"Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous." ~Anais Nin

19 October 2016

Poetry Wednesday #57

The nights grow long

The nights grow long,
The wind brings chills,
The moon whispers
Of ghostly thrills.
I'm excited,
It's just so keen!
Only two weeks
'Til Halloween!

17 October 2016

My life's a bit of a tangle: an update

Rat King preserved at Museum Mauritianum in Altenburg, Germany
 [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Isn't that a nasty photo?  I love it.  I'd say it's a good visual metaphor for my life right now, but that's totally not true.  The picture above reminds me that, yeah, I'm tangled up, but I'm not gross.  I am not made of rats, nor am I dead and somehow, disgustingly, preserved.  So that's awesome.

I mostly made it through my first week of no television or streaming.  Mostly.  I broke down Sunday night and watched the movie Mascots and two episodes of The Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  Still, not bad, all things considered.

I had a couple of bad nights and one bad day.  Friday was horrible, but mostly because I somehow strained my back the night before and was in pain.  Much pain.  I really don't recommend straining or otherwise hurting your back.  Saturday and Sunday night though were the worst.  Saturday was fine while I was at work, I was still a little achy, but everything was manageable.  When I got home, though, it was all dark thoughts and despair.  I had to go for a long muttering walk* to burn off my anger enough to sleep.  Sunday was much the same, as evidenced by my last post—rewritten several times to not sound quite so insane.

Mostly, I'd count last week as a success, and will continue with my moratorium on TV and the like.

There are a few things that I realized about myself during this week, and those are:
  1. I need to learn how to deal with my mental scratches.  You know how when a record is scratched, the needle jumps, and it will sometimes play the same few bars over and over and over again?  My brain does that.  I'll get on this track–generally thinking of something unpleasant–and my mind will replay the same thoughts over and over and over again.  Driving me to rage and despair.  To continue the metaphor, I need to find some healthy, non-destructive way to interrupt that cycle, and move on with my song.
  2. I am WAAYY more aware of myself when I'm not watching TV.  This is a good thing.  I eat less and healthier.  I don't let myself dehydrate.  I notice what I'm doing and thinking more.
  3. I have a seriously fucked up sleep schedule.  I can probably blame this on my retail experience.  You haven't known misery until you've had a schedule where you close one night at midnight or 1AM, and are expected in the next morning at 7AM to open.  I did crap like that for years.  Now I'm not working retail, but I am working mostly evenings.  It doesn't matter what time I go to bed the night before, left to my own devices I won't wake up until after noon.  I have to set 2 or 3 alarms to be up at 8AM on Saturdays.  This needs to change.  So for the next several weeks I will work on resetting my internal clock, and waking up and going to sleep at decent, not college student/retail worker hours.
  4. I am not nearly physically active enough.  I need to get up and get moving.
  5. I freak out when I don't have access to the internet.  It doesn't matter if I'm planning on using it or not, the second it's out I'm desperate to get it back.  Thursday night out internet went out, resulting in one such freak out.  I had planned on joining one of my best friends for tea, a walk, and a gab session, but when I got home I discovered the outage and cancelled it all while I desperately ran around the house trying to fix it.  Turns out our wifi router needed to be replaced.  We got the internet back on Friday, but my Thursday night plans were shot.
  6. It's easier to zone and not think about things.  Of course, that's how I got so tangled in the first place.
So that's it.  In the coming weeks I will be working on changing my sleep schedule and learning how to deal with my brain when it decides to go on a maniacal repeating cycle.  Oh, and finding a job.

My language studies are going well.  I can't say that I can actually say anything, but I'm on track.  I think I mentioned this last post, but in two weeks I'm planning on slowing down on the Irish and picking Mandarin back up.  

Also, I'm going to try to write a story worth reading, hopefully before this month ends.  We'll see.

*A muttering walk is one in which I walk and talk to myself to work out my problems.  I may or may not also make angry gestures at the air.  I look like a madwoman while doing it, but it makes me feel better.

16 October 2016

I adult now? Really?!?

Poster for WPA education program. Public Domain.

I don't know how to adult.  I don't.  I really wish they gave classes on it.  Mostly because I know how to student.  I student well.  I should, I spent the majority of my life studenting.  But I've had a hard time making the transition from student to adult.  I just can't seem to manage it.  And you'd think, at 35, I'd have some ideas of how to go about it, but I don't.

Well, I know I need a job, but I don't know how to go about getting one.  I know I need to move out of my parents' place, but without a job . . . That's not happening.  That first step, getting a job that pays a decent wage, one on which I can freaking live, that prevents everything else from falling into place.  It's so frustrating.

So I'm living–and have been for some time–provisionally.  Which is the worst way to live.  Because all I do is make plans, and never follow through.  Someday I will (ha!), maybe.  What is, by far, the worst part of this is that I have to live provisionally.  I have no other choice, my options right now are so limited.  So–grrr–frustrating.

What I want to do–when I can–is get my own place, join the woodworkers and wood-turners guilds and take classes so I can learn to build something solid.  I have plans drawn up for bookshelves, a settle, a bed, and a few other pieces.  I want to visit Ireland, Barbados, and Croatia.  I want to pay back my parents, pay off my credit card, and make at least a dent in my student loans.  Eventually, I'd like to buy a house–or build a house–on a few acres of land and have a garden.  All these things are contingent, though, on me being able to make a living.

I don't understand what went wrong in my life.  I'm smart.  I'm educated.  I'm generally outgoing–though I must admit that that aspect of my personality comes and goes with my overall stress level.  I'm hard working.  I learn quickly.  I'm punctual, organized, and I rarely get ill.  I don't know why I'm struggling so, so much.

Looking back, maybe I should have pursued office jobs earlier.  I definitely should have completed my BA years before I did.  But that shouldn't matter that much.  Most of that you could chalk up to me being a bit of a late bloomer.  Now, though, I feel like I've crossed the threshold between late bloomer and that creepy guy living in his elderly parents' basement.  Maybe not, but I'm pushing it.

—As an aside: Can you tell that I've begun applying for jobs once again?  I took a mental health break for the summer.  Now that old stress is upon me again and I'm being melodramatic.

I don't know.  I'm trying to fill my time and not compare myself to my contemporaries.  (Though that last bit is difficult).  I've begun studying Irish, and constantly seem to be finding myself trying to make sounds I never learned how to make.  Irish probably won't help me out on my job search, but it's an interesting language–fun.  And I feel the need to keep my mind supple.  I have plans to pick back up with my Mandarin studies–which may help me in my job search–after Halloween.  If I can talk my mother into covering expenses, I want to redecorate the family room.  I have a design already in my head.  I read a lot.

It's tough though.  I want to take dance classes, or yoga, or woodworking.  I want to be able to go out with my friends.  I want to be able to do normal fun things that women my age do.  Hell, at this point, I even want to go shopping for clothes–something I absolutely loathe–because my wardrobe is fairly raggedy and I like looking nice.  I want to do things.  I really, really do.  But things cost money and every penny I make is already accounted for.

Gods! Please!  Someone hire me soon!!!

12 October 2016

Poetry Wednesday #56

By en:John Anster Fitzgerald (1823-1906) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Oftentimes, at least with my rhyming poetry, the first verse comes to me all at once.  This is a perfect example.  I just started singing it a couple of days ago, adding more verses as I did so.  I'm thinking it needs at least two more verses, which I'll write–or won't–sometime in the future.  Enjoy! ~AJ

Untitled, Unfinished Song or Ballad

Away with the faeries
The girl goes to play,
In the land of enchantment
Between night and day.

She runs with the spirits,
And dances along
To the instruments playing
Their magical song.

Forgetting her sorrows,
Forgetting her woes,
She leaves all behind her,
As away she goes.

She leaves for the weekend,
And is gone for a year,
Since, through fae magics,
She's forgotten her fear.

10 October 2016

Plans for the coming days

Meditation by Moyan Brenn
I quit Facebook at the beginning of summer.  I missed it like mad for the first week, but now I don't really care one way or another.  That got me thinking, and I recently decided to call a moratorium on all my other social networking sites until the start of 2017.  Though, if you follow my Instagram you may still be able to catch a photo or two of my cats now and again between now and then.  And you can always find me here—I do plan on picking back up with Poetry Wednesday again this week, and hopefully adding some more content of one type or another.  But my other sites?  Nah, they'll be cold.

Actually, after spending some time soul searching, I plan on doing more than that.  I'm cutting myself off from most other forms of mass media too: television, Netflix, Amazon Prime, et cetera, et cetera, several blogs and news sites, and every form of video game from my brother's new PlayStation 4 to computer solitaire are all getting cut from my life for the next several months.  Maybe forever.  I'm just tired of it all, you know?  They're huge time sucks for me—used to avoid doing things that I want to do but are more difficult than laying around and staring at a screen—and I don't really get anything out of it.  I don't even really enjoy it.

So, I'm cutting my screen time.  By a lot!  I plan on only using my computer to apply for jobs, write, and to study languages (Mandarin Chinese and Irish).  There are a few blogs that I follow that I'll continue to check in with, but only once a week.  And, of course, I'll still be using a computer at work.  I'm a librarian, 90% of my job seems to be looking something up online for someone.

I think of these things as small changes, but I think they'll have a big impact on my life.  I think they'll lead to bigger changes, but who knows?  Though, I imagine I'll find myself with a great many hours of free time soon, and I hope I can use that constructively.  I hope to use it to transform my life into what I want it to be, as soon as I decide what, exactly, that is.

I deleted most of the apps from my phone a few days ago, and found that, like Facebook, I don't really miss them.  I spent the day–aside from while I was at work–away from both the TV and the computer, and I think this can work.  I'm actually looking forward to rediscovering the real world.

Wish me luck!