Trying not to spaz about assignments

OOOokay, people, I drank 1.5 pots of houjicha earlier tonight, and so I am not certain when I will sleep. 😛 By “pot,” I mean that I brewed the first set of tea leaves twice, and the second set once, when it became apparent that I had leached all the goodness out of the first batch. (I’m kind of amazed at the fact that the tea will still steep, even without boiling water…I just sprinkled the new tea into a pot of hot water, stirred it, and it worked.)

Right now I’m feeling okay and a little drowsy (I have been known to fall asleep right after drinking Jasmine green tea…and houjicha will probably have less caffeine in a standard dose, as about half of it is stems), and just took medication, so…if everything goes as normal, I should be conking out around midnight. Meaning, I should brush my teeth in an hour or so (11:15 PM), before I get too wiped out to even do that.

I did just get out of the shower — not sure how long my hair will take to dry, but I usually go to bed with it damp, in these circumstances. One wash with a conditioning shampoo, mostly at the roots, and a comb-through with a detangling comb and no conditioner, this time. I think it will be alright — it doesn’t feel dehydrated (yet).

I only got up around 1:30 PM today; I just checked my records. This is why I was after the tea; I was having a hard time (again) staying out of bed. It doesn’t help that when I’m sitting at my desk, which is a quiet (silent) and isolated place to work, my bed is right behind me. As for what I got done today…I finished the reading in my textbook which I mentioned last time, although it took me a number of hours to get through it. It’s amazing, because the reading was only about 15 pages long…I think this is the book that I had been complaining about, before. It’s just very dense and kind of difficult.

In any case, I can now view the lectures for Metadata, and complete the last Discussion Topic…which I think I may need to do before viewing the lectures. I’ve made a skeletal PowerPoint layout for my presentation on Sunday for Research Methodologies. I should probably reserve a time to do that, so I’m not forced to do it early. I can’t do it right now, though, unfortunately. I don’t know why, except they assumed we knew how to edit HTML.

Last night, I started in on my Quiz for Cataloging…that one is going to be more of a pain to get through (lots of essay questions, which are easier on me than technical questions — but still), but it’s the last thing I’ll have to do for that class. If I get 0 points on everything I’m not sure about, I’ll get a C in the course (apparently, 80% is a C in grad school). And like I said, come Monday, all I’ll have to do is the Annotated Bibliography, and I’ll have a full week to do that (though I want to get it done by Friday).

I am just hoping to do as best I can on the Cataloging Quiz, but I don’t think I can hope for better than a B (or an A-, if I stretch my imagination). The Discussion Topic is last priority, though it’s easy. The presentation won’t break me if I don’t do well; but I need to do it. The major nervousness about it is that it has to do with altering infrastructure as a means of actually being inclusive (as versus pushing “diversity” initiatives), which I wouldn’t think the people in the organization I’m abstractly referencing would welcome.

I think I am running in a cycle of overwork + burnout; like I do a lot of work one day and then don’t want to see it again for three days. I know I don’t have much farther to go, and that these due dates are hard due dates (or so I’m assuming). It’s just that I’m really tired of this semester and am wearing out, about now, and want to get on to the break like NOW. Or yesterday, preferably. I’ll try and keep going through Monday, and maybe that’s all I should focus on, right now.

That sounds good. And I’ll look at work tomorrow as a designated and sanctioned time to get my mind off of this. Another time would happen as I’m editing my family member’s funeral pamphlet. Couldn’t forget about that…

And yes, I am trying to single-space my sentences. How observant of you to notice! 😉 (I don’t know if it shows up at all, really; I’m just trying to break outdated habits which only made sense on typewriters…)

Trying not to spaz about assignments

Wrapping up the end of the semester

As much as I dislike having to get into this at all, I do have a few more things due this semester.  I’m posting this here to remind myself of what I have to do, along with updating this blog somewhat, even if it isn’t art-related (I hate not being able to see progress, and having the same blog entry at the top of the page for days, doesn’t help).

I know that I have been making progress and doing things, but not being able to easily see what I’ve produced can get me into a relative funk.  What’s silly is that what I’ve been doing is likely more important than maintaining my blog.  :/

I did get back to the Career Counselor whom I had opened communication with.  This was a form of homework in itself, but what is nice about it is that all I had to do was ask, and I got help; and this is something that matters, so…not a bad deal?

And, as I mentioned before, I did turn in a paper (30% of my grade, unless I’m mistaken) and another 15-point assignment on Sunday.  I didn’t want to have to work on it, but it didn’t really matter, because I had to do it (or to at least try to do it) and that actually made it easier for me to push through it — and concentrate.

By the end of this Sunday, I will have to read about 15 pages in my textbook and answer a Discussion question.  This should be relatively easy, though I shouldn’t forget that I will want to view the lectures after having done the reading, and probably before answering the discussion topic.

On top of that, I have to give a 5-10 minute presentation on my paper topic, which probably won’t be too much of a big deal.  What I need to make sure to do is get my slide presentation put together, and the speech (or rather, the speech points) organized and practiced, before setting up.  The voice recorder on my computer should help.

Both those things, I’ll have to do before Monday.  Unless I’m mistaken, the quiz I’ve been working on should be due Monday.  After that is accomplished, the only other thing I will have due is a literature review, and I’ll have a full week after that to get 10-12 things read, reviewed, and turned in.  My family member’s funeral will be this week — I’m not betting on that going down smoothly, nor am I betting on being recovered by the Monday following.  Ideally, I’ll be done with everything and able to turn in my Lit Review on Friday, at the latest.  That’s two or more articles to read, per day.  Easy.

I know which chapter I’ll be investigating for that project, as well.  I’ve just got to find the articles — citations for a number of them, I have already.  I just need to actually locate them, which sounds like something brainless to do when I get tired of my other work.

And, right:  I will also need to back up my files to my portfolio — something I haven’t done because of not wanting to look up my syllabi (which is stupid; they’re in the covers of their respective folders).

This means that Sunday — the 21st — and forward, I should be able either to work on art, or take that long-awaited celebratory trip to the art store and pick up what I’ve been wanting to, for the past month or so.  And — or — I can try and sharpen my chisels on my aluminum-oxide waterstone…which I’ve never done before.  But I do have the waterstone, water, and chisels.  Nothing to lose, really.  (I have a sizeable burr on the edge of one of my woodcutting chisels, from high-school days when I was wedging out hardened plaster with the edge of the knife and ended up bending the steel’s cutting edge.  The burr may be too big for me to save the knife [will I ruin my waterstone?], but I should take a look at it, anyway.)

I should also…not count out going to an actual chisel shop.  I’ll know which one I’m referring to, when I see this post.

The positive thing is that I only have 5 hours of salaried work in between now and the time my quiz, discussion post, and presentation are due.  I know it seems big, like “AAAGH I’ve got to go in to work,” but it’s really not a lot of time, in the scheme of things.  (It’s barely over half a day.)  Especially not when you can stay up until 2 and 4 AM working on things.

I’ve also been offered more hours at the job, but considering that I’m not even particularly clear on when Summer Session starts, I’m not throwing myself into that, right now.  (Just checked:  I’ll have two weeks between the end of Finals and the start of Summer Session, which I’m assuming will be a 15-hour commitment, per week, on top of my now 11-hour commitment at my regular job.  That [26 hours] does leave a lot of free time, though.  Maybe I could take on four hours additional…)

The thing I do wish I had done more of?  I wish I had played around with the cataloging tools, more — particularly where it comes to RDA (Resource Description and Access, used in building bibliographic records).  I wasn’t betting on not being able to access them after the semester ended — there are tools available, but the one I just checked was institution-only, meaning that individuals can’t subscribe to use the databases.

I also had a fun time nerding out over art supplies with a couple of people, the other day.  🙂  That was nice, especially as I understand the perspective of one person in particular…

And I’m seeing that I have now stayed up over an hour into tomorrow…so I think I’ll sign off and get ready for bed; though because I haven’t taken any medication, I may still be up for another two hours.  It will be a good time to get some reading done, if I can’t sleep.

Wrapping up the end of the semester

Where do I want to be in five years? 10?

I wouldn’t be back here quite so soon, except that I had been considering the track of working within a Public Library, as versus on the Web…and realized that I should take a long-term approach when planning this stuff out.  I can see that the Digital Services path — the one I originally wanted to take — is something that will give me a foundation, at least, in tech work.

I won’t be ideally suited to be a Reference Librarian (though I am not sure any other part of me besides my idealistic and ethical [and somewhat lazy/comfortable — seriously, I can work elsewhere] self leans that way)…but I’m fairly certain that I do want to move on into Web Design and into Web Development, when I outgrow Web Design.

Salaries in Web Design are higher than in Graphic Design, but they still top out at ~$60,000/year.  It’s not that I would need a whole lot of money — except for the fact that I live in an area with a bizarrely high cost of living — because I’m single without children and don’t plan on children.  Health care is something else, though; retirement is something else; and there is the question of whether I’ll ever partner with someone.  If I won’t, I’ll need my own emergency cushion.  Web Development, on the other hand — as a next step after Web Design, has a higher salary range.  It’s something I wasn’t looking at when I was researching careers:  that is, branching off into a related career with higher top pay.

And given that, it’s kind of a mystery as to why I would stay in Library Science when I could just get a Graphic Arts degree and move on to an apprenticeship…though of course, that will be training to work for the person I would be if I did get the LIS degree with a specialty in anything digital.  And even if I fail the degree in LIS (there is a looming “e-Portfolio” which I’m not sure I am going to do too well at — here’s hoping I’m not too much of a minority for the ALA), that won’t necessarily matter in Design, if I have acquired skills while in the LIS program which others don’t have.  At least, that is, if it’s like Art:  where no one cares what degree you have, as long as you’re good.

So right now…I have a fall-back position that I just figured out.  If the MLIS program doesn’t work out (I presently fear being put on academic probation because of the Cataloging course, and then getting a B- next semester [which means I get kicked out and still have to pay back all of my debt]), I’m going to re-enter one of my past Community Colleges and work at the Graphic Arts program (it takes two years to complete this cycle).  If I use all of my resources, I may be exempt from the rule which says I can no longer utilize priority enrollment.

I will also want to move into a different job, part-time.  For the experience, for networking, and for higher pay.

Right now I can’t even think five years ahead, because I have an assignment due in a week which is worth 1/6 of my grade…and I’m rocking a C- right now (I checked today).

Yeah, I should get back to trying to catch up…(there is a saga to this that I don’t feel like re-relating, right now.)

…After, that is, I note that I shouldn’t let other people’s philosophies and issues keep me from doing something I may enjoy.  I didn’t continue on with Ceramics because some kid said it was “for old people.”  I didn’t continue on in Graphic Arts because I was told I “could do more.”  I didn’t go back into Graphic Arts because my Fine Arts teacher wanted us never to give into the aesthetics and desires of others in making our own work.  I continued on in Library School in part because a Librarian — and my family — and my counselor — wanted me to.

But none of that is about me, though I’ve internalized all of it.

Anyhow.  I should get back to work…

Where do I want to be in five years? 10?

Remembering why I’m in the LIS program

I’m being told to “do my homework,” or otherwise all my planning will be for naught…

Despite this, I am now aware that now is not quite the time to be doing homework (it is 10:45 PM, here), and going to work today reminded me of why I wanted to work in a library.  It was only a six-hour shift, but it was surprisingly pleasant — even with the babies occasionally crying.  😉  It was okay, she was really upset.  😦

I think that my vacation distanced me somewhat from the reason I’m in Library School (“LIS” = “Library & Information Science”) in the first place, and the realities of dealing with the workplace, as versus the curricula and the teachers (and the history and politics).  Knock on wood, I have been witness to very little trouble over at least the past six months — though this could be because I am now working only two days a week for 3/4 of a day, each.  (Given my workload this semester, I was overloaded at 18 hours a week of work and 30 hours a week of school.)

I am also seeing what the technical track looks like at my school, and am wondering if maybe it actually is going to be easier for me to deal with people face-to-face than online and on the phone (I don’t really envy the people trying to communicate through the phone).  I’ve been also doing some digging around job specifications…and I don’t think it has to be as hard as I’m making it.  I also don’t think that I should take “I don’t work well with people” as an axiom by which to live my life, as all that’s doing is limiting me and my choices.  Even if I do have autistic traits (not enough to be called “autistic,” though, I’ve heard) that doesn’t mean I have to define myself by what I think autism is.

My major qualm is losing motivation while I’m in school because of having an unclear and unresearched end goal.  Right now, the only places I’ve worked have been Public Libraries…which I know pretty well, and which I am getting acclimated to.  What I’ve found with the Metadata and Cataloging courses is that I probably don’t want to be a Cataloger…and maybe I don’t want to try this path again with Digital Services (i.e., try it and see if I like it:  what happens if I don’t?).  What I’ve found with my prior courses, particularly the Intellectual Freedom course and the Diversity course, is that I may very well be more aligned philosophically with the institution of Public Libraries than I thought.

In the absence of any clear better ideas…library work does seem suited to me. Maybe the variation in quality in regard to my experience of public service has more to do with that experience starting from ground zero (when I didn’t know how to set limits with people, and thus at times have had my boundaries overrun.  That is a much rarer occurrence, these days).

When the Clerk positions open up, I’m planning to get tested and hopefully get on the list to be considered for hiring, especially as I’m doing most of the job of a Library Clerk now, but am not being paid for it.  I asked my supervisor today to alert me when that happens, though I think I can get notified of this on my own.  I did this because I can recall having a dream where I was saying that I didn’t resent the work, so much as didn’t feel I was being compensated fairly for it.  (Yeah, I dream about work…when do I get a rest?  I don’t know…)

It is…pretty clear that the job I have now is preparing me to be a Library Clerk (which in turn can move up into a Library Assistant, though they are parallel paths with different skill sets and endpoints).  Clerks get paid a wage at which one may be able to support oneself; I, as an Aide, don’t.  It is the case, though, that I may not be able to take on the workload of a Clerk (I can probably do 20 hours a week, max.) while still in Library School.  But Library School should be over in two years.

I’m not certain about this — I have tonight plotted out a course which fits in everything I can take which is of the Public Library track — but I think that more Humanities/Social Science classes will be easier for me than the tech stuff, which I have wanted to do (before I started in on it and started getting some of the worst grades of my life).  Although I have wanted to do tech work, I’ve lost some confidence around that.  In particular, I find it stressing me in a different way than people-watching, stressed me.  In this case, I feel like there actually are right answers, and that derivation from that is easy to spot.  It’s also very possible that my mind does not work in a standard way, which doesn’t help me catalog in a standard way.

My program should also be built around Library service — as versus, say, Information Architecture, which they do give a specialization towards, but it’s the same class over and over again with different topics.  In contrast, the Public Library track is fairly diversified.

Once I can finally get my Driver’s License (I’m close, but not quite there yet), I will then be able to become a Library Assistant and drive around the county to fill vacancies (which is very much not what I want to be doing, but it is experience toward becoming a Librarian, and that means one step closer to financial independence).  The upshot of this is that I don’t have to work when I’m overloaded with classwork…although reading, papers, and oral presentations are things I can easily do.  Coding is something else.  It’s simple when you’ve got the framework down already…but I don’t know if I want something that simple, and the framework…well, it’s complex.

The higher jobs specific to the Library, oddly enough, also look easier than the Clerk jobs, and pay more (sometimes, much more).  I’ve realized as well that I don’t have to stay within this community, although the ones I’ve worked with have generally been pretty decent.  The surprise for me came with the prospect of working as a Librarian in Hawaii…which I believe would contain communities that I would in no way feel bad serving.

I’ve also gotten over a bit of the fear of people I had when I initially got this job…years of being treated decently (by surprise) will do that to a person, eh?

It’s now 11:30 here:  I should get some rest and try and work off this jet lag…

Remembering why I’m in the LIS program

Irritated with a wide array of things: brainstorming a fall-back position

I hope I have previously mentioned the question of what people normally do when they exit high school or earn their Bachelor’s degree.  I asked this of M recently and she said, “they just get a job.”  So as I’m dealing with school pressures in my ******* Master’s program, it would be good to keep in mind that I can, just, “get a job,” like the vast majority of people.

I’ve actually thought of at least one position — no, actually, three — which I can enter with the amount of education I have at present.  One is becoming a Clerk for an art supply store; the other two are becoming an Admin Assistant and becoming a Library Assistant.  The first two are more appealing than the last one, though that may be because I have a relatively clear idea of what LAs go through in a Public Library system.  Being an LA in an academic library, though, might not be quite as interpersonally difficult.  The problem in both these cases is that LAs cannot move up without a Master’s.

I could also try for an internship in a Publishing house, though I’m not entirely certain where my strengths lie, when it comes to that field.  Although my Creative Writing degree did prep me for work in Publishing, I got that degree 12 years ago and stopped writing fiction shortly after.

I could work for a bead store, though those are getting few and far between; or a craft or fabric store.  Or a ceramics supply outlet, or a jewelry supply store.  I could try working for an online outlet…though that is more of a vision for after I get out of the LIS program.

I also don’t think I’d mind taking care of inventory or being a stock clerk (I’m not sure this is the right title) for a place like Costco.  And, lingering from before, is the idea of working at a produce market.  Museum work is also something I’d be interested in, though I’m not sure what kind of job I can get there without a Master’s or a Bachelor’s in Art History.  I can, however, also intern there, and try and figure things out that way.

The reason I’m even thinking about this is because of my ******* Cataloging class, which may end up trashing my GPA (but Voc Rehab doesn’t want me to drop classes that they helped pay for).  The prof (this time!) didn’t send out an email alert that we were assigned a new module at the same time as we were working on the last test, so now I’m a week behind — even though Spring Break just ended.  (And I just want to say that I’m really, really irritated by this professor, and I have no idea why my school hires some of these people, except for name recognition [which obviously enough means jack when it comes to whether people can actually teach].)  I also have two assignments due by Sunday night, which I haven’t started on yet.  Intimidation.

On top of this, I just got back from vacation.  I’m not sure if anyone noticed the reduced posting frequency, but that happened for what I feel are relatively obvious reasons (although I thought of logging my trip daily and then just delaying the posts’ release, it’s something I didn’t do).  I still haven’t quite gotten back in sync with regular life, yet, either.  Today was a trip to the produce market (to replace the old produce in the refrigerator), which would have been very nice…except for the fact that I was unable to find several things there which I know have been there before, including wakame, a type of seaweed.  My family apparently threw out my stock because it was so old; although I’m not sure dried seaweed ever really goes bad.  However, I’m pretty sure that at least some of that stuff was from around the Fukushima Daiichi era, as I remember being concerned about radioactivity.

Cue trying a Japanese food market, and the vast majority of the seaweeds I saw there had CA Prop 65 Warnings on them.  This means that there are carcinogens which the seaweeds have taken up from the water:  the two I read which were specific noted, “lead and lead compounds,” and, “arsenic.”  Because I’m in California, companies are supposed to disclose whether there are known carcinogens in food items…something that I don’t think is true of Hawaii, which is where I have been for a while (eating this stuff, to be clear).

The reason why seaweeds are supposed to be good for one is that they pick up trace minerals from the water (along with iodine); but in polluted water, they also bioaccumulate (toxic) heavy metals (and potentially, radioactive iodine — though I saw no hint as to this, today; I’m not sure if there are people with Geiger Counters scanning things as they’re imported).

As much as I like seaweeds, this was enough to scare me away from the onigiri/musubi  (rice balls) and the norimaki (sushi), for lunch today.  I’m told that there should be locally sourced dried seaweed at the produce market, but it would not be with the Asian foods.  It’s something it looks like I’ll have to keep an eye out for, if I want to eat seaweed again.  I do wish I had the language skills to be able to determine the country or region of origin of some of these things…

So anyway, it’s probably apparent that I’m irritated at the Master’s program, pollution, Voc Rehab, and…not so apparent…that I am really kind of saddened by the urban growth and urban decay of Honolulu.  It’s like we find someplace nice on the planet and then ruin it by going to live there.  But then…we aren’t the first to abuse natural resources.  I was reminded of this by viewing the feather cloaks at the Bishop Museum…a topic so deep, and on which my knowledge is so partial, I’m not sure I want to get into it now.

I also want new job experience, but feel locked into my position at work.

I want to learn nihongo (Japanese language), I want to relearn how to throw and finish ceramics…have access to good fresh produce (which is scary in Hawaii from concern about parasites), and have access to good health care (including mental health care).  I have two of the four of those things.  While I can move on from my job, it’s beneficial when it comes to the goal of becoming a Librarian, to work in a library while going to Library School.

Thing is…I’m there for the money, benefits, and safety.  And community.  If I could find that elsewhere…

…well, maybe I’m unlikely to find all of that at once…but I feel myself to be a craftsperson, most naturally.  Problem is, it would seem that in the U.S., that is not a stable way to survive…

…although I did just remember something else I’ve wanted to do, which is work in Web Design — or at least use that as a starting point, and work upwards from there…

Irritated with a wide array of things: brainstorming a fall-back position

Self-care: needing to titrate off this med

Today has been interesting.  The biggest thing to note is that I was looking back over my blog the other night, and realized that I have been gaining weight from one of my meds for at least two years — actually, more likely, since I began using it.  This has been a steady gain of 1-1.5 lbs. every month to two months.  It doesn’t seem like much, but it isn’t something I want to continue if it is not a genetic or age-related issue.

I’m not entirely certain at the moment what my weight is, but I am fairly certain it isn’t optimal.  Recent events have clarified that 1) I can be healthy otherwise and still be gaining weight because of the medication, and 2) I don’t want to wait until I’m 190 lbs. or more before I get up the nerve to tell my doctor, “no,” to further treatment with this drug, and sidestep the argument that everything will be better if I “just exercise” (like the weight gain is because of me).  I have been exercising.  I’m still gaining weight.  This med does clear my mind, but I don’t entirely remember what my mind had to be clear for, in the first place.

Likely, though, it was related to certain life decisions (whether or not to go back to the LIS program, whether or not to physically transition to male), which are fairly obvious in my preferred answer, at this point.  That is, I should stay in Library School, even though I’m not 100% clear on exactly how I’ll use my degree; and also, I’m pretty certain I don’t want to transition to male.  Three years ago, I might have been — actually, likely was, considering it; but there’s a difference between admiration and mimicry.  I was also strongly considering dropping out of Library School because of social anxiety (even though it was online — one of my friends was seriously paranoid, and this was influencing me).

Right now, I’m pretty clear that ideally, I would be helping with the manufacture and hosting of websites.  I don’t know what that position (or vague interest) is called, at the moment, but I think that’s where I want to be.  Web Design is something that I am interested in; but I think this may be because I don’t know much more about employment in the information sector which goes beyond this.  In particular, I’m not too hot on the interaction with clients that I’ll have to undertake in Web Design, and I know that the job entails more than just “making things look pretty.”  It’s actually a service position.  (Speaking of which, I found a page which I remembered last night:  this is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, stating that 80% of jobs in the U.S. were service jobs, in 2014.  Staggering, isn’t it?)

I don’t have a background in Computer Science; however, I do have a strong background and interest in Arts, Information Access, and the Humanities.  Ideally, though:  I lean towards employment that keeps me out of the public eye and shields me from contact that is so direct that I can be physically harmed.  I’ve had to deal with so much hostility over the years that I think I’ve just been conditioned not to want to deal with people.  Online, it’s different…I’m not entirely sure why, however.

Ah, right:  I remember the major reason I started this medication.  It was because my anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication was sedating me to the point that it was difficult to avoid sleeping during the daytime.  The solution seems to be to lower the dosage of that drug…not to add a stimulating drug to counteract its effects (and add the effect of steadily putting on weight).

I have a couple of ways to avoid going to bed now:

  1. When I get tired during the daytime, I should go exercise, rather than go to sleep.  This wakes me up and makes it so that I don’t want to sleep, after working out.
  2. Caffeine, in the form of green or oolong tea, does seriously help.  Things like cola are something to avoid (they cause bizarre dreams when I do sleep), but green and oolong tea, I can handle.  Chocolate is also useful in Finals, or high-stress periods where it comes to schoolwork.  Because I’m on the sedating medication, as well, the caffeine does not prevent me from falling asleep.
  3. When I want to go to sleep just because I don’t want to do my homework, it is preferable to give myself permission to do something non-school-related (INCLUDING PRODUCE SHOPPING), as versus thinking that the only thing permissible to do besides work or schoolwork is sleeping, eating, hygiene, or chores.
  4. And, I almost forgot.  When my mind gets blank and I can’t think, it is okay to go and exercise (or eat and get some fluids if I reasonably need to), instead of doing homework.
  5. Given the above, I should note that I’m not immune to blood-sugar lows or crashes just because I’m at home; and this may be the reason I feel blank.  It’s OK to eat fruit when I feel this way, and apparently it is likely OK to eat as much fruit as I need to, as there is a lot of bulk to sate my hunger, and gentle sugars to feed my neural system.
  6. On top of that, I probably don’t want to put up any rules against drinking pure teas, as they don’t have calories, they do have stimulants and antioxidants, and it’s much better than drinking soda or juice (unless I really need the sugar).
  7. Also, I will probably want to go back on vitamins.  I have some mild B-Complex (I didn’t buy them), but I’ll probably want to get the megadose type…because what we have is for someone who doesn’t have mood issues.  I can use up most of a megadose, so getting a piddly “100% RDA” isn’t ****.

(yes, I did bleep myself again.)

I’ve got to go for now, but I wanted to note this decision.  I’ve got to take care of it this week.

Self-care: needing to titrate off this med

Trigger warning: mention of past (not present) suicidality

I thought that now would be a good time for me to explore, philosophically and spiritually, at least, barriers toward utilizing the skill I have, artistically.  As many of you know, I’m currently in a Master’s program in Library Science which enables me to use the analytic, text- and logic-driven side of my mind; but this is largely because I am not sure that something like Graphic Design is my best bet, when it comes to choice of occupation.

Behind that, lies a complex web of inhibitions, motivations, and just general lack of understanding as to why I have the abilities I do and what my responsibilities are as a wielder of my skills.  (That, and:  Graphic Design and Web Design don’t pay as much as I’d like, and as a person with a disability, I need a stable job both for health benefits and to give me the structure I internally lack.)

In comparison to this, Library work…does partake of the same ethics and values, but also…would seem to drastically reduce my options.  At this point, I find myself wondering whether my ethics and values — the ones relating to money and economics, primarily, but also relating to social-conservative norms which I fear being judged by — are unduly limiting me from work I might actually enjoy.  The reason I began to question this was, oddly enough, considering going into business, and realizing that if I might consider doing it for myself, maybe not all private businesses are as evil as I have seen them characterized.

I’ve made some notes to myself here which I’ll be referring back to regularly over the course of this writing:  chances are that I’ll delete them before I post this, but I need something to remind me of what I actually wanted to write about.

In any case, I do have a good sense of aesthetics, apparently.  I can draw, I can work in three dimensions with things like ceramics and metal; I am beginning to see that I can paint, as my drawing works its way out into the desire to use large blocks and swaths of mixable color, in addition to the freedom of markmaking enabled by multiple brushes (as versus the small points of contact, relatively limited color blendability, and graininess I experience with things like colored pencils or crayons).  I haven’t gotten deeply into painting yet, however…and I’m not entirely sure what’s behind it.  I think it may be the deeper question of “what to paint?” or, “why paint?”  It does require some funds to start with, to be sure:  but I have a good deal of this material and equipment already.

Maybe I need to go back to drawing:  something that can be smaller, more contained, and more structured; and then when it feels appropriate, move into larger format and color work.

Maybe the problem is found more along the lines of not knowing why I’m doing what I’m doing.  This is the same thing which stopped me from weight training to the point of appearing to be a lightweight bodybuilder…I asked myself why I was doing it.  I actually still don’t know why I like to be buff; I just do.

But this question, on both counts, didn’t bother me for years — then, maybe, I got…sentient?

I was able to reflect on why I was doing what I was doing, but I wasn’t able to answer the question, either through lack of sufficient information, or through lack of processing capability.  I would lean against the latter, except for the fact that, looking back upon myself in my twenties, I realize in my mid-thirties that I had substantial cognitive impairments on top of my other troubles, which I was unaware of until about ten years into treatment.

And yes, it is possible that I’m attracted to art because neurodiversity is not looked down upon in the field.  As, with Librarianship, being female is not looked down upon (by one’s peers, at least).  I’ve tried to strategically orient myself towards places where I won’t have to worry about certain of my most vulnerable statuses.

As well:  art, writing, and librarianship are all spaces which (ideally, at least) value, and to some degree depend upon, freedom of expression.  This is important to me for more than one reason.  Having run across some people who are more militarily Leftist than myself, I can see that it actually is important to be able to speak one’s mind without fear of emotional or physical or economic harm befalling oneself just because one dared to speak something someone else didn’t agree with.  (This maxim is not true of all Leftist enclaves.)

However, there is a difference between saying something someone else doesn’t like, and encouraging prejudice and harm towards members of groups which one (usually) does not belong to, or from which one separates oneself.  This is called hate speech; which, in my opinion, does not deserve a platform in an egalitarian, democratic society, or in a society which aspires to the same.  But that’s my opinion.  You don’t have to agree with me.  Nor am I speaking from a position of authority because of my professional aspirations.  I’m just speaking as a human.

In any case…

I started learning to draw at about 14 years of age.  Why?  I can no longer remember, but I know it had to do with art books coming out of Japan, in relation to manga and anime.  I probably just thought it was “cool,” (whatever that means?) and wanted to do it, too.  I probably didn’t think in-depth about it, at the time, though now I know that my motivations probably related:

  1. to pride in cultural heritage;
  2. to being awed by work which came out of a society different than my own; and,
  3. to an acknowledgment of gender variation, at the time, condemned in my own society.

On top of this was my first exposure to a language very different from English, which to me was fascinating, both in its beauty and encoding.

It became apparent that I was picking up skills in drawing fairly quickly, and I was encouraged on in this, whenever I created something which advanced visibly from my last work.

For a fourteen-year-old, this is great; but what it does is lay a foundation for future work.  It’s hard to continue on in fourteen-year-old mode, indefinitely — at least in my case, I eventually stopped growing, and became bored.  This is when I stopped drawing.  Sometime later — recorded on this blog, in fact — I became re-interested in creating a graphic novel (see the link there between sequential art initially inspiring my own work, and it coming up again so many years post-graduation with my Creative Writing degree?), but I didn’t know if I even still liked to draw.

I am leaving out some information here, I just realized:  I had tried to create sequential art (that is, a comic) as a youth, including many pages (multiple pads) of artwork.  This eventually led me to start working with word-processing, as I could write by hand faster than I could draw, but I could type faster than I could write by hand — and at the time, I was having racing thoughts (though I didn’t recognize them as such).

I’m fairly certain that my obsession over my first “novel” project was what encouraged me to learn to touch-type, and to gain in speed at it.  At this point, if I already have the content written out, I can type around 74 words per minute — if I’m recalling right.  Of course, though, word-processing from handwritten copy doesn’t happen that often:  more often, my written work is born-digital, though I have been seeing the benefits of working in hard copy, recently.

But even this:  this doesn’t carry the same weight for me that my artistic and aesthetic skills, do.  I don’t look at my wpm speed and say, “wow, I really have a gift with my typing speed, and because of my speed and accuracy which comes from an unknown source, I have a responsibility to use my gift for the betterment of the world.”  It’s just not mystified in the sense that my skill at art, is.

Maybe it’s because I don’t understand how or why I even have any skill at art.

And, I mean, I know it isn’t rational…I’m very aware of that.  But parts of human life, aren’t rational; and that doesn’t mean that the irrational is worthless.  It just means that it doesn’t make sense, and the more we can acknowledge that it doesn’t make sense and that it still has some kind of value (because we are not wholly rational beings to begin with, nor do we ever have enough information to draw satisfactory conclusions about anything)…it seems we would make some headway, then.  (The problems seem to come in when one group’s irrational value system overpowers another’s, in lack of individual consent…but that’s politics.)

Of course, it probably doesn’t help that in my last severe bout of illness, I gave myself a life position of “Creator” (I had been reading Nietzsche…probably anyone who has read Nietzsche knows what I’m talking about) in order to give some meaning and direction to my life, and that to the end of keeping myself alive.

I haven’t always kept a record of my bouts, so I really can’t remember how many I’ve had, or at what time in my life they struck.  What I do know is that I’m lucky not to have ever given in to the urge to end my own life.  Up against the wall like that, I can utilize my creativity to invent reasons to survive, even if they don’t make sense…and I don’t think any person who would matter to me would think less of me for it.

This “job position” was taken up in light of the fact that at the time, I was in a very spiritual mindset.  My problem is that I can get so far into the spirituality that I lose contact with this world, and any desire to keep going, in this world.  Over the years, I’ve had at least several…I suppose they can best be called “muses”.

This set of circumstances — particularly, living at times on the edge of death, and also perceiving beings around me who are trying to help me and keep me alive — lends an ethereal flavor to my work, both in writing and in art.  I don’t suggest anyone try this method of inspiration — it’s too dangerous to keep up when you don’t know what you’re doing (I have 20 years of outside assistance, from multiple sources, helping me keep a foot in this world).  And then, there is the fact that when this is the way you have worked, it can be more difficult to write, or draw, or create, when you’re in a period of relative health.

I’ve heard that my position is not an unusual one to be in:  that is, it’s common for people who have my illness and who are on medications like mine, to lose contact with their creativity while medicated.  (I don’t think this was a side effect I was warned about, either.)  However, I can do things now — particularly, where it comes to functioning in the world — which were more difficult for me previously.  In light of this, it’s hard to think of going back off of the medications to regain the other kind of easy functionality I had, where it comes to creativity.

So we have a set of circumstances, as such:

  • I have artistic skills (that is, I’m apparently “gifted”)
  • I want to utilize my artistic skills (my “gift”)
    • in order to give myself a reason to survive
  • I have created a requirement for myself to utilize my artistic skills for “good,” in light of the spiritual nature I have encountered them within
  • This narrows the acceptable range of expression I can perform
  • (Which runs against the idea of freedom of expression)
  • Therefore I become blocked
    • because of my self-requirement of creating “good”
    • when neither the world nor experience are all good
  • And I wonder if this requirement is a cop-out because I’m scared to utilize my skills because I don’t understand them, they show up most vibrantly when I am ill, and they become severely more important when I am closer to death.

I could utilize my skills for something like Industrial Design or Graphic Design, but putting money first goes against my ethics.

I could utilize my skills to produce Fine Jewelry, but the gold industry is particularly harmful to the Earth.

I could illustrate graphic novels, but I fear the emotional depths I would need to tap as an illustrator of drama.

I could write novels, but I fear tapping what is inside me right now (I do not control it, and I have had a longstanding question as to whether what is in there actually is “good,” when I want to put out “good” — an issue that I haven’t seen many others face).

What is “good?”  A question for another time, perhaps?

A…good…question for another time…

Trigger warning: mention of past (not present) suicidality