A gradual journey to a new normalcy

Some of you folks may be wondering where the Hell I’ve been. May was, of course, my month-long hiatus from Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress, and it was definitely a learning experience. And then I didn’t blog for the entire month of June, which was a bit less intentional. Plenty of events transpired between the last post and this one; the world continued turning, people kept writing, and life went on (and I have so much to catch up on in my subscriptions that it actually gives me a headache thinking about it).

This post will be about the good, the bad, and the ugly, but not necessarily in that order. Don’t worry, though. A lot of this will be shortened up for everyone’s sake. Plus, really, the good outweighs the bad. It’s a lot more enjoyable to read the good stuff.

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A return to making it a great week

I’ll not mince words: this week has been pretty Hellish in terms of stress, but I can’t really say much regarding that because a lot of it is my usual introspective bullshit mixed with my capacity for building vast ranges of mountains out of a single molehill.

The good news: I managed to take a nap earlier, and it was glorious…and it gave me time to think things over after waking up, which is that precious time when I have clarity but not so much stress. Good times. Granted, that’s also the window I’m most likely to fall back to sleep in, but now I’m just over-complicating things.

A while back, I posted about my District Leader and his end-of-conference-call mantra of “Go out there and make it a great week”. It’s easy to lose sight of that as a goal, and so I think I need to make it a point to sit down every Sunday (which, really, isn’t so much the end of the weekend so much as the start of a new, potentially promising or terrible week) and put together a list of things that I’m going to try doing to make it a great week. These aren’t goals that must be accomplished, but possible steps towards furthering myself and my week in a positive way. They could be as simple as writing down five things I’m happy about with myself at that particular time to larger changes such as, say, cleaning up the house or whatever. The rewards are built into the actions, making this even better.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have two more posts to write before I go to bed tonight because I’m a self-destructive jackass.

Something about better days ahead

Today was characterized by several moments that, without a doubt, could be considered seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel (although I must say the intermittent uncooperative nature of my laptop keyboard is not one of those moments). Typically, especially during weeks such as this, I am very suspicious of such days. Call it paranoia, pessimism, or whatever, but after a week like this one, I can’t help but assume that light is followed by a freight train.

Perhaps, I say in a show of cautious optimism, that may not be the case this time. I have the entire weekend off. That’s forty-eight hours of potential progress (or failures), and I’m about to carpe those diems so hard they’ll turn to diamonds.

I’m so sorry for that joke. Future generations will probably use that as the official definition of “awful”.

As part of my attempt at forcing positivity from the stinking shit-lump that I called this past week, I’m keeping my goals, plans, and so on for this weekend relatively fluid and open to change. This will hypothetically allow for less fear of, and feelings of, failure. Hooray for thinking ahead. A few new big ideas are also present in my brain-meats, but I’m saving those for later. I need to get through the remainder of this hundred days somehow, after all.

Goodnight, WordPress.

This weekend will feature less lazy posts. I (half-heartedly) promise.

Christmas Cheer/Pox

It’s now officially Christmas day and I still have all the eagerness of my much-younger self when it comes to presents. The key difference now is I am very excited to share something special, carefully selected after a mix of gift-hunting and procrastination, in hopes I make at least one person’s Christmas a little brighter.

Unfortunately, the only thing roasting on an open fire seems to be this writer. I’m fairly certain I have a case of the Christmas Pox, complete with fever, aches, and a generally bah humbug sensibility. Fret not, as I am at least fighting that last symptom tooth-and-nail as I refuse to bring down the mood today. Continue reading

Make it a great week

The Hell of my last week transitioning from my current dwelling to my new one is upon me. Wednesday and Friday will be nothing but moving things, cleaning up the old place, and probably a fair bit of swearing and frustration. These things happen, I suppose. To be fair, last night gave Brianne and I some powerful motivation to move out of this place in the form of our bathroom door locking. That may sound like a simple problem, except the doorknob for our bathroom is the kind you’d use for an exterior door. And the door trip makes access to the locking mechanism impossible. And the screws holding the wall panel in place next to the door are painted over, thus they are impossible to remove.

Short version of the solution: I had to jam one of those flat metal spatulas used for cake decorating into the door. It took over half an hour, and was pretty damn awful.

I mention this because this week looks horrid, and I will be sure busy, but I know it’s all for a great improvement in my life. It’s going to be a great week.

Before I go on, however, I should mention I’m borrowing these words from my boss. I’m sure he won’t mind. Each Monday morning starts with the promise of an inevitable conference call, and my boss always ends such calls by saying “Go out there and make it a great week”. Normally, I hesitate to admit, those words just signal it’s time for me to hang up and resume whatever task I was focusing on prior to the call. Perhaps it’s the chaos of moving, or the lack of sleep, or even how I’ve been teetering precariously between being sick and being mostly well, but those words resonated with me this morning. I’m about to get a bit soapboxy here, folks, so brace yourselves.

The week, starting with Monday (or Sunday, depending on how your work schedule goes I guess), is only as good as you decide to make it. I’m aware that there are certain things the Universe can throw at a person that will most certainly turn a week to utter shit, but a lot of those things can be reversed or made better. Yeah, it’s a fair bit of effort, but it’s worth it. Right? A bit of work in favor of sanity, success, and so on, or something like that.

I look around me and I see a ton of things that need to be packed and moved. Two couches that need left out for garbage pick-up. What I’m focused on is how my internet and cable set-up dates worked out perfectly. How my customer service experience with Peoples Natural Gas continued to be exceptional even though I won’t have them anymore (my new apartment uses fuel oil instead, which is provided by the landlord; thank god for that). Above all else, how this move will get me the Hell out of my current living situation. Those things and a good few more are all reasons why I’m looking to make this week a great one, even if it is crazy-busy.

Try it yourselves, readers. It may just prove helpful.

A vexing night

This is going to be short, sweet, to the point, and a pretty healthy dose of “get your head out of your ass and move on already” for myself. That last bit’s kind of important, even if it’s a little selfish. It’s been a weird night of running into walls, struggling with inner demons, and other meaningful cliches for the headaches I associate with dwelling on the gap between where I’d like to be and where I presently feel I am.

Warning: There be some f-bombs a-lurkin’ in this here post.

I could easily put together a post on how many creative-types are weighed down by their own doubt, fear, self-loathing, and so much more (I came way too close to listing the various Sha there, and I’m not sorry to point that out). That’s very nearly what this would have been, but I couldn’t. It felt wrong and unpleasant. Plus it was the last thing I needed to read in the mood I’m in, and so I doubt it’s the sort of thing anyone else would want to read if they’re trying to muster up the energy to get back to work.

Here’s what I’d like this post to be instead. The instructions for myself and any other creative folks, or really anyone, who find themselves frustrated and feeling stuck.

Create. Don’t force it because it’ll only end in regret, but create as often and as passionately as possible. Build amazing, awe-inspiring worlds and populate them with characters both sympathetic and heroic as well as ones who are irredeemably loathsome. Let them move through lives that are only somewhat guided by the art you create and enjoy where things go. Don’t let the goddamn what-ifs and why-nots, the feelings of doubt and failure, all of the shit that makes creative types like myself into their own worst enemies. It accomplishes no good, and only results in nights spent after long days at work only thinking of the things you’ve not accomplished. What you haven’t done or where you think you should be. All of this instead of celebrating where you are and what you’ve accomplished.

I say this as someone who won a book contract, which should be a big deal for me as a writer. I’ve been so busy worrying about never managing to create something that big again and dwelling on how people will perceive my book being published not based on its merit but because of a contest victory.

Screw that.

There’s a reason the saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” has endured the test of time. My schedule may be a bit all over the place, and I may question my merit as a writer a good deal. I don’t have a five year plan or a ten year plan. Hell, I don’t even have a particularly well-assembled one year plan. While I recognize such things as long-term planning are crucial to being a successful artist, I’m pretty sure there’s more than one way to handle them.

Most importantly, and veering a little bit back from the rather self-centric post we have here, I hope any artist who finds this gets enough of a boost to keep going if that’s what they need at the time.

Going back to my post about almost being to Pumpkin Spice Season/Hot Apple Cider Season – I need to just focus on finding time to create, not worrying about the outcome. Far easier said than done, especially when every fiber of my being is saying to just go to sleep. What’s the point in busting my ass at a 9 to 5 if I’m not going to find time and energy to do what I love most (hint: I’m talking about writing).

So I end with a challenge to anyone who reads this. Create, with or without a plan, but with all of your heart and soul. Make something you think is awesome, even if upon editing you decide it’s not the best thing ever. At the end of the day, you’ve still made something new that wasn’t in the world before that point, and that’s pretty fucking rad.

A day of recovery

I’m going to focus largely on the good here, as today was actually an excrement sandwich sprinkled with shards of broken glass and used hypodermic needles of questionable origin. There may be a touch of hyperbole there, but to be fair I also just realized my next post-vacation day off is fourteen days away from when my vacation occurred (with some of those days involving multiple shifts). It makes me tired to even think about it, so I’m going to shift my focus elsewhere.

The stuff – After work, I headed over to Walmart to pick up some ingredients for dinner. I had no actual game-plan in mind, but I figured I could probably mange to make something relatively edible without too much effort. Keeping in mind I didn’t want to do more of the usual, I picked up some chicken (off to a poor start on avoiding the usual) and I wandered around a bit. The end result was I bought some yellow and orange bell peppers, some sugar snap peas, and some baby carrots (which didn’t end up in the dish anyway). I wasn’t quite sure how I’d prepare the chicken until I walked by a display of dressings and spotted a bottle of raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing, which I’m not ashamed to say I’m actually too lazy to type out repeatedly, ended up being a marinade for the chicken. Tossed it in a bag and let it hang out in the fridge for a bit while I took a nap. Brianne had a very busy day with a doctor’s appointment followed by work followed by one of her grad courses, so I had some time between thinking up dinner and making the actual meal.

Bragging that isn’t really bragging – I managed to get into a Looking For Raid iteration of The Dread Approach after minimal waiting. I was probably one of the lowest DPS players in there, but I also managed to not die. Something about half of the people in our raid couldn’t say about themselves, unfortunately, as people seemed pretty intent on standing in the fire whenever possible. This was my first time really doing any raiding in Mists of Pandaria (ignoring that I did get into an LFR group right at Sha of Fear last week; that was fun). I nabbed a good few pieces of gear and generally enjoyed myself. The best part, however, was that my queue for Terrace of Endless Spring popped right after I completed The Dread Approach. As I’ve not gotten anywhere in my Legendary cloak questing, I was pretty happy to get to 4 of each…er, Mark I guess. Marks of Wisdom and Power? I’m not looking it up. The point is I got to kill things I’ve never killed before, and if that’s not what raiding is all about then I must be doing it wrong. Note to self: I still need to try my hand at getting the other Thunderfury binding before next Tuesday (damn it).

Dinner turned out really well. It’s Brianne-approved, so that’s a plus. It was absolutely awful to look at, but it was a nice and healthy sweet meal I’ll have to try my hand at making again soon.

The best part of tonight is that I feel pretty rejuvenated. It’s a bit surprising, actually, as I ended work and shopping feeling very stressed out. A lot of it is a matter of accepting things that aren’t presently within my control and moving along with the things I can handle in the present (shocking, I know). The nap certainly didn’t hurt.

In closing – Here’s wishing everyone a relatively insanity-free next fourteen days, and in doing so sending the same wishes to myself. Victory is just ahead, right?