Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Post post-Christmas.

I'm about to leave my brother's house. It's been a restful Christmas. I've not left the house for 3 days, and watched a lot of movies with my family. I cooked a lot, I'm pooped. I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and taking a proper shower (my brother has country water).

Just checked my e-mail.

Read Rob Brezny's forecast for my 2017.
Nothing can hold you back -- not your childhood, not the history of a lifetime, not even the very last moment before now. In a moment you can abandon your past. And once abandoned, you can redefine it. If the past was a ring of futility, let it become a wheel of yearning that drives you forward. If the past was a brick wall, let it become a dam to unleash your power.
I hope you got to rest this holiday, I'll be heading home today, I have a lot of projects I'd like to work on, and I'm expecting deliveries and need to re-open my Etsy shop.

I got a fitbit for Christmas, which I had asked for. Part of my trying to take better care of myself. It was a nice holiday. My gifts seem to have been well received. I always enjoy giving gifts. 

I took some additional holiday days - at my own cost (unpaid) - and I just want to go home and enjoy being home.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Every body goes haywire.

Finally found the time to read Every body goes haywire by Anna Altman. A friend had shared it with me months ago.
Joanna Kempner, a sociologist at Rutgers and author of the recently published Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health, writes that “people worry when they cannot fulfill their end of the so-called sick role, an implicit social contract in which sick people are given leave of their everyday duties, as long as they adhere to certain rules like seeking appropriate medical care and working hard to get better. But these obligations are difficult to meet when there is no effective treatment.”
Ooooof. This has been a bit point for me the last two years. Getting it into my head, and accepting that I have a lifelong, chronic condition. There is no endpoint, other than the big endpoint.
THIS INHERITANCE AWAITS MANY WOMEN. Almost 20 percent of women suffer migraines, and 75 percent of migraine sufferers are women. That same group of hard-to-diagnose and hard-to-treat diseases—lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, but also chronic fatigue, chronic headache and fibromyalgia—primarily afflicts women. “Women are more likely than men to be disabled by chronic illnesses,” Susan Wendell writes, “and women (including women with other disabilities) suffer more ill health than men. Women live longer than men, but much of that extra living is done with a disabling chronic illness.”
Wendell points out that those chronic conditions bring with them the kind of invisible impairments that can cripple a patient without appearing notable. “Pain and/or fatigue are major sources of impairment in many chronic illnesses that are more common in women than in men,” she writes. It is exactly these impairments that are easiest to dismiss or misperceive as psychosomatic.
And doctors treat complaints about such conditions differently when they come from women. Kempner cites studies that show physicians prescribe less pain medicine to women than they do to men, even though women are more likely to suffer chronic pain. Other studies show that women are more likely than men to be prescribed antidepressants and tranquilizers—rather than pain medication—for their migraines. Add to this the fact that migraine is more likely to occur in people with mental health diagnoses like depression and anxiety, both of which are more common in women. All of this makes it hard to untangle migraine and other chronic pain conditions from stereotypes of female weakness and hysteria. The characterization perpetuates the notion of the migraineur-as-malingerer, the sensitive soul disabled by everyday disruptions.
I remember reading about hysteria in feminist health class and man did I not really get it at the time. It took an added decade of navigating the medical system for me to see it time and time again. I remember talking to my most normie friend N when she was on the verge of a burnout from her job. She was traveling internationally several times a year and was working over 60 hours a week. I told her, without mincing words that she should not wear makeup or dress up to go to the appointment (she usually would) because if she looks tired and beat, the doctor will be more likely to believe her. I also mentioned the study about how women often minimize their pain and discomfort out of the gendered habit of "I'm fine" -ing everything. I told her to psych herself up, and not play it off. This is a woman who is neurotically privileged and physically in peak condition.
This is hard to communicate when you appear to be young, healthy, and able-bodied. “To be recognized as disabled, we have to remind people frequently of our needs and limitations,” writes Wendell of women who suffer from chronic, invisible disabilities. The struggle for recognition is constant, even among the most compassionate: “Some people offer such acceptance readily, others greet every statement of limitation with skepticism, and most need to reminded from time to time.”
In my case, much of my close circle has these "invisible disabilities," chronic conditions that do not always display outwardly. There is something especially slippery about mental illness, something we're asked to describe at inopportune times, or when we aren't verbal or when we're feeling better, or when we're in such crisis we're catatonic.
I had my diagnosis immediately. Learning to cope with it takes years.
Illness is the space where I came to understand the limitations of my being. It’s a lesson we all learn but one I learned harshly and twice, first watching my mother and then enduring my own suffering. Now I know that I can lie down for hours without moving. I can meditate. I can stare at the wall and not despair. If I discovered something redemptive in this experience, it’s that capacity for stillness.
Heavy piece, but her closing paragraph really nailed it. There is a natural quiet that comes to you through solitude and suffering. I wish that didn't sound as poetic as it does. There's a resignation in it, an acceptance. But really, what choice do we have?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What Comedy Taught Me About My Mental Illness.

Just read What Comedy Taught Me About My Mental Illness by Kate Lindstedt.

I've been thinking a lot about self-representation through creative forms, through writing, and through my Etsy store. I've also been thinking about my ability to write, and my ability to be honest. 

Lindstedt's piece vaguely discusses how stand-up has helped her in controlling her narrative, and in being able to reflect and the absurdity of certain situations in an open way. 

It isn't easy in general, but there's something about comedy that has a way of defusing so much. If you're successful that is.

I made a joke in the kitchen at work yesterday about traumatizing one of my front teeth in high school, which then killed the nerves, resulting in the need for a root canal 15 years later. 

I was telling the story in French, and I said something along the lines of, "At the time I thought it was funny. I got a field hockey ball in the mouth, and my front tooth was wiggling around. I laughed *huh huh huh* (Seth Rogen chuckle) and played with it constantly. I was such a dumb idiot I didn't realize it wasn't the greatest thing to be able to wiggle your permanent adult teeth that way."

The thing is, I told this story in French, so instead of a ridiculous double-insult like "dumb idiot" I said something more serious, which would translate to "dumb bitch." The tone was off.

One of my colleagues got really serious and said, "Man you are hard on yourself."

So, first, duh, guy. 

But then I also wanted to explain how I failed the joke - but I couldn't be bothered. 

All of this is to say that I can be hard on myself in a way that's also ridiculous and overly-absurd, because life is ridiculous and absurd and that's also part of my coping strategy / survival method. 

I've thought about stand-up. Where the art loses me is having to perform for people. lol. It's like, meh, I don't need you to think I'm funny. I'm pretty funny. Thus writing and other types of creative work that are more self-motivated and curated are what I'm exploring. I also don't have the energy for the grind of it. The open-mics, the traveling, the hustle. I'm too busted right now.

Friday, December 16, 2016

David Foster Wallace and depression.

From a piece on David Foster Wallace and his depression:
All of this is to say that sadness doesn’t possess the real teeth of depression. The symptom that distinguishes depression from any other state is something I would call terminal fragility, although it’s defined in a less hand-wavey way by the DSM as “guilt/worthlessness.” It’s the feeling that the world’s fundamental malignancy begins with oneself. It represents a categorical change in the way you perceive negative outcomes. You see pain as appropriate punishment, instead of occasional inconvenience. You see yourself as a burden—a net loss for humanity—somehow less worthy of life. Instead of thinking, “that shitty day happened to me,” you think, “as is consistent with my deservedly shitty life, that shitty day occurred, the pain of which is unmitigated by its predictability.” The normal thought, if your hair is misbehaving, is, “fuck, I’ve gotta buy a blow dryer.” The depressed thought is, “I am feeling paralyzing woe because my hair, finally, is as ugly as my soul.” That’s depression’s foremost distinction—it holds you responsible for your suffering.
The original article, The David Foster Wallace Disease by Sasha Chapin is over on Hazlitt.
Wallace’s story “The Depressed Person” opens like this:
“The depressed person was in terrible and unceasing emotional pain, and the impossibility of sharing or articulating this pain was itself a component of the pain and a contributing factor in its essential horror.”
I've never read Wallace. It sounds too intense for me. Intellectually and in scope. I don't know that I have the stamina or attention span for it. I also don't know that reading such well-developed writing on and around depression would be good for me. I'm already convinced, brother.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The pendulum swings.

I've thought about it, and I doubt I'll be applying to graduate school.

Though K really inspired me, once I researched the programs in Montreal, the costs, and the intellectual limitations and rigid guidelines, I got real tired real quick.

My issue with graduate school is that there's so much stuff you have to do in order to do what you want to be doing. Required classes and lectures and work groups. And though I'm sure masters-level theory and research method courses can be very helpful, I also know they most likely are not.

I struggled a lot with my undergraduate thesis because it wasn't about my research, it was about checking off boxes and making sure the i's were dotted and the t's were crossed.

If the majority of the work I'm doing now is creative, thinking of reformulating any of it in order to adhere to ivory-tower standards bummed me out.

I'm not getting a master's degree in order to go up a pay scale as an engineer. I'm a fucking art-bum. Why pay so much for a degree; kill myself for something that has such limited application - when art itself exists well outside of official spaces.

What I'm doing now, trying to write, creating small pieces for Etsy - I did it for me. I do this for me. I need to let stuff out. I need to try and let stuff out, I am encouraged by people's reception of my work - all of this, all of this is for me.

I worry about compromising what it is I want to do for something so fickle. I have a tremendous amount of respect for education, for reading and the arts, for history and engaged critique. But now I also know that that doesn't necessarily live in institutions, and in fact, the halls of academia have been exclusionary than anything else.

Even "mad studies" lives within specific kinds of academic spaces. Spaces you need to pay a price of admission to access. Spaces where your language use and classwork is filtered through a professor's narrative. From my reading of the faculty websites, I don't see flexibility or radicalism here.

I do not want to spend the time I have, the little bodily energy I have and the intellectual and creative energy I have trying so hard to fit into another system that wasn't meant for me.

Let me be clear when I say "wasn't meant for me" I do not mean that this space was destined for specifics kinds of people of which I am not. I mean it isn't meant for anyone, really. It's meant for very specific kinds of knowledge and exchange. There is a given look to what the pursuit of knowledge is, and it looks like a research paper. It looks like deadlines and exams. It's impersonal and cold. And making it anything other than these things is work. Work for myself. Work that is undervalued and patronized.

I don't want to live in that space. I want more free time for my own creative endeavors. I want very little of anything else.

I want to explore things fully, through my own whims, not through pre-set paths off of school hallways.

Night cabage.

In the wee hours of the morning I get up to pee. Afterwards I have a drink. Every day I look out the patio doors while drinking  my water. Every day I see my neighbours giant cabbage. Every day my twilight-eyes and sleepy brain think "Woah is that a little kid?!"

Then I remember it's my neighbours giant cabbage and I go back to bed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

lol @ doctor idiot.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Lady Gaga on living with mental illness.

Lady Gaga discussed living with mental illness, PTSD and her struggles as a rape survivor when she recently visited a LGBTQ youth shelter.

I love Gaga, and I especially love her for being so open and honest about her own struggles. I really love her new album, there are definite threads of song-writing about kindness and care and that are hyper-emotive, throughout the album.

There's also a piece in The Guardian, that's a little more fleshed out.
She spoke about it again in November 2015 in a panel about the campus rape film The Hunting Ground, saying the rape “changed who I was completely. It changed my body, it changed my thoughts.” 
“When you go through a trauma like that, it doesn’t just have the immediate physical ramifications. For many people it is almost like trauma, where you re-experience it through the years after it.”
Gaga has always been open and honest. The song she did for The Hunting Ground was devastating. Find the live version from the Oscars if you can.

She seems very strong lately, her tone is clear and open and her work is emotional and confident in its vulnerability. It's also sweet, and loving. And that tone is comforting right now, since things are so shitty.

Check out Grigio Girls and Come to Mama from Joanne - I mean, even Diamond Heart and Joanne and Hey Girl . . . .

2016-12-07 - updateShe published an open letter on the subject of her PTSD, read it.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mad studies.

I had a busy weekend. On Saturday I trekked out to Victoriaville to visit a handful of antique places with K. I was introduced to K in Victoria when I visited my buddy there. K is in Montreal now, working on a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies, specifically disability studies.

Our day together had us discuss all sorts of things, much of it around disability studies, academia, access, mental illness, graduate work and just everything in and around those subjects.

When I talked to her about my Etsy shop, as well as my blog here, and what I focus on she was very encouraging as to my work being elaborated into graduate work.

She also pointed to an upcoming symposium on feminism and dark humor, as well as the field of "mad studies." Both things seemed so me. 

I'm going through a few "mad studies" links now:

This is a resource site. It seems to be based in Lancaster but many of the links are Canadian. It seems to have started in Canada.

It's linked me to the Centre for the study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health in Vancouver, which sounds right up my alley.

From The Guardian UK, Mad studies brings a voice of sanity to psychiatry by Peter Beresford:
The approach embodied in mad studies offers us a coherent roadmap for rethinking our mental wellbeing by recognising people who have experience of mental distress as both service users and experts.
I'm surprised that with all the reading I've been doing I've not been linked to Ryerson or "mad studies" before today. The symposium was in 2012. Though in all fairness to me in 2012 I was too busy having panic attacks to be reading anything other than Ativan labels.

 From another article, The rise of Mad Studies: A new academic discipline challenges our ideas of what it means to be “sane” by Alex Gillis:
"Mad studies doesn’t reject medical models of madness [but it puts] them into a historical trajectory, one that shows that psychiatry isn’t an absolute interpretation of human mental states,” says Kathryn Church, an associate professor of sociology and director of Ryerson’s school of disability studies.
It contextualizes "madness" - and I hope the representation of actual "mad" voices and experience fill the gaps (and there are many) of the nuances of access, care, and experience. Like any history account, the majority of reading someone's history means negating the histories of others. Views are never fully three-dimensional. Much of our talk about mental health is extremely superficial.

The article ends with a call to represent yourself and your experience, and that's where I'm wading right now.

How best to represent myself and my experiences?

Is academia more limiting than it is a helpful framework?

Do I want limits to how I represent myself and my struggles?

Am I comfortable with a language-based approach?

Does my writing and creative work need to be shared, viewed, and recognized to be valuable?

Am I willing to make such a financial sacrifice, for a degree with no monetary return value?

Am I willing to continue living like a student / someone who is perpetually broke?

Can I afford graduate school?

Do I have the energy for it?

All things I'm thinking of. All of this, and more, of course.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Life Inside.

VICE has a section on its site called Life Inside that features stories about incarceration.

I just read What I Saw Tracking Down the Mentally Ill in Jail.

I've been informing myself on incarceration more and more, ever since I started taking part int he Prisoner's Correspondence Project. I have a pen pal, and the more I try and hear him the less I understand about incarceration.

I plan on reading up on incarceration over the next while, especially proposed alternatives, clemency projects, and alternative programming.

Recommendations welcome.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lidia Yuknavitch's The Small Backs of Children.

Where are the borders of art? 
Where are the borders of a woman's body?
How unimaginable is one without the other?
When we think of violence, are we not aware, as women, of our place within the world of men?
The borders of our body, of our safe spaces, of hostile spaces?

I just finished reading The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch and I am re-committed to my impression of her as a fluid, visceral representation of what it is to write of art, trauma, violence and living a woman's experience.

I was floored when I read her memoir, The Chronology of Water. It's lead me here, to her novel, which kept me as enamored.

It's a novel, yes, but I feel as though the narrative of people and places is secondary to the passages that describe life so astutely. This book features a group of friends, all artists and creators, juxtaposed to a young girl in eastern Europe, orphaned by war and surviving through art, grit, and the persistence of young blood.

There are segments of her book that discuss art and experience, art as expression, as language, as reference point, as both anchor and catalyst. These sections created in me more questions. An infinite amount. Sometimes they fuse with and of the body, and gender and sexuality pour into her writing. Violence as commonplace, as a masculine language and threat. She has a similar juncture in violence, trauma, and women's bodies. One intrinsically stomped onto the other.

Our blood is all over this world.

Our greatest threat is so linked to us.

And of trauma, of death and loss and surviving the horrific, does our tongue split, now able to speak two languages? As if at different frequencies, two languages in parallel.

Yes I understand your desire for me to print this document, to do this grocery shopping, to celebrate this holiday, but do you understand that feeling, the deep rumble that comes from prolonged, wretched pain, where you become diluted by the incessancy of it, and become convinced your threshold makes you the undead, untouchable. Have you known that pain? No? Then we do not speak the same language. But yes, I do enjoy coffee. And yes, the weather has improved.

From page 69:
Who are we in moments of crisis or despair? Do we become deeper, truer selves, or life up and away from self, untethered from regular meanings like moths suddenly drawn toward heat or light? Are we better people when someone might  be dying, and if so, why? Are we weaker, or stronger? Are we beautiful, or abject? Serious, or cartoon? Do we secretly long for death to remind us we are alive?
This actually heavily links to the conversations I've been having with my best friend S regarding HBO's Westworld. There is an awful lot to unpack regarding the nature of trauma. If you have not watched Westworld - do not read anything about it! I went in blind and was able to discover and discuss things as I went and it's been very interesting!

Are our trauma's our cornerstones? 

I'd read something recently about the way in which trauma can root certain pathways in the brain, making it more difficult to adapt or change habits. Isn't this a scientific explanation for what we already know? How our wounds remind us, how old habits die hard? Aren't we creatures of narrative, of story? Isn't the story we hear most often our own?

Yuknavitch also has these really bodied moments, that represent those abstract experiences of being alive and sentient but not fully present in our culture and context. Detached. From page 93:
Then he thinks: love is an abstract word coming from a face hole.
I guess the only alienating bit to Lidia's novel is how it's populated by successful artists. Confident in their art. Monied. That's my alien experience. My unknown. Where art is a work, a calling, and not a form of communication and a way of being, of purging that is necessary.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happiness makes you less creative.

According to some research, happiness makes you less creative:
Rigor is the key to overcoming obstacles and completing tasks—and good mood doesn’t improve problem-solving, which involves judgments that almost by necessity won’t feel good: critique and evaluation, experimentation and failure. The stress that arises from problems may be unpleasant but it also motivates us to complete tasks... In other words, negative emotions are actually beneficial to the creative process.
I mean, duh, in some ways...

This study seems to be based in the workplace, which in itself creates a very specific frame in which to work. 

I'd argue that highs and lows are necessary as a writer or as an artist who communicated heavier narratives. But, I think it depends on the art. Happy-people-art doesn't really speak to me. It's not in my language. Art about someone getting shat on by a bird, that speaks to me. That's relatable. 

Since this study speaks to work-place stress/happiness, I'd argue that people who feel less secure at work or aren't as happy also have work-place performance fears and pressure. That also changes the way you function and produce.

In my experience creativity also takes time and energy, and the correlation of that time and energy isn't easily dropped into a capitalist framework. 

I've always had a shit time charging for my time. I hate it. It's why I can't work for myself creatively. When I'm depressed I feel like my time is worth shit, and when I'm not I just feel a tremendous amount of guilt and pressure asking for a livable sum.

Recently I referred a potential client to a friend, what he quotes 600$ for I would  have done for 20$ an hour. No doubt he'd walk away from that in a much better place than I.

I resent needing to ask for money. I don't want to sell my wares. I'm my own patron for now. Etsy'll have to do. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My skeletons.

I need to ponder!
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your
closet," said George Bernard Shaw, "you had best teach it to dance." This
advice is worthy of your consideration, Capricorn. You may still be unable
to expunge a certain karmic debt, and it may be harder than ever to hide,
so I suggest you dream up a way to play with it -- maybe even have some
dark fun with it. And who knows? Your willingness to loosen up might at
least alleviate the angst your skeleton causes you -- and may ultimately 
transform it in some unpredictably helpful way.
90s nintendo skeleton dancing skeleton

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay.

Just finished reading Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I already follow her on twitter, she's a great cultural critic. I've read pieces of hers here and there, but this is the first of her books I've read. I've already pre-ordered Hunger as well. She has a novel called Difficult Women scheduled for release in January 2017.

It's a nice collection of current-culture feminist critiques.

From Blurred lines, Indeed:
It’s hard not to feel humourless, as a woman and a feminist, to recognize misogyny in so many forms, some great and some small, and know you’re not imagining things. It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away. The problem is not that one of these things is happening: it’s that they are all happening, concurrently and constantly. (Page 189)
Here she's discussing the pervasive misogyny we see daily in popular culture, but she's also projecting past that, it's everywhere, all the time. She's also referencing her feeling like a nag/debbie downer by her pointing out this sexism all the time, how it makes her seem humourless. This is something that's often on my mind, since stand-up and humour are very dear to me, but so is the resistance to bigotry.

From The Illusion of Safety/The Safety of Illusion
I don’t believe in safety. I wish I did. I am not brave. I simply know what to be scared of; I know to be scared of everything. There is freedom in that fear. That freedom makes it easier to appear fearless-to say and do what I want. I have been broken, so I am prepared should that happen again. I have, at times, put myself in dangerous situations. I have thought, You have no idea what I can take. This idea of unknown depths of endurance is a refrain in most of my writing. Human endurance fascinates me, probably too much because more often than not, I think of life in terms of enduring instead of living. (Page 152)
Gay comes to this passage through a critique of the concept of "safe spaces" and trigger warnings. I understand what she's saying, but I see no harm in using a trigger warning when creating something you know to be a representation of traumatic space.

If I'm down, and having a hard time, and I see a movie has trigger warnings regarding a lot of sexual violence I might choose to opt out of seeing the film, and keeping it for a day when it won't kick me while I'm down. A trigger warning is the option to say no, and to walk away. I absolutely understand that the world does not adhere to this type of nicety, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's value, or what it isn't at least an attempt at recognising the trauma of experience.

I relate to Gay's passage immensely. I also think there are parts of me that lean towards masochism. There is a way that trauma can dull certain synapses, in equal measure. Sure, maybe I have a high pain tolerance, expanded empathy, and deep emotional intelligence, but I also have a low understanding of romantic love and low level trust in men.

I live in pain-reduction so much, it limits my choices. I have nearly zero ambition these days. I'm always in crisis mode - in limiting my stimulation. I'm tired of enduring, but I have no reference for what living looks like.

Gay's framing of a bad feminist is based on what has traditionally been a white-upper class version of feminism. I'd argue that with millennials, there is more of an understanding of the fluidity of identity, and that like many things, it exists on a spectrum.

Feminism is the fight against patriarchy. More than that, it's the notion that women are people, and as such deserve the same unalienable rights as men. Furthermore, they deserve person-hood and autonomy.

Gay is a great feminist. There is no such thing as a bad feminist. You can be a racist feminist. You can be an elitist feminist. If you're "bad" and believing in equality - you're just not a feminist.

There is no one right way to be feminist. As there's no right way to be Canadian,  American, female, male, or queer.

So Gay might be a bad feminist of her own identifying. I'd argue she's a great one. But identities, especially those that hold on too tightly to a narrative, tend to alienate. And a reading of her work understands how she came to that title.

I recommend her book.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Take a walk, it's good for you.

I have a lot going on lately, I'll update properly soon.

In the meantime, check out this article on how Walking lifts your mood, even when you don’t expect it to.

In my experience walking helps me clear my head, and is calming for me.

My goal is to eventually have a job where I can walk to work, having those daily walks built into my schedule.

This is actually something I'm actively working on (finding a job I can walk to). It's part of the aforementioned "update."

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

President Trump.

I went to bed around 10:30 last night, anxious and overwhelmed by the tone of the election coverage. Twitter was thick with racist videos.

I woke up at 2 am to pee, and see how many text messages I'd gotten. I went on Twitter, and I was just hollowed-out.

I expected cooler heads to prevail.

A misogynist, racist, fear-mongering demagogue was put into office, quite easily. The Republicans have control of the senate - I'm just in shock.

I hope Americans feeling targeted and afraid can find comfort in friends and family.

I don't know what to say, I'm devastated for us all.

I also have a lot of questions.

Will people refuse to work with him?

Will people quit from the White House?

What does it take for an impeachment? If he is impeached, does that make Pence the president?

I just - I'm overwhelmed.

And in closing...
Read this thread:

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Maya Angelou on success.

It's election day in America - it's all I'm thinking about. I'll no doubt be glued to the news for the foreseeable future.

As a distraction, this beautiful quote:
Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.
– Maya Angelou
When I think of success this way, I feel completely different about myself.
It's a process.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The American election / all the help we can get.

According to a study, this song can hep reduce anxiety by 65%.

Shoot it into your veins folks!

* Apparently you shouldn't listen to this while driving or doing something that requires you full attention.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

My doctor is missing, again.

Well, it happened again. Dr. Rishi is missing.

He was suppose to change clinics this summer. He let me know he was opening his own, which seemed great, since the walk-in clinic he was in was far away and the service wasn't great.

I called to make an appointment with him, and was told he was no longer taking appointments while he set up his new practice.

I saw him on the street outside of work a few weeks later (maybe in July), and he said I'd get a letter with the details of his new office "in August."

Cut to the end of October - where I've heard nothing, so I e-mail his former office, which says they don't yet have any details, and to call the office on October X to see if I can talk to him while he's in.

I call on said day and they ask me to e-mail in. I do. I receive this response:

Dear Patient,

I am currently out of the office and unavailable until November 7, 2016.

I am currently working to move my practice to its new location in Westmount. I will leave full forwarding and contact info with my current clinic as soon as available.

If you require a renewal of medication, please have your pharmacist send a request by fax to 514-281-3885.

If you have an emergency, you should go the hospital. If a non-urgent issue that you would like to be seen for immediately, please visit the walk-in clinic. All of your results and dossier will be transferred with me, and I look forward to seeing you at the new clinic!

Thank you,
Dr. Rishi 
I do as it asks, I fax in, since my meds are almost up, and I also need an adjusted referral for a dermatologist, and, of course, wait for it, the fax number is out of order.



Monday, October 31, 2016

The typo.

It’s been a series of not-so-great days, so there’s been a hesitance to sit down and re-hash it all.

Basically last week we had a presentation to a client, on which there was a typo. The typo was of the client’s name, which, needless to say, would have been very embarrassing to the presenters (one of which was my boss).

The next day, he nonchalantly asked me to come into his office and asked what happened, I said something along the lines of how it sucked and typos happen. He got irritated and I stayed calm and didn’t really know what to say to him. He seemed increasingly agitated.

A few hours later I got an e-mail addressed to myself and my supervisor, where my boss outlined how irritated (now angry) he was, and how I didn’t take responsibility for the typo. He said I was ducking responsibility and it was the result of my neglect. It was a shit day.

I ended up spiralling that night. It went to losing a job, to looking for a job, to requiring as little to function as possible since I’m so useless, which means minimum wage, which means factory, which means hard on me, and depression, and not able to live in comfort and kill myself, and the worst and then never having any time to myself, and my health is the worst, and shit jobs, and shit pay, and can’t get a job, and so on. It gets real dark real fast, and it's painful and panic inducing.

The next way when I met with my supervisor he said he also got “scolded,” and that we’d come up with a way to try and lessen typos and have a “official sign-off” process for document printing. He and I were more of the same understanding, that typos happen, that both he and other signed-off on the document, and it was embarrassing for everyone. I do not necessarily trust that he represented this as his opinion to my boss though, he probably threw me under the bus. I don't trust him.

By the end of the day I had a stress headache / brain fog.

Friday I just laid low and kept my head down. Now today, Monday, the same.

This weekend I spent some time with S, we watched a bad movie and spent some time together, we’re both pretty depressed these days, so it’s a little comfort. We were able to talk about what happened, and what it triggered in me. Not being able to take care of myself, and always expecting the worst is big with me.

Sunday I had the dogs/volunteering, then I fell asleep in a chair (lol) then I did a few things and went to bed.

Today is Halloween (I saw a guy on the subway with a sword before I had to think about it).

I’m tired and sore. This depressive episode has gotten into my bones.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bad day(s) at work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Go read the article Kesha, Interrupted now published by The New York Times Magazine.

Then watch this:

Brutal. She's going through so much, publicly.

Strength and love to her.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Icarus Project.

Check out the Icarus Project.
The Icarus Project is a support network and education project by and for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness. We advance social justice by fostering mutual aid practices that reconnect healing and collective liberation. We transform ourselves through transforming the world around us.
I just downloaded a bunch of their literature. I'm especially interested in their booklet on harm reduction whilst coming off psychiatric drugs.

It's been raining for days. I usually take such comfort in grey days.  In the dying - but not quite dead leaves of October. These days, it's okay to stay home, it's okay to say the weather is a bummer. It's the weather reflecting me. My Nordic blood doesn't complain when it's cold. I don't complain when it's shitty out. I'll just stay home. It's okay on these days, it's understandable.

I've been thinking a lot about my physical and mental health, and about what the next step will look like for me. It's something I'm rolling around in my head.

Lady Gaga's Joanne on loop.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Atheist spirituals.

It's been a busy two weeks. Last weekend my friend C came down from British-Columbia for a few days. She was visiting her father for his 70th birthday, so she was able to stay at my house for two days before flying back West.

The weekend she was down meant a tight schedule. I took Friday off, spent it with her, dropped her off there, then went to a friend house then picked her up, then this then that then super full scheduling. It was a packed 4 days, so I was tired heading into the next week. That Saturday I had planned a relaxed say with S, watch The Purge: Anarchy. We watched the first Purge together - and she detests horror movies, she watched it out of political conscience, and wanting to discuss it. So then I got her to watch all the sequels with me. So we watched the final chapter while laughing and drinking tea.

That Sunday I got up early to have a last breakfast with C before she headed to the airport, and then I had my date with the dogs at the refuge. It rained all day, which sucked. But I was lucky because my teammate did not show up which could have been hellish, but I only had 6 dogs, so I wasn't overwhelmed. Luckily.

Then I got sick, a cold of some sort, so I stayed home Wednesday, watched the 3rd presidential debate (oh lordy America) and then got back to work.

I'm at home today, Sunday, and am taking the time to sit down and write, since it's been busy and if I don't take the time, nobody will do it for me.

A few official updates.

#1 - I love the new Lady Gaga album. It has a lot of references that I equate to the music my parents listened to when I was little. I hear Bowie, I hear classic rock nods, I hear songwriter nods that remind me of Joe Cocker and those type of sing-along spirituals, only her songs are bout drugs and female friendship. Much more up my alley than an actual spiritual.

Gaga definitely has a lot of religious iconography in her music, some totally over but I've never found her music to be preachy. My main issue with religion is it's a tool to separate and classify, and it's often used to suppress women and just be hateful dicks in general - but her catholicism isn't too guilt-based, it's more "lord help me," and less entitled. What I mean to say is I've never felt alienated listening to her religious references. Maybe that's because I like Gaga enough to have seen her live, and to hear her speak and know how subversive her work is, and how feminist she is.

I've always lamented the fact that I love spirituals but don't identify to their religious tone. I need an atheist spiritual, so songs about friendship, or just life and learning are as good as it gets for me.

There's just so much fucking soul!

I still sing "Down to the River to Pray" in the shower - even though I'm totally godless.

#2 - I just recently finished Stories to Hide from Your Mother by Tess Fragoulis and I loved it. There are parts that are so liquid and surreal, part prose part dreamscape, completely untethered and an absolute poignant representation of the absurdity of womanhood. I cannot recommend it enough.

#3 - my family doctor Dr. Rishi is in between practices which means trying to contact him over the last 2-3 months has been like a shitty version of Where's Waldo. His old clinic says they don't know the new information yet, but I also can't try and get a new doctor because I'm officially attributed to him. I finally got an e-mail from him saying he will not be available until mid-November. Hopefully by then we'll have some news regarding his new clinic.

Yesterday I spent the day with K a friend of friends who was introduced to me first here in Montreal then out in Victoria. She's in the process of converting an old atelier to a mini-house. It already looks amazing. I drove her out to St-Jerome to a specialized tile place, and had breakfast and lunch with her while running errands all around. Got home pretty pooped.

The temperature change has not gone unnoticed for me. I feel it in my bones. It's dark when I wake up, darker by the minute in the evenings - it's a difficult time for me. All I want to do is sleep.

I'm approaching the holidays, then the new year, which has me worrying about finding a job. It's been more than a few months that I've been looking, I don't want to stay where I am too much longer.

I will try and put more of a considered effort in writing, my days have just seemed much shorter as of late.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


This past weekend was a long one, thanks to thanksgiving. I needed the break, and it was appreciated. I went for dinner at a friends place Friday night, and the rest of the weekend I spent at home, running errands, cooking and doing chores. I slept in until 10 or 11 am all three days. It was really nice.

The days flew by nonetheless, with Monday being spent cooking all day. I made a lasagna, chicken bone broth, leak soup, pizzas and cut up some salad and strawberries. We also took some time to drop off clothes and books at Renaissance. Sunday I made a french onion soup from scratch, as a treat for my mom and I, since it was just us two for thanksgiving. For lunch we had fresh tomato sandwiches, with bread from the bakery and farm-fresh tomatoes. They were exquisite. Saturday we went for breakfast and ran errands.

This week will be a short one, yesterday was off due to the holiday, and I took Friday off since C is down from Victoria. She's only down for a few days, so we'll spend the day together.

This upcoming weekend is the last weekend for our farmer's markets. Prices should be reduced as they try and liquidate their stock, so I'll try and buy a bunch of tomatoes to A) eat a bunch of tomato sandwiches and B) make a bunch of spaghetti sauce for freezing.

It was so nice to have the time to do things but without the rush. I knew I had a list of things I wanted to do, but I also knew I had three days to do those things. Usually with socialising on Saturdays and volunteering on Sundays I really have to be productive with my time, or else I pay for it during the week. Meal-prep and cooking makes a huge difference on my budget. Buying lunches downtown is 15-25$. Cheapest is around 10-12 - but that's horseshit white bread sammies sold by a money laundering sandwich counter owned and operated by the massage/sex-shop on top of it. Tastes sketchy!

Sunday I also watched the second presidential debate, which was horrifying. I can't even go into that. I just cannot even.

It was a nice weekend between my mother and I. We did some things together, some apart. We both had chores. She encouraged and enjoyed all of my cooking (lol) and we both slept in. It was nice. It was the perfect way to spend thanksgiving. I'm thankful for my mother and our relationship.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti

Just finished Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti. There is definitely some great insight in Valenti's book. I especially liked:
Men’s pain and existential angst are the stuff of myth and legends and narratives that shape everything we do, but women’s pain is a backdrop--a plot development to push the story along for the real protagonists. Disrupting that story means we’re needy or selfish, or worst of all, man-haters--as if after all men have down to women over the ages the mere act of not liking them for it is most offensive. (Page 15)
I think the power of her memoir is in its personal representation. There's a lot about street harassment and lived misogyny that isn't necessarily mind-blowing to another woman, since most of us have lived variations of this. For these sections, I'm sure most men could learn about the daily hostilities women and girls face. For me, it was a little redundant. Not that it isn't powerful and important to address and name, it's just I'm part of the club so I have my own subway stories, my own stranger-dick horrors. In fact, a lot of them are eerily similar. Asking for directions with a dick in his hands... saying gross things to a young teen... etc. My "old hat" mentality towards it speaks to what a pervasive issue it is. Valenti's memoir is important in it being an act of being seen and heard, something still revolutionary (and potentially dangerous) for most women. She's able to call-out a lot of shady shit. And shady shit needs to be called out.

The book didn't shake me awake, as much as it just kind of said to me, hey, you know all that fucked up sexist, rapey stuff you've lived through - yah well, Jessica too. 

Reading her book makes me wish there was an organisation that went into 6th grade classrooms and told girls what they can do in order to protect themselves / how they can report the many kinds of assault. With the prevalence of cell phones, I actually think girls are more likely to have what they need to go to police now. When I was 15-16 and a guy stopped his car to ask for directions / masturbate to my friend and I we went to the cops. The cops told us unless he masturbated in front of a cop, there was nothing they could do. What fun. Now you can easily pull out a cell phone and get the fucking guys licence plate number.

Valenti shares a lot of stories that deal with drugs, sex, self-esteem and shitty relationships. At one point she mentions something her father says something that shakes her...
The things you do in your twenties are just things you do. Bus as you approach thirty what you do starts to become who you are. And there are some things you do not want to be forever. (Page 123)
I recognised myself in this. I've been looking at the lives of my friends, and thinking that the choices they make (who to hang out, what to prioritise) ends up being their choices, period. The same can then be applied to me. It's why I started volunteering. It's why I'm inching closer to vegetarianism one vegan or vegetarian meal at a time. I want to live my values. And to do that, that means actively choosing things that correspond to your values, to what you want.

That might seem so obvious, but when you're so depressed your general choices just focus on getting you through each day, it's hard to feel there's a greater rhyme or reason behind what you're doing.

Being a hot mess might be cute when you're 20 and can get by on being bra-less and naive. It gets less cute by the second. In fact, you realise how those who found that helplessness "cute" were patronising pervs mostly.

Eventually time starts flying by. There's more demanded of your time and your choices are all you have. The leisure of youth meant the privilege of being bored, of trying things. Every choice seems more important now. You see the ripple affect.

My friend E is about to finish her last graduate course. When she's completed it, she'll have obtained her Master's degree. This really makes me want to go back to school. Then I look into it, and I realise not only do I not have the money to go back, but I'm so exhausted that I can't fathom having the energy to go back and be engaged. The energy of youth. The ability to try something. I have to manage my expectations now. I hold back. I ration my energy.

Check out Valenti's work if it seems up your alley.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Take care of yourself Kid Cudi.

Kid Cudi just posted about going to rehab for treatment, dealing with depression and suicidal ideation.

This is his post:

Its been difficult for me to find the words to what Im about to share with you because I feel ashamed. Ashamed to be a leader and hero to so many while admitting I've been living a lie. It took me a while to get to this place of commitment, but it is something I have to do for myself, my family, my best friend/daughter and all of you, my fans.
Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges. 
I am not at peace. I haven't been since you've known me. If I didn't come here, I wouldve done something to myself. I simply am a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions everyday of my life. Theres a ragin violent storm inside of my heart at all times. Idk what peace feels like. Idk how to relax. My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it. I cant make new friends because of it. I dont trust anyone because of it and Im tired of being held back in my life. I deserve to have peace. I deserve to be happy and smiling. Why not me? I guess I give so much of myself to others I forgot that I need to show myself some love too. I think I never really knew how. Im scared, im sad, I feel like I let a lot of people down and again, Im sorry. Its time I fix me. Im nervous but ima get through this. 
I wont be around to promote much, but the good folks at Republic and my manager Dennis will inform you about upcoming releases. The music videos, album release date etc. The album is still on the way. Promise. I wanted to square away all the business before I got here so I could focus on my recovery.
If all goes well ill be out in time for Complexcon and ill be lookin forward to seeing you all there for high fives and hugs. 
Love and light to everyone who has love for me and I am sorry if I let anyone down. I really am sorry. Ill be back, stronger, better. Reborn. I feel like shit, I feel so ashamed. Im sorry. 
I love you,
Scott Mescudi

You can read it on his facebook.

The Atlantic has a piece up on masculinity, race and depression.

I just wish him love and support. It's rough, I know how he feels, and words are never enough. I wish him a warm blanket and a deep hug. Hot tea and a cuddle. A soft bed and clean sheets. Sun on his face. A hearty laugh. A friendly dog. Those little things help for me, I hope his little things help for him. Small comforts.

My chest aches in recognition.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Labrador boxer mix: one year-old, high energy, no kids, no cats, might be a sociopath.

Yesterday I had my volunteer shift at the refuge. It was a great fall day, overcast, only slightly cool. We didn’t have many dogs to take out over our 3 hour shift, only 9, two of which are elderly as fuck.

The day went well, we were able to take extra time with the dogs, which was nice. One, Kounaï, a large white husky got a deluxe brushing by me. He seemed to like it, and me. Huskies cannot be bothered. They have the independence and unimpressed gaze of cats. I don’t love huskies. They generally only have eyes for their masters and just can’t be bothered by anyone else. Kounaï has grown on me though. When I brushed him he’d do this weird thing where he’d stare at my face really intensely. At first I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing (lol) so I stepped back to see how he’d react. He ended up stepping forward towards me and lining himself up so I could continue to brush him. So I did.

Things changed when we took out one of the last dogs. I had taken him out last week, and he seemed alright, just a little anxious and barky. This week though he soon became fixated with me. This was a tall boxer labrador mix, roughly 100 pounds. He began getting up on his hind legs and trying to wrestle me. The more I pushed him off, the more excited he got. Eventually, I had to pick up a plastic patio chair to use like a lion tamer. He wasn't trying to hump me, he was trying to grapple.

One of the employees came out, and said one of the folks looking to adopt him wanted to see him. I said sure, but that we were having problems with him. I guess she assumed it wouldn’t be too bad (since it’s known he has a lot of learning to do, he was a rescue that wasn’t socialized).

He soon started to ignore the three other women in the yard and just would not leave me alone. I even pushed him hard. Kicked him off me. I tried to explain to the animal trainer/employee that he only seemed to jump at me when I pet him and was nice to him, and the more I pushed him the more encouraged he seemed. He seemed really happy. It wasn’t aggression, it felt like affection. He seemed overjoyed. The rougher I was with him the happier he got.

Last week his feet had been wrapped, this week they were not. That meant that the more he tried to grab me (he really tried to bear hug me, but dog arms aren’t meant to bend in) the more his wounds opened, so I was becoming smudged with traces of his blood. It began getting worse, and he bit down on my arm a few times playfully. Not directly on skin, since I was wearing a thick sweatshirt. Eventually though, as the women around me tried to get him to do other things (chase a tire, play with a kong) he got even more nuts and really grabbed my arm. I grabbed the chair quickly that time.

The employee stepped in and played with him after that, and they asked me to write everything down in his file. It was a shit end to the day. We ended up taking one dog out after him, a tiny little jack russel mix named Milou. He was sweet, but could probably smell the stress on me and didn’t seem into it.

I went home and did some chores, to my own surprise. I was exhausted and needed a drink quite honestly. I did not have a drink though, since I don’t know anything about alcohol and had stuff to do.

I ended up doing some laundry, making muffins and having dinner. Then I took a shower and tried to go to bed at a reasonable hour, which I more or less succeeded at, though I could have slept more, since this morning’s wake up was difficult.

Today, my arm is a little swollen and bruised, and I can see the teeth marks.

I wrote to the volunteer coordinator and let her know, further underlining my point that I don’t think this dog can be adopted by just anybody.

The thing is only one, he isn’t totally full grown yet. He’s still lanky and awkward.

What was upsetting about the encounter was when I took the dog back to his enclosure. When you put him back in his cage, he sits quietly and just stares. He’s very calm. When I discussed it with the employee who witnessed everything she said she’s worried he has deeper issues.

It had me thinking about where he came from, a puppy raised in isolation. It made me think about what would happen if the same thing happened to a human child. In those cases, types of personality disorders and sociopathy are often present. 

I don't think he can tell between positive attention and negative attention. He's just happy to have interaction.

The more I work with these dogs, the more I see how traumatised a lot of them are.

I think of my brother’s dog, and how if you put him in a place like that, he’d be miserable, and who knows how he would react. He's sensitive and neurotic. He'd be miserable there.

I think about my own dog who passed away a few years ago. When a friend invited us camping once, his brother decided the dog should sleep outside. This is a dog, who for 9 years of her life, slept on a queen size tempur-pedic with my mother. So, of course, he put the dog on the deck and she whined and howled. This infuriated him. I got so upset I took my sleeping bag and slept out on the deck with the dog, which immediately burrowed into my sleeping bag. This dog. This entitled, spoiled bitch (she really was though, she stole my hot dog once), this brilliant dog (she pretended there was someone at the front door so I would leave my hot dog unattended), what kind of things would she do, to cope after a trauma (losing family, abandonment) and being put in a refuge?

I think I’m surprised by the emotional work. I enjoy it, I do, but it’s heavier than I expected it to be. I think I expected to use it as a therapeutic space for myself, and my own healing. It is that, but it’s also work, it's also engaging the traumas of others. It’s a lesson in many things. Patience. Empathy. Observation. Kindness. Presence.

It can be overwhelming when you try and think of all of it all at once. All of the need. But when I see things as little bits, it helps. Every little bit helps.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Bonding over office drama.

Something very unusual happened yesterday. A co-worker asked me to join her and a few others for a drink after work, and I agreed.

We went to a local pub and ended up leaving around 10:30 (at NIGHT).

I can't even remember the last time I 1) socialised with work people and 2) socialised on a work-night. Spectacular miracles all around.

It was a nice night, we laughed a lot. Two of the younger mid-20's guys didn't know what kegel exercises were. They learned a lot.

What was most interesting for me, was how much I learned once they'd all started drinking. Especially regarding office drama and politics. There's long been two people I'm not a fan of. One is a partner who is terrible to work with. He has no concept of time or deadlines and speaks in weird, fluttery language that makes him impossible to take direction from. He also is a bit of a snob. The other is his attaché, a golden boy he loves, but who I now know everyone has problems with.

My issue with him was that he's entitled and inconsiderate. He talks to everyone like they work for him (he's not even an architect, he's still in school) and he's often patronising. Here are a few examples:
  • Once I came in to a note that said "I needed a USB key, so I took yours." He went through my stuff, took my USB key, then removed what was on the USB key and placed it on a shared server. The nerve of going through someone's things!
  • In the kitchen, he never cleans up after himself. And when we ask him about it, he clearly does not give any shits. He steams his milk and leaves a crust. Every. Day.
  • He uses a coffee machine that's expressly for guests and senior partners (the kid is like 28).
  • If he borrows something and you speak slowly and clearly that he needs to bring it back when he's done. He won't. You know this. And he lies to your face.
  • I replaced the receptionist a few times this summer for her holidays. He would come and sit in the lobby in the couch chairs and read magazines. During work hours. Casually. No care in the world. 
These are everyday annoyances. You deal. I think shit started hitting the fan when he yelled at a client and a co-worker. And then it came out that two clients refuse to deal with him at all. This is a young kid. Not even an architect yet - how was he not fired!?

Then we found out he was hired at 55,000$ a year, which is significantly more than all of the junior staff. That added injury to the daily insult. He makes more than some architects. But they're women, you see. They handle their burden silently. They work hard. They're polite. They're enjoyed by their colleagues. He has an ego. He's entitled. He tells people their ideas are wrong, their designs ugly. A true visionary rectal wart. 

The gender pay-gap is real.

He comes in late, smug. People don't want to work with him. Co-workers think he's disrespectful. Clients think he's a dick. He's just not great. And the way he seems to be an exception to decency while making more money than folks killing themselves on projects makes everyone furious. 

I learned all about that last night, which was nice. I know it's a suck situation but the fact is I internalise so much being able to relate to other humans was nice.

I know very little about the people I spend my days next to. I liked everyone I went out with before, but now I know a little more about them. Mainly what lushes they are. I had a drink. It sucked. I don,t know enough about alcohol to have any test or knowledge. 

I'd like to work on being more social. 

I have a lot I want to work on!

batman and robin awkward gif giant duckling

It's Friday! 

Can't wait to go home and take my bra off!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tig Notaro is just a person.

I just finished Tig Notaro's book, I'm Just a Person, which was great. 

I read a lot of comedian memoirs. Many are not great. I love stand-up, I love comedy (I know, I know, who doesn't?) and Tig is in my top 5. I had the pleasure of seeing her live in a small space during the Just For Laughs festival, and listening to Live, was an experience.

Her book is excellently written, excellently paced. It's funny without trying too hard and she shares her story beautifully.

Her observation of the absurd is perfect for the absurdities of pain and loss.

I like Tig. I like her as a comedian and as a personality, and I got that sense of her throughout the book. It had me smiling on public transit (huzzah!) and also aching for her when she described the worst 4 months of her life. Puts vertigo and bell's palsy in perspective. 

She's philosophical but irreverent. That's my language.

She's so charming. So likeable. You feel the warmth and maturity in her writing. Many comedians don't translate to the written page. Tig absolutely does.

She's a great writer and storyteller, if you love Tig, this is a great read. Highly recommended.
See her live if you can, and watch her documentary on Netflix. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

At least 20 more minutes a day.

Get your shit together America!

Watched the "debate" last night. Brutal. Embarrassing. Terrifying. Horrific. Infuriating. I lasted 9 minutes, then would turn it off, then try again, last 2 minutes, then turn it off. Awful.

My way of coping right now will be through jokes and posting tweets that helped.

America, what is happening?

Monday, September 26, 2016

My weekend.

money student tips exam missing money

On Friday I went to bed around 9 pm, and I woke up Saturday past 11 am.

I then ran a few errands and napped for another 2 hours.

Hypersomnia is real.

I then went to bed around 10 pm on Saturday since I had a morning volunteer shift at the refuge, so I was with the dogs 9 am - 12 pm and then got home, napped for 2 hours and got up to try ans do some cooking and meal prep for the week.

My weekend was an unconscious one.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Job panic.

I’m having a bit of a job-panic. I’m grasping for straws and sending out flares. 

monkey office story baboon office monkey

This week at work our receptionist is on holiday. I’m filling in. There’s no big graphic design project happening, so I’m doing what I can from the front desk and everything else can wait. This means I have access to the stamp machine so I’ve been mailing out letters and receiving mail (something I consider fun). I still feel like I’m “playing secretary,” which I enjoy. 

work computer monkey working keyboard

This also means I have more time to write, or go online, or check stuff out. I just have to be at the computer. If I was really “free” to look as bored as I am I’d just sit here and read, but that would irritate everyone so instead I’m writing. I’m writing this. This right now.

I’ve been looking for work for the last month or so. Ideally something not in the city, with a salary of more than 40 G. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve joined all sorts of federal government candidacy pools, but at this point I really just think they’re roads to nowhere. 

office paper working workplace office monkey

I get in these little panicky fits where I just consider everything under the sun. Like, hey maybe I could get a special driver’s license and just start driving snowplows or trucks or something.

I can understand that no job is perfect, and that I’ll probably mildly resent whatever it is I end up doing to pay the bills, but it would be nice to do something that in fact does pay those bills. Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t cute. I’m sick of living with my mother. I want my own space, no matter how small.

A recent survey out of the UK identified that about 35% of Brits identify their jobs as “bullshit” jobs, that have no real value. This doesn't surprise me at all. Especially as someone who has worked in marketing a lot, which I've come to just see as a lie-based / let's pretend this is super important even though it totally isn't - department. So much of sales and marketing is just lies and magic tricks. So much bullshit in capitalism.

computer monkey working laptop typing

For the last decades, all the jobs I've had have put money in someone else's pockets. At least working for a social system or a non-profit you know there's a greater good. 

I've been thinking that since the job market seems so unstable, maybe what would be best would be to get two part-time jobs. Or, work here 4 days a week, and then work another job 2 days a week. 

computer frustrated typing customer service office monkey

I know I could find work in a call center, but that's a last resort. It's just so soul-crushing. 

I just get these fits of panic. I want to try and find a solution to this uneasiness. 

I don't trust the job market. I don't feel secure in my skills or education. I don't feel I'm owed a job or any type of security. So what can I do about it? Diversify? Join the army? I'm too fat. And sensitive. Plus I don't wanna be yelled at. It's like, calm down fuck. 

What else is there? I can't go back to university, I'm too broke. I could maybe do an apprenticeship or try and learn a new skill. I'm hesitant to overly-invest in design, though maybe I could do more research in cost-effective design sales on Etsy.

Christ. I'm going cuckoo.

computer monkey frustrated laptop email

I wish I could get a glimpse into the future. 

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The fact of it is, I feel intellectually damaged. I work within limitations. And I don't feel I can over-exert myself. I don't feel gifted, or especially smart and it makes me worry about my ability to take care of myself. Especially, and primarily, financially. 

I know the past decade has taken its toll on my self-confidence. I don't think it's especially revelatory for me to state that, but it's got me in this post-haze space where I'm trying to figure out what my limits really are. My comfort-zone hasn't been that comfortable and I'm now unsure about what it is I'm tethered to.

I don't want to define myself by a job, and I'm trying not to. I just want something decent. I'm alright where I am, for now, but I don't feel secure here. The work has ups and downs and the place has not been stable since I started in 2014.

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How can it be I feel so useless half the time, but when I take a step back I'm usually frustrated at the less-than productive pace of others? 

I know that life-long employment under one employer is now mostly myth and legend, so I need to get that out of my head, but I do need to figure out what to do, and how best to do it.

Right now I'm working here, I have money coming in, and I'll only leave for something better in salary and working conditions, or in a better environment or proximity to my home. Looking through job postings is difficult and discouraging. Seeing minimum-wage postings makes me wonder about how it is a person lives off of that. I can barely survive off of my salary. 

I'm also conscious of the criticism of millennials, that they expect instant recognition and aren't willing to work for it. Though I'm in my 30's, I seem to be grouped in with kids 15 years younger than me. 

It's difficult to think about what I want, while also thinking about what it is that is.

What does 2020 look like? 

Are people buying houses? Is there a housing bubble in Canada right now? It seems a bad time to buy, since most houses are over-inflated / not worth what's being asked. I don't want to sign a contract for a car, for a cell phone for anything, my money isn't set, I can't commit to payments.

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I'm just in a little bit of a spiral right now. 

Do you have career advice for me? Money advice?

Some money you'd like to give me?

An old country house I can go hide in?