Distracting myself from the anxiety.

I have work to do, but I also need to get my mind off of school, for a bit. And yes, I am only several days into the semester, so maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. But I’ve realized that I will have to develop about two or more sections of my ePortfolio every week, if I want to get done in eight weeks.

It is work, though. Not kidding.

I should probably set up some times to work on this stuff, and just make it like a job.


Aside from that…there’s a lot I could do (besides going back to bed, which is a typical temptation when my anxiety is up like this). The major thing…is laundry, but that is probably not as pressing as I feel it is. I did take a shower, which I’ve needed since yesterday (and didn’t want to do, then).

I’m not sure what to do. I just know what I don’t want to do. Which is, basically, anything that matters…and I’m not entirely sure, why.

I’ve found that reading can alleviate my anxiety when I feel like this. It doesn’t mean I really want that right now, though.

So much of what I’ve been doing and what I have to do, depends on electronics and reading and writing. It doesn’t help that there’s actual life that interferes. There has been a lot going on, not all of it planned. Most of it unplanned, let’s say; and some of it, urgent.

Like the refrigerator suddenly not working: it’s now replaced, but not having one has been a major disturbance for the last week. And the dystonia thing, which prompted an urgent doctor’s visit. And there’s Hurricane Lane affecting Hawaii, which impacts family. Then it’s rather obvious that classes just started up again (though that could have been planned for), and family visitations (which also could have been planned for). Plus sleep disturbances.

The thing is that with myself now being technically disabled, I’m not sure anymore what my capacity for work actually is. Not to mention that this is the culmination of my Master’s program, and Master’s level work is more difficult than both upper-division undergraduate, and community college, work.

On the other hand, it’s not difficult work once I actually start to do it. The major issue I’m having now is probably being psyched out. And having my instructions scattered in so many directions that it’s difficult to know what I’m doing. I did just find my printouts, though…and my notebook.

And I suppose the upshot to getting my ePortfolio work done is that I then don’t have to deal with it, anymore. Like, ever.

The major thing I don’t want to do is read back through my archives…or write to a format. It’s tiring. But, I can do it.

I think that’s long enough, for this entry. I’m not sure whether to work on my ePortfolio now, or do something that has nothing to do with reading, writing, or research.

And I think I’ll just get my hair trimmed and straightened, for now. No reason to stress myself out with a drastic hair change, on top of this…

I should also hold off on the Japanese language review. It’s too much energy to expend, that can wait for 14 weeks.

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It’s hard to believe I’ve just been through another Monday.

I haven’t been doing so great at taking care of myself. I actually haven’t started embroidering yet. What I’ve been doing for the past two days is working on my ePortfolio, which I suppose is more important.

It is notable, though, that I only got myself up from a nap today with the lure of studying and writing in Japanese language…which I then, didn’t do. Maybe I should practice writing a little before bed, just to fulfill my promise to myself. 🙂

No, I’ve been splitting my Statement of Professional Philosophy into both that, and a heretofore ignored Conclusion. I have space to expand on both of those, but it’s going to have to wait for a bit. I know I don’t have to get it all done at once, and since I’ve started, I’ve realized that this entire project is a synthesis project.

That is, it’s a big writing project in which I show what I can do and what I have done, over the course of the Master’s program. Looking at it like that, it’s actually engaging. Especially, since I’ve forgotten about a lot of this stuff (but remember working on it, once I look at my evidence).

Coming up, I can work on sections A, C and/or D. I’ve been working on what I’ve been naturally led into, or that for which I have a very limited pool of potential evidence.

I’ve also been linking things from their storage into evidence pools; the major problem I’ve been running up against is the fact that a lot of these areas online are password-protected. I can ask my Advisor about how to work with this, once the ePortfolio class actually opens.

I also found a way to link videos which are too big for me to upload to my site, without worrying about making them public! That is pretty sweet. 🙂

I wonder if I should actually deal with coding things from scratch as versus using a Content Management System…but I’d have to do some research in figuring out how to work things from the back-end, if I did that. Particularly, adding media (voice and video) isn’t quite as easy as adding in just images and text.

That is something I’d like to eventually do, as I don’t particularly like my CSS template, but I can also alter the CSS…

Right now, I should likely take a shower before I get too tired to do so. I actually kind of need to do that. 🙂 I did start my laundry again, too, which I suppose is better than the alternative…

So…I stayed up for two hours, being tired.

I’m starting this post at 10:10 PM, after having realized that I probably shouldn’t start trying to begin homework at this time of night, when I’m already tired: it will just increase resentment. The only real reason I got out of bed at 9 PM was to take medication, renew a library book, and get my textbooks — which I had nearly entirely forgotten about!

Part of me wants to just go back to bed and rest…or I can stay up and watch anime.

I did go back and print the extended version of my Statement of Professional Philosophy; the sections of which, I should probably separate and use as seeds of separate essays. I meant to print it this morning so I could work on it on my lunch hour, but that ended up not happening. (I got up too late — even, to have time to eat.)

Instead, I ended up reading over some of my own past writings. Not the most efficient use of time, but I guess it did give me some kind of break. Just not a real good one. It’s easy for my time to be sucked up, staring at a screen. For that matter, it’s easy for me to start writing and keep at it for four hours.

As I get more ideas written down in rough form, I think it will become easier to add or replace content. Right now I am not certain exactly…how to interlink my pages to make a fluid narrative. But I can figure it out.

I need to start going to my ePortfolio first, rather than here, first. It’s not like it’s harder, anymore, to get there.

I keep being surprised by the amount of handwriting and printouts I keep needing to use to ease studying. If I have all my printouts, I can work on the ePortfolio away from the computer, by hand. It’s tough to do everything using a word processor or text editor, without paper. Hmm. Forced linear thought, and all that. Also there’s the difficulty of my files being overwritten whenever I save them. Not an issue, with paper.

It’s now after midnight. I think my brain has shut down, so…I’ll go and get ready for bed while I’m still cogent enough to do so.

I worked on the e-Port instead of knitting! :D

Well, I got some stuff written out for my e-Portfolio tonight, that I believe I’m keeping, and which is stronger than most of the rest of what I’ve written. I’m also finding a natural bridge into a couple of my other required sections (C and D), which should make them easier to write about, next.

My thing is that I’ve realized…if I try not to sound radical, it’s going to be hard for me to write this thing. I am not certain if it shows here, but I’m fairly…well, maybe “Leftist” is the word? I’m not sure (I particularly don’t know all the implications of the term; I just know other labels, like, “progressive,” or, “liberal,” are problematic, and sometimes used as slurs).

I just try not to broach politics too much, here. But it’s not possible to avoid this, if I’m writing a multipage document on my experiences in the MLIS program, from the heart and with total honesty. I guess it’s like I’ve said before: if I’m going to write, I have to be honest, or I’ll get blocked and the writing will be sub-par. It’s better to write an excellent and strong essay which is honest and which the reader may not agree with, than a poor one which says nothing.

In particular, I got into a sub-discussion which states why it is that I know that it’s useful to be able to have access to thoughts from outside the English-speaking world. That, in turn, got into readings that I had done on my own, and reasons why it helps to be exposed to international influences.

I just wanted to leave a note so that I don’t forget to go back to this. I also want to let myself remember that it’s okay to write away from tables…the only way I got this done tonight is to literally write with the computer on my lap. Right now I’m laying back with the computer propped on my knee. Seriously. It helps to get things done, this way. Just hope I don’t get too much of a problem with carpal tunnel or any other aches…

And life resumes.

Tonight I turned in the last of my assignments for Summer. I don’t think they were perfect, but they’re off my plate, now.

The good thing is that I got full marks on the first two assignments, so I had 55% going into the last two weeks. This class is also only 1 credit, so a low grade isn’t going to ruin my GPA. (I am already in an Honors society, too, and can’t have that revoked…)

What can I say, but, IT’S OVER!

That class was so frustrating. At least if we had used a real programming language, I could have looked for help from someplace other than my Professor.

I also realized that my love of making things doesn’t necessarily extend to Programming, which is more like, “delivering instructions to a computer.” Not design or writing or crafting; because I’m not doing the work myself, the computer is doing the work.

Now I can return my attention back to work and my e-Portfolio, though to be honest, I’m thinking about doing some jewelry work (likely incorporating leather: I got the idea to make button loops with this so that the buttons wouldn’t be abraded by glass beads. There is also the option of knotting button loops (when using upholstery thread), though I’ve found that braiding them makes a more secure connection).

If I take out my 14g jewelry in the morning and put in light earrings; at the end of the day, I can still put the 14g jewelry back in. I am planning on exploiting this. 🙂 I also have a lot of earwires, so I can toy with designs all I want.

I am not sure yet what heavy earrings will do to my piercings (I’m thinking of a set of sunstone earrings in particular — my first attempt at chain tassels), but I would probably be in danger of losing them, from having the piercing stretched out. Luckily, I have a lot of earring stoppers (plastic stoppers to secure the backs of standard earring posts or earwires).

I am also not sure as to whether my piercings will in fact close up to a more normal size if I take the 14g earrings out, entirely. The problem with doing that, is that then I tend to miss them, and have to go through another cycle of wearing 18-16-14g, which takes at least 12 weeks to get back to the point at which the 14g earrings will again fit and not damage my lobes. It takes longer than that to get them to be able to move freely again.

No, I do think I’ll stay at 14g — but this is as thick as I’m going.

As long as we’re on the subject of appearances, I ended up trimming my hair instead of cutting it short; but I don’t know how long I’ll keep it like this. I mean, I actually look fairly pretty to myself, right now. I don’t know what changed except for beginning to use a different skin treatment. It also looks like my weight shifted. I don’t know what causes that.

At this point, the major issues I have with my hair are ongoing scalp health, and damage from heat styling. The heat styling is to prevent damage from snarling (which happens often enough with my hair wavy).

The only reason I know the heat has damaged it is that when combing it out in the shower with some kind of lubricant (it’s often difficult to comb, dry), I can feel it stretch when I hit a snarl. It’s not supposed to stretch. However, if I straighten it, I can keep it rolled up in a bun when I need to, out of the way and relatively clean. It’s also long enough to put the bun on the crown of my head, which minimizes pulling and discomfort (I often get a sore scalp if I even wear a tightly bound ponytail).

What’s good about this as well is that if I twist my hair down, I can wrap my hair in a scarf, and not worry about getting dust into it from my work.

On the employment front, I have a short amount of time to apply for a higher position, which I’m thinking is now appropriate (I’ve been getting a little antsy at work from not using my skills to their fullest potential). I still can’t drive on my own, though, and I need to get on that and get my license. If I had a license, I could be a substitute and not have to worry about balancing part-time work and full-time school along with having to arrange for transportation. But I am going into my last semester, so if I get hired next year, that will be cake.

I’m thinking that power issues may be tripping out some people I work with. It is probably past time to move up a rank.

I also spoke with someone today about support around getting back into creative writing. The meeting went really well.

The big thing for me about writing (particularly, fiction) is that it brings up a lot of issues that I still need to process, and it tends to bring them up all at once. So having someone to talk to about them, is really good. From what I heard, working through past issues with the writing is likely better than avoiding them by not writing.

It’s also something to take into account that the problems which bothered me before when I was writing, may not necessarily bother me now.  I mean, my last major extended experience in writing fiction was in undergraduate work. I was a lot less stable then than I am now, and beginning to write again now, doesn’t mean I’ll be going back to being like I was, before.

And, yeah…the person I was talking with did bring up the, “method acting,” tangent that I had also wondered about, but never looked up… In specific, the fear was that I’d get into character and then forget who I was. But I think for me, it times out after 3-4 days, even if I do lose my grip on myself.

Also, that mediumship thing about ending a session, I’m told, sounds applicable.

Alright, I should get some rest — I just realized that it’s now after midnight, and I’ve got stuff to do, tomorrow.

(and it’s not going to be graded.)

Actual and Perceived; getting at truth

So…I found a book the other day at a bookstore, which I checked out from my library a long time ago. I was given the choice to buy it, but figured I would take another look at the free copy before investing the $15.

This book is The Sixth Extinction, by Elisabeth Kolbert. It’s written in a style similar to another book I own, Savage Dreams, by Rebecca Solnit. Both of these books, like The Midnight Disease, by Alice Flaherty, could be classified as creative nonfiction. That is, they’re writing about things that actually exist, but in a way that is accessible, and which sounds a bit personal. It’s kind of similar to Evolution’s Rainbow, by Joan Roughgarden, in that way.

(And yeah, I’m looking at this now and noticing that all of these writers are female.)

I’m thinking that when a person cares enough about an issue — especially if the work is a labor of love rather than contract — it’s becoming more accepted to write in a style acknowledging one’s investment.

As for how any of this applies to me, I’m thinking that this style of creative nonfiction could be a really good niche for my style of writing. What I wrote the other day, here, (which I’ve set to Private for now), I realized later, could have passed for either reality-based fiction, or embellished nonfiction (when I say “embellished,” I mean that I have chosen a path out of a presently ambiguous situation which may not endure. It’s something one does in fiction, but which can damage one in life). Which, I suppose, is appropriate when it’s difficult to separate the actual from the perceived. Expressing that difficulty and finding someplace to rest, is an extremely strong element in my work.

Speaking of which, I’ve also been putting some of my artwork into frames. In one piece in particular…I find a way forward out of clear realism or total imagination. I think I posted this one a while back, though I disliked it at the time, and I don’t think I showed it in my final portfolio. Let me find it again…

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Fire — cleansing, shaping, life-giving, destroying.

Alright, it’s to the left, there. Apologies for the watermark; this was originally posted a while ago (likely Spring 2016, when I was ending my AA in Art).

This also looks like a work-in-progress, as I hadn’t yet untaped it from the Masonite which was holding it flat.

Anyway, you can probably see what I’m about to mention, already.

In this piece, there are multiple overlays of different elements, some of which look as though they could plausibly be resting in 3-D space, and some of which are flat and 2-D. They appear to be overlaid on top of the 3-D image.

That’s not a mistake. I had been looking for a way to combine the psychological and the representational. The gryphon is something which had special significance to me, as did the incense, the orb, the pinecone, and the acrylic, “gems.” In a way this piece is really metaphysical, kind of overblowing it in that way. Not to mention that the majority of these symbols are personal, which I wouldn’t expect anyone but myself, to understand.

In particular, that orb, the pinecone, and the gryphon are things that I have recognized in the past as important, but which I haven’t perceived as totally harmless. They’re things that I am aware of and find beauty in, though.

If I go any further into this, I may reveal too much about my mental state (then or now); but I’m just noting it as an example — to myself — as a way to move forward. If I did unpack the symbolism of all of these, visually, I could make a series. The problem is that it might be a disturbing series…the content of which, I may not want to touch (I don’t anymore have the mental state that inspired this symbolism).

In any case…I’m thinking back to my freshman class at University where we read, I, Rigoberta Menchu, and discussed whether it was actually biography or not (the author cobbled together a bunch of other peoples’ stories and presented them all as — when viewed by the general reader — her own. But it was normal and accepted in her culture for her to tell these stories and claim ownership of them, as the people these stories had happened to were members of her community, and she identified with them).

The largest issue I have with writing is finding a way to tell the truth, especially when some people whose stories I know, don’t want that. And…yeah, sometimes expressing an emotion truthfully, does mean that the means of expressing it, may not be literally true.

Probably, I should back off of this and get some rest. Maybe tomorrow I can write, or something. I still need to finish my work for Programming, too…and maybe I should just try and get it done as soon as I can, and not rely on the deadline.

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.