch pocket in lieu of machine topstitch only works to catch the edges of the fabric (I can’t remember the name of the stitch right now, and am too tired to look it up: the needle travels for about 1/8″ in a fold and then catches a few threads on the other piece of fabric, then goes back into the fold for another 1/8″). I would need to work back around the edge of the pocket with something more secure, even if it’s embroidery. Otherwise, that pocket is not going to stand up to use, as it’s being held in by tiny stitches.

That same stitch, though, is fine for things that aren’t going to be stressed (like the hem at the top of the pocket).

Also, somehow, I messed up one of my shoulders. I don’t know exactly how that happened, but I have been typing in some weird positions lately, causing pains in places I’ve never had them before. (I thought I might have had appendicitis, yesterday, but the pain isn’t here today. The day before yesterday, the small of my back hurt on the other side of my spinal column.)

I also helped unpack bins at work yesterday. That could have something to do with it (it’s possible that this activity has injured others). But I was also doing a lot with that arm, including lifting and holding heavy stacks of books, which could also be the cause. It just feels like before, when I lifted something heavy and then turned my elbow outwards, and then at certain angles, it felt like my arm would fall off.

Speaking of injury, I’m also getting good enough at hand stitching that I only hit my left thumbnail twice with the needle today. Unfortunately, one of those times was enough to split off the upper layers, but I’m still mostly intact! Without the thimble!

And…I think my brain just stopped working…

Anthropomorphizing plants :)

Imagine my surprise when I open Photoshop to observe its functionality, and see that Photoshop itself has updated. The other night I mentioned that it was on the fritz, and now there are at least three updates which could have been the issue.

What I can say is that I’ve stopped using Photoshop, and am now using a different image editor. It helps…to have options.

In any case, I now have images of my new babies. 😉

Baby succulents in three-inch-diameter terracotta pots
Baby succulents in 3″ terracotta pots

I might just get addicted to these things. They came in little 2″ pots, and I moved them to 3″ pots, today.

They’re really cute. The succulents themselves were $3.50 each at a really nice nursery in my old neighborhood. I believe the pots were $0.89 each, because I got the inexpensive ones (I’m not betting these little ones will stay this little forever). The saucer wasn’t too much, either. The sand was a bit expensive ($5 for a small bag), but I like the way it looks; and as for the cactus potting soil, I don’t know how much that was.

For some reason I see these little things and — I am not a type of person to go around calling things “sweethearts,” but these are sweet little things! 🙂 (little plants and birds, I have a soft spot for, and can gush over with baby talk!)

A blue-green spiky rosette with a frond coming out of it!
Another repotted 2″ succulent baby.

The one to my left, I put in a 4″ pot, because it is trying to spread and establish a runner. I actually got it for this reason…there were others of similar size and shape, but this one was the one which had the most ambition. 😉

It was also on the edge of being root-bound, when I took it out of its pot. This could have been the reason it was sending out a runner.

I accidentally had to repot it twice, as well, because I didn’t know what I was doing the first time and tried to shake the dirt and sand out from between the leaves…and dumped out the plant before the dirt and sand came out! D:

Well. You live and you learn. I have a tendency to anthropomorphize my plants, too, and apologized to this one when I accidentally caused it to fall out the pot. (I don’t think I could not apologize to it…)

I also am really sensitive to the fact that the plants, if they are aware, have no idea what is going on or why the ground is shaking or why the sun is moving around at different angles or it gets hot and suddenly cooler (this all happens on the ride home)…

It also helps that these ones were stronger than the ones I started out with, from Home Depot (sometimes the leaves get really fragile and break off at the touch, especially if the plant is overwatered or otherwise stressed).

The other plant I got is this one:

Miniature Umbrella Plant
Mini Umbrella Plant. It was in a 4″ pot, and I think it’s now in a 5″ one.

I am not entirely certain why it is that I am drawn to some plants and not others, but I know that when I am at the nurseries, I’m paying attention to which plants I seem to have an energetic affinity, for. That is, if I pick up a plant and it seems off-put by me, I put it back. So…this means that the little ones I get are kind of like my friends.

(I know I’m weird and miniature plants may be like my version of collecting kittens instead of [human] friends…the thing is, I can care for a plant without pressure to talk to it. But that frees me talk to it more!

(And yes, I have just remembered that I’ve been cooing over and cuddling a kitten in a certain span of dreams…)

Right now I’m into small things, too. I’m still uncertain as to when and how to trim my 5-Finger Maidenhair Fern. It’s in the shower room, where it likes to be; the issue is that sometimes I forget it’s in there, and it dries out from exposure to the heating vent. It isn’t an issue so much now that it is no longer Winter and the soil doesn’t get bone-dry over two days…but there’s still damage.

The dead foliage seems to strike sporadically, though. Like there will be green leaves, then brown leaves, then green leaves again, on the same stem. Because the sections with brown leaves are fragile, I’ve had to remove some just because of testing them for structural stability (whereas the green-leafed areas were not as brittle). Of course, now it looks pretty much worse.

I’m not sure if I should trim the entire stem back, and wait for new shoots. I know those guys are sensitive to being repotted, too, but to be honest I don’t know how crowded the pot is, because I never repotted it after bringing it home (it seemed fragile enough, as it was). Maybe I should think about trimming and repotting it. I should be able to find information on how to do so safely, online.

Yeah, and…I’ll put some remarks on quilting, in a separate post.

Surprise! Accidentally falling asleep.

I’m not entirely sure what happened — I lay down a little after 6 PM last night and slept all the way through to 4 AM this morning, despite being woken twice. I did have an assignment due that I was at least going to attempt to accomplish, but it obviously didn’t get done.

Right now I need to finish normalizing a database, as I had realized the night before that I had inadvertently missed a step for at least one of our tables. As this is the component I’m working on…I should try and attempt it.

I’m sure you can tell that I’m still tired, which is mostly due to having taken medication about 10 hours ago (at 4 AM), and likely because I didn’t get up to be active at 4 AM, but instead went back to bed until 11-something AM.

I also have a cramp starting in part of my lower back (I spent too long in bed)…and a lot of stuff to do, today. Which I don’t want to do. But.

It’s kind of hard for me to put everything into words, right now, so I’ll try and stop staring at the screen, and try to do something useful.

(Preliminary) reasons to write

I just got back from a library more useful than the one I work at 😉 (I forgot how nice that library is), and am going to take a quick break here to note down some things I found last night, when writing.

I took about 20 minutes last night to begin writing out the narrative of the story I’ve mentioned recently. I’m actually feeling very good about it, and about having taken some time last night, to read in Drawing Words and Writing Pictures. It’s been a long time since I’ve dealt in fiction, but the value of it came to me when I was trying to fall asleep.

Fiction allows one to try out being different people and making different life decisions than the ones one has made, or possibly might make. It allows one to look at life from multiple perspectives, without necessarily validating one over the other (though to be honest, I don’t particularly strive for objectivity in my fiction!).

One of the things which has stopped me from reading fiction in the past has been the sense that some authors (particularly in the Classics) wrote for the reason of reinforcing and validating their own worldviews. I’m not sure anymore that this is the case; as I’ve mentioned before, my memories of my young adulthood are distorted by untreated illness affecting my cognition, and as such, they’re unreliable.

This is kind of a difficult truism to combat, though. If one believes it, it may prevent them from reading fiction at all, and from writing it as well. If one doesn’t read any more narrative after that, one just continues to hold the belief while the world around one moves on. It might not even help if one tries to get out of it by reading creative prose; often, we see what we are looking for, particularly when there is no one “right” interpretation of a text.

It’s generally accepted that in literary arts, as in fine arts, there is no one “right” or “correct” interpretation, by the way…because not even the author can know such a thing. There’s just too much subconscious and unconscious content for this to be true, and often the interpretation of a text has as much or more to do with the reader than it has to do with the writer.

In order for multiple divergent readings to be possible, we have to grant that the work stands on its own (that is, in fiction, we don’t judge the author for what they have written, even if we do judge the work itself) and that not one reading is “right.”

Hmm. Maybe that’s where I get my philosophical relativism from.

I also at times have felt a bit of…trepidation at letting the reader inside of my head, because I’ve attempted literary analysis on my own work before, and in the past it hasn’t been pretty. (Don’t do that, by the way. Especially not if you’re concurrently dealing with mental illness and cognitive distortion, as I was.)

What I have found is that taking time out to write enhances my productivity, rather than reducing it, as I had assumed. It takes time to write, but then it also helps when you come to things with a fresh mind, not burdened by unexpressed ideas. (Unexpressed ideas can turn into unexpressed obsessions, which is where writing serves well as a method of exorcism. Once you write it down, you can stop repeating it to yourself in an attempt to remember it.)

The problem with unexpressed ideas, as well, is that before they’re put into a format where they become objects, it’s difficult to manipulate them and see the deeper meanings behind them. Whereas, I know as a writer that when I encode things into English (as my first language), I start making connections and realizing ideas that I didn’t know were there.

And these two reasons can be enough reason for me to write, for now. I’m sure more (real) reasons to write will arise as I actually get back into fiction writing.

In any case, last night I didn’t get a lot written, so far as length was concerned — I was writing (legibly) by hand in a small sketchbook, which reduces my writing speed significantly. In turn, that makes me think about my phrasing (not to mention the art of handwriting), more.

I did, however, begin to lay the foundation for a larger story…and I was surprised at how much was already there, going unexpressed. It might actually turn into a novella (or alternately, graphic novel series).

In addition, I was immediately able to see opportunities to expand on what I had begun. This is where my degree in Creative Writing actually helps!

I guess it’s nice to feel multi-talented. 🙂 Or that my undergraduate degree is actually useful for something.

I think that’s about enough time spent, here. Of course, there’s always more to say, but I will post it when it’s ready to come out. 🙂

Sleep dysfunction?

Alright, I was up until about 2:30 AM Sunday morning…and slept almost all the way through the daylight hours, yesterday (it is now early Monday morning, here). I’ve got to remember not to do that again. The major issue, on top of staying up so late, was taking (sedating) medication so late, as well. In light of that, I’ve just taken it for tonight, which will hopefully not knock me out until 5 PM.

Yesterday’s post, I now realize, was full of relief: I had planned to stay up late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, doing the aforementioned group assignment in preparation for a meeting, later Sunday morning. I had essentially given up hope of being able to complete it on time, meaning being resigned to getting a B or C in this class. However, I wasn’t the only one having problems.

Now the deadline is Thursday night, and since I basically squandered most of my working time today (in what I believe was stress-related comfort hiding/sleeping: it’s a pattern), that means I’m going to have to do what I can online tomorrow, and then hit the library on Tuesday. Wednesday I work, Thursday is the meeting.

And this is on top of all my other assignments.

I’m kind of ticked at myself for not looking at my other group assignment, which will be due at an inopportune time: I could have started my part anytime earlier this week (after having completed my individual exercise which prepared me for it), but I didn’t. I’m still a bit upset at myself for having been as non-helpful as I was, in the last phase of the same group assignment. The issue was having been so far behind that what we were doing (and why) was almost indecipherable to me. And if I had tried to help, it likely would have been more like unintentional sabotage.

Don’t believe the Professor when he tells you that you don’t have to do the reading!

At least, though, I only have to worry about three classes, now. I went over what is coming due, but I haven’t noted it down in my Bullet Journal, yet. It’s just overwhelming.

There is some other stuff going on, as well; in fact, more than one major thing. I think what I’m going to have to do is try and just find some way to stay out of bed, tomorrow (even if it means doing something fun or necessary, instead of homework). And I’m going to have to set limits on time spent in social situations, even if they’re obligatory. I hate to look like a bookworm (or alternately, computer nerd), but right now I have obligations in a Master’s program, and I’m in an Honors society, and I would like not to get kicked out within the year.

Like I said, there’s more to this that I’m not saying. Responsibilities, family, adulting…it gets deeper, but that’s not my story to tell.

And I think now would be a good time for me to get some “rest”…or at least, stop thinking of things to do. I’ve done what I can for tonight, and it would be kinda dysfunctional for me to stay up until 5 AM working, just because I got out of bed around 7 PM and am feeling guilty. It actually might trigger relapse symptoms, as well, so…yeah, I should at least try and get some sleep…