The Creative List

I’m a list-type person. Whether daily, weekly, errand-related, or whatever I feel I need a list for, I use lists to get shit done. It works. It works for me. I follow the list, I complete one of the items, I check it off and I move on to the next item. I remain calm, I feel like (as preciously stated) shit gets done. 

However, there is one list that I fear and avoid, except to add to. The “Creativity” list. 

You would think this is the one list I would love attending to the most, right? No. Instead, I am wary of it. Why? I am not sure, but the list has been growing. Finally, I am aggressively attending to checking items of said list. 

Here are the first two. 

Creativity List No. 1: Five of Wands Tarot.  I am not sure why I had this at the top of my list (again, I have had this list for a while).  So, here it is, the “Five of Wands”. Color pencil, ink, in paper. 

Creativity List No. 2: “Labyrinth as a background element”. For this piece, I thought about going the Henson route, draw Hoggle or Jared. I have to be honest with you — I am not a fan of the movie. I went with a favorite, Pan’s Labyrinth”. Ink on paper, featuring a lot of stippling. 


Tomorrow I start No. 3.

Stay tuned. I should have it done next week. 

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Lost spoons, lessons learned.

Ever find yourself in a situation where you are interacting with a person you know well, or at least you thought you knew well? You look back on the time you knew this person and you remember something different. You remember a different person. You think know this person and then you do not. When or how did the knowledge change? Maybe you evolved and they regressed? You are not sure. 

It is unsettling to notice this. I suppose when you find yourself in a position where you are investing a large portion of your time (in this case, being awake) to this person that is can be unsettling. And tiring. How on earth is it so tiring? Why is interaction with this person so exhausting?

The interaction is now in the past, but you are still coping with the aftermath. You used up all your spoons and your reserves interacting with this person. My brain is walking in numerous directions trying to understand what happened? When did I stop knowing this person?

Instead of enjoying the moment, you are walking on needles, hot coals, and razor blades. You are willing yourself to be patient, to not lose your temper, and you count down the hours until the interaction is complete.

You want your spoons back. You want all of them back.

I want my spoons back. I will not get them back.

In the future, I will need to be more mindful of keeping my spoons for me.

Self created isolation?

I have no idea if I posted this before. It has been sitting, patiently, as a draft for over two years. Sure I can scroll back in my dashboard, to see if a version of this did get posted.

However, it feels relevant to now. There are no health issues this time around. Aside from a weird skin allergy and the aches and pains of starting up an exercise regime, I am pretty darn healthy.

I believe it is the isolation, that resonates. This time, though, I need it for creative purposes.

Anyway…

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Lately, I find it difficult to reach out to people I know. Family members, friends, health care providers, most people I need to keep in contact with all – all of these people I am having trouble reaching out to? I will stare at my phone, tell myself to call or text my aunt, for example. After about 30 seconds of this, I turn my phone off and I place it down. Sitting at my computer, I will open up my mail program, stare at the inbox, and nothing. I look at it and then I “Command + H” it and walk away.

Why am I having trouble reaching out to people? I have news to share, but I am not sure how to share it. Maybe that it is? No. It has to be something else. Like, the evil little depression that I have suppressed, or so I thought.

What I think happened is that with the good news, I got bad news, and some life changing news. My mind is not sure how to process it all.

Returning to momentum

I have not been writing much lately. Well, that is not true. I have been writing, but journal writing. The writing I mean is the non-journal writing. Most often, I tend to have items I want to write about pop up in my head while I am in the shower, or on a walk, or driving. I will tell myself to write about those items when I make it to my computer. When I do get in front of my computer, I end up forgetting what I wanted to write about. Or, I lose the interest, the focus to do it.

Then I play variations of solitaire for thirty minutes.

This bit of writing here? I started this a week ago, perhaps two. I cannot remember. All I can remember is that I started it during the month of February (I saved the document with the month and year).

Thankfully, at the top of this saved document, I put together a list of items I wanted to write about. I suppose I will readdress this document now, one topic at a time, and post as I go along. It is time to blog again. I have been ignoring this for too long.

Let us see where my ramblings started: Social Media. Ugh. Right. Ok, let us do this.

Social Media. I hate it. I absolutely hate it. I hate how it consumes my time. However, I do not feel comfortable getting rid of it permanently. I tried that last year. Perhaps I will make a go of it this year, again. When I tried last year, I deleted a lot of people. And it felt good. I also logged out for several months. This also felt good. At one point, I had my account ready to delete. I paused. I truly wanted to delete it, I did. But, as I had my mouse cursor over the “Delete,” I found I could not do it.

So how does this relate to Social Media and keeping my account? Social Media is the only way I can interact with some people I want to keep in my life. It is easy and it requires minimal effort. I am not very good at communicating with people. I tend to be one of those “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” people. Unless people are directly in front of me, I might never talk to anyone outside my main comfort zone. There are a small amount people in my comfort zone. Everyone else is sort of outside of that, by degrees.

I do not like texting. I prefer emailing – long form works better for me. Unfortunately, I need to be in the mood to sit down and compose and email. As for phones? I do not like to talk on the phone. I suffer from low self-esteem when I email or text someone and I do not hear back in a timely manner. I become anxious. I start running through all these scenarios as to why they are not responding back. I question myself: Am I being a bad friend because I am not more adamant about getting in touch. Is it that I am choosing the wrong form of communication? So I be reaching out more, via more avenues? Am I the one in the wrong? But friendships should go both ways, right? They should at least acknowledge me as well, right? I am not wrong. At least write a quick reply, that they will get back to me at a later point.

When they finally do, I calm down, but by that time, my desire to talk is gone. I am drained, either from feeling anxious, or I am doing something else I need to focus my time on.

So, Social Media remains a part of my life, to ease my need to quickly communicate.

This is a good point for me to stop, for now. There are at least five more items I want to get out there, but not today.

When a brain does not operate smoothly.

For a few weeks, braining has been hard. In particular, this week has been a really tough week to brain. Each morning started off alright. However, as the day progressed, my brain would give up the driver’s seat, letting the Bad Thoughts take the wheel. Never good. Never good at all.

Over the past two mornings, I have been working out what is going on in my brain. Why is this week so hard? Why does my brain have a hard time this week? What is my brain having difficulty processing? If referring to my brain as a machine, what is it stuck on? What broke? Where are the faulty parts?

Initial diagnostics found three problem areas: “Time. Being Scared. Being Lazy.”

Time.
Time has always been faulty. In the past, I have never found a good solution for fixing Time in relation to my brain. It is finite. It goes by quickly. It always sits there, tick-tick-ticking away, one second at a time.

Being Scared.
No, I am not talking about being scared of spiders, heights, or anything of that sort. What I am scared of is starting new things. I am terrified of starting new challenges. I am afraid of failure. I am not afraid of others considering me a failure. I am afraid of considering myself a failure.

Being Lazy.
Being lazy means sitting around all day, playing computer solitaire, goofing off on the interwebs, or not doing anything that I consider productive. I feel this most in my office. I have a mental association that my office is a place where I should be productive, doing productive tasks and projects, and making something of myself. Instead of doing productive tasks, I sit around, visit the same web sites, play the same games, tell myself to be productive, beat myself up for not being productive.

My husband thinks being lazy could be considered procrastination. Perhaps, it is a symptom of procrastination, which stems from Being Scared, which stems from Time. It always comes down to time for me.

I could ask myself why is this so hard to do? Why is it so hard for me to address/work on my own tasks/projects/problems? Maybe because when I look at my items, I feel bad. I feel afraid. This is a problem, because life is good. My life is really great. I am in a place where there is stability, support, and I have to ability to be who ever I want, do what ever I want. And I don’t. Instead, I hide away, behind errands, behind chores, behind little things that I feel are more important to take care of, right away, which leads me to looking at the clock, seeing how little time I have left (there is plenty of time), and I sit down to open up a Solitaire game which I will play for the next 30 minutes to an hour. And I have wasted an hour now. I have wasted an hour where I could have been productive. I beat myself up, I feel exhausted, and I give up. But tomorrow will be different.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

So, how do I fix the broken parts? Are there replacements? What do I need to do allow my brain to run, effectively, on all cylinders?

Maybe, I need to detach. Maybe instead of assignments or To Dos, I make them challenges. Or as the kids say, make it a game. Shit, even my organizing courses/books suggest making it into a game. Make it fun. I should try it out. Keep it simple to start. Already my brain is trying to break down and organize how I would make it a game. What would be the reward system? Is there a category breakdown? Levels?

I cannot go that far. I need to keep it simple.

I need to say, “if I _________, I can ________.”

Let us see if I can do this. Let us see if this “fix” can stick.

Friends don’t let friends exploit one another

I am a good person. I like being a good person and doing things for other people. If I am not looking out for me, I would say that I like helping people out, even if it causes distress for me, because it makes them happy. Some part of me feels if other people are happy around me, because of me, then I can feel good about myself. It is stupid, I know. I am finally dealing with this behavior.

And I do, albeit for a short time. Then, there comes a time where I could use their help. Instead what I get are excuses why they cannot help me. Or I am ignored. Or I get this response “Sorry, I have no time, but hey, can you do me a huge favor?”

I feel my last job followed along very similar lines. I did the clichéd “above and beyond” year after year, with no rewards or recognition. It is because I am a good person. I keep telling myself I am a good person.

Why do I feel this need to be a good person, even to people who are not good to me? For me? More so, why is it so important that I need these people to like me? Is this a behavioral thing I learned while I was growing up? Maybe. Possibly. Very well could be. Sure, it is a behavioral thing, but I can change this. I am changing this.

Possibly, this is why right now, instead of being paranoid about one of those “exploiting friends”  ignoring me right now, I feel annoyance. I listen and acknowledge you. It is time for you to listen and acknowledge me.

Friendships are supposed to be shared between two people. Friends should be supportive of each other. They should not exploit the friendship. Year after year, I have done things for this friend, professionally-related things, where she did not acknowledge it as what I do for a living. If I were to put into financial terms what I have done for this one friend, I could pay one month’s rent for a decent 1 + 1 bedroom apartment, in a nice area of Studio City. Instead, I got a $50 gift card months later, as well as several sob stories about how money is tight at the moment, because “you know, kids and their medical bills and all.” Sure. I understand, as I now have to dig into my savings to pay my bills because I am short this month because you could not pay. But hey. at least I have free coffee.

It is one of those reasons why I ended my previous career at the end of last year. I was tired of being exploited by friends who thought they could get a good deal because we were friends. Yes, we were friends.

I guess I needed to release a little there.

Lessons learned while on vacation 

Puuhonua O Honaunau: City of Refuge

I was on vacation. Well, I was on a mental vacation (After my last post), then we (the husband and I) followed the mental vacation with an actual vacation. We learned several things while on our vacation:

  1. Small children should not be allowed in First Class (or more so, if the mother knows her child is going to be a crying, vomiting pill the entire 5 hour and 15 minute flight, maybe she should not book those First Class seats because I do not think that those of us who were sitting in First Class will be none too thrilled. note: we booked First Class, one way, because Honeymoon – it was our Honeymoon).
  2. While the cost for the shuttle is only $10 one way, make sure you have the time to travel an additional 40 minutes to get to your hotel (when it should only take 15 minutes).
  3. The rolling and shaking on a giant boat is similar to earthquake swarms. We worry when we next feel a tremor. We might have flashbacks to being back on the boat.
  4. The premium beverage package is both great and dangerous.
  5. If you are normally a very clean eater, making your meals 95% of the time, 10 days on a boat will do a number on your stomach (and your waistline, or thighs in my case). Sure the portions were small, but so much butter, so much sugar – how do people normally eat like that? How did I use to normally eat like that?
  6. The casino does not seem so appealing if all you earn is credit towards perks you already got for free when you booked your cruise.
  7. $39 for a Bingo board?!?!
  8. Sommeliers are the best people to become friends with on the boat – they become so generous with their pours.
  9. Soda does taste differently in a specifically designed glass (seriously, try this – pour some soda in a regular drinking glass, then pour some in a champagne glass. You will taste the difference. Mindblowing).
  10. The rolling motion of the boat works really well when getting a massage.
  11. A veranda is great, until you are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for 5 days. Brrrrr.
  12. By day 7, you are done, you are ready to go home, relax, being in your own bed, but you cannot. There are still three more days at sea.
  13. Sure you booked your ride home from the airport. Sure you confirmed they would be there to pick you up. Is it not amazing that when you land, you learn they never had you on their books? So, instead, you take a $200 taxi ride home, during Friday night Bay Area traffic, in a taxi with a maximum speed of 60mph?
  14. How wonderful it is to open the front door of your home to see that no-one broke in and stole your stuffs (a big concern because just before we left, there were a series of break-ins in our neighborhood).