vintagewitch: (fuck it button)
 When I talk bad to myself about not being able to pull my shit together for my volunteer gig with the Sierra Club, it spirals into "you will never be able to do this as a job." 

But here's the thing about that: If I'm doing it as a job, my responsibilities are to that job. I have time set aside, which I am being PAID FOR, to do these things.

Right now, my time equation looks like: 
volunteering + grad school + job hunt + fellowship hunt + fundraising for self + relationships with family and friends + self care/creative pursuits = life.

If I'm being PAID to do the thing, chances are the equation looks more like:
job + relationships + self care/creative pursuits = life.

And ... that's just way more doable. And I have way more space to do the thing, instead of cramming it in amidst all the other things.

I am in grad school to learn and grow, to get to where I want to go, to do all the things in order to build a career. This is a crazy two years. I need to cut myself some slack, make room for self care.

And most of all: a job rejection is not a rejection of me personally. I am not the problem all the times. The fact that I'm not currently working full or part time is absolutely ok.

It mostly just sucks for my budget. But at least I have more time for creative pursuits. 

vintagewitch: (tori storm)
 So today I hit a wall where self-care was necessary.

Have been on the periphery of the 4th precinct shutdown here. Trying to get out and show support as much as I possibly can, and donating funds/resources when I can't be there in person. Grad school is really amping up assignments for the end of the semester. Relationship stress is really taking its toll on me as well.

Managed to host an awesome party last night. Felt lots of cognitive dissonance, but it felt so good for my soul to have so many friends in my house. If you believe in astrology, I'm a Cancer and we are incredibly nurturing people, so it felt amazing to feed people last night and welcome them into my home.

But today ... I need to nurture myself. 

So I'm going to watch TV, and in between episodes do some "light" work on a group project. I've lit some candles, we've got some wine leftover from last night, I managed to make myself bean tostadas. This is good. This is needed.
vintagewitch: (Default)
 I had assignments due for all of my classes last week, and have been attempting to get ahead in my current courses before I add a class that starts halfway through the semester: Intro to Public Policy Analysis.

But this week, nothing's due, one of my professors is out of town so that class is really relaxed, and while my reading load is a little intense, I'm allowing myself some time to just relax and recuperate from some of the stress of the last several weeks. 

So far, I think I'm off to a pretty good start:

1. Met up with the lovely [personal profile] syntaxofthings for coffee yesterday. We talked school, starting a business, and witchy things!
2. Managed to clean my apartment on Sunday night, AND I cooked a full crockpot of soup. 
3. Came home after class yesterday to find that Matt had cooked up a pot of delicious tofu yellow curry. Our leftover game is on point this week.
4. I actually put yoga on my calendar and have actually done yoga a couple of times. I think this is essential - now that I'm in grad school, if there isn't a specific time that I'm supposed to do things I put off the doing of them. And also yoga makes my body feel more alive and my mind more relaxed, so overall very good thing.
5. Looking forward to a potluck + showing of It Follows on Friday. Spooky movies + friend time in October? More of that, please.
6. This is a very auspicious time to do some self-reflection and divination. I did a tarot reading this weekend that really helped put some things into focus that needed to be in focus. I'll be conscious this week of taking time specifically to relax.
7. Have started rereading Sandman! I may not have time for reading novels while I'm in school, but I certainly have time for comics. And also Sandman is amazing and I love it and I need more of it in my life.

If only I could sleep well, that would be great. Gonna try actually sleeping tonight and sleeping in tomorrow.

... speaking of some tarot things, there's a new community! If you're interested in studying tarot, discussing the cards, and in general  learning, [personal profile] syntaxofthings put together a wonderful group called [community profile] tarotstudies. Join the discussion! I personally haven't been doing all that much tarot these days, but it's interesting to follow and comment. I like the dreamwidth community format better than a forum, so this has been a wonderful way of learning from others.

And it's time for statistics. I'm off. 
vintagewitch: (Default)
TRIGGER WARNING: I'm not placing this entry under a cut, mainly because I want to be open about my depression, which also means allowing this content to be that much more visible. There is no suicidal ideation - just depression and anxiety. BUT if you are really suffering right now and don't have the spoons or the energy to devote to reading this post, PLEASE skip past it. 

This week has been rough. I wasn't expecting that when it started. Most of Monday went very well, but then I got the call from my mom that my grandma was in the hospital and I totally flipped. Transitions are always hard for me, and I thought I was sooooo prepared for this one but clearly I was not. What came up for me this week was intense regret - regret that I haven't been able to make a career as a community organizer work without a master's degree, and shame that I'm starting school. It's a signal of failure. I didn't miraculously do it on my own - I didn't land the job I wanted to, I didn't accomplish what I set out to accomplish when I graduated with my BA.

Which the logical part of my brain knows is a total fallacy. I have made the best decisions I could make, all along this road, based on the information that I had. There are very few jobs in my chosen field, and about a dozen (or multiple dozens of) qualified candidates for each position, and so much of it is about being the right person in the right place at the right time. And when I'm suffering from depression and anxiety, it's so much harder to prove that I am that right person, or to see opportunities in spite of anxiety. It's so much harder to put myself in that right place.

Earlier today I read this fantastic article at The Hairpin - it's basically a conversation between very articulate women who suffer from depression. This conversation right here nailed some serious nuances of what it means to have mental health issues, and it really resonated with me. And particularly this quote:

"Relying on external validation is easy, right? We have so many examples of what it means to gain a sense of self from what other people say about us, what positions or awards or bylines we get, who chooses to associate with us. And all those things can be incredibly gratifying! But at the end of the day, depression will find a way to make you think every last one of those things isn’t worth a damn. The act of cultivating a love for yourself that isn’t contingent on markers of validation feels not just cute but imperative."

I need to cultivate that self-love. I need to truly accept that success isn't always about being offered the job you want, or about getting the grant, or about being honored with some award. And what's more - I can do everything in my power to get a job, to be that successful woman in charge of campaigns or research, doing what she loves - but there will always be things that are outside of my control. I can't make anyone hire me - I can only make the most of the opportunities I'm given, that I've worked for.

So I need to claim success on my own terms. And the biggest part of that? Accepting me in all my glory, no matter where I'm at or what I'm doing. No matter what my job is, or how many creative projects I have going, or how "stable" I feel. I need to recognize that I have power, that I have creative energy, no matter what my employment situation. I need to find ways to make validation come from within.

And that is not easy. 

Writing this entry is one step of that process. Articulating this journey in words is a step in a right direction.

A friend of mine posted that she was declaring this Self-Care September for her, and I think I'm gonna jump on that bandwagon. She's got all sorts of ideas that will work for her, and I have only a couple, but it's a start.

Here's my list:

1. Gratitude/Pride Journal: Each day write down three things I am either grateful for or proud of having accomplished.

2. Feed Myself: Make and keep food that nourishes me, that doesn't make me feel sick, and don't forget to eat when I'm at school. This will probably look like planning out my week around food every Sunday.

3. Allow Time to Recharge: I'm taking the train to and from school every day. I'm going to set aside at least one way of my commute for reading something not connected to school, like readin knitting, or to journaling. 

4. Implement an Envelope Budget: Basically, all the income for my full semester is going to be given to me up front (from loans and scholarships), and I have Anxiety about that. So, to make sure that I'm toeing the line, I'm going to operate on a mainly-cash basis. Every month, I'll withdraw an amount of cash that I have budgeted for specific things. And when the cash is gone - it's gone. Matt also really likes this idea, so he'll be helping out with it.

Those aren't huge shifts - They're more like being mindful of certain triggers. I didn't want to pen myself in to something I can't maintain, especially because there's just a huge schedule shift that's going to happen with grad school. But it's a start.

I think I'm most excited about #1 (and might share with you all.)

What have you found that works for self care? What strategies do you use to manage mental illness? I'd love to hear from you if you're willing to share!
vintagewitch: (Default)
 The last couple of days have been sort of productive. I've been wrapping up things at my job - my last day on the payroll is tomorrow. I am both relieved and sad about that. I also have an interview at 9 am tomorrow morning for a temp gig, so here's hoping I can nab that one.

I have ideas for the next novel bubbling up inside of me. I've even been looking into the research. It will be set sometime in the 1910s or 1920s - and it will have to do with spiritualism, mysticism, and the early revival of ceremonial magick in America. I'm not sure exactly the plot, but I know where I want to do research, so that's a good thing! Of course, I need to finish the manuscript I'm working on at the moment before I can even begin to plot another novel out. I don't want to get ahead of myself.

I've been trying to make time for writing. I haven't been terribly successful. I feel like my work in progress right now has potential to be very good, but the structure has changed so much over the course of the writing of it that it's hard to see that potential. I know the Brain Demons don't really help much on that front. Camp Nano will be good for me this year - force me to write a bit every day, force me to finish this manuscript. 

I wish I'd known that particular, localized folklore would be such an important part of this novel I'm writing now. I could have done the research ahead of time. I feel like I just ... jumped in. I know that each project is a learning experience, and this one is a rather big one. 

I have also noticed it's difficult for me to be really open and creative when I'm doing the kind of work I've been doing. Calling people I don't know to try to get them to do things for hours on end? REALLY EXHAUSTING. And I'm not even as introverted as they come - I'm pretty smack dab in the middle. I am eager to get to a point where I'm doing more management, more long-term policy planning, rather than the constant, high-energy work that is organizing.

Social media? Another huge drain. Facebook more than Twitter - I feel like there's more on the line with Facebook. Like, the social consequences of facebook weirdness are worse. Actually, there's a whole post here waiting to be written, but I just haven't gotten to it yet. 

Add that to my list.

I've been getting to know a neighbor in the building. She's ... probably in her sixties? She's had a really interesting life.  But she's super secure in who she is, she's got a great perspective, and she helps me see things differently. She's also incredibly intellectual, which I've been missing lately.

Note to self: spend more time reading, analyzing, seeing things. It's way easier to turn on shitty tv at the end of organizing, but that doesn't feed my soul the way books and writing does.

I think I hang out with 20-somethings too much. When your friends are your job competition, that shit can get weird.

(folks reading this are excluded from the "I hang out with 20-somethings" thing. Even if we do hang out in person)
vintagewitch: (UP Coast Perhaps)
It's been a tough week, but at least I get to end it on a high note.

News!

1. I got a part time job as an environmental organizer! It's temporary, planning a large tar sands rally in June. So yay! I will be half time at the accounting firm, and doing 20 hrs/week on organizing stuff. Feels very good!

2. I won tickets to see a show this Saturday at the local jazz club. So yay! That will be a great sendoff for Matt!

This is a very welcome change to the tone of things happening lately. The Baltimore Uprising has been gut wrenching to watch (but good news there too - 6 cops were charged in Freddie Gray's death today). The worst of it is that I know this is an issue black communities have been facing for decades. It's tragic, it's scary. There was a large rally planned for my city on Wednesday, and there were several times I teared up. It was so cathartic to raise a ruckus with like-minded people.

At the same time that this large-scale national mourning is happening, the GOP in my state is gutting most of the policies I care about. They're repealing our carbon reduction goals, investment in renewable energy, cutting one state-run health insurance program, lowering the minimum wage for service industry workers, and in general Fucking Things Up. It's hard to know where to start with citizen activism on some of this stuff - especially when I'm not the constituent of the people doing the Bad Things. I mean, I volunteer with two different environmental organizations, and will call on specific bills, but ... there's just so much crap right now.


I will write a larger post about some of these things, but I've been feeling very inarticulate on them lately. I get choked with emotion. Even more reasons I needed that self care night last night.

So last night's self care looked like ... pretty new nails! I STILL can't figure out how to upload an image (and don't have the patience for that right now), so I'll just link you to the photo.

I also went on a nice long walk with Matt, and then ended up sitting with him on the patio by our building for a good long while. As well as some other quality time things. I think he's been lonely and stressed, so it was nice to spend time together. But now I need some alone time, some reading time, some writing time.

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