Create Journal Thrive

I Realized I Was Beginning to Spiral

My plans for the weekend include writing project plans, outlining the next several books, and watching the train wreck that will be Wrestlemania 36. The latter warrants its own post next week, after it’s over. On Friday I realized I was beginning to spiral. It was a mixture of anxiety and executive dysfunction. I need to drop back, center myself, and refocus.

The other day I talked about how having a stocked pantry makes me feel safe. When my executive dysfunction kicks into gear, cooking becomes “base”. Anxiety makes it difficult for me to organize my thoughts. I need to land, write things down in my bullet journal, and follow lists and routines. Otherwise, I will walk in circles, bouncing from one task to another, and not get much of anything done.

Cooking, and more recently baking, force me to focus. Follow the recipe. Carry out the step-by-step instructions. Pay attention so I don’t burn the place down. It calms me. I’m back in control. This is why I feel like I’ve gotten very little writing done, and I haven’t released anything this week, but I’ve got sandwich bread, banana muffins, chocolate cupcakes, kim chi, sauerkraut, cole slaw, and four jars of sourdough starter.

Writing this blog has had a similar effect. It’s allowed me to collect all of the random data and news stories about the pandemic and put them in some sort of order. As I see patterns, I can share what I see. I’ve been able to express my feelings about what’s happening in the world. That’s net good.

I Realized I Was Beginning to Spiral

I need to be working, though. I’m not beating myself up for taking time for self-care, because that’s what this is. We’re eating, I’m sharing. Somehow I need to mitigate this, and redirect my energies into doing the things that pay the rent. The New York Times ran an article encouraging people to stop trying to be productive with the newfound downtime. Some of us still have to work. What’s going on inside of our flats remains the same. It’s the world outside that’s changed.

That’s the part that I need to keep in mind. We don’t need to go out. There’s enough food to last us a good month or more, even if it gets down to eating lentils and rice. While the pandemic has affected us and will inevitably do so for months and years to come, right now, in this moment, I’m okay. I need to just worry about hitting my deadlines, and carry on as if nothing apocalyptic is happening.



Create Journal Simplify Thrive

Spoons, Social Media, and Blogging

Let’s talk about spoons, social media, and blogging for a moment. All of us have a finite amount of energy to devote to work, household chores, and side hustles. Some of us have less-than-typical amounts to work with, so we need to prioritize. Focus your efforts on necessities, and the areas that will get the best results. As my minimalist mantra states, get rid of what you don’t need to make room for what you do. For me, that means pushing the blog and my presence on Twitter to the back burner for a while.

Spoons, Social Media, and Blogging

It’s not just about the effort it takes to write blog posts, or to throw out a few casual tweets. When you suffer from anxiety and depression, there’s a whole mental dance to be done when considering topics, and how those topics will be received. My mind tries to anticipate every possible nasty comment that could result from anything I say on the internet. While this forces me to choose my words carefully and communicate more clearly, it’s still exhausting. It chews up my metaphorical spoons as if they were real flatware caught in a garbage disposal.

To help with this, I now have assistants handling the business email, website comments, and social media. Their instructions are simple:

  1. If it’s not a question, it doesn’t require an answer;
  2. Unless it’s a compliment, then you say thank you;
  3. Rude comments get deleted with no response;
  4. Bring legitimate problems to me ASAP.

I get to spend my time productively. That means writing for the day job, working on the novel, and keeping the apartment in order. When I have the spoons to deal with the blog and social media I will.

Journal Thrive

Rise of the Ableist Supermen

There was a time when I was critical of people who, in my perception, wasted time on trivial things. This was always in conjunction with them complaining that they had no time for seemingly more important tasks. Taking 30 minutes to cook a meal, for example, was declared to¬† be impossible. Reading was a luxury they didn’t have enough hours in the day for. But in the next breath they invariably talked about how many hours they spent binge-watching Netflix, playing an MMO, or just dorking around on social media. I would like to offer my apologies. Sincerely. I was not aware that in holding those views, I was enabling the harmful myth of the ableist supermen.

A few days ago a well-known writer in my publishing niche tweeted out that he was tired of people saying they can’t find time to write. When he was starting out, he worked 70 hours a week. He got up at 5 am every morning and went to a coffee shop. That’s how he wrote his first two books. The post was tone-deaf, cringey, and incredibly condescending . The implication was one familiar to all of us with physical or mental health issues, or just complicated life situations: you’re lazy. You say you can’t, but you only need to try harder. It was easy for me, so I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for you.

I’m Trying to Be Kinder

It’s been a while since I’ve regularly posted about my daily word count and such. I realized that I was making some people feel bad. This is my full-time job. While I do have to deal with depression, anxiety, and executive dysfunction, I get to allocate a significant number of spoons to writing. Working from home I have the luxury of going and taking a nap if I need one. Being self-employed, I can flex my work schedule to suit my needs as long as I meet my deadline. I recognize that this is a privilege. It is unreasonable for most people to be a prolific as I am, because I am in an incredibly fortunate situation.

As my own issues have progressed, I have also learned to be less judgmental of how other people spend their time. If there are days when all you can manage to do is play Mario Kart, or stream a whole season of a show, or eat frozen pizza, well, I get that now. It’s almost noon as I’m writing this, and I’ve been up since 6 am. Six hours and three cups of strong cups of coffee later, I’m still groggy. I’m pushing through, but it’s not easy and it’s not fun. There are days when I can’t do more than stare into space, trying to focus. I fear that a time will come when I won’t be able to do this any more.

Rise of the Ableist Supermen

Teddy Roosevelt nailed it in two quotes. First, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Hey, if you can work the equivalent of two full-time jobs and still have the spoons to get up before dawn to work on your book, good on you. That’s not me, and I’m not going to be shamed for it.

The other quote is “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. I try to optimize my schedule for productivity, but a lot of my bullet journaling, scheduling, and note taking is just an attempt to be baseline functional. Find what works for you. Recognize your limitations, because we all have them. Make the most of what you’ve got, but don’t beat yourself up if that varies from day to do. Love yourself, be proud of your accomplishments, and don’t let the ableist supermen get you down.

Journal Thrive

Things I Can’t Let Go Of

As I make a concerted effort to embrace my hermitage, I keep flashing back to specific memories that led me here. They’re things I can’t let go of, for whatever reason. I can’t figure out why, but I feel that I need to find a way to put them behind me.

Let me share an anecdote as an example. Those who’ve known and/or followed me for a while are aware that I share my birthday with a famous author. When I was a child, this fascinated me and in no small part contributed to my desire to be a writer. By middle school I was writing book reports on his novels, and other reports about assorted aspects of his life. Every year for our mutual birthday, I re-read one of his works.

On one birthday I tweeted all of this out. I followed it up by noting that one thing people forget about [famous book] is that [main character] was… let me swap in “a purple marmoset from Jupiter” as the unambiguous phrase from the book. I quoted one of the final lines of the book, where the characters actually says “I was a purple marmoset from Jupiter all along”.

Someone jumped in to tell me that I was wrong.

Okay, so, let’s break this down. I have read this book multiple times. I quoted the passage where it says the thing most people seem to forget or somehow overlook. This author, and this book, have been highly influential in my life. A good part of my identity comes from my relationship to this author, and this novel. And a total stranger feels the need to invalidate me, on my birthday, for no particular reason.

I do not remember his name, but the contrarian was also a writer. If I recall he had followed me, and I had followed him back because he seemed interesting and, well, according to his profile he was a fellow writer. I didn’t know him at all in real life, hadn’t interacted with him previously, had never read his work. So, shrug, in as friendly a manner as possible point out that I’m not wrong, it says so right there in the novel.

He gets ridiculously nasty and insulting. I mean, what the hell? Why? This book means something to me, but I don’t understand why this is the hill he wants to die on. I mute him and don’t engage further. Except he keeps ranting about me and my high level of wrongness. Other people are sending me direct messages and screen shots to let me know this. So, you know, muting is worthless in the face of a certain type of friend and supporter.

I do the “stealth unfollow”, because I am drama-averse. This is when you block the person and immediately unblock them. Not only are you no longer following them, they’re no longer following you. And if they notice, they can’t throw a fit that you blocked them, which that certain type of friend and supporter will run to screen shot and tell you about.

None of which is the thing that bugs me, by the way. This has all been preamble. Here’s the thing I don’t understand.

About a month later he follows me again. I don’t know why. Clearly I’m not anyone he respects or finds interesting. Was he hoping to come back and harass me some more? Does he just follow anyone who has “writer” or “author” in their profile and he’s forgotten about our exchange?

Block/unblock and he’s not following me any more.

A month after that, he follows me again. Block/unblock and a couple of weeks later he’s back. Block/unblock. He keeps coming back. Run this through the filter of my anxiety disorder, and understand that it was causing me stress.

After several rounds of this over maybe three or four months, I give up and message him. Hey. Why are you following me? Don’t you remember this thread? I link to the thpost where he got nasty. You clearly have an issue with me, so please, just leave me alone.

He tells me that never happened. I was misinterpreting the unambiguous things that he said, in the same way I had misinterpreted the words on the page of one of my favorite books. Then he started questioning my mental health.

I blocked him.

I still have no idea what the hell was wrong with him.

Journal Thrive

Forget GoDaddy: Take Your Scam and Shove It

Moments ago I received an email from GoDaddy, the domain registrar and web host. The subject line was “Alert: is available”. I have not used GoDaddy for anything in years, because their service was terrible and, well, pick from a long list of other reasons. “The CEO is an elephant murderer” is at the top of my personal reasons. Forget GoDaddy.

I also know that my domain is not up for renewal. First, my current domain registrar and webhost, NameCheap (not sponsored), has done a good job of keeping me informed of these sorts of things without getting spammy and intrusive. Second, I was literally on the NameCheap site a week ago renewing a different domain. While I was there I noted when all of my sites are due for renewal this year, and noted them in the future log of my bullet journal.

Forget GoDaddy

Clickbait tactics side, this scummy email campaign is nothing less than predatory. I have an anxiety disorder. Even though I knew better, of course I immediately began to worry that I’d accidentally allowed my domain to lapse, and all of the hassle and expense I’d have to go through to either reclaim it. Forget GoDaddy for putting me through that for no reason other than to trick me into visiting their site.

I also have executive dysfunction disorder, fancy-talk for “I forget things because I have an anxiety disorder”. I spend a great deal of time worrying that I’ve neglected something important, which will bring dire consequences crashing down on my head. Which is exactly why I fill put all of this type of information into my bullet journal. Forget GoDaddy for putting me through all of this.

To remedy this I marked the email as spam and blocked them within Gmail. Hopefully this will slow them down, if no stop them. I rarely use the “unsubscribe” option with dirtbag companies like GoDaddy. I expect they’ll just take it as validation that it’s a good address, and continue to send me garbage emails in the future.